back to top
Style

I Wore Only Fashion Don’ts For A Week And This Is What Happened

I turned my own closet against me.

Posted on

I'm Joanna, and this is how I dress on an average day.

Instagram: @jbornz

I usually try, at least a little, to look good. But I wear a lot of black, and lately I've felt like I’m in kind of a style rut. My go-to look lately is often a one-size-fits-all sweatshirt. And no pants. (JK, I pair it with leggings). But when I’m not wearing that, I’m trying. Sometimes I put on an outfit and think, “No, this doesn’t work,” and I change. That’s effort. That’s work. Getting dressed feels like work, and I wish it didn’t.

When I was in high school, I would pop a Britney Spears album into my hefty CD alarm clock and gleefully plan out my outfits for the week, dancing on my bed when my bright pink Gap sweater and Abercrombie jeans combination worked particularly well. That joy is gone.

In an attempt to bring it back, I decided to take my personal standard of what is acceptable to wear in public and light it on fire. What if I tried to dress as poorly as possible? I wondered how people would react and how I would feel if, instead of playing it safe each day, I tried to mash together a fashion nightmare. Would I be mocked? Would I feel shame? Would anyone even notice?

First I researched fashion "don'ts" and tried to incorporate them into my outfit every day. And if I felt like I had an item of clothing that I couldn't really "pull off" and felt nervous wearing, I made sure to wear it.

Also, just a note: "I'm going to dress badly on purpose; I might incorporate some of your clothes" is, as it turns out, a rude thing to say to your boyfriend. Oh well!

Advertisement
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

The Don'ts

* Hat I'm not sure I can "pull off"

* Pajamas outside the house

* Wrinkled top

* Socks with sandals

* Junky old Birkenstocks

Most people had no idea I was trying to dress poorly, or that I was dressing differently at all. This really hurt my feelings because I was wearing socks with sandals to the office. Though, I will say, I get now why people wear socks with sandals. It feels amazing.

I got a lot of compliments on this outfit, mostly for the doughnut pajamas my mom bought me from Target. One person said I looked "interesting," which is the kind of veiled slam I was expecting.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

The Don'ts

* Sweater with a questionable print

* Crop top at work

* Baggy sweatpants

* Clashing red with pink

I'm not saying I was drunk when I bought this sweater, but I did wander into an H&M one night after a few drinks, and that's how I came to own it.

I know that fancy sweatpants are currently ~on trend~ so I made sure to wear the least fancy sweatpants I own. No one is sipping a kale smoothie and heading to Barney's in these bad boys.

I felt self-conscious walking down the street like this. Sell it, sell it, I repeated to myself. If you have enough confidence, you can wear anything. They say lower-tier rich people are the ones who dress in fancy clothes, while the REALLY rich people dress casually, because they have nothing to prove. I tried to think of my outfit as a power play.

As soon as I walked into work I was complimented on my sweater. I was getting so many compliments on my "bad" outfits.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

The Don'ts

* Too many accessories

* Too many trends

* Too many prints

* Baggy t-shirt over dress?

I think it was Coco Chanel who said, "Don't wear too many accessories, you dumb idiot." Or something like that. I might be misquoting.

I've noticed fashion bloggers doing the whole silk-scarf-around-the-neck trend. So I tried it myself, but I'm not sure if it pairs well with a rhinestone necklace that says "SWAG" and a hat with cats all over it. (Though both of those things are very cool on their own.)

I've never felt comfortable wearing knee socks. I've always wanted to wear them ever since I saw an episode of Boy Meets World where Shawn asks out a girl wearing orange knee socks. But this outfit might be the encouragement I need to let that dream just die. It doesn't matter how much Shawn from Boy Meets World might like you if you're not feeling comfortable in your clothes.

Advertisement
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

The Don'ts

* Bedazzled denim hat

* Crop top at work

* Basketball shorts

* Basketball shorts with heels

I really did not want to leave the house wearing this. I stole these shorts from my boyfriend. The crop top is Adam Levine for Kmart. I got it on clearance for $6. It says, "You're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool," which is the text of one of Adam Levine's tattoos.

People had a lot to say about this outfit:

"You look like a hipster madam."

"Wow. Next level shit."

"I didn't recognize you."

"You look insane."

"I just watched a documentary about '90s ravers and you would've fit right in there."

"You look like you're gonna be in a Missy Elliott video."

I even sent a photo to the friend most critical of my fashion choices and, shockingly, she said, "I love your outfit and I won't change my mind about it."

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

The Don'ts

* Sequins

* Baggy t-shirt

* Questionable velvet headband

Sequins get a lot of hate. I've seen a lot of fashion rule lists say that sequins are automatically tacky. I disagree, which is why I own a sequin dress. As soon as I walked into the office someone said, "Oh my goodness." I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Originally I wanted to complete this outfit by wearing pants on my arms, but I just couldn't physically make that work. So if you're thinking "This look is missing a little something-something," you're right — it's pants on the arms.

I saw a velvet headband like this on a cool style blog years ago and fell in love with it. It cost something like $100, so I searched forever for a cheaper version. I was SO excited when I found it. And now I never wear it because it's kind of ridiculous.

I went out to lunch with a coworker and she said, "I can't wait to be seen with you." It sounded sincere. "That's not really a bad outfit," someone else assured me.

Maybe I should dress like garbage more often.

When I tried to dress poorly on purpose, I got more compliments than I ever have in my life. Me-trying-to-look-bad apparently dresses better than me-trying-to-look-good. Of course, it's possible everyone was trolling me, but they seemed to be sincere.

I feel like I should be offended. How dare people like my bad outfits better than the ones I lovingly curate? But I actually feel free. Because it means that when I think I look bad, other people probably don't. When I think I look like garbage, other people might actually think I look better than usual. Or, more likely, they don't think anything at all. No one is thinking about how I look more than I am. It's an obvious truth I easily forget. So much of the mental energy that goes into dressing is wondering what other people will think about it. But what I predicted other people would think was completely off. And now all I want to do is find a way to wear pants on my arms.

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss