9 Old Pieces of Fashion Advice That Just Aren’t True Anymore

Wake up, universe! It's the twenty-first century! The so-called "cardinal rules of fashion" are more or less a thing of the past. We're not telling you to wear Chubbies to weddings and wear your shirts inside out on the weekends, but we are saying that a lot of the fashion advice you got way back in the day simply isn't accurate anymore. Things like...

1. “Don’t mix brown and black or navy and black.”

Your look will work as long as you mix these colors deliberately and carefully. You're just trying to avoid looking like you got dressed in the dark. Additionally, it’s easier to combine brown and black or navy and black if the colors are relatively far apart in your outfit. For example, it’s easier to pull off brown sunglasses and black shoes than brown pants and black shoes. Pay attention as well to clothing textures and the base tones of these colors.

2. “Don’t let your friends influence your shopping decisions. Always shop solo.”

Never go shopping for clothes alone. Salespeople often work on commission and cannot be trusted to give an honest opinion. A good shopping partner will tell you the truth. Are those jeans overpriced? Does that jacket make you look too young or too old? Will you ever actually get a chance to wear that tie, those cufflinks, that sweater? Your shopping partner can keep you on track and looking good. Of course, it’s fine to politely disagree when you really don’t agree with what your shopping partner thinks about the clothes you’ve picked out.

3. “If you wear a pocket square, make sure it matches your tie.”

Pocket squares are often misunderstood and misused. You just want your pocket square to complement whatever you’re wearing. Still confused? Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re wearing a charcoal grey suit jacket, white dress shirt, and blue tie. You wouldn’t have to wear a blue pocket square. You could alternatively wear a pocket square that’s white, red, gold--anything you can find that would complement your outfit. Consider consulting one of these helpful guides to find colors that go together.

4. “You need to wash your jeans just as often as any other type of clothing.”

Wash your jeans as seldom as possible to avoid making them lose their shape. Once a month is fine. Sprinkle baking soda on your jeans and lay them out in the sunlight for a few hours to eliminate any odor. Spot-clean stains. When it comes time to give your jeans a good wash, avoid using your washer and dryer. They can shrink, discolor, and malform your jeans.

5. “A great tie makes any suit.”

A great fit, cut, fabric, and construction make the suit. You could have the nicest tie in the world, but if you’re drowning in a mustard yellow leisure suit, forget it.

6. “It doesn’t make a difference what socks you wear as long as your shirt and pants look nice.”

Put away those novelty musical light-up socks! You can wear those on your day off. When you’re dressing for work, match your socks to your pants to avoid clashing your socks with your shoes. You'll look snazzy, we promise. Feel free to use cool socks to express your taste when you’re off the clock. Sock fashion is bigger than ever, as ridiculous as that sounds.

7.  “Horizontal stripes will always make you look larger.”

Horizontal stripes are popular in fashion design for a reason: they make for really wearable patterns. The narrower the stripes, the less of a widening effect. Wear very thin stripes--think seersucker thin--if you’re nervous about looking bigger but still want to wear horizontal stripes.

8. “You can wear the same shoes every day, as long as you clean them every month."

Switch up your shoes daily, and clean shoes weekly or more often if needed. You'll get more use out of your shoes. I know it's tempting to wear your favorite shoes every day, but resist! It's not worth it! Trust me, if you take good care of your shoes, they’ll look nice and feel great for a long time. If you don’t trust yourself to maintain your shoes, you can always get a cobbler to do it. Use a business listing service like Yelp to find someone qualified near you.

9. “Handkerchiefs/Tie clips/[Insert accessory here] are an old man’s game! Don’t even bother.”

Accessories make the outfit.  Please wear whatever accessories you want as long as you are presenting yourself in a manner appropriate to your age and style situation. Don’t buckle to trends. Wear whatever makes you feel like the best version of yourself.

Fashion isn't the same game it was 30 years ago.  Don't be afraid to look for new tips to upgrade your style game. Someday we'll all be wearing identical full-body nano-carbon suits, but we're not there yet. Until then, stay stylish.