Fashion rules are meant to be broken, says style guru Paula Ryan. "There are no rules anymore – it's not like the 1940s."
We quizzed her, along with Fairfax fashion editor Karlya Smith and Witchery women's apparel business manager Gavin Gage, about fashion's supposed rules – and found many of them no longer apply.
THE REASONABLE RULES
* Show Off Legs Or Cleavage - But Not Both
"They say 'less is more' for a reason. Accentuate your best features, not all your features," says Gage.
* Wear Tight On Top With Loose On Bottom, And Vice Versa
"As a rule of thumb this usually works, if you're trying to dress in a flattering manner," says Smith.
Ryan adds "if you have wide hips or strong thighs go for floaty pants with width. If you have a fuller bust, V-necks or a scoop necks look better than crew necks."
THE 'MAYBE' RULES
* Better To Be Overdressed Than Underdressed
Ryan agreed with this, as did Gage. "Why not always look fabulous? Fashion can empower you and dressing up will give you confidence," he says.
But Smith believes it's a personal thing. "I have no problem being over-dressed, but it would make many people feel self-conscious. Dress to make yourself feel good. That might include dressing to fit in."
* Don't Wear Pantyhose With Open-toe Shoes
Both Ryan and Smith think pantyhose are fine with peep-toes shoes, but not so attractive (and quite slippery) with strappy sandals. Smith says toeless hose can be a good option, though.
* Invest More In Shoes And Bags Less On Trendy Items
Smith advises buying "the best quality you can afford. Buy better, but buy less."
THE OUT-OF-DATE RULES
Ryan agrees with the principle of spending cautiously on one-season wonders.
But Gage says that "mixing 'high/low' fashion is far more creative and lends to individual style," who thinks it's fine to have fun with trendier, inexpensive footwear.
* Shoes Should Match The Bag
Not necessarily, says Ryan. "Black dress, black bag, orange shoes. Yay!"
"Opposites attract," says Gage, a fan of mixing it up.
* Sequins Are Only For Evening
"Wear them when and where it feels appropriate to you," says Smith.
Unless they are "rhinestones on mass," Ryan also gives them the thumbs up.
* Don't Wear Minis Past Age 30
"I'm against any rule that puts an age limit on clothes. The mutton/lamb line is so insulting. What's the men's equivalent?" says Smith. "If your legs are your favourite body part, you should show them however and whenever it suits you."
Ryan's mantra is to dress the body, not the age. "Just look at Jane Fonda in Grace & Frankie on Netflix. She's 78 and looks amazing when she wears above-the-knee skirts with black hose."
* Always Take Off One Item Before Leaving The House
"Wear it all and just own it," says Smith.
Ryan doesn't bother with this either. "It only applies if you overdress, over style or overdo!" she says.
THE NEW RULES
"Trends come and go, but a well-edited outfit with clean lines is forever chic," says Gage.
Ryan's mantra is "if in doubt – don't."
"Good taste and a quality mirror always provide you with the answer," she says.
- The Dominion Post