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    Q:Matching Accessories… Do Fashion Etiquette Rules Still Apply?

    Dear Sharon: Latest fashion trends indicate that it is acceptable these days not to tie in shoe color with a matching belt and/or handbag.

    [img133|right]However, ingrained in my mind, by my mother from when I was growing up, are basic fashion etiquette rules– which include:
    · Never wear a lighter colored shoe than your pants, skirt, or dress
    ·Never wear more than 4 colors combined
    ·When you wear the same color top and bottom it has to be an
    exact match– especially when it comes to black or navy
    ·And, your belt, handbag and like accessories are to match the color or tie in with your shoes… textures are a whole other novel!

    I’m confused.

    Nowadays, can I wear a brown belt with my red shoes? Can my handbag be an entirely different color than the rest of my outfit? Currently, what goes with what? By the way, my significant other says I sound like Carrie from “Sex And The City” (ironically, with her fashion sense, she should be part of my problem!). Thanks for the info. (San Diego, CA)


    You’re confused? You should be exhausted! When it comes to personal style, rules are meant to be broken. Fashion dictums are terribly boring and stifle any form of freedom of expression, modernity, and, quite frankly, are for those who cannot think for themselves. Rules are not about fashion, they are about imposing one’s restrictive, dated opinions onto others. So why take the joy out of fashion?

    runway models

    There was a time, from the 1960’s back, when a woman’s suit, purse, shoes, hat, and gloves always had to match… but that went out when women stopped wearing hats and gloves for the sake of formality! Now, it’s not the “rules,” but the overall look that rules!

    There is a certain degree of common sense that should always prevail. However, the bottom line is: Does it look good to you?

    Since we don’t live in one big fashion free-for-all, the guidelines that need to apply are a certain sense of appropriateness for the occasion. For instance, don’t turn up for a corporate meeting in faded jeans. If you are unsure about what to wear for a specific function, ask someone who is personally involved.

    When it comes to some kind of nit-pickyness about matching your shoes to your belt, spend more time reflecting how your overall outfit looks and if your accessories compliment each other.

    When wearing the same color separates, like black, to create a uniformed look, the colors should match. If you want to wear white boots with a black skirt because you like the contrast, go for it! If you think red net hose jazzes up a chocolate brown sheath, knock yourself out. But, please don’t spend your life in a matchy-matchy wonderland.

    Now go out and have some fun with fashion!

    –December 11, 2002

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