Today we’re fact-checking style advice from the internet because let’s be real, there’s a lot of information out there and not all of it is good advice. In my job, I see both sides. There’s a lot of style information with great tips, but there’s also misinformation and questionable advice out there too. So let’s dive into a few that I’ve seen on the internet that have made me say “Eh, I don’t know”, “I disagree”, or just “Oh heck no”.
Now, you’re probably thinking, who does this woman think she is? Why is she right and everyone else wrong? And you know what? Fair point. Some of the things I’m sharing today aren’t necessarily wrong, they’re just things I disagree with, and I’ll share why. There’s a lot of subjectivity to style. After two decades of helping thousands of women through their style challenges, I’ve seen some of this advice in action, and how it’s led women to more confusion. So let’s dive in.
Fact Check: Apple-Shaped Women Should Wear Curvy-Fit Jeans
In short, no, apple-shaped women should run far and fast from curvy-fit bottoms.
The advice that apples should wear curvy-fit jeans comes from Real Simple, Good Housekeeping and almost every other how-to-dress-your-body-shape article out there. If there was a rating that was stronger than false, I would choose that one, but since there isn’t, we’ll go with just false.
Ask any apple if she wants to bring attention to her midsection and you’re probably not going to find many takers.
I believe this crap advice comes from the fact that an apple-shaped body is almost always misunderstood by people who aren’t wardrobe stylists. Apple is not a size, it’s a shape and throwaway advice assumes that all apples are plus size. And what’s the word we use when we don’t want to say plus size?
Curvy! And you all know how much I hate that, right?
Curvy is also a shape, not a size. Curvy means smaller in the waist than in the hips. Apple shapes are bigger in the waist, so curvy pants are the exact opposite of what you need. But if Apple means plus and curvy means plus, of course, people will say that curvy styles are best for Apples.
The Takeaway: Technical advice on how to dress body shapes is best delivered by people who have actually dressed real bodies. Preferably lots and lots of them. I’m not the only one out there, it doesn’t have to be my advice, but vet the expert before you take the advice.
Fact Check: Big Earrings Will Take 10 Pounds Off
This advice is mostly true or a mixture depending on your goal. The problem is it’s a blanket statement and you’d need more information to use this advice well.
Accessories tell people’s eyes where to go. So if you want to draw attention to your face instead of your midsection, earrings will help eyes travel to that focal point. Obviously, tiny earrings have less of an effect than a bigger, bolder pair. So that’s why it works.
What’s missing is the style and shape of earrings for your face and neck. If you have a shorter neck, broad shoulders, and an undefined jawline, big stud earrings, or a pair that is wider than it is long, will draw attention right to that spot and have the opposite effect of what you were going for. In that case, you’d be better off choosing longer earrings, which can elongate your face and neck, and make your whole upper body look longer and leaner. Now, if you’re someone with a really long neck, long earrings aren’t as transformative. In that case, you want big studs or a horizontal pair to create a focal point instead of movement.
The Takeaway: Watch out for any advice offered with little to no information on how to use the tip. Very little style advice that truly applies to everyone. Chances are, you’re only getting half the story.
Fact Check: Closets Should Be Organized By Activity
Before we dive in, this closet organization advice comes from MM LeFleur, maker of high-quality basics and gorgeous workwear. I fully acknowledge that this next one is an opinion, and how can you fact-check an opinion? Nevertheless, their advice is to organize your closet by activity–like all the workwear together, all the special occasion, or going out things together, and all the casual weekend stuff together.
My opinion rating on their opinion is Mixture.
The reason I don’t believe it’s “mostly false” is because there are some cases where this might be a good idea. For example, if there is a HUGE difference in formality between the parts of your life, it may make sense. Remember Linda? She’s a VP of an internet company during the week and a goat farmer on the weekend? There was no crossover in Linda’s wardrobe. None. Not one piece could be used in other ways. She wasn’t going out to dinner in her work clothes or her farm clothes, so really she had 3 completely separate wardrobes, with zero overlap.
However, that isn’t true for most women. As workwear gets more casual, it becomes even less true. When you separate your closet like that, you miss opportunities for some of your clothes to be used more, and results in a need for a bigger wardrobe. We often miss opportunities to wear things because we think of them as only working for one part of our lives.
The Takeaway: My advice would be to group items together by category and then by sleeve length or hem length. Your wardrobe will be a lot more functional. For more closet organization tips, check out our episode on editing your closet like a pro.
Fact Check: Avoid Stripes At All Costs
Is it true, women should avoid wearing horizontal stripes?
A lot of younger fashion bloggers say this is a fashion rule to break. Usually, it’s phrased like “who cares if they make you look bigger, if you love them, wear them!” and yes, you should absolutely wear them if you love them, but there is a message in there that stripes will always make you look wider, and that that is always a bad thing.
Blogs that cater to a more mature reader are a little more blunt in their disparaging. Like, “stripes make your upper arms look fat, and should be avoided completely”. Actual quote I read this week.
My fact check on this one is mostly false.
Here’s the only time it’s true–you should not wear horizontal stripes when you don’t like the way they look. Period.
With that said, let’s look at stripes a little deeper, because not all stripes are created equal and neither are all bodies.
The idea that stripes make you look bigger comes from the fact that when there is a break in color in your outfit it disrupts the visual line and can have a widening effect. This is why wearing monochromatic outfits is always listed as a “dress slimmer” tip. There’s no break in color. So a high contrast black and white stripe creates lots of harsh breaks in color. But when you decrease the contrast, like a grey and white pattern, the effect is softened.
The size of the stripe is also important. The wider the stripe, the bigger the widening effect. As the stripe narrows, so does the effect. A super skinny micro stripe actually has a slimming effect–it’s an amazing optical illusion.
Now that you know all stripes aren’t the same, let’s talk about bodies.
In the Dress Your Bodyshape Like a Pro Masterclass, the first thing we have you do is figure out your goals for dressing your body. Do you want to create or enhance curves? Are you trying to balance your upper and lower bodies? For body shapes that are out of balance, as much as I know our students would love to just make the bigger part look smaller, that isn’t completely possible. You have to make the smaller part look a little bigger, too. Creating balance is one of the key things you can do to dress your body shape best, and you can use patterns like stripes to help you do that.
The Takeaway: Wear (or don’t wear) any kind of stripe you want, but don’t avoid stripes all together because they’re not all the same. Stripes can be used strategically to achieve your goals for dressing your body.
Fact Check: Get Rid of Anything You Haven’t Worn in a Year
This advice comes from The Spruce and again, I’m sure you’ve heard, if you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it. My rating is that this is a mixture.
The true part is you should get rid of clothes that you don’t wear and aren’t serving you. The untrue part is that time should be the biggest consideration. I don’t know about you, but a good chunk of my wardrobe didn’t get used in 2020, and even a big part of 2021. I’m not back to all the same activities I was and I didn’t have as many occasions to wear things. But I loved them–I still love them, and if I had an opportunity to wear some of them, I wouldn’t go shopping…I’d head to my closet.
Instead of asking yourself, have I worn this in a year?, ask yourself have I had opportunities to wear this in a year, but haven’t? If every time you have an occasion to dress up a little bit, you go shopping and ignore the things in your closet that you could wear, but don’t want to, you need to ask yourself why that is.
The other side of that coin is that I’ll bet, right now, there are things in your closet that you have worn in the last 12 months, but they didn’t make you feel like a million bucks. Don’t keep those things just because you checked the “I’ve worn it in a year” box.
The goal of editing your wardrobe isn’t just to get rid of stuff. The goal should be to curate a wardrobe that you love, and hanging on to things you don’t won’t help you get there.
The Takeaway: Yes, edit your wardrobe and get rid of things that aren’t working, but time shouldn’t be the biggest consideration. How you feel about it and in it are way more important.
Fact Check: Buy Multiple Colors of Items You Love
Our last one is from Lifehacker which says, if you like something, buy it in every color.
My rating here is mostly false.
When I used to work with clients who felt blah, boring, and bland and wanted help getting help out of their style ruts, their closets had one big thing in common. Tops in multiple colors. They’d want something new, head to the store, find something they liked, and figure “heck, I’ll buy a few colors–that will give me more to wear.”
Then they’d wear the same top every day, feel boring, bland, and stuck in a rut, head back to the store, and repeat the process.
Buying the same top in multiple colors leads to too many clothes, not enough to wear, and a style rut.
Before we get too far, there are times when I do recommend buying multiples, which gives the mostly false rating.
If you are super picky or really tough to fit, and you find things that work, go for it. If you’ve never found pants that fit you well, and you find that unicorn? Girl, buy them in every color and get two pairs of black in case they get discontinued. If you’re someone who literally hates everything, you know who you are, and you find something you like–get a couple of colors.
The Takeaway: Usually making multiples your default wardrobe building strategy is a bad idea.
I hope you had fun fact-checking internet style advice with me, and I hope this is a reminder to look critically at all the information that comes your way and see if it rings true for you. If you see any style advice out there that you’d like me to rate, send us a link!