Fashion mishaps happen every day, as no one is immune to style sins. The often rushed and frantic schedules of college students can lead to grievous dressing decisions.

Part of developing an impeccable personal style is being aware of what does and what doesn’t work on your body. Learning from previous fashion mistakes can help your style develop as you add new pieces and plan new looks. Everybody has “off days”, but these four rules (well, more like guidelines) will help steer you towards the best looks you’ve ever put together.

Now, these are not written in stone. If you are absolutely positive you can rock some of these, go for it. Confidence is the best accessory.

Mixing Brown and Black

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: this is the deepest, darkest fashion pit you can fall in. It takes some serious confidence, or perhaps some serious foolishness, to rock a chocolate brown belt with black slacks or chestnut brown boots with black leggings. Review what neutrals can be paired up: black goes well with grey, brown goes well with navy, and both go well with white bottoms and blue jeans.

Any exceptions?

There have been camel brown paired successfully with black pieces before, a suggestion for those who insist on pairing the two. Also, a brown purse, if it is your everyday bag or the only bag you own, can be used with black pieces. When purchasing a bag, analyze your wardrobe first: if it’s mostly neutrals, buy a bag in a bold color. If you find yourself wearing patterns and bright colors, then go for a brown or black bag.

Wearing Shoes That Don’t Fit

Nothing will cause more personal anguish than trying to spend a day trekking UTSA’s campuses in shoes that are half a size too big or too small. If you are on your feet a lot, love yourself and find shoes that fit properly. While it is painful to part with a pair of particularly cute shoes, it will be more painful to try and make them work. Save your money and find some other shoes: your feet and your wallet will thank you.

Any exceptions?

If you will only be wearing the shoes for a short amount of time, like for a special occasion, you might be able to get away with an ill-fitting pair. If the back of the shoe rubs your heel and gives you blisters, try putting a bit of Vaseline on the inside of the heel. It won’t stop the rubbing but it can make it a smoother glide and more comfortable for walking.

Over-Accessorizing

Wearing every chain and bauble you own out and about may seem like a good idea at first, but you’ll end up looking busy. Or worse, you’ll end up making noise as you move around, with the jingling of metal or clacking of plastic. Accessories should be used tastefully and should be for enhancing, not distracting.

Any exceptions?

If you’re going to a themed party you can pile on the adornments. Other than that, there really is no excuse. When in doubt, analyze your look by counting your accessories, and take off at least one before you leave your dorm, house, apartment, so on. Also, try picking two styles of jewelry: rings, bracelets, earrings or necklaces. Limit yourself to accessorizing only from the two you’ve picked. Any more than that and you enter dangerous waters.

Not Tending to Your Purchases

You’ve spent countless hours and more money than you care to admit cultivating a perfect wardrobe, why should you let your pieces fall to ruin because you don’t take care of them? For college students on a limited budget, one of the worst things you can do is ignore the needs of your garments. It is much easier, and much cheaper, to spend a bit of time on clothing maintenance than scouring around to find replacements. Pay attention to the instructions on the tags when washing clothes and know that if you work with your clothes they will work with you. If you are going to listen to only one thing in this entire post, make it this.

Any exceptions?

No. Absolutely not. Here are a few tips to help your pieces look better longer: wash dark and black jeans and pants inside out to help the dye stay. Buy a pill shaver on Amazon; they are less than $12 and can be used to safely remove fabric pilling on sweaters and t-shirts. If you’re on a tight budget, buy suede pieces this fall instead of faux leather, it is harder to tell expensive and inexpensive suede apart.

With a bit of care and thought this semester can be the one where you create your best looks. Keep my suggestions in mind when putting together your next outfit.

Are there any other things that you can think of that help your fashion sense? Let me know by e-mailing web@paisano-online.com.

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