In recent months, we’ve witnessed the rise of Barbiecore and a Y2K renaissance, as well as a sudden surge in dressing like a schoolgirl and rocking balletcore. It’s proof that fashion is ever-evolving, and the old rules for what to wear when no longer make sense — especially in 2023 (unless, of course, we’re talking wedding attire).

Of course, many fashion lovers know that wearing white after Labor Day is now acceptable and just about every color can be worn with brown clothes. But what else has shifted in the style space? We reached out to stylists, asking them to share the best lessons they learned last year and the rules they’ll be breaking in 2023.

“Birkenstocks are out of style.”

The 2023 Way: Birkenstocks are back, and they’re way more elevated than you remember.

“Birkenstock’s iconic slides have done the nearly impossible by breaking into a new fashion category while preserving their original designs,” says Tara West, fashion stylist, lifestyle blogger, and podcast co-host. “Some details have been upgraded, including new hardware and more premium colorways like Ultra Blue and Metallic Silver. They’ve gone from a recognizably casual and low-key use case to the everyday chic and even luxury market with their Manolo Blahnik and Dior collabs.”

“You can’t wear sweatpants out of the house.”

The 2023 Way: Comfort is key, and so is experimentation.
Leah Taylor — a celebrity stylist who has worked with LaLa Anthony, Angela Simmons, and Michelle Williams — says 2022 taught her “how to combine athleisure with high-fashion pieces this year, such as joggers with heels and a sequin fitted top.”

“Comfort meets couture,” she tells InStyle. “Since the pandemic, people don’t want to give up comfort in order to look stylish, and they’re having fun finding the balance. I loved all the different silhouettes and volumes with balloon sleeves, oversizing, layering, and the continuation of the puff sleeves.”

“Don’t mix metals.”

The 2023 Way: Wear it all at once.

The 2023 Way: Wear it all at once.

“I have no idea why I held onto the age-old fashion rule of never mixing jewelry metals — it’s just as silly as never wearing white after Labor Day,” says costume designer, and wardrobe stylist Carla Thomas (who adds that “a winter white look slays”). “After falling in love with a few jewelry pieces of different metals and deciding to wear them all at once, I finally got over that boring mandate. Fashion rules are meant to be broken! Now I’m a pro at layering mixed metal jewelry. Bring on the silver, gold, & rose gold all at the same damn time.”

“Keep jewelry simple.”

The 2023 Way: Statement accessories can transform an outfit.

Naina Singla, a fashion stylist and style expert, tells InStyle that many clients turn to her for ways to make getting dressed fun, and that her first step is to add bold little extras.

“Start with a basic everyday look like jeans and a knit top, tee, or white tank then add statement accessories like sunglasses, a scarf, or a belt. I have been working on this with all my clients this year, and it transforms the look. It’s all about throwing on one more item before you walk out the door. Think: a pair of statement sunglasses, a signature scarf for added texture and color, a classic belt with an accent of gold hardware, or a unique necklace to accentuate your look.”

“Stick with neutrals.”

The 2023 Way: Color is a form of expression.

We love our little black dresses, but at the same time, working bolder hues such as bright red or blue into your closet is a way to showcase your personal style.

“We saw a huge uptick in dopamine dressing this year, which is a way to dress yourself happy by utilizing color,” Christina Stein, fashion stylist and style therapist, tells InStyle. “It not only helps encapsulate the wearer’s personality and desired emotional and psychological outcome of the colors chosen but it can even affect those around you in a positive way by seeing and feeling those colors.”

“Try every fashion trend.”

Fashion stylist Oliva Rose points out that investing in every new trend or “It” item is no longer relevant when it comes to fashion.

“With the popularity of vintage shopping and a shift towards more sustainable fashion, we are now focusing on investing in pieces you can have forever,” she says. “With this in mind, I think there is more of a want for timeless classic pieces rather than shopping for what is trendy. Personally, I’m incorporating the resurgence of ’90s and early 2000s silhouettes back into my wardrobe in a realistic and updated way. As we have seen, lower rises and wider cuts are back and here to stay. I think [fashion] is all about finding the right pieces and proportions that work for you.”