Five fashion rules made to be broken

Rip up the basic fashion rule book and find the looks that work for you.

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Fashion should be fun. And that means having the freedom to experiment, even if you do make the odd faux pas. So don’t let the so-called style ‘experts’ and their basic fashion rules dictate your every style move, because their wardrobe ‘no-no’ could actually be a big ‘yes-yes’ on you...

Rule: Never mix stripes and patterns

Break it! Conventional fashion wisdom says a basic fashion rule is that you should always team a patterned top or bottom half with something plain and restrained. But if you’re feeling brave, you can combine florals, graphics, stripes and checks to stunning effect. The trick is to offset smaller, intricately patterned florals with a bolder stripe or check, and larger stand-out prints with a narrow pinstripe or small neat checks.

Rule: If you’re size 14+ don’t wear horizontal stripes

Break it! Own your size with pride and wear whatever makes you feel good. The logic behind this basic fashion rule is that vertical stripes draw the eye up, making you look longer, while horizontal stripes draw the eye to the side, making you look wider. But the fact is that the colour and width of the stripes will have an impact too, so this isn’t a hard and fast rule.

Rule: Keep the glitz for after dark

Break it! Unless you’re a night owl with a busy social calendar, your sequins are probably feeling neglected and gathering dust. However, mixed in with neutral tones and classic pieces, the odd glitzy item can add oomph and flair to a sophisticated daytime look.

Think a sequined vest under a toning cardigan with cigarette pants and flats. Or a sparkly black skirt teamed with opaque tights, trainers and a cowl-necked jumper. Remember, less is more and it’s all about balance – although if you fancy being a daytime disco ball, then go for it!

Rule: Only fashionistas shop in designer stores

Break it! Designer stores can feel intimidating, with security guards on the door and snooty sales assistants, but don’t let them make you feel excluded as they should welcome all customers.

Once inside, the edgier, on-trend pieces might have more floor space, but designer shops often have a directional take on wardrobe staples – such as quality T-shirts, woollens, and simple trousers. Invest in a few key pieces and you could fast-forward your look without becoming a slave to the latest trends.

Rule: Socks and sandals should be left for Granddad

Break it! Over the past couple of years, this has proved to be one of those fashion rules meant to be broken, with all the hip young kids co-opting the look.

Open-toed sandals teamed with bright woolly tights are great for autumn, and chunky socks work well with this summer’s high-heeled clogs. Similarly, wellington boots are now a festival favourite, acceptable with shorts and minis through the warmer months.

So remember, if the rule book says ‘can’t’, think ‘can I?’ Because, as style icon Katherine Hepburn would say; ‘If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun’.

Are you a fashion rule-breaker?
Let us know in the comments below!