Style mistakes aren't always about breaking so-called fashion laws. Style mistakes you make can also center around the rules you take to heart, the habits you form that prevent yourself from trying certain trends, and the attitude you may develop because you're too intimidated to try something new. Style is a very personal thing, and it not only takes some exploration to figure out what you like, but also the courage to wear it and not care what anyone else thinks. You can be bold and eccentric or clean-lined and classic, but whatever your style, it takes a little bit of guts to stick to it and let the world know this is how you look on the inside.
That being said, sometimes you can lose your nerve and fall back on safe habits that aren't actually true to your personal sense of style. For example, you might go with the status quo and listen to fashion clichés that sound like law (they’re not), avoid wearing certain trends because you heard that you can’t pull them off (you can), or stick to old and safe styling formulas because you're too nervous to experiment (don't be). These are style mistakes that everyone makes at least once, and the bad thing is that they seriously stunt the growth of your style. But the good thing is, every mistake is easily fixable. You just have to be ready to leave your hang-ups behind.
Below are seven surprising fashion mistakes, tips on how to fix them, and photos of some ladies that prove that the biggest mistake of all is following all the rules.
1. Believing Seasons Have Color Rules
You can’t wear black during the summer, white during the fall, pastels during the dead of January, or vampy wine shades in the middle of July. Wrong. Wrong, wrong. You can wear whatever color you darn please, as long as it makes you happy and you think it’s just the thing your outfit needs. For example, I can't stop wearing all-black outfits or dark vampy lipsticks, and I still feel like I'm doing summer right. The only thing that you should keep in mind when going with an untraditional shade during a season is the texture of the material. For example, a floaty, sheer pastel dress might be a little chilly in the dead of winter, so a pastel in wool, suede, leather, or in the form of a heavy knit would feel more natural. It's helpful to dabble in season-appropriate textures when jumping over color boundaries.
2. You Follow Body Type Rules
Have you subscribed to body type rules like curvy women can’t wear form fitting clothes because that’s not “flattering", short girls can’t wear maxi dresses because the fabric will drown them, tall girls should avoid heels so they don’t tower over everyone else? Um, no.
These types of rules only serve one purpose: to make you feel insecure. They don’t help you grow your style in any which way, and only serve to stunt it by setting up roadblocks. I'm 5'11 and when I have a mind to wear heels, I don't mind if they're three inches tall and I hover over everyone. They make my outfit look amazing, and that's all I care about. If you’ve got curvy hips and want to wear a sexy pencil skirt, then please, accent those lovely curves. Are you 5’3" and can’t get enough of looking like an Olson twin? If they can pull off comforter-sized sweaters, then so can you. As long as you feel amazing in the style, the style is yours for the taking. That’s the only rule you should keep in mind.
3. You Always Buy The Same Size In Clothes
That little tag at the back of your pants? That does not define you. I know you know this, but now you need to believe it. It doesn’t matter if you have to fluctuate up or down a size or two at different stores — if something feels snug or too baggy, do what you have to do and get the correct fit. There’s no universal size chart; I've found that I'm a medium at Zara but an XL in Calvin Klein all in one afternoon, and that's okay. Don’t pay attention to the tag, pay attention to how you feel when zipped up and buttoned in.
4. You Think Casual Wear is Casual Wear, And Evening Wear Is Evening Wear
There are no laws in this land: You can now mix your pajamas with your ball gowns and look incredibly chic. Don’t stunt your style by keeping categories in your closet. Instead, learn how to mix everything fluidly so you can create contrasts in your outfits and yield some pretty interesting and fashion-forward outfits. For example, one of my favorite outfits is to pair my sequined skirts with sneakers and thick pullovers for a laid-back Wednesday look, or sweatpants with heels for a night out on a Friday. Let yourself experiment. Pair baseball hats with sweeping skirts and see what happens.
5. You Never Get Anything Tailored
While most things will lie true on your body, some pieces can be taken to the next level if you just invest $15 or so with a tailor. Things like pleated pants, pencil skirts, blazers, hem lines, and sleeve widths can receive a tweak or two and go from making you look nice to making you look on-point and not just a little bit expensive. I once bought high waist granny pants at the thrift store for fifty cent, and then paid around $20 to get them brought in close to the leg. They're now my favorite pants and women literally come up to me on the train to ask me where I got them. So much smugness.
6. You Don’t Look Outside The Box When It Comes To Accessories
You might have your tried-and-true pieces (cross-body bag, wide-brim hat, leather belt) but do you let yourself get a little more wild when it comes to your accessories? Sometimes what could appear loud or gaudy could be just the ticket for making your outfit look on-trend. For example, see the possibilities of owning a sequined clutch (especially when paired with casual pair of boyfriend jeans and cameo jacket), boldly shaped, thick framed sunglasses (they can change the mood of a dress), or a pair of flashy, heavy chandelier earrings (especially when paired with a white cotton tee). I've never felt more chic when I dressed up a simple cotton t-shirt dress with heavy chandelier earrings and a pair of Chucks. Some accessories might not immediately be your style, but they can be when mixed and matched with favorite outfits.
7. You Think Certain Cuts Are "Unflattering"
High waist pants will make your butt look a mile long, plus size women can't wear big prints, crop tops are only for size four waists, tall girls are the only ones that don’t look stocky in midi skirts, and big chested women can’t wear turtleneck crop tops.
Now ask yourself this: Why? Fashion rules for body types are wrong. As long as you find the size that fits you comfortably, you can pull off absolutely anything. For example, if a midi skirt makes you feel short, you probably have the wrong size. Go back to the rack and get something smaller or go to a tailor and take in the hem so you don’t feel like you’re drowning. I always thought I couldn't wear cropped pants because they made me look stocky, but when I tried on wide leg cropped pants (also known as the culotte) I looked amazing. If there’s a will, there’s a way. And there is always a way.