My experience of getting dressed in the morning is often tempered by the fact that the lighting in my bedroom is terrible. I often put on trousers the wrong way round, socks are mismatched and T-shirts inside out. I’m not alone. Many of us have similar tales of wrongly sized bras and jumpers on inside out. But on the catwalk it’s a different story. In the season-after-season hamster wheel of reinvention, anything goes. Take the Fendi show last week in Milan, in which models sported headbands upside down on the back of their heads. It makes you wonder what else you could have been wearing wrong for years.
The fashion website Man Repeller recently featured a piece about “reverse layering”, which recommended styling hacks including wearing a skirt over a dress, denim shorts over swimming trunks and a lace bra over a man’s shirt. Meanwhile, the New York label Proenza Schouler recently showed models wearing “misbuttoned” jackets and Gucci continued the trend for reappropriating BDSM harnesses as tops.
The fashion stylist Bianca Nicole says that as styling rules go: “If you have a smile on your face, you can pull off anything.” That said, she does get frustrated when she sees people wearing “incorrect sizes that don’t sit properly on the body, items of clothing that aren’t ironed or steamed and see-through leggings”. The styling team Rachel Gold and Isobel Kershaw say that one mistake people make is with pleated skirts: “They are very difficult on certain body types, and end up not being flattering.”
But there is a fluidity in fashion that allows style rules to be constantly reassessed. Outfits that at one time would have been considered cardinal sins become the height of vogue: take the rise of the “bradigan” (the unbuttoned, bra-revealing cardigan) and pyjamas as daywear. This subversion makes fashion exciting. “You make your own fashion and style,” says Nicole. “The Fendi headband was a bit wrong, but it’s also very practical: who doesn’t want to hide the baby hairs growing out of the back of their head?”