Caribbean Fashion Rules & Why They Should Be Broken

Don’t wear white after Labor Day. Don’t pair black and navy. These are North American fashion rules but we’ve probably all heard them. But what about in our region? I’ve been asking my friends and followers about some of the Caribbean fashion rules they grew up hearing.

When I first thought about the idea the emphasis on matching is the first thing that came to mind. Still, I was hoping other people would have different experiences and I would be able to compile a list. But as it happened, most of the responses I got were about matching. Most people grew  up hearing you shouldn’t wear brown and black together and wearing “mismatched” clothing was a no-no.

Madebysoka from St Vincent and the Grenadines recalled being told “not to wear gold and silver together, and all your colors have to match especially accessories. Eg. Blue shoes, blue earrings and blue bag …. Urghhh.” (I feel that frustration!)

Haute Accessories from right here in Bim remembered hearing “Don’t wear oversized earrings with a statement necklace. As well as don’t mix prints and patterns when dressing”. She quickly pointed out that some of these fashion don’ts are really becoming outdated.

Cheripha brought up that age-old rule that shoes, bag and belt must match.

Caribbean fashion rules

Now I’m not exactly surprised by these answers since even now someone would see me and say something like “oh your glasses and nail polish are matching”. And usually this is when I realise it for the first time because matching right down to the tiniest details isn’t something I do. But it seems like Bajan/Caribbean people are hardwired to see matching colours and by extension, they think you only look good when things match perfectly.

And you know, while there’s nothing wrong with matching elements of your outfit, people inevitably end up wearing only two colours. I had those days back in my teens too but matchy-matchy can be quite dated and simply less attention-grabbing. Three colours is usually more intriguing but still not too difficult to put together.

I think the colour blocking trend of a couple years ago helped to shake things up a bit and people are beginning to step out of that generations-old comfort zone. Still, the next time I deliberately avoid matching, someone will still tell me I need fuchsia shoes to match my fuchsia belt!


Natasha Beckles

Natasha Beckles is a freelance copyeditor, writer and content creator. She has over a decade's experience in both traditional and online media. In addition to blogging about fashion and travel, she uses the written word to help brands and individuals tell their unique stories.

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