7 Fashion Rules You Should Break

Can you wear white after labor day? What about wearing black with brown? We’re putting these outdated fashion rules to rest.

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Winter white
Winter White via Reiss

Everyone has heard at least one old fashion rule. Have you ever been told not to wear white after labor day, or that your jewelry metals must match?

If you’re like me, you grew up hearing these from your mom or grandma whenever you wore something they didn’t like. You thought your outfit was fine, but one of the rules probably made you rethink it. Many of you may still believe one or two of them, because you’ve heard them so many times.

Believe it or not, most of those fashion rules are completely outdated and false!

As someone who loves fashion but doesn’t believe in old-fashioned rules, I say it’s time to put some of these style myths to rest once and for all. It’s the 21st century, and grandma’s fashion rules just don’t apply anymore.

Here’s the CF list of fashion rules you’re allowed (and encouraged) to break:

1. Never wear white after labor day.

This fashion rule is probably the most pervasive of them all. Everyone’s heard it, and surprisingly, lots of people still believe it’s true.

Newsflash: you can absolutely wear white after labor day! White clothing, coats, bags, and even shoes are 100% allowed during the winter months, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Unless you have an extremely conservative workplace, you should embrace the idea of wearing a “winter white.” It’s a fresh, fun break from the dark shades we usually wear in winter.

InStyle magazine did a great feature on fashion rules the stars love to break. In it, Rachel Bilson sounded off on the white after labor day rule, saying “Forget the old rules. I love white all year round. It’s cooler to wear it when you aren’t supposed to.”

For another star example, check out this picture of Victoria Beckham. She’s a world-renowned fashionista who’s known for her impeccable style! She doesn’t follow the white after labor day rule and neither should you.

2. Shoes and bags must always match.

Ugh, this rule is sooo 1950s. I’m honestly wondering if anyone out there still believes this one.

In case you did think this myth was true, let me reassure you.. it’s not! You don’t have to match your shoes to your bag – that’s so boring. You shoes and bag need to go with your outfit, but there’s no reason they need to match each other. So long as they work with your outfit, they can be any colors you want.

Let’s be realistic – can you imagine what a pain it would be to match all of your bags to all of your shoes? You’d probably have only one or two combos you could make, and even then, it probably wouldn’t all match perfectly. There are so many shades of each color!

Really, it’s all way too much of a hassle. Forget about matching and start thinking about what goes together and what goes with your outfit.

3. Never wear black with brown or navy.

This rule is one of the most pervasive old fashion rules out there, and it’s just not true at all!

Here’s the deal: black, brown, and navy are all neutrals. This means that you can wear them with pretty much anything, including each other!

I love the look of a navy blue dress with black shoes, or a black dress with light brown or nude shoes. Anything goes with these colors, and you should feel free to mix ’em however you want.

Recently, Rihanna made a public statement about this rule:

“The idea of not wearing brown and black together seems so dated. The other day I wore a black T-shirt, black Nobody jeans, a brown leopard-print belt by Dolce & Gabbana, and brown Giuseppe Zanotti shoes, and it looked awesome. And I also love to mix prints.”

If it’s good enough for Rihanna, it’s good enough for us.

Also Read: 3 Ways to Wear Multiple Neutrals Together – Mixing Grey and Brown Outfits

4. Never wear red if you’re a redhead.

This one might have some basis in reality, but it only applies to a few people in certain situations.

It’s true that some redheads don’t look their best in some shades of red, but it’s completely false that they can’t wear red at all. If you have red hair, you need to be extra careful to choose reds that work with your natural coloring. The wrong shade can look too intense, and can clash with your skin. It’s as simple as that. (By the way, this same thing could be said for EVERY hair color!)

At the end of the day, if you know the best colors for you, you can avoid shades of red that don’t work, and wear the ones that do. The idea that you can’t wear red at all is completely FALSE!

5. You can’t wear suede or leather in summer.

Another false one. Really, who comes up with this stuff?

I don’t know about you, but I would be LOST without my leather bag in the summer. Most of the world’s best shoes and purses are made out of leather, so it really makes no sense that we wouldn’t be able to wear them year round. Also, leather jackets are such a hot trend. It would be a shame to have to put them in the closet for 3 months!

If you’re really worried about this one, just pick lighter weight fabrics and go with lighter colors of suede & leather for the summer months. Then switch back to your regular stuff for winter.

But really… the next time someone tries to convince you this rule is true, just laugh and ask if you can borrow their most expensive designer bag for summer, since they won’t be using it. Then see what they have to say..

6. Never mix metals in your wardrobe.

Silver and gold bracelets - mixed metals

This rule basically says that you should never wear gold and silver jewelry together, or god forbid, wear something that has both gold and silver on it! How boring.

Nowadays, it’s safe to forget all about it. With all the cute jewelry and metallic accessories out there, it would be a shame to only wear them with some pieces. Metallics are the new neutrals, and you can wear them with whatever you want. Don’t be afraid to layer gold, silver and bronze bangles together, or wear silver flats when you have gold earrings on. It’s totally up to you and not wrong at all!

Of course, some people have a preference for one type of jewelry over the other. For example, gold doesn’t look good on my cool-toned pale skin, so I only wear silver and white gold jewelry. It’s okay to have a preference, but don’t ever think that you can’t wear what you want because it’s not “allowed”.

7. Never wear tights with open-toed shoes.

Now that tights and peep-toe shoes are both in style, women everywhere are happily ignoring this rule.

That’s right, you can totally wear tights with open-toe shoes. Just tuck the seam of the tights under your toes, and make sure it doesn’t show. It’s a great way to get more mileage out of your wardrobe, because you can wear your peep-toe heels in winter!

Your Thoughts?

What’s your opinion on the fashion rules? Do you think they’re lame & outdated, or would you never be caught dead in navy blue and black?

Let everyone know what you think by leaving a comment!

45 thoughts on “7 Fashion Rules You Should Break”

  1. I was always confused why you cant wear white after labor day. This year my wife bought her new shirts from Tukked shirts and one of them was white but she decided to wear them anyways.

  2. I really like this article. I never really followed any of these rules. The only rule that I see that I some what follow (and I didn’t even know it was a rule) is black with brown or navy. When it comes to layering, I wouldn’t wear a black shirt with a dark navy/brown belt because the whole point for wearing the belt on top of the shirt is so that you can see the belt and a lighter color belt is easier to see. I would wear it with a tan or bright blue colored belt instead. There def needs to be rules though….the things I have seen ppl wear 🙁 lol

  3. Some of those rules I think have huge exceptions or are not true whatsoever but I just hate it when people mix metallics, I don’t know why but it looks like the person couldn’t be bothered to change those gold earings when they put on their new silver braclet!

  4. Zephyr,
    Your article is well written and convincing. I am quite sure that more than one generation would appreciate your good work.
    Thanks for debunking the matching color rules!

  5. Girls that I went to high school with swore by the no black with brown “rule”. They were ridiculous and made fun of anyone who decided to mix them- love to see it make the list of rules you should break!

  6. Oh, so trueeee.
    Except the whole black and brown thing is something I am just now getting use to.
    It has taken me forever to be able to mix those two together and to me, it just still doesn’t look 100% right. But if I find the right combo I’m sure I will fall in love with it.
    R.Bilson is pulling it off majorly, though!

  7. great post! i especially break the rule about no tights with open toed shoes. with the fall coming in and chillier weather making breaking out the tights… i mean i dont wanna leave my open toed shoes alone all winter.

    and i think black & brown is awesome… and brown and navy…. and navy and black… i actually love wearing those pairs all the time.

  8. I was wondering you see Victoria Beckham she always match bag to shoes I love that style but realistic cant happen. My question is can you help me I saw the star from Ugly Betty wearing a purple dress with torquoise can you do something with colors that go well. I have olive skin tone if there is a website how to mix and match colors thanks. love your site

  9. I loved this post!!! I always was a little confused by a lot of those myths. (And yes! my mom told me about a lot of them!!!) Thank you for dissolving my fears of ‘breaking the rules’, which were stupid rules in the first place! I randomly found this blog and I love it! Keep the awesome advice coming! xoxo

  10. Until recently, I too was a huge believer in thinking that it was a fashion no, no to wear white after labor day. As a matter of fact, it was not until after reading your blog that I actually found out that it is ok to wear white after labor day. Thanks so much for this blog article because it really helped to clarify a lot of tips on fashion!!


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