Fashion: Rule-breakers have more fun

By Rosie Dawson-Hewes

For years people have tried to dictate what constitutes style by a set of rules: "Don't wear navy and black together" or "match your handbag [or hat] to your shoes".

It gets worse as we age. Women over 40 are supposed to have short hair and long hemlines.

They're supposed to wear defined shapes and not pile on the accessories.

The worst part of all of this, is that these rules are often pushed by people within the industry.

Bless you Tim Gunn, but your hard-and-fast style rules are just not right. I'd love to be a fly on the wall at Marc Jacobs' 50th birthday bash on April 9 when you tell him he's not allowed to wear leather jackets anymore because he's "too old".

But there's no need to be disheartened, there are plenty of great rule-breakers about.

Dame Helen Mirren obviously didn't get the memo about rainbow-coloured hair only being for women in their 20s, because she stepped out (looking fab, I might add) with candyfloss-pink locks at the Baftas recently.

One can only assume Vivienne Westwood, Betsy Johnson and super-stylist Pat Field didn't get the memo either.

In the same way that grey hair is only for the elderly - bags not being the one to tell Kelly Osbourne that. Or teen blogging sensation Tavi Gevenson.

There's one thing all these people have in common - a sense of fun.

Style is not about following rules, it's about having fun. The whole point of fashion is that you get to play dress-ups every day. You can create whatever persona you like. Who cares if your skirt is above the knee, or your dress isn't fitted?

If you're confident and happy in what you're wearing, you'll look good.

Confidence is the key, or so says one half of the Kiwi design duo behind MisteR, the masters of having fun with fashion.

"I make clothes because I want people to feel comfortable and enjoy dressing up as much as they enjoy a glass of nice wine," says Mickey Lin.

"MisteR always believes we're not just making clothes, we're helping people enjoy their everyday lives even more. It's not about what other people tell you to do, it's about what makes you feel happy and gives you confidence."

Confidence is the first thing you notice on street style blogs as well. Whether it's Tommy Ton's hip, young fashion crowd at the Place du Carrousel (, or Ari Seth Cohen's older ladies and gents on the streets of New York (, there's always confidence and a sense of fun.

Karen Walker has always had a similar sense of fun, one which is overwhelmingly present in her new eyewear campaign.

Walker teamed up with New York's Cohen and four of his favourite silver-haired ladies (aged between 65 and 92) to prove that style is not limited to age or fashion's so-called rules.

What results are a series of photos that are fresh, energetic and inspiring.

The style, of the frames and the women, transcends age. These women are confident just being themselves, wearing what's in their hearts, and at the same time they're giving the old two-finger salute to the "rules of dressing".

And that is something we should all aspire to.

- Hamilton News

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