14 Dressing Rules That Everyone Should Learn Once and for All

Tips & tricks
10 months ago

Coco Chanel, a renowned fashion icon of her time, once wisely remarked, ’Dress shabbily, and they remember the dress; dress impeccably, and they remember the woman.’ This statement carries with it a timeless truth that resonates through the ages. It’s difficult to contest her insight because clothing plays a pivotal role in shaping our image and how we are perceived by others. In a world where first impressions are often the only chance we get to make, our choice of attire becomes a potent tool for self-expression and communication.

The significance of clothing in our lives goes beyond mere aesthetics; it’s a reflection of our personality, values, and even our mood. Each outfit we choose has the power to convey a different facet of ourselves, whether it’s the confidence exuded by a perfectly tailored suit, the comfort of well-worn jeans, or the elegance of a classic black dress. Our clothing choices can speak volumes before we utter a single word.

1. The middle button on a jacket should always be closed. The upper one depends on your mood. The lower one should never be closed.

When it comes to buttoning a jacket, there are some well-established guidelines to follow for a polished and stylish appearance. The middle button on a jacket should always be closed. This rule forms the foundation of jacket etiquette and is essential for achieving a put-together look. By fastening the middle button, you ensure that the jacket maintains its shape and fits snugly against your body, creating a clean and tailored silhouette.

Contrary to the middle and upper buttons, the lower one should never be closed. This is a steadfast rule in the world of men’s fashion and serves both functional and aesthetic purposes. Closing the lower button can restrict your movement and cause the jacket to bunch up, which is not only uncomfortable but also unsightly. Keeping it unbuttoned allows for greater ease of movement and ensures the jacket drapes gracefully, contributing to an overall polished look.

2. When you are wearing a shirt or a blouse, you can unbutton no more than 2 buttons.

Buttoning a jacket requires attention to established guidelines for a polished appearance. The middle button should always be closed, forming the foundation of jacket etiquette. Fastening it ensures a well-shaped, snug fit, resulting in a clean and tailored silhouette.

In contrast, the lower button should never be fastened, a steadfast rule in men’s fashion. Closing it can limit movement and lead to an uncomfortable, unsightly bunching of the jacket. Leaving it unbuttoned ensures graceful draping, contributing to an overall polished look.

3. Wear earrings that match your bracelet and a necklace that goes well with your ring. 3 or 4 things in one look is too much.

When wearing shirts and blouses, maintaining style and appropriateness is key. A guideline to remember is to unbutton no more than two buttons. This isn’t just about fashion; it also reflects modesty and decorum. Unbuttoning more than two buttons can reveal too much skin, potentially unsuitable for various occasions. Balancing comfort and appropriateness is essential, ensuring your choice aligns with the context.

4. The tip of your tie should reach your waist and cross it just a little.

When it comes to accessorizing, striking the right balance is key to creating a harmonious and stylish look. A fundamental guideline to keep in mind is to wear earrings that match your bracelet and choose a necklace that complements your ring. This approach ensures that your accessories work together cohesively, enhancing your overall appearance.

Coordinating your earrings with your bracelet can create a sense of symmetry and cohesion in your outfit. This matching technique can draw attention to specific areas, like your wrists and ears, allowing these accessories to complement and accentuate each other rather than compete for attention.

5. Opt for either a miniskirt or cleavage. Both at once look too vulgar.

When it comes to fashion choices, especially in terms of skirts and tops, striking the right balance between style and appropriateness is essential. One fundamental guideline to keep in mind is the choice between a miniskirt and cleavage — opting for both simultaneously can risk conveying an overly provocative or vulgar image.

A miniskirt can be a trendy and stylish choice that showcases your legs and adds a touch of youthful flair to your outfit. However, when combined with a revealing top that exposes cleavage, it can lead to a look that appears more suited for a nightclub or a very casual setting. To maintain an elegant and tasteful appearance, it’s advisable to choose one focal point for your outfit — either highlight your legs with a miniskirt or draw attention to your neckline with a modest top.

6. If you are wearing a shirt without a jacket, you don’t need a tie.

Dressing well involves knowing when attire elements are necessary or can be skipped for a relaxed look. When wearing a shirt without a jacket, you usually don’t need a tie. This choice signifies a more casual style, and a tie can seem overly formal and out of place, creating an imbalance in your outfit.

7. Your office shirt cleavage should not be deeper than 4″ from your collarbone.

Maintaining a sense of professionalism and appropriateness in the workplace is paramount, and this extends to your attire choices, including the neckline of your office shirt. A key guideline to keep in mind is that the cleavage of your office shirt should not plunge deeper than approximately 4 inches from your collarbone.

This guideline helps ensure that your attire remains in line with the expected standards of a professional work environment. A neckline that goes beyond this depth can often be distracting and may not convey the level of seriousness and respect for the workplace that is typically expected. It’s important to strike a balance between showcasing your personal style and adhering to workplace dress codes.

8. If you tucked in your shirt, you should wear a belt.

The choice to tuck in your shirt is often a sign of a more formal or put-together appearance, whether for professional settings or to achieve a polished casual look. When you decide to tuck in your shirt, another essential guideline to follow is that you should wear a belt.

Wearing a belt serves both practical and aesthetic purposes. Practically, it helps keep your trousers or pants in place, preventing them from slipping down during the day, which can be both uncomfortable and unprofessional. A belt also provides a more secure and refined appearance by cinching the waist, giving your outfit a tailored and well-fitted look.

9. Your naked skin should not be seen between your cardigan and your jeans. Wear a top if necessary.

Maintaining a polished and well-coordinated appearance is often the goal when it comes to dressing, and this extends to how you pair your cardigan with your jeans. One essential guideline to remember is that your naked skin should not be visible between your cardigan and your jeans. If necessary, it’s advisable to wear an appropriate top to achieve a seamless and tasteful look.

When there’s a gap of exposed skin between your cardigan and jeans, it can create a disjointed and unfinished appearance. This gap can be distracting and may not convey the level of sophistication and attention to detail that you may desire. To address this, wearing a top underneath your cardigan is a simple and effective solution.

10. Your belt should be the same color as your shoes.

Color coordination is fundamental for an enhanced appearance. A golden rule for accessories is matching your belt to your shoes. This timeless principle creates visual harmony, tying together your upper and lower attire for a polished, intentional look, showcasing your attention to detail and sophistication.

11. If your clothes have a visible tags, it is better to cut them off.

Trimming or removing visible tags from your clothing is a small yet significant detail that contributes to a neater and more polished appearance. The presence of tags, often displaying size or care instructions, can sometimes disrupt the clean lines and aesthetics of your outfit. Therefore, adhering to the practice of cutting off these tags is a straightforward way to enhance your overall look.

Beyond aesthetics, removing visible clothing tags also has practical benefits. It can prevent irritation or discomfort caused by scratchy or irritating labels that come into contact with your skin. This attention to comfort is especially crucial in garments that you wear close to your body, such as underwear or activewear. By taking a moment to remove these tags, you not only ensure a more pleasing visual presentation but also prioritize your own comfort throughout the day.

12. Don’t wear too many prints. You can wear 2 different prints of the same color or 2 coordinating prints of different sizes.

When adding prints to your outfit, balancing your style is one of the most important things to do. Don’t wear too many prints at once. Instead, coordinate them: choose two prints of the same color or two prints with different sizes that go together. This way, you can play with patterns while keeping a visually pleasing look. Matching prints in the same color creates an elegant contrast, while different-sized prints in coordinating colors achieve a balanced style. It is recommended for you to follow this guideline to confidently wear prints and stay polished and stylish.

13. Your socks should be long enough that your naked legs aren’t seen when you are sitting.

Selecting the right sock length is a often-overlooked yet crucial aspect of dressing well, significantly impacting your appearance. A practical guideline is to opt for socks that cover your legs completely when sitting. This not only serves functional purposes, providing warmth and comfort, especially in colder seasons, but also ensures a polished and cohesive look. Bare skin peeking between your trousers and shoes can disrupt your outfit’s visual flow and draw unnecessary attention, so choosing the appropriate sock length demonstrates your commitment to a well-groomed appearance.

14. In formal office settings, blouse without sleeves should cover your shoulders. The appearance of “Spaghetti” straps on you is not always look great in offices.

In professional office settings, adhering to a certain level of modesty and formality in attire is essential. When it comes to blouses without sleeves, a key guideline is that they should cover your shoulders. Exposing “spaghetti” straps or going strapless is generally not considered appropriate in formal situations. This rule ensures that your attire aligns with the expected standards of professionalism, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a tasteful and respectful appearance in the workplace.

Indeed, the impact of clothing on our psyche and well-being runs much deeper than mere outward appearances. When we select our attire with care and intention, we embark on a journey of self-discovery and self-expression. This process of choosing the right outfit can be transformative, elevating not only our external image but also our internal state of mind.

Consider for a moment the act of getting dressed in the morning. It’s not just about covering our bodies; it’s a ritual, a daily opportunity to craft an identity for the day ahead. The choice of clothing becomes a form of self-care, a way to honor ourselves and our aspirations. When we slip into that favorite dress or suit, we’re not just adorning our bodies; we’re adorning our spirits with confidence and self-assuredness.

Coco Chanel’s timeless wisdom serves as a poignant reminder that our clothing is not just fabric and style; it’s a reflection of our values, aspirations, and the unique individual that we are. It’s a medium through which we communicate to the world and to ourselves. Every garment in our wardrobe holds the potential to tell a story, to convey a mood, and to amplify our self-assurance.

Please note: This article was updated in March 2023 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Illustrated by Natalia Breeva for Bright Side


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