Screw the fashion rules

2014-05-13 10:00

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What I’ve noticed over the years is that almost every time someone is hailed as being superstylish and ahead of the curve, it’s almost always because they’ve broken some previously golden fashion rule and got away with it.

Just check out one of the many popular street-style blogs. You’re bound to spot lots of sandals and other open-toed shoes worn with socks.

The Birkenstock sandal-Nike sock look is a trend on its own. Not so long ago we were told that was a major fashion faux pas, reserved for hippies and ever fashion-floundering suburban dads.

Although men have been wearing takkies with suits for years now in some office spaces, even that’s still frowned upon in certain circles.

But take a close look at recent womenswear trends. The takkie is everywhere, being worn with everything bar eveningwear, and it’s never been more ladylike.

In fact, pretty much all the rules are being thrown out right now. Are you still staying away from horizontal stripes? You’re missing out. Or maybe you still don’t mix your prints and patterns.

Sorry for you, print-blocking has been a trend for the past couple of years and now it’s blown up to a mainstream mainstay. Drop that rule, mix your prints, live a little. I’m not even going to go into that silly business about not mixing black and navy.

As with bygone eras, the joke is now on those who are still holding on tight to silly rules. I don’t even know how I would respond to someone who would dare suggest that it is not a good idea to mix spots and stripes.

Worst of all is that these often ­self-appointed rule-keepers are seldom the most stylish people themselves, certainly not the most experimental.

It’s that lady who never changes her hairstyle. Her pencil skirt never so much as creeps a centimetre above her knee.

It’s the guys who laughed when other men started wearing skinny jeans again, forgetting that just 10 years earlier, others just like them were laughing at men in flared jeans and bootleg jeans before they became standard lamestream swag.

Just a couple of years ago, men in skirts were a definite no-no, but we’re seeing rappers like Kanye and A$ap wearing them, and the hip-hop kids have followed suit in long-length tees that emulate the skirt look. I dare say in the next few years, men in skirts layered over pants will be much more commonplace.

Fashion really only moves on when previous rules are broken. You can choose to be careful, always sticking to the rules imposed on you by people who don’t have a good enough understanding of style to actually experiment.

People who need those rules because, well, they just wouldn’t know what to do without them.

Or you can experiment a little bit. Find out what works for you. You won’t always get it right. Even dear Lupita Nyong’o, everyone’s current favourite red carpet star, has had a few misses, the latest being the Met Gala this week. We all asked ourselves, what was she thinking?

The truth is, when she breaks another rule next week and it pays off, we’ll forget the horror at the gala, and once again hail her as a style guru.

As for that safe person in the shadows who never breaks the rules, who never mixes black and navy, what was their name again?

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