So here are the style commandments as delivered by my mother (in no particular order):
- Thou shalt not wear white between Labor Day and Memorial Day (cliché, yes, but people lived and died by this one)
- Thou shalt not mix patterns. (florals+stripes = tacky, tacky, tacky!)
- Thine shoes and bag
shall matchethshalt match.
- If thou be of corpulent stature, thou shalt not wear any of the following: horizontal stripes, bright colors, shirts tucked in, two-piece bathing suits, sleeveless shirts, large prints.
- If thou desirest not to be marked as a harlot, thou shalt not wear any of the following: red nail polish, (think this one may have been a family quirk), tight sweaters, animal prints, or anything with rhinestones.
- Thine patent leather shoes are to be worn for Sundays, holidays and parties only.
- Thou shalt not pierce thine ears or wear dangly earrings during the daylight hours. (part of that harlot thing again...so many of the rules were about not looking like a Girl Who Does It)
- Thou shalt not wear black and brown together. (it's like matter and anti-matter, dude, it'll tear a hole in the time-space continuum!)
- If thou be over 40, thou shalt cut thine hair short.
- Thou shalt not wear black, except to funerals and cocktail parties.
Fun, huh? No wonder the 60's "do-your-own-thing" fashion movement hit with such a vengeance. Since then, fashion rules may emerge for a time, but then get thrown back into the Fashion Marketing Cuisinart and re-emerge in different form every couple of years. One year, high waisted jeans are to be shunned as the mark of a fashion leper, the next they are au courrant. Trying to keep up with the rules would mean reinventing yourself every few years, and unless you're Madonna, that's not good for either the wallet or the psyche.
So over the years this femme has evolved (and devolved) some commandments of her own. While I may stray on occasion, these are the guidelines I generally return to that help me feel grounded. These work for me based on my body type (short and curvy) and the styles/silhouettes that appeal to me. So here are my own Style Commandments, New Testament version (also in no particular order):
- Thou shalt eschew the Frou-Frou. (I'm just not the ruffles and lace type)
- Thou mayest wear the spots of the leopard, but thou shalt wear only one animal print at a time.
- Thou shalt Step. Away. From. The. Gaucho. Pants.
- Thou shalt remember the amortization factor. Dividest the price of the item by the probable number of times thou wilt wear it to help decidest whether to whip out the plastic.
- A little bit of lycra is thy friend. Empire waists, not so much.
- Thou shalt not wear anything that results in physical discomfort.
- Classics shall be the foundation of thy work wardrobe; useth more trendy accessories to minimize the Stodgy Factor.
- Make this thy mantra: when in doubt, simpler is better, less is more.
- Thou shalt shun the matchy-matchy.
- Thou shalt buy what fits and flatters, regardless of the size on the tag.
What are your Commandments of Style? Do they change from year to year, or remain pretty consistent?