Fashion has no rules these days, not really anyway! You can get away with most things and trying to get away with crazy stuff is partly the aim of the game. You only need to spend a day in London, Bristol, Manchester or most other major cities in the UK and abroad to see that the rules are there to be broken.
With that said, there are still some basic rules, should you wish to adhere to them! Having a fundamental understanding of fashion will help you when you just want to look good without going mad, or just want to find a go-to style that will see you through most situations.
After all, fashion is certainly not just about looking good. It’s about feeling good. If you can look good, that’s one thing. But feeling good is the main aim of the game that is fashion - or at least we think so.
1: Find Your Personal Style
Everyone has a personal style that makes them feel comfortable, but the trouble might be finding it! There are a few ways to find your own personal style:
- Think out of the box: you might have been assuming too much about your style, or have become set in your ways. Think outside of the box - there are so many styles out there ranging from goth and rocker to retro, Kawaii and bohemian.
- Find inspiration: Get on Google and Pinterest and dig into some boards associated with styles you’re interested in. One thing leads to another.
- Get your clothes out: Going through your wardrobe might expose some secrets. Where are the colours? Do I only wear grey? Do I never wear monochrome? Nothing here is snazzy or ‘out there’?! You might have questions - answer them, but only if genuinely feel there’s room for improvement.
Finding your personal style is basic but so important, and some people may go through their entire lives without really knowing. Have a think about it, and experiment!
2: Dress for Confidence
Fashion is not just about looking good. It’s about feeling good too. Obviously, the two are often linked, but it’s easily possible to look good without feeling good. But when you feel good, you might not even care about how you look - and if you feel good, people will see that. When you feel good about yourself, others notice and that makes you look great!
So, rule number 2 is dressing for confidence. This might seem tough, but if you find your personal style, you can find a way to feel confident in your clothes. It might be about adapting a sleeker, chic and smarter overall appearance. It might be about adopting a younger, more youthful style and colour palette. It might be about chunky leather jackets and studs, or it might be about clean lines, mature palettes and natural fibres.
But here’s another rule, when in doubt, opt for a black outfit. Black doesn’t mean that you’re hiding - it can look bold and confident. And black nearly always makes people feel more comfortable, and it does indeed appear to knock some inches off the waistline!
- Concentrate on dressing to feel good, rather than look good
- If you feel good, you will always look great!
- Confidence is what fashion is about, keep working on outfits till you find the key to your fashion confidence
3: Accessories are the Queens of Fashion
Accessories are so crucial in fashion. You can grab a £20 outfit from Primark, throw on some well-placed accessories and you can look a million dollars.
Seriously, though. Try a white t-shirt with some black shorts or high waist trousers, add some trainers. Now, whack on a large necklace, some bangles, quality earrings and some rings if that’s your thing - totally transformative!
When in doubt, look to add more accessories to your wardrobe. Instead of new outfits, think about what accessories you can add to augment what you already have. A ring there, a necklace here, that’s all it takes sometimes.
4: Look After Your Key Pieces
We need to depart the ‘throwaway fashion’ era. Today, it’s super important to look after your stuff. Look at our post on how to take care of your bag for some tips on how to keep any bag going for years to come. Instead of throwing away old clothes, check out our post on fashion hacks - there are so many ways to recycle old clothes. Also, don’t be afraid of wear and tear - that holey shirt might look good at a festival!
When it comes to investment pieces from top brands, it’s even more important to hang on to what you have. Plus, you never know what pieces might be worth a lot in the distant future if you keep things in good condition.
- When you know you really love a piece, wear it. But don’t ruin it by ruining it too much and getting too used to it!
- Keep key pieces away from the sun, so they don’t fade, and repair any small damage before it gets worse (especially important with leather)
- That last piece of advice doesn’t apply if you think that the garment will look great roughed up a bit!
5: Don’t Obsess With Trends
Some trends naturally come and go, but others stick around forever. Whilst it’s fun to follow trends, it’s not worth ripping your wardrobe out for them. Fashion designer Mel Boteri highlights how style icon Anna Wintour (former Editor in Chief at Vogue, no less) generally sticks to classic cut dresses that simply never go out of trend. If you have some evergreen fashion pieces in your wardrobe, you can stride out in confidence that you are trendy, regardless of the trends of the time.
6: Balancing Colours
Gorjus London has written some popular posts on colours, check them out in the blog. Learning how to work with colours won’t just change your approach to fashion, it will change your life. People don’t realise how many colours there really are, and how thinking outside of the standard colours ‘blue, red, yellow, green, pink, etc) can change your approach to fashion.
Once you learn about colour usage in fashion, you’ll be on the lookout for those more unusual colours that make people say “ooh, that’s a nice colour!” Sometimes, fashion is as simple as picking two colours!
7: Shoes Keep You Grounded
You might have heard that people look at your shoes before anything else. Well, scientists aren’t sure about that, but shoes definitely form a strong part of people’s first impressions, and they illuminate a lot about our personalities, interests and purpose.
Shoes are highly personal and most people own a few pairs. In terms of the basic rules, the number 1 when it comes to shoes would be wearing the right shoes for the conditions. Style doesn’t even matter compared to that. If you come out in the rain and mud with heels, you’ll look ridiculous. Similarly, sandals on a trek or long walk won’t work, even if you’re spending most of your time on pavements and solid floors (unless they’re genuinely supremely comfy).
8: Use Wardrobe Essentials
Check out our post on wardrobe essentials - these must-haves will serve you day in, day out. Some (like plain white t-shirts) are also super low-cost too. The more wardrobe essentials you have that you’re comfortable in, the better. There’s just no harm in stocking up on certain things - owning clothes you can wear any time is definitely a basic rule of fashion.
9: Balance Really Matters
Outfits need to be well-balanced, both in terms of colour, style, cut, size and shape. An ultra-baggy top with ultra-tight trousers or shorts might work, for example, but generally, it’s a good idea to keep things balanced.
This concept is called ‘visual weight’. An example might be combining a super-bright red piece with a very natural, darker colour, like khaki. This would blatantly not work.
Evenly distributed outfits can be some of the most flattering too. When in doubt, ensure that the components of your outfit are well-balanced.
10: Enjoy It
Enjoy fashion, and enjoy what you wear. This is so important, as enjoyment and happiness will make you look better by feeling better and vice-versa. All the other rules can go out the window if you feel good!
Enjoyment also applies to shopping and trying on outfits. So don’t stress or worry that you’ve got nothing to put on - relax and get back to the drawing board. Still can’t decide? Plain black, white or monotonal outfits will get you out of trouble!
Summary: What are the Basic Rules of Fashion?
Rules are there to be broken…as we all know. But, having some basic fundamental fashion rules in mind can help guide your choices. Above all, following some basic rules might reassure you that you’re ‘doing the right thing’.
Remember: always prioritise dressing for confidence and happiness, rather than anything else!