Basic Fashion Do’s and Don’ts

Matching everything is such a faux pas

As a general rule, mixing is in, matching is out.

Don’t even match a blue bag to your blue shoes to your blue nail polish and your blue makeup unless you are trying out for the Blue Man Group.

I know it can be confusing because fashion people actually say monochromatic colours make you look taller and slimmer, and it’s true. But don’t take everything you read so literally, and match the exact shades of blue to your jacket, pants, shoes and accessories.

It’s much better to edit your accessories, look polished and simple if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Break the rules in fashion, and make your own style look effortless rather than “Gee, I had no idea what to wear with this awesome lime green top, so I bought lime green Crocs to go with them and this lime green purse is FAB!

The only exception to the rule seems to be white or ivory clothing. All in white or ivory, with a simple black belt and brown sandals is somehow chic.

Of course, I can be totally wrong altogether because some people pull off that matchy-matchy look well, but if you aren’t confident or well versed in fashion, then NOT matching is a safer bet.

Here’s an example of a matchy matchy situation that has gone totally wrong (uh.. there goes my “all white is chic” theory)

And here’s an example of a girl rocking the matching lipstick, dress and shoes against her alabaster skin and striking black hair.

Skintight clothing

Fitted clothing does not mean skin tight clothing.

I feel like I shouldn’t have to say much on this topic, because unless you are anorexic, super young, very fit, muscular and PERFECT (umm you fall in the 3% category of supermodels then), you should not wear super tight clothing.

First, it’s uncomfortable, and second it’s unattractive to everyone – men AND women like myself.

If you cannot fit into a size 6, that means you are a size 8. If you cannot fit into a size 8, then we head into the double-digits and you are a size 10.

Women who are chic, stylish and gorgeous at any shape or size, are NOT trying to squeeze themselves into skintight clothing, their breasts pushed up to their chin in badly fitted undergarments and fat just oozing in places it should not be oozing out of — the back, the sides (muffin top), the front belt band.. you get the idea.

And if wearing tight sexy clothes to get a guy’s attention is your goal, then you should know that you’ll only attract BAD attention (“WOW, look at that girl, she is going to be easy to get into bed tonight”).

I am not saying become a nun, I am saying cover it up a bit, and wear slightly looser (but still fitted) clothing.

Here are some examples of bad, ill-fitting, unflattering tops.

And while this model is too thin for my liking, she IS wearing a properly fitted garment. 

See? Slightly loose in the back and loose and draped in the front.

Looking like a tent

On the other end, looking like you’re wearing a circus tent is also unattractive. 

Large clothes, make people think that you are large because the air underneath the top billows out and adds more weight.

This is where you should call a tailor if you have something that generally fits your body except in some areas, the way I have to take in my suited wrap dress to make it fit in the bust.

This is an example of how even a star (Debra Messing from Will & Grace) can go totally wrong, fashion-wise.

And here is a dressy, billowy dress done right (first two), and a belt to make a third dress more fitted. 



Edit, edit, EDIT!

My rule of thumb is one of the three and no more: necklace, earrings, bracelet.

Rings are able to be worn liberally, but not until you look like Mr. T or Liberace.

When I head out I always cringe when I see a girl wear too many accessories at once. The whole point of an accessory is to enhance the outfit, not ruin it.

I am also a fan of tied items, lace, frills and bows, but not all at once unless you’re making a Fruits statement like this chick below (she’s not even the most overdressed I’ve seen. The top is kind of chic).

Being too trendy

I think, enough said. Most trends are wonderful in moderation. So if you want to go for the animal print scarf, don’t wear the animal print shoes and handbag at the same time, that’s just overkill. 

Trendy pieces also tend to be a lot cheaper than classic staples like a great pair of pants, but don’t let your wallet sway you into buying 5 trendy tops instead of a single classic one. Quality over quantity.

Trends also disappear quickly, sometimes over night.

I mean seriously! Look at the trend of balloon or Hammer pants, whatever you call it. Do you think this is going to last?

Running shoes for everything

I am the first to admit that wearing running shoes is very comfortable and much needed for when you are walking 14-15 hours a day as a tourist. 

But wearing them with a suit? *cringe*

Or wearing them with a dress? *stabs eyeball*

A good alternative is a comfortable ballet flat, low-heeled shoes or boots, and most certainly NOT, Crocs unless you are at the pool, in the garden working or (possibly) in a kitchen or hospital (although I hear that knives and syringes can go through the holes of the shoes when you work so.. not safe.

Yup. Here’s a sweet example:

Pick what fits your body type

You know when someone compliments you like: “You look so chic today!”.. or “You look so slim, did you lose weight?”.. it means that you look good. Very good. And taking those comments at face value, you should figure out what you’re wearing and repeat that style over and over again. 

For me, it’s wrap dresses, shawl sweaters, and belted jackets. I know those are the things that look the best on my frame, and I always get complimented every time I wear those styles.

Some women look great in A-Line skirts, but look awful in a pencil skirt. Other look good in flared pants, and others look better in skinny jeans.

Stick to your basic cuts and don’t wear things that highlight what you have too much of, or don’t have. Don’t spend hours on it (it’s learned over time), but most of all, being comfortable is the key to being chic.

Too short items

Even if you have a great pair of legs, a toned butt, toned arms and a flat stomach, and you wear short shorts or short skirts, you will about 90% of the time run the risk of looking tacky, no matter how great your body looks (think Edie Britt on Desperate Housewives).

Case in point: Smokin’ hot body, bad choices in clothing (as per her character). She just looks tacky.

Outdated clothing & accessories

I’d like to put scrunchies, fanny packs, mixing animal prints, neon colours and heavily padded shoulder suits on the list.

‘Nuff said.

I could keep going, but then this’d become a novel. Maybe I’ll do a two-parter later.

Any other atrocious things you’ve had to witness?


About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.