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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rule of Three

Hi friends! Thanks for the excitement (and great ideas!) over Project Little Miss. We've got the drapes up on one window, so hopefully I'll finish those soon, and report back! Today I'm sharing a fun style tip I use when building an outfit...The Rule of Three.

The Rule of Three, or Power of Three, is the principle that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more aesthetically pleasing, or more effective, than other grouped number of things.

Slogans and catchprhases are regularly three words..."Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness"..."Stop, Drop and Roll." Jokes, too, often revolve around three..."An Irishman, Scotsman and Englishman walk into a bar."

The Rule of Three is heralded in home decor, as well, with many vignettes created around three different sized objects. So it's no surprise that three is key when building a more stylish outfit.

Hi Sugarplum | The Rule of Three

So what’s so special about a third piece? Well, it adds pizazz to an otherwise basic outfit, making you look more stylish and put together. Essentially, it's a simple trick that creates more chic outfits. 

Some retailers even require their sales staff follow the rule of three while on the job...with the top and bottom being first and second pieces, and an extra element such as a jacket, sweater, vest or statement accessory as the third piece.

I prefer to take it a little further #surprisesurprise...with my entire base outfit being the first piece, and layering on extra elements as the second and third pieces. Let me demonstrate...

{ONE  //  Base Outfit}

Hi Sugarplum | The Rule of Three

{TWO  //  Base Outfit + Bag}

Hi Sugarplum | The Rule of Three
Striped Top | Distressed Jeans | Booties (similar here & here) | Crossbody Bag  

{THREE  //  Base Outfit + Bag + Scarf}

Hi Sugarplum | The Rule of Three
Striped Top | Distressed Jeans | Booties (similar here & here)

{FOUR  //  Base Outfit + Bag + Scarf + Vest}

Hi Sugarplum | The Rule of Three
Crossbody Bag | Sunglasses | Earrings | Watch | Utility Vest (similar

Yep, I added yet a fourth shocker there. But as the weather cools, the opportunities to bring on more layers increases. Sure each outfit is cute on it's own, but there's no question the Power of Three reigns true in creating a more stylish outfit.

Hi Sugarplum | The Rule of Three
Sunglasses | Earrings | Watch | Utility Vest (similar

Hi Sugarplum | The Rule of Three

If you’re still in doubt about the Power of Three, here are a few more examples where you’ll notice I always employ the principle, with many outfits even adding fourth and fifth pieces to take the effect to the next level.

{Necklace + Leopard Belt + Studded Bag}

Hi Sugarplum | {3 Ways} to Wear Jeans to Work
Black Blouse (available in many colors, runs big) | Bootcut Jeans
Leopard Belt (similar) | Pendant Necklace | Pearl Cluster Bracelet (similar) | Bag (similar)

{Vest + Belt + Studded Bag + Tassel Bracelet}

Hi Sugarplum | Fall Fashion
Sweater | White Jeans | Bag (similar) | Faux Fir Vest (similar)

{Cardigan + Bag}

Hi Sugarplum | Fleece Wrap Cardi

{Hat + Scarf + Bag}

Hi Sugarplum | Travel Style
Hat | Scarf | Blouse | Jeans | Weekender Bag | Boots

{Bag + Bag Charm + Leopard Shoes}

Hi Sugarplum | One Skirt Five Ways
Skirt | White Oxford | Leopard Heels | Blue Satchel (similar)

{Cardigan + Necklace + Bag}

Hi Sugarplum | One Dress: Day to Night
Pendant Necklace (similar) | Pave Hoop Earrings | Watch

{Necklace + Cuff + Clutch}

Hi Sugarplum | Pink Dress | Day to Night

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that in order to look polished or be stylish, you must have a third piece. Especially in the won't catch me piling on the jackets and cardigan...I will, however, add a hat or statement jewels to take my outfit up a notch. But you'd be surprised by how much more put together you'll look, and feel, if you take the time to add an extra piece or two.

Are you a member of the Power of Three fan club?


  1. I totally abide by the Power of 3 rule when decorating my home. But like you, sometimes it's the Power of 4 or 5 rule when dressing! :)

  2. Love the power of 3! I always feel more pulled together that way. Today it's cozy cardi, necklace and leopard flats. I will lose the cardi once I really start my day and warm up!

  3. Love how you dress!! Are you going to do any posts with your mom for us older girls? Thx!!

    1. Thanks Deb! I'd love to get my mom on the blog more...hopefully she'll agree!!

  4. Seriously, can you come to my house and dress me everyday?? Today I took inspiration from your 5 Ways to Wear White After Labor Day post from last year and am wearing white jeans, a scarf and jean jacket, which totally follows the rule of three!!

    1. Yes ma'am it does...and sounds darling!!! thrilled you got some inspiration here!! xo

  5. YUP! I am indeed in that club. Have been since I worked in a nice department store in college, and the "third piece" was a wardrobe dress code requirement. I don't feel like I am fully dressed until I have that third something. (Even if I am only sitting at my kid's third grade football game in a camp chair!)

  6. Cassie,
    I had never heard this in terms of fashion, but it works for me. I bought the striped wrap cardigan last year after seeing it on your blog and I can't wait until it is cool enough to wear it again this year.

  7. Holy crap, do you look adorable in that first outfit, especially with the vest added. My sister and I are always trying to channel our inner sugarplum when we take the time to actually think about our outfits. I should hang a big number 3 (or 4) in my closet to keep me on track.

  8. Simple, sweet, and do-able. Thanks!!

  9. I've never thought about it in 3's but that makes great fashion sense. Thanks for sharing your great fashion sense as always!

  10. I'm s recent convert to the rule of three. I finally realized that all the people whose style I admired always had one or two extras on. It makes such a big difference!

  11. It is funny but it is a rule in so many other endeavors as well. A joke always has three parts, so does any good story and a song has three refrains. With fashion, I have also read that it is a good idea to take one accessory off- not the third piece of clothing of course. I don't always need to do it but I know when I have over done the jewelry especially or when a piece of jewelry is the third thing. I think it is important to not have 3 "star" pieces on at the same time too. It is good to let one piece shine and the others perform as supporting roles too. I have noticed that Alexa Chung almost never adds that third item but she is so tall, young and thin she probably counts herself as the third item. You have a great fashion sense and the rule of three is good advice no doubt.

  12. Yes, love this! I too am a fan of the fourth and fifth layers :) Fun to see it broken down from base layer on up.

  13. I never feel completely dressed without that third piece even if it's just one piece of jewelry, but also take it to the fourth and fifth most days.


Your comments are like popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. Thanks for taking the time to share your positive thoughts! xoxo, cass

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