The Worst Style Advice I Ever Received

If you’re like most people, you care about how you look. And in order to achieve your style goals, you might ask friends for advice or reach out for professional assistance. These people mean well, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right. At the end of the day, it’s more important for you to wear items that make you look and feel good.

The Cheat Sheet chatted with some experts to learn more about which fashion advice should be avoided. Here is the worst style advice they ever received or heard.

1. Don’t wear black and brown together

woman wearing black and brown

Black and brown can go together if you do it right. |

I have always been told that I shouldn’t wear black and brown in the same outfit. For many years, I followed this fashion rule without ever questioning it, but this rule creates a lot of limitations. Sometimes I’d find beautiful pieces that would work well together were it not for the conflicting colors. When I finally started experimenting, I found some fun and striking ways to combine black and brown. It’s a rule that might make sense but shouldn’t be regarded as gospel.

I also think it’s important to have a good tailor. I’m petite, so almost everything I wear needs some kind of adjustment. It’s a good idea to invest in gorgeous, classic pieces and have them tailored to fit perfectly. It’s better than abandoning a dress or pair of pants because they don’t look quite right.

Kylen Moran, personal stylist, lifestyle columnist, and fashion and beauty blogger

 2. Change your style

man talking on the phone

Don’t change your personal style. |

I was once told that I look too grungy and I should try to dress more conservatively and wear a suit. I was told this by a business partner who thought I would succeed more if I dressed the part. To be honest, I did listen — I was young. It was not well received. I have always expressed myself through my clothing. I can rock a suit, but it’s not a reflection of my day-in and day-out self.

I learned that being authentic and wearing what expressed who I was and am is the best way to dress. My advice is to be the best you that you can be. There is no right or wrong. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. … Love the skin you are in and wear your clothes, don’t let them wear you!

Daniel M. Sheehan, fashion designer and founder of Sheehan & Co.

 3Follow the rules

woman carrying a jacket

Dare to break the rules every once in awhile. |

Any wardrobe advice needs to be personal advice — a blanket statement of advice may not work for everyone. For example, there is a well-known tip that says before you leave your house, you should look in the mirror and take off one accessory. Now, this may very well be true for someone who likes to over-accessorize.

On the flip side, there is also a known stylist tip called the “three-piece rule.” Now, this rule only applies if the item of clothing you are wearing is basic — no bold patterns, designs etc. If you are wearing a basic top and a basic bottom, you should add a third piece to create style in your outfit. For a basic dress this becomes the two-piece rule. The bottom line is, although many people may need some styling help, it should be catered toward their personal needs and style.

Diane Pollack, wardrobe consultant and founder of Style Empower

 4. Only wear the colors a consultant picks out for you

woman holding clothes

Don’t limit yourself. |

Many of my clients have gotten their colors done and, unfortunately, they believe everything they’re told (going to the extreme about being an “autumn” for example). Many color consultants don’t really understand fashion in general and brainwash the poor clients into believing they can no longer wear their favorite color, when the reality is everyone can wear all colors. It depends how and where you wear the color.

Melanie Payge, image consultant   

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[Editor’s note: This story was originally published December 2016]