Recalling fashion rules can cause even a well-dressed man to doubt his choices. Should I wear these pants with this shirt? Can I wear this belt with these shoes? Do these colors complement each other? Let’s make things simple. Instead of remembering which fashion rules to follow, let’s talk about a few outdated rules you can ignore.
1. Matching Leather Belts and Shoes
Coordinating your belt with your shoes is an excellent idea. But it is unnecessary. Even so, you should keep at least one black belt and one brown belt in your repertoire. Experiment with different shades to make sure the colors harmonize. For example, match a pair of dark brown wingtips with a light brown belt, or pair a dark chestnut belt with men’s casual shoes like tan chukka boots or Oxfords.
2. No Brown in Town
The saying “no brown in town” dates back to the Victorian era. Initially, the phrase applied to shoes only. The rule discouraged men from wearing brown shoes with navy and black suits. But soon, the meaning shifted. Executives started entering offices dressed in navy and black from head to toe.
The colors signaled that the men meant business. They reserved brown for home and casual wear. But in today’s business world, brown is an acceptable color to wear in the office. Unless, of course, you’re the president of the United States.
3. Don’t Mix Black, Navy, and Brown
You have undoubtedly heard the rule about mixing black, navy, and brown. But it doesn’t hold much weight when you try to decipher the logic behind this concept. Think about it, these neutrals pair well with everything. Moreover, they are versatile. So why wouldn’t they work well together? If you’re wearing men’s jeans, it’s OK to pair them with a brown belt and black loafers. The key is to match the degree of casualness.
4. Don’t Mix Metals
This rule may apply for black tie events, but it’s impractical for daily or casual wear. You may swap watches to attend a fancy affair, but there’s no need to remove your jewelry because your belt buckle doesn’t match. The trick is to treat metals as neutrals, wearing pieces that complement each other. In fact, mixed metals make outfits look interesting.
5. Don’t Wear a T-Shirt With a Suit
A T-shirt is one of the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe. But pairing it with a suit was once considered a no-no. That is until Don Johnson of “Miami Vice” made the look popular. The style has evolved since the 1980s.
Adding a T-shirt to your suit separates gives you a cool look that combines the best of casual and classy. For a dressier look, slip on a crew neck. You can add a pocket square and pair it with dress shoes to attend a wedding or prom. Or try a V-neck. Since you’re subbing a tee for a collared shirt, you can wear it with sneakers for casual days at the office.
6. Don’t Mix Patterns
This archaic rule no longer applies. You can combine plaids and checks or blend stripes of various sizes. Also, mix paisley with other prints. Try teaming horizontal and vertical stripes or mixing checkered prints. The idea is to experiment with the pattern sizes. For example, gingham, buffalo checks, tartan, and houndstooth work well for layered styles. You can even mix checks, stripes, polka dots, and paisley.
The possibilities are endless. Remember to stay within the same color palette. If the outfit looks too busy, introduce a solid color for balance.
7. Buy Only Brand-Name Items
You are your own brand. So don’t fall into the trap of feeling you must wear brand names from head to toe. As long as the piece is of quality construction, it’s OK to add it to your ensemble. This isn’t to say ditch designer brands, but remember that fashion is not about glorifying the designer. It’s about celebrating you. So never buy clothing for the branding alone. Choose your pieces because you love the fit and style.
8. Follow the Trend
Trends encourage your fashion choices and boost sales. But they also fade. It’s perfectly fine to buy a few trendy pieces each season. Still, it’s more important to invest in timeless, high-quality pieces. Well-made classic tees, shirts, pants, and loafers never go out of style. So, add these staples to your closet. You can always mix and match them with trendy sweaters, jackets, and accessories.
9. Follow Every Piece of Advice
When you’re new to the fashion game, you may follow the guidance of every influencer on your timeline. Be selective and follow your instincts. Remember, these are only suggestions. Only you can decide which clothes look good on you. If the garments don’t flatter your frame and feel comfortable, why buy them?
10. Match Your Socks to Your Shoes and Pants
This is another one of those old-fashioned rules like mixing black, brown, and navy. Those who follow this rule believe socks, shoes, and pants of one color look better when you’re sitting down. However, you may choose to match your socks to your shirt or tie.
Breaking the Rules
Fashion rules serve as a guide. But they are not designed to inhibit your creativity. So go ahead and ignore these outdated fashion rules. If Hollywood icons can be fashion mavericks, so can you! Choose the colors and patterns that let you express your style.