What Are the Style Rules?


Style Rules

Often people will comment that they don’t agree with the advice I’ve given in a blog post.  They will tell me that think my ‘rules’ are wrong and they don’t plan on following them.  There are no rules that I would say are finite “style rules” in the book, everything is just a guideline.

The thing is, I don’t believe I”m writing sets of ‘rules’ for you all to follow, I’m just providing some guidelines to help you try and figure out what works for you individually.

The only rule is that there are no absolute style rules!

As I’ve said before, we are a combination of different features, body variations and proportions, our colouring is unique to us, and our personality will influence everything we choose to put on our bodies.  Any of the guidelines I provide here need to be looked at from your perspective.  Do they apply to you or not?

Sure I’ve got lots of experience working with lots of different clients and have figured out these guidelines that work for many, but that’s not to say there aren’t exceptions to every rule.  There are things that I think are more aesthetically pleasing than others, but isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?

So don’t think that my advice is written in stone and can’t be ignored.  Of course you can take it or leave it.  If it’s helpful that’s great, if it’s not, move on!


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • Hi,

    Just wondering . . . I added my e-mail to the mailing list on the banner at the top of the page hoping to get the Five Step Formula e-book. However, after I added my e-mail there were no instructions for how to go about getting the book and nothing in my e-mail inbox. It sounds like a great book and I would love to read it so I was just curious if I need to do anything else? Thanks so much!


    • Did you get the verification email Laura? Once you’ve verfied it should be emailed to you shortly. Check jun/spam folder as sometimes it goes in there!

  • I have posted a few pics on my Facebook page about how not to dress on the beach, which are the bad example for bikini. In one day a storm of emotions had risen up about them, and people sent ungry and vicious notes about the pics, and finally about me, sending me to hell with my rules. I was shocked seeing the hatred, and how people reacted to my advices, although I am a personal stylist. I think the lots of people doesn’t accept any advice about the rules, the democracy means for them, that there are no any rules anymore. I think that everybody can choose if they accepts the dressing rules or ingonres them, but I do beleive, that without rules the world will turn into chaos. Just let’s see the dressing culture in Hungary. There is NO culture, only anarchy… 90% of the people looks frumpy and undemanding, oblivious of any rules.

  • Hi Imogen,

    I am a long-time reader and enjoy-er of your blog. It is bookmarked in my favourites section under “Style Inspiration”, which I feel aptly describes many online style and fashion resources. These blogs, essays, and photos “inspire” my style, but they never reign over it. It’s great to have the ability to pick and choose according to one’s own taste and preferences, but also to hear a professional point of view on what has worked for them. I’ve always accepted your words seasoned with a hearty grain of salt, not as hard-and-fast laws to live by, but as friendly advice given by a virtual ally who has plenty of experience in this area. We all have the power to make our own choices as individuals, but sometimes it’s really nice to have extra insight and ideas from another angle.
    Thank you so much for sharing your perspective, and please continue the good work!

  • I think its the tone in the “guidelines” that can make them sound a bit commanding to the reader: “You SHOULD/CANNOT wear/do this”.
    I often notice that alot of people cannot think “outside the box” and then get agressive when someone trying to point it out or behave with the manners “If I dont like the outfit, you cannot do that either”, like everyone “has to” to agree with each other, like if clothes/makeup is like an bible! LOL Little bit sad how people are these days (but if people like that are rude, I wouldnt even bother them!).

    And Oh, Im not refering to this site, just something I come across alot but I also admit, I can be negative about things you have wrote before. But I often, thats because I was trying “comfirm” something about what you wrote to get better understanding or like another person who comment wrote: To get a different point of view. But Im not a native english speaker or from AUS, so it might be a cultural thing or missunderstanding the context in the posts!… and i hope I never wrote anything rude, ’cause that is not my intention. 😛
    I dont have anything against negative critism, personally, AS long as the person isnt trying to insult the person (the person, the blogger …or the other way around). But not all opinions has to have negative meanings… (I dont expect anybody agree with me, just dont eat me up, if you dont! 😉 )

    Err, not sure if my babbling are making any sense, they are just my opinions! XD
    But, There are people who behave like ‘trolls’ online, and are rude to people on blogs intentionally – that kind of people are not worth yours or anybody times!

    My own motto: “Dont blame it on the person, if your decision doesnt turn out as you wanted them to be”. 😉
    (alot of people dont use common sense, especially when it comes to work/funeral dresscodes and then get angry when people are giving them a weird look/comment and asking why. One reason Im picky with my outfits, I hate when other people judge me or others, based on their cleavage, hemline or clothing size. -_- I Nowadays, I only experient with daring garments around people Im comfortable being with and dress ore safe around the others. Tired of being treated like a spoiled kid because I look younger than I am and tired of getting pick ups by old men at the library… X’D)

  • Imogen I thing that appreciative reader is taking your advices like recommendation, no like rules. Thanks for your great work on blog, is very inspirational!

  • Unfortunately, we live in an age where people don’t want to be told what to do. Mere suggestions spark rage with some. There are also a lot of trolls on the internet who deliberately post mean comments.

    I say, “Don’t shoot the messenger!” Imogen posts a lot of helpful tips, which can be acted upon or discarded. I have never read any of her advice that I would ever think of as arbitrary.

    Carry on, Imogen. Carry on!

  • As a frequent reader of your blog, I have to say that it is full of good advice, the best I have seen posted on any sites I’ve looked at. I find your recommendations well thought out, and well explained, and usually far more complete than any I’ve seen elsewhere. Several times, I’ve found myself having an ‘aha’ moment– when things that I’ve been told or read shouldn’t work for me and somehow do are explained so that I now understand just why they work (yes, big boobs, but wait, small shoulders, yes THAT explains why the angled cap sleeve does work for me). And of course there are times when something that seemingly should work is not going to be in my wardrobe, but that just makes me a woman capable of making my own choices. Certainly a downer when someone criticizes, despite all your disclaimers about it being a matter of personal choice. No one can change the aesthetic reality of how the human eye perceives angles and proportions, you make them understandable and give us guidelines to make them work for us. So…you rock, your advice is sound… so please rock on…you are appreciated!

  • Hey, guidelines don’t come with a gun to the head. Follow them or don’t. Imogen, your advice has always been spot on for me.

    I thought I was an hourglass, then you taught me that I was a figure 8. That made a lot more sense. Then I found out that some of the figure 8-compliant tops didn’t work for me. That’s when I figured out that unlike a typical figure 8, I have broad shoulders.

    So I follow the rules for 8 for bottoms and V-shape for tops. Problem solved.

    You assume your readers have the sense to discern, experiment and act like adults making enlightened choices. I feel educated, not patronized or lectured by you. Keep up the wonderful work.

  • I hope you didn’t get negative comments that prompted you to write this post. There is so much meanness and rude behaviour online, it’s really shocking.

    I think your posts are great, I always read them, some in more detail than others. They’ve been a big help to me and I very much appreciate that you share your professional experience and knowledge with all of us.

  • I too enjoy your site and also hope this wasn’t brought on by rudeness that you have run into. I take your information as advice but if it’ something I wish to do differently, I do. Before this post, I have thought that you express the idea that if a person’s personality or style does well with something else, then do something else. Thanks.

  • Imogen! I personally always defer to your expertly advice because let’s be honest here, your advice is largely based on science. Sometimes it isn’t, e.g. ‘avoid matchy matchy bags and shoes/ earrings and necklaces’ but I have enough brainpower to detect when this is the case (besides I can always ask in comments!). But style issues are not as numerous on your blog as really useful truly scientific stuff… Of course one’s own personal style comes into the equation, but if you are pale and have warm colouring, a stark black and white dress will never suit you or cool colours will never make you look glowing. If you have short legs, high vamp shoes with shirt untucked will never minimise the shortness of your legs. if you have big breasts a polo neck will always draw attention to your bosom in an unwelcome way and make you look disproportionate. People can take your advice or leave it and it’s important that you feel good in what you wear, but your advice is mostly not opinion. while it’s hard to accept the cold hard truth, if you want to aesthetically look your very best, it all comes down to following your scientific advice when it comes to body proportions/colouring/body shape etc rather than trying to pretend to know better… In my opinion.

  • I came to your website from your book, The Finishing Touch, which is the best book on personal style I have read. I like what you have to say because you explain what I have already observed but can’t understand. E.g., why the beautiful choker-type necklaces that my husband gives me don’t look good on me. I had a couple of inches added, and now they look great. Or why I look worse in shortish skirts than other people my height. Your understanding of the variables that go into proportion is fascinating and, for me, very helpful in resisting trends or “great deals” that aren’t going to be great on me.

    • Dear Imogen,

      I have nothing but appreciation for your site. Before coming across your site I had an instinctively ‘good eye’ but wouldn’t know why things would or wouldn’t look good. The important things to know: body shape, colour and value contrast, body proportions and the breakdown of personal colour muted/bright, cool, warm and deep/ light are described with accuracy and really can be applied.
      Knowing the ‘rules’ what one’s face shape is for instance makes life easier and builds confidence – now I know why something works – the right haircut for instance. In all of the posts I have visited as part of the Evolve your Style resonate and can be applied. Thank you so much for distilling all the research that has gone into producing your posts and sharing it with us.


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