15 Outdated Fashion Rules to Ignore in 2020
Fashion is one of the best ways to express yourself and show the world who you are. However, with fashion comes certain rules and guidelines that we have followed, often for no other reason than because it is what we have always heard to be true. Make 2020 the year you say "no" to outdated fashion advice and "yes" to choosing pieces that empower you to live your best life.
1. Some Colors Should Not Be Mixed
You have probably heard that there are some colors you should never wear together, like black with navy, black with brown or matching too many bright, bold colors with one another. Ditch this old-fashioned style advice in 2020 with these tips:
- Use textures to your advantage: When pairing unlikely colors, incorporate differing textures — like silk, velvet or leather — for a stylish, cohesive look.
- Use the color wheel: For visually pleasing color combinations, consult the color wheel, and find which colors are best complemented by one another. This is a simple way to choose which bold hues you want to mix-and-match.
- Play with a single color: Consider styling your outfit around one single color, but in various hues, textures and patterns. It's an interesting take on a bold, monochromatic style.
- Add accessories: For black and navy or black and brown outfits, use accessories, like bags or shoes or belts, to your advantage. For example, pair a brown jacket with black boots or a navy dress with a black belt and handbag.
2. Puffed Sleeves Are Old-Fashioned
Puffed sleeves have been spotted on the red carpet and during New York Fashion Week, and designers say the trend is here to stay. Depending on your personal style, you might like:
- Casual sleeves with subtle volume at the shoulder
- Large, volumized puffed sleeves for a dramatic look
- Geometric puffed sleeves for a visually interesting piece
- Off-the-shoulder puffed sleeves for a boho-inspired take on high-fashion
- Sheer, romantic sleeves for an elegant look
3. Only Neutral Colors Are Professional
Don't be afraid to wear bold colors or patterns in the office. For a long time, anything other than traditionally dark-colored suits or pencils skirts were considered unprofessional. In 2020, this is no longer the truth. Women have found numerous ways to incorporate fun personality into an office wardrobe, including:
- Let your accessories do the talking: Show subtle hints of color with bold earrings, bracelets, shoes, handbags or belts.
- Mix brights and neutrals: For a balanced look, pair black or grey pants and skirts with colored blouses, or vice-versa.
- Combine bold colors with traditional looks: Ease into adventurous looks by sticking to traditional office wear — like skirts with blouses, blazers and pantsuits — but in exciting colors.
- Play with patterns: If you feel more comfortable in a neutral color palette, that's okay, too. Spice up tops and bottoms with designs like plaid, houndstooth or stripes.
4. No White After Labor Day
No one is quite sure where the "no white after labor day" rule originated, but there are several theories. Some think it was a rule born out of practicality, as white colors are typically cooler during hot summer months. Others believe it was a symbol of upper-class leisure. Regardless of its origin, very few people follow this outdated fashion advice today.
5. Your Height Matters
This year, throw that old fashion advice out and wear what makes you feel and look your best.
If you're a petite girl, you have probably heard that you should avoid wearing long dresses or maxi skirts. The key to pulling off longer pieces is to have skirts tailored to fit your length, so you don't spend the day holding your dress off the ground. Take longer pieces to a tailor or learn how to do a DIY hem.
If you're taller, you've probably been told not to wear high heels — but why not? There is no such thing as "too tall." As long as you are comfortable, wear shoes that make you feel your best. Take command of your style — and the room — by pairing heels with your officewear or daywear.
6. Never Mix Patterns
Mixing patterns is a fun way to showcase your style and personality. Although the idea may seem overwhelming at first, don't let mixing prints scare you. Not sure where to start? Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Choose colors that work well together. When mixing patterns, avoid mixing bold colors at the same time, as the result could be visually jarring. Instead, let classic, complementary color palettes bring your mix-matched prints together.
- Start small by mixing printed accessories with a printed top or pant. Remember, you can accessorize with more than handbags and jewelry — try patterned hats, headbands, scarves and more.
- Keep your look casual by mixing patterned pieces with subtle neutrals.
- If you are wearing two different prints on top and bottom, bring the look together with a solid colored or neutral belt in the middle.
7. Avoid Wearing Denim-on-Denim
If done correctly, wearing denim-on-denim can be a timeless, stylish fashion choice. Follow these tips for a successful denim-on-denim look:
- Avoid denim overload by saving any denim accessories — like bags or shoes — for a different outfit.
- Pair a bold t-shirt with jeans and a denim jacket to bring the look together.
- For a softer denim look, wear a light-colored chambray shirt with a dark wash skirt or pant.
- Experiment with different washes, colors and styles of denim to find a combination that reflects your style.
8. Save Sparkle for the Evening
It's been said that we should only wear glitter and sequins for formal events or as a part of evening wear. Instead, add a little sparkle to your daily wardrobe in 2020 with things like:
- Glitter eyeshadow
- Sequined skirts or tops
- Glitter or sequined bags
- Glitter shoes, including boots, flats and heels
To make a sparkling statement, pair your glitter or sequin piece with subtle, simpler pieces for an overall balanced look. For example, consider pairing a sequined skirt with a neutral blouse, or glitter flats with a t-shirt and casual pants.
9. The Past Is in the Past
Fashion has a habit of recycling itself over the decades, and 2020 is no exception. Modern style is full of influence from decades past. This year, keep an eye out for these trends:
- The '90s comeback: In the past couple of years, we have seen the '80s and '90s era styles come back in a big way. Recently, chokers, scrunchies, velvet and crop tops have all had their time in the spotlight. Chances are, this trend isn't going anywhere in 2020, so break out your combat boots and flannel and embrace it.
- The '70s style in 2020: Some stylists predict that 2020 will be the year for a '70s fashion revival — and we can't wait. Fashion in the 1970s played with deep color palettes, like burnt orange, mustards, shades of brown and emerald. Pieces like peasant blouses and bell-bottom jeans were very popular. As far as accessories go, a '70s revival calls for headbands, scarves and statement jewelry.
- Vintage fashion: Vintage and retro fashion have always had a place in modern style — make 2020 your year to embrace it. Saddle shoes, peter pan collar blouses, polka dots and bomber jackets are all blasts from the past. Mix and match pieces from different eras to find a style that is uniquely yours.
10. Cute Can't Be Comfortable
In the past, a cute outfit and a comfortable outfit have rarely meant the same thing. Let's make 2020 the year that changes. With the right pieces, an outfit can be practical and comfortable without sacrificing style and fashion forwardness.
- Leggings: Leggings are no longer reserved for activewear. Pair simple leggings with tunics or dresses for a business casual office look. Or, embrace colored or patterned leggings and wear them under shorts or skirts to wear your favorite warm-weather pieces during the cooler months.
- Sweatpants:Jogger-style sweatpants have been very trendy in recent years — and it's easy to see why. Joggers are the ideal alternative for traditional sweatpants because they are equally comfortable and stylish. Frequent fliers, college students and busy moms alike should all have at least one pair of joggers in their wardrobe.
- Shoes: While high heels certainly have their place in modern fashion, they are not always the best shoe choice for an active night on the town or vacation getaway. Thankfully, embellished flats and all-white sneakers have seen a rise in popularity in recent years.
- Oversized clothes: Is there anything cozier than an oversized sweater? Luckily, oversized clothes can be a very fashion-forward style choice. Balance your silhouette with skinny or straight-legged pants or tuck your sweater into your favorite skirt for a chic look.
- T-shirts:T-shirts are the perfect closet staple because they are comfortable and can be dressed up or dressed down. For casual looks, choose plain or solid-colored t-shirts, and for more adventurous looks, choose a graphic or patterned tee.
11. Horizontal Stripes Are Unflattering
Many people shy away from horizontally striped shirts out of fear it will be an unflattering look. In reality, horizontal stripes are no different from any other pattern: it works best when styled correctly. Embrace horizontal stripes in 2020 by following these tips:
- Take it easy: Rather than wear stripes head-to-toe, make a simple striped top the eye-catching statement piece of your outfit.
- Experiment with color: Striped shirts look good in both neutral color palettes — like navy, black and white — as well as in brightly colored palettes, like multiple shades of one color.
- Be bold: Accessorize your striped top with big, bold jewelry pieces — like a chunky necklace, for instance — to achieve a fun, colorful look.
12. Don't Mix Your Metals
You might have heard that mixing metal jewelry — like a gold necklace with silver rings, for example — is a fashion faux pas. However, this outdated fashion advice has been steadily ignored for the past several years. Many celebrities, stylists and designers have embraced a mixed metal trend. Here are some ways you can try your hand at mixed metal jewelry in 2020:
- Two-tone pieces: Wearing earrings, bracelets and necklaces that have both silver and gold elements is a bold, head-on way to combat this old-fashioned rule. Two-toned jewelry pieces can be an interesting and eye-catching complement to your wardrobe.
- Create layers: Create layers of bracelets or necklaces by wearing different metals all at once. This trick is simple and is a great way to add interest to a casual day look.
- Wear unique metals: Silver and gold aren't the only metals you should be wearing. Look for pieces in lesser worn metals, like copper, rose gold or stainless steel.
13. Hide Your Body
Many women — especially those with fuller figures or curves — have been encouraged to cover their bodies with flowing, oversized clothing. Instead of hiding your body, go into 2020 ignoring fashion advice that doesn't empower you. Instead of strictly flowing blouses or wrap dresses, choose clothes that both fit and accentuate your body's natural shape. Seek out brands that sell curve-friendly clothing in a variety of styles and silhouettes. This year, when you try on a piece of clothing, ask yourself these questions:
- Does it fit?
- Is it comfortable?
- Do I like how I look in this?
- Does this piece reflect my style or personality?
If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, you know you have found a piece that complements you, your body and your tastes.
14. Never Wear Socks With Open-Toe Shoes
Ignore what you have always heard or believed about socks and open-toe shoes — it is entirely possible to pull off this look:
- Sheer socks: Sheer and lace-detailed socks are very on-trend right now and can be paired beautifully with both low and high heels, dressy sandals or other open-toe shoes.
- Bold socks: Pair boldly colored or patterned socks with solid and neutral outfits for a pop of style.
- Neutral socks: Just because the weather gets colder doesn't mean you need to stop wearing your favorite open-toe shoes. Simply pair those shoes with subtle black socks for a look that is both warm and fashionable.
15. Always Dress Your Age
This year, ignore old fashion advice about dressing your age. Instead, make a point to dress your style and your personality. Patterns, colors, silhouettes and hemlines are not intended for a single age group — rather, they are meant to grow and change with you over time. Find ways to incorporate all your favorite style elements in a way that looks and feels good.
Are You Ready to Break the Fashion Rules?
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