9 Rules of Fashion from a Decade of What Not To Wear

I believe I may have mentioned that What Not To Wear is my favorite show of all damn time.

It’s so funny and informative and inspiring. And it’s incredible to watch women’s lives transform on all levels simply by learning to dress better.

Because it turns out, how we dress is about a lot more than clothes. It’s about how we feel in our own skin.

And over the years, Stacy and Clinton have taught me:

Everything you put on your body tells others how you expect to be treated.

– Clinton

Clothes should bring you joy and make you feel beautiful.

– Stacy

Clothes are not the reward for a good job or for losing 10 pounds.  Clothes are the tools you use to get yourself to where you want to be.

– Stacy

Don’t you just love them?

Stacy ad Clinton

I’m sure you can imagine my sheer joy when I found out that two new seasons of this magical program had been added to iTunes!

As the series heads towards its finale, they did a special on the Rules of Fashion they’ve created over the past decade, you know, just so we could all take some notes.  And that’s literally what I did.

So here they are. I hope you find them as helpful as I do.  They make me want to stop wearing all black everything, ya know?


Rule #1 – Keep the girls locked and loaded.

They suggest that every woman get a professional bra fitting at least once a year (or any time your weight fluctuates more than 5 lbs either way).  This was crazy to me but, when I think a back in my life, its also make sense.  The right bra can make or break and outfit and our boob size does depend on our weight. We’re not talking about popping into Victoria’s Secret here though, they mean visiting a real lingerie store and having a proper fitting.

Rule #2 – Dress your age.

If you’re older, don’t try to dress like a 20 year old.  You won’t look 20, you’ll look older than you actually are.  If you’re younger, don’t dress like your grandma or take outdated hand-me-downs. Dressing your age is what’s going to make you look chic, confident and put-together. I should probably get rid of the glorified denim underpants I wore to Newport Folk Festival a couple years ago, huh?

Rule #3 – Your clothes have to fit. 

Don’t try to dress for the body you want or the body you used to have. Dress for the body you have right now.  If you don’t like the number in the back of your jeans, cross it out with a sharpie.  I know I have this issue sometimes.  I want to buy the size 27 jeans because I want to be a size 27 in jeans.  But usually, the size 28 is way more comfortable.

Rule #4 – Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

This one is tricky for me because I can’t necessarily dress for the job I want (blogger) at the job I have (office manager in finance). Skinny boyfriend jeans just aren’t allowed in my Madison Avenue office. It’s just not going to be appropriate all the time. I get it though, we should use our wardrobe as a tool.

Rule #5 – Color, texture, pattern and shine all create visual interest. 

As I write this I am wearing black, business-casual, man-pants and a navy blue sweater.  I’m not exactly killing it.  I actually asked Joel if he would nominate me 100 times to get me on the show. But he said he didn’t think I dressed shitty enough to stand out, which I guess was nice. In the meantime, I would do well to remember this one. I find myself gravitating to blacks and whites, chambrays and neutrals only.  I think I could add some of that visual interest they’re talking about. What do you think?

Photo Oct 12, 2 13 39 PM

Rule #6 – You don’t have to show a lot of skin to be sexy.

They suggest to show off just one asset at a time if you’re feeling sexy.  I 100% agree with this one and think I do a decent job of it.  I’ve been told I don’t show my boobs off enough though, or like, ever but I feel like they show themselves off just fine on their own. My favorite example of this idea at work is a crewneck, long sleeved, mini cocktail dress I have and have worn to a couple of weddings.  Show off the stems, covers up on top.

Rule #7 – Jeans are supposed to make your butt look good. 

This is the one job that jeans have. I have to say, I’m guilty of being more interested in my jeans being on trend and having the correct rise than I am in what they do to my butt.  This is likely due to my abhorrence of muffin top. I need to pay more attention to what my jeans are doing to my butt, though. This feels important.

Rule #8 – Mom does not equal frump. 

I have no idea what kind of mother I could potentially be. I have no idea if I will slide into the big frump once I procreate. It does make sense to me though, that a mom who is confident and feels good in her own skin would be happier in general. Right? I don’t know…. I won’t pretend to know much about being a mom.

Rule #9 – You can show off your personality without looking crazy. 

I guess what they mean here is that you should opt for infusing your personality into your wardrobe in a subtle way instead of going straight for the obvious. This could mean a brightly printed pencil skirt to say “I’m fun and different” rather than say a t-shirt that says “I’m fun and different”, literally, written on it.

What do you think?  Any of these hit home for you?  Which ones do you KNOW you’re breaking on the reg?  Tell us in the comments below!

Also published on Medium.


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