29 Lies Fashion Magazines Have Told You

Designed by Ly Ngo.
For an industry that thrives on creativity, individuality, and self-expression, fashion sure has a lot of restrictions. More often than not, having "style" is about knowing what you can and cannot wear for your figure, your age, and your social circles. And for however dusty those fashion "dos" and "don’ts" are in glossy magazines — these so-called "truths" somehow still manage to infect our minds when we're getting dressed in the morning. You really thought you could get away with that? Stripes make you look wide — did you forget?

But if what's going on in fashion these days is any indication, people are starting to wake up, and break out: Labels like Hood by Air and Gucci have changed the rules about what constitutes men's and women's clothing on their catwalks, and models like Tess Holliday are redefining what it means to be conventionally attractive, as well as a fashion icon. There are 23-year-old entrepreneurs changing the way we dress, and ignoring all the rules about who gets to "make it." On a much smaller scale, the fashion magazine maxims that you used to look toward to for guidance are more confidence-depleting than they are invigorating. If your outfits don't make you excited to go out into the world and have a really kick-ass day (much less live a full, satisfying life), then it's time to let those old ideas go.

Want to knock a few of them out of your mind? Join us, as we take down 29 of the most outdated lies the fashion industry has ever told you.

For more ways to F*ck The Fashion Rules, click here.
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by Aaron Ritcher.
Clothes that cost more are better.
Despite what the industry wants us to believe, a higher price tag doesn’t always equal higher quality — and vice versa. Some fast fashion brands have worked to improve their quality so affordable pieces can last longer, and are less wasteful to both your wallet, and the environment. There are also indie designers out there who've figured out how to create beautiful, unique clothing for a fraction of luxury costs. This is much more valuable than any arbitrarily expensive it-item.
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Always dress for your body type.
It should be obvious by now that female proportions don’t always fit nicely into the food-shaped categories created by fashion magazines. Rather than finding your next outfit using a generic “body type” approach, we've learned that the pieces we love most in our closet celebrate what we love about ourselves, instead of hiding what we don't.
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by Georgina Martin.
You can’t wear certain outfits after a certain age.
The fact that Joan Didion, Cher, and Joni Mitchell all booked designer ad campaigns this season shows fashion is finally acknowledging that older women are interested in clothes, too. Now that the industry is finally getting on board with the fact that women of all ages like to shop, it’s time to set the record straight: Clothes don't have a “wear-by” date. Just take it from Marc Jacobs himself, who said of his wide-spanning customer base: “‘Real’ women are the reason the fashion industry exists. I am thrilled every time I see a woman on the street wearing [Marc Jacobs]… The way women choose to wear [Marc] is the way to wear it, because the clothes belong to them, their lives, [and] their vision.”
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by Mark Iantosca.
Men’s clothes are for men.
Androgyny is a fashion buzzword these days, and cameos by female models might be one of menswear’s biggest runway trends. But we’ve long been advocates of ignoring which section we're currently in when shopping. It’s no secret that menswear — such as ties, suits, or any other clothing traditionally restricted to dudes — looks just as good on the ladies. Take a cue from Diane Keaton — stop borrowing from the boys, and own it yourself.
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by Ben Ritter.
Looking taller is the goal.
It used to be that runway models were all above 5'11", and the reigning heel philosophy was “the higher, the better.” But these days, fashion stars come in all heights (like Cara Delevingne, who walks the runway at 5'8"), and flats (even for fancy occasions), are just as normal as heels. Plus, there are certain silhouettes we love that don't do anything to make our legs look longer or our bodies more willowy. Believe us — we relish every opportunity to respond to anyone who tells us our sack dresses make us look squat by saying, "Thank you! I think so, too!"
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by Mark Iantosca.
Sneakers only belong on tourists, commuters, or at the gym.
Converse, Vans, Adidas, or Saint Laurent...it doesn’t matter whether you go sporty or designer, there’s a whole new breed of fashion-centric sneakerheads wearing athletic shoes everywhere. Need extra inspiration? There are plenty of ways to wear them with everything except workout clothes.
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Designed by Ly Ngo.
Everything should match.
Sure, Taylor Swift ushered in the resurgence of the matching set, and deliberately coordinated ensembles have emerged as a lazy-day favorite. These examples aside, however, feeling like you need to match key pieces in your outfit is so outdated. Forget the rules that require keeping the color palette consistent throughout (like coordinating the blue detail on your blouse with your blue purse). These days, anything goes — even if the overall "vibe" of the outfit is more like a potluck than a three-course dinner.
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by David Cortes.
Always dress to look skinnier.
Breezy dresses, awkward crops, and oversized tops have been touted as frumpy and not flattering. But who said that the point of clothing was to make you look slimmer? Voluminous pieces are a welcome option for women who've always considered looking "interesting and fun" more compelling than "skinny."
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Designed by Ly Ngo.
Crop tops only work for those with flat stomachs.
Earlier this summer, Oprah magazine suffered some major backlash for stating that only women with flat stomachs can get away with crop tops. Not only does that kind of thinking smack of body-shaming, it’s also untrue. The types of crop tops on the market today are just as diverse as the women who wear them — so go on, and please, #rockthecroptop.
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by Victoria Adamson.
Don’t combine prints.
Checks and stripes. Florals and spots. Some of the most happy-making combinations are ones that have traditionally been seen as juvenile and tasteless. But honestly — what's the issue with dressing yourself like a kid sometimes? In our opinion, some of the strangest pairings are the ones we love wearing the most. Need proof? Just look to the polished quirk of J.Crew, the off-kilter cool of Prada, or the mixing maestro herself, Rihanna.
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Designed by Ly Ngo.
Colors are seasonal.
Nothing feels more eyeroll-worthy than hearing the “no white after Labor Day" rule. White has become our new winter staple, and we wear black in the summer (whether we're #summergoths or not). Bottom line: There’s no hue you can't wear year-round, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a killjoy.
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by Ben Ritter.
12. If you want to be stylish, follow the trends.
Truth: Fashion trends cycle through more quickly than they ever have before. From flares to slip dresses, what was once old is new again (which explains why you're suddenly into the idea of raiding your grandmother's closet...). There's no reason to feel the crush of trying to keep pace — the trend cycle should be more like a conveyor belt for you to pick from. Nothing looks appealing right now? Great. Everything looks good to you? That's cool, too. Being discerning about your own style is way more important than being spoon-fed trends.
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed By David Brandon Geeting.
13. Know your size and stick to it.
You know this — it's a waste of time to get hung up on a number. You're not — and shouldn't be — the same size across all retailers and designers. And you should never feel bad for going up or down a size to get the fit that works best for you. Plus, some of us like our clothes hanging a little baggier or fitting more snugly. Don't let a number on a hangtag determine what you should buy.
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Designed by Ly Ngo.
14. Save up for an investment piece.
Investment pieces in fashion have been mostly proven to be a misnomer — unless for the rare item, you're unlikely to make money off of your purchases. Once you shake off that myth, the idea that saving up to buy expensive items as a consumer milestone becomes silly. Some of our most precious, compliment-trap items have actually been pretty affordable. You can buy vintage, try consignment, or navigate the world of sample sales to score noteworthy, timeless pieces at a fraction of their original cost — or you could forget the idea of having to "save up" for big buys altogether.
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by Lloyd Stevie.
15. Pale people shouldn't wear pale colors.
Light pinks, creams, and whites are traditionally off-limits for the porcelain-skinned, for fear of looking washed out. But that way of thinking no longer applies. Wearing a head-to-toe white outfit can make you look like a straight-up Galadriel doppelgänger, which is probably one of the better style icons you can aspire to.
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by David Cortes.
16. Don't wear too many layers. You'll just look bulky.
Whether you need to be layering because of the weather, or you simply love the look, there's an art to layering that can keep you warm or cool without making you resemble an overstuffed couch. There are great, thin tech fabrics that regulate your body temperature and let you play around with creative layering combinations. After all, more is only more when you can bend your arms comfortably....
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Designed by Ly Ngo.
17. Certain colors should never be worn together.
Mixing shades of the same color used to be a fashion no, but it's now become one of the coolest ways to make an outfit more interesting. Once taboo, navy and black together has emerged as one of fashion’s most inventive color combinations. Mixing slightly different shades of the same color is now seen as clever, rather than awkward.
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Designed by Ly Ngo.
18. Baggy clothes are always unflattering.
Baggy clothes have a bad rap for not doing a body good. But we know that amping up the volume can highlight the parts you love, while also treating your body to some hidden-pajama coziness. Who can say that about their skin-tight pencil skirts?
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by Ben Lamberty.
19. Women should never button the top button on shirts.
Buttoning your oxford shirt all the way to the neck is one of the easiest ways to give your look that extra bit of fashion-person-ness. You can go professional with black trousers and heels, try it with one of this season’s miniskirts, or toss on a pair of high-waisted shorts for a look that doesn't feel the least bit buttoned-up. (Sorry, we had to.)
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Designed by Ly Ngo.
20. You need to buy new clothes every season.
Just because stores are stocking new clothes faster than ever doesn't mean you have to add to your closet. Those "buy, store, toss" articles you read in fashion magazines may encourage consistent consumerism, but we're fans of knowing when to opt out. Plus, if you're buying things that'll last you many, many seasons, you'll need to shop less frequently anyway.
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Designed by Ly Ngo; Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
21. Never wear evening wear for day.
There’s never a wrong time to wear sequins. Sure, the sparkly material may look really good under a spinning disco ball, but have you seen what a little daytime glitter looks like under the sun?
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22. Wearing jeans and a T-shirt is basic.
A tee and jeans is oftentimes used as a punchline of a joke about lazy outfits that fashion people are too good for. But we've argued time and time again — just because it's easy doesn't mean that it can't be full of personality. Consider this a choose-your-own fashion adventure that can be wildly different by person or combination.
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Designed by Isabel Castillo.
23. If you’re plus-size, you should cover up.
Let's be very clear: There's no trend, shape, or item that plus-size woman can't wear. Plus-size models, like Tess Holliday, are posing with confidence (and sans pants) in photoshoots; Lane Bryant ads are baring all on the subway; and the famously risqué Pirelli calendar quietly debuted its first plus-size star, Candice Huffine, last year. Just because you're plus-size doesn't mean your body is more obscene than straight-sizes. Recently, women have been standing up to sizest exercises of dress code violations in droves.
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Designed by Isabel Castillo.
24. If you like something, you have the right to wear it (even if it’s not yours to wear).
We’re firm believers that personal style should be just that — personal. Clothes are an important means of self-expression, but the statement you make should never be in a vacuum. While you might think that feathered headdress is a cute accessory to bring along to music festivals, other people see it as a symbol of their culture, which has been systematically denied to them by their oppressors.
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Designed by Isabel Castillo.
25. Never wear open-toed shoes with socks.
This is such a tired fashion faux pas. Open-toed sandals have been making the rounds on both the spring and fall runways for some time now. And adding some socks is a practical way to extend the life of your favorite sandals, not to mention, fun as hell to wear.
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Designed by Isabel Castillo; Photographed by Ben Lamberty.
26. Denim isn’t office appropriate.
The office isn’t a place to look sloppy, but who said denim couldn't be sophisticated? From dark-wash denim to high-waisted flares, and even trouser cuts, there are plenty of jeans styles that look many times more professional than the ill-fitting pants you randomly bought for an interview, and haven't touched since.
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Designed by Isabel Castillo; Photographed by Kristina Wilson.
27. Underwear belongs on the inside.
The term “undergarments” no longer accurately describes lingerie. It’s officially normal to wear underwear outside your clothes (think: slip dresses, bra tops, and bras over your tops) in public.
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Designed by Isabel Castillo; Photographer by Chris Schoonover.
28. Heels are for ladies.
Men were the first to wear high heels way back in the 17th century, and although heeled shoes have been a women's-mostly pursuit ever since, they've popped up on the men's runways at Gucci, J.W. Anderson, and Hood by Air. Also, there are heeled styles that speak to tomboys, masculine-identifying dressers, and those who prize practicality over preciousness. You don't have to be a woman or a lady to take advantage of some extra height.
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Designed by Isabel Castillo.
29. New clothes are better than used clothes.
Everyone can relate to the brain-pleasing rush that comes with scoring a brand-new purchase — and there's no harm in that. But just because something has never been worn before doesn't mean it's better. And there's something to be said for clothes that have been previously loved by someone else — never mind the fact that they've chosen to get rid of it. That thrift store stigma should officially be over and done with, full stop. Sometimes, garments need a new mama to really live up to their potential. Need a little extra convincing to hit up recycled pieces? Certain items, like designer handbags or Nike sneakers, actually appreciate in value over time.
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