The Little Pink Book: Fashion Guidelines

I’m not one to have rules for fashion. That seems so contradictory; art can’t have rules. However, there are some simple guidelines that may help you put together outfits that work in shape and color and make you look your best.

If you wear a loose, oversized, big top then balance the outfit by wearing something more form-fitting on the bottom like skinny jeans or tights. It works the other way as well; if you’re wearing baggy jeans or a poofy skirt, then wear a form-fitting top. If you wear all loose, baggy clothing you will look like a slob. If you wear all form-fitting clothes you might risk looking a bit trashy or just plain odd. A complete outfit combines several shapes, colors and textures.

Be careful when mixing patterns. Two very similar patterns, like two different widths of stripes, can make your outfit look too patterned. Also, putting two near-exact patterns or colors next to each other might make it look like you were trying to match them, but they just look off. Sometimes you can mix two different plaids, florals, or stripes and it looks okay. This is why these are guidelines, not rules. You don’t know what looks good until you try it and see.

Lines and Cuts
I’ll admit I joined the capri-length leggings bandwagon when they became popular. Now I can see that cutting your legs mid-calf is not flattering. You have to be aware of how clothes cut your body and how they create lines. Tights that end mid-leg cut your legs into two pieces instead of one long piece, which is always more sexy and visual beautiful. Tights and leggings aren’t the only culprits. Be aware of the shapes and lines garments create on your body. In general, create long lines wherever possible.

Body Shape
Know your body. What attributes do you want to flaunt and which do you want to hide? Each body shape requires clothes than accentuate and fit that shape. One thing that works for all body types is to make your waist look like your smallest part, even if it’s not that much smaller. This illusion can be created by adding a wide belt to almost any outfit. A-line skirts (wider at the bottom than the top) will also make your waist look smaller in comparison. Another accentuation I recommend for all girls is the legs. Black tights should be a staple in your wardrobe because they go with almost anything and will make your legs look long and lean. Combine those with a short dress and heels and your legs will look endless.

As a fashionista who is always experimenting with her look, I have done my share of suffering for fashion. I’ve learned that it simply isn’t necessary, and more often than not a painful outfit will look painful. If you’re uncomfortable in too-tight or too-revealing clothes, your body language will show it. The outfit may look great when you’re standing in front of a mirror, but when you’re tugging your shirt down, or fiddling with an itchy accessory all day, you’re ruining your outfit with your behavior. It is possible to wear clothes that feel as good as they look. As for shoes, I’d recommend checking out the wide variety of shoe inserts that help prevent rubbing, slipping and pressure pain before stepping out on the town in your new impossibly-high heels. Trust me; you want to prevent scarring your feet from wearing inappropriate footwear. My feet are a mess from my fashion sins.

The most important thing about wearing any garment is the fit. The right fit can make so much difference in how you look in a garment. There’s a different between a tight or loose style of garment and just buying a garment a size smaller or bigger to create that look. If anything is uncomfortable, it doesn’t fit properly. The lines of garments should fall in the right place. For example, a loose fitting t-shirt will look slobby if the shoulder seams aren’t at your shoulders. However, you can find loose-style t-shirts that have the seams in the right places and will give you that loose, big look without looking like you’re wearing your pajama shirt in public.

Pajamas are for sleeping in. Work-out clothes are for working out in. I don’t care if you’re a busy college student and you’re only going to class. Class is in public and pajama pants are not for public viewing. Around the house, with no audience, I’m all for lying around in pajamas, sweat pants, no bra and a stained t-shirt. It’s just not appropriate for public. Even if you’re a very casual dresser and don’t care about being in style, you need to at least wear clothing and undergarments. Unless you want to be mistaken for a homeless person, put just a little effort into an outfit before you leave the house. How hard is it to put on jeans, a bra and a shirt? You may not care what people think, but it’s just cruel to make us look at you in your pajamas with your boobs flapping about under your stained, holey shirt. Have some pride in yourself and your appearance.

I went through a fashion phase where it seemed like all I was wearing was neutral colors (grey, black, white, denim). I got into this funk because whenever I went shopping, I bought things in neutral colors so that I would be able to wear each piece with anything in my existing wardrobe. While it is a good shopping tip to think how a garment will work in your wardrobe before buying, I was too worried about matching all my clothes. When I realized this, I went the total opposite direction and went color crazy. I stopped worrying about what colors went with what colors or if I had anything in the same shade at home to match something. I started combining my neutrals with my colors to create more diverse outfits. Don’t worry about colors “going together” or creating color schemes for each outfit. I think most outfits require a combination of neutrals and colors, but as far as the colors go; I say every color goes with every color. Don’t be afraid of color. Matching is overrated.

Coco Chanel said “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.” Don’t over accessorize. When in doubt; simplify. Don’t buy too many over-embellished clothes and definitely don’t wear them all at once. This is another form of balance. Balance embellished clothes and accessories with simple, basic garments. You never want to look like you’re trying too hard, so before you leave the house take one last look in the mirror and make sure you’re not over doing any aspect of your outfit. If there’s anything that looks like it doesn’t belong, take it off. Less is more.