elle break fashion rules

Story highlights

Don't let your closet be bound by arbitrary rules

Wear what fits you, not clothes supposedly built for your body type

It's OK to skip a belt and wear more jewelry

Elle.com  — 

No white after Labor Day

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White is amazing — white shoes, white dresses, white jeans, white everything. Assuming you can keep it clean, white makes you look fresh and awake and tan and completely pulled together, all desireable characteristics, no matter what time of year it is.

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    You shouldn’t wear white to someone else’s wedding

    You shouldn’t wear a wedding dress to someone else’s wedding, but that’s no reason you can’t wear white. You’re not going to steal focus or upstage the bride simply by wearing a certain color.

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    Don’t let your bra show

    An errant nude bra strap falling down over a bare shoulder is one thing, but with all the beautiful bras out there, it would be a shame not to show them off once in a while. Just make sure to frame it in a way that feels intentional. Layer a long-line bra under a sheer top or unbutton a sweater to show off the middle of a pretty lace demi-cup bra. You can even try wearing a strapped bra with a strapless dress.

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    You must wear a belt if your shirt is tucked in

    Even if you love belts, there are times when they just clutter up an outfit. This is the kind of rule people apply to dressing for the office more than dressing for themselves, but even in a professional environment there is nothing inappropriate about going without a belt. Just make sure your pants fit properly.

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    Legs or cleavage. Never both

    There probably isn’t a Cosmo girl alive who actually buys into this rule, but just in case, I had to include it. Bare what you dare, ladies.

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    Sparkle is just for the evening

    Sparkle is for always! Ok, so there are a few things you might want to keep in mind when bringing your sparkly look into the daylight, but luckily you can read all about that right here!

    Tall women shouldn’t wear heels

    Why? So you won’t intimidate men by being taller than them? That’s a horrible reason to deny yourself. Heels look amazing on tall women. Wear the highest ones you can manage. You’ll be the most captivating person in the room. Guaranteed.

    Short women shouldn’t wear long dresses

    Long dresses can actually make you look taller, especially when they drape nicely and skim the body. Just steer clear of anything too bulky.

    Don’t wear socks with open toed shoes

    Ok, so you shouldn’t pair Gold Toe tube socks with open-toe pumps, but socks are a great way to keep wearing your warm weather shoes when it’s cold out. In fact, the bolder the pairing, the better. Just try to keep those front toe seams hidden.

    When it comes to jewelry, less is more

    Layer that stuff on. If that’s what you’re into, the more the better. It’s all just a matter of personal preference. When people say otherwise, what they are really saying is “I do it this way, so you should too” and that’s rarely a good enough reason to do anything.

    You should dress for your body type

    Nope. Nope. Nope. You should wear things you like and that fit you. Your body is not a problem that needs to be solved through strategic dressing.

    When wearing a dress or a skirt at a formal event (wedding, job interview, etc.) you must wear tights or pantyhose

    This rule really only applies to Kate Middleton and you’re not Kate Middleton, so don’t worry about it.

    Never wear gold and silver jewelry together

    Wearing gold and silver together actually looks better in a lot of cases than just wearing one or the other. The different metals compliment each other and stop you from looking too matchy matchy.

    You have to spend a lot for great quality

    Spending more money is no guarantee of receiving better quality. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to justify their own spending habits. Educate yourself about how things are made and how best to take care of them, then you’ll see the real value of things, not just what they cost.

    Shorts are only for summer

    If you want to wear shorts year round, do it. You can always layer them over tights and wear them with boots or a sweater if it’s cold out. When it comes to warm-weather clothing, there’s really nothing that can’t be adapted for year-round use.

    Everyone should own _______

    Boring. Who wants to own the same anything as everyone else?

    If someone is wearing the same outfit as you, you should keep your distance

    Just because you don’t want to dress like everyone else, doesn’t mean you should feel embarrassed if you show up to a party and someone is wearing the same outfit as you. Don’t let it get you down. Take an amazing Instagram!

    Don’t mix animal prints

    Just because two animals don’t get along in the wild, doesn’t mean they can’t get along on your outfit. Let the cheetahs lie down with the zebras. They look cute together. In fact, mix all your prints: polkadots with florals, stripes with plaid. Just lean into it.

    You should take fashion seriously, because the way you’re dressed says a lot about you

    It’s tempting to judge someone based on what they’re wearing. It’s natural even. But clothes can’t really tell you if someone is rich or poor, messy or neat, hard working or lazy, mean or nice. And although those judgements do still occur and there are times when you may want to project a certain image through the way you’re dressed (an interview, a first date, etc.), fashion is subjective and there’s no way of gaging exactly how your look will be interpreted by someone else. The most important thing is to enjoy what you’re wearing. Don’t take it all so seriously. Have some fun. It’s really not that big of a deal.

    Great style can’t be learned

    Style is something you pick up as you go along. It evolves. No one is born knowing what goes with what. It’s all learned. And just because it doesn’t come easy to you doesn’t mean you can’t master it.