Somewhere along the line, the world of style accumulated a laundry list of rules governing what you can wear and when and with what, and most people’s wardrobes show it — especially when it comes to the colors they choose every day. But it’s time to ditch the outdated fashion rules about colors you’re “allowed” to wear after Labor Day and which shades you can wear together.
We’ve collected seven outdated rules about the colors you should wear or avoid, and put together some suggestions on the stylish ways you can defy those rules. Instead of encouraging you to stick to a limited or traditional color palette, as traditional style advice would, we’re going to show you a few ways to start wearing some underused combinations and colors. Everything is better in moderation, but there’s no reason why wearing color — and loving it — needs to get in the way of looking stylish.
1. Don’t mix black and brown or black and navy
A surprising number of stylish people still follow these rules, but there are a few great ways to successfully wear these color pairings, which have traditionally been considered off-limits despite the fact that all the colors in question are pretty neutral. The key when breaking these rules is to be intentional with the pairings you’re making. Make your color combinations look deliberate, instead of haphazard, since leaving the house looking like you got dressed in the dark is never a good look.
A great way to pair black and brown is to go for contrast. For instance, pair a cognac shoe with a black suit, or a tan belt with a black oxford shirt. Have a favorite pair of brown loafers? Try them out with a pair of black denim. When it comes to pairing black and navy, a great place to start is with an easy closet staple: a pair of jeans. Wear a black shirt — a button-front or even a casual tee — with a pair of dark denim to get used to the combination.