So, there are countless fashion rules that WE ALL MUST FOLLOW, on pain of death by fashion firing squad. Amirite? You know I’m right. Things like:
- Chest or legs: This one makes sense, so I don’t have too much criticism to level this way; though no rules are concrete. Chest or legs, simply enough, is the rule that if you’re showing a bit of chest, you should keep your legs covered, and vice versa. There’s something awfully patriarchal about the idea that a woman can never show off excess skin, and the idea makes me a little uncomfortable, but on the whole this is a good one.
- If you’re larger, stick to dark, block colours: This one irritates me. Larger women should steer clear of light, bright or pale colours (god forbid a woman over about a size 14 should leave the house wearing something white!) and make sure that any patterns are minimal or small. We know that the clashing colours rule is there to be smashed into pieces, so I need not speak any more.
- Accessories should match: Yeah, the ol’ Shoes, Bag, Belt rule. It seems a little archaic, no?
- Black and navy/black and brown should never be worn together: I guess this one is connected to number 2 above, but yeah- you should never wear a brown jumper with a black blazer, or navy shoes with black trousers, for instance.
- Ankle or above-knee: The idea that there are only two skirt lengths you can wear is bizarre and a little silly, especially given the astronomical rise of the midi in recent years. It’s true that certain body shapes and/or heights look better with different lengths, but that’s besides the point apparently. Connected to this ‘rule’ is the idea that the older you get, the longer your skirt must be. Try telling that to St Joan (Rivers).
- White is a Summer colour: For my cross-Atlantic chums, this is also known as No White after Labour Day.
- Do not wear socks with sandals: Part of me feels this rule stems from a fear of the yogurt knitter. You know the type- hemp vest, brown leather Birkenstocks and pristine white ankle socks.
- Gold or silver; don’t wear both: Yep, keep your metals separate, ladies!
- Certain frames can only wear certain fits: Again, the idea that the clothes you wear- the cut, the style, the garment- are dictated by your size. Things like larger women need to wear trapeze dresses and empire lines, and thinner women have to wear something that cinches in their waist to ‘create’ curves.
I guess the main point of this post is: break these rules. These rules do not need to be followed religiously. Personal style and fashion sense should only be dictated by what you like, and what you think looks good. What you wear will be different to what the girl next to you wears, even if you take the same size, because your bodies look and feel different. There has to be some form of common-sense and sensitivity in there, of course, and a good dose of appropriateness wouldn’t go amiss either. But at the end of the day- if you’re a larger woman and you want to rock a blouse and tight, form fitting pencil skirt, go for it! If you’re athletic and straight up and down, and you want to rock a halterneck top and wide leg trousers- do it! Often times, especially for a fat chick like myself, it’s dressing against how we are told to dress that makes our outfits look better. A woman like Adele can absolutely rock a shift or trapeze dress, because that’s how her figure is. On me, the same dress looks like a potato sack. I know I need something a bit more fitted- I need a combination of flowing and skimming and cinching in order to make my body look good. Your body needs something different too.
And don’t be afraid to clash those colours, wear black shoes with a brown dress, a leopard print dress with a ditsy print blazer over the top, because your own style is awesome. Rule number 7 up there is smashed by the awesome, 40s-esque trend of cute frilly ankle socks with nude platform sandals. If you have a body to die for, wear a bandage dress that flashes a dangerous amount of skin. At the end of the day, fashion should make you feel free and comfortable, not constricted and oppressed.
Dress for yourselves, people!