3 Fashion Rules To Break

Fashion Over 40: 3 Fashion Rules to Break and How to Break Them In Style

Are there any “fashion rules” anymore?

Can you wear white after Labor Day? Are panty hose passé? Can you wear black and brown together? What about black and navy? Can you mix prints? Should your purse match your shoes? What about your coat?

These are all questions that have been brought up recently on my Facebook Page and in the comments on some of my fashion posts.

Some say there are no fashion “rules” anymore.

I say, there may not be rules, per se, but there is a certain knack to wearing certain styles and colors and putting them together in such a way that looks current and age-appropriate. Navigating those muddy waters is highly intimidating to some of us, especially if we’re entering a new decade or stage of life. Let’s face it, no one wants to leave the house looking like a fashion emergency.

Where you live and your lifestyle also has a lot to do with what is appropriate and what isn’t, so it’s hard to write a post like this and have it apply to everyone who might read it, but I’ll do my best. Keep in mind, I am a 42-year-old suburban mom living outside of Philadelphia in a typical middle-class neighborhood. This is not high society, and I don’t have a job that requires a professional wardrobe. Neither is it a rural area or one where the styles and trends arrive towards the end of their run. We’re pretty much in the middle, I’d say, as far as when new trends become mainstream, so perhaps that helps keep me relevant to a broad cross-section of my audience.

At any rate, this is my take on some of the traditional fashion “rules” and how to break them in such a way that you look modern and age appropriate. As always, I’m open to your feedback!

3 Fashion Rules to Break (and how to break them in style)

1. How to Wear White after Labor Day

I wrote a post about how to wear white jeans after Labor Day last fall, and it was one of my most popular posts all year. It is perfectly appropriate to wear white all winter long, however, it’s best to wear white pieces that are made of heavier fabrics, such as denim or wool. Your lightweight, summery clothing should get tucked away in the back of your closet until warmer weather returns.

Here is an example of how to do it right: white jeans paired with a chunky sweater and knee-high boots. The shades of brown and the addition of the scarf make this a decidedly fall/winter outfit, and the white jeans totally work. I found this photo on Pinterest, but I can’t seem to find the original source, so I apologize for not linking back!

Fashion Over 40: How to Wear White After Labor Day & other Fashion Rules To Break

2. How to Mix Black and Brown

There was a day when I’d never have dreamed of wearing brown with black, but nowadays I see it all the time. The trick is to wear a shade of brown that is light enough to offer some contrast with the black. And if you’re worried about it looking like a mistake, add one more brown element, such as a belt or a piece of jewelry, to tie it together. Or if you have a wardrobe item that has both black and brown in it, then you’re home free!

I like to wear brown boots over black leggings. In this picture from the fall of 2013, I wore added the mustard cardigan, and then the leopard scarf ties it all together.

Fashion Over 40: How to Mix Black with Brown & other Fashion Rules To Break

And I wore my black LBD with my brown riding boots last fall. I love the look. The denim jacket keeps the look casual, and I carried a lighter brown bag. Which brings me to #3.

Fashion Over 40: How to Mix Black with Brown & other Fashion Rules To Break

3. The color of your purse does NOT need to match your shoes.

I almost never match my purse to my shoes anymore. I think it’s much more modern and interesting to create a pleasing contrast. You can do this by pairing a bright with a neutral or two neutrals.

This photo is from last winter, but I love the combination of colors. The bright pink bag contrasts beautifully with the bright teal sweater, and the neutrals keep it grounded. Grey and pink are always a nice combination. I could have also carried a black bag, and then my shoes and bag would both be neutral, but it would work because both colors were elsewhere in the outfit.

Fashion Over 40: How to Mix Colors

And here’s an example with two neutrals. Of course, I do this all the time. In this instance, I’m pairing black and grey.

Fashion Over 40: Casual Winter Outfit for Moms

Your bag or shoes also don’t need to match your coat.

What would you add to this list?

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