There is fashion, there are trends and there is style. Sometimes they’re all the same, but most times they live separate lives and are influenced by each other. I often am asked about my fashion sense, the sources that inspire my style and what trends I follow. As with most things, I march to the beat of my own drum. I’m going to share some rules I made up—or maybe I’ve just picked up rules and guidelines unknowingly and convinced myself that I made them up. Either way, I have decided to share my top five fashion rules with you. Definitely leave comments, questions and concerns. Do you follow any of these rules already?
Rule 1. Metallics are neutral.
Yes they are. Please don't argue with me on this one. And while we're on the subject: navy, gray and oxblood are also. But that’s an aside. You don’t have to overthink your outfit to add metallic to it. You may want your gold shoes or silver bag to be the focal point of your outift and, in that case, go for it: wear all black or tan and have your “metallic pop”. But in ordinary circumstances, feel free to wear denim, your favorite top and your silver tuxedo shoes to go to the bar or class. It matches! I promise.
*A fun way to always have a little metallic mixed in is to paint your nails gold.
Rule 2. Repurpose. Repurpose. Repurpose. Did I mention you should repurpose?
When it comes to style, you have to think more fluidly. You have to think about the myriad of possibilities an item has and not just the one possibility it was sold for. I have clutches whose original purposes were iPad cases and sweatshirts that I used to wear for all-nighters that I now use as an autumn "go-to". I just don't pair them with sweatpants and a four pack of red bull any more—thank God! You’ll more likely see me wearing a sweatshirt paired with a denim or leather jacket. As long as it’s fashionable and go with your OOTD, why would you ever think to restrict yourself? Jump out of the box. Another great way to repurpose an item is to add socks to sandals and heels (please, don’t even think about those tube socks you purchased in a 12-pack recently—actually, don’t look at socks that came in a pack at all). This method also allows you to transition your favorite sandals and heels into the fall.
*If you live in New York City or the tri-state area, I beg you to observe this rule strictly until mid-November, lest you lose a toe or two to frostbite. Curls and Couture is not liable for any missing feet this winter.
Rule 3. Fall in Love with Everything you Purchase. Be Utterly Attracted to it.
I liken this rule to real romantic relationships. It's like when you give the "good guy" a chance, but you were never really attracted to his face or his body. Of course personality is all well and good and, in this case, personality equates to the need or purpose for the piece. But either you’re going to break up with the poor guy somewhere down the road or you’ll stick with him and fantasize about the dreamboat guy that you could’ve had. When I say fall in love with every piece, I’m including your camisoles, your obligatory white button up for work and your jeans for weekends off. When you’re in love with your wardrobe, much in the same way you fall in love with a mate, it becomes easier. It is easier to get dressed in the morning. It’s easier to be confident and it becomes more fun. Love the fit. Love the quality. And love the aesthetic.
*This also helps you save money. You will definitely get sick of the piece you bought just because you “needed” it and it will get donated or thrown away anyways. Do it right the first time.
*Just like they told you to treat your virginity, wait! Wait for the item you fall in love with. Waiting helps you find the perfect piece and it also introduces you to some great sales and discounts.
Rule 4. Don't Ever Forget your Confidence at Home.
Treat it like your metro card or your car keys. Will the day be fun if you have to walk everywhere? If you remember to be confident, this is one less thing to worry about. If you observe rule 3, you won’t have to worry about this rule. This can’t be said enough: be confident. You look good, I swear.
*I’m a strong proponent of changing your outfit if you’re not happy in it. I’m also always late, so take this with a grain of salt. *Hides Face*
Rule 5. Wear what you want.
I often get asked how I dress the way that I do—eclectic and pretty classic. And though this is number five on the list, this is a rule I swear by. AAAAANDDDD…. this rule is actually two rules in one. I’m cheating.
5a. Think about what you want to wear for whatever event (most times I think of two items—a shirt and bag, a pair of shoes and top, etc.) and create an outfit around that/those thing(s). Sometimes—most of the time, the two items are just items I like, not ones that necessarily match.
5b. Then try it on. Even if it looks weird in your head, I promise it’s worth it to try it on. Honestly, I’m usually surprised at what I thought wouldn’t work actually work together. Sometimes pieces won’t “match” but they “go” ß That’s ok.
This way you get to wear what you wanted (and are in love with) and be fashionable (and confident). You also save time when you’ve already gotten an idea of what you’re going to wear to whosever’s house party. You may end up changing the bag you thought you were going to wear, but you have a base.
These are rules I personally follow—rules I would swear on my Vogue, InStyle and Essence magazines. Try them out and let us know what you think. Do they work for your lifestyle? What tweaks would you add?
Ruth Jean-Marie is a world traveler and recent graduate from New York University where she received her Master's degree. Her addictions include fashion, shopping, writing and doing good in the world. While on her journey to becoming a superhero, Ruth continues post-thesis human rights work while writing for a number of blogs. She is an editor of and contributor to Black Girl Fly Mag and the creator of @toharrietwithlove.