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The Smart Yet Simple Clothing Trick

Author: Lauren Coleman

After months of joggers and leggings I’ve been trying to make myself appear a little more polished and put together. One trick I saw via Pinterest which is proving quite helpful and super easy is the third-piece rule. I didn’t come up with that term by the way so please don’t shoot the messenger.

The concept of the third-piece apparently originates from US clothing giant, Nordstrom where sales staff are encouraged to don outfits comprising of three pieces rather than two. Obviously you need something to cover both your top and bottom so that’s two pieces covered but the third piece is an extra element to ‘elevate’ your outfit in the style stakes. Throw on a blazer, an open shirt, or an amazing statement accessory and voila, apparently you’re going to be instantly more stylish. Yes I rolled my eyes a bit when I read that putting on a coat is going to finish off my outfit. And who’d have thought of carrying a bag?! Shocking behaviour. However there is some truth in adding that third piece. It’s perhaps an overthrow from the fact most maternity wear is quite drab that I’ve been pulling out my more vibrant bags and storing away my usual black totes. I’ve been dressing up a normal top and bottom with a more fancier open shirt, kimono or ‘schacket’ and have sent my blazers off to be dry cleaned.

A few of my favourite UK fashion bloggers in action sporting the look, in fact, some of them have even gone for four pieces when you check out their snappy shoes too.

Bags

Last year it was all about the large circle straw bag. (People still stop my Mum in the street to ask where hers is from). This year it seems to be about smaller versions with longer straps to wear across the body. Add in a few bright colours or even one that you can drop a flower pot in to and you’ve definitely made a statement.

STEAL THE STYLE
  • Topshop Barbar bag
    Topshop Barbar Bag
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  • Accessorize NORTON CIRCLE BAG
    Accessorize NORTON CIRCLE BAG
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  • Mango Net Tote Bag
    Mango Net Tote Bag
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  • Sandro Bag
    Sandro Bag
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  • Acccesorize woven bag
    Accessorize Woven Bag
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Blazers and Coverups

I’m still getting over missing out on a khaki schacket in Primarni for £12 but this Oasis one is a strong contender. Philipa from We Are Twinset carries off the bold Topshop polka dot jacket and it’s worth mentioning Sarah, the other half of the stylish duo easily has the best maternity wardrobe I’ve ever seen.

STEAL THE STYLE
  • Mango Contrast Blazer
    Mango Contrast Blazer
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  • Oasis KATE MILITARY JACKET
    Oasis KATE MILITARY JACKET
    SHOP NOW
  • Topshop Polka Dot Jacket
    Topshop Polka Dot Jacket
    SHOP NOW
  • Zara Embroidered Jacket
    Zara Embroidered Jacket
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Earrings and Jewellery

If I could clear up the unfortunate eczema that’s spread across my eyes and ears I’d be sporting some fancier earrings, Freddie Harell style for sure. Who doesn’t love a few baubles and tassels?

STEAL THE STYLE
  • Next Fringed Drop Earrings
    Next Fringed Drop Earrings
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  • Mango Pompom beads earrings
    Mango Pompom beads earrings
    SHOP NOW
  • H&M Paper straw earrings
    H&M Paper straw earrings
    SHOP NOW

Thoughts on the third-piece rule? Are you wearing more accessories in summer or do you prefer to stick to two simple items?

{Contributors}

Header image from Sincerely Jules

Author
Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
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25 thoughts on “The Smart Yet Simple Clothing Trick

  1. Great post, Lauren! I too started to add patterned lightweight blazers, kimonos, brighter bags, etc to lift my almost-all-black maternity wear. I’m guilty of throwing on a top and bottoms for work/the weekend for ease but it’s good to read something like this to remind you that one simple piece (cliched, I know) can actually transform your look!

    1. Thanks Danni. Glad you like the post. Accessories just make you feel a bit more put together don’t they? And it’s super cheap too as I have no many of them that usually I forget about. I did a ‘challenge’ last Autumn where I tried to include an accessory a day and failed miserably. It seems a lot easier to do this summer!

  2. ‘Some of my favourite bloggers have gone for four pieces’.

    You mean ‘have got dressed’

    Surely if the purpose of the article is ‘wear three pieces’ for minimalist style then saying ‘these guys wear four’ defeats the point slightly?

    I cannot get excited about accessories. But as someone who spent 18 months and two pregnancies with their head down a loo, they would have just got in the way. The only thing I wanted to do was lie on the floor in my pants using seven duvets to make what, in hindsight, was a sleepyhead extra big.

    1. That’s why I used the words “Yes I rolled my eyes a bit when I read that putting on a coat is going to finish off my outfit. And who’d have thought of carrying a bag?! Shocking behaviour.”
      It’s purely been a reminder to me to switch my bag once in a while!

    2. This seems like an unnecessary comment to me, although I appreciate what you say about accessories and morning sickness 🤦🏻‍♀️ The article is lighthearted and, in my view, is less about the number of pieces you wear but instead is saying that you can use one/two interestign pieces to ‘lift’ your look rather than just throwing on whatever is in your wardrobe.

        1. I appreciated the article Lauren! I often feel a bit drab since having kids because I don’t have much spare cash for new clothes and I just chuck on jeans and a tshirt every day so I found this helpful actually to think about how to finish outfits off a bit more and feel a bit fancier! Thanks! 🙂 hope pregnancy is treating you kindly (apart from the eczema!) x

          1. Thanks lovely, the vomiting is beginning to ease so I’m definitely starting to feel better.
            Hell yes to feeling a bit fancier! Glad it’s given you a few ideas.

            1. Oh no I hope it leaves you soon, it’s so hard to feel sick all the time. I promise you it’ll be worth every second when you hold your baby in your arms 🙂 you’ve probably heard ALL the ideas but I hear acupuncture can really help if it doesn’t go away soon. It’s the only thing I didn’t try with mine! x

  3. I’m definitely guilty of rotating the same few outfits (especially in my last few weeks of pregnancy- even though I have plenty of options!) and accessories for convenience – it’s so true that a little extra thought makes the whole outfit seem a bit more put together.
    I’m going to try and make a habit of not saving bits ‘for best’ and just enjoy wearing them instead of them gathering dust in the wardrobe!

    1. I think it’s great for anyone who gets bored of their capsule, not just in maternity – although the limited options have made me yearn for colour which is unusual for me!
      It’s a bit like putting your best plates to the back of your cupboard and saving them for guests. Whack them out and get them used! x

      1. So true! If only my ‘best’ bag was that Gucci crossbody and not an Oliver Bonas sale bargain ha x

        1. The one I’m using most is straw one I bought about 8 years ago from Primark for a quid! One day we’ll have Gucci 😉

  4. Not even pregnant but I like this reminder. A blazer/ shaker definitely elevates a simple jeans A stripe t combo.

  5. Lauren the photos I’ve seen of you on instagram pregnant you look amazingly well put together! I remember by 39 weeks we were going out to dinner with friends, they arrived and my friend said ‘aren’t you going to change out of that top for dinner, it’s got a stain on it’ and I genuinely just didn’t care anymore! In the end I did get changed but very reluctantly, so well done you for making the effort, I wish I had done more really. I found dressing whilst pregnant really hard actually but this third piece idea would have been really handy, especially as things like bags and blazers are a-ok to buy in pregnancy without worrying about whether they will fit afterwards. Xx

    1. You’re too kind India, and there’s still plenty of time for me to get stains on my tops! Good on you for going out for dinner at 39 weeks x

  6. I wish I’d worn more earrings when pregnant as now they are a thing of the past. I adore a pair of dangly, bright earrings, but from the minute my girls could grab they’ve just been a hazard! Even now with the youngest at 2 she still loves to try and yank them out if I’ve bravely worn some… ditto necklaces….

    Blazers on the other hand are my best friend… the other half is constantly saying “not another blazer… do you really need one more” (yes, yes I do!) x

    1. You definitely need another blazer 😉 and come to think of it so do I!
      Have you seen Fashion Bug Blog? I have no idea how she manages to wear all those incredible earrings with her littles. Her ears must get pulled so much!

  7. I’m such a fan of a blazer thrown over anything and everything. Love the other ideas of how to shake it up a bit x

    1. When I was little I remember going to bus with my mum into town on a Saturday. She always got a bit dressed up and wore a navy blazer, no doubt with shoulder pads. Still such a fan of that look – maybe sans shoulder pads though 😉

  8. The khaki jacket may have just fallen into my shopping basket! Also, kimonos over a simple maxi dress or stretchy body con dress look amazing!

    1. I love that too Claire! My friend came to Leo’s birthday party with one over a simple tee and jeans (and lovely Birkenstocks) and it looked so good!

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