Have you ever wondered what makes an outfit look “Pin-worthy”, polished, complete, or pretty much just plain stylish?
Well I’m going to tell you the secret to taking your outfits to the next level (it’s not a secret, it’s more of a handy go-to rule but secret sounds better).
It’s called the “third piece” rule.
A little background for you…
A few years ago I worked for Nordstrom. I worked in the Savvy and Individualist departments, and it was indeed so much fun (Do I miss the discount? Pretty much every day.)
More than a few times I would go into work wearing a cute, yet maybe underwhelming outfit and my manager would (nicely) ask me, “Honey where’s your third piece?”
One of the guidelines of my department was that we wear a third piece.
So say you have on pants and a top, those are your first and second pieces, but to really take your outfit to the next level and look put-together, you needed your third piece.
I narrowed it down to 4 categories from which you can pull your “third piece” from:
1. Jackets/ Blazers/ Coats
3. Cardigans/ Sweaters
4. Accessories: A belt, hat, statement necklace, or scarf.
Take a look at popular fashion bloggers or style icons, they have this rule DOWN.
Some girls I know who nail it often are Seersucker + Saddles, Atlantic Pacific, Sincerely Jules, and Happily Grey, to name a few.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that in order to look polished or come up with a great outfit, you have to have a third piece. Especially in the summer, ain’t nobody putting on a blazer or vest when it’s sweltering hot! (But that’s when you’d go for the hat or statement necklace… )
Obviously it’s not required, but in most cases if you want to look truly “pin-able” and stylish, add that third piece.
Here’s a handy guide with examples, and you’ll see what I mean!:
(Sources for all of these outfits can be found on my Pinterest board “The Third Piece Rule” here! Along with links to lots of “third piece” options you can shop for!)
Here are some tips and tricks for using this rule:
- When buying blazers or coats it’s best to start out with basics. You’ll wear a simple black, well-fitting blazer with almost everything in your closet vs. a crazy patterned crop jacket that will look great a few times a year and won’t go with nearly as much.
- When going for patterned or printed blazers and jackets, you’ll get much more mileage out of a neutral color scheme. (Ex: My girl Amber’s black & white leopard blazer here would go great with lots of things! Most animal prints are considered neutral.)
- In the case of jackets, coats, and blazers, usually you get what you pay for. Spending a little more than you’re used to will usually pay off in the long run with a piece you can wear season after season after season.
- Leather & faux leather jackets are ALWAYS a good idea.
- Vests are becoming more and more trendy lately, especially in denim. You’ll get a lot of wear out of a leather (or faux) vest, and I highly recommend an army green “military” style vest (I just got one and I find myself wearing it non-stop!).
- In the fall/winter, scarves are a great option. Obviously they keep you warm, with the added bonus of making you look more put together. This video shows you a ton of different ways to wear a scarf so you can mix it up!
- Statement necklaces are such a great way to take an outfit to that next level. This is a great technique in the summer/spring when you don’t want to layer, but want to add interest, or that final touch to an outfit.
I hope that was helpful and maybe the next time you’re getting ready you’ll think, “Honey, where’s your third piece?” (Presumably while looking in the mirror J)
I’d love to see any pictures of your outfits if you put this to use!
(You can email me or post the link in a comment.)