The Most Basic Fashion Rules That Everyone Should Know

Fashion can be a very complicated art. Designers are constantly coming out with different trends that change with the seasons. While there are some styles that come in and out, there are rules in place to keep these styles in check and will never leave us. These basic rules should be understood by everyone to harness these different styles so we can look our best. Let’s dissect them now.

Match Leathers: If you didn’t know to match your shoes with your belt, I am very glad you found this article. While many rules can be broken if done correctly, this one should never be altered with. Black belt? Black shoes. Brown belt? Brown shoes. Easy as that. Don’t worry if your browns are a little off, just don’t be wearing tan shoes with a dark brown belt.

Give Ties Proper Length: Ties should always be ending with the tip of the tie just touching your belt, no exceptions. Take the extra care and time to fix your tie and ensure the length is where it needs to be. The additional tries will definitely be worth the perfectly tied tie.

Do Not Match Pocket Squares and Ties: That’s right. A pocket square is meant to compliment your tie, not match it. Find something with a similar color scheme as your tie but never actually wear a pocket square that has the same material and pattern as your tie. If your tie has small black and red checkers, do not have a pocket square with small black and red checkers. The only exception is when you are dressed formally in a monochrome tie or bow tie, a plain silk pocket square of that color may be sported with it.

Wear Ties Darker than Your Shirt: This one is simple. If you have a dark blue shirt, do not wear a yellow pastel tie with it. The darker and bolder colors take the emphasis of the outfit and the tie should be the focal point. If you wear a shirt that is darker than your tie, you defeat the whole purpose of wearing a tie in the first place.

Unbutton Your Bottom Button: Unless you are of military personnel (thank you for your service), unbutton the bottom button of a suit coat or blazer. This rule has been around for centuries, so don’t think you can make it work by buttoning all of them. If you do, it makes you look tense and uptight. With a three-buttoned jacket, the top one may be undone as well, just make sure that middle one stays together.

Know the Different Dressing Lingo: If you don’t know what business casual or semi-formal means, you are not the only one. Check out The Cheater’s Guide to What Business Formal (and Other Dress Codes) Means where we dissect each of the different terms and tell you exactly how to dress for that occasion.

No Navy and Black: The only time you should wear these two colors together is when you have are wearing a navy suit. Black shoes should then be worn. Other than that, these colors are too similar and offer too little of contrast to be worn together.

No Khaki and Khaki: Just don’t do it. You’ll look like a camel.

Two Patterns per Outfit: When wearing a shirt and tie, the shirt can be vertically striped and the tie can be checkered; however, no more patterns after that or it will be overkill. And if you’re wearing a statement pattern like floral or camo, then no more patterns after that one. You will come across as if you’re begging for attention and believe me when I say you’ll get it. But it will more be people talking about how ridiculous you look, and no one wants that. One or two patterns is all you need to differentiate yourself and keep you looking good.

Own What You Wear: No matter what you are wearing, own it. Be confident in the clothes you put on your body because that confidence will make you look all that much better.


2 thoughts on “The Most Basic Fashion Rules That Everyone Should Know

  1. I like the article but I’m on the paragraph about the tie being darker than the shirt and when I look at the picture directly above it with the tie and pocket square it seems to break your rule because that tie looks lighter than the shirt and it draws your eyes less just as your advice said? Am I seeing this correct or not?


    • James, this is a great question. The shirt you are looking at has three main colors (red, black, and white). The rule of wearing ties darker than your shirts does not apply as much here because the grey tie is darker than some of the colors of the shirt but lighter than others. The “darker tie rule” is better used for simpler shirts. Does that make sense?


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