Do Fashion “Rules” Still Matter?

Are you a rule follower? Or are you a rebel to the very core? Me? I’m a bit of both. I remember in high school, the brainiacs thinking I belonged with the partiers, the partiers thought I was a brainiac… It wasn’t that I was trying to be a chameleon, living on both sides of the fence, I truly was a little bit of both – 4th in my class, but also hiding bottles of grain alcohol in my locker! (Don’t tell!)

Now here I am, 51 yrs. old, and I still seem to be on two sides of an issue. Everywhere I look (read), there seems to be another article from a fashion blogger about throwing away all the fashion rules – do what you want , wear what you want. It’s all about whatever you like. Then, of course, there are the other extremes, who adhere religiously to the “old school” rules of dress – and expect YOU to, as well! So, where do I stand on this swinging pendulum? Both personally, and professionally, it’s important to know what I think and which direction I would advise others.

If you’ve read along with me for any length of time, you know that I have advocated in the past for throwing away some needless and pointless old school rules – we’ve added white after labor day, mixed prints, combined unconventional colors, and the list goes on.

But, yet, in some aspects I strongly support following certain rules – even if it gets me “virtually” stoned! Freedom and self-expression is a wonderful thing, but, even in the midst of freedom, we set a certain degree of rules/laws or chaos ensues. That’s true of government, schools, businesses – almost any area of life. I have the freedom to drive my car anywhere I choose, but there are rules that dictate how I drive it…the speed I go, when I stop, when I go, what vehicles I must yield to… Following these rules keeps things running smoothly and actually protects everyone’s personal space and freedoms. If I break the rules, chaos or harm could come to someone else.

Obviously with clothing and dress, the consequences are not near as dire, but the concept is the same – there are certain “rules” of dress that help us to look our best – to present at our best possible level. To make our clothes fit and hang correctly. There are colors that bring out our best features. Shapes and patterns that work best with our shape. When we follow these “rules”, regardless of whether a piece is “on trend” or the latest “thing” we are going to look exceptional.

Why this follows “the rules”: the periwinkle blue is one of “my colors”; the dress is a shift, but I created a waist by adding a chain belt; the black OTK boots and tights works with the shortened dress to elongate my short legs; because of my body shape, the embroidery at the bottom and top of the dress helps create an elongating illusion as well as more of an hourglass illusion, the sleeves also lend to the illusion of a wider shoulder/bust area. BONUS: I found this adorable peasant dress on clearance, 75% off lowest ticketed price, which brought it to $3.50 at Dress Barn last weekend.

However, if we ignore these rules of fit, color, proportion etc., even if the piece itself is stunning – we are going to look off and out of place in it. People may compliment the item, but is that our goal? Haven’t we wasted our money if we’ve bought a piece that is itself attractive, but makes us look frumpy or washed out or physically out of proportion?

Does this mean I think we all belong in a “uniform”? Hardly! Have you seen my wardrobe?! I don’t think I fit into most 51 yr. old women’s expected wardrobe requirements. True style doesn’t work when it’s simply “put on”.  As Epictetus said in the 2nd century, “Know first who you are and then adorn yourself accordingly.

The basic rules and guidelines of dress are meant to give you a correct fit and hang, and can be applied to any style of clothing. I believe sticking to these guidelines 95% of the time will give you greater confidence in the clothes you put on, knowing that they fit well, hang perfectly, thus present you at your absolute best.

Once you’ve past that hurdle – the fun begins! It’s time to bring in your personal style – whether you’re a Coco Chanel or a Betsey Johnson! Style should be an expression of one’s innermost soul – a way of telling the world who you are. Think of Coco and Betsey…polar opposites in their styles…the late Coco: so classic and chic. She was the epitome of French style. Betsey: (I love Betsey so much!) Whacky, crazy, the ultimate free spirit. Each expressing completely different personal style, but each, also, closely follow the rules of fit, hang, etc.


So, yes, for the record, I follow the rules. I don’t wear things that make me look shorter. I do wear things that create a waist. I don’t wear the color orange. I do wear lots of pink and purple. The list goes on. And for the record, no, I don’t follow the rules. When it comes to expressing personal style, I encourage you to find what works for YOU! What says YOU to the world?! Quoting fashion author and fellow thrifter, Christa Weil, “If your spirit feels most at home in delicate lace, you will never be totally comfortable in corporate armor until you mold it into your own image. In a world that revolves around designer whims, true style comes from charting your own course!”

To answer the question in our title, Do the Fashion Rules Still Matter? I believe they do…within commonsense and reason. Fashion should make us feel good about ourselves, boost our confidence so we can “go forth and conquer.” But, fashion should also be fun. A place for self-expression, that brings us pleasure and joy. Like most of life, we need to find that place of balance, remembering, ultimately, it’s just clothes, folks.

Until We Meet Again,


5 Replies to “Do Fashion “Rules” Still Matter?”

    1. Hi Donna! Wow! There are TONS of sites that talk about body types. I’ll bring some suggestions for you on Tuesday. They can be a little confusing as body types don’t always stick to the prescribed “types” and some people use different definitions for what the types are. I give a “nod” to the types, because they do have value, for sure, but sometimes it’s just easier to deal with each individual body issue than trying to label your whole body, or I also subscribe to the theory of breaking the body into “lines”, something I’ve personally found to be extremely useful. All my rambling to say, I will be more than happy to set you up with some sites! 🙂 I’ll bring you a list of some that I think lay it out most clearly with me on Tuesday! Thanks for stopping in!


      1. HI Ronnie! That you for responding so quickly! I am excited to learn more from your suggest information as to how to dress for my particular body type. See you Tuesday! Donna


  1. I’m so like you Ronnie….follow rules but still being a rebel!
    I actually think it’s hard for some women to not have these rules….it’s so ingrained in them. And some just don’t know how to start to express themselves. But I think it’s like anything…the more we do it, the better and easier it gets!!
    I will disagree only in that I don’t think about flattering my body type as much anymore! I just want to love what I’m wearing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew we both had that little edge of a rebel in us, Jodie! LOL!
      I agree, I think some women do feel better when they have a definite guideline to follow. It gives them a place to start.
      I think it’s great that you don’t feel bound to dress a certain way for your body. For me, that’s part of enjoying my clothes – knowing that I look my best in them, as well as loving the pieces themselves. I just need the whole package. But, that’s ok. We’re all looking for and we all need different things from our wardrobes and the versatility of fashion today makes that so much easier than it use to be. That’s part of it’s beauty!
      Have a fabulous day!


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