I like to consider myself to be a fairly well-dressed individual. I tend to follow the typical fashion rules and don’t usually leave the house unless I’m looking semi-acceptable. And although I think I’m pretty fashion savvy, I’ll never turn my head away from learning new fashion and clothing tricks. As it turns out, there are many common fashion mistakes out there, and I’m definitely guilty of a few of the ones that appear on this list. But fortunately, for every fashion mistake, there exists an amazing and helpful tip! So if you’re ready to step up your outfit game and discover if you’ve been making some of these fashion faux pas too, keep reading for a list of common fashion mistakes and how to correct them.
2. You believe white shouldn’t be worn after labor day.
Ladies, listen up: This is an antiquated rule that shouldn’t be followed. As countless designers and fashion stars have proved during the past few seasons, white isn’t only appropriate when the weather turns chilly, but also amazingly fresh and modern. One thing to keep in mind when tackling the white-in-winter trend: It’s all about the fabric. Lighter textiles such as white cotton, linen, canvas, and seersucker will look out of place during fall and winter, so be sure you’re reaching for white wool, cashmere, fur, mohair, flannel, silk, and leather.
3. Stick & Conceal
4. Markdown Mania
5. Cuff Correctly
6. Closet-Disorder Disorder
Piling multiple tops onto a single hanger, over-stuffing drawers, and cramming hanging rods so tightly that the jaws of life are required to extract clothes. Plumbing the depths feels so overwhelming, you default to grabbing what’s just out of the laundry—which means that you end up wearing the same things over and over and over again.
First, carve out and honor an off-season storage spot. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Attic, basement, a spare dresser, under-bed bins—whatever you can make happen. Twice a year, move off season clothes out of sight. During this transition time, get rid of what no longer fits, suits your life, or makes you happy. And to ensure that you never (again?) end up with 12 pairs of black pants, organize the winners first by type and then by color. Use the correct hanger for the task: Lightweight, flat flocked hangers work for thin, light tops; sturdier hangers maintain the shape and structure of coats and blazers. Heavy knit sweaters and dresses will stretch if hung; instead, fold them and store in drawers or on shelves. Protect trousers from those telltale knee creases by hanging them from the bottom, on clip-style trouser hangers. Store handbags (emptied of pens, gum, and anything else that might leak or attract pests) on a shelf separated with clear dividers or, if you have no shelf space, on large S-hooks on the closet rod.
7. You always buy the same size in clothes
As any woman who’s shopped high-fashion and fast-fashion knows, sizing can vary tremendously according to store, brand, and item. Cheaper clothing typically runs way bigger, making it common for a woman to wear, say, a size Large at Forever 21, but still be a size 2 in Stella McCartney. Don’t sweat the number—pay attention to how things look on your body instead.
8. Purse Paralysis
Carrying your everyday bag to a wedding, schlep ping your work tote to a weekend party, or sporting a dark leather bag with a bright sun dress in July— you know, failing to change your bag regardless of season or occasion. You tell yourself that you can’t be bothered. (It’s such a pain! Who wants to think about it?) But inside you know that it’s an easy fix that will make a difference. Still, assembling (or paring down to) the right collection can be tricky. So the thought cycle continues.
9. Tall Boot Trick
10. Attachment Disorder
You refer to a certain sweater, jacket, or pair of jeans as your best friend. When you look back through your selfies or when people tag you on Facebook, you always seem to be wearing said friend. You are experiencing creeping doubts about the health of this relationship.
Therefore, take a good, hard look at old faithful, and consider if it’s still earning its keep. If you have even once said to yourself, “Oh, no one will notice this stain/rip/fraying,” it’s time for a second opinion. Ask an honest and kind friend (of the human variety) to weigh in on its style (does it look up to date?) and attractiveness (does it flatter you?). It’s possible you have a genuine classic on your hands, something worth the investment of an alteration or a special cleaning. But there is a difference between a classic and something that’s just…old. If an item has deep sentimental value, you can treat it like a work of art: Frame it, take a photo of it, use it as a centerpiece for a quilt, or pack it away for posterity. If it’s not worth that treatment, bid it goodbye and trust that you will love again.
11. You wear retro pieces without a modern spin.
We all know that fashion is cyclical and that everything comes back around, but that doesn’t mean you should dress in full of-another-decade outfits, which could run the risk of making you look like you’re both in costume and 10 years older.
Love the look of a wild ’80s neon sweater you found at the Salvation Army? Leave the leggings and sneakers at home and opt for a pair of super-sleek skinny jeans, natural hair and makeup, and a great pair of ankle boots. Found a vintage swingy midi-skirt? Style it with modern staples like a cropped leather jacket and a sleek pair of pointy heels as opposed to wearing a pussy-bow blouse and pearls.
12. Stop The Shed
13. Prevent Pillage
14. You believe tall women shouldn’t wear heels.
This mandate isn’t only silly, but a little sexist, too. Stemming from a whole bunch of antiquated notions including abundant height isn’t feminine, and a woman shouldn’t draw extra attention to herself, this rule is one no woman should ever follow if they don’t want to. We know plenty of women who are six feet tall and still rock killer heels with grace (ahem, Jenna Lyons, Charlize Theron, Michelle Obama, Karlie Kloss….)
15. You shop for Instagram
We hate to assume you’d buy anything simply so people know you own it, but such is the world in which we live. Are you buying that Balenciaga bag because you really, really love it, or because you want others to know you bought it? If you buy those Jimmy Choo pumps, will you be able to truly enjoy them without posting them to social media? If the answer is no, you might have some thinking to do about your shopping habits.
16. Accessorize Appropriatetly
17. Spray Your Tights
18. You avoid horizontal stripes like the plague.
Buying into the notion that all horizontal lines make you look wide is a cliché mistake. Yes, we’ll admit that a skin-tight bodycon dress emblazoned with horizontal lines might only look good on a model, but pieces that are made well and fit well—think a classic cotton Breton striped shirt tucked into dark jeans, a ladylike full skirt with horizontal stripes, or a great striped overcoat—flatters every woman.
19. You think you can only wear one bold color at a time.
If we’ve learned anything from the recent color-blocking phenom, it’s that a bold saturated hue can look even better when paired with another bold saturated hue. Wearing an emerald green silk blouse? Don’t be afraid to wear those fuchsia suede heels or carry that sunny yellow leather clutch—you’ll look super-modern.
20. You think mixing prints is too loud.
Actually, mixed prints can look extremely sophisticated and offer your everyday look a dose of freshness. Really anything goes when it comes to mixing prints, but if you’re a print mixer beginner you can stick to more common prints like stripes and polka dots.
21. You think actual menswear is just for men.
Obviously, you’re not going to pick up a suit at Rochester Big and Tall, but you’d be surprised by how many made-for-men pieces can work for you. This is especially true at common outposts like Forever 21, H&M, J. Crew, and Zara, whose men’s stuff—think slim-cut button-downs, sweatshirts, oversized sweaters, and utility jackets—often aren’t as trendy as their for-women counterparts, and offer a slightly slouchier fit.