So…do you dress by the rules?
I do – most of the time. I don’t always know I’m doing it, but by god they’ve gotten under my skin.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll put thought into your outfits: whether you’re going for comfort, sex appeal, professionalism or kookiness, you’ll have an idea about heel height, silhouette or accessories. On the other hand, you’ll just be drawn to certain types of items: you simply can’t resist the drape of a pleated skirt or an animal print harem pant – and if you have to stick two fingers up at the rulebook, then so be it.
"Rules?! What rules?!"
I for one thought there was no rhyme or reason to my more daring outfits (and I use ‘daring’ in the loosest possible terms – I ain’t no Agyness Deyn), but was intrigued to learn otherwise. Being a total geek (and a narcissist, apparently) I asked Steph from the Dashing Eccentric to give her opinion on my fave outfits using her outfit analysis checklist, which she tends to use in the following way:
“I analyze a look of mine that I really like, and come up with my ‘rule’ from the results. Then I use this ‘recipe’ to shop my closet for new looks that have a similar underlying structure… looking at my wardrobe in a new way often results in new, great looks which have nothing to do with my ‘recipe’ – this process sparks creativity.”
Riding on the success of my jumpsuit experiment, I emailed her my post on how Marni helped me find my fashion formula. You can read her full post on my outfit here: Mrs Bossa Gets it Done – let her know what you think!
Faux pas #1: rolled-up trousers on a short person: rather than an unflattering decision for my legs, Steph reads it as a way of toying with silhouette:
"Just a little to the side of a 'classic' fit/silhouette, with certain unexpected details in where hems hit... trousers are rolled into cuffs, even though they're being worn with socks."
This would also explain my love of ankle boots with dresses, and of long long gloves with cropped sleeves.
And on the subject of socks: Faux pas #2: socks with sandals: whereas Trinny and Susannah would screech in horror at such a thing, it can actually make a more positive statement:
"The accessories all have a geometric feel...The pointy triangles on the sandals are made emphatic by wearing a contrasting sock underneath."
Yay me! And the sock success – should that be socksess?! – continues with Faux pas #3: knee socks on a 30 year-old:
"Wearing nubby socks instead of hose, leaving a gap between hem and sock - these are the touches that set these looks apart from the ordinary."
Who knew that a flash of shin could tip the balance?!
Faux pas #4: Chunky necklace and high neck on a top-heavy lady: Those two would rip off the jewellery and have me in a v-neck tout de suite. However, Steph thinks it’s quirky…
"Joanna uses another quirky strategy for creating the 'background' in her skirt look, by 'backgrounding' pieces which are generally highlighted in outfits, ie black necklace on black sweater."
My silhouette may be more ‘classic’ or rules aware, but my accessorising has made just that tiny bit of difference.
As I’ve said, my ‘rule-breaking’ is very gentle – there are far wilder dressers out there – but the crucial element to any outfit is comfort. I don’t mean pyjamas win hands down, but I do mean you can only wear what you love and feel good in. Some people’s rule-breaking will involve neon or spray-on leather, but I feel my own little touches – a rolled hem, a pair of knee socks, a carefully-chosen necklace – inject that essential sense of ‘me’ into what I wear.
So what’s my point? My point is: pick and choose your rules. If you’re going to use them, make them work for you.
How do you ‘break’ the rules?
What are the little touches that make a outfit ‘you’?
Look out for part 3 – fabulous outfits from fabulous ladies…and what they think of ‘dressing for your shape’…
Recommended blog posts:
Mrs Bossa Does the Do: Dressing for Your Shape #1 and Dressing for Your Shape #3
The Styling Dutchman: You Can’t Argue with Taste
Arash Mazinani: My Beef with Body Shapes
By Anika: Who Gets to Label Me and my Worth? I Do!