Are These Fashion Rules Good Or Bad?

5 min read
Fashion Rules

“You aren’t going to wear that, are you?”

This is not just the poor, unfortunate husband who has been convinced by his loving wife that everything fashion that came from his mind is utter foolishness, and thus he needs to ask her for help every time he puts clothes on. Fashion is one of those things that’s really befuddling to some people. What should be a simple system of torso and limb coverings is in reality an impenetrable mist of rules and guidelines, all set by tastemakers who are like regular people but better somehow?

It’s all a nightmare, and even the moderately fashionable among us can’t always keep it all straight. Here, then, for the rest of you mortals, is a list of fashion rules you’re probably breaking all the damned time.

Not Matching Your Belt To Your Shoes

Matching Belt

Matching your belt to your shoes is more of a guideline than a rule, the intent being to minimize the number of patterns and materials your outfit has going on, which increases the odds they’ll complement each other. People break this all the time when they understand what articles of clothing actually complement each other, but unless that’s you, and, you know, it isn’t, it’s probably best to stick to the guideline.

Wearing White After Labor Day

White Laborday

This is one of those rules we’ve almost all heard, though few have ever seriously considered it as an actual piece of advice when getting dressed in the morning. Whether it’s August or September, you put on what’s comfortable, or what looks good on you, or what Arby’s Head Office requires of you, depending on your specific situation. And if that means something white, you’ll wear it.

And honestly, you shouldn’t feel that bad about breaking this one. It’s an old rule, from an era when people (well, the wealthy) left the city during the summer for the country, where they wore light clothing and were pretty racist by modern standards. When they returned, they’d put on their city clothes, and formalized this “rule” to match the very real transition between the fun summery months and the grim, business-ey months of their lives.

We don’t live in that world anymore, so wear white whenever it suits you. And, just in case it needs to be said, don’t be shockingly racist.

Wearing White To Someone Else’s Wedding

White Wedding

Oh, hang on, one exception to that white thing: wearing white to someone else’s wedding. The point behind this rule is that wearing white to a wedding draws attention to yourself, invites comparisons between yourself and the bride, and even risks upstaging her. None of these are really acceptable, the bride of course being the focus of the day.

And yet this is something we’ve all done! You’re probably now remembering instances where you once wore a flowing white dress or brilliant linen suit to someone else’s wedding, riding into the church atop a glorious stallion while everyone stood and clapped.

I can’t be the only one.

Wearing Green During St. Patrick’s Day

St Patricks

Let’s stick with the color rules for a bit, and discuss one you’ve probably been getting completely backwards. Remember that St. Patrick famously drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Where did they go?


That’s why he’s so popular in Ireland, people. It’s also why he’s so hated and loathed in England to this day.

Wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day when in the presence of someone of English descent (i.e. a lot of people) is thus a grave insult. Know that they are strongly considering throwing a snake at you, and in their legal system are technically wrong not to.

Tucking Your Shirt In To Your Socks

An untucked dress shirt looks untidy and is a sign you stopped caring. Is everything ok?

Tucking your shirt in is easy enough, but how much thought have you given to where you tuck it in? Is it your pants? Or your socks? It’s so easy to forget this (it’s your pants) and especially in the winter months, when we’re so desperate to keep in heat, just about everyone has tucked their shirt into their socks at some point.

Socks Without Sandals

Socks Sandals

Speaking of socks, you’ve probably heard the admonition to never wear socks with sandals. While that is definitely true, it’s an incomplete answer. You’re not supposed to wear socks under your sandals.

But you are allowed to wear sandals under your socks. Not only does this provide far more support than a conventionally socked foot, it’s mandatory for any kind of professional setting. How many business meetings have you been inexplicably laughed out of? Now you know why.

You Don’t Fasten Your Tie To Your Belt

Have you ever worn a tie with only the top knot tied? Did you not even know about the bottom knot? If you’ve never fastened your tie to the belt, you are missing the whole point of the tie and both your career and love life are suffering for it.

Wearing A Short-Sleeved Shirt Without A Gauntlet

The whole point of a short-sleeved shirt is to free up the arms for their own clothing. Which means that wearing a short-sleeved shirt without a gauntlet, bracer, or thousands of decorative bracelets is a huge fashion no-no.

If this is advice you simply can’t abide by, like you require short-sleeved shirts in warm weather or something, please get full-sleeve tattoos of shirt sleeves to at least disguise your shame.

Mixing Stripes With Grim Portents

Anything with a strong printed pattern has the potential for clashing with other strong patterns, so a useful fashion rule of thumb is to not mix patterns, or even avoid them entirely.

But this is a rule many people do break with great success, so let’s focus on a limited case which we’ve all broken unknowingly: mixing stripes with grim portents of a horrifying future. A striped tie on its own might be fine, but it will clash if worn with a shirt printed with the future dates of your loved ones’ deaths. Herringbone-print socks are a great way to splash up a suit, but if they’re accompanied by unearthly howling noise from beyond time, people will just think you’re sloppy. And that’s the worst thing anyone can think of you, right?

Wearing Red After Christmas

Wearing Red

Oh, one more color item. Christmas is of course the well-known pagan festival celebrating the birth of Stna’Klasz, and with it, the ever-approaching hour of his return and humanity’s demise. Consequently it features a heavily red color palette meant to symbolize the blood we will spill on that fateful day. Wearing red after Christmas is thus a boast of sorts, the wearer staking a claim that they believe they might survive End-Christmas and that the wrath of Stna’Klasz means nothing to them.