There are many fashion rules and most of them are arbitrary. Don’t wear white after labour day, don’t mix black with navy or brown, never mix metals or patterns and always match your shoes to your bag.

Some “rules” stem from historic words of wisdom from fashion icons, like Coco Chanel’s advice to remove one accessory before leaving the house. Others are based on common sense and can be incredibly helpful when putting together an outfit. Enter the “interesting element” rule, which can be applied to all aesthetics. And it works exactly how it sounds.

When styling an outfit, there should always be an interesting element. We’ve touched on this rule before. If an outfit isn’t visually interesting through colour or pattern, it should be interesting through texture; if it can’t be interesting through texture, then it should be interesting through silhouette. Here, we explore the rule from all angles.

Interesting Element 1: Colour


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A post shared by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo)

The easiest way to make an outfit visually compelling is through colour. When putting together an outfit with a bold colour, we often opt for a neutral top or bottom to balance it out. Colour blocking is an excellent way to break out of that habit and elevate your look.

Using multiple colours that are usually considered loud or clashing can create a fantastic outfit when chosen carefully. An easy rule to follow: select two colours on opposite ends of the colour wheel in complementary shades. Pair pastel pink and yellow, or neon green and purple.

SHOP COLOUR: Francis Empire Maxi Tea Dress in Rainbow, Boden

interesting element dressing



Layer a sweater or vest over this dress in any of the colours featured to create ultimate impact.

Interesting Element 2: Pattern and print


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A post shared by DORIAN WHO RAHIMZADEH (@dorian.who)

Mixing patterns can seem maximalist at times, but there are chill ways to introduce the concept into your wardrobe. Mix prints based on size, concentration and colour. Prints and patterns with complementary colours or tones can be mixed—just make sure to pair a large print (think a floral or jungle motif) with a small pattern like a check or polka dot. Or, consider using bold stripes in contrasting directions to draw the eye across the body.

So long as you’re making deliberate decisions with your pattern mixing, you can control the chaos of a look à la Carrie Bradshaw.

SHOP PATTERN & PRINT: Multicolor Daydream Midi Skirt, Chopova Lowena

interesting element dressing



Don’t be put off by the styling of this skirt. This edgy mixed pattern skirt and chunky low rise leather belt is the work of by an up-and-coming London designer Chopova Lowena and a fan favourite of fashion week attendees like Julia Fox, so there’s plenty more styling inspo to be found on Instagram.

Interesting Element 3: Texture


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Different shades of the same colour can make a monochromatic look captivating, but when you look closely at the outfit, there’s usually a mixture of textures to keep the fit from falling flat. An all black outfit, for example, can be elevated by a textured element that creates movement or catches the light.

Adding texture can be as simple as throwing on a chunky knit or as elaborate as layering up tulle or introducing distressed fabrics. Metallics and anything that reflects light can add texture, like shiny latex or crushed velvet. Ruching, plisse, and 3D flowers are also classic examples.


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If you’re scared of texture or avoid it for sensory reasons, fear not—there are plenty of ways to incorporate it texture into your outfit. Pay attention to the fabrics you find yourself drawn to when you’re shopping, scrolling, or just out and about. Then seek out pieces that include the visual or sensual elements of those fabrics.

SHOP TEXTURE: Tulle Overlay, Kate Hewko




This piece from Calgary-based designer and retailer Kate Hewko speaks for itself. Hewko is the queen of textured tulle, but if you’re feeling especially bold and love the sheer trend as much as we do, she also creates rhinestone embellished mesh pants.

SHOP TEXTURE: Lisa Dress, Local Woman

local woman lisa dress



We love the light-catching plisse texture on this this stunning navy top by Toronto-based slow fashion brand Local Woman.

Interesting Element 3: Shape


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The final interesting element to play with is also potentially the most daunting for people: shape.

Fear of an exaggerated silhouette usually stems from the bogus fashion rule that we must always wear things that are “flattering.” Diet culture-fuelled fashion rules taught us to dress for our body shape and that only especially thin people are allowed to play with proportions, but finding your personal style means unlearning the rules that don’t serve you.

SHOP SHAPE: Barrel jeans, Free People

barrel pants free people



Barrel pants, like this option from Free People—which is available in 11 shade, FYI—are trending for 2024. Break out the oversized sleeves and structured skirts, friends.