I’m pretty much a rule-follower in life, although I’ve gotten a little bolder as I’ve grown older. These days, I can occasionally be found cutting the “Do Not Remove” tags off of pillows and driving a tad above the speed limit. I’m pretty crazy.
The one area of my life where I really like to break the rules is style. In my video on the two style types, I broke it down into Classic (rule-following) and Creative (rule-breaking). These types reflect whether you prefer to match or mix, look more harmonious or more eclectic.
There are some style rules, however, that we should ALL be breaking, regardless of our style personalities. These are rules that are outdated, irrelevant, and just plain wrong. Here, updates to some of the “old” rules we grew up with.
1. Short Girls Should Wear Short Skirts
If you’re petite, wearing a shorter skirt will make you look taller. Now, if you don’t like your legs or you’re not comfortable wearing a shorter skirt (which can be defined as anything above the knee) then go for the opposite extreme. A flattering maxi skirt is also lengthening by creating a long unbroken line. The hardest to wear as petites? The midi skirt. If you are petite with long legs, like I am, you will have a little more flexibility here, but for midis to work best for petites, you need to get the length and the other details exactly right. Otherwise, you will find the look less than flattering.
2. Dress Your Energy, Not Your Age
Say goodbye to age-specific dressing. Your clothes should reflect your energy, whether it’s youthful and vibrant or more subdued and mature. Let your style align with your personality for an authentic and congruous look. No one knows your age or your size, so dress for you how you feel. My mother, for example, is a very youthful-feeling 77, so she feels comfortable wearing colors and patterns that might feel off on someone with a different energy. It’s all about choosing clothes that harmonize with us.
3. Mix and Match Leathers and Metals
Break free from the notion that leathers and metals must match. Classic styles may prefer matching for elegance, while creative styles can revel in the beauty of mixing leathers and metals. The point is: There are no rules about this anymore. There are just two different directions to take with your style.
4. Repeating Outfits is a Good Thing
Contrary to the belief that repeating outfits is a fashion faux pas, it’s actually a smart move. Find outfits you love, wear them repeatedly, and curate a wardrobe that truly resonates with your style.
Let’s be the outfit repeaters we want to see in the world. 🙂
5. Black Isn’t Always the Answer
Challenge the stereotype that black is universally elegant, flattering, and slimming. Black works best on women who look good in black. Experiment with other neutrals, and consider white for a timeless, elegant look that stands out.
Your best shade of white beats black any day for elegance and a luxurious, high-maintenance look.
6. Embrace Gorgeous Gray Hair
Gray hair can be modern, fresh, and even youthful. You don’t have to conform to the idea that not coloring your hair automatically makes you look matronly. Decide for yourself whether you will continue to color your hair (like me) or whether you’d like to embrace the beauty of silver hair.
7. Don’t Cover Up, Flaunt Your Skin
Reject the notion that certain ages require covering up. Whether it’s arms, knees, or back, showing a little skin strategically can add balance, flattery, and femininity to your outfit. Pick a part of your body that you’re comfortable showing, and show it off strategically for a more slimming and balanced look.
8. Your Hair Length, Your Choice
Bust the myth that age dictates your hair length. Consult with your stylist and choose a hairstyle that works for your hair type, texture, and personal preference. Your hair style has nothing to do with your age.
9. More Fabric Doesn’t Mean More Slimming
Choose tailored over baggy any day for flattery. Embrace tailored clothes that skim your body without being tight, offering a flattering silhouette for all body types. Tailored clothes that are not tight and not oversized will ALWAYS be the most flattering option for every woman, every age, and every size.
10. Stop Saving Nice Clothes for Special Occasions
Break free from the concept of ‘going out’ clothes and ‘staying in’ clothes. Wear your favorite, nice clothes every day, elevating your everyday style and embracing your wardrobe. The worst thing in the world is not ruining your clothes by wearing them. The worst thing is to not wear them at all.
11. Sensible = Not Cute
Sensible items are those that favor comfort with no attempt at style. Comfort and style are non-negotiable; choose clothing and shoes that offer both, avoiding the trap of sensibility that leans too heavily towards practicality.
12. Separate Statement Jewelry Sets
Break the tradition of wearing matching statement jewelry sets. Instead, mix and match, allowing each piece to shine individually, creating a modern and personalized look. Of course you can wear gold with gold, or pearls with pearls, but colored or statement pieces should be worn separately.
13. Makeup Should Reflect Your Features, Not Your Age
Your makeup should enhance your features and coloring, not adhere to age-related standards. Wear the colors and styles that bring out your best.
14. Elevate Your Surroundings
Many of us feel limited by our surroundings. When everyone in your town, or workplace, or church, is always dressed down, it can feel strange to choose to dress up, or even to get out of athleisure and just wear normal clothes. Don’t conform your style to your surroundings; elevate your surroundings by your style. Embrace your unique fashion sense, whether it stands out or blends seamlessly.
15. Stop Buying Sweats
Resist the temptation to buy more lounge clothes. Most of us have WAY more baggy t-shirts and sweats than we need. Instead, utilize your existing wardrobe, giving new life to former favorites that can serve as comfortable loungewear without compromising on style.
Here’s a tip I heard from Oprah’s stylist back when I was a magazine editor. Turn your former favorites that are no longer in your regular rotation into your dog-walking, weed-pulling, and lounging clothes. You will look and feel cuter, and give those clothes a second life.
Let’s update our mindsets and stop blindly following the rules we grew up with. Embrace your individuality, experiment with your style, and let your wardrobe reflect the vibrant, modern person you are. Which rule resonated with you the most? Let me know in the comments below!