• Tue, May 6 - 2:00 pm ET

How Mindy Kaling Breaks All The Fashion Rules And Looks Better Than Any Of Us

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It’s not really a secret over here that we’re completely obsessed with Mindy Kaling–she’s smart, hilarious, beautiful, and we love her style. I’m not trying to be over the top, but I’m a little bit in love with her. Whatever. It’s fine.

One of my favorite things about Mindy’s style is that she tends to take a lot of traditional fashion rules, break them in half, set them on fire, and then walk away laughing. Let’s take a look at these fashion don’ts that we normally beg celebrities to stop wearing (oddly, they aren’t listening to us), but that Kaling somehow pulls off.

1. Crop tops

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Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Crop tops are among the most controversial of trends, and it takes a really great crop top to rise above the general ick factor of it. But Kaling’s outfit worked perfectly–it was just the right amount of skin balanced out by a bold pattern.

2. Peplums

mindy-kaling-vanity-fair-oscar-party-2014-black-gown-peplum.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

I know. I know. Nobody in the world hates peplums more than me, believe you me. I want to go up to every person in the world wearing a peplum and just rip it off. There are plenty of cold people in the world who benefit from that peplum as a shawl, and yet peplum-wearers selfishly insist on hogging the world’s fabric for an ugly appendage. And yet. I can’t bring myself to hate this peplum. Maybe it’s the beading, the all black, or the shape of the gown, but the peplum just works. Call me crazy. It wouldn’t be the first time.

3. Dressing like a labia

Some might say that taking hints from female genitalia is a definite “don’t,” but not Kaling! And you know what? She looks super fantastic in that dress. More people should do the labia thing in the way she does, as it so often falls flat.

4. Cutouts/sideboob

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Michael Buckner/Getty Images

It takes a certain je ne sais quoi to pull off a cutout with some sideboob, especially in 2010 when this was less of an accepted trend. I love that this dress is otherwise pretty demure–that’s one hell of a high neck and its a conservative cut. It makes her cutouts a breath of fresh air, and spices up what would otherwise be a boring dress.

5. Rompers

mindy-kaling-romper-2009

Michael Buckner/Getty Images

I know we’re all torn on rompers, but I want to firmly say that I am pro-romper. Despite my fervent defense of rompers, there’s still an overwhelmingly anti-romper attitude in the world, but I think Kaling rocks it. For this photo, we need to first adjust our expectations. This was 2009. It was a different, uglier world. But I think Kaling looks cute as a button in this romper, even though the argument could easily be made that this is one ugly freaking romper. It doesn’t really matter that the romper itself is ugly–Kaling looks comfortable and adorable in it. It’s a great example of when rompers are appropriate, and that they can be just as cute as a dress.

6. Bandage dresses

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Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

We all know that bandage dresses are generally garbage clothes that should be avoided at all costs by now, right? The body hugging stripy stuff that looks like it’s made out of seat belts are for the most part tired and tacky, and yet celebrities trot out their bandage dresses time and time again. I should hate this on Kaling, but I don’t. I think she looks sexy as all hell. Maybe it’s that the dress doesn’t have quite the same high wattage sheen I’m used to seeing on bandage dresses or that her hair has that bed head quality that’s unspeakably hot, but this whole thing is working for me, big time.

7. Mixing whites

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Michael Buckner/Getty Images

I’m not a big fan of mixing tones that are too similar–I find it distracting and off-putting. Why isn’t the whole thing just one shade of ivory? But something about this works despite the two whites–perhaps the drastic angles, pleats, and shape of the top keeps everything balanced enough that we could use some tone-induced unease.

8. DGAF

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Kaling’s 2010 Emmy’s look was almost universally panned, but it was the exact look she wanted. Kaling has been the recipient of ridiculous body criticism, backhanded compliments, and a projection that she doesn’t care about beauty standards because she dares to have a body that exists slightly outside the norm for actresses. Kaling has proven that she does care, and her beauty standards are her own. She dresses exactly how she wants and has excellent style. I love this look because it looks like her–over the top, zany, sexy, dramatic, pretty, and unique.

Photo: Instagram

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  • Samantha Escobar

    I love cream-colored dresses once in a while, and those “once in a while” times are often on Mindy. She does it so well and picks great silhouettes, then styles her hair and makeup and wrists/neck/hands exactly as makes sense for the garment. I love it.

  • Lindsey Conklin

    always stunning. I especially love the mixing whites dress!

  • Juliana

    She’s always gorgeous, but in the “mixed whites” photo… holy bejeebus! Her makeup! I can’t stop looking at her face! She looks somewhat ethereal or something.

  • Juliana

    She’s always gorgeous, but in the “mixed whites” photo… holy bejeebus! Her makeup! I can’t stop looking at her face! She looks somewhat ethereal or something.

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  • emilykwells2188

    I just love her; she’s my imaginary bff.