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Fashion Rules — Tasi Takes on Cosmo

| Jan 20, 2014
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Fashion rules are made to be broken says Cosmopolitan Magazine and here are 20 fashion rules you should resolve to break. Sometimes I think Cosmo just likes to talk remembering that we are not the size 2 starlets that they like to use as examples. Fashion rules which seem to elude crossdressers anyway are an easy way not to make silly mistakes when you are trying to blend in (check out my book, Top Ten Fashion Mistakes by Crossdressers and How To Fix Them. Once you have mastered the basics, then strive to create your own style. Now you’ll understand when rules can be broken and when.

1. No white after Labor Day. White is amazing — white shoes, white dresses, white jeans, white everything. Assuming you can keep it clean, white makes you look fresh and awake and tan and completely pulled together, all desirable characteristics, no matter what time of year it is.

Tasi says: This was one of those rules that was likely more symbolic in nature as even Coco Chanel as far back as the 1920s advocated white all year around.  Some etiquette experts attributed the rule to snobbery as Labor Day marked the end of summer and the well-to-do traditionally switched to their winter wardrobes at this time. By the 1950s it calcified into a hard and fast rule as a bulwark against the upwardly mobile. Times are changing now. Of course you’ll need to get winter white which is a bit heavier fabric and perhaps a different shading.  Best buys are a white winter sweater or coat or a white handbag.

2. You shouldn’t wear white to someone else’s wedding. You shouldn’t wear a wedding dress to someone else’s wedding, but that’s no reason you can’t wear white. You’re not going to steal focus or upstage the bride simply by wearing a certain color.

Tasi says: There’s no fashion rule about white at the wedding but people will talk. It’s not a good idea. Are there some options? Yes! A partial white for example a white bodice with a colored skirt or a dress with an overall white background but an overall print of a different color.

3. Don’t let your bra show. An errant nude bra strap falling down over a bare shoulder is one thing, but with all the beautiful bras out there, it would be a shame not to show them off once in a while. Just make sure to frame it in a way that feels intentional. Layer a long-line bra under a sheer top or unbutton a sweater to show off the middle of a pretty lace demi-cup bra. You can even try wearing a strapped bra with a strapless dress.

Tasi says: That last one is still tacky. While the idea of a long line bra under a sheer top is appealing, there’s still a time and place … it’s a clubbing outfit, not a mall outfit. Lane Bryant’s Cacique collection for instance is definitely sexy and those lace inserts are most attractive. Try for the demure look though and you’ll come across more as edgy than brazen.

4. You must wear a belt if your shirt is tucked in. Even if you love belts, there are times when they just clutter up an outfit. This is the kind of rule people apply to dressing for the office more than dressing for themselves, but even in a professional environment there is nothing inappropriate about going without a belt. Just make sure your pants fit properly.

Tasi says: It more than just properly fitting pants. Belts just don’t look good on some bodies (Mine for instance). On the other hand there are endless looks that can be created with belts … over a bulky sweater, a slouchy tee, or a billowing blouse, or even over your coat for a tailored look. I particularly like the chain belt slung low on the waist for the Bohemian look.

5. Legs or cleavage. Never both. There probably isn’t a Cosmo girl alive who actually buys into this rule, but just in case, I had to include it. Bare what you dare, ladies.

Tasi says: Yea, right, if you want to look like a silly ass. We in general are not Jenna Talackova.Choose one or the other says Dita Von Teese. It’s a sexy style rule that Hollywood’s smartest trendsetters swear by!

6. Sparkle is just for the evening. Sparkle is for always! Okay, so there are a few things you might want to keep in mind when bringing your sparkly look into the daylight, but luckily you can read all about that right here!

Tasi says: I love sparkle too but be careful not to overindulge. Keep it simple. Here are some tips: Stick to one shade at a time and watch out for too many textures.

7. Tall women shouldn’t wear heels. Why? So you won’t intimidate men by being taller than them? That’s a horrible reason to deny yourself. Heels look amazing on tall women. Wear the highest ones you can manage. You’ll be the most captivating person in the room. Guaranteed.

Tasi says:  Just be sure you can walk in them properly. I can show you some hilarious videos. They can also be foot-killers so choose a style that you can wear for hours. Can’t find a low-heeled pair that sparkles? Try shoe clips or shoe chains. You can have the most unique shoes at the ball.

8. Short women shouldn’t wear long dresses. Long dresses can actually make you look taller, especially when they drape nicely and skim the body. Just steer clear of anything too bulky.

Tasi says:  Or too tight. Skimming the body with movement in the dress is the most alluring look.

9. Don’t wear socks with open toed shoes. Ok, so you shouldn’t pair Gold Toe tube socks with open-toe pumps, but socks are a great way to keep wearing your warm weather shoes when it’s cold out. In fact, the bolder the pairing, the better. Just try to keep those front toe seams hidden.

Tasi says:  Ugh! No matter what the fashionistas say.

10. When it comes to jewelry, less is more. Layer that stuff on. If that’s what you’re into, the more the better. It’s all just a matter of personal preference. When people say otherwise, what they are really saying is “I do it this way, so you should too” and that’s rarely a good enough reason to do anything.

Tasi says: You really think this looks good? Hope you are wearing Goth to pull off this look.

11. You should dress for your body type. Nope. Nope. Nope. You should wear things you like and that fit you. Your body is not a problem that needs to be solved through strategic dressing.

Tasi says: Yeah, and what world are you living in. You need to find your own style but ignoring your body and it’s proportions is a disaster in the making. Unfortunately some CDs follow Cosmo’s advice to everyone’s amusement.

12. When wearing a dress or a skirt at a formal event (wedding, job interview, etc.) you must wear tights or pantyhose. This rule really only applies to Kate Middleton and you’re not Kate Middleton, so don’t worry about it.

Tasi says: Well, where you live has a lot to do with it. Here in the tropics, wearing hose is rare. But there’s no denying the benefits and the looks of either sheer or patterned hose. Cosmo can slam Kate Middleton but she is a style icon and knows how to put it all together. Following her will make you one of the better dressed women in the world. Why do you think whatever she wears is immediately sold out in the stores.

13. Never wear gold and silver jewelry together. Wearing gold and silver together actually looks better in a lot of cases than just wearing one or the other. The different metals compliment each other and stop you from looking too matchy matchy.

Tasi says: It’s no longer a faux pas to wear gold and silver together. Of course, some people have a preference for one type of jewelry over the other. For example, gold doesn’t look good on my cool-toned pale skin, so I usually wear silver and white gold jewelry. A good example would be a stainless steel watch or bracelet with gold detailing. I also wear gold and silver earrings.

14. You have to spend a lot for great quality. Spending more money is no guarantee of receiving better quality. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to justify their own spending habits. Educate yourself about how things are made and how best to take care of them, then you’ll see the real value of things, not just what they cost.

Tasi says: I couldn’t agree more here. Read the reviews on an article of clothing before buying. Some designers just add their name to a cheaper brand so they can improve their profit margins. When you buy through the Sister House Boutique, we have done all the hard work for you.

15. Shorts are only for summer. If you want to wear shorts year round, do it. You can always layer them over tights and wear them with boots or a sweater if it’s cold out. When it comes to warm-weather clothing, there’s really nothing that can’t be adapted for year-round use.

Tasi says: You better be a size 8 or less and reasonably passable because you sure as heck will attract attention. Better to go with great jeans and a sexy blouse and maybe a denim jacket.

16. Everyone should own _______. Boring. Who wants to own the same anything as everyone else?

 Tasi says: Pure crap. That’s how stylish women take 10 articles of clothing and turn them into 100 different outfits with the right accessories for each look.

17. If someone is wearing the same outfit as you, you should keep your distance. Just because you don’t want to dress like everyone else, doesn’t mean you should feel embarrassed if you show up to a party and someone is wearing the same outfit as you. Don’t let it get you down. Take an amazing Instagram!

Tasi says: Happened to me once with a beautiful black and red print blouse. We became sisters  (smile). Of course, it could invite some unwanted comparisons. The tabloids love those situations.

18. Don’t mix animal prints. Just because two animals don’t get along in the wild, doesn’t mean they can’t get along on your outfit. Let the cheetahs lie down with the zebras. They look cute together. In fact, mix all your prints: polkadots with florals, stripes with plaid. Just lean into it.

Tasi says: Few crossdressers will ever pull this off successfully when many haven’t got past the basics of how to dress stylishly. It’s better to wear just one animal print with a solid color, either tops or bottoms.

19. You should take fashion seriously, because the way you’re dressed says a lot about you. It’s tempting to judge someone based on what they’re wearing. It’s natural even. But clothes can’t really tell you if someone is rich or poor, messy or neat, hard working or lazy, mean or nice. And although those judgements do still occur and there are times when you may want to project a certain image through the way you’re dressed (an interview, a first date, etc.), fashion is subjective and there’s no way of gauging exactly how your look will be interpreted by someone else. The most important thing is to enjoy what you’re wearing. Don’t take it all so seriously. Have some fun. It’s really not that big of a deal.

Tasi says:  Well, I agree with having fun and not getting overly serious about fashion , but you will be judged by what you wear. So beware the impression that you want to create. If you want to be considered stylish or just blend in, then fashion rules will guide you. You may not know how others interpret your look exactly, but their facial expressions will often tell all. No one may say anything, but I’d rather not be the topic of conversation for their evening meal, unless in a good way of course.

20. Great style can’t be learned. Style is something you pick up as you go along. It evolves. No one is born knowing what goes with what. It’s all learned. And just because it doesn’t come easy to you doesn’t mean you can’t master it.

Tasi Says: I can’t disagree here. That’s what Sister House is all about for the transgender community

Some photographs by Cosmopolitan Magazine. They did not further identify the source.

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Category: Style, Transgender Fashion


About the Author ()

Tasi was a transgender, married, lifelong crossdresser. She passed away in late 2018. She’s the founder of the Ladies of the Blue Ridge transgender group in Roanoke VA, a prolific writer, commentator and blogger including fashion articles for Tri-Ess, TG Reporter, Repartee, and Pretty T-Girls magazine. Tasi currently resides in Merida, (Yucatan) Mexico. Her new website, Sister House and her blog, the Fashionable TG Woman are dedicated to fashion and style for the transgendered woman. Tasi’s book, "Top Ten Fashion Mistakes By Crossdressers and How To Fix Them" is available on Amazon or on her site free to subscribers.

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  1. scalesman scalesman says:

    All excellent points. I like how the Cosmo people think in general but your approach is much more practical and realistic for us.

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