OPINION: What Happened to Fashion Rules?

In the ever-evolving world of fashion, the once iron-clad rules seem to have melted away, leaving behind a landscape where anything goes. With the rise of social media and the influence of celebrities, fashion has undergone a revolution, where trends are born and die in the blink of an eye. 

But does this mean that there are no longer any fashion rules? And is there truly no limit to what can be considered fashionable?

Gone are the days when fashion was dictated by a select few designers and editors. Today, anyone with a smartphone and a TikTok account can become a fashion influencer, shaping the tastes and preferences of millions around the globe. This liberalization of fashion has led to a proliferation of styles and trends, with individuals free to express themselves in any way they see fit. According to a New York Times article, “There Are No Fashion Rules Anymore” by Isabel Slone in 2020, the fashion scene completely shifted after the pandemic.

“‘Post-calamity, there’s often a turn to a celebration of exuberance,’”  said Dr. De Young. “‘Deprivation and loss pushes you to want to celebrate life.’”

After the Black Death in the 14th century, which wiped out 60% of Europe’s population, she said, clothing became much more vivacious and form-fitting.”

Specific celebrities and influencers have also played a huge role in shaping fashion trends. For example, Kim Kardashian’s shapewear, SKIMS, falls in favor of the clean girl aesthetic. Trends on TikTok have become must-have items for many fashion-forward individuals. Similarly, even Rihanna’s makeup line, Fenty, has revolutionized the beauty industry, with its inclusive range of shades for all skin tones.

However, not all trends are loved by everyone. Skinny jeans, once a staple of every wardrobe, have fallen out of favor in recent years, with many fashionistas opting for looser, more relaxed fits. Similarly, Juicy Couture sweat suits, once a symbol of early 2000s glamour, can be seen as outdated and tacky. 

One of the most striking aspects of this new era of fashion is the idea that fashion is created by the person wearing it, rather than by the designers themselves. In the past, fashion was seen as a top-down process, with designers dictating what was fashionable and what was not. Today, however, fashion is a bottom-up process, with individuals creating their unique styles and trends, often through a process of trial and error.

This shift in perspective has led to a reevaluation of what it means to be fashionable. No longer are there strict rules about what can and cannot be worn together. Instead, fashion is regulated by the freedom of expression, with individuals free to wear whatever makes them feel comfortable and confident.

With such freedom around fashion, it’s hard to delegate which trends become fashion faux pas, and which ones truly emerge victorious and this is simply because of the individuality that comes with fashion. We see celebrities and influencers creating trends that become replicated amongst almost all people. For example, the clean girl aesthetic, which includes slicking back your hair into a tight updo, and wearing athleisure, including Lululemon, UGGs, and flared yoga pants — some even argue that this trend is history repeating itself from the 2000’s. 

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In recent years, several trends have continued to dominate the fashion scene. 

One of these trends is the resurgence of 90s fashion, with slip dresses, baggy jeans, and crop tops making a comeback. Another popular trend is sustainability, with many consumers opting for eco-friendly, thrifted, and ethically made clothing.

Gender-neutral fashion has also gained popularity, with many designers breaking away from traditional gender norms and creating clothing that is inclusive and accessible to all, and that includes the streetwear aesthetic, in which sneakers, baggy pants or cargos, and big tees, can be worn by anyone. 

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This newfound fashion freedom has also led to what some might consider fashion faux pas. The phenomenon of over-accessorizing, or the maximalist style where individuals pile on many accessories in an attempt to create a cluttered look. Another common trend among this trend is mismatched patterns, where conflicting patterns are worn together to create an edgy chaotic aesthetic. 


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Many people disagree with this style of fashion, but who’s to ultimately decide if it’s a fashion faux pas or not? So, is there something right or wrong to wear anymore? 

The answer is both yes and no. 

While there are no longer any hard and fast rules when it comes to fashion, there are still some guidelines that can help you navigate the ever-changing landscape of style. Ultimately, the most important thing is to wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident, regardless of what the latest trends may dictate.

After all, true style is about more than just following the crowd – it’s about expressing yourself in a way that is uniquely you. 

Photos courtesy of Pinterest and Sortd