I read somewhere that when you work at Anthropologie, they tell you to implement "the rule of three" to look more “done.” When I read the rule, it made total sense but I'd never thought about it in quite that way before. It still influences the way I get dressed in the morning.
The rule of 3 suggests always having 3 or more “elements” in every outfit. For example, 1) pants, 2) a blouse, 3) a statement necklace. Or 1) pencil skirt, 2) button down, 3) drapey sweater.
The idea is that most people leave the house with only 1 or 2 elements (jeans and a top, skirt and blouse, sheath dress). There is nothing wrong with any of these outfits, but consciously adding a third element can really give you that little extra pizazz you sometimes notice on other people and wonder how they got!
My standby uniform at one point consisted of a silk blouse (i.e., Everlane) tucked into a pencil skirt. To avoid getting too bored with my go-to, the rule of 3 suggests mixing it up with an interesting sweater, drapey jacket or flashy (ish) earrings.
Below are some examples of the rule of 3 in action, if you'd like to see:
Emma Stone looks amazing here as a redhead in red with her 3 elements being a red sleeveless blouse (buttoned all the way up), black cropped trousers (similar), and red patterned statement shoes. I've read that shoes do not count towards the 3 elements, but I think they can if they're slightly on the bold side (particularly in the workplace context).
Another one of my favorite looks is achieved by pairing a blouse with a peter pan collar under a sheath dress (also here), topped with interesting jewelry (also here and here) and/or a jacket. Mary of the blog Memorandum shows off a similar look here.
I hope you have fun creating your own ensembles based on the rule of three!