No white after Labor Day?
Don’t mix black and navy (or brown)?
No long hair after 40?
These are the OLD fashion rules.
Today’s Fashion Friday tackles what rules still stand or what rules SHOULD still stand.
My girlfriend in Southern California emailed me the other day with a question: I was raised with some old fashion rules. No white except between Easter and Labor Day. Match your handbag and shoes. No one here adheres to any of my “old” fashion rules. Which ones are still around?
I love this question because I struggle with it to. There are too many to name, but I’ll tackle a few and ask YOU to sound off.
The biggest “hanging on” fashion rule, particularly in southern states, is the WHITE rule. Growing up, you could NOT wear white until Easter and it all went to the back of the closet after Labor Day. That rule has eroded in adherents over time.
White shoes are less of a problem because almost no one wears white shoes. If you have them, I can’t really even envision them, I would stay this rule stands – no white shoes after Labor Day.
But what about white jeans? They were ubiquitous this summer. Glaring crisp white, in my closet, does get set to the back after Labor Day. It’s what I call summer white. Summer white probably pack away come September.
HOWEVER, there is so much gorgeous winter white now. It’s closer to ivory and comes in fabrics that register fall and winter instead of summer. So there’s no need to lose white for half the year. Just be judicious about the shade and fabric after Labor Day.
Don’t mix black and navy or black and brown.
This has totally gotten thrown out the window. But I’ll offer a note of caution before totally disposing of the rule. I tend to refrain from mixing black and navy simply because you often look mismatched. Because there are so many shades of navy, if you wear a deep navy with black it makes you look like you got your shades off. Whereas, if you pick more of a midnight (not quite navy) shade, and it’s clear you intentionally married it with jet black, go for it.
Black and brown are easier, but I wouldn’t pair a black outfit with brown shoes. It’s about the color proportion in the outfit. If you have a taupe sheath with a black blazer, you can look super sophisticated (again, opting for a lighter brown so it looks intentional). I wrote a whole post on mixing neutrals.
Of course, my go to neutral color to mix is gray. Gray marries beautifully with brown, black, navy, and ivory so stock your closet with this versatile color.
Matching belts and handbags or belts and shoes – CLEARLY thrown out the window. I’ve likely been the chief proponent on the handbag side of the house. I love bright bags in reds and blues and my go to work handbags are eggplant or cobalt. The key again is how you mix things. If you have a bright dress or a bold patterned blouse, stick to more neutral accessories (grays, blacks, etc.). But if you have a neutral outfit, go bananas with a bright handbag and shoes as long as: (1) you don’t match bright handbag and shoes (royal blue shoes and handbag will make you look like an ‘80s valley girl); and, (2) you don’t look clownish (don’t overdue the brights, even with a neutral outfit – you don’t want orange shoes and a yellow necklace).
Mixing metals. I’ll admit. I still adhere to this one most of the time but you DO NOT have to. Metallics are neutrals. You can absolutely mix golds and silvers in bangles and necklaces – you see it all the time. But I will admit to pairing gold earrings based on my necklace/blazer buttons/or bracelet. Same with silver. If the accessory doesn’t already come mixed, I don’t mix it. Still, that rule has gone by the wayside.
What fashion rule did you grow up with? Do you still follow it? No hose with open toe shoes? No red lipstick during the day? Short hair as women age (and longer hemlines)?