The Rule of Three

By now, you’ve probably picked up on a few of my personal style rules for shopping and staying on a budget. For example, I love keeping lists of purchases I know I want to make in the future, I’m a big fan of cost per wear analysis, and of course, my rule of three.

The rule of three is generally reserved for trendy items that show up in my closet on a whim. You know the pieces, the ones that come from Forever 21, or happen to show up in a Bloomingdale’s bag hiding underneath your desk after a particularly stressful day at work.

True story.

Often times, when I’m shopping like this, I pick stores where the sale racks are great and the return policies are easy. Generally, my shopping indiscretion lends itself to impulse purchases and impatience in dressing rooms, so I end up with pants in random sizes and tops that add bulk.

So when I get home and finally have time to try things on, I employ the “rule of three” for myself. That is, I get a glass of wine, put on some music, and challenge myself to come up with three complete outfits with the pieces I already bought and incorporating it with what I already own. And when I say complete, I mean complete- shoes, accessories, the whole shebang.

Why do I do this? There are three main reasons why my “rule of three” makes sense and works.

  1. It prevents you from keeping anything that is too out of your comfort zone. I’m all for playing with fashion and picking up fun pieces, but let’s be honest, if you have a piece that doesn’t go with anything in your closet, it’s probably not something  you’d ever wear more than once.
  2. It gives you three fresh outfit ideas. I often believe that it’s good to have those fall back outfits that you can put on and feel like a million bucks, and if you can do that off the bat, you’ll not only be excited to throw on your new clothes, but you’ll have last minute outfit options!
  3. It saves you money. If you can find three complete outfits with your new pieces, than it won’t lead you to more shopping. I know we’ve all been there, bought an amazing top to go with a skirt we owned only to get it home, find that it looks awful with the skirt, but hey- we’ll just buy another one to go with the top. No. This is a mistake, that will lead you to only spend more money and fill your closet with even more things you don’t love.

What about you? Do you have any secret shopping rules for yourself? Would you try the rule of three? 

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