It seems that with as many fashion rules thrown at us, there are just as many tips for breaking style rules. The maddening thing is that we're surrounded by them everywhere. You can't open your email without an onslaught of new updates mingling in with your Twitter notifications and bank alerts, can't go to the grocery store without hearing which celebrity brought shame upon her house, and you definitely can't not have a nervous breakdown in front of your closet come Friday night when you're trying to decide just what to wear.
Everything contradicts itself. At first bra straps were thought unseemly, now it's in vogue to have them poke out from underneath your tanks and dresses. Baggy dresses or for old cat ladies, and apparently for super stylish twenty-somethings. Ugly orthopedic shoes aren't for churchgoing grandmothers anymore; they also go amazingly well with your fancier dresses. It's like falling down a rabbit hole — how are you supposed to keep up? The answer: Don't. Just wear what feels right and inspiring to you. I do understand, though, that that can sometimes feel like throwing off your arm floaties while you're drowning in an ocean, so here are five tips on how to break fashion rules and how to feel confident that it looks and feels right.
1. If Ignoring Color, Keep An Eye On Proportions
Black and blue, pink and red — the fashion world loves telling you which colors not to wear together. But the bigger the clash, the more interesting the outfit, so if it feels right you should go all in. Remember: It's not tacky, it's unexpected. But if you're going to wear plum and orange together, make sure that the rest of your outfit is clean lined and proportional. It's all about balance. If you have busy colors keep the shapes of the outfit simple and minimalist, giving off a tailored "I meant to do this" vibe.
2. If You're Going To Be Tacky, Remember Some Things
I have a confession to make: I personally love tacky. To me, it's quirky and interesting and has a lot of personality. But to do it in a way that doesn't leave you looking like a hot mess, try to be classy about it. For example, if you're going to have your bra peeking out, make sure the back or straps create an interesting design. That way it adds rather than detracts from the outfit. If you're going to wear a crazy, insanely busy skirt, pair it with a neutral crop top, making sure neither material or color from your top takes away from your bottom. If you're going to mix equally loud patterns, see if the colors complement each other or, at the very least, flow together. If you're unsure about how to go tacky without overwhelming yourself, just remember this tip and you should be good to go.
3. Be Smart About Mixing Your Seasons
Who says your booties have to wait till fall or your lace has to wait till spring? Get creative and have your seasonal wardrobes meet, but do it in a smart way. You'll obviously get heat stroke on the restaurant patio if you sit in a sweater in the middle of summer, but you can take the elements of seasons and mix them together. For example, take traditional fall textures like suede and leather and incorporate them into mini skirts and shorts. Pair your knee-high boots with mini mod dresses and wear long sleeve shifts with strappy sandals and nothing else. Take your white lace dresses from summertime and layer a long, cozy knit sweater on top for the winter. If you think in terms of textures, colors, and layering, you can mix your seasons all you want.
4. Wear Anything You Want As Long And Dress It Up Or Down
Style experts love to tell us what's appropriate to wear when, but if you're in the mood to wear an evening gown grocery shopping on a Tuesday, then zip that sucker up and go buy your avocados. If you don't want to wear a long, strapless number to a fancy celebration, then don't. You can pull off any type of style as long as you dress it up or down accordingly, which also has the added bonus of creating interesting juxtapositions in your look.
For example, remember how sequins were only allowed during the night time, and usually only around New Years? Well New Years outfits were made casual by pairing sequined skirts with cozy jumpers, tulle dresses with thick turtlenecks, or sweeping, dramatic skirts with soft tees. The same goes with casual wear. Want to wear sweatpants to dinner? Pair them with strappy heels and a collared shirt. If there's a will, you better believe there's a way.
5. Remember That There's No Such Thing As "Not Flattering"
If you like it, and you feel confident and pretty in it, then it's flattering. That's it. Some detached voice from somewhere up in magazine headquarters in New York and London can give you suggestions and mass opinions, but they can't tell you what your eye thinks looks good. If you like it, go for it. The world doesn't have to be ready for it.
Remember, these aren't rules, they're just guidelines in case the idea of doing whatever you want freaks you out a bit. In any case, you have to wear whatever makes you happiest. It's as simple as that.