Nothing makes me cringe more than being reprimanded over age-old fashion rules that seem to have no logical basis besides “this is the way it’s always been done.” This is 2015! It’s so much more important that each of us dress in a way that is functional, conducive to our particular lifestyle, and—most importantly—makes us feel great about ourselves.
Of course, a few of those rules are rooted in some truth, so we sorted through 10 of the most common style commandments to decide once and for all whether they deserve our loyalty.
1. Don’t wear white after Labor Day.
False. Rules like these, that seemingly exist for no reason whatsoever besides telling someone what they “can’t” do, are by far the most annoying. Who cares if your heart desires a little white after summer’s end? White wool coats are a sight to behold, as are creamy winter sweaters, and just about any other white apparel warm enough to keep you toasty in cold weather.
2. Dress for the life you want, not the one you have.
Mostly true. Obviously, this requires reading the room a bit. It’s a great idea to set yourself up for success and get yourself into the headspace of living your dreams, but it’s important not to cross lines to the point that it becomes awkward. You don’t want to show up for your barista job in a three-piece suit or go to church in yoga pants because the life you want happens to involve lounging on the couch 24/7. Instead of changing the wardrobe rules of your situation altogether, show up in the most stylish, to-the-nines version of the dress code at your current job or life situation.
3. Dress to accent the parts of your body you love most.
True. What matters here is language and intention. The key is dressing to flaunt the parts of yourself that you are happiest with, not the parts of yourself that a magazine told you to like. It’s also important that this doesn’t come from a place of negativity or of trying to hide any “flaws.” Always focus on the positive!
4. Don’t mix brown and black.
False. They’re both neutrals and just so happen to look great together most of the time!
5. Little black dresses reign.
True. When in doubt, throw on an LBD. It will rarely steer you wrong.
6. Flaunt either your legs or cleavage, but not both at once.
False. Again, it’s all about reading the room (especially in the office or at a religious ceremony), but why shouldn’t you rock what you’ve got? Show as much or as little skin as you’re comfortable with, and make no apologies for it.
7. Make sure you’re cool enough to pull something off before trying it.
False. This one is a big fat nope. There is no invisible committee off in the sky that sits around deciding whether you’re close enough to the “in” crowd to rock a particularly out there trend or piece of clothing. What matters is that you feel good in it.
8. Wear heels if you’re petite, and steer clear of them if you’re tall.
False. Nobody should be deprived of the fun of slipping on a pair of stilettos for a night out. That said, nobody should be forced to endure terrible foot health just because of their height, either! Both heels and flats without arch support (which is most of them these days) can cause terrible pain. Wear what allows you to get from Point A to Point B while still feeling stylish—that’s what shoes are for! (Here are some awesome comfy and cute heels we think you’ll love.)
9. Don’t dye your hair unnatural colors.
False. Rainbow hair just might be more mainstream than it’s ever been, and it’s hard not to love! Everyday people (yes, even with 9-5 jobs!) are finding ways to incorporate a little purple or pink into their look or swallowing their courage and dying their whole mane. The best part? Suddenly your clothes look totally different with your new ‘do—it’s like a shopping-free wardrobe overhaul!
10. Don’t buy secondhand.
False. Vintage shopping has been a treasured ritual for long enough that most people have come to love it, but I’d argue that even buying modern clothes secondhand is a great way to save money and keep up with a never-ending trend cycle without throwing away hundreds each time a new short-lived look shows up on the runway. Getting more clothes for less means more freedom to choose a wardrobe that works best for you, and it helps the environment by cutting back on the amount of discarded clothes winding up in landfills. Everyone wins!