Fashion rules that were meant to be broken

| Scene Fashion Columnist

1) Wearing white after Labor Day

Your mother probably always told you not to wear white after Labor Day. My advice: Break this rule. For many locations in the U.S., Labor Day weekend does not symbolize the end of warm summer weather, since summer ends roughly 20 days later anyway. Functionally speaking, those concerned with the weather should focus more on the materials and fabrics worn at the beginning of September, and not the color. Though white reduces heat by reflecting light instead of absorbing it, the thickness of these colorless pieces is what should truly be considered. Even designer Coco Chanel broke this rule, and you know that if she did it, then the rest of the fashion world is certainly allowed to follow suit.

2) Brown and black are like oil and water

It depends on what shades of brown we are considering. When you’re getting dressed, take a full-length mirror and stand back. Does it look like you are just wearing black, or are the colors different enough to clearly discern that there are two colors in your ensemble? My advice: Take caution, and buy a mirror. Usually the goal is to refrain from appearing as though you were trying to wear brown and claim that it matches your black piece. As long as it’s obvious that you know your colors, why not wear the two together? Personally, I would pair a lighter shade of brown with black, so that it is obvious to all. This same concept also applies to pairing blue with black.

3) Your purse and your shoes have to match

Similarly, there is the rule that lipstick and nail polish must match. Again, these are very impractical rules. Some rationalize that you will need more shoes than bags, since shoes wear down faster, thus it is not financially advisable to continue purchasing multiple bags to match every shoe color. On the other hand, what should be done about formal events? When in a casual setting or a formal setting, shoes and bags should be treated as accessories and compliments to each other and to your outfit. Buying the bag with the same tri-color pattern as your shoe is not necessarily the best idea, as this can be seen as lacking a personal sense of style or simply being old-fashioned, which can consequently date your look. Consider this rule case by case. And the opinion of a trusted friend definitely helps.

4) You can’t wear stripes with other patterns

Have you seen this season’s runway photos? Designers are strongly going against this rule, and while some get it right, many get it wrong. When mixing two patterns, choose ones with similar color schemes—ones that have colors in the same family or ones that simply complement each other. This may require some advice from a friend or a simple color search on Google. When examining the patterns themselves, select one piece to be the dominant pattern and the other to be of lesser importance to avoid clashing. This can be achieved by wearing one larger-sized print: Think a large striped cardigan with a tiny, continuous print, such as a more-detailed floral skirt.

5) Black is always more flattering

This trick only works if people will be viewing you from the back or straight ahead at your event. Once you turn sideways, it’s all over. Also, the color black isn’t very kind to paler skin. Forgetting that body shapes vary, this banal rule is another that should be broken. Instead of reaching first for the black item, investing in proper shapewear and selecting a color that truly complements your skin tone is a much better idea. This can be accomplished all in a single trip to your favorite department store.