I am not typically a rebel. I’m a grammar nerd and recipe follower and I still listen to my parents. But when it comes to style, I like to push the envelope. Bend the rules. Have fun a little. And to do that, I’ve had to ignore a lot of the rules I grew up with.
Growing up with a stylish mom who loved color, always accessorized and never wore black, I learned a lot about great style. Most of it stuck. Some of it, however, I’ve rebelled against. I love black. I refuse to cut my hair. And some of my style choices are daring, even for my mom.
Growing up, most of us were taught to match: earrings to necklace, bag to shoes, nails to lips. These days, it’s all about mixing it up and making it your own. And somewhere in all of this there is also personal style and preferences. No wonder we’re confused.
In today’s video, I discuss the two opposite ends of the style spectrum, and how we can find our own style in the middle of all of the rules.
The Rule Follower: Classic Style | Prefers to Match
Style Icon: Kate Middleton
If you prefer matching to mixing, and like the refined polished aesthetic that comes with classic style, sharply tailored lines, and harmonious combinations, then you may aspire to a classic style that is best represented by Kate Middleton.
The Rule Breaker: Eclectic Style | Prefers to Mix
Style Icon: Sarah Jessica Parker or Iris Apfel
If you like to accessorize artfully, make your own eclectic combinations, and love combining color with color. You may call your style eclectic and admire the style of SJP or Iris Apfel.
Many women, probably most women, fall somewhere on the spectrum between classic and eclectic. They follow the rules in some areas and break them in others. And how this shows up in your style is entirely up to you.
And of course there are extremes of Classic and Eclectic that are equally disastrous in their own ways.
Extreme Classic = Matronly
Extreme Eclectic = Messy
Now, I’m going to discuss the style rules we grew up with, and show you the more modern eclectic aesthetic that currently dominates. In the end, we get to pick and choose the rules that work for us. That is the essence of personal style.
Matching Bags & Shoes
In the 80s, when I was growing up, we were taught to match our bags to our shoes, and I remember my mom always buying statement shoes and bags together. Today, while there is nothing wrong with matching bags and shoes, this rule is best left to simple neutral pieces (black shoes and black bag, or brown shoes and brown bag, etc.) and not statements (nix the floral shoes with the matching floral bag). But we also have the option of creative pairings: neutrals with color, neutrals with metallics, metallics with color, color with color, and neutrals with neutrals.
Matching Shoes to Hemline
This is another classic rule that has not gone anywhere. It is still modern and totally in style to wear black with black, brown with brown, etc. Monochromatic is chic and can also be very flattering. But we also have the option fo pairing that black dress with nude, or a metallic, or a color, or a pattern.
Many of us will always prefer to wear gold with gold, silver with silver, etc. But mixing metals is an eclectic choice and can look super stylish when done well. The easiest way to pull this off is to find a single item that combines both metals and ties the look together.
Matching Earrings to Necklace
While the other rules on this list are a matter of personal preference and style, the matched jewelry set look is one where I have to take a stand firmly on the more modern approach: Don’t match. Mix. Unless you’re wearing crown jewels, a matched set of jewelry looks matronly and dated.
Suits & Matched Sets
There is nothing dated or wrong about wearing sets together. As a matter of fact, sets, co-ords, and two-piece dresses are hotter than ever. However, the idea that we can only wear them together is hopelessly dated. Mix up your sets to get more mileage from your wardrobe.
Is your style eclectic, classic, or somewhere in between? And which of these style rules do you struggle with the most?