5 Fashion Rules Worth Breaking – Over 40 Style

Ever thought about breaking fashion rules? Many women, especially as we age, are tired of hearing the plethora of Dos and Don’ts of fashion.  That’s why I create style “guides” instead of style “rules” for my clients.  The word NEVER is avoided, and I even shy away from the word “should” these days.

Below is my fashion-rules-worth-breaking shortlist.

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At a Style For Hire training, Stacy London told attendees that matchy-matchy (shoes and belts, for example) was a fashion no-no. One southern woman protested that opinion quite vocally. Regional preferences aside, there are plenty of modern options to match accessories that won’t spin you back to the ’80s.  The key is to incorporate textures and prints into the color story.

Style Tip: Vertical stripes elongate the body— matching top and pants are the killer combo.

Style Tip: Think of matching shoes/handbag as a “theme” and play it up with a funky design element on either the shoes or the handbag. More than two matched items can look like a walking ad, so edit (as Tim Gunn would say).

Style Tip:  Try sticking to one designer for a matched look is the easiest as their fabric dyes are the same and make it easier match. Online shopping is great for this as many stores don’t carry all the options that a designer offers.


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Color Clashing

These are the color combos that grandma said to never wear together (blue and black, black and brown, off white and white, blue and green, yellow-green and orange, pink and red). Forget about it!

Style Tip: Try outfits where the most dominant color is in line with your color temperature. For example, if you are a sunset color scheme, make orange more dominant than electric blue.

Style Tip: Many color clashes are hard on the eyes due to color intensity. They can also wash out your face. Add your favorite neutral to “calm down” intense color combos.  Wear the outfit, don’t let the outfit wear you!


Geeking Out

No shame in flying your freak flag when it comes to your favorite sci-fi and fantasy characters. No, we’re not talking about Princess Leia’s famous slave costume. Star Wars, super heroes, Game of Thrones… These garments/accessories are guaranteed to start conversations and “fanships” at any gathering.

Style Tip:  Choose an unexpected form of fan gear — a crew neck t-shirt isn’t on the list. Skirts, dresses, bathing suits, jewelry.  If you look like you’re going to a costume party, re-think your outfit combination/accessories. You get the idea.

Style Tip:  Mix your fan gear with chic wardrobe/accessory choices. Does it look to masculine? Fem it up with sparkles, touchable textiles, heels!

Sequins by Day

Traditionally considered an evening adornment, sequins can lively up a dreary day at the office.  And kids love them!  It’s all about placement and balancing it out with subtle/classic pieces.

Style tip:  Sequin tops with a blazer, slacks, and patent shoes add pizzaz yet keep it day-time friendly.

Style tip:  The smaller the sequin, the more conservative.  There are plenty of styles available now that are short-sleeved if you shy away from bare arms.


Animal + Floral Prints

Mixing prints is one of the toughest challenges I hear from clients.  This one is easy if you keep a couple of tips in mind:

Style Tip: Choose a combination of prints that have a common color story.

Style Tip:  Start with two prints, choosing one larger print and one smaller print. Like a zebra stripe with small floral blooms. The easier it is for the eye to differentiate between the two prints, the better for the rookie print mixer.

Style Tip:  Place large and/or bright prints on areas you want to project (which naturally minimizes other areas).  Everyone has assets— show them off.


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Thea Wood
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