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Rules of Fashion #4

The past few weeks have been such a blur that I completely forgot to put up another one of Edna Woolman Chase's style rules.

Point #4: In fashion do not have the courage of your mistakes. Since you are human you will make them, yet if you want a reputation for elegance hide them. They are expensive, yes, which is one reason you should read Vogue, so that you will make fewer of them, but you must be brave. If you've pulled a fearful boner, if the dress or hat so beguiling in the shop is a dud in the home, pitch it out. Give it to some dear relation or send it to the thrift shop; don't wear it. To be considered well dressed, you must be it continuously. Not in fits and starts.

The fourth rule on her list is another that I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with. While I completely agree that one must be brave in fashion and that mistakes are inevitable, I do think that having some of those bad decisions is useful from time to time as you learn from them. It also seems to me that a few mistakes here and there won't wrongly influence other's thoughts on your style- the truly stylish individuals of our time, such as Chloe Sevigny, have definitely worn out outfits that have completely failed. As long as these failures are worn with a true sense of conviction then they will be seen as courageous. I'd love to think that I look impeccable everyday, but one quick glance around my closet alerts me to several pieces that have never and will never work for me (and possibly anyone else). Most of these mistakes have been sold or given to charity, but my purchase and wearing of them helped me to see what styles fit me the best and suit me well. Unlike Mrs. Chase, I definitely believe that one must have the courage of one's mistakes in fashion- otherwise fashion wouldn't be nearly as fun.

Excerpt from: Chase, Edna Woolman and Ilka. Always in Vogue. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company Inc,1954.