31 August 2010

What Rules You?

Top: Anthropologie Edme & Esyllte - Rose is a Rose  (worn here, here and here before)
Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft tie-waist denim (worn here and here before)
Belt: cheapie Ebay
Shoes: Vince Camuto (worn here, here and here before)

Labor Day is less than one week away, ladies, which means two things are numbered - only only week left to enjoy free shipping at Anthropologie (egads!) and only a few more days where it is appropriate to still wear white.

Or at least that's what my mom always told me.

I think as young ladies growing up, we get inundated by entities telling us what is considered fashionably proper -  from our well-wishing moms, grandmoms and big sisters that want us to look like "ladies"; fashion mags that want us to "buck the norm" and then proceed to tell us exactly what they think that means; Tim Gunn who wants us to dress for our shape and "make it work"; Stacy and Clinton who don't want things to match but to "go" - and then you throw in the million little dos and don'ts for office and special occasion dressing and it really starts to get confusing.

I am pretty sure if you list down all the different varying fashion rules that exist in society now, they will all pretty much contradict each other and tie your brow into a permanent knot. So how do you sort through all the muck to find what works for you?

What are your personal fashion rules? What/Who do you think were some of the influences for some of them?

I try not to be swayed by outward influences but it's often a losing battle. Who knows why certain things have stuck with me, but here are some fashion rules that I notice myself following:
  • Business attire is any combination of a blazer and trousers/skirt - suits don't need to match (in fact I prefer not matching and only own two matching suits which I never wear together)
  • Nude pantyhose is only OK if you plan to rob a bank (though this could just be because I can't ever find a shade that works for me)
  • For no known reason, I don't think navy and black (or navy and grey) go together
  • I can wear white whenever I want, but I am a random ketchup squirt magnet 
  • Even in a more casual office environment, I wouldn't wear flip flops, thong sandals or shorts that are not bermuda length 
  • Leggings and I are not friends - we're cordial in social gatherings, but we don't hang out alone


  1. I wear white in the winter/after labor day, but only if they are appropriate fabrics (no linen, chiffon, etc), and paired with dark clothing.
    I NEVER wear navy and black together, or black and brown. The thought of it gives me a panic attack...but I'm big fan of grey and navy!
    No flip flops/shorts in an office (but I'm cool with sandals and bermudas)
    No spaghetti straps in an office (which definitely happens here).
    I love to wear leggings like tights - under skirt or dress with boots!

  2. Agree with you on the leggings, I wore them when I was a kid in the 80s in all shades and patterns but steer clear now.

    Navy + grey I can work with, black + brown I cannot.

    I think pantyhose is the same as tights? In which case I do wear nude tights to the office when patterned/black tights would be far too warm/over the top (like now, end of summer but not quite autumn, chill in the air in the mornings). Also, I am quite fair and my legs are ghostly white once my summer tan fades away so I prefer to cover them with nude tights until I can break out my dark/patterned winter ones : )

    Another rule I tend to abide by is painted toenails when wearing sandals/peep toes/flip flops etc. Bruised runners toenails + sandals is so not a good look!

  3. LOL you're hilarious!

    Here are some of mine:
    Fish net stockings are not work appropriate unless I guess you are in the Fashion industry

    I'm not a fan of pantyhose and open toe shoes - I know this was acceptable but I never got it!

    Same with socks and sandals - or socks and clogs. I don't get it.

    You don't like nude pantyhose? I live in those in the cooler fall days and in the winter.

  4. This is just the post I wanted to write! Although I think you did it much better. :)

    I'm all about throwing away the rule of no white after Labor Day. Ppppffffssshhhh is what I say to that.

    I agree on business attire and what's too casual for the office. I don't normally wear a lot of pantyhose but I used to wear nude - I think in my current style I wouldn't wear it. I'd stick to patterned or colored.

    As for navy and black/gray...I don't particularly like navy at all. I don't even think I own anything in navy. Solves that problem. :)

    I love your pictures today! Super silly and super fun!

  5. I go nuts when I see matchy matchy outfits. I don't like belts that perfectly match shoes, makeup that matches outfits, matching jewelry sets, etc... My rules basically entail complete bans on cap sleeves, jersey, slub cotton, and anything pastel.

  6. I like that you blogged about this. I was going to talk about something like this today actually :-) The whole "white after Labor Day" thing. I'm in the process of writing it, so look for it soon.

    Here are some rules I like to follow and that I think are the RIGHT way. ;-) (I jest!)

    1. No nude pantyhose. Tights, yes. Nude pantyhose are dated IMO.

    2. I wear white whenever the heck I want. Of course, paired the right way. I probably wouldn't wear white slacks, but a white dress with a fall cardigan. Why not?!

    3. DEF. no black&brown matching. Ick.

    4. I absolutely LOVE knee high stockings. When it was cool (back when I was in 7th grade), I rocked them like no other. I love that they have made a comeback with some bloggers. They make them look so cute and feminine. My only issue is the sexiness of it...I feel like it could be viewed as too riskay. Funny, since some school girls really still wear them as part of their uniform.

    5. I'm from the South. There are still some women (and this is OK) who do follow the no white after labor day and they live for Lilly Pulitzer. Personally, I don't care for her. Some of her dresses are cute, but others just scream babyish to me.

    I think I'm done. :-)
    P.S. What's wrong with chiffon clothing, like a chiffon dress, in the fall/winter time for a special event? Truly an honest question- I saw a commenter says omething about it. I don't think I've ever heard a rule about it so just curious :-) Maybe I'm thinking "chiffon" in a different way....

  7. I have a few rules,
    1. No sleevless my arms are too fat, or cap sleeves.
    2. Fall has it's own color palatte.
    3. Tights no pantyhose.
    4. Black and brown don't go together.
    5. No boxy tee-shirts

  8. Love your outfit! My personal fashion rules are always changing, although I'm really bad about wearing flip flops to work. I know I shouldn't and I've tried to break myself from doing it, but somehow I still fall victim to this fashion crime!!!

  9. Ha! This made me laugh out loud:)

    I don't really have any rules. If I like it or think I can pull it off I'll wear it.

    I hated black and brown together until recently but now I kind of love it. Same goes for navy and black:) I haven't worn panyhose since the 80s. And because of it's potential to be abused I feel like casual work wear should be banished. I'm not sure how anyone can think a beer tshirt, leggings and flip flops is appropraite for work...or anywhere:D

  10. Haha, for me - as long as it's appropriate for the situation & I feel amazing in it :)

  11. Lol, I'm having a shrinking feeling here...I really don't have any governing rules!
    -I think navy and black go really well together as well as black and brown.
    -I always wear pantyhose in formal business events and they definitely don't match my skintone.
    -If I show too much of my legs (i.e. mini skirts or shorts) that I'll cover up my arms. and vice versa.

    I really adore your outfit by the way! Love the dark denim with the fun red top!

  12. I agree with most of your rules, but I have a few exceptions.

    I do not usually wear white after Labor Day though... or if I do, it is in the dead of winter and it is wool.

    I think navy goes with grey very nicely.

    As for my own additional rules:

    1. Cotton and linen are for spring and summer. You have to work hard to make cotton appropriate in the fall or winter and linen never is.
    2. Flip flops are only appropriate at the beach and sweats are only appropriate at the gym. There are no exceptions, so matter how stylish your work-out gear or flip-flops are. Not even in the airport.

  13. I'm with you on everything except for navy + gray - those two were made for each other IMO!

    Love your cute outfit today! Your hair looks great, too!

  14. I love this post... Thanks for sharing your own Fashion Rules... Well... Mine is this... "The bag should always go with shoes and the belt.".. But most of the time, I get to disobey it... Because I just want to try new things...

    Nice blog!!! Keep em posts coming... =)

  15. I agree we all need our own fashion rules, I'm still working on figuring mine out! I don't really own anything white but the few things I do I just pair up with heavier fabrics for fall. So a breezy tank with a cardigan. I think a white coat looks beautiful in the winter though, but if it's wool. It's all about weight.

  16. Funny. I just told my husband last night, "I have until this weekend to wear those white shoes I love!" In reality, I don't really follow that rule. I think as long as it's warm out, white-white (not winter white) will work just fine. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) my "rules" are dictated for me by my work dress code. Really if I keep it conservative and don't come dressed like a slob, I'm doing okay.

  17. I love your outfit, especially that belt(those shoes are great too)! When it comes to fashion rules, personally I feel that since I'm already breaking so many, why not break them all. I think people should wear what makes them happy and dress for themselves. Still, lots of settings require dressing appropriately, and that's cool too. Figuring out what's appropriate and staying within the rules can be a lot of fun, but sometimes its an exercise in frustration. I'm pretty sure I follow some rules too, because I can usually tell if an outfit "isn't working" or if it might not be appropriate for the setting, but I'm still figuring a lot out too, so I enjoy reading posts like this and seeing what other people think :).

  18. I have a lot but I think fit is always important, no matter what!:D

    Happy Tuesday!:D

    ***** Marie *****

  19. Ohhh ... I've got a ton.

    - I never wear white shoes because they only work on strippers or nurses in my opinion (white includes, but is not limited to: winter white, mother of pearl, beige, ivory, cream, eggshell, ghost, or vanilla).
    - I don't wear jeans with lots of shade differentiation because it makes my bottom half look wider
    - I never bare midriff because I'm not Brittney Spears and it's not 2001
    - I don't wear shoes that look inappropriate with an ensemble for commuting (I'm speaking to you sock and sneakers with suit wearers! How difficult is it to find a cute ballet flat?)
    - Last on this list, but not in my life's list ... find a cute hairstyle because it'll bridge the gap when all I can manage is jeans and a t-shirt in the morning.


  20. Wow, I'm glad I'm not the only gal living with her own fashion rules. I know a bunch of a conflict on our rules - but that's part of the fun of fashion, right? If we all agreed all the time, then we'd all be rolling around here in the same cropped cargo skinnies and J Crew jackets looking like little fashion mannequins.
    Plus some of you gals are just plain hilarious!

    Louise - I agree with you on the painted toe nails things. My toes don't see the light of day unless they've been "handled." ;o)

    curls-and-pearls - Your comment about the hose with sandals reminded me of something vaguely gross (to me) that I saw recently: nude hose with little toe gloves, so each toe was individually covered. Maybe I just have a thing against feet?!

    Cat - Whoa, makeup that matches clothes?! Just ... whoa.

    Jenny - I've seen some bloggers really rock the knee socks look. I unfortunately can't pull it off to save my life. I tried it once and those pictures were forevered erased on my camera.

    Courtnee - I agree with ya! I've seen one too many people at my office "rock" Birks with socks. Just say no, people!

    Hanna - I've given up on pantyhose completely unless it's tights. I just can't ever find a shade that works for me!

    Ebony - You crack me up. Specifically because I have a pair of white flats that have lived in my closet all summer unworn because I feel like a nurse in them! And you reminded me of a gal I used to work with that came to the office in too-small jeans and tops, so every time she even made a move, there was "spillage" and tattoos all over the place. It was like WTF?!

  21. Great post! :)

    My fashion rules...I don't really have too many. When I was younger I self-imposed a lot of rules for what I consider unacceptable and outright unorthodox but as I matured I kind of decided that I will define my own personal rules. So if I feel like wearing white in the dead of winter, I will. If I feel like wearing socks under heels, I do (ha, this was before the trend caught on...obviously when I do it it's not as fashionable). But I do hate navy and black and skirts that fall at the half-calve length (eek).

  22. This is a great post Lisa!!! I love all the rules. I cannot wear navy and black together either, and the word pantyhose doesn't even exist in my vocab! The only nude type hose I wear are nude fishnets.
    I wear white any time I want.
    I cannot stand when girls wear open toe shoes and their toe nails are not painted - it BUGS me!
    You look adorable!

  23. Haha, I love your fashion dos and don'ts-particularly regarding leggings, but as of last fall I totally love black and gray and black and brown together!


  24. So funny! Great post, and I love your outfit.

  25. I'm with you on the navy and black combination! It's never worked for me either. And on the flip flops and shorts to work. Love your fashion rules!


  26. I also have a few fashion rules that don't make sense but I HAVE to follow!

    clothed much, a modest fashion blog

  27. I absolutely love Vince Camuto!!


  28. I don't really have many rules, but I agree with the wearing white. I wear it all year. In fact I have a really comfy pair of creamy white cords that I love to wear in the winter. I'm the opposite of many about the nail polish. I never polish my nails. I just keep them clean and plain. The other no-no in my fashion world is over accessorizing. Someone could have an adorable outfit, but then they ruin it by loading it with too much bling.

  29. FABULOUS post!!!!
    I have no rules really, lol...I wear what I like, when I want....afterall, its my body, right? lol
    Your outfit is too cute today!!! LOVE LOVE those sweet shoes:)

  30. Great post and love your outfit/poses :)

    No fashion rules really, just common sense for dressing for the occasion (and your body type). Agree that business means something structured, but can't recall the last time I wore a jacket to work, even for client meetings. Most times a cardigan over a shirt will do. And I wear white all times of the year (white coat in winter, white pants in summer, etc).

    Guess it's more grooming that I get nitpicky on. Nicely shaped nails (fingers AND toes), no polish is OK as long as buffed and not raggedy. Hair combed/washed/styled (but not overstyled). BO and bad breath are unacceptable!

    Just so happens my go-to colour combo is gray and blue. Gray goes with EVERYTHING, blue is no exception. Great background for white metal accessories.

  31. I have a hard time with white after labor day and nude hose. those are two things I struggle with.

    I also agree that no flips flops in an office, period. end of sentence. case closed.

  32. This was a fun post to read, along with all the comments. I don't really have many fashion rules. I like to try different color combos and usually don't mind mixing black/brown, black/navy, navy/grey, etc. since they're all neutrals. It just depends on how it looks all put together. :-)

  33. I still can't do brown/black or navy/black combo! I mean I'm just getting warm with silver/gold pairing!

    Great post Lisa!



  34. Lisa,

    I seem to be following Debbie everywhere today.
    What a fun topic.
    No one ever told me there were rules when I was a kid.

    1. Don't let me see those bra straps in public.
    2. I do my own pedicures. Polish for Summer. Break for Winter.
    3. When I leave the house I better be looking my best. You should too.
    4. Spandex and pantyhose should be outlawed.
    5. If fat rolls show, it's too tight. Lose it or loosen it.
    6. Flip flops, Zorries, and Thongs were invented to keep from getting Athletes foot. They are not a fashion statement.
    7. Just because you got it, doesn't mean you should flaunt it.
    8. Sheep are stupid. Don't be like everyone else.
    9. If you have common sense and cloths you can style.
    10. Just because it feels good doesn't mean you should wear it. The flipside is...if it hurts, DO NOT wear it.
    11. Love tights in Fall/Winter.

    PS: Did you get my answer about Chie Mihara's? I sent you an email and some links. Yes they are worth the splurge.

    Anthro Sister Love, Laura lauramartinsemail@yahoo.com

  35. I don't go to an office and my lifestyle is pretty casual, but when I think about it, I suppose I do have a few rules, although I think of them as mostly practical.

    No wool or polyester in hot weather because I'll be too uncomfortable.

    No oversized t-shirts because I spent too many years wearing them all the time, everywhere. Shudder. Never again.

    I'm also trying to enforce a no-sneakers-in-public rule, but am having trouble finding a durable, non-foot-torturing alternative.

    I don't show my shoulders or wear anything low-cut because it doesn't look good on my scrawny self. Not really a rule, just common sense.

    No cropped pants because my legs are long and I think the cropped look would look ridiculous on me. Most pants end up being ankle-length on me anyway and that's short enough.

    I favor black shoes and black bags because I don't have to worry whether they go with each other or with my outfit. In my mind, they go with everything.

    I've avoided white for years, only recently started wearing it, and it's still pretty hot here so I guess I'll go on wearing it when the mood strikes me. "After Labor Day" doesn't mean much in my world.

  36. lisa i've had a full-on splitting headache all night, but wanted to say that YES i sure did wanna lay in that bin of sheepskin rugs at ikea. instead i'm going to lay in my closet.

    ps-you are looking adorable once again in this post!!

  37. This probably sounds dumb, but one of my main fashion rules is that if my husband doesn't like it then I probably shouldn't wear it. And this is my reasoning: if he doesn't like something, it's because it honestly isn't flattering. Typical guys generally don't know what is in style, so they aren't influenced by trends (like I am). They simply judge objectively based on whether or not something looks attractive on you and generally aren't subjective. Also, I always try to listen to my gut about the way something looks on me, no matter if it breaks fashion rules or not. If you look in the mirror and something feels "off," then something probably is off. And my number one rule is be extra extra picky when making purchases. Only buy things that truly fit and are perfect, no matter what the price because it's better to have a few things that are great than a million things that are just a bit off.

  38. Thanks again for all your comments, ladies! I'm glad you're all so "vocal" about this topic! I'm glad to read that we've all got personal rules for what works best for us - and trends and other folks be darned!

    Collette - I think you're one of the lucky gals out there with the body to pull off almost anything!!! :o)

    Closet Crisis - ooh yes, grooming is def important. What's the point of wearing a perfectly-put together outfit if up close a gal looks like a wreck!

    Pamela - good thing you're not a nurse from the '60s! White dresses, nude hose and white ortho shoes, yeah baby!

    Aw, Laura, you crack me up. And yes, thanks so much again for your feedback about the Chies. I think I have a new (albeit pricey) shoe obsession!

    Lady Cardi - I don't think anyone should wear cropped pants, but that's just me. As for comfy sneaker-ish shoes - DKNY has a lot of nice styles that have the padded rubber soles and are faintly sneaker-esque but way more fashionable. Plus Clarks makes the comfiest flats ever - I have four pairs of the same ballet flat they made a few years ago and I love them!

    Aw, Carrie, I hope you feel better! Laying in your fab new closet may help! :o)

    Hi Angela - I'm with you on a man's opinion. Sure, my BF knows nothing about fashion, but he has enough good sense that I trust his opinion if the fit is off or outfit combo is too "wonky." Granted I can't saw that I've always listened to him but ...

  39. Hi Lisa! What a great post! I just wrote one inspired by this one (and gave you props,of course!)...but I talked about the rules I don't follow.

    I guess I only have a few that I do follow:
    -If I'm going to wear jeans to work on Fridays, they have to look darn good on me.
    -Nothing gets layered over a hoodie. Period.
    -Skirts can't be longer than calf-length. But they need to be longer than my fingertips, when I'm standing with my arms down.


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