I Broke Old-School Fashion Rules For A Week And Everybody Stared At Me

by Candice Jalili

It took me until my freshman year of high school to realize there were so many RULES about what to wear. (Besides, like, "Don't walk around naked.")

It all started the day I went to school dressed in a pair of gray jeans, a gray sweatshirt, and silver shoes. My friends absolutely lost it.

"Candice, are you kidding? What were you thinking?! You're dressed head-to-toe in gray. You are legitimately wearing a groutfit." They could not stop laughing.

To be honest, I thought I looked cool in my gray-on-gray-on-gray that morning. Turns out I was wrong. I learned the hard way that wearing an outfit completely comprised of one color is a HUGE fashion faux pas.

Of course there are some rules I can get behind. I get the ones that we need to, you know, keep society in order or whatever. "Don't murder." Consider it done! "Don't steal." You got it!  "Don't rape." HEARD that! "Don't cheat." Would never!

But why do there need to be all of these societal rules about what I should wear?! Those are the ones that BUG me.

As I have mentioned about eight million times before, I don't really get fashion. Despite my growing up in a very fashion-centric environment, it never REALLY made sense to me. Like, what? Is anybody going to die if I wear a dress and jeans? Also, would any of us even think that was a weird look if someone hadn't decided, God-knows-when, that it was?

So I decided to give it a go. For six days straight, I wore outfits deemed sinful by the gods of fashion. And this is what happened.

Day one: Dressed head-to-toe in one (bright) color

If you read my intro, you know this one hits close to home for me. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough gray in my wardrobe to recreate the infamous "groutfit" of 2008, but I did have a lot of red...

Jessica Ariel Wendroff

So, yeah. There it is. A red top paired with red jeans and red ballet flats. I looked like a chili pepper or the red Power Ranger. What's funny is that people liked my top (OK, FINE, technically it was my roommate's top), so I got a lot of compliments when I was sitting down. But the minute I stood up in this little number, there was NO shortage of weird looks. Guys, girls ... it didn't matter. I looked weird.

Day two: Visible panty line

My second day doing this social experiment, I decided to go with a CLASSIC faux pas and a personal pet peeve of mine: the visible panty line.

I went for an extremely standard Candice Jalili outfit: an oversized black sweater,  black leggings, a statement necklace and black booties. In case you couldn't tell, huge fan of black over here. But instead of my classic thong underneath, I went for a pair of more "full-coverage" panties, if you will.

Jessica Ariel Wendroff

OK. First of all, I have to say that I've gained a new respect for people who walk around with panty lines. Because managing to find a pair that actually gave me one was HARD. Finding the right pair took about four tries, with my roommate closely examining my butt under different lights as I repeatedly asked her what she would do "if I farted right now."

I went through three pairs of lace and Spandex cheekies and hipsters with, at the very best, an extremely faint trace of a panty line only under extremely bright light. Then I finally found a frilly bikini-cut pair that really showed my VPL under every kind of light.

This one was interesting for a few reasons. First and foremost, I learned that guys don't know what VPLs are. From my guy friends to my co-workers to my dad, nobody knew WTF I was talking about. Which is funny, because they are such a thing in girl world.

Second, girls do know. And they do glare and look at you like you have an extra head growing out of your butt cheeks.

Day three: Dress and jeans

A middle-school classic! I had to try this one out. I decided to pair my favorite pair of jeans with my favorite sundress and then casually posed in front of a construction site in my neighborhood.

Jessica Ariel Wendroff

This might have been the outfit that made me personally feel the most awkward. I didn't even get as many weird looks as I did with, say, the head-to-toe red outfit. But something about it just made me feel weird. I kept finding myself wanting to reach out to strangers on the street with disclaimers like, "I know this outfit's weird haha seriously please don't judge me!!"

I think it was the specific level of slight weirdness. I sensed that people were thinking I seriously thought this was a cute outfit, and that made me just feel immensely awkward.

Day four: Bra strap showing out of tube top

This look is a personal pet peeve of mine. And when my cousin, Caroline, sees this article, she will flip, because I get mad at her for doing it all of the time. Like, HOW hard is it to go with a strapless bra or maybe some pasties?

But, then again, I have A-cup boobs and am not quite ~sensitive~ to the fact that strapless bras don't cut it for everyone. Anyway, I decided to take a page out of her book and try out the whole straps-busting-out-of-tube-top look.

Jessica Ariel Wendroff

I usually just YOLO and wear this top with no bra, and I HATED how it looked with my black bra straps popping out underneath. But I gotta say that this was a much more functionally sound than my usually very nip-slip-prone look.

Day five: Socks and sandals

Ah, socks and sandals -- the universal fashion symbol for "I am a dweeb." I just had to try out the look. I went for a pretty standard shorts-and-a-tank summer outfit and paired it with my go-to pair of black sandals. Then I threw on a pair of striped navy socks.

Jessica Ariel Wendroff

I don't get this look. Like, I can understand the necessity of the VPL if you literally did not have any other pair of panties left. The bra straps I get, because of the functionality. But socks and sandals? I DON'T GET IT.

If your feet are going to be cold, don't wear sandals. Simple as that.

And honestly, because SANDALS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE WORN WITH SOCKS, it was really uncomfortable. My thong sandals pushed the fabric of my sock deep between my big and index toes, and then the sock would get extra tight around the rest of my toes. This isn't to mention that the cotton socks don't grip the patent leather of the sandals as well as my skin, so my feet kept slipping in and out of the shoe. Oh, and also I looked like an idiot.

Day six: Running shoes with a normal outfit

I thought of this one when I let my dad dress me the other week. One of the outfits he chose for me was a normal outfit with running shoes. And I felt SO awkward. Why? Because it's a faux pas to pair running shoes with a normal outfit!

So I naturally had to include it in this piece. This time, I paired my bright green Nike Free sneakers with a tight black skirt and a floral, white crop top. An outfit I would maybe wear on a summer date ... that also happened to involve a relay race.

Jessica Ariel Wendroff

I'm not sure if it's because I already had some practice in this sort of ensemble when my dad dressed me, but I was not phased by this outfit at all. It made SENSE. These shoes were way more comfortable than the heels I probably would have paired with this outfit. And I can get behind anything that makes sense. Yeah, I got a weird look or eight, but, like, who cares? Bye to them.

Would I try these again?

For the most part, no. I'm not sure if I've been psychologically programmed to find these looks heinous or if I actually do just think they're ugly, but the fact of the matter remains that I didn't like any of these outfits. No matter what kind of looks I get, I'm never going to feel comfortable in anything I don't like.

But I will say that there are some rules I am going to call bullsh*t on. Like, WHY does having a panty line have to be so weird? This guy seemed to be down with mine:

Jessica Ariel Wendroff

Let's all get on board with him!