Three fashion faux pas that have outstayed their welcome
For centuries, women have clung to fashion rules such as “don’t wear white after Labor Day” and “don’t mix gold and silver jewelry.” Although we’ve all been guilty of blindly following to the “do’s and don’ts” of style, have you ever wondered who made up the pesky rules and why have we continued to uphold them? Keep reading as we dig deeper into the history of today’s biggest fashion faux pas and decide whether or not they have become obsolete in our modern world.
The Labor Day Law
Historians believe that this trend dates back to the early 20th century when upper class citizens would flee during the hot summer months. While residing in vacation homes or beach resorts, wealthy families wore white clothing instead of their typical, dark-colored in-town threads. Since Labor Day traditionally signaled the end of summer, the well-heeled families would quickly stow away their summer wardrobe by September 1.
The biggest Labor Day rule-breaker was Coco Chanel, a fashion designer who wore a white suit year-round. If you aim to follow Coco’s example, pay close attention to the fabric weight and texture of your outfit (for practicality, you wouldn’t want to wear light fabrics or linen during the coldest time of the year).
There are many ways to create a sophisticated “winter white” outfit, or to incorporate light-colored pieces into a wintertime ensemble. Thanks to Coco, white or cream suits are still considered chic any day of the year. Another sophisticated winter look might be a weighty, cotton-blend cream blazer with gold accents that is paired with a black silk top, high waisted black trousers, and gold-accented pumps. Another way to incorporate white into an autumn outfit is to wear a piece that has either wide, navy-and-white stripes or thin black-and-white stripes.
Shoes and Bag Must Match
Handbags date back to the eighteenth century. Shortly after the French Revolution, dress patterns were fashioned to be much narrower, which caused interior pockets to become obsolete. By the early twentieth century, the small drawstring handbag that was typically carried by a lady had evolved into a larger, more modern purse. By the 1930’s, women were becoming more mindful when it came to choosing colored fabrics to enhance their complexion and coordinate with their hair color. Also around this time, it became popular to wear matching accessories, which included bags, shoes, and hats.
Coordinating your outfits so that the colors compliment each other is a no-brainer. However, matching the exact color and material of your shoes to your handbag is a completely outdated notion. Instead of being identical in color, strive to synchronize colors that won’t overpower each other. For example, if choose a neutral shoe color, such as dove grey, pair it with a jewel-toned bag, such as burgundy or teal. If you are wearing nude flats, add a pop of color with a bright orange or blue bag. You can also use accessories with a unique color, pattern, or texture to add interest to your overall outfit.
Metallics Don’t Mix
The trend of mixed-metal jewelry dates back to Ancient Egyptian times. More than a thousand years ago, the Egyptian civilization managed to create jewelry trends that are still popular today. Egyptian nobles typically wore an assortment of bracelets, necklaces, earrings, collars, and anklets, all crafted from a mix of colored copper, jewels, and gold.
For years, designers have frowned upon accessorizing an outfit with a mix of gold, silver, and bronze-colored accessories. Thankfully, the rules let up last year, as mixed metallic accessories began showing up on the runway. Currently, street wear style includes using a variety of metal accents to accessorize an outfit. Since mixing metals can be intimidating, start with a neutral outfit and use the “less is more” approach when adding jewelry. For example, start with a basic camel-colored blazer, denim jeans and a black blouse. Then, add accessories such as a gold-and-silver clutch, silver pumps, and rose-gold earrings.
We’ve all heard the phrase “rules are made to be broken.” When creating an outfit, don’t limit your own creativity and personal expression because of archaic style rules. Next time you think “I can’t wear black and navy” or “sequence tops are only for evening affairs,” forget the old-school rules and follow your own style instincts instead.