For the most part, we're big believers in the idea that fashion rules are meant to be broken. Your personal style is all about expressing your creativity and wearing the things that make you feel your best, so if that includes sporting your favorite white pants all year round or mixing gold and silver jewelry, we say to go for it.
That being said, if you're hoping to dress to impress, there are still a handful of things that fall into the "faux pas" category when it comes to fashion. So we asked stylist Christina Stein to walk us through some of the most common fashion mistakes she sees, from the styling error that can create an unflattering look to the storage mistake that could be shortening the lifespan of your clothes.
Not tucking in your shirt
If your items aren't tailored, tucking in your top can be a great way to help define your body, Stein says. What it comes down to is the "rule of thirds," which is a popular concept in art and photography, but can also be applied to fashion. "When you leave your top untucked, you're actually messing with the rule of thirds on your body, because you're not really defining any point on your body for the eye to go to," Stein says.
Unless you're wearing extremely tight bottoms, where the fabric of the shirt might bunch, Stein says that tucking in your shirt works "95 percent of the time."
"Usually, that's a very tiny thing that we can change to make an outfit look better, just tucking in your shirt. It looks more presentable and it looks neater," Stein says.
Forgetting to remove the tacking stitch on a coat
If you've ever bought a new coat and wondered what that "x" sewn onto the back was, it's a tacking stitch. And in case you didn't know, you should be taking it off. "That's the first thing that you clip the second you get your jacket," Stein says. "[The stitches] are not there for fashion, they're there for function." Basically, they help hold the vents on the back of the jacket together, so that they don't get messed up or wrinkled during shipping.
If you the stitching on, you might get some weird looks from the in-the-know people that you pass on the street. But that's not the only reason to make the cut — it helps you move around in your coat more easily when you have them clipped, Stein adds.
Following antiquated fashion rules
There are certain fashion rules that we've heard time and time again that just don't hold up any more. One big one? Putting the white items in your wardrobe away after Labor Day.
It's a pretty outdated idea — the rule was originally created to set apart the upper class of society, Stein explains. "I tell people to wear white all year round," she says. So consider this the permission you've been waiting for to bring out the white jeans or crisp white button-down this spring.
Another fashion rule that you may have heard is that you shouldn't mix certain colors and patterns, namely combining black and brown (or navy) or stripes and polka dots. "I think that those myths are very old school, I don't think there's a lot of truth to that anymore," Stein says.
When it comes to mixing those patterns, the key lies in having a common color. "Let's say you have a white polka dot and blue shirt, make sure that the stripes in the striped jacket are navy blue, and then you can have fun with the other colors."
Under-dressing for the occasion
There's nothing worse than showing up for a big event, and realizing that you should have gone with that flow-y dress instead of jeans and a tee. "I tell people to overdress all the time," Stein says. It's better to show up to something looking polished and elegant than overly casual. It'll help you stand out, in a good way.
Ignoring the wash instructions on your clothes
When it comes to caring for your clothes, one common mistake that Stein says she often sees people make is not reading the tag of their clothes. If something says dry clean only, hand wash, or air dry, you should probably stick to that. "That's how you're going to get the most out of your wardrobe," she adds.
Washing your jeans too often
On that same note, she adds that she often sees people over-drying their jeans. "You should really just be washing your jeans on delicate and letting them air dry if you have to wash them," she explains.
The more you wash and dry them, the faster they'll fade and the weaker the material will become. That's why one laundry expert previously told us that the perfect number of wearings between washes is actually around nine or 10 — of course, you should wash them more often if they are visibly dirty or start to smell.
Hanging your sweaters
If you put your sweaters directly onto the hangers, it can actually cause them to stretch out and lose their shape. Meaning, you'll likely end up having to replace them more often (and might end up with some stretched-out necklines). "My preference is to fold them, but that's judging on how much space somebody has," Stein says. If you don't have room in your wardrobe for all your sweaters, you can still hang them — just drape them over the bar of the hanger instead of hanging them the traditional way, she suggests.
Not storing your clothes the right way
We're reaching the point when many of us are starting to pack away our winter clothes for the season. But if you're not storing them the right way, you may find that when you bring them back out in November, they're not in as good of shape as they once were. "People will put their stuff in their attic and, depending on the climate that they live in, they'll bring this stuff down from the attic [months later] and it's destroyed or discolored," Stein notes.
Things like sunlight or moths can wreak havoc on your clothes while they're in storage. That's why she recommends storing your clothes in non-transparent plastic bins with locking systems on top so nothing can get inside.
Along with the above advice, we rounded up some products that will help you avoid any future fashion faux pas, from wrinkle removers to storage solutions.
Tide Instant Stain Remover Liquid Pen
There's nothing worse than leaving the house only to realize that some of your breakfast ended up on your shirt. After all, even the smallest stains will make your outfits look more drab than fab. Thankfully, these stain removing pens are designed to work against all kinds of food-related accidents, from coffee to wine, juice, chocolate and more. You'll get three in a pack, so you can have one in your bag, one in your bedroom and one at the office, so you'll be ready to tackle stains, whenever they happen.
Downy WrinkleGuard Wrinkle Release Fabric Spray
A wrinkled top can ruin your outfit. But if you don't have time to iron, this spray is the perfect solution. Simply spray it on the fabric and smooth it with your hand to eliminate wrinkles. The brand says that it also helps to eliminate static and eliminate odor with its fresh scent.
Coquimbo Sewing Kit
With this kit, you'll be able to tackle fashion emergencies, from small rips to missing buttons, before they turn into serious faux pas. It comes with everything you need for basic repairs, including needles, different colors of thread, scissors, buttons, threader tools, a seam ripper and more.
Granny Says 3-Shelf Hanging Closet Organizer
If you don't have room in your wardrobe to store all your folded sweaters, instead of hanging them on a standard hanger, keep them in this hanging closet organizer. It has three shelves and can be collapsed and brought along in your suitcase for travel.
Rubbermaid Roughneck Storage Containers
Keep your clothes looking their best between seasons with these storage containers. They have snap-on lids and are built to withstand intense temperature changes from zero to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, they're designed to stack on top of each other for easier storage.
Conair Fabric Shaver and Lint Remover
Never get caught wearing a pilled sweater or a jacket covered in lint again! This fabric shaver and lint remover is designed to quickly and easily shave fuzz, pilling and lint from sweaters, other clothes and furniture. And don't just take our word for it — more than 79,700 shoppers have given the affordable tool a perfect five-star rating!
Meet our expert
- Christina Stein is a stylist and founder of Style By Christina.