Fashion rules aren’t made to be broken — but there are times when your body type, age, confidence or the occasion lets you get away with blazing the fashion trail. That’s why it’s called style, right?
If you’re tall and thin, you can pull off the sequined cat suit with platforms (think Taylor Swift at the IHeartRadio Music Awards 2016). If you have a tiny frame and smaller top section, you can rock the sexy backless black gown with a plunging neckline (remember Rihanna at the 2012 Grammys?).
The thing is, there’s one fashion look that never works out. It’s a look I refer to as simply sloppy. Sloppy attire isn’t grungy or nerdy/cool or edgy. It’s just sloppy — like you pulled a random handful of clothes out of the drawer and threw them on, without even turning the lights on.
Top Fashion Rule — Don’t Be Sloppy
Every woman heads to the grocery store in sweats now and again. It’s ok — no one’s going to call you out on it. Sloppy fashion only becomes an issue when it’s your go-to, and you’re not even paying attention to what you throw on.
And don’t get me wrong here. I’m not arguing that your style defines you. But I will argue that your style describes you. So if you dress like you don’t care, then you give people the impression you don’t care (about your clothes or other stuff either).
Stay out of the sloppy fashion trap by remembering these five danger signs!
#1. Oversized Times Two
Baggy clothes on top of baggy clothes never works. You see celebrities sporting this look in the tabloids. It doesn’t work for them (and maybe that’s intentional), and it’s not going to work for you either.
Go oversized on top, and then balance that out with leggings on the bottom. Or do the reverse. Pair wide-legged pants or even sweats with a fitted top.
#2 Wide-Legged Pants Tucked Into Boots
Ladies, you’re not in bootcamp. Don’t tuck if your pants have a fuller calf. If the pants are bootcut, wear them over the boot. If they’re only slightly wide in the calf, try rolling them up above the top of the boot.
#3 Big Chest + No Bra
I don’t need a picture to show you what this looks like. Let the girls roam free at home if that suits you, but keep ’em contained when you’re out and about.
#4 Crocs with Socks
Crocs don’t look good with socks. If you need to wear socks (because maybe you’re going hiking), wear closed-toed shoes and leave the Crocs at home.
#5 Potty Mouth T + Cords
The potty mouth T is the one that either flings an insult at the world, or references the wearer’s chest size. I can’t think of a reason to wear a potty mouth T by itself, but pairing one with corduroy pants is disastrous. By the same token, cords (with a normal shirt) are ultra casual and, frankly, hard to wear if you’re older than 16.
Surely there are more combos that add up to sloppy. (Share your own in the comments.) If there is a rule of thumb here, it’s this: you risk crossing over into the sloppy zone when you put on more than one oversized or juvenile piece. If you must wear the “I pooped today” tee, for example, wear it with a nice pair of jeans, colored converse and at least one accessory.
As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine, DrLaura.com, Refinery29, Wellness.com and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.
Thanks for stopping by! I'm Catherine, your Budget Fashionista style editor. I'm a bargain shopper at heart, as I love nice things but hate paying for them! I'm also a personal finance writer who's been featured on USA Today and MSN Money.