Break ranks! If somebody told us to do this out of the blue, as an order that cannot be challenged or contradicted and that must be followed, maybe it would be easier to actually do it. Breaking ranks, leaving the old road, defying expectations, you can define it whichever way it pleases you, can often be one of the most difficult things in the world, even when it would actually be our greatest wish to do so. There are many reasons for this, which can go from fearing other people’s judgment, to fear of the unknown, or perhaps the fear of hurting the people around us. All of these woes have one thing in common, that is, they are a result of fear. There’s even a saying after all, “never leave the old road for a new one”: what if a deep crevice is awaiting us just around the corner?

The fact is, you have to be bold, and just get going. Some of us do it more knowingly than others, after thinking and reflecting for a long time, others need a companion to feel like they can actually do it and others just end up doing it by following their gut, as if they felt that that was the only road to happiness. The results are often spectacular. Think about cuisine. Chefs do this all the time nowadays, experimenting with new flavors and matching ingredients like never before, finding new ways to redefine a well-known flavor that might lose its original shape and look entirely, to then feel familiar again, once it hits your tastebuds.

Think about fashion: some designers completely turned the concept of clothing upside down, and others got playful, finding surprising, fun ways to send messages through clothing. Some of them broke ranks through stripes. Coco Chanel started wearing the typical French marinière in the 1920s, and freed women of corsets, dressing them in short-sleeved tops that went on to become icons of style. Paul Smith made his thousands of colorful stripes into a statement of cheerful madness. Benetton has been playing with stripes forever, and at the same time, it has been encouraging us all to break ranks with his world-famous messages of positivity and humanity.

Really, who says stripes are boring? The truth is, they are only that way if you stick to black and white tracks that all go in the same direction, with no openness to other possibilities. In that case, then, it’s not really a matter of breaking ranks: it might just be best to fill those ranks with color, to stray away from them, and fill them with new meaning, with the colors of our dreams, and of the infinite possibilities that await us.

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