I love rules. LOVE THEM. I am a double Capricorn with Taurus rising and my world would fall apart if I didn’t stitch it together with lovely, concrete, sense-making rules. I have long considered “Goody Two-Shoes” to be my personal theme song. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t speed (well, not more than 5 miles over the limit), I never cut a single class until my final year of college, and have never stolen a single thing. You think I’m kidding? Not kidding. Rules rule me.
HOWEVER! Even I fully recognize that some rules are made to be broken. And that includes rules of style. For instance:
Everyone should own a white button-front: Seriously? Does this include the accident-prone? New mothers who deal in poo and vomit? High schoolers who live in jeans and tees? Folks with proportions that fight anything with a placket? I adore my button-front shirts, but I acknowledge that they are a seriously high-maintenance garment. NOT for everyone. No way, no how.
Learn your best colors and stick to them: BEH. OK, so I have to agree that if you look pale and pasty in an LBD or like the long-lost Simpson when you pull on a coral-colored sweater, you should avoid putting those colors right up next to your complexion. But there are plenty of ways to make your personal set of “unwearable” colors wearable. Skirts and pants can be any old color and have zero effect on your complexion. Putting a contrasting-colored scarf between your head and the offending color works wonders. A pattern that contains the unflattering shade is unlikely to have the same complexion-vexing properties as a solid wash.
Empire waists flatter all body types: Have you heard this rule? Do you think the person who made it up might’ve been high on paint fumes at the time? Because let me tell you, nothing makes me look more pregnant than a nice empire waist, and I know many women with different body types from my own who feel the same way.
Black is neutral and goes with everything: Ooooh, controversy! Now don’t get me wrong: I wear black nearly every day, and love it truly, madly, and deeply. But I have come to realize that it is not as neutral as I’ve led myself to believe. While I can certainly pair black with anything and it won’t appear to CLASH, it often sucks all the life out of other colors. Other neutrals like gray, brown, and navy can bring out warmth and movement in accompanying colors in a way that black never will.
Dress your age: OK before you stone me, hear me out. I am not advocating for preteens to raid their great-granny’s closets. But we’ve all got an internal, non-chronological age – the age that we feel ourselves to be – and it seldom aligns with our true age. Some bodies and personalities suit styles far younger, and some far older than their years on earth would traditionally dictate. Use your judgment! If it feels wrong, it is wrong … but if it feels right, try it out. The great thing about personal style is that it is always in flux. If you tinker with a look and it turns out to be too young/old for you, you never have to sport it again. But if you have amazing legs at 55 yet are too timid to don a miniskirt, or you’re 14 and dying to nab that $2 antique lace blouse at the thrift store but worry your friends will laugh, you’re missing out because of overly general and stiflingly stodgy rules that don’t even apply to you.
White bottoms are for summer only: OK, I used to subscribe to this one. I did. Then I realized it’s just plain silly. I intend to wear my white pencil skirt whenever the hell I feel like it. MUAH HA HAAAAAAAAA.
Originally posted 2009-03-27 06:10:00.