Fashion's "Rule of Three"

The rule of three or power of three is a principle stating that things that come in threes are funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The rule of three is often applied in writing, public speaking, and marketing: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen”…“Blood, sweat and tears”…”Real. Comfortable. Jeans.”

The rule of three also applies to aesthetics. Photographers use the “rule of thirds” in their compositions. In home décor, vignettes are often comprised of three items, as it is more pleasing to the eye. When it comes to fashion, incorporating three key pieces into your outfit can turn a boring, basic ensemble into a stylish, pulled-together look. 

To apply the rule of three to your wardrobe, start with a top and bottom, say a shirt and pants, and add a third piece, such as a cardigan, a jacket or vest, or scarf. Or, you can begin with one item, like a dress, and add a statement necklace and striking handbag. Admittedly, the rule of three is easier to apply in the fall and winter months, when layering is practical as well as fashionable. It can be a little harder to implement in the summer while trying to stay cool, but by adding lightweight jackets, vests, scarves and statement jewelry to your summer wardrobe, you can be both stylish and comfortable. 

For example, here I took a basic summer outfit comprised of a T-shirt and denim shorts, and added a gauzy kimono. Still breezy and cool but a little more stylish than the tee and shorts alone. 



A lightweight cardigan, jacket or vest also makes a great third piece. I wear a LOT of jackets and vests, and I find they are often the key to making an outfit look complete.




A lightweight scarf, statement necklace, or killer handbag can also be an essential component of a stylish summer outfit. When it’s super hot, even a cute hat can be all you need to up your style factor a notch.



Next time you are getting dressed, give the rule of three a try. You may be surprised by how much more put together you look and feel. 



Meet The Author

Contributing Writer

Jen is a Texas girl, who landed in the Midwest after 14 years on the East Coast. A girly girl at heart, she has come to embrace her inner Adam Sandler while raising her three crazy boys. Jen is an avid runner, weightlifter, and triathlete who parlayed her love of fitness into a career as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. Her passion is in helping women look and feel their best, through both fitness and fashion. Jen recently launched a new venture as an independent personal stylist for cabi, a Los Angeles-based fashion house.

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