Part of what makes fashion and style so great is that everyone has their own unique, personal preferences. Style is arguably one of the easiest and most convenient outlets for self-expression, since everyone has to think about what they're putting on their bodies every morning. Choosing what shirt, pants and shoes to wear on any given day can be a deeply intimate and private process. While it may not be like that for everyone, style is definitely a way to tell the world a little bit about yourself without saying a word.
That being said, it's clear that rules and regulations have no place in either style or fashion. Considering the crazy looks that have walked down runways — from cropped halter jean jackets to bright pink dresses that even Barbie wouldn't wear — fashion obviously has no rules or guidelines to follow. Or at least, it shouldn't. And while there are some trends that should remain in the past (here's looking at you, Coachella crown), there are hardly limitations on colors, patterns or shapes in fashion design. So why do we still hear about old fashion myths that try to limit self-expression and personal taste? From avoiding black and brown because your mom once told you it's an ugly color combo, to worrying about your bra slightly peeking out from under your shirt, fashion myths are not only limiting but also a little ridiculous. While there are obviously useful recommendations of dress for particular settings and events (breaking these rules at work might not be the best idea), you shouldn't feel like there are rules stopping you from wearing what you want to on a Friday night or even to brunch this Sunday afternoon. In an effort to argue against eight fashion myths, I wore and styled several fashion no-nos in order to show that they should never dictate how someone gets dressed or chooses to express themselves. So, combine black and blue and rock those sandals with socks, because no one can tell you otherwise!
1. Wearing White After Labor Day
It’s an old adage that after the first Monday in September, you can no longer wear the color white. This myth was developed because of old societal rules of etiquette, which showed not only social class but also the proper transition into wearing darker clothing for the upcoming gloomier seasons. Although white is not quite as important as black in the average person's wardrobe, it is a necessary staple in anyone and everyone’s closet. Sure, Labor Day isn’t any time soon, but wear your whites before and after the holiday. Whether it's with white denim, white silk blouses or even white shoes, don't let anyone criticize you for wearing the hue post-September. Especially if it's at your own wedding.
2. Wearing Black With Blue
Whoever said mixing black and blue was a fashion faux pas is totally, completely, utterly wrong. Like I mentioned before, black (not unlike white) is a color that everyone wears, no matter their style or taste. And when mixing black with blue — arguably the most accessible and flattering color on the wheel, especially when considering clothing — the result is only positive. For example, this Target coat looks gorgeous with a color blocked dark blue stripe on the bottom. Pair it with some black clothes, a few silver accessories, and boom — you’re a dark, sexy vixen, unafraid of color.
3. Wearing Black With Brown
This fashion myth (as I like to call them) is in the same vein as the previous one. Let’s just settle it here and now: Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t combine colors. Pink and red, orange and green or even green and blue — the beauty of colors is that they’re all derived from each other. We learned in elementary school art class that some colors complement others whether they’re warm or cool toned, but that shouldn’t [always] dictate what pieces we pair together when getting dressed. In the case of black and brown, these colors are both individually dark, rich and luxurious and even better when paired together. If you’re not comfortable rocking black slacks with a light brown blouse, go for brown accessories and an all-black outfit. I guarantee you’ll never look back.
4. Mixing Prints
It’s safe to say that this fashion faux pas has been disproved many times. That being said, it’s still wildly important to recognize — because there was a point in time when stripes and polka dots were a sin to wear together. Thanks to brands like J. Crew and designers like Nicole Miller and Diane von Furstenberg, patterns and prints are now mixed no matter their colors, shapes or sizes. Plus, these days when a style star or celebrity can successfully pull off multiple prints, it’s very much applauded. While this fashion faux pas might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s worth trying out. Pair a classic striped top with a polka dot skirt or even a printed dress with a floral jacket. It’s easy to stick with a statement piece, but it’s better to pull off a statement outfit. Plus, Kelly Osbourne, the queen of mixing prints, would be so proud.
5. Wearing Socks With Sandals
While I wouldn’t advise trying to prove this particular fashion faux pas wrong in snow, ice or sleet, it definitely hasn't stopped designers — Hermes, Burberry and Band Of Outsiders to name a few — from showing them on their runways. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told never to wear socks with sandals because it’s "ratty and inconvenient." Plus, my mentality about it has always been, “Well, why would I wear sandals with socks when I can just wear closed shoes?” However, that’s not the mentality of a trendsetter, now is it? Wearing socks with sandals, or even heels, can be tough to do (and definitely calls for a specific time and place; ahem, NYFW), but when done well, the combo can be both pretty and edgy simultaneously. Whether it’s a pair of athletic slides or some stiletto pumps, see if you can rock the look just in case your Fashion Week invitation got lost in the mail.
6. Mixing Gold And Silver Jewelry
For one reason or another, it’s become an unsaid rule to keep silver with silver and gold with gold. But as you can probably tell from this article, I’m all about switching it up and breaking the rules. While it’s easy to get carried away with sticking to strictly gold jewelry, throwing in a dainty silver necklace or a pair of silver earrings shows both variety and harmony in pairing jewelry together. Metallics can be tricky to work with, but as far as small, dainty day-to-day jewelry pieces go, it’s clever to pair gold and silver together.
7. Exposed Bra Straps
Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. It’s never classy to show off your underwear even if it is the set you bought for Valentine’s Day and still adore. But just because they're racy and scandalous doesn’t mean you should be ashamed or shy about your undergarments. Plus, there’s so much sexy fashion out there that showing a peek of your bra straps hardly gives off an erotic message. While you feel comfortable and confident in your favorite lace push-up, pair it with a semi-sheer top. If it’s colorful and eye-catching, that's even better. That being said, make sure you're rocking this in the right setting, and that you don’t let it go too far with your bra hanging out of your shirt. That’s never a great look.
8. Top Tied Around The Waist
The I-have-a-sweater-tied-around-my-waist look was major in the 90s and recently came back with the revival of athletics and sportswear. While the chunky, colorful graphic sweatshirts of the past stayed in the past, it recently became cool to wrap a flannel or a light jacket around your waist. Plus, after Alexander Wang debuted the it skirt of the season last year, everyone tried to pick up on the trend. While this faux pas is admittedly easy to get wrong, it’s also effortlessly cool when done right. Pick a light top to wrap around your waist (plaid is pretty easy to incorporate) to add personality to an otherwise basic outfit. Lastly, add trainers and reflective sunglasses and voila: You’re Khloe Kardashian.
So, whatever rule you choose to break, make sure you break it well. And remember, never say never when it comes to style. You might not be inclined to wear socks with shoes, but you might just eventually cave (with the right shoes, of course). Even the most seemingly heinous of trends/faux pas might make it into your wardrobe, like mom jeans. After all, you only live once.
Images: Melodi Erdogan, Getty Images, Giphy; Instagram