Let’s get one thing clear: When we say fashion myths, we’re not talking about wearing an outfit that could land you on a worst-dressed list. Rather, we’re talking about long-held habits you refuse to break, fashion clichés you still believe are true, and small things you’re avoiding—or doing—that can wreak havoc on your personal style.
From not getting things tailored enough (bad!), to buying into the idea that you have to throw certain things away before you turn 30 years old (stupid!), here are 10 fashion mistakes you should start remedying right now.
Buy the Same Size in Clothes
As any woman who’s shopped high-fashion and fast-fashion knows, sizing can vary tremendously according to store, brand, and item. Cheap and easy clothing typically run way bigger, making it common for a woman to wear, say, a size Large at Forever 21, but still be a size 2 in Stella McCartney. Just pay attention to how things look on your body and don’t sweat on the number.
Wear Retro Pieces Without a Modern Spin
We all know that everything comes back when it comes to fashion. It is cyclicbut that doesn’t mean you should dress in full of-another-decade outfits. It could run the risk of making you look like you’re living in some other time-period.
Love the look of a wild, ’80s neon sweater you found at the Salvation Army? Leave your sneakers and leggings at home. Rather, opt for a pair of super-sleek skinny jeans, natural hair and makeup, and a great pair of ankle boots. Found a vintage swingy midi-skirt? Style this look with modern staples like a cropped leather jacket and a sleek pair of pointy heels, as opposed to wearing a pussy-bow blouse and pearls.
Believe Tall Women Shouldn’t Wear Heels
This mandate isn’t just silly, but a little sexist as well. Stemming from a whole bunch of outdated notions—including taller height isn’t feminine, and a woman shouldn’t draw extra attention to herself—this rule is one no woman should ever follow if she doesn’t want to. We know a lot of famous women who are six feet tall and still rock them killer heels with grace (ahem, Jenna Lyons, Charlize Theron, Michelle Obama, Karlie Kloss….)
Menswear Is Just for Men
Obviously, you’re not going to pick up a suit at Rochester Big and Tall, but you’d be surprised by how many made-for-men pieces can work for you. This is very true at the most common outposts like H&M, Forever 21, Zara and J. Crew, whose men’s stuff often aren’t as trendy as their pieces for women, and offer a slightly slouchier fit.
‘Classics’ Have to Cost a Ton of Money
Most women can’t—or prefer not to—drop a ton of cash on clothes every season, even on staples we’re told will always be in style. That’s why off-price retailers such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Century 21 are so great for scoring real designer pieces at a fraction of the cost. Even several fast-fashion stores like Zara, ASOS, and Uniqlo are upping their game and quality, offering an array of timeless pieces such as wool overcoats, leather Chelsea boots, wool and sweaters, and silk blouses at very pocket-friendly prices.
High-Waist Pants Are Always Unflattering
High-waist bottoms get a bad rap, probably thanks to an unfortunate Jessica Simpson style mishap, but when worn correctly, they can trick the eye into thinking you’re taller and leaner by elongating your lower body. Slightly high-rise slim-fitting jeans that hit your ankle are the most slimming item to choose.
Sexy Means Showing Tons of Skin
If you truly believe that sexy means dressing for stereotypical men—teeny-tiny skirts, skintight dresses, low-cut tops—you’re doing yourself (and your style) a giant disservice. Love your body and want to show it off? Great! Do it in ways that are truly sexy, as opposed to flashy—tight jeans and a silky top, a long-sleeve mini-dress with ankle boots, or a great pair of heels paired with a curve-hugging pencil skirt.
Short Girls Can’t Wear Maxi Skirts
It’s common fashion tradition that small women simply can’t pull-off floor-grazing skirts and dresses, but thankfully that’s been proven entirely false. In fact, a maxi skirt with a good cut can actually give you the appearance of looking taller, as evident by petite gals, like Rachel Bilson, Rachel Zoe, and Mary-Kate Olsen. Pick solid kinds that skim the length of your body, which will create a long, vertical line (forego anything with thick pleats or too many layers). Be sure to keep your top fitted—a tucked-in T-shirt and a cropped leather jacket, for example—so as to not drown in fabric. Also, make sure the skirt’s hemline is as long as you can go without tripping, and add a pair of wedges or heels underneath.
Shorts Have No Place on the Fall and Winter
There’s something fuss-free and incredibly cool about donning a pair of shorts in winters paired with opaque black tights and ankle-high booties. Stay away from shorts in summery fabrics like eyelet and cotton, but go ahead and rock shorts made from leather, wool, jacquard, even denim cutoffs, which offer a nice change of pace from skirts when paired with boots, tights, and a chunky sweater come fall and winter.
Sneakers Are Only for the Gym
The right pair of sneakers can take you way beyond the gym and it is rightly proven by recent trends. Between slip-on sneakers (a huge trend for fall), wedge sneakers, and the rise of top bloggers and fashion insiders rocking sporty Nikes, New Balance, and Adidas kicks with everything from sleek skirts to leather pants, it’s clear that when styled with dressier pieces, sneakers can add a modern twist to an outfit that’s not comprised solely of sweats.
So the next time you go shopping keep these points in mind!