Throwing Out The Fashion “Rules”

There are a million fashion “rules” floating around in blog posts, books, magazines, and TV makeover shows. It seems that every piece of clothing and every body part is in danger of breaking some unwritten rule.

But who actually wrote those rules? Where do they come from? And why are we listening?

Let’s break a few of these down one by one, and see what we can find.

“You can’t wear white, it’s after Labor Day!”


Look at all that cold weather white!

White gets a bad rap as being a tough color to wear. Aside from the small issue of making sure you stay clean (seriously, I only drop food on myself when I wear white) there is a misconception that white can only be worn in a small window of time during the year. So why is white considered a faux pas after Labor Day? Well, it used to be that Labor Day signaled the end of summer. That’s when the kids went back to school and when the weather started to cool down. So that was when you put away your casual and carefree “summer clothes (like the white linen pants and sundresses) and started pulling out the heavier winter clothes. Well nowadays, the kids go back to school in August (or go year round!) and the weather is a little crazier. And even Coco Chanel was a fan of winter whites. If it’s okay with Coco, it’s okay with me.

“Horizontal stripes make you look wider.”

horizontal stripes

Tell that to these amazing models….

The origin of this rule is murky, and usually comes from a place of misguided logic. The idea is that a horizontal stripe will someone magnify the body part that is underneath, and make it seem wider due to the lines going across. While it seems logical, it’s really not true. Unless you are wearing an item of striped clothing that doesn’t fit you properly, it will not make you look any bigger or wider. Just make sure the striped item you pick fits you correctly.

“You can’t wear sleeveless shirts if you don’t have arms like Gwyneth Paltrow or Michelle Obama!”

sleeveless regular arms

Look at that. A lovely lady with normal arms in a sleeveless dress.

First of all, I mean no disrespect to Gwyneth or Michelle’s arms. They both have awesome arms! But the misguided notion that a regular women with regular arms should avoid sleeveless tops is just crazy. This rule comes from the insane notion that our body parts must be Photoshop perfect before we can expose them. Ladies, we all have a little (or a lot!) of arm jiggle. It’s just human. Plus, it’s hot outside and sometimes sleeveless is not just an option but a necessity. So don’t be afraid to bare your arms. They carry your purse, drive your car, clean your house, and give hugs. They deserve lots of love!

“Those ankle boots will make your legs look short.”


All different heights, all different legs. all rocking short boots.

Like the stripes rule, this has more to do with fit than with leg length, and also comes from some questionable logic. First, the term “ankle boot” is misleading. There are a million styles and heights of short boots, and there really is one that will work for you and your legs. The idea is that short boots hit your leg at some point near your ankle which “cuts off” the line of your leg, leaving your gams looking stumpy and …. well… cut off. In reality, short boots are fun and cute and look great on anyone. Just try on a few different heights and style and see which looks the best on your lovely legs!

While these rules have their hearts in the right place, they are either outdated or just misinformation. Rules are made to be broken right? The only fashion rule you should follow is  as follows:

Wear what puts a smile on your face. Fill your wardrobe with items that make you feel like the smartest, most beautiful and confident version of you possible. Wear what you love!

Check out more ridiculous rules HERE and HERE!

Cathy Benavides

Cathy is a native Austinite, and writes a plus size style blog called Austin Slave to Fashion. She is a blogger and the social media manager here at Fling Fashions and hoards lip gloss, owls, and fine point Sharpie markers.

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