5 Fashion Mistakes That Actually Matter

Selena Gomez wears a bindi, Karlie Kloss wears a headdress for Victoria's Secret, Valentino Spring 2016 runway model wears cornrows

Selena Gomez, Karlie Kloss for Victoria’s Secret, Valentino Spring 2016; Images: Getty

Have you ever googled “fashion mistakes?” There are over 15 million results. But here’s the real shocker: most of these articles are wrong. They either pigeonhole you into a socially acceptable gender role (how dare you show your bra straps!) or point out subjective styling tips that aren’t really mistakes. For example, you’ll often find lists that include things like “not mixing prints” or “not wearing white after Labor Day.” We’d classify these as missed opportunities at best, but a mistake? Hardly. To set the record straight, we’ve come up with our own list of fashion mistakes to avoid at all costs.

Participating in or Condoning Cultural Appropriation

Stop showing up to Coachella in a feathered headdress or snapping a selfie of the $1 bindi you bought at Ricki’s and telling yourself it’s not cultural appropriation, it’s “cultural appreciation.” That’s insensitive and reductive. End of story.

Following Judgey Body Type Rules

Tutorials centered on how to dress for your body type can be helpful and empowering, especially when they come from a place of compassion and open-mindedness, but more often than not they end up telling women to stay in their lane. Curvy women, for instance, are often told to wear black to look slimmer or avoid revealing clothing like bikinis or crop tops. Throw out those rigid, body-shaming “rules” and focus on what fits and feels good to you.

gabi fresh for sexy swim 2015

GabiFresh for Swim Sexy 2015; Image: Courtesy

Wearing the Wrong Bra Size

Eighty percent of women are wearing the incorrect bra size. This affects the fit of your clothes, of course, but more importantly, the wrong bra can trigger back pain, put undo pressure on your ribs, cause bad posture, create permanent tissue scarring and drastically impact your self-esteem. To find out your perfect fit, go to a professional establishment that specializes in bra fitting, like Rigby & Peller, or check out this bra size calculator.

Ignoring How Your Clothes and Accessories Are Made

Do you know who produces your handbag or where your shoes came from? Or what percentage of your closet was made in a sweatshop factory? We can debate all day long about how wearing denim on denim may or may not be a fashion mistake, but at the end of the day, there are bigger issues at play. If you’re interested in making your wardrobe more sustainable and ethical, we’ve come up with an easy guide to get you there.

Refusing to Shop When Your Weight Fluctuates

Shopping freezes are fairly common after weight gain. We tell ourselves that we’ll buy new clothes once we drop the pounds but then in the blink of an eye, one month turns into one year and one year turns into two. And the entire time, we tiptoe around in a wardrobe that squeezes us like an Italian sausage. If you have the money to spend, buy a few new pieces that fit your body. It doesn’t mean that you’re “giving up.” It just means that you value yourself, no matter what size you are.