Fashion is still quite fickle, but it’s a lot less rigid than it used to be. We are living in an era that is accepting and encouraging of all sorts of outfit juxtapositions, outfit proportions, colour combinations, fabrications and silhouettes. Never before has there been as much variety in fashion and style as there is right now. The fashion industry has a long way to go in terms of celebrating diversity of age, body type and beauty, but things are improving. Small change is better than no change at all.
The decline of the trend’s power over the way we dress has resulted in a true rebirth of personal style. It’s HOW you wear and interpret fashion that counts. Gone are the days when looking stylish meant dressing in one particular way. There isn’t a distinctive “look of the decade”, and individualism reigns supreme.
There’s only ONE rule around here, and that’s to have fun with fashion and style. The rest are merely guidelines that you can take or leave at your leisure. On that note, I’m dispelling some fashion myths that you might have thought of as gospel, but make little sense these days.
1. Petites Can’t Wear Midi Lengths
I have many petite clients who are south of 5ft 3. They ALL wear midi-length skirts and dresses and look fabulous. They often wear their midis a little shorter, just covering the knee, which lengthens the leg line from the knees downward. Some like to pair the length with a heel, and others don’t. Some prefer dresses over skirts because they’re more elongating. Some like to tuck or semi-tuck the tops into midi skirts to lengthen the leg line from the hips upward, and some like to wear pointy-toe footwear that lengthens the leg line from the lower leg downward. One of my friends is 4ft 9 and wears a midi with the best of them.
2. Horizontal Stripes Make You Look Wide
If the fit and fabric of the garment is dead right, horizontal stripes do not widen your frame. Bold high-contrast stripes make more of a statement, but it’s no different to wearing a bright solid colour. When in doubt, keep the stripes low contrast, or choose a very narrow stripe.
3. Dressing for Your Body Type is Best
Body type dressing was all the rage about ten years ago, but fashion and style has moved on. Wearing outfits that create conventionally flattering proportions are always in style, but they can limit your creativity, constrict your comfort, and take the fun out of dressing. If you don’t know where to start, defining your body type and reading through the guidelines provides an excellent starting point. Much like you need to understand the rules before you can successfully break them. That’s why the modern and liberating approach is to create a set of PERSONAL figure flattering priorities and stick to them. Opting for outfit proportions that are just flattering enough is more interesting and adds variety to your style.
4. Heeled Footwear Elevates Your Style
Gone are the days that you had to wear heels to look stylish and fashionable. In fact, the trendiest footwear is flat or very low-heeled these days. More and more outfits look the most current with flatter footwear, and of course – we are a sneaker generation. Almost every outfit can be worn with some sort of sneaker, and dressy flats are gaining momentum in corporate settings. There are ways to lengthen the leg line without wearing heels, (one of my favourite styling strategies).
5. Neutrals are Best
Most people wear neutrals, and many prefer them to non-neutrals for their calming, soothing, versatile, chic, practical and mainstream integrity. Neutrals have all these wonderful qualities, but it doesn’t make them better if they don’t make you happy. Non-neutrals can be just as versatile, chic, practical and soothing if they affect your mood and emotions in just the right way. It’s a personal choice, and you should follow your feelings.
6. Wear One Animal Print or Metallic Item at a Time
It used to be a faux pas to wear more than one animal print item at a time. These days, it’s fabulous to create complements in the same patterns or colours because the styling strategy helps pull an outfit together. It’s also a nod to the Maximalism trend. By all means, sport animal print shoes, bag and belt in the same outfit because why the heck not? The same goes for wearing multiple metallic items together. The only limit to the combination is your own tolerance for it.
7. Don’t Wear White After Labor Day
Wear white wardrobe items at any time of the year. If you like, wear white jeans year round. There is nothing offensive about wearing white — or any other colour for that matter — whenever you feel like it. As long as the items are appropriate to the weather and setting, go for it.
8. Structured Outfits Are the Best Way to Go
Conventionally flattering outfit proportions are forever stylish. They slim the silhouette, define the waist, lengthen the leg line, and accentuate vertical integrity. These are the outfit proportions that we’re used to thinking of as flattering because fashion created the benchmark all those years ago — and it stuck. Well. If we all looked the same, style and life would be very boring. Wearing fluid fits is more comfortable, and they do a great job of camouflaging lumpage and bumpage. Oversized garments have dramatic, arty and architectural flair, which is just as fabulous as wearing a structured look.
9. White Bottoms Make You Look Too Wide
Dark colours can be more slimming than light ones, but the fit, fabric and drape of bottoms also create a visually flattering effect. You might feel more comfortable in dark bottoms because they are less bright than white. Black bottoms are also much more available so it’s easier to get a great pair. But everyone can wear white bottoms. My size US16 to 20 clients and friends look AMAZING in white jeans, pants and white skirts. They don’t feel wider in them because the fit and fabric is dead right.
10. Style Is a Small Size & Young Age
Style is beyond size, age and body type. It is an energy and confidence that is expressed through clothing, footwear and accessories. Some of the most stylish people I know are in their seventies, and plus sized. There is no one way to be stylish, and style is not one thing. Style is a sum of many parts, and a confident attitude goes a long way.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to add to it in the comments below.