10 Style Rules – Follow or Break?


Following on from my post about the Style Rules I’d never break, with some great comments about your style rules, it led me into thinking about all those rules out there, should you or shouldn’t you?

Style rules to not break (and which ones you can break)Style Rules You Should Break

1. Blue and green should never be seen – I break this one all the time, cool greens with cool blues, warm greens with warm blues look gorgeous and are a common colour scheme found in nature – why wouldn’t you break this one?

2. Redheads should never wear red or pink – everyone can wear a shade of pink or red, most redheads look better in warmer reds and pinks, so go right ahead and wear these colours.

3. Never wear white or black to a wedding – this is one I would break, but first I’d check with the bride to find out what is acceptable at her wedding.  I’ve been to weddings where the bride wore green and she was more than happy for others to wear white or black.   If the bride is wearing white, then never wear white.  Some brides are happy for guests to wear black, especially for an evening wedding.

4. On the subject of white – never wear white (shoes?) after labour day – this is a peculiarly American rule that the rest of the world thinks is crazy.  I’d say, steer clear of white shoes (unless you are white blonde and have pixie feet) all year round, nude or camel shoes are so much more stylish.  As far as white clothes go, winter white is so gorgeous – why limit what you want to wear with strange outdated rules?  Now I understand if you live in a snowy part of the world, then white just gets dirty easily so you may want to avoid it as it’s just not practical. But if you live in one of the many temperate zones without snow, then go ahead, wear all the white you want in winter.

5. Never wear hosiery with open-toed shoes – this one I’d stick to – looks tacky.  You can get tights that stop at the ball of your foot to allow for open-toed shoes.  I have one exception to this rule.

6. No bright colours at funerals – I’d stick to darker, more sombre colours, unless of course those bright colours were requested by the departed.   But, if you are going to a Chinese funeral, wear white and whatever you do, don’t wear red (red is the Chinese colour of happiness).

7.  Always match shoes and handbagsbreak this one, please!  They can be the same colour (say black or brown) but shouldn’t look like they came as a ‘set’.  But why not team your red shoes with a black handbag or your brown shoes with your burgundy handbag?  There are just so many options, why be limited?

8. If you’re wearing earrings, don’t wear a necklace.  This rule is way too dictatorial for me.  As long as one of these items is the feature, rather than going over the top with both (unless OTT is your personality style), then there is no reason why you can’t wear both.

9. Don’t mix gold and silver jewellery – why not I ask?  When mixing metals, don’t go 50/50, look at an 80/20 mix.  There are many beautiful pieces that mix gold and silver in the one piece, use one of these to then mix other single colour metals into your outfit.

10. If a garment has belt loops, and you can see them, wear a belt – this one I do agree with.  I often remove belt loops off clothing that I don’t want to wear a belt with, and for garments like jeans, I wear my tops over the top so you don’t see the loops.  But if you can see them, wear a belt, it just looks better.

Some style rules you can forget and do what you like:

  •  No long dangly earrings with glasses – who made this one up?  That’s a personal choice.
  • You can’t mix prints – oh yes you can!  Read this post for tips.  You don’t have to, but for some people,it’s a fabulous look.
  • Plus size women should wear long tops and baggy clothing – actually, form-fitting clothes (not skin tight) is more flattering and slimming.  Often those long baggy tops are actually highlighting rather than hiding.
  • Don’t wear eye makeup if you wear glasses  – another one that you can ignore.

And on my NEVER wear it list:


Style rules to not break (and which ones you can break)

  • Holiday-themed sweaters/jumpers, same goes for earrings and other jewellery too.  Along with this anything overly embroidered is usually not a good look either.
  • Just because you’re over 40 doesn’t mean you have to dress Old Lady – check out my friend Jan who is 60, you’d never find her in an Old Lady shop.
  • Stay away from cutesy kids characters on anything other than your PJs when you’re over the age of 25

And a rule that isn’t written into the books, but may be worth considering:

  • “Never wear an outfit with more than 25% animal print” particularly if it’s skin tight.

More Tips on Style Rules

How to Break Your Style Rules Like a Pro

Why You Need to Know Your Style Rules, Then Break Them

How 3-5 Style Guidelines Are All You Need to Be Super Stylish

10 Rules to Transform Your Personal Style

8 Tips on Adapting Your Style as Your Rules Change

How to Break the Style Rules



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  • I'm not sure if it's a rule as such, and I'm likely to annoy some people, but what the hey…

    In my opinion, nothing says "Over 50" like leopard print.

    And on the matter of redheads wearing red or pink, I refer readers to Joan in the TV series "Mad Men". Absolutely stunning.

  • I have always wondered about the animal prints. They seem so popular in US now. Earlier I associated them with `women of A certain type in Russia´. I dislike T-shirts and tops with a logo of the company (Chanel and likes ) printed all over them. Rings on every finger-yak!

  • Imogen, you could do a whole animal print post! A GF has a vintage black wool jacket with real leopard cuffs, lined in emerald silk. So chic.

    Think one problem (besides over 25% or so coverage) is that some animal prints are badly printed on low quality fabric. I have a Hermes scarf with a patch of leopard that is illustrative.

    I'm a redhead who wears pinks all the time but red very rarely.

  • I think that I have a few comments about these rules — those that I'll follow and those that I'll break.

    1) About blue and green: I love blue and green together, but never actually have the tools to put them together. I'd seriously love a seafoam green shirt with a cobalt blue cardigan (or the reverse).

    2) I'm not most redheads. Remember when I talked about my own coloring? Well that coloring dictates that I can't wear warmer reds or warmer pinks. (I tried and that yellow-based tomato red Rimmel lipstick that I'd bought — looked just … wrong on me.) Instead, my coloring dictates that I should be wearing cooler reds and cooler pinks.

    3) I've only been to a wedding twice, I believe, both of them in my younger years (like before I turned ten years old). And I never saw anyone wear black (but only the bride wear white) those two times. I don't even remember what I wore to the weddings, though, since it's been that long ago.

    4) I don't wear white shoes anyway. My standby color for shoes is black. But as far as white clothing goes, I might be American, but I think that one is absurd as well. I wear a favorite white tee shirt with a little V-neck all the time, and I love it. There are also a lot of other white clothes I'd love to buy.

    5) From what I'd read, you can wear hosiery with open-toed shoes — just make sure that the seam is tucked under your toes so that it isn't obvious. Otherwise, I don't even wear hosiery let alone with open-toed shoes.

    6) I can get behind this one. However, I was at a funeral only once, and guess what color dress my mom picked out for me? No, it wasn't black — it was white, with black accents. And there was a silver chain-type belt to cinch around what little waist I had then. If I'd have picked out a dress, it might've been black.

    7) Matching shoes and handbags? No thanks! I need a new handbag anyway, and I was thinking more of a blue, purple, or silver kind of hobo bag for me. The one I have now is black, and it goes with my black shoes. But my shoes have enough pops of color that they don't completely match.

    8) I'm not much for jewelry anyway, but I'd love to get some necklaces and bracelets. I'd done the earring thing before, and I'm not too thrilled about doing the ear piercing again.

    9) Once again, not much for jewelry. If I could get some fashion jewelry that mixes gold and silver, I'd do that. I just can't afford fine jewelry.

    10) For me, that's only if I really need to wear a belt with it, and even then the belt has to fit. Most clothes I have don't require me to wear a belt, and I can't find belts that fit anyway.

    I really do need to ignore the rule that plus sized women should wear baggy clothes, although I do have some tops that flatter me more. One type of shirt that was said to look great on my shape is an empire waist top where the bottom flows away from my body and can conceal my love handles. High-waist jeans do that too.

    (I'm Samantha, but in the Internet world I'm known as Silver Diva. So that you know that Samantha and Silver Diva are one and the same person.)

  • My younger sister has red hair, and looks absolutely lovely in pink. A, for the Glam Grad Student, wear red a lot and she always look stunning!

  • I agree with everything! As far as that bizaro "no white after labor day rule"- I'm in my 30's and my whole life, stylists and people have been saying that rule is outdated and shouldn't be followed. So it must have been at least 40 years ago that someone, somewhere actually followed it.

  • I'm with you on these rules, especially the cutesy t shirts and holiday sweaters. I'd also add no light up holiday ornaments as jewelry too. My sil who is 57 wears Disney characters and I've seen her in Winnie the Pooh too. She runs a small company for goodness sake! She just looks strange
    I have to admit that I do like my animal prints, but they need to go with pretty plain things, can't be shiny, and they have to be high quality. I saw a woman the other day with a leopard print handbag and leopard print boots. Not so good.

  • I'm with you every step of the way. And I just wrote about the ostensible rule of no black shoes with navy clothes too:). My theory on white shoes and Labor Day etc. was that it was a way for America's new elite to try and close the door on new entrants. Failed miserably, luckily.

  • Here are my thoughts on some of the rules:
    1) I love blue and green together, but the only blue I own is one navy skirt so I don't get much of a chance.
    2) I had a redhead classmate who wore the most amazing outfit once, white with bright red accents. I don't know if more red would have worked, but that little bit looked great!
    7)I use vintage bags, so there's no chance of things matching!
    9)For everyday, I prefer non-metalic jewelry, like coral or glass beads. My good jewelry is gold, because I like it much better with my skintone.

    Holiday themed anything is usually awful, but a sprig of real holly as pinned to a felt hat can be fun at Christmas time.

    No cutesy kids on PJs ever! If your nightclothes aren't as pretty as they are comfortable, it's no fun to go to sleep.

  • Thanks Imogen I love blue and green together and as you say so does Mother Nature.But now I'm running off to dye my white sandals ….

  • I have to admit I wore white shoes last summer for the first time. I had a change of heart after seeing my friend wore a pair of spectacular white heels with a dress. That changed the way I look at white shoes.

  • I wear some white wedges in summer that are very 40s and I love them. Do they make my feet look big? Dunno, but I’m a big girl anyway at 5ft 10, which sorts out the men from the boys.

    Leopard print – love it, when worn in a punky way. Gwen Stefani does it beautifully.

    When I had ginger hair, I stopped wearing red. I felt it clashed.

    And as I get older, I plan to dress even more uniquely. I will be the old girl in fluoro! Meow! Roar!

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