What I Wore – The Third Piece Rule

Do you know about the Third Piece Rule?

Some retail stores (Nordstrom, Madewell, Banana Republic, to name a few) encourage their sales associates to wear outfits to work that include a “third piece.” It’s something you might not notice at first, but if you think about some of your favorite style bloggers, fashion designers, or even just a stylish friend, they probably have this rule down! In fact, when I look through some of the outfits I’ve pinned on Pinterest, a lot of them even add a 4th or 5th piece.

So what is a third piece, and how do you incorporate this rule?

(Time out. Can we call it a tip? Or an idea? Because I don’t really think style should have rules!)

Okay, say you’re getting dressed, and you put on jeans and a top. Those are your first and second pieces. (Shoes don’t count.) A lot of people stop there. But if you want to give your outfit a little extra jazz, put on a third piece. Add a blazer, cardigan, vest, hat, scarf, statement necklace to give your outfit a more polished and stylish look. It’s a simple concept (layering!) that makes a huge difference.

The Third Piece Rule

I started with jeans and a button up chambray top. Then added a sweater tied around my waist. The sweater is my third piece.
But y’all know me. I couldn’t stop there! It was cold, okay?! So I added a blazer (4th piece) and hat (5th piece).

The Third Piece RuleThe Third Piece Rule

Here are a few outfits I found that nail this idea:

Third Piece Rule

1. Third piece – denim jacket. (4th & 5th – handbag & sunglasses.)

2. Third piece – blazer.

3. Third piece – denim button down. (4th – coat.)

4. Third piece – coat. (4th & 5th – hat and sunglasses.)

What do you think? Did you just have an “Ah HA!” moment, and realize that this was THE THING you couldn’t quite put your finger on? Now that you know, you won’t be able to un-see it! This idea is definitely a little trickier to pull off during the summer months. But that’s when bold necklaces, light scarves, and big sunglasses come in handy!