10 basic fashion rules every man and woman should know

Fashions come and fashions go, but some style basics hold true forever. Whether you’re on waving terms with Anna Wintour at Paris Fashion Week, or just interested in finding out the basics of how you should dress to impress, the following should be printed out and stuck to the inside of your wardrobe door in perpetuity…

For Men…

Put the effort in

Even the slightest extra effort, such as adding a pocket square to Dobell men’s blazers, having your suit pressed before a wedding reception, or replacing a sloppy pair of flip-flops with some leather sandals for the annual work summer picnic, can make all the difference. It’s like rolling a snowball – once you start taking a serious interest in the way you look, you’ll find it’s an endlessly enthralling topic and before you know it you’ll be a master at peacocking.

Belt matches shoes

If you’re wearing a suit, or a blazer/trousers combo, then your belt (assuming you’re wearing one, which unless you’re in a tuxedo, you should be) should go with your smart shoes. It doesn’t need to be an exact colour match, despite what some might say, but there needs to be a correlation, or your look is going to be off-kilter.

Versatility is everything

The best investment a man can ever make in his wardrobe is to buy a few classic, easily interchangeable pieces, such as a dark pair of jeans, two pairs of dress shoes (black and brown), several plain-coloured t-shirts, some thin sweaters than can easily be layered, and what you have then is a whole series of outfits that can be created from these and your more rarefied items. Great value – and if looked after they can last for years without ever going out of fashion.

Always buy two pairs of suit trousers

Particularly if it’s a suit you really love, and/or the material or pattern may quite possibly be unavailable after a while. That’s because on a suit, the trousers invariably wear out first, and once they’re gone, if you can’t find a replacement pair, then the jacket is useless also.

Fit: The Golden Rule

Always, always buy clothes that fit your body shape. Not too tight, or baggy, not too large, or small. Ask any expert; the fit is beyond a shadow of a doubt THE most important thing when selecting clothes. If it doesn’t hang right on you then no matter how on-trend your outfit is, or how much it costs, the effect is ruined.

For Women…

The raindrop effect

Even the smallest raindrop can create huge ripples. And the tiniest of tricks can make immense differences to the way you look in the same outfit – just tucking in a t-shirt, or knotting it around your stomach, or adding some expensive buttons to a cheap jacket, can have a transformational effect.

Accessories over everything

The right accessory can take a look into a whole new dimension. One example is the deceptively simple and ever-powerful Little Black Dress. Find a winning design, and all you will need is a pair of killer earrings, or a stunning clutch bag, and all eyes will be on you. Possibly the ultimate accessory for any woman, in terms of versatility, is a scarf. Tie it around the neck, around your wrist, or put it over your hair. Handy for wiping faces with cool water, mopping up spills, keeping the sun off and a million more uses besides. 

Spring-clean your wardrobe every year

Not only does it help you make room for new purchases, it enables you to keep track of what you’ve got, and bring beloved but forgotten about pieces back into rotation.

Buy in multiples

It’s said that Jackie Onassis had a closet full of sheath dresses because she loved the way she looked in them. Imelda Marcos had hundreds upon hundreds of pairs of designer shoes. If there’s something you love, be it earrings or ball gowns, who says you can’t have as many as you can afford?

Your signature style

Everyone should have a signature style, whether that’s gold jewellery, or no jewellery, high heels for every occasion, or a flower-child look. It can come to define you, but you should never be afraid to change it up if you tire of it.


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