Your mama always told you never to wear black with brown or white after Labor Day—but fashion rules are meant to be broken, right?
We’re giving you permission to break all these old school rules.
Red and pink clash
Somewhere along the way, these two shades got a bad reputation, but when paired purposefully, they can actually look quite modern and eye-catching. To break this fashion rule, keep the red true, and add any shade of pink, from pastel to fuchsia.
Don’t wear white after labor day
Lame! As countless designers have proved during the past few seasons, white isn’t only appropriate when the weather gets cold, but also amazingly fresh and modern-feeling. One thing to keep in mind when tackling the white-in-winter trend: It’s all about the fabric. Lighter textiles such as white cotton, linen, canvas, and seersucker will surely look out of place during the chilly months of fall and winter, so be sure you’re reaching for white wool, cashmere, mohair, flannel, silk, and leather.
Don’t wear white shoes after Labor Day
Another fashion rule to break, as several “It” designers including Céline, Mulberry, Pringle of Scotland consistently showcase white boots, loafers, and flats in winter-white leather and suede. Even fast-fashion spots like Zara are starting to roll out white boots for fall, so get on it!
Take off one accessory before leaving the house
Why? As fabulous women like Iris Apfel have proven time and time again, piling on the bling can be fabulous and totally idiosyncratic.
Navy and black don’t go together
Shorts are only for summer
False. There’s something incredibly cool and fuss-free about rocking a pair of shorts in the winter paired with opaque black tights and ankle booties. Stay away from shorts in summery fabrics like eyelet and cotton, but go ahead and rock shorts made from leather, wool, jacquard, even denim cutoffs, which look super-cool paired with ankle boots, tights, and a chunky sweater come fall and winter.
Mixed prints are too busy
Actually, mixed prints can look extremely fresh, and elevate your look from ordinary to street-style ready in no time. Street style pros know that anything goes when it comes to melding motifs (florals with stripes! polka dots with Ikat!), but beginners should start with this tip: Treating leopard like a neutral is the easiest way to break into pattern mixing. Whatever colored print you choose, add a leopard belt, shoe, bag, blouse, or anything else.
You have to wear silver or gold jewelry, not both
As we’ve seen on countless bloggers, street style stars, and celebrities, mixing metals when it comes to jewelry can look fresh and very now. The trick? Make it look deliberate as opposed to haphazard. The easiest way to do it is to up your arm-swag game by stacking bracelets in varying widths and shades of silver and gold. Same goes for rings: layer several in silver and gold that are both thick and thin. To really go for it, toss some rose gold in the mix, too.
Petite girls can’t wear maxi skirts
It’s common fashion folklore that small women simply can’t wear floor-grazing skirts and dresses, but luckily that’s been proven entirely false. In fact, a well-cut maxi skirt can actually give you the appearance of looking taller, as evidenced by petite gals like Rachel Bilson, Rachel Zoe, and Mary-Kate Olsen. Choose solid versions that skim the length of your body, which will create a long vertical line (forego anything with thick pleats or too many layers.) Be sure to keep your top fitted—a tucked-in T-shirt and a cropped leather jacket, for example—so as to not drown in fabric. Also, make sure the skirt’s hemline is as long as you can go without tripping, and add a pair of wedges or heels underneath.
Or midi skirts
Skirts that fall below the knee but above the ankle are often considered a don’t for women who aren’t long and lean, but if the proportions are right, they can add a striking, often retro appeal to any look. Midi skirts with a slight flare can be super-flattering on smaller girls, so long as they’re paired with a dainty pair of heels and tucked-in or slightly shrunken tops, so as not to get swallowed up in fabric. Horizontal stripes make you look larger
Horizontal lines making you look wider is a pretty cliché “rule.” Yes, a skin-tight shiny Spandex bodycon dress emblazoned with horizontal lines might only look good on a model, but pieces that are made well and fit well—think a classic cotton Breton striped shirt tucked into dark jeans, or a ladylike full skirt with horizontal stripes—flatters every woman.
“Classics” have to cost a ton of money
Most women can’t or prefer not to drop a ton of cash on clothes every season, even on the staples we’re told will always be in style. That’s why off-price retailers such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Century 21 are so great for scoring real designer pieces at a fraction of the cost. Even several fast-fashion stores like Zara and Uniqlo are upping their game and quality, offering an array of timelessly chic stylish pieces such as wool overcoats, leather Chelsea boots, wool and cashmere sweaters, and silk blouses at wallet-friendly prices.
You can’t wear red to a wedding
This somewhat ridiculous fashion rule was put into place during more conservative times when red was thought to be a way-too-sexy, attention-stealing color. Yes, you might want to stay away from wearing a skin-tight red plunging spandex gown to a wedding, but you probably don’t want to wear that in any color. These days, there are tons of high-style red dresses that look perfectly acceptable at weddings.
Faux fur and leather are tacky
Today, so many fashion-obsessed gals are also quite socially conscious, and retailers have taken notice. Whereas fake fur and leather were once cheap-looking and tawdry, many of today’s pieces look almost identical to the real thing.
Sneakers are only for the gym
As recent trends have proven, the right pair of sneakers can take you way beyond the gym. Between wedge sneakers, slip-on sneakers (a huge trend for fall), and the rise of top bloggers and fashion insiders rocking sporty Nikes, New Balance, and Adidas kicks with everything from sleek skirts to leather pants, it’s clear that when styled with dressier pieces, sneakers can add a modern twist to an outfit that’s not comprised solely of sweats.