Being a rebellious un-follower of fashion rules, I always had problems with my friend, Steph, whenever we were dressing up for an event. She is a conformist who pays particular attention to-dos and don’ts. She would go like “don’t pair stripes with spots/animal prints with florals” or that I should “plan my outfits using the colour wheel”.
She would point out that the fashion industry has its own regulations.
But I don’t like rules. No, that didn’t come out well. I mean I don’t like rules when they pertain to art. For me, fashion is an art that people wear on their bodies. It expresses who a person is. That is why I believe the truly stylish are those who have no qualms about going wild with experimentation.
Here are seven fashion rules I have completely erased from my memory, and you should too.
• Don’t Wear White To Someone’s Wedding: It would be cruel on your part to wear a wedding dress to someone else’s wedding. But a white dress? I don’t see how you could upstage a bride by simply wearing that or any other colour.
• Hide Your Lingerie: While this rule may remain unshakable when dressing for a church service, some bras, nowadays, have been designed as a “refreshing feminist statement” pieces. If you choose not to obscure your lingerie, be sure to frame it in an intentional way. For example, you can wear a strapped bra with a strapless top; and if you are that daring, you can also “unbutton your shirt to show off the middle of a pretty lace demi-cup bra”. When you do, bare it with pride.
• Heels Aren’t For Tall Women: This rule reminds me of my tall sister, Ophelia. Since her teenage years, she never liked wearing heels. And her reason was “It’s a fashion no, no”. When she decided to be a model as a young adult, we struggled to teach her how to walk in heels. Truth is, heels look good on women, short or tall. The trick is to learn how to walk confidently in them and wear what you can manage. Ironically, my sister is still tall today, and she is wearing all kinds of heels, several inches long as she can manage.
• Sparkle/Sequins Are For Evenings: No! Sparkle is for any time of day and they look just as good. You just have to find out how to rock them and you are good to go. For instance, wearing a shirt with sparkle collars draw attention to your face. So resist the urge to wear embellished earrings or necklaces so you don’t look too busy.
• Less Jewelry Is More: I stopped buying jewellery because I barely wear them. And my problem is all in my head; somehow I have this notion that jewellery on a pretty dress makes me look too busy. And since all my clothes are pretty, that means no jewellery altogether. But my friend Steph wears jewellery all the time and I admire her whenever she does. When it comes to some of these things, it all boils down to personal preference. If you are into jewellery, the more, the better. Did you know you can even mix gold and silver jewellery in one look? These metals compliment each other very well. So don’t be afraid to experiment.
• Dress For Your Body Type: No! Wear what makes you feel good and fits you. The idea of dressing for your body type is to “manipulate, hide or minimize [your] body [flaws]” using clothing. However, trying hard to do this would mean you sometimes have to wear clothes you do not feel good in. Worse yet, it means you can’t embrace your body the way it is. Bust that myth today and stick to clothing that expresses your personal style. Make sure you are confident in rocking it and that those clothes look good on you.
Simply put, fashion should be fun and expressive. That is why rules about it can be annoying. They always spoil the fun get in the way of showing off your personal style.
The author is a passionate entrepreneur specialised in fashion accessories for men and women. She is a follower of Africa's most innovative business leaders, a fighter for Women and Children's Rights. An Adventurer and Believer in dreams, no matter how small.