With today's ever-changing fashion trends, it's hard to say what's acceptable and what's now a faux pas. Over time, the conventions of fashion have somewhat shifted. Remember when you couldn't wear white after Labour Day? Today, it's not only acceptable to bend the rules, it's incredibly chic. Here are five fashion taboos to break this season:

Old rule number one: You can't wear brown and black together
I never understood why this combination was considered off limits. This fall, brown and black are the coolest colour duo. It's a popular match for knitted ponchos and colour-blocked knee-high boots – the effect is surprisingly pleasing. Wear them in patterns or highlight a brighter item for visual interest.

Old rule number two: Metallic items are for night wear only
A little goes a long way when you're adding some shimmer to your outfit. One item is usually enough to make a statement. Now, a glittery tank beneath a cardigan or a sparkly brooch on a scarf is the perfect metallic hit for the office. Best of all, it will allow you to carry that same outfit over to your after-work date. Just remove the jacket for fresh look, or pin the brooch onto your belt loops for a stylish alternative.

Old rule number three: You can't combine two different prints in one outfit
Mixing prints is no longer considered clown-like. In fact, it's one of the most fashionable statements you can make this season. The trick is to stay within the same colour family. If you're wearing a pink and brown striped shirt, try a graphic floral skirt in the same shades. Another trick is to mix up print sizes. If the blossoms on your skirt are bold, pair it with a daintily-flowered top. TIP: Two patterns are enough when it comes to mixing and matching.

Old rule number four: You have to match your bag to your shoes
With so many amazing accessories this fall (mock-croc leather bags in jewel tones, highly decorated heels, gold and silver clasps), how can we restrict ourselves to just one shade or style? To rebel against this age-old rule, experiment with the different items in your closet. Try pairing a brown handbag with red suede heels, for example, or pink shoes with a navy embroidered tote.

Old rule number five: Wearing more than two pieces of jewelry is over-the-top
Minimalism is over. Now is the time to wear more than one glittery ring with a pair of dangling earrings, multiple necklaces or a vintage brooch. Vintage styles have made a comeback – their opulence is perfect for the season. You can scour second-hand boutiques for that ideal retro find, or try stores such as Banana Republic, Le Château and Old Navy that now offer an extravagant selection.
First published in Chatelaine.com's November 2004 issue
©Rogers Publishing Ltd.