Fashion is an industry that traditionally prides itself on unscrupulous regulations, but rules are for breaking, as we know. Nowadays, the truly stylish are the rebellious unfollowers with no qualms about going wild with experimentation.
From methodically planning outfits with complementing colours to ensuring your lingerie remains hidden, here are at least 5 fashion rules to break
- 1. Don’t mix your prints
Throwing on a dogtooth pattern with a stripe and capping it off with tweed is de rigueur nowadays. Championing one of Paris Fashion Week SS16's most consistent trends, Dries Van Noten embraced patterns of all colours and creeds for his RTW collection. The designer’s customary adoration of rich fabrics came to the fore, with shirts, skirts, gloves and sheer tops emblazoned in botanical prints and swirling, tattoo-esque patterns. Eye-catching colours such as kingfisher blue and watermelon pink took precedence for a workshop in confident print mixing.
Forget the fashion rules in a more understated way with Elie Saab. The designer’s SS16 collection combined soft cotton lines with florals rendered in intricate lace and broderie anglaise, indicating the key to breaking this fashion rule: treat stripes as neutral.
From striking and subversive to indisputably pretty, clashing prints can be a girlie affair, as Irish actress Saoirse Ronan proved at the Palms Springs Gala in 2016. With three separate petal-inspired patterns meeting in one Duro Olowu dress, translucent materials and a flowing design provided a feminine feel.
- 2. Plan outfits using the colour wheel
Analogous, complementary, triadic … who cares? The colour wheel is one of the 5 fashion rules to break.
If blue and green should never be seen, Solange Knowles hasn’t been informed. Sporting an outrageously tiered and fringed Moschino dress in mint green and deep blue from its SS16 line, the singer accessorised with big hair and shiny Kenzo ankle-tie mules at Mardi Gras 2016. A master of mixing, Knowles also manages to frequently embrace the forbidden combination of orange, red and yellow without a hint of Ronald McDonald.
If Solange’s hyperbolic style is a tad too eccentric, blogger Erika Boldrin illustrated a more subtle and muted way to throw out the colour wheel when she combined the forbidden clash of green and purple at New York Fashion Week in 2014. Far from a nod to Barney the Dinosaur, her fern and white coordinated knit and violet tasselled clutch seemed rather understated.
- 3. Wear nothing but heels with dresses and skirts
While teaming an evening dress with trainers fell out of favour when the Spice Girls split up, the trend re-emerged at Chanel’s AW14 Paris Fashion Week show. Versatile trainers such as Adidas’ stripped-down Stan Smiths pair perfectly with dresses – whether casual or formal – creating an intriguing juxtaposition between femininity and athleticism.
Slipping on a pair of streamlined trainers with a bodycon is not the only way to forget the fashion rules. With even Victoria Beckham embracing pumps in 2016, relinquishing the heel is a trend that’s reaching new heights. Prada led the way with its SS16 collection, pairing skirts and dresses with bauble-embellished T-bar flats.
Zac Posen toyed with the trend for AW16 with pointed black and berry pumps. Derek Lam’s leather cut-outs, also with pointed toes, work well for the office with pencil skirts and fitted dresses.
- 4. Don’t go crazy
Advice for life, perhaps, but not for fashion. When it comes to mixing prints, colours and textures, it’s the more the merrier. Along with one of the aforementioned 5 fashion rules to break – pairing prints and forbidden colours – fusing a versatile range of textures adds a palpably irresistible quality to an ensemble.
AW16-17 was dominated by tactile masterpieces, including feather, wool and leather combinations by Maiyet. These luscious wintry fabrics created an opulent aesthetic offset by the brand’s typically understated use of colour.
For ensembles where brighter tones and patterns coalesce, pairing various textures and materials softens colour clashes and helps to avoid sensory overload. Think Diane Kruger slipping a striped monochrome skirt on top of a bold green Derek Lam 10 Crosby dress with digital floral prints at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012.
- 5. Hide your lingerie
Breaking fashion rules can sometimes come at a cost, as every schoolgirl sent home for visible bra straps knows. Yet while obscuring your lingerie was once an unshakable rule of the fashion canon, daring to flash a strap, clasp or even an entire bra feels like a refreshingly feminist statement nowadays.
Take inspiration from Gucci, whose models avoided bras altogether for the fashion house's SS16 show, baring all under brightly hued, subtly sheer blouses and dresses.