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Style rules: What’s your personal dress code?

Categories: basics


May 27

I wore a linen skirt this weekend — on Friday, to be precise. This was a big deal for me, because everyone knows you’re not allowed to wear linen before Memorial Day. Right?


I’m not a big fan of hard-and-fast fashion rules; I believe that personal style comes from making the rules work for you. Love your white jeans? Wear them all year round! Like the way you look in heels? Rock a heel every day. Personal style means knowing what works for you and, well, working it.

But even if you’re rocking your own original style, I’m willing to bet that there are things you won’t wear, no matter how great they look on other women. I love black and I love orange, but I will not, under any circumstances, wear them together — too much like a Jack O’Lantern. I see other girls working that combination and not looking like they’re dressed up for Halloween, but I can’t do it. Sorry.

I’m also hesitant to bust out my linen skirts too soon — in my closet, linen is only okay from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Of course, that’s not a real rule, or not one you should really feel compelled to abide by; the actual fact is that linen is a summery fabric, which means it’s not appropriate for colder weather, but if you live in a place where summer weather arrives weeks before the pool opens, you should feel free to work your linen pieces into your daily rotation.

So why can’t I bring myself to wear my super cute linen skirts before Memorial Day? Because in my head, linen is for summer, and summer doesn’t start until the last weekend in May. And in my head, no matter what you tell me, that’s The Rule.

I look forward to that first weekend of summer, and to getting out my linen skirts. It’s like a little celebration in my closet, every year — a ritual, if you will. And as much as I might think about getting the skirts out sooner, I don’t, because that would break the rules, and that wouldn’t be any fun at all.

What are your personal style rules? Are they seasonal, or have you just banned specific pieces from your closet? Are you ever flexible about the rules, or are they set in stone?

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6 comments so far...

  • I don’t own a single piece of yellow clothing because with my coloring, I just look jaundiced.

    I have one orange top that I get complimented on every time I wear it (It’s somewhere in the Working Closet Flickr pool) but I feel weird if I wear it in any other month that October. I KNOW.

    I usually wear darker colors in the winter and lighter colors in the spring, but when spring just wasn’t coming, I started wearing purple and blue regardless. It helped to brighten the dreary days. :)

    Angella  |  May 30th, 2011 at 3:37 pm

  • I will not, cannot wear true white pants or skirts between Labor Day and Memorial Day. I just can’t make myself break that rule. And I admit that I look a little askance at others who do.

    I won’t wear solid black to a wedding either. So those are two old fashion rules that I abide by.

    I will wear linen starting with Easter though, if the weather is warm enough. Or I would if I could fit into my favorite linen dress,which is black with white trim. I think living amongst Southerners for the last two decades has made linen an acceptable choice year round for warm weather, so long as the color isn’t too summery.

    k-t  |  May 31st, 2011 at 7:58 am

  • When I lived in New York, I was much more bound by weather rules, possibly because my clothing was very seasonal — wool pants only in winter, sundresses only in summer. I used to scold my husband for wearing stocking caps in May. But now i live in LA, and my wardrobe is much more versatile and much more year round. I’m much more likely to layer (a sleeveless ponte dress can be layered over leggings and a long sleeved tee in winter, worn barelegged with a cardigan in spring and fall, and even pulled out for summer), and my style is much freer as a result.

    Kate @ Savour Fare  |  May 31st, 2011 at 10:02 am

  • Personal style rules: no cropped pants of any kind EVER, no bermuda shorts, no rompers. I look terrible in cropped pants (as does anyone who isn’t Susan or Pam), so that’s a non-negotiable item. Ditto for bermuda shorts. Rompers are a self-explanatory no.

    elz  |  May 31st, 2011 at 1:44 pm

  • I just want to tell you how amazing you look in this photo:)

    Nataly  |  May 31st, 2011 at 8:12 pm

  • No white shoes.

    sue  |  June 2nd, 2011 at 1:16 pm