Admit it – it’s sometimes fun to break the rules, and it’s no secret that when it comes to fashion, rules are meant to be broken. Let’s take a closer look at this past year – the year where breaking fashions norms was the norm.
White is the new black:
No “rule” is perhaps better known, overused and outdated than the notion it’s unacceptable to wear white past September. We’ve all heard the quote, “Don’t wear white after Labor Day” (I just pictured this being said by the eccentric aunt in shoulder pads and mom jeans at a family reunion) – now it’s not only acceptable, it’s a must. Don’t gasp and clutch your pearls just yet, hear me out.
Derek Lam, Chloe and Jason Wu were just a few designers showcasing winter white across runways this year. In addition, you’ve probably seen white-hot looks splashed across anything from US Weekly to gloss magazines; celebrity-inspired white-hot looks were everywhere these past few months. Breakout star and new “it” girl Margot Robbie just wore a stunning Armani Privé gown to the Wolf of Wall Street premiere last week, and America’s overexposed sweetheart Kim K showed off the color dozens of times doing what she does best, posing for the paparazzi – the most notable was the lacy, sexy Dolce and Gabbana number last month.
Of course, I’m not talking about dusting off your white jeans and pairing them with flip-flops and a tank; subtlety is crucial to rocking winter white. My rule of thumb is to pair white pieces with classic pieces. For instance, pair your go-to summer white jeans with your winter staples. The same can be said for your white pieces shoved in the back of your closet (shoes, tops, dresses, pants, etc.). Nothing oozes confidence like rocking white in the winter, not only because it’s striking and flattering, but because you are simply aware of the fact that you can and should.
Yoga Pants are the new Jeans:
Now that we’ve collectively broken the cardinal fashion “rule,” the next rule we’ve seen broken this year is the transition of fitness fashion to the streets. Face it, we live in a world where women are ordering $100 yoga pants, so why not get some use out of them? Am I right, or am I right ladies? Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief for comfortable fashion.
Jogging suits can be seen just as much on the runways as they can on the treadmill in Indiana. Alexander Wang and Stella McCartney both recently launched fitness chic lines, and mainstream retailers like Gap and Victoria’s Secret also have fitness inspired collections.
Word to the wise, it’s crucial to pair this look with classic pieces as well. For instance, invest in sweatpants that flatter your figure and keep an eye out for the ones with elastic cuffs at the ankle. The versatility of a flattering elastic sweat pant is endless. Pair it with your most comfortable heel, loafer or flat and throw on a vintage T. Go ahead, try it and watch Sandy, Marcia and Diane give you the evil eye as you strut past the PTA table to pick up little Joe Jr.
Designers are also replacing heels for Nikes across runways. Gone are the days when sneakers were only seen at the gym or used by people who pretended to skateboard or play basketball (actually, that may just be my 7th grade self talking on that last one). Now you can pair them with your favorite jeans, tops and accessories and go as casual or formal as desired.
Masculine is the new Feminine (and vice versa):
Now we have come to my favorite trend: gender neutral fashion. We’ve seen it everywhere from discount retailers like H&M to fashionistas like Rihanna – hell even the hip hop world is embracing their feminine side (I’m talking to you Kanye). In addition, there’s a laundry list of designers featuring their androgynous fashion styles – Chanel, McQueen, Valentino, Donna Karen just to name a few.
Like most fashion trends, this is nothing new; however, this trend stems all the way back to the 16th century. Did you know high heels were actually designed and first worn by men? Heels were a symbol of power and status; a man with a heel would never be caught dead doing manual labor. How could he? Have you ever tried to mow the lawn in 4” platforms? I didn’t think so. No one apparently knew this better than good ole’ King Louis XIV, who, rumor has it, had a heel collection that would make Carrie Bradshaw quiver in jealously. Anyway, something called the Great Male Renunciation happened – this brought further separation in gender roles in society and fashion. Men traded their bright colors and grandiose fabrics for somber colors and subtle fabrics.
Now I’d like to officially announce the end of the Great Male Renunciation. Men, can you believe floral is in? I mean, I can believe it, but can you? Let’s take a moment of silence and embrace our femininity.
Okay, now that that’s over, let’s get into this no rule “rule.” I’d like to thank the original hipsters for embracing their femininity circa 2005. Remember when guys wearing skinny jeans would turn heads? Now we all embrace the lack of circulation in the crotch for the name of fashion. The skinny jean spawned into men wearing pastels (who could forget the bros sporting “real men wear pink” t-shirts from their beloved Abercrombie & Fitch). Fast-forward a mere few years later and, boom, men can wear floral: floral button tops, pants and shoes – you name it. However, always remember my rule in the land of no rules: mix the trendy with the classic. There’s no excuse to dress like your great aunt (Remember the one with the shoulder pads?) – too much of a good thing equals one hot mess. Pair a floral button up with classic jeans and your favorite casual or formal shoe, or pair a floral shoe with classic jeans and a subtle top.
Okay, where my ladies at? Men’s hipster jeans were your boyfriend jeans. Boyfriend jeans spawned the marvelous oversized trend: oversized tops, outerwear, suit pants, you name it. Nothing is more chic than a jean that fits a woman like a glove, paired with an oversized t-shirt and fitted jacket. On the other hand, pair an oversized jacket and fitted pant. Remember my “rule” of pairing trendy with the classic – too much oversized pieces in one outfit and people will confuse you with the bag lady on 1st and Maine.
One last point I’m going to address with androgynous fashion: women rocking masculine suits and tuxedos. Nothing is sexier than a woman confidently wearing a suit. If you haven’t done this, do it now. What are you waiting for? Nothing will be more satisfying than walking into Monday’s board meeting dressed similar to the men, while looking better than men ever will. The sky is the limit ladies – grab the loafers, fedoras and ties because this trend is here to stay.
Whew – wasn’t that exciting? It’s fun to break the rules, especially in fashion. Like everything in popular culture, fashion goes through ebbs and flows and trends come and go, but one thing always rings true: fashion is wearable art. Fashion can represent something far greater than itself. This year we’ve seen a shift in consciousness and fashion, and I cannot wait to see what next year brings. I hope you all have a safe and happy new year. As always, in fashion and in life, be the change you want to see in the world!