Before we get into this, I want to make a couple of things clear:
- The person writing this story is currently wearing an old t-shirt, sweatpants made out of blanket material, and costume earrings.
- She firmly believes there should be no such thing as a “style rule.”
Now, shall we dive in?
For as long as I can remember, ideas about how a person should dress have pervaded my psyche. I don’t know who originally told me that wearing white after Labor Day was a no-go when I was eleven years old (?!), but I do remember being extremely upset that my purchased-over-the-summer white linen Old Navy dress wouldn’t see the light of my middle school cafeteria. “Rules are rules,” I thought to myself as I pulled on my knee-high socks and folded up my Soffe shorts waistband. Fashion is fashion!
While I’m proud to say I did wear the same dress to the grocery store on a warm fall day years later (“I’m really doing this,” I thought to myself so very seriously), other deeply ingrained style rules have been harder to tackle. In the age of daily Instagram OOTDs and hyper-speed trend cycles, it’s hard not to follow the pack and hope your Depop order ships before the next thing comes knocking. A capsule wardrobe is great until you’re going out with your friends and all you have to wear is a linen jumpsuit.
I do remember being extremely upset that my purchased-over-the-summer white linen Old Navy dress wouldn’t see the light of my middle school cafeteria. “Rules are rules,” I thought to myself as I pulled on my knee-high socks and folded up my Soffe shorts waistband.
But the problem here isn’t your (okay, my) style; it’s the unwelcome thought that you can’t go dancing in a linen jumpsuit. Reader, you can dance in anything. Especially linen.
Nevertheless, when it comes to style I know that there are some things I’ll never be able to unlearn. Like the hope that the cool teens at whatever coffee shop I’m at approve of my outfit. And why would I want to break that habit, anyway? While taste is incredibly personal, no one can deny that teens know best, fashion-wise.
But besides that? Without further ado, here are ten style rules that are meant to be broken*:
1. Linen is for summer
Linen is for always. Just layer up.
2. Gold and silver don’t go together
Both chic, both shiny. Ultimately, what would a better match even be? Layer the necklaces, then throw on a bag with some mismatched hardware too.
3. Navy and black don’t go together
To disprove this, I’ll present you with a singular, beautiful image to imagine. Picture a black turtleneck under a navy nap dress. Thank you, Nell Diamond.
4. You should always dress your age
To be frank, what does it even mean to dress your age? If I choose to emulate my grandmother, so be it. Her style is iconic, and yes—she mixed metals.
5. You can’t wear white after Labor Day
We’ve come a long way here, thanks to winter whites and Diane Keaton. Still, it’s worth mentioning that your palest hues always work.
6. Cozy clothes stay at home
If you have the opportunity, why not be as comfortable as possible every minute of every day? Wear a gown to the farmers’ market! Sneakers to the Oscars! Are you chic or are you lazy? Both, actually—and there’s nothing wrong with that.
7. Never be too matchy
There is nothing—absolutely nothing—that looks cooler than head-to-toe black. Besides maybe head-to-toe mauve.
8. Patterns shouldn’t clash
As someone who wore only Hanna Andersson floral dresses and striped tights (or vice versa) in preschool, this one comes highly recommended. The brighter and louder the better. Be seen.
9. Outfits are not to be repeated
What is there to even say? If it works, it works—and everyone should be lucky enough to see it.
10. Every single other one
I mean, who invented these rules in the first place? While I’ll never shame someone’s style, I will say that theirs is one Pinterest board I never want to scroll, one closet I never want to browse.
Having no rules is the only rule you should follow. Wear what you want! Make your own decisions. I’m not the boss either.
*Unless my best friend’s sixteen-year-old sister says otherwise. I default all opinions to her.
Sophie Vilensky (@sophiavilensky on Instagram and Twitter or if you met her in second grade) is a Real Housewives scholar and naturopath’s daughter. At this point in time these things are very important to her.