What are the 5 Top Fashion Faux Pas to Avoid?

Antique metal hanger isolated on white background.

  • Do you not wear a certain colour before or after a certain date each year?
  • Do you think that when you hit a certain age you should cut your hair short?
  • Should you match your shoes and handbag?
  • What are the modern style rules, the dos and don’ts?

There are few style rules these days. You can wear white all year round if you want to.  You don’t need to cut off your hair if it’s in good condition and the style suits you and it looks modern and relevant.  Shoes and handbags?  Mix if you like, you only need to match, if you want to.  But there are some fashion faux pas that women of all ages can fall into the trap of wearing.

1. Ill fitting underwear.  Something like 70% of women wear the wrong size bra.  Your underwear is your foundation, and we know, when building a house, we need good foundations, same for putting an outfit together.  Ensure that your bra fits correctly, and your underwear lines are smooth.  Often I find going up a size in knickers will help to remove cutting and binding of smaller sizes.  Once the elastic starts to go, throw them out!  Wear the underwear that works for the outfit you’re wearing, underwear is for under your clothing, not a feature of your outfit, so we don’t want to see it.    If you’re wearing a racer back top, then wear a bra with a racer back! Don’t forget to wear underwear colours that don’t show under what you’re wearing.  Nude is great under light coloured clothes.  You may love your coral coloured spotty undies (as we call them in Australia), but if I can see them through your trousers or skirt, then they are not the right choice.  Read all about my bra fitting tips here.

2. Consider your personal scale.  If you’re petite, avoid large patterns and lots of fabric in clothing that will overwhelm you.  If you’re tall then an itty, bitty pattern will seem insignificant on you.  Whether it’s jewellery or pattern, details such as collars or buttons, the scale needs to relate to you. Read up more about scale here.

3. Trousers that are too short. One of my top bug-bears!  The length of your trousers needs to relate to the shoe you’re wearing, so some are made for heels and are longer, but will drag on the ground with flats, not good.  And some are the right length for flats, but will look incorrectly proportioned when worn with a heel.  You may need two pairs hemmed differently for each style of shoe you wear.  If you’re gained weight, your trousers will become shorter, lost it, and they will get longer.  Take a moment to check the mirror and see that your trousers end at the heel of your shoe, not your ankle, unless they are supposed to!  Cropped pants should end just below the knee, not halfway down the calf (unless you have long legs and super slim calves). Find out more about pants length and fit here.

4. Shoes that are the wrong level of refinement.  Walking or running shoes with your work clothes (unless you walk for a living).  Comfort shoes that are too chunky bring your whole outfit down.  There are shoes and boots that are comfortable, without compromising your style. Read up about them here.

5. Clothes that don’t fit – too tight or too loose.  Muffin top, need I say more?  Shirts that gape at the bust?  Pinstripe trousers so tight the pinstripes curve around the thighs.  Pants with horizontal pulling at the crotch because the cut is not correct for your shape.  These are all fit issues that I see frequently, and they are undermining your credibility.  Then there are the too large clothes that many women buy.  They are swathed in so much fabric they look lost.  Trousers look like jodpurs when you don’t have the more generous thighs they were meant to encase.  Tops that have no shaping that mean you lose your shape.  If you’ve lost weight and are still wearing your old clothes, it may be time to get some new ones, even if you’re not at your goal size (and I have heaps of tips for you specifically here in Svelte in Style).

Fashions may change, but these faux pas live on season after season, year after year.