The rules many of you take as gospel when it comes to fashion, are actually holding you back!
Hear me out.
I know you’re probably thinking that makes no sense, especially coming from a personal stylist. Yes, there are principles, but these should always be taken with a pinch of salt.
Let me go back in time to illustrate what I’m talking about. I started really learning about fashion when I worked for Harvey Nichols. However, after 3 years of flogging Louboutins to the most luxe of Loiners (yeah apparently that’s what they call folk in Leeds. Who knew!), I had a really good understanding of fashion, what looked good, and what was trendy.
But I didn’t really have much if any, knowledge of the rules of dressing well. For most of my time there I relied on my own intuition, trends, and the opinions of others around me. Despite having received ‘training’ from some of the world’s most renowned high fashion brands; Gucci, Balenciaga, Jimmy Choo etc.
While my own intuition had served me really well, I knew if I wanted to go it alone I had to learn what the rules were to dressing well, particularly around body shape.
So I undertook formal training at a personal style academy, learnt from mentors in the business, and from books. As a guy, I didn’t have the luxury of trying clothes on to really get a feel for different cuts and silhouettes. But I absorbed it and having rules made it easy for me to understand the do’s and don’ts when it came to being an amazing dresser.
It felt like I could see the code that ran underneath all of this. So off I went into the world preaching the gospel of dressing for your body shape.
But then weird things started happening, curve balls that would often take me by surprise…
While shopping, clients would pick things out and being the open-minded person I am I’d let them try the pieces on. I’m not an obnoxious savage like many a TV makeover show depicts stylists to be.
This was a gift because it revealed something incredibly special, a lesson no stylist or course could teach me. They’d pick pieces where in my mind I’d think…
“oh, honey this definitely ain’t the one for you.”
Then they’d walk out the fitting room slaying it like a total queen and I’d be left eating humble pie. What they were wearing shouldn’t have worked.
What sort of hocus-pocus did they do in that fitting room?
At first, I thought these were just anomalies. But the more it happened the more I realised the books and training were wrong.
And as social media grew (particularly Instagram) I started seeing people online wearing outfits or pieces that ‘technically’ shouldn’t work but looked absolutely amazing on.
So the lesson is this…
- Don’t blindly follow the rules.
- Don’t take them as gospel.
- Consider them myths.
And it extends beyond dressing for your body shape. Everyone has fallen into the trap of being sucked in by a catchy blog or magazine title; “10 style rules to live by”.
I even tried this experiment with the lovely subscribers of my newsletter. I grabbed 3 images of women wearing clothes that according to their body shape they shouldn’t be wearing. I then highlighted why according to their body shape they shouldn’t be wearing them. But they all looked frickin’ fabulous. And it wasn’t just me who thought that. All 3 images had 1000s of likes on Instagram and loads of comments showing mad love for them.
So if you want to look slimmer, then yes there are rules or principles you need to follow. If dressing for your body shape makes you feel good, again there are rules to follow.
But if ditching them means you can wear what you want, what makes you happy, that which you think you look great in… then sod the rules!
Oh, and if you’re looking for something to help you navigate your wardrobe then here are a couple of questions to use to determine whether the piece is right for you:
- Does it make me happy/feel great? (Marie Kondo refers to it as ‘sparking joy’)
- Do I think I look great in it?
If you want to learn how stylish people think then I encourage you to sign up to my style notes. You can do so by clicking here. While the blog focuses on practical hints and tips, my style notes are jam-packed full of advice to help you start thinking like a stylish person.