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 We’re putting these outdated fashion rules to rest.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Believe it or not, most of those fashion rules are completely outdated and false!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. The “grad in flipflops” comment is cringe-worthy. Gross. Especially when they are platform flipflops. It boggles my mind.

  2. Those fashion rules are just plain silly, imho. And what’s that one about ‘blue and green should not be seen’ or something like that?

    These are the sort of rules that people remember and are afraid to break, but meanwhile there are people showing up to class in pj’s, graduation in flip flops and college singing auditions in tube tops sans bras. Those are the real fashion crimes!

  3. great post!! i agree with all of them 100%. and as for mixing shoes and bag colors: i make it a point to usually NOT have them match.. i dunno it just seems pretty bland, unless both are black.

  4. first time commenting, been reading this blog for a while, as, if just started college, and wanted to say you do a great job. this article was great, and so true, i mix gold and silver all the time, and only ever get compliments. i agree with a pervious comment, should set some new rules. 🙂

  5. Meg – I totally agree, I think we need some new fashion rules! no trackpants in public, no leggings-as-pants, and there should definitely be something about girls over a certain cup size must wear a bra… haha do I sound mean?

  6. I hated this list…its so outdated…thank god well the fashion gods we ain’t need to follow these old rules.

    I love the tights and peep toe trend…it makes an outfit look so fab and legs very slendered.

    good job hun

  7. I love this post! Your articles are always so well written, Zephyr!
    Great job!
    I’ve always struggled with these rules. Especially the gold/silver one. Now that I have a silver wedding ring to wear all the time, I’ve found myself having to mix them if I ever want to wear gold again!
    Here’s a post all about mixing peep-toes and tights: Tights With Peep-Toe Heels!

  8. Great post! These fashion rules ARE silly and outdated and definitely need to be broken. The only one that I have a hard time with is mixing navy with black. I just recently bought a pair of great black leather boots but I’m still a little wary about wearing them with dark denim and stuff. Thanks for the great posts & keep them coming!

  9. Actually i have a different openion, I think fashion doesnt need any rules! nothing at all and there should definitely something new everytime. but most of all its all about girls at large.
    Comments plz

  10. awesome article zephyr! working at an accessories counter in a retail store, nothing bothered me more than when people had to have bracelet, earrings, and necklace that all matched perfectly. Some people don’t realize it’s okay to break the rules and mix and match. 🙂


  11. I love tights with open toed. it’s perfect for when I want to wear a dress in the fall or winter cause my legs get cold :p

  12. I totally agree that prescriptive fashion rules are dumb and boring, but I just can’t get over the feel or look of tights and open toes. Socks, sure! The thick socks/peep booties thing from a few years ago was super cute. I don’t know what it is, but yeah.

    Also is it just me or do whites actually seem extra perfect in the winter? I feel like going full Princess-Leia-on-Hoth every year.

    • I love whites in Winter. I have a white, off the shoulder peasant dress I’m going to wear out tomorrow. 🙂


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