Style Rules to Break this Summer

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Style rules – love them or hate them? I kind of hate them.

First of all, I’d like to distinguish between ‘rules’ and ‘guidelines’. Rules are supposedly there to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do – but most often, they cause you to doubt your instincts or get completely stuck in trying to figure out what to wear. Guidelines, on the other hand, are more of a gentle nudge in figuring out what works specifically for you.

I was just talking to a client yesterday and she brought up the ‘rules’ of dressing her body (and boy, are there a lot of those!). And I asked her to think of them more like guidelines, that can flex as needed. So, let’s first agree – no more rules, just guidelines. And then let’s agree that whether it’s a rule or a guideline, you have the power to break them whenever you’re in the mood.

Speaking of breaking rules, there are lots of rules floating around about what you should wear, especially in the summer. Whether it’s regarding color or dressing up or what you need in your closet, I don’t necessarily agree with any of them. So, here are 4 style rules that you can break this summer – and my tips on what you can do instead.


One question I’m consistently asked is, “which colors should I wear?” And I always answer with, “which colors do you like?” Color is meant to be enjoyed, color is meant to be fun, color is meant to be expressive. So, focusing on what you ‘can’ or ‘can’t’ wear just gets in the way.

My first piece of advice is to wear any color that you want. And if you’re still concerned about wearing certain colors that don’t necessarily flatter your skin tone, here are a few ideas:

Diffuse the color in a print – Instead of wearing a solid version of the color, pick up the color in a print. It will allow you to play with the color in a more subtle way.

Wear the color on the bottom – When you’re talking about ‘flattering’ colors, you’re most often referring to colors that look good next to your face. But when you wear color on your bottom half, it’s doesn’t really make a difference, right?

Wear it in an accessory – If there’s a color you love but you’re afraid of committing to it in clothes, go for it with an accessory. It can be a fun pop with an otherwise sedate outfit. And if you’re looking for other ways to play with pop colors, read this.

Wear something between you and the color – Let’s say that you love a yellow blazer – but you’re concerned about yellow next to your face. Make sure that what you wear underneath is a color you like better. And if it’s a yellow top, you can always wear a print scarf to break it up.


This is a somewhat antiquated rule, but many people still abide by it. The underlying assumption is that when you’re not sure of the appropriateness of your outfit, err on the side of not being noticed – as opposed to drawing attention for dressing up too much. But especially after this past year, I think this is THE summer to overdress. This is THE summer to wear heels just because you want to. This is THE summer to go for sequins in the daytime. This is THE summer to get dolled up to go to the grocery store. If any summer deserved a little overdressing, it’s this one!


The rational idea behind avoiding black in summer is because of how it absorbs the sun. Black absorbs heat, while white reflects it. But unless you’re spending all day in the sun and wearing black from head to toe, you’re totally okay with wearing a full black outfit, just because you want to. And if you want to lessen the impact of black (or other dark colors), here’s how:

Balance black with white – Black and white are a classic combo, and a dose of white keeps black from feeling too somber.

Show some skin – Avoid black from neck to wrist to ankle. Instead, opt for black shorts or a skirt. Go for a sleeveless black top. Try a black open back dress for an outdoor party.

Go sheer – If you prefer a little more coverage and still want to wear black, try sheer fabrics and fabrics that let a little light peek through. Eyelet and lace are perfect options to diffuse the intensity of black – and they keep you a little cooler, too.


I recently spoke to a client about updating her summer wardrobe. I asked her if she liked shorts. And she said, “I’ll wear them if you think I need them.” Well, guess what? No one NEEDS shorts. If you like shorts, wear them – and if you don’t, don’t. And if you’re looking for other alternatives to full length pants in summer, try a skirt or dress. Or cropped pants. Or drapey styles and lighter weight fabrics that breathe.

Are you hitting some obstacles in getting ready for summer? Or are you trying to decipher your post-pandemic style? Click here to read about the different ways we can work together. And click this to set up a free consultation call where can discuss you needs and the best ways to create the style you deserve.

Photo credits: cover image by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash; clothes on rack image from Tanya Taylor Instagram; black dress image from Sophia Loren on Pinterest


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