green Collectif 'Marlene' trench coatSo, we can all agree that so-called fashion “rules” are pretty stupid, right?

I mean, who cares if someone wears white after Labor Day, for instance? (Er, especially here in the UK, where we don’t even HAVE Labor Day…) Not me. I’ve written quite a bit in the past about how I don’t believe in following fashion “rules”, and how everyone should feel free to wear whatever the hell they want, whatever people think of them. I stand by all of that, too: the thing is, though, while I’m more than happy to blow off all of the stupid rules you see in lists of ‘Things Women Over 30 Should Never Wear, The Hussies’, or whatever, there are certain self-imposed rules which I just can’t seem to break away from, no matter how hard I try (Although, to be fair, I don’t try THAT hard, really…). For instance:

I will not wear two or more dark colours together

Take the coat in the photo above, for instance. It’s the Collectif ‘Marlene’ trench, and it’s one of my favourite items of clothing ever, true story. Although it always, ALWAYS seems to photograph as teal, it’s actually the most gorgeous forest green – and therein lies the problem. Now, I LOVE forest green, don’t get me wrong. I’m wearing it as I write this, in fact. I will, however, only wear it with bare legs (or nude fishnets, in this case), or lighter shades, like camel or tan. Because as soon as I try to wear that gorgeous dark green with black, it just looks ALL KINDS OF WRONG TO ME. Well, let me rephrase that: not wrong, exactly, just… gloomy. And kind of dull. For the same reason, I won’t wear black and navy, black and brown, or any other combination that puts one dark colour against another: it’s just a bit depressing to me, I guess.

I should say here that I DON’T think that when I see other people mix dark colours. No, other people seem to be able to pull it off just fine: it’s just me that can’t do it – which leaves me without many options for styling this coat…  or the dress I’m wearing under it, for that matter, which also looked a bit dull when I tried it with black tights. Speaking of black tights…

I won’t wear tights in the summer – even if it’s cold.

Now, I know perfectly well how stupid this is (and, in my defence, it’s not like I just freeze instead: I wear trousers or jeans instead of skirts/dresses on days when it’s too cold for bare legs in summer): I’ve always said you should dress for the weather, not for the season, and I believe it, too. You should dress for the weather. I, however… well, I apparently dress for the season, because I absolutely HATE the idea of thick tights in summer, even on a cold day. It’s not “tights” season, dammit! I WILL NOT wear them! Similarly…

I won’t wear ‘summer’ clothes in winter

You know all of those articles people write telling you how to “winter-ize” a summer dress, by layering it up with tights and a cardigan, etc? I hate those articles. I always just think, “Why not just wear WINTER clothes in winter, rather than trying to make summer ones work instead?” It just seems so much easier, no? So I don’t wear white jeans in January, or cotton dresses at Christmas: not even with tights and cardis over them!

I won’t mix metallicsif I can help it

OK, so I’ve actually loosened up quite a bit on this one, because my wedding and engagement rings are platinum, but these days I’m more into yellow gold. Given that Terry won’t allow me to have a selection of wedding bands, to wear with different outfits, however, this sometimes means I’m forced to either mix my metallics, or just never wear some of things I love. I DO always feel a bit uncomfortable about it (more so after someone commented on my blog expressing their horror that the (tiny) buckles on my shoes were silver, but my (also tiny)  belt buckle was gold. I mean, even I’m not THAT fussy, cool it, sister!), although, like I say, I’ve been in recovery on this one for a while now.

As I said, I don’t in any way judge other people for doing any of these things (I don’t even think they look bad on them…): they’re just weird habits, really, that I can’t seem to break out of, even although I know they’re not totally logical.

Anyone want to make me feel better by revealing some of their own fashion foibles? I promise I won’t laugh…

Collectif 'Marlene' trench coat in forrest green

24 Comments
  1. I swear almost every post you make I am like OMGMETOOOOOOOOOOO (seriously, that one about ankle boots!!).
    I think my main rule is that all my accessories must match, which is a super annoying rule to live by as it means I need to complete a set before I can wear any of the items. And the must match EXACTLY. So this means, shoes, bag, belt cardigan and hair bow/band/comb all must match.

  2. Hahaha Polly I have a different version of your problem. I LOVE matching my accessories but then I get worried. Am I too matchy matchy? Do I look too staged? Then I go through the angst of finding one or two accessories that aren’t identical but go well together.

  3. I’m always baffled when I see people wearing black tights down here in summer. Maybe their offices are like freezers due to air-conditioning but I always notice the people in tights and thigh/knee high boots in summer as it looks so out of place. There I am sweating / basking in the 28+ degree heat wearing a thin summer dress and sandals thinking, really? Are you really that cold? Likewise one Saturday morning in August I was running to parkrun in a skort and vest as it was already stiffling when I left at 8am and I ran past a girl wearing an ankle length puffer jacket with a fur hood. I about passed out from heat exhaustion for he 😉

  4. I have a thing against sleeves. Or to rephrases that, I don’t like wearing dresses with sleeves. So although I don’t wear summery frocks in winter, I will wear one of thicker fabric (especially something satiny!) with a nice cardy. I am also, like Elizabeth Taylor, “loyal to my colours” – I prefer solid colours to patterns and wear mainly purple, red, green or black, sometimes wearing the first three in combination with the black. Speaking of black, I won’t wear a black coat or jacket in combination with a black dress. Far too much and a throwback to the years I lived in black, though I at least ringed the changes with red, blue or purple hair!

    1. It could quite possibly be their workplace – I have worked in offices where the males set the air-conditioning to somewhere just above freezing, and even in the middle of summer you need a coat and gloves to be able to function.

  5. Not wearing white after Labour Day (except winter white, of course, preferably in a luxe coat) conjures memories of my mother-in-law, who always looked impeccable. Another of her rules I live by: don’t wear shoes lighter than your hemline. So, a with a black or navy suit or dress, I typically wear black shoes. I sometimes make an exception and wear nude or leopard print (they’re a neutral, right?!) heels and bare legs or nude fishnets with a navy dress, but I’m kinda sick of nude shoes, thanks to the royals (Kate, Sophie) who overdid it for a while and there are a lot more exciting shoe choices out there anyway! And definitely, if one is wearing black tights, wear black shoes or booties unless you like looking stumpified in the legs!

  6. I also dislike wearing dark colours together, it feels so boring. Similarly, I won’t wear two basics together because it also feels boring, or “a waste” – if I’m wearing a white shirt, why wear it with jeans? Why not pair it with a colourful or more interesting bottom? And vice versa – jeans should be worn with patterned or colourful tops.

  7. I have trouble with mixing colours and patterns. I love all these outfits with mixes of bold colours and patterns, but whenever I try it I just feel like a clown. I tend to stick to black or white as a base colour, with one other colour.

    The other thing I do, although it’s not a ‘rule’ so much as a fashion ‘rut’ – I only wear my clothes one way. So a pink jacket will have a particular skirt I wear it with, for example. Every now and then I have to force myself to look at my wardrobe and see what other combinations I can make, otherwise I’m not really getting the best use of my clothes!

  8. I have a LOT of very particular sock preferences, and it’s hard to actually describe (especially without sounding insane). While I wear socks that don’t meet all my preferences, because I have to, the ones I have available for the day/weather have an effect on the outfit I choose, because I can’t wear dresses with some kinds of socks, and if my pants are a certain length then it totally changes how my socks look! And of course certain socks don’t go with certain shoes… it’s so damn complicated.

  9. Hmm, I think I have lots of fashion “rules” but they are unconscious ~ I don’t even think about them as I do it! I will always tie my accessories together, they have to match. I will balance my look by wearing my hair to the left, but my brooches go on the right, and my bracelets on the left… Urgh. That sounds so weird, but the idea is to create a zigzag line across the body to draw the eye down (or up) in a symmetrical manner. (^.^)’ Yeah, I’m a weirdo.

    I don’t usually like to wear more than two ‘main’ colours at once, I feel that makes the ensemble look too busy. And I always try to follow Coco Chanel’s advice and take a least one thing off before walking out the door! There are more, but really, I can’t write them all down. I hadn’t thought about the dark on dark rule, but I think I follow that one too! I don’t tend to wear muted outfits. 😉 ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  10. Well, I must confess that I won’t wear silver jewels (earrings most of the time) if my handbag has golden pieces (eg zipper, or what so ever), for example … I also wear black tights with black dresses or skirts, but very rarely with a colourful dress/skirt ; I prefer when my shoes match my bag, even if here in France, we have a famous stylist (with many TV shows : she changes someones’ terrible wardrobe into something very trendy etc) who always shouts that you have to mismatch everything to be modern and edgy. I guess I’m not !

  11. For me bare legs are for the beach and the back garden. I love black and navy but only in winter and would never wear real fur.

  12. I have a kite shaped silver ring from Monica Vinader who do all their jewellery in silver, yellow and rose gold. My boyfriend bought me a matching bracelet but it’s the yellow version. Kills me. At least the kite shaped bit looks the same and it’s a fine chain. Still, killing me a year later.

  13. Amber, I have several rules I follow as well. I don’t wear open toed shoes after September (even though it has been in the 80s and 90s every day). I don’t wear flip flops except at the beach or pool. I won’t wear linen if it’s below 80 degrees. I won’t wear white after Labor Day. But this year has been a struggle to find anything to wear! It’s been hot as the blue blazes since early spring😕 I eagerly await the day I can wear long sleeves, perhaps before the first day of winter☺

  14. I hate patterns on me, but keep trying them as I think other people look great in them. It’s my age, I guess as when I was young it was all block and monocokours. Same with animal prints – they just make me feel trashy like Bet Lynch from Coronation Street, decades ago, although I have bought a great pair of leopard print winter pyjamas, but nobody sees me in them.
    I follow the dark colours rule too, although sometimes break it out of necessity, like when the sole of my navy flats broke, and I had to wear black shoes with my navy trousers.

  15. I have two major ones, but I’m really trying to wean myself off them, because like you, I see other people doing them and it looks just fine, but for some reason when I look in the mirror it just looks wrong! I’ve forced myself to wear them a couple of times but it still feels a little uncomfortable. One of them is ankle boots with bare legs and the other is coloured shoes with tights. That last one in particular, because tights are basically a must from October if you don’t want to freeze and life would get really boring if you could only wear black shoes all winter!! I’m getting there slowly. I also have a massive issue with jackets or jumpers with short sleeves. They just confuse me! It’s a shame because my Mum bought me a lovely mohair sweater with short sleeves but I barely ever wear it because it’s too warm in the Summer, but I can’t make short sleeves look ok in my head with my other winter clothes!

  16. For the commenter above that mohair sweater would be darling with trousers in the early autumn when it’s just starting to get cool.

    My fashion rules, I hate mixing black and navy blue (but I do anyway) and I won’t wear body con or form fitting skirts because I think my hips are weird (even though everyone else says they’re fine) and I hate mixing black and gold together, and it kills me that metal on my purse is gold.

    Also I mostly wear dark colors because someone once told me with my pale skin and blonde hair it made me look like the dead walking and that I shouldnt wear it and it made me mad that they were telling me what to wear because I’ve always liked how I look in dark colors so I ended up going through a spiteful phase where it was all I wore.

  17. My own stupid fashion rules:
    – No green and blue in the same outfit. (If I want to wear a green top, the skirt/jeans to go with it has to be black or grey.)
    – The same goes for black and navy. (The only exception are dark blue jeans. Maybe. I’m not truly happy with that.)
    – No low-top shoes with skinny jeans. It has to be boots or high-top sneakers.
    Maybe I’m missing out on some of the fun, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.

    Tights? Gimme, gimme, gimme! I have plain ones as well as colours and patterns. I’m always freezing unless it’s above 25° C, and I wear some kind of tights or leggings for most of the year. Yes, even under jeans. Nobody sees it and I stay warm. So what’s the problem? 😛

  18. I have a weird rolled about black tights and on which occasion the appropriate for example if I’m going to work I can wear a Max of 40 Denier dark enough to look up egg but if you look closely the skin beneath if I’m going out we’re talking 10 denier where you can see the skin beneath and it shows.
    If it is a low neckline it should be a longer hem and vice versa. Its show either the boobs or the legs the only time when it’s appropriate to show both is when you’re wearing flats if you’re wearing flats the outfit can be whore-ish.
    If you have in a day when you’re feeling frumpy add an embellished or beaded waist belt to your outfit. I have a number of waistbelts and that it is a sure fire way to make me feel sexy or at least beautiful on a day that I feel like a moose. The dance ideas I could end up wearing jeans a T-shirt and a fabulous looking waist belt but it is ok and fashion appropriate because it has a purpose

  19. Hiiii…….Gmber. You looks gorgeous in this dress. And your thinking on “Fashion Rules” are absolutely true. I don’t believe in Fashion Rules. Also hate those people who r believe that clothes should wear as per atmosphere.

    https://myboho.co.uk/ | Stunning Boho Jewellery Store

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