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Column: Fashion Forward

Breaking Rules And Pushing Boundaries

Senior Staff Columnist

Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 23:02

Fashion boundaries always need to be pushed. What’s the fun of wearing, buying, stalking, and trading clothes if you’re not going to create interesting and unique outfits? Not to say that every day on campus needs to be a runway show (I’m the first to break that rule), but special occasions, a weekend out, or even job interviews are perfect ways to display your own personal style.

Things aren’t always black or white—sometimes there’s a grey area with fashion. I find that people are quick to write certain things off as ugly, cheesy, or tacky without really considering the potential a certain piece might hold. While style clearly varies from person to person, there are some standard things that have been exiled from the minds of the fashion conscious: an orange and black outfit (too Halloween-y) or black and white stripes that are somehow the exact width of those on a referee’s shirt (I happen to own a shirt exactly like this).

Frankly, I don’t think these fashion rules should exist. Remember when people used to say it’s wrong to wear navy blue and black? This is simply not true. The two are a killer combination. There are a few styles that generally get labeled as tacky without a fair shot. I’m here to stand up for these trends.

Cheetah Print
If Chelsea Houska from Teen Mom has gotten anything right in her life, it’s her obsession with cheetah print. While the pattern has certainly made a comeback in recent days, it’s a print that not many feel they can pull off properly. As cheetah has always been a print dear to my heart and my wardrobe, that’s never been a fear I’ve had. I can see, however, the intimidation factor some people might feel for it. I guess it must be something about the animal print that hints at something wild and crazy. I’m of the opinion that everyone needs at least one wild and crazy outfit though, so cheetah print is a great way to display that fierce side of yourself. Stick with the standard brown cheetah that we’re all familiar with. Any boldly colored variation of the print, such as pink, purple, blue, or green (all of which I have seen in some article of clothing) will end up looking tacky, even on a phone case. A tasteful original cheetah print peplum top paired with black jeans is a flawless outfit.

Rhinestones have gotten a bad rep over the years. When I think of this accent, I think of arts and crafts projects, bedazzled phone cases, or the board game Pretty, Pretty Princess with the adhesive rhinestone jewels. But we’re here to break fashion rules, right? Everyone’s favorite British import (and godsend) TopShop has found great ways to incorporate rhinestones into their collections the past few seasons, especially in their winter lines, adorning light sweaters and cardigans. The key is that they’re subtle along the collars or sleeves, in appropriate accent colors such as gold or plain white. Last summer I purchased a three-fourths length white knit sweater that had a frenzy of white and diamond-type rhinestones in the center. I fell in love with it, but was scared that it was tacky or too overwhelming. It’s a sweater I get compliments on all the time—it dresses up jeans or even plain black leggings when I’m feeling lazy.

Don’t push your comfort zone limit with the rhinestones though. When shopping in TopShop you obviously can’t go wrong, but if you’re straying into unknown territory, go with your gut. “Would a seven-year-old like this?” and “Am I blinded by the overwhelming shine?” are two great questions to ask yourself while purchasing a rhinestone item. Oh, and bedazzled phone cases have a time and a place if you ask me.

Next time you’re in Forever 21 looking for a last-minute going-out dress for the weekend and you see an entirely sparkly mini dress, go for it. Be the girl who pulls through in that dress to the party. Do you want to be unique, or another girl wearing a peplum shirt with dark jeans?

Let’s break the unspoken fashion rules of our campus. It’s the only way things will remain interesting. Don’t only shop at J. Crew, go thrifting on Harvard Ave. Steal clothes from your mom that she hasn’t worn in years, cut them up, and make them your own. Even take from your dad’s while you’re at it. Dads are great for sweaters, cardigans, old button downs, and belts. Moms are great for all else. These are ways you’ll know you’re getting a one-of-a-kind piece, and that’s what it’s all about, right?

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