things classy women wouldn't wear

7 Things Classy Women Wouldn’t Wear (and What They’d Wear Instead)

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If you’re looking to up your fashion game and avoid any major faux pas, you’ve come to the right place. Though classy style may look different for every woman (as it should!), after my years of studying fashion all around the world, I’ve found that there are certain styles worldwide that classy women tend to avoid. Let’s dive into the things classy women wouldn’t wear, as well as the stylish alternatives, so you can be on your way to uncovering the best, classy version of yourself.

1. Capris

capris pants woman
source: ebay

Capris may be trending in the fashion world, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good look (or fit!) for women. Though the benefits of extra leg coverage for modesty and comfort reasons can’t be ignored, there are several reasons why capris aren’t a good choice if you’re looking to make wardrobe swaps for a classier you.

As you may know, when it comes to looking classy, the right fit can’t be overlooked. Ill-fitting clothes can detract from an otherwise stylish ensemble (and person!), so part of choosing a classy aesthetic is understanding the importance of fit and silhouette when it comes to clothing choices.

Unfortunately, capris are generally considered unflattering because they tend to hit right at a wide part of the leg, cutting off the silhouette and making the legs appear shorter and wider.

This awkward length can make the legs look stubby, creating a visually unbalanced shape. If you have an insecurity with your legs, capris only emphasize these areas more, specifically the calves or ankles, in a way that won’t have you feeling like the best version of yourself. (And that’s what really matters.)

Ultimately, the flattering aspect of capris can vary depending on individual body type and personal style preferences (if you like it, wear it), but generally, capris fall short when elevating your body and style.

What to Wear Instead: Cropped Pants

Though the look of capris may not offer much style-wise, there are benefits to this pant style. Do you like the extra coverage and personal comfort that capris offer? Don’t worry – there are still classy ways to beat the warm weather heat without baring it all!

Enter: cropped pants.

The biggest style issue with capris is the chopped silhouette and frumpy fit, so to combat that, choosing pants with a slightly longer hemline without entering into full-blown pants territory is the fashion fix to this wardrobe woe.

Instead of highlighting a wide part of your lower body, cropped pants gracefully skim your legs, elongating your whole silhouette, while still leaving a little room for skin exposure and airflow.

These pants from J.Crew come in several different neutral colorways, perfect for a classy woman’s timeless wardrobe.

Whether you find yourself styling these for vacation, farmer’s market, winery tastings, dinner dates, or the office, the wide-leg style offers a breezy feature (hello airflow!) for your warm weather looks.

Thanks to elevated details such as the pleats and buttons, these pants are just begging to be dressed up or down, ensuring a stylish and put-together look whatever style aesthetic you choose that day.

If what you love most about capris are the bare legs and cooling factor, then choose cropped pants in cotton or linen. These materials offer natural cooling properties, ensuring a timeless, classier look – without overheating.

2. Crocs

crocs clogs outfit
source: crocs

Easy to slip on and easy to clean, I understand the appeal of Crocs. And though comfort is just as important as style (if not more so), there’s no reason why we can’t upgrade this shoe style!

Though practical and convenient, crocs are too casual and lacking in sophistication. This footwear is a good choice for activities like gardening, lake days, or lounging around the house, but not so much a fashionable choice for wearing in public.

Simply put, the clunky design and rubber material of Crocs is not the best choice for someone who values aesthetics and style in their wardrobe choices.

What to Wear Instead: Buckle Leather Sandals

If you don’t want to give up the practical function of shoes that are easy to slip on and quick to wipe down, good news: you don’t have to!

Perfectly balancing stylish-meets-sporty, buckle sandals offer the same features you know and love about Crocs, but in a more elevated and stylish way. (Goodbye giant holes and bright colors.)

This pair from J.Crew ranks high when it comes to comfort, thanks to the padding in the footbed and the straps. Leather details ensure a comfortable fit initially but even more so over time, as you allow the leather to mold to your feet.

With comfort details taken care of, how do these buckle sandals rank on style?

The black and gold color combo is always a surefire way to add class to your wardrobe and look expensive, and this applies to your shoe colors as well. Lastly, a croc-embossed texture makes these shoes feel as if you could wear them in other places than just your garden.

Whether you go shopping, grab brunch with friends, or stroll through the farmer’s market, slipping on a pair of buckle leather sandals instead of Crocs will still offer ease, comfort, and breathability, but will instantly elevate your outfit 10x more.

What to Wear Instead: Mules

For another slip-on shoe option that offers both style, comfort, and breathability, consider a pair of woven mules. These are the perfect transitional shoes for the different seasons (ensuring you’ll wear them more than once!) and elevate your overall look.

This pick from Everlane won’t have you sacrificing comfort, thanks to the soft Nappa leather. Think the woven material is just for looks? Though it adds texture to your look (and as a result, style!), the open weave feature ensures airflow for your toes, keeping your feet from feeling too hot.

Related: Upgrade Your Wardrobe: The Fabrics and Colors That Make Everything Look More Expensive

3. Leggings as Pants

leggings as pants
source: Mango

Perfect for going to the gym, taking a hike, or lounging around at home, yes, but a classy option for wearing out and about? Not so much.

Wearing athleisure clothing pieces as out-and-about clothing is something that is more common in America, but our French friends agree that leggings aren’t a part of a Parisian’s daily wardrobe.

Yes, leggings as pants may offer comfort, but they don’t offer much in the style department!

What to Wear Instead: Leggings a Longer Top

Good news: There are ways to do leggings right. Leggings are a wardrobe staple for many (myself included), so it’s not very practical to suggest swapping your leggings for pants – it’s really not the same thing!

The secret to styling leggings and wearing them as pants in a classy way is to pair them with a top that hits at least mid-thigh, ensuring coverage and modesty (which also reads as elegance).

A classy woman may choose to wear sleek and sophisticated leggings in solid colors or subtle textures that can be paired with tunics, blazers, and sweaters that offer better coverage and overall, a more polished look.

Pro style tip: Invest in a quality pair of opaque leggings. To pull off leggings as pants, it’s crucial to pick a pair of high-quality leggings. Good quality can be spotted a mile away, and thin, see-through leggings will be hard to pull off as an intentional fashion choice, whereas solid, opaque, and black leggings with the right amount of thickness can read as sleek.

This pick from Everlane offers a flattering high rise that we all know and love, perfect for sucking you in and smoothing you out – all at once.

The ankle length is a nice touch, offering a polished look to what is normally thought of as gym wear. Beyond soft, reviewers say these are the “best leggings ever”!

What to Wear Instead: Pull-on Pants

Now, as a slightly different alternative to your leggings, consider making the swap to a pair of pull-on pants whenever you’re in the mood for comfort.

While they may not replace the functional aspect of leggings (for, say, the gym), they will offer a more stylish option for the days when you crave comfort. And in this case, you get style as well.

An elastic waistband, free from restricting zippers and buttons, makes putting on pants easy – no comfort sacrificed here.

These pant styles can be found in both slim and wide-leg, allowing you to choose your preference, whether that’s influenced by mood, personal style, body type, or all!

This pick from Everlane has a flattering wide-leg silhouette that stops right at the ankles – perfect for showing off your shoes. Though leggings may have been your go-to for casual days, I think you’ll be surprised at how comfortable – and versatile – you find pull-on pants to be. From airport style to beach days, watch them become your best friend.

4. Logo-Covered Clothing

things classy woman won't wear

Covering your outfit in logos may be socially trendy, but classy women know that less is more when it comes to branding.

Repping too many brands at once can lead to a cluttered and confusing outfit, not to mention showcasing too many different designers at once can look tacky, instead of classy.

What to Wear Instead: Selective Branding

Instead of covering yourself head-to-toe in logos, selectively choose what, if any, clothing brands you want to showcase. It’s much more powerful to make a fashion statement with 1-2 designers or clothing brands than it is to be showing it all at once!

So, opt for pieces with subtle, or even no branding at all. Though selective designer logos can elevate your look, don’t feel as if your look is less than if you don’t have double Gs or interlocking Cs to wear.

A simple, well-fitted top or a classic blazer will always make a more stylish statement than a logo-covered hoodie or t-shirt.

Want to splurge on a designer in a classy way? If you’re looking to make your first big designer purchase, there are brands you can choose that don’t go overboard with logos. Brands like Celine, Hermès, and Chanel tend to keep logos to a minimum, though it’s likely you can find a pared-back version from any of your favorite designers, with a little digging.

Related: The Best Hermès Dupes from Amazon

5. Hawaiian Shirts

island style shirt
source: Lulus

Nothing says vacation quite like Hawaiian shirts. Often seen as bold and quirky, Hawaiian shirts are not out of place in tropical weather, but when it comes to everyday wear and stylish vacation outfits for classy women, it could be better.

The boxy, shapeless fit that defines island-style shirts is usually not very flattering on most body types. Plus, the bold prints and bright colors are very difficult to style in a chic and sophisticated way, making it a less-than-ideal choice for a woman who values timeless and elegant fashion choices.

What to Wear Instead: Linen Button-Down Shirt

Though Hawaiin shirts may not necessarily be a staple in the wardrobe of a stylish woman, I know what is: a linen button-down shirt.

A lightweight button-down shirt in a classic print or solid color is a much more versatile and sophisticated option that can be dressed up or down, whether you’re on vacation or not.

Offering a slimmer fit, this pick from J.Crew has the potential to be 10x more flattering than a boxy top. If you’re worried about overheating, don’t! Linen keeps you cool and dry, thanks to its open weave texture and moisture-wicking properties. (Though you can always find linen shirts with short sleeves.)

Craving some color? Hawaiin shirts do scream summer, after all. To inject some personality into your wardrobe while still maintaining the classy aspect, opt for a color such as light blue.

Not only will this complement your beach vacation perfectly, but it’ll offer styling power for spring, summer, and occasions in between, ensuring you can wear it to more than just a luau.

6. Plaid Bermuda Shorts

plaid bermuda shorts
source: depop

At one point, these may have been considered a trendy piece (I remember wearing these in middle school), but the truth is, this style will quickly date your outfit – and wardrobe!.

Yes, there’s truth to the statement that “everything comes back around”, but it doesn’t mean that everything is a good idea to adopt in our own wardrobes.

Though bermuda shorts are not wrong in and of itself, a print that dates you to a certain time, combined with a less flattering fit, all contribute to a style that doesn’t add class to your look.

What to Wear Instead: Trouser Shorts

Bermuda shorts may be a summertime staple, and older women may especially appreciate the coverage that this shorts style brings. Thankfully, there are definitely ways to update this style while still coming across as casual and classy.

Instead of the dated print and tight, cropped fit (cutting off at a limb is rarely a good idea), try a pair of cropped culottes, long shorts, or tailored trouser shorts in a solid color or subtle pattern for a more refined look.

These high-rise trouser shorts stop a few inches above the knee, avoiding an awkward cut at a wide part of the body. The higher rise flatters the waist and elongates the body, instead of cutting you off right at the hips. Thanks to its flowy feel and pleats, these just scream “summer sophistication”!

Below, let’s take a look at a pair of bermuda shorts done right. This updated silhouette toes the line between casual and chic, blending summer fun with sophisticated style. With the high rise, tailored fit, and neutral color options, these are the type of shorts you’ll want to wear at home, on vacation, and everywhere in between.

You can even dress them up with a blazer and heels for a sophisticated twist on a classic summer staple! These stylish swaps provide coverage without ruining style.

7. Tie-dye

tie dye shirt
source: lulus

Nothing says “summer is here” quite like tie-dye! Whether you DIY a top or buy a clothing piece already showcasing this print, no one can deny that tie-dye print can be a fun and playful choice for activewear or casual lounging. However, it’s not the most stylish option for a woman who wants to make a classy statement in public.

The psychedelic patterns and vibrant colors of tie-dye aren’t flattering for all skin tones, and can be overwhelming and difficult to style in a chic and polished way, even for the most seasoned fashionista.

Need help understanding what the best colors for your skin tone are? I have a resource for you!

What to Wear Instead: Pops of Color and Subtle Prints

Tie-dye may be making a comeback in the fashion world, rising up the ranks in style and making it appropriate to wear outside of summer camp, but truthfully, it’s a tricky style to pull off for classy women.

Instead of going all-in on the tie-dye craze, try incorporating subtle pops of color into your outfit with accessories like scarves or handbags. Choosing one pop of color through bright pants or a bright top can give you the bold and playful look you desire, but in a classier way.

When it comes to prints, there are lots of subtle prints that still read ‘summer fun’ without overwhelming your look. Take this Banana Republic skirt for example. The ombre effect gives the illusion of tie-dye, but looks more sophisticated, with the subtle neutral coloring and full-length pleats.

When approaching color and prints this way, you can still embrace the fun personality of tie-dye without sacrificing your sophisticated style.

And if you really don’t want to abandon your tie-dye, then look for tie-dye clothing in just a few colors. For example, this tie-dye skirt below looks elegant and not too youthful, thanks to this flowy design, chic color combination, asymmetrical cut, and limited colors.

Instead of showcasing every color on the rainbow, this skirt has restraint, making the whole piece feel classier.

Wrapping Up Things Classy Women Wouldn’t Wear

Elevating your style to a classier version of yourself isn’t as difficult as you may think! It comes down to avoiding certain things classy women wouldn’t wear and making stylish alternatives to help you elevate your wardrobe and stand out for all the right reasons.

These fashion tips are not meant to shame anyone; as cheesy as it sounds, we believe that feeling confident in the way you look, no matter what anyone says, is the best style! These things classy women wouldn’t wear are simply meant to help those who are looking for a classier outfit swap.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to feel confident in the way you look and make a lasting impression wherever you go.

Ready to elevate your style even more? You can, with these 7 Ways to Elevate Your Style (And What You May Be Doing Wrong)


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.