Thursday, January 27, 2011

How I get dressed, part 2

Have you ever heard of the rule of three? It's traditionally known as a literary device, in which things that come in threes are the most effective at conveying what the author is trying to say. But aside from storytelling, it actually applies in all kinds of situations. In fact, many shoe stores have a rule of three. When the salesperson brings you the size you want in a certain shoe, they are also required to bring two other pairs shoes--one similar to the pair you requested, and a third sort of wild card option. 

Well, this rule can actually do wonders for your remixing options. In today's first post, I showed you the suede skirt I wanted to wear today. In building an outfit around on particular piece, I often use a rule of three type approach to stying it. I sort of went in a more rule of two direction today, to be honest, but the same principles apply. First, I put on my skirt and then thought about my options for what to wear on top. The last two times I wore it, I chose a patterned spaghetti strap blouse and then a graphic t-shirt. In the interest of avoiding outfit retread I decided to try a cotton blouse with sleeves and floral print and a plain white button-up, both very different from the tops previously worn with this skirt. 

I like both tops, and could have worked with either. I went with my instinct and chose the white one. For whatever reason, I just felt more inspired by it. Remember, there is no one right or wrong outfit. It's all about experimenting and creativity and fun.

Next, I needed another layer on top. Normally I would go with a cardigan, so I glanced at my options:

Nothing jumped out at me, and I've already done the cardigan look twice with this skirt, so I considered other options. I'd noticed my denim jacket when pulling the skirt from my closet, and thought I should try it. Turns out it hit an awkward spot right where the skirt flares out, so that was a no. Next, I grabbed my little boy's section Goodwill blazer, and liked the silhouette and structure it added. 

Getting close now! Since it's winter, I for sure need some tights on those practically translucent legs. Plus, I'm looking a little like I'm wearing some sort of school/work uniform here, so I need something off the wall to mix it up. I choose two options...purple with black layered over, or green textured floral. Going back to the rule of three, opaque black is the standby third option in case neither look good. But essentially, I'm confident the green will work since I wear them with everything, and they are super versatile. So black and green are my one and two choices. Both are versatile and go with just about anything, the outcome is unsurprising. The third, wild card option is purple and black layering. And since I most want to wear the purple and black I try them first. I know if they look good I won't try any of the others on, since putting tights on and taking them off is super annoying and I avoid it if at all possible. Thankfully, the combo looks great and I decide to go for it. 

Now on to shoes! This is the easiest and hardest part, since shoes are so easy to take on and off, so I sometimes go crazy and try on tons.

Today I did a very strict rule of three shoe session. Option one is very basic and is the pair I most want to wear with this outfit in theory. I try them on to make sure they actually do look good. They do! 

Option two is another basic pair that go with just about anything, and in theory will look good with this outfit. In reality, they make me look kind of frumpy, especially from the side. No go.

Option three is totally different from the last two, and I have no idea if they will look good. They don't. Something about the bright purple with the leopard print doesn't sit right with me.

So it's back to option one. And that's it! I'm done for the day. I ended up throwing on some earrings and a pin as well, which you can see in my outfit post today. Overall, this took just a few minutes. I rarely spend more than ten or fifteen minutes total on my outfit, even though I'm starting from scratch. Maybe you like to throw something on and go, and that sounds like too much of a time investment for you. If so, the rule of three can still work for you when pre-planning and trying on outfits. It may encourage you to pick an item that doesn't seem obvious and end up with a totally new, creative outfit you've never considered before. Personally, I don't mind the time investment, since the rest of my morning routine is very basic. I've never understood people who can spend forever doing their hair. My max is five minutes--blowdry or put up in braids is as fancy as I get. If you spend lots of time on your hair, I can understand why you wouldn't want to put the time into dressing from scratch in the morning. My makeup routine in super fast and minimal as well, so I feel okay with spending a little extra time staring into my closet or going back and forth to the mirror with one pair of shoe after another. 

So there it is everyone. My alternative dressing plan. Don't feel like the three rule is strict...if I really love the first thing I try on, I often keep it and spend more time on other parts of my outfit. And you can surely try more than three options in any case. I think the most important thing to remember is to go with your instincts and push yourself. If you have one plain-colored cardigan you wear all the time and looks great with all your skirts and dresses, don't reach for it first. Try a couple you're unsure about, and if they don't work out, you know you have a backup. Save the reliable standbys for days when nothing else works. I guarantee that, with time, you will start to see a multitude of new possibilities in the clothes you already have, and recognize gaps in your wardrobe that need to be filled. You will shop better because you'll know what works, but you'll also be less afraid to try something new. What's the worst that could happen? The fitting room mirror will mock you? It won't look good? No problem! On to the next. Fashion and style should be fun and crazy and whimsical and courageous.

What's something you've bought or worn that you never thought would work until you tried it on? I want to know! Leave me a comment, or let me know some of your favorite tips for getting dressed!

1 comment:

  1. loved reading how you get dressed! i am much the same way- which is really a pain at 9 in the morning when i am running late haha! love the unexpected tights, they really are the cherry on top of the outfit ;-)