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7 Dated Style Guidelines…Really

7 Dated Style Guidelines…Really

They say fashion is for today, style is forever but here are seven dated style guidelines according to Angie at YouLookFab blog that I and other readers would question. And while it is true that style rules often reflect the era in which they were first voiced, some are timeless and do transcend many eras. Cultures change and technology changes; both are strong influences on fashion and ultimately style, but do not throw away that which shows good taste in every era

We’re living in an era that is accepting and encouraging of all sorts of outfit juxtapositions, colors, fabrications, silhouettes and combinations. Never before has there been as much variety in fashion and style as there is right now. Although the fashion industry has a long way to go, it’s also more diverse than it used to be. All this to say that there is absolutely no one way to be stylish. That’s the style principle that grows stronger each year.

As a result, the style guidelines that ruled supreme as recently as five years ago are dated now. Today the goal is to create an open-minded fashion and style world that is relatable, manageable, affordable, practical, sustainable and fun. Here are seven guidelines that aren’t as important as they used to be.

A Polished Style is Best

A polished appearance used to be the pinnacle of style. Fashionable clothing that is pressed and fits to perfection. Immaculate make-up, pristine nail polish, coiffed hair, glowing skin, and a graceful demeanour. Tidy, sharp, scented and having excellent posture at all times. Power to those who can achieve a polished style naturally and with ease, but it’s only one way to go, and not the best way if it causes you stress and discomfort. To that I say, too bad. I have little sympathy with those that won’t learn which is compounded unfortunately by the fact they are not being taught either. There are plenty of role models if you just look for them.

These days having a more forgiving style that is “rough around the edges” (RATE) is considered just as fashionable and stylish by the younger generation millenials. A RATE style is often more achievable, and can look interesting, gritty, and urban. Case in point: Many models these days are styled with messy hair and look deliberately dishevelled. Unfortunately dishevelled has regressed into sloppy and they haven’t learned that more casual can still be stylish

polished and dishevelled looks

L-Polished look R-Disheveled look

This comment from a senior citizen strikes a note with me too. “I am glad that a lot of rules are gone, especially since I am a very senior citizen and my body is unable to “obey” the rules. On another side, much of “style” looks very sloppy, unkempt, and plain rude to the observers, it often makes me wonder how so many nice clothes are sold in stores and where they are being worn. Even before I moved to the “country”(10 years ago), a trip to a public place made wonder how people could spend so much on clothes and look so ill kempt. I have never understood why worn looking jeans with more holes than fabric, are a fashion statement, holes in clothes still mean “poverty” to me. And wearing such sloppy clothing to dressy events still says the wearer has no respect for the occasion or the person sponsoring it. Nice clothes ALWAYS show respect!”

Herein lies part of the problem as the attitude of those raised in the 60s during a period of great cultural change, no longer respect the earlier traditions and it shows in their work ethic, their dress and their “just me” attitudes.

Don’t Wear White After Labor Day & Before Memorial Day

I read about this dressing guideline thirteen years ago. At first I thought it wasn’t serious — it was that foreign to me. But it was, and I’ve had several readers ask me how I felt about it over the years. WEAR WHITE YEAR ROUND in all wardrobe items and here’s proof you can totally wear white after Labor Day. Of course, living in the tropics, as I do, helps 🙂

wearing white year around

L-summer white R-winter white

Stick to Seasonally Appropriate Colors 

There is no need to stick to a rigid color palette that reflects the season. Wear brights and pastels in Autumn and Winter. Wear grey, black and earth tones in Spring and Summer. The guideline is to wear the colors that make you happy throughout the year because your colors are always in style. And although I know ‘any color any season’ I still find it hard to ‘clash’ with the season. Love my light blue leather bomber in the spring, and my rust leather jacket for the fall.

seasonal colors

Only Dress for Your Body Type

body types

Body type dressing guidelines were extremely popular about ten years ago. And while they do provide a solid starting point if you want to create traditionally flattering outfit proportions that are visually balanced and slimming, you don’t have to stick to them to look fabulous. These days, it’s a much better idea to come up with an individual set of figure flattering priorities that makes you feel fab in outfits. That way you shouldn’t feel restricted and “left out” when you love a trend and want to wear it, but your body type guidelines suggest otherwise. Finding the version of a trend that works for you is a much more open and accepting approach to style. Just as it should be.

One reader commented ” The body type guideline still rules for me, I don’t like a complete disconnection between clothes and body, though I understand how liberating it must be to just wear the clothes you love, regardless how they fit you. Isn’t that the point of dressing by body type. For a fuller understanding, check out our Body Shape Compendium in the Library

Always Create Tall, Slim, Hourglass Proportions 

Just like you don’t need to stick to body type dressing guidelines to look fabulous, you don’t need to wear outfits that make you look taller, slimmer and curvier to look stylish. Creating proportions that are “just flattering enough” is the modern approach to dressing, and more interesting and creative too. While I buy into this approach for dressing somewhat, the author promotes slouchy silhouettes, oversized fits, shortened leg lines, shortened heights, surrendered waistlines, and horizontal integrity to add a whole lot of sass, ease and comfort to your style. That’s just what we need so that we can forget about our outfits and and get on with our day. Hence the sloppy American woman we have today.

hourglass shape

A knowledge of fashion and particularly proportions can help you emulate that most desired hourglass look and still be classy and comfortable. For the trans woman, this is still a desirable way to achieve recognition as a woman.

Heeled Footwear Elevates an Outfit 

Less than ten years ago, you were at a stylish disadvantage if you couldn’t wear heels because they were thought to kick most outfits up a notch. These days, flat footwear and low heels up to an inch and half are as stylish and on trend as ever. You can wear them with anything. In fact, because dressy flats are widely available, there is no reason to wear heeled footwear unless you prefer the vibe and they make your feet happy. But don’t underestimate that vibe as we see in the article on the Trump women in stilettos.

types of heels

Less is More

You might prefer simple outfits that are visually minimal, but they’re not the stylish benchmark anymore. Eight years ago, it was a faux pas to wear more than one animal printed item in an outfit. These days the only limit to the number of patterns, accessories and colors in an outfit is your own tolerance for the combination.


We all have our preferences, but no one wants to be boxed into only one way of creating a stylish appearance. The PERSONAL in personal style reigns supreme. Empowering, liberating and modern.

A word of caution however. Too personal a style will not get you ahead in a work environment except perhaps the fashion industry. Flamboyant styles and revealing clothing are distracting and often violate company dress codes for all too obvious reasons to include a look of professionalism.

Don’t forget that rules have benefits too. It takes the awkwardness out of new situations when you don’t know what to expect.

I like this summary from another reader: Datedness” is far more a matter of attitude than it is about a specific cut or style or trend. If our attitude is one that embraces the new while retaining essentials that really work for us, we’ll always be stylish.

Now if only the culture will get away from pushing the need to look youthful and embrace grey hair, expanding middles, and wrinkles more fully.



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