How To Break 6 Outdated, Untrue Fashion 'Rules,' As Told By The Pros

In the real world, rules exist for a reason and are usually worth following.

But all bets are off when it comes to fashion.

The entire purpose of fashion is self-expression, and the best-dressed people tend to be those who throw caution to the wind and ignore rules, norms and guidelines.

Like all things, there's breaking the rules in the of fashion, and then there's looking like a hot mess. Figuring out how to mix prints or wear a monochrome ensemble takes finesse.

Luckily for you, we talked to three pros — television host and stylist Catenya McHenry, style correspondent and "The Bra Book" author Jene Luciani and stylist Neil Timiraos — for tips, tricks and top-notch advice on how to break the most pervasive fashion rules like a street-style star.

The lie: "Don't mix prints."

The mere thought of mixing prints is scary, and for good reason: Do it wrong, and you’re going to look like you’re headed to  a costume party.

Done right, however, it’s chic as hell — you just need to know what you’re doing.

Lucini suggests to “keep prints [in]…the same color scheme,” while McHenry notes, “pair a bold print with a more subtle print” to help keep the outfit from looking too busy. If you’re still nervous, start with basic black or white and build from there.

The lie: "Black and blue together looks like a bruise."

There's a reason they call it a black-and-blue, you guys.

Navy and black are both gorgeous neutrals on their own, together, they read “sophisticated and classy,” Luciani says. Timiraos suggests “commit[ting] to one shade of black and one shade of navy” to keep it streamlined; while McHenry notes you can “break up the colors with a printed or patterned accessory.”

To start, try breaking up the deep colors with a fun, printed accessory.

The lie: "Denim-on-denim is a disaster."

Head-to-toe denim can be especially tricky to master (assuming you don’t want to look like Britney and Justin circa 2001).

The key, according to McHenry, “is to pair together denim in different washes or finishes.” Luciani suggests trying dark washes with chambray pieces. Wade the murky denim-on-denim waters by matching a deeper wash to a lighter and vice versa.

The lie: "Sequins are for Disney princesses and beauty queens."

Endless sparkle is most often associated with childishness.

Sequins are usually reserved for nighttime, but who says you can’t sparkle in the sunlight, too? The trick is to keep “the rest of your outfit casual,” says Luciani, who suggests opting for sequins in more muted tones for day.

Make your shine office-appropriate by dressing down the sparkle with low-key pieces — such as chambray button-downs or sporty bomber jackets — will keep you from feeling like a day-long walk of shame.

The lie: "Head-to-toe stripes will make you look wide."

“Stripes can be a challenge,” admits McHenry. “But if styled correctly, they can create a wonderful illusion and trick the eye.”

The key is to stick to thinner stripes, especially if you’re curvier. You’ll want to stick to the basics, like black, white and navy. “Other combinations don’t work as well,” she warns. To create a natural separation, don't shy away from showing a little skin.

The lie: "Dresses and sneakers don't go together."

No, we’re not talking about those ratty sneakers you’ve worn to the gym since you were 13.

Both Luciani and McHenry suggested Keds as a safe bet to pair with a dress. You'll look adorably appropriate for any adventure. McHenry suggests trying “canvas or leather sneakers” for a “vintage vibe."

And don't be afraid of kicks with a little color!