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5 style rules you should break in 2009

Erica Mayyasi is a Red Sox fan in Manhattan. After stints at various magazines she now works full-time in public relations, though she continues to write for a number of sites including her blog etsymay.blogspot.com.

New year new rules

If you played it safe with your style in 2008, it's a new year and time for a new set of rules! Or, more accurately, time to break some of those style codes (they're more like guidelines anyway) that may have been holding your sartorial side back. We've got five rules that it's high time for you to break.

Woman Getting Dressed

Mixing prints

Houndstooth and stripes? Hells, yes! Mixing prints, when done correctly, can bring your style to new heights of bohemian chic and you're guaranteed to not look like every other girl on the street. That said, still use your better judgment: mixing two retro paisley prints will cast you as a prop on That '70s Show in no time. Stripes in particular are a great print to mix with; try stripes with polka dots, plaids, houndstooth, anything - the sky is the limit on this one!

Black and brown

Once considered a set-in stone fashion faux pas, the fashion world has warmed to and even embraced wearing black and brown together. If you haven't tried this color combo out yet, it's certainly high time! An all black ensemble with brown boots is almost guaranteed fabulous. Be careful with lighter shades of brown however. Black with brown that is more camel in color can come off as very cowboy western.

White after Labor Day

No white after Labor Day is a tale as old as time, and not one you should take stock in. A well-placed winter white piece is undeniably stylish. When it comes to wearing white after Labor Day, the fabric of the white item is key in determining whether it's appropriate. As a general rule, heavier fabrics such as wool are a go and lighter ones such as linen are a no no. And white shoes? Well those are universally taboo post early fall. Need more tips? Learn how to wear winter white.

Monochromatic

Don't let it get stuck in your head that wearing an outfit all of one color is necessarily boring and a bad thing. Believe it or not, some people only and always wear the same color! New York Magazine recently did a feature on this to learn about five New Yorkers who don the same shade day in and day out. While we don't advocate limiting your entire wardrobe to just one hue, it does go to show that it is possible to assemble a fabulous outfit that way. An all black ensemble, for example, can look goth or chic; it all depends on how you put it together. Uni-colored outfits also get a boost from creating a streamlined silhouette, which has a slimming effect.

Accessorize

How many times have you heard that it's the accessories that make the outfit? Well sometimes just the opposite is true. When you're wearing truly fantastic clothes, don't be afraid to let them speak for themselves and accessorize minimally or not at all. Particularly with more intricate pieces, accessories can overwhelm the overall ensemble and can actually be a disservice.

Need more style tips?

7 hottest fashion trends for winter
10 easy ways to update your wardrobe
How to wear white in winter

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