Stylewise_Fashion_Rules_article.jpgWhenever my mom is getting ready for a party or a fancy dinner, she’ll call me into her room for a fashion consultation.

“What shoes go with this dress?” she’ll ask, gesturing to a knee-length cocktail number. I’ll pick out a pair in a complementary shade. “But I don’t have a bag that matches that,” she’ll say. “What can I use?”

After the purse problem as been settled, it’s on to outerwear. Mom gets cold really easily and is never without a wrap or shawl, so she has them in a variety of colors and prints, from which we will select one.

Finally, the jewelry: to wear earrings, or a necklace, or both? And what metal?

Throughout this process, my mom generally accepts my choices without an explanation. But once in a while, when I’ve picked out a pair of coral drop earrings to wear with a mint green dress, or a dark brown tote for an all-black look, she’ll say, “Oh, you can do that?”

It just goes to show how one of the most basic generation gaps between mothers and daughters is the way they believe clothes can be worn. While my mom and her contemporaries adhered to “traditional” fashion rules when they were growing up, I belong to a generation to which the old school standards seem restrictive and, oftentimes, unnecessary.

That’s not to take away from the women who’ve stuck by these style commandments all their lives simply because it’s what they know. When I was young, my mom paired her maroon kitten heels with a maroon shoulder bag and always wore her jewelry in sets (matching necklace, matching bracelet, matching earrings). She didn’t do it this way because it was of particular merit to the overall look—she did it because she thought it was the only way to do things.

Nothing wrong with that—except, given the ever-changing face of fashion, it’s a surefire way to make yourself look dated.

That’s when daughters (or fashion-conscious friends) come in handy—all it takes is a second opinion to convince a lady of a certain age that, yes, you can do that! Any woman who’s been schooled in the old ways can be opened up to all the limitless possibilities that fashion has to offer—and easily—as long as she’s got a good guide.

Nowadays, my mom won’t think twice about pairing bottle green sandals with a deep brown purse—or wearing a white dress to an evening event. She’ll never call herself fashionable—but given the clean, elegant style sense she’s cultivated after tossing the fashion rules of yore, I’ll be the first to say that she has good taste.

Below, you’ll find 10 fashion rules that you should break—best part is, you won’t have to memorize a whole new set to replace them with! Nowadays, anything goes!

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