10 Fashion Rules To Forget (and how to dress instead)

10 Fashion Rules To Forget (and how to dress instead)

Growing up I was never a rule follower — ask my mom, it was a problem. But as I’ve gotten older, and particularly since I started teaching style to my private clients and in my group programs, I see the value of a simple guideline. It’s helpful when you don’t know what you’re doing and want to know how to dress!

For example, the body rules. If you’re looking for basic guidance when choosing cuts and colors to wear, understanding your shape and unique coloring can be useful! 

But some fashion rules create more limitations, causing women to second guess themselves in their style choices, and get in the way of a more interesting look.

If you’re ready to break free from the rules of fashion, keep reading!

10 Fashion Rules To Throw Away

1. Don’t wear white in the winter

Winter white is chic! Also try a tonal look by mixing cream, white and beige

2. Your earrings and necklace must match

This may have worked for your mother or grandmother, but you can do things differently!

3. Don’t wear navy and black together

Did you ever watch the show Billions? I was fascinated by the costumes — the entire cast wore navy and black. They looked sharp and modern.

4. Always match your belt, bag and shoes 

Simply not necessary. In fact it’s much more interesting not too…

5. Don’t mix gold and silver jewelry

Clearly this is outdated as we’re now seeing combo pieces sold in trendy stores.

6. Belt loops must have a belt

Do they? Definitely question this.

7. Sneakers shouldn’t be worn with a dress, skirt or dress pants

Mixing sporty with dressy is unexpected. The best outfits have an unexpected twist.

8. Every wardrobe must include a trench coat, white button down top and pair of ballet flats

These lists of essentials drive me nuts. When I look at all my private styling clients, there is not one item they all must have. The individuality of their lives and circumstances call for a unique wardrobe.

9. Buying something expensive means it’s high quality

Fortunately, or unfortunately this is not the case. I’ve seen $500 tops that felt like they were $50. And I’ve found $500 dresses for $50. It comes down to knowing what high quality looks and feels like, and using your own judgement to decide what to buy.

10. A formal dress must be long

See this dress here

Jumpsuits and tuxedos are also great alternatives for your formal occasion!

How To Dress Instead

I created this list to give you more options. Use this as your permission slip to break the rules, but don’t break them just because I said so.

Too many women mindlessly follow what others say because they lack the confidence to decide on their own. Plus it’s way easier to do what everyone else is doing.

This is the issue.

When you’re not making decisions FOR your style, you’re unconsciously allowing.

Then you end up with a wardrobe that represents your settling, tolerating and compromising…

And your style becomes an expression of you not prioritizing yourself.

What To Do About These Fashion Rules

Break these fashion rules because they’re not serving you. Or follow them because you want to.

But don’t do it without consideration.

Make your style choices a daily reminder that you’re worth the attention. Because this is how others will see you.

Tell me in the comments which rules from above you follow or don’t.

Need help identifying your unique style and building a flattering wardrobe you love? Go here to book a call and let’s discuss how I can help.


Elysha Lenkin
Elysha Lenkin helps women express themselves through fashion so they look current, feel confident and stay true to themselves. For over 20 years, she's worked on commercial shoots styling women in all shapes, ages and sizes including Carrie Underwood, Tina Fey and Serena Williams. Now her focus is to make fashion fun and approachable for real women so they show up feeling like superstars in their lives.


  1. Amy says:

    I break all of these rules. I love the tonal winter white with cream and beige thrown in. I’m definitely going to try navy and black. Mixed metals are fun. And I love sneakers with a dress.

  2. Ruby says:

    Love navy and black, black and brown. Definitely will never hace a white button down or trench coat. . Ballet flats, maybe

  3. NATALIE K says:

    I still believe belt loops require belts. Be careful with money & quality. I choose to match my shoes, bag and belt but that’s just my thing but it is more interesting to not match and younger looking!!

  4. I love how clear you are on what’s your thing! This is what makes a strong personal style❤️

  5. Ballet flats are comfortable which is a big plus in my book!

  6. Would love to know how you liked wearing navy + black!

  7. Zheela says:

    I love wearing white in winter especially white knits. Yes definitely to navy and black, one of my favourite work shirts was navy and black, worn with black suit. I personally like ballet flats and white buttoned shirts – agree with not having to be matchy matchy with accessories which doesn’t feel contemporary. No trench coat.

  8. Love the clarity you have around your style!

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