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Jun 17, 201302:08 PMPatterned

The First Rule? There are no Rules.

Jun 17, 2013 - 02:08 PM
The First Rule? There are no Rules.

The fashion world has often been dominated by a set of rules and guidelines that women and men should follow if they’d like to look stylish. You know, like, “Don’t wear white after Labor Day” or “Don’t mix patterns and prints” or “Avoid horizontal stripes because they make you look wider.”

Each month, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire or GQ will list out some rules that you should follow to ensure that you’ll never make a fashion faux pas or be on the worst dressed list.

These ideas are in place to help us! They are here so that you don’t walk out of your house garnering looks of horror from your neighbors and friends. We can’t have people walking around looking unique and having their own sense of style, for crying out loud!

But do you want to know the real way to ensure that you’ll look great and, more importantly, feel great?

Don’t follow any rules.

Don’t listen to anyone who has an opinion about what you should look like and what you should wear. True style is displayed when an individual gets up in the morning, looks at his or her closet, and says, “What do I feel like today?”

What mood strikes you? What do you want to look like? Are you feeling gloomy? Do you want to drape yourself in slouchy black layers? Are you feeling cheery enough to want to rock head-to-toe varying floral prints and a pair of massive Lucite wedges? Are you easy-going, searching for the comfort of your expertly worn-in band t-shirt, your favorite, go-to jeans and some Chuck Taylors? What mood strikes you?

Because that’s really what it’s all about. Your mood. Getting dressed shouldn’t be a process you do for anyone but yourself. If you feel great, you look great. Because who decided what “looking great” is all about?

We teach women how to “flatter their figure,” but even that idea is assuming that all women want their bodies to look a certain, similar way. Screw the ideal and do what you want. Don’t let some invisible managing editor at your favorite fashion magazine tell you what you’re supposed to look like. That’s your decision.

The best accessory for you to put on in the morning is your confidence. Heck, it’s more than an accessory. It’s a vital base to every outfit. You can really wear whatever the heck you’d like if you’ve got the confidence. There are plenty of fantastic outfits out there that, on paper, should look just awful. They just shouldn’t work! But when someone is brazenly rocking it, it doesn’t matter what an outfit “should” look like. Because the reality of it is astounding.

I get, like, next-level bummed out when I hear people saying that they need to shy away from particular styles because of their age or weight. Do you feel awesome in that crop top? WEAR IT.  Not sure if your legs are model-quality but you really want to rock that mini skirt? Well, good thing you’re not a model and you don’t have to worry about that as part of your career. WEAR IT. Are you wondering what people will say when you step out in that fancy-shmancy-dress-with-high-top-sneakers combo that you just can’t stop staring at in the mirror? Stop staring and get on with your day. WEAR IT.

And if someone is offended by it, there are an infinite number of other directions they can look so that their eyeballs can avoid the sight of your fabulous high-waisted patterned shorts. There are worse problems in the world.

If you walk out the door feeling great and not caring one bit what anyone has to say about it, you will look fantastic. True style doesn’t come about when we spend time laboring on and on about our image and what we’re “supposed” to wear. It comes when we really use our clothes as an artistic outlet to display how we’re feeling and what we’re all about.

Or at least what we’re all about that day. Tomorrow could be a whole different story, because fashion is awesome like that.

For inspiration, check out one of my favorite lifestyle blogs: The ManRepellerShe does what she wants, and it’s neat to see someone rocking such unabashed style.

Jun 20, 2013 12:08 pm
 Posted by  chelshm

Great article, Jen! It's very inspiring and true. Dress how you feel is the best advice I've heard. I look forward to your articles to come in this column.

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About This Blog

Designer Yves Saint Laurent once said, “Fashions fade, but style is eternal.” Contributing writer and editor – and co-owner of Harrisburg’s new boutique, Stash – Jen Merrill analyzes the true meaning of style as she explores trends and ideas related to clothing, accessories, home décor and design in this new online column.