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10 Dressing Rules That Everyone Should Learn Once and for All

We’ve all heard the concept of dressing for your body type. However, when you really think about it, dressing for your body type feeds into the belief that looking slim and fitting into societal ideals is more important than wearing clothes you personally like, connect with, and have fun with.

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Dressing for your body type is essentially about choosing clothes that complement your body. While that sounds harmless enough, “complement” usually tends to mean, clothes that make you thinner, taller, curvier, less curvy, proportioned, and so on.

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“Find clothes that enhance this” or “go for a-line cut skirts and pants that conceal that.” These are the messages that most how-to guide on dressing for different body types sends to women and even men.

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Our Fashion Rule

Worrying about what the internet says is most flattering for you takes the fun out of clothes shopping and puts a damper on your confidence. Instead, have fun developing your own style by mixing and matching with versatile items, that look great on everyone – no matter what age and shape you are!

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Of course, you should feel confident in whatever you choose to wear. However, the confidence we speak of should stem from wearing clothes that you want to wear, clothes that speak to your own personal and unique style, and clothes that you feel good about wearing – not merely because it gives the illusion of thinner legs and a smaller waist.

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To help you out with this, we’ve rounded up 10 essential clothing items you should always have in your wardrobe regardless of the body type you have.

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Rules for Wearing the Top 10 Most Versatile Wardrobe Staples

1. Cowl Necks

Dressed up for work, or dressed down for comfort, cowl necks are very versatile. They fit loose and look great paired with pants or joggers. If your personal style is cozy yet stylish, this is the perfect fashion staple to keep handy in your closet.

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How to Wear: Let the cowl neck hang naturally in front. If there’s enough fabric, you can wear the cowl neck over your head like a hood. Alternatively, pull the cowl neck taut over your shoulders to create a cute off-the-shoulder look. Keep in mind that the neckline makes quite a statement, so adding neck jewelry might distract from the look you’re trying create.

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2. Bell-sleeves

If there is one item of clothing that has been on the radar for a while, its bell-sleeves. Designers have even built bell-sleeves into dresses, tops, and sweaters. Bell-sleeves can be worn whichever way you choose, whether it’s under a sleeveless dress, over a skirt, or even with a pair of pants/jeans.

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How to Wear: The bell sleeve is casual enough to wear with denim or a skirt, but you could also dress it up with leggings and heels, this is definitely a clothing piece that plays well with others! But be careful- Due to its overflowing fabric, just watch out for stains during meals that require you to reach across a table 🙂

3. Denim Jacket

A classic piece by far, the denim jacket should be a staple in every woman’s closet. This versatile jacket can be layered over everything from fancy dresses to casual sweaters.

How to Wear: There are many different styles of denim jackets, the trick is finding the style you prefer. Do you like a dark wash cut? How about a vintage style with an oversized fit? The choice is yours. The old rule not to pair denim with denim is totally out of date, but watch out for that musty smell that you sometimes get with denim.

4. Little Black Dress

Versatility at its finest! There’s so much you can do with the little black dress. You could go casual or dress it up. This dress is perfect for any outing – from wedding receptions to a girls night out.

How to Wear: Most women opt to wear their LBD one way. Instead, think about your black dress as a blank canvas. You can accessorize, add details, and layer it, all of which allow you to wear this staple dress in a multitude of ways. Really, our only rule for the LBD is to add your own style to it!

Versatility at its finest! There’s so much you can do with the little black dress. You could go casual or dress it up. This dress is perfect for any outing – from wedding receptions to a girls night out.

How to Wear: Most women opt to wear their LBD one way. Instead, think about your black dress as a blank canvas. You can accessorize, add details, and layer it, all of which allow you to wear this staple dress in a multitude of ways. Really, our only rule for the LBD is to add your own style to it!

5. The Fun Blazer

The blazer is a true wardrobe staple. Whether you work in a business setting or not, part of what makes a blazer so fitting is how versatile it can be!

How to Wear: The trick is to go for one that isn’t too tailored or fitted and with just enough leeway to roll up the sleeves. You definitely don’t want to feel squeezed into a blazer that’s too tight.

6. Midi Skirt

If there’s one piece in your wardrobe that’s both comfortable and stylish it’s the midi skirt. It’s a piece that’s flattering on everyone and comes in many colors, fabrics, and prints. The length is what makes this a classy, demure, and modern piece.

How to Wear: Your midi skirt goes with just about anything. Wear it to an evening dinner or with a favorite top for a weekend brunch. For a more casual look, go for strappy sandals. Lace-up sandals that tie a few inches up your calf are also a great option because they make the transition between shoe and skirt look more fluid. But be careful about your choice of shoes and top- they can drastically change how your midi skirt looks.

7. Wrap Dresses

The wrap dress is stylish, comfortable, and looks great on everyone. It’s such a simple piece and a great option when you want to look polished with minimal effort.

How to Wear: If you want to wear your wrap dress to the office, you may prefer to wear a tank top or a camisole underneath for a more modest look. Alternatively, if you want to go more casual, you can pair your dress with leggings. Otherwise, go nuts!

8. White Button-Down

The white button-down is a favored clothing staple. You can get yours fitted, short sleeve, long sleeve, cropped, or silk! Whatever style you choose, this piece is excellent for a business setting, a night on the town, or even a casual weekend afternoon in your favorite denim.

How to Wear: While this piece comes in different colors, if yours happens to be white, don’t spray perfume directly on the fabric. Also,  avoid rubbing your makeup on it and be careful with deodorant application, as this will cause yellowing in the armpits. Plus, if you want a more relaxed fit, avoid material that is too sheer.

9. White Tee

This is a vital piece for any wardrobe. A simple white t-shirt not only pairs perfectly with everything, but it is the perfect neutralizer for different prints and colors.

How to Wear: Who said a white t-shirt couldn’t be business casual? Wear it under a blazer with some denim, then slip into loafers to complete this office-ready look. For a more casual look, pair your white t-shirt with your favorite jeans! Your only style faux-pas is wearing a white t-shirt that isn’t so white anymore. This is a staple worth buying multiples to keep fresh.

10. Boyfriend Jeans

Boyfriend jeans have gone completely mainstream over the last few years. They are known for their “relaxed” style, for any woman, whatever age you are. What’s lovely about these jeans is that they are roomier than tailored ones. Wear them slim-fit, or wear them loose all over. Again, the choice is yours!

How to Wear: Elevate a pair of boyfriend jeans with a dressed-up blouse and classic black pumps. For an on-the-go, casual look, pair your denim with a lightweight sweater, open jacket, and some flats. You’ll want to pay attention to where your shirt and jeans meet- boyfriend jeans shouldn’t be riding too low on your hips that they risk some TMI when you sit down or bend over.

Final Note

Whether it’s flowing wrap dress, a white t-shirt that hangs off your shoulders just the right way, or that one pair of boyfriend jeans that makes you feel comfortable in your skin, mixing and matching with these wardrobe staples make clothes shopping so easy.

This simplicity and versatility of these staple pieces leave us feeling confident and fearless because no matter what, we know they look and feel great on everyone, no matter what body type. Not to mention they go with everything! So if you’re meeting friends for brunch or just commuting to the office, go on and paint the town!

Keep Reading: Please Stop Wearing These 3 Things (at any age)

Brittany Hambleton
Freelance Contributor
Brittany is a freelance writer and editor with a Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition and a writer’s certificate from the University of Western Ontario. She enjoyed a stint as a personal trainer and is an avid runner. Brittany loves to combine running and traveling, and has run numerous races across North America and Europe. She also loves chocolate more than anything else… the darker, the better!
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