Ten Fashion Faux Pas and How to Avoid Them
In This Chapter
▶ Knowing what to show and what not to show
▶ Avoiding other mistakes
Faux pas is a French expression that in English means something you’re not supposed to do. In this chapter, I list ten fashion mistakes you want to avoid at all costs.
You’ve heard the old saying “less is more,” right? Like many old sayings, it’s lasted for a reason. Wearing big statement pieces to express your personal style is definitely fun and fashionable, but you don’t want to wear too many statement pieces at one time. Pick one piece that you want people to notice. Wear a chunky necklace, chandelier earrings, or a cute hair accessory. Wearing all of them at once overwhelms your overall look, distracts anyone from looking at your face, and makes you look like you tried too hard to be matchymatchy. (For more information on how to accessorize, see Chapter 15.)
Doesn’t the title say it all? Panties should always be worn under, not out of, your clothing. Obviously, panties sticking out of your jeans or slacks is a giant no-no. Make sure (and you can even test this) that no matter what your pose — sitting, standing, or bending to pick up a pen — your undergarments don’t expose themselves (see Figure 17-1).
Your jeans or pants are there to cover your rear and flatter it. If your under- wear is sticking out, chances are good that your outfit is doing nothing for your entire midsection and backside. Don’t draw unwanted attention there by letting your panties, or worse, your rear, stick out of them. Yikes!
As is tradition, the bride will (most likely) be in white, so you shouldn’t be. In addition to white, avoid ivory, cream, ecru, eggshell, linen, or any other nearly white color. People often question whether black is okay to wear to a wedding. If it’s a nighttime affair, then yes, black is totally chic. However, if it’s a daytime affair, stay away from black. For more on dressing for special occasions, head to Chapter 11.
Baring Your Stomach
Baring your stomach — unless you’re wearing a bathing suit — is another giant no (see Figure 17-2). Just as showing your rear isn’t the height of fashion sophistication, neither is showing your stomach. Even if you can get beyond the lack of sophistication, it’s not a flattering look for most women. A cropped top cuts you right in the middle and draws all the attention to your waist. Believe me, you can look sexy in many ways; showing your stomach is not one of them.
Gasp! Seeing the seam of pantyhose across someone’s toes in an open-toe shoe gives me hives! If you’re wearing sandals, it’s probably warm out, and you don’t need hose. If you’re wearing pantyhose, it’s probably cold enough out to warrant closed-toe shoes. Even if you came up with what seemed like a logical reason to pair hose and open-toe shoes, the look is an absolute no. No exceptions! Head to Chapter 14 for more hosiery rules.
Part of being fashionable is dressing appropriately for the season and the weather. If it’s hot, wear sexy sandals and go with bare legs. If it’s cold, pair the hose or tights with great boots or pumps. Of course, you can also wear open-toe sandals (sans hose) in the winter with an evening dress, as long as you’re not outdoors for an extended period.
Wearing High Waters
Wearing capri pants is one thing; wearing pants that are meant to be full length but that fall too high on your leg is quite another (see Figure 17-3). Make sure your pants hit the top of your shoe (or foot, if you’re wearing a sandal). You don’t want to look like you’re ready for a flood.
Wearing pants that are too short not only takes away from the long, clean line that is supposed to make you appear taller and thinner, but it also looks like you bought the wrong size, got them hemmed improperly, or shrank them in the wash — none of which is good.
The most common fashion faux pas is to overdo it. That could mean wearing too much jewelry, too much perfume, too much makeup; show- ing too much skin; or wearing too tight a dress or too high a heel. You may think that, because so many of the outfits seen on the fashion runways are over the top, exaggeration has a part to play in everyday fashion, but that’s not so. Remember, all fashion is an accessory to the person wearing the clothes, you. If you overdo it, then you will get overwhelmed. So while you always want to make a style statement, you never want to be a fashion victim. If you abide by the golden rule — less is more — you’ll always be able to avoid becoming a fashion faux pas.
Wearing White Underwear under Anything Sheer
If you’re wearing a sheer top, choose flesh-toned undergarments. These come in a variety of shades, so you can find one that matches your skin tone. The flesh-toned color of your bra, camisole, or slip gives the illusion that you don’t have anything on underneath, while everything really remains covered and hidden. This way, you get the full effect of the beauty of the sheer top or dress without the distraction of the wrong undergarment. When you wear white underneath something sheer, the white is all you see (see Figure 17-4). This is especially true if you’re somewhere where you may be photographed — such as a wedding. The flash of the camera will pick up the white undergarment, making it even more noticeable in the picture than it is in real life.
Wearing All Denim
I love denim. Jeans are a great staple in most everyone’s wardrobe. A jean jacket is the perfect complement to white pants, khakis, or a cute dress.
Still, don’t wear jeans and a denim jacket together as an outfit. The look is straight out of the 1980s and is too matchy-matchy. With so many mix and match options for jeans and jean jackets, pair denim with pretty much anything other than more denim. (For more on how to wear denim, see Chapter 5.)
Showing Your Bra Straps
Your bra straps should never be showing. If you’re wearing a spaghetti strap dress, opt for a strapless bra. If you’re wearing a racerback tank top, go for a racerback bra. Letting your straps show takes away from your outfit, and your bra straps are often the first thing people notice (see Figure 17-5). You can find convertible bras in all different sizes and with all different levels of support. (Head to Chapter 14 for more on undergarments.)
Many bra companies have begun to make fashionable bra straps that are meant to be shown. This look is very casual and therefore inappropriate for work and many other occasions. Exercise caution with fashionable straps, and remember, a cleaner look is always safe and stylish.
Wearing Clothing That’s Too Tight
Clothing is unflattering when it’s too tight. I know, I know — you love that top and you must have it. Unfortunately, the only size you can find is a size smaller than you wear. What do you do? You put the garment down and walk away! We’ve all bought the top we had to have knowing it was too small. But no matter how fab the top, if you have to squeeze yourself into it, it’s a total no. Walking around in clothing that’s too tight is not only uncomfortable; it’s also unfashionable (see Figure 17-6). You don’t want to be the woman in a fabulous outfit that’s too small.