When you think about fashion as a whole industry and the things we've been taught to believe we should and shouldn't do, it becomes very apparent that there's simply no way you'd ever be able to dress yourself and leave the house in a full outfit, if you followed them all.
I've always thought of fashion rules, the do's and don'ts we've grown up with that were passed down from previous generations, more as guidelines when you need a helping hand as opposed to a black and white rulebook of how to dress and style yourself.
As I've gotten older however and discovered how much joy fashion brings me, whether that's from indulgent pieces of luxury clothing or from practical items I wear for their versatility, I wear what I love and I truly believe that everyone should do the same thing.
So why have my thought on fashion rules changed? And what rules will I likely never follow at all?
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I think we all grew up, women especially, with rules surrounding dressing for your body type and body shape. It was the norm to open your parents clothing catalogues and magazines and be greeted with pages upon pages of tips regarding dressing for your shape. Only wearing certain styles/cuts/fits if your body type slotted seamlessly into a certain pre determined shape as decided by people who were complete strangers to us. Pear, column, triangle, hourglass, athletic, apple; the list goes on I'm sure of it but why on earth have been led to believe that we have to fit into a specific category? And not only that but because of that category we can only wear certain clothing styles? I call BS and I'm sure so many of you do too!
When I think back now to all the things I've read, heard and seen about dressing for your body shape, it makes me so sad that so many people, with lived experiences similar to mine as well as experiences so very different to mine, have all been told how to dress. We've been told the parts of our bodies we should hide, the parts we should show off, the type of clothing that looks good on us and the types that don't when in reality that's for no one but ourselves to decide. For me being told how to dress is simply not what fashion is, not what personal style is and not how fashion should be intrinsically linked to our personal expression and passions. Fashion shouldn't follow rules if you don't feel they include you, create your own rules or break them altogether, go against the grain or go with it. That choice is all yours and it's not something to be restricted by rules that don't allow you to be yourself and to shine. Be expressive, creative, emotional, bold, simple, colourful, joyful, chic, edgy - be all the things you want to be and do without apology.
It might seem like this is getting a little heavy for a blog post all about fashion, trends and style but as a huge part of my life, the marketing of fashion and style means so much to me. The way in which it allowed me to explore my creativity and boost my confidence when I was younger and the way in which it enables me to continue on a career path I love as well as to help empower other people with similar passions, just feels like such a huge part of who I am. I want people to know that they can wear whatever pieces, colours, styles, designers and cuts bring them joy, make them feel great and boost their confidence. Even if all the outfits that tick the above boxes break all the rules we've been told to follow in the past and even if they're not deemed to be on trend.
In fact so many rules I've seen and heard in the past would make me think the outfit in this imagery for example, is not one to be photographed and shared on the blog. Optic white and subtle cream styled together, classic slim denim alongside a trend led oversized jacket, chocolate brown and darkest black in the same outfit, the boldness of a designer logo at all, maybe even the fact my well worn riding boots are covered in mud after a dog walk. But in reality do you know what this look is for me? It's joy. It's full of some of my most loved clothing, it's comfortable and warm, it consists of adored designers and brands and I felt great in it. Layers, colours, textures, brands, accessories - all of them things that I love and that's what fashion is. All the pieces you love, put together in a way you love, worn in a way you love. So if the outcome of not following rules is that we create outfits that are true expressions of 'us' no matter the look, occasion or outcome, I say maybe those rules weren't made to make us feel our best after all.
And you never know perhaps in not wanting to follow the rules that have been set out before me, I'm actually following a different set of rules after all. I'm sure the old rules we choose not to follow will always make way for new ideas, that will become rules in themselves one day. That's the beauty of fashion and the way it intertwines with personal style, the joy it should bring to those who love it and the way in which the fashion world progresses and changes as we grow through seasons. Maybe it's The New Fashion Rules (ad) I guess you could say - like my namesake Amazon best selling book (shameless plug!). Perhaps there'll always be a new set of fashion rules to follow, adapt or leave behind when the timing is right but maybe one rule should always remain - dress for your own happiness not someone else's.