Three Fashion Rules Everyone Should Follow

Have you ever looked at an outfit and can’t figure out why it’s not working, chances are it’s because you’re breaking one of these fashion rules. I'm combing all the fashion advice I've shared in pieces over the last few years in various posts here in one place. Be sure to read my Effortless Spring Style post for more tips. The idea is understanding the importance of balancing our the proportions of an outfit and what styles and colors work best with your body type so that you look amazing every day. In this post I'm going to cover personal color palettes, body shapes,  and the rule of thirds. 

1. Color Palette

Do you know which colors flatter your skin tone? Have you done a color analysis to determine if your undertones are warm or cool?  It's a game changer to figure out what colors are going to make you look radiant and which colors are going to wash you out. Chances are you don't look your best in every shade of the rainbow. So knowing your colors and creating a personal color palette makes it much easier to not buy colors that aren't best suited for you. A color palette is important in defining your personal style. 

I had a seasonal color analysis done to determine which colors look best on me. When you wear the right colors that flatter your skin tone, you will glow in those colors and look vibrant verses looking drab in the shades that don't flatter you.  My color palette is called dark winter and thus bright jewel tones are considered much better for my skin. When you know your colors, you can easily plan your wardrobe color palette which helps you buy clothes that easily mix and match because they have the same amount of color saturation. Which in turn saves you money as you're making better purchases because you're only wearing colors that make you look good. Thus, allowing you to feel great with minimal effort. I’ve purchased a few new items in emerald green since that’s in my color palette and I really never wore that color before, I was all about olive green before. Purple is my power color! 

For many years I kept buying  undereye concealer with yellow undertones because I naturally assumed since I have tan skin I must have yellow undertones. While the product was my skin color, it always looked yellow on my skin. I kept trying different colors trying to figure out why I couldn't find a match, until I finally discovered that I had pink undertones! 

Even lipstick selection is according to undertones. You can't just go out and buy the same shade Taylor Swift is wearing, it might not look good on you! I wear red lipsticks with a blue undertone (right side), but you may look better in a red lipstick with an orange undertone (left side). 

I used to think red clothing didn't look good on me me even though its such a power color on other people. Then I realized I was wearing the wrong shades of red! The red shades below are my cool, blue toned reds that look best on me. It's a range of shades in-between bright true red and burgundy; very niche, but once I realized this I know what I can't buy online because it will look off on me. Let me tell you these shades are hard to find. Most clothing is either bright true red (which is a primary color) or burgundy. Knowing your best red is going to help you select clothing that will look best next to your face, so find your best red!

2. Body Shape

I have a long torso which I discovered as a child as I had to buy special "long torso" swimsuits or else they didn't pull up all the way. While I'm 5'6, not short, I do read up on petite dressing tips since I have short legs that I want to look leaner.  

With a long torso the goal is to visually create a balanced and proportionate silhouette by defining the waistline and adding volume or structure. Think dresses with empire waistlines. You want to draw attention upwards with necklaces and strong shoulders. V neck tops break up the length of a long torso. Off the shoulder tops draw attention to your collarbone and create width to the upper body. Tuck your shirts in so your body proportions are 1/3 top and 2/3 bottom. Rectangle body shapes should also have a good stash of belts and abuse them. Wearing a shirt with interesting sleeves create more movement in my silhouette. Wearing bold earrings brings the attention up. 

I'm a rectangle which means my shoulder, waist and hip measurements are all about the same. I feel there's a lot of debate about apple shape. I think apple is when you have a found top half with large bust a pronounced belly with lean legs. But a lot of people who have just a bit of a tummy just default to apple which I don't think is accurate because I think you can have a little belly on rectangle as long as its proportionate to your overall size.

My waist isn't perfectly square like Hilary's, I have small dips so slightly tapered.  When I was in college I used to look up different weight routines to get hourglass shaped abs, I had no idea that my skeletal shape predisposed me to have a wide rib cage. So on clothing measurement charts, my waist always measures larger than my size.

Balance Your Silhouette
Once you understand your body shape, shopping and styling clothes become easier because you know how to best dress for your body shape to flatter and balance out your outfits so that they look symmetrical.

Examples of a rectangle body type are Kate Middleton, Kate Hudson, Rosario Dawson, Cameron Diaz, Anne Hathaway, Hilary Duff and Jennifer Garner. Rectangle is the ideal body shape of a supermodel. Hence clothes are made for that body shape and why I have always had ease in buying clothes off the rack because everything always fits me in my size.   

With a rectangle body shape I discovered that for my body shape a bootcut, straight leg or flare jean  complements my shape best. Skinny jeans actually make your thighs look bigger than they are, while a flare pant help to balance out your body when you have super skinny calves (which I do).   Bootcut and flare leg pants balance out your shoulders and waistline because they match the width on the top of your body so it’s almost a straight line. Skinny jeans accentuate the widest parts of your body. With straight leg jeans you can create the illusion of longer, leaner lines. So instead of drawing your eye side to side in the widest part of your body in skinny jeans,  in straight leg jeans your eyes are getting drawn up and down, giving the illusion of a taller leaner fit. 

Aim for your jeans to hit at your ankle or slightly above your ankle if you're wearing sneakers with them. It just looks the most flattering.  You could also cuff the jeans by folding them over. The key is to show some skin, having a one inch gap of skin between your shoes and your jeans just looks nicer.  Do you see how the photo on the right it just doesn't look as nice, kind of gives a dad vibe. Show your ankles when you wear sneakers; do this by pairing with cropped jeans so it will have a leg elongated effect. If your jeans cover the top half of your chunky sneakers, it leaves no definition of the ankle.

Another tip is to not wear black shoes with any color besides a black outfit because it visually cuts off your legs from the rest of your body and makes you look bottom heavy. A high contrast between your pants and shoe will make you look stumpy. Stay away from contrasting shoes and opt for either a matching shoe color to your pants or go for nude shoes  as they make the eye believe your feet are part of your legs. Pointy shoes make the length of your outfit continue to go and make you look taller. Sometimes a chunky shoe gives more balance than ballet flats. Ankle boots with dresses cut off your leg and make them look short and stubby, go for a longer boot to elongate your legs.

When you wear tops with shoulder pads, it makes your waist look smaller because it creates an hourglass shape illusion. When styling your blazers, roll up the sleeves to show your wrists because its the smallest part of your body and adds to your femininity and daintiness.  A single button blazer is good for larger bust and looks sleeker. You don't want your blazer too long because then it makes your legs look short. The blazer should be 1 inch above the crotch.  In fact with all sweaters, I highly recommend rolling up sleeves  to get some definition in the wrist.

3. Rule of Thirds

The Rule of thirds is the best ratio to the eye.  Dividing the body into thirds creates a more interesting look than if you divide it up into half. I like to do 1/3 of top and 2/3 on bottom. Avoid putting the visual break of your outfit smack in the middle as it can make you look frumpy.

Because I have shorter legs and I want to extend the length of my legs visually because I feel that balances out my proportions more. I can easily do this by tucking in my shirt or wearing a cropped shirt. I tuck in all of my sweaters and if it's too bulky to tuck into my pants, I wear a belt on top of my sweater, then pull out the sweater to crop it. Thus the sweater is tucked into the belt, which is hidden, instead of my pants. This trick makes my legs look longer and my body more proportionate.

Cinched in dresses at the waist create this rule because the fullness of skirt and top create dimension where it divides the dress into 1/3 and 2/3rds.  Here is an example of an empire waist dress that breaks the body up into 1/3 top and 2/3 bottom. If you were an outfit that cuts you in half, it would  not be a flattering look 

If something feels off in your outfit, than you need to play with the proportions. To create a cohesive look use the rule of thirds  If you ever looked at an outfit and can’t figure out why it’s not working, chances are it’s because you’re breaking one of these fashion rules. 

Related links

The Power of the Statement Ring

Cool Girl Fall Fashion Trends 2023

My Hat Collection

No comments