5 of Mom's Style Rules to Break, Right Now!

Admit it: Your Mom was right about a lot of things (always write a thank-you note; that Trent was no good). But when it comes to style, some of that old-school advice she gave you is holding you back from being your most fabulous self. So here are 5 rules that no longer apply—and how to politely respond when Mom asks if you’re really leaving the house wearing THAT.

Clinton Kelly Break Mom's Style Rules

Mom says: Your shoes must match your bag.

You say: Sorry, Mom: Matchy-matchy has been over since I grew out of Garanimals. It’s much more chic to accessorize with complementary textures and patterns, like pairing a tan suede bootie with a snakeskin clutch or a metallic sandal with caramel leather bag. And let’s be honest: Do you really want me going out in head-to-toe black leather? I thought not.

Mom says: You can’t wear black and navy together!

You say: Sure you can, Mom. Designers do it all the time—haven’t you ever seen a blouse with both black and navy in the print? The key is intention: A really dark navy blue paired with black might make you look like you got dressed in the dark—but a lighter, bluer shade of navy paired with black is no problem. Same goes for black and brown. You can do it!

Mom says: Only wear gold with gold and silver with silver.

You say: Actually, mixing metallics is a huge trend. When you’re layering accessories, like necklaces, bracelets or rings, a whole stack of the same can get kind of boring. Plus, if you want to get technical about it: All metallics are neutrals and all neutrals go with other neutrals. So there.

Mom says: You can’t wear white after Labor Day (or before Memorial Day).

You say: Hello, it’s not 1952. You can wear white all year; what matters is the material you choose. You don’t wear a gauzy linen peasant dress in February because you’ll freeze your ass off and look like a jerk, but white in a seasonally appropriate material, like corduroy or wool? No problem. White garments that are closer to cream or ivory tend to work better in cold weather, too.

Mom says: You can’t wear denim with denim.

You say: Well, maybe you can’t, but I can! Denim has evolved way beyond those light-wash Levi’s. When you pair denim in different colors and weights together, like topping maroon waxed jeans with a lightweight chambray shirt, there’s enough contrast that you don’t look like you’re wearing the Texas Tuxedo. But chambray tucked into a light-wash jean? Just because some kids are doing it, doesn’t mean I have to do it, too. I learned that advice from you, Mom.


Can’t let International Women’s Day go by without a shoutout to 5 of the strongest, kindest, smartest, most hardworking women I’ve ever met.

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