The Dos And Don'ts Of 10 Challenging Trends

Experimenting with a new trend for the first time can be a lot like learning a language. There are plenty of signals that'll get you pinned as a beginner. But, there's a way to turn words into phrases so they really begin to work for you. And, a lilt and tone to adopt so you end up sounding a little more with it than you did on your first day of Spanish class. With trends, you're using color and shape like accents and grammar, all while assimilating a new look into your own sense of style.
Most likely, this season's styles aren't completely foreign — you've probably seen each of them cycle into popularity at least once in your lifetime. What makes them tricky is figuring out how to wear them now without looking like a throwback. Can't quite master the sartorial equivalent of rolling your Rs or conjugating past participles? Follow our primer on the dos and don'ts of 10 tricky summer trends, ahead.
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Distressed Denim
Don't: Avoid pants with a lot of stretch (the elastic fibers can look bizarre when "ripped"). Additionally, don't go for pant styles that have a boot-cut or flared leg, distressing on colored denim, or what we've not-so-lovingly dubbed window pants.
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Distressed Denim
Do: Distressing looks best on pants that have some wiggle room in them (even if it's just a little bit in a pair of skinny jeans). Asymmetrical distressing on the areas of your pants you'd actually rough up (i.e. pockets, knees), looks most natural.
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Distressed Denim
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Ear Cuffs
Don't: Ear cuffs (or "ear jackets") can look costume-like when they extend too far beyond your actual ear. Delicate dangling chains are fine, but anything that could double as a rearview-mirror doodad should probably be skipped over.
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Ear Cuffs
Do: The biggest thing here is comfort. If you couldn't stand wearing the cuff for longer than an hour, just say no. The kinds of ear cuffs that are going to outlast the season are ones on the more subtle side — people shouldn't notice that you're wearing one unless they're close enough to talk to you.
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Ear Cuffs
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Ear Cuffs

Delfina Delettrez Multicolor Dots Ear Cuff, $2,123, available at Luisaviaroma.
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Off-The-Shoulder Necklines
Don't:Whether it's a top or a dress, your off-the-shoulder neckline should look deliberate, so avoid any styles that could be seen as just an oversized neck hole. Asymmetrical styles also feel a bit passé.
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Off-The-Shoulder Necklines
Do: Look for necklines that create a clean, crisp, horizontal line. Ruching, voluminous sleeves, and crisp fabrics create a modern-day peasant silhouette that'll become your go-to date-night look.
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Off-The-Shoulder Necklines
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Off-The-Shoulder Necklines
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White Sneakers
Don't: A white sneaker should be minimal, simple, and classic. So, leave any extraneous design additions — like studs, fraying, eyelets, or trim — for another time.
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White Sneakers
Do: Choose a shoe in a recognizably classic shape, whether that's a low-pro or high-top. Just make sure you're not too precious with it; a white shoe without a single scuff is a glaring indicator that you might care too much.
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White Sneakers
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Slip Dresses
Don't: It's easy to go too Romy and Michele in a slip dress, but save the too-short, shapeless styles in super-shiny sheens for Halloween.
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Slip Dresses
Do: The slip dress can be made or broken in the neckline, so choose something sleek that's more on the modest side. Pretty patterns and colorblocking make it obvious that this is a dress you're supposed to wear in public.
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Slip Dresses
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Gauchos
Don't: If it stretches, skip it. Gauchos made in jersey, lycra, or other yoga-pant materials look outdated.
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Gauchos
Do: Go for more structured materials, like poplin or even chiffon. The key is to find a gaucho that sits high on your waist and features a wide-leg all the way down (none of that tight-on-the-thighs-baggy-around-the-calves business, please).
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Graphic T-Shirts
Don't: Here's a good rule of thumb: If you can't imagine saying it out loud to every stranger you meet, it's best not to wear it. And, avoid new-looking rips, tears, and distressing — if it's not vintage, it's not vintage.
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Graphic T-Shirts
Do: The more modern fit is also slightly boxy and baggy (leave those '90s baby tees and oversized shirts for another time). Our favorite types of graphic tees don't even involve any words; a screenprint can turn you into a walking work of art.
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Graphic T-Shirts
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Graphic T-Shirts
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Oversized Pearls
Don't: Unless you're going for a Wilma Flintstone look, you should never wear an entire string of oversized pearls. Also, this isn't the place to go for colored pearls (especially a slew of differently colored ones). Plain white feels freshest.
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Oversized Pearls
Do: Capitalize on the larger-than-life aspect of the pearls and go really big. Take inspiration from those Chanel pearl headphones with pairs or trios in varying sizes. Don't be bothered by a synthetic sheen — no one will believe these biggies are the real thing.
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Oversized Pearls
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Oversized Pearls
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Avant-Garde Oxfords
Don't: The classic blue oxford got all messed up on the runways for this season, but to make sure yours is deconstructed in a good way, avoid silky fabrics and too-tight cuts.
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Avant-Garde Oxfords
Do: Go for classic, Gordon Gekko-approved colors, and look for a shirt with feminine add-ons or cuts, like a peplum, wide neckline, or cropped silhouette.
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Avant-Garde Oxfords
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Avant-Garde Oxfords
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Slit Skirts
Don't: No more than two slits! And, despite what some red carpet daredevils have been doing, an actually wearable slit shouldn't reach any higher than your fingertips.
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Slit Skirts
Do: A dress with some pleating or layering offers another element of surprise. We love the look of one dramatic slit on a maxi, or two symmetrical slits on a midi- or knee-length skirt.
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Slit Skirts
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