Thursday, October 27, 2011

There are Still Some Rules

You can wear white after Labor Day (though winter white makes a nice change). Navy looks great with black (and even better with brown). Redheads can (and should) wear pink. You can wear black as a guest to a wedding (but not white). We've broken a lot of rules, and I say "hooray!" But there are still a few rules that make sense or that just won't give up.

1) You're either a scarf person or you're not.
Piles of colorful scarves tempt me as if my name were Salome, but call me Thumbs-alina when it comes to tying them. I can actually do a decent half-Windsor necktie and had lots of practice with a girl scout knot on the kerchief, but Fun With Scarves is not a book I'm writing soon. Once when giving one of my "Help! I Have a Closet Full of Clothes and Nothing to Wear" seminars I confessed to not being a scarf person. Suddenly an audience member volunteered to show us all how much fun scarves could be. There was no stopping her. I was amazed and even more convinced I could never pull off those tricks. I can however make the "European loop" seen above.

2) It's either a hat or a hairdo.
The reason ladies of the last century wore more hats (or wore them more) is that when you plunk down a hat, forget retrieving your hairdo. The phrase "hat head" needs no further description if you've had one. Even the soft, unstructured beret will impart a nice ridge around the circumference of the wearer's head. There's nothing wrong with a hat, but I think we have that problem about deciding. I do wonder with the choice of a hat an option would there be no more bad hair days?

3) If there are belt loops, wear a belt.
Or a length of grosgrain ribbon. Or something. Or cut off the loops if you can.

4) Three pieces make an outfit.
This is just a nice rule to follow. Adding one more element will tie things together:
> A shirt and pants plus a vest
> A blouse and skirt plus a cardigan
> A dress and jacket plus a statement belt

5) Untack the flap on the back of your skirt or jacket.
Those stitches were meant to keep the garment in shape during transit.

6) On the other hand don't necessarily untack the pockets on your pants.
Pockets on pants can add weird curves or lumps where you don't need them. Can't you stash a kleenex someplace else? Sometime I purposely sew down pockets that were not originally even tacked.

7) Alter it before you wear it.
This takes a lot of discipline if you're like me. I want to wear it right away. But "altering" hems and sleeves with tape is just lazy.

8) A statement necklace calls for simple earrings.
Likewise major earrings usually call for skipping the necklace.

9) Go easy on the eyes with red lips.
We're hearing a lot about red lips these days. If you like the look, tone down your eye makeup to a very neutral shadow and a flick of not-too-dark mascara. There is nothing more aging than a head of full-on makeup— eyes, lips, cheeks.

10) Don't safety pin anything; repair it.
Remember what your mother said about being in an accident?


  1. Aly— Do we need a rule for that??!

  2. Thankful that others are also on the "please for the love... untack the flap of your jacket/skirt" bandwagon. I've seen some absolutely egregious examples of this rule being broken in London and have considered resorting to a public awareness campaign or simply carrying around scissors. :P