What's The Rule Of Three When Layering Clothing?

Learning how to style your clothing can be challenging. If you are just beginning on your fashion journey, knowing what goes with what can seem daunting and overcomplicated. While it's true that styling can be hard, fashion shouldn't be challenging. In the end, styling is simply a means by which we can showcase of sense of style. Thankfully, if styling isn't your thing, there are a few hacks that you can use to upgrade your styling with no prior experience. 


The rule of three is a method used to describe hacks and tricks in different industries. From photography to color theory, there are multiple rules of three to be known. One variation of this can also be known as the rule of thirds. Approximately Right explains that this version of the rule of three uses sections to use a proportion equation for a visually appealing outfit. The equation, also known as the golden ratio, can help break apart your looks to give a punch of visual interest. When looking at layering techniques, the rule of three targets a different part of your look. While it requires fewer ratios, the rule of three is all about bringing harmony and style to your outfit.

What is the rule of three?

The rule of three in layering is about using a third piece to complete your outfit. This can mean adding any additional item you would like to complete your look. Whether it's in the form of a necklace or blazer, the third piece is essential for a well-rounded look. Ultimately, your third piece is predetermined by your destination and the weather. If you find yourself in a chillier climate, your third piece can consist of an outerwear piece. For the warmer months, use a statement accessory to amplify your look while not having to layer on too many items.


This third piece's role is simply to make your outfit better. The first two pieces are composed of a top and a bottom. The third piece can be any statement item that will take your looks from ordinary to extraordinary. This piece can be in the form of non-clothing pieces as well. A surprise pop of color in your accessories or fabric can act as your third piece. Don't feel limited by needing to add a third piece if it feels overwhelming. Just think of your third piece as the part of your outfit that makes it unique.

Different ways to use the rule of three

A common misconception about the rule of three in layering is that it will limit your options. However, the purpose of the rule of three is to get you thinking about how you can complete your looks. Fashion influencer Lydia Jane Tomlinson showed via Instagram how the rule of three can also be colors that create a statement but an easy-to-style outfit. By adding a blazer in a contrasting color, Tomlinson takes an all-white outfit and elevates it with grace. If you want to keep your styling simple and classic, keep to the rule of three for a minimalist approach.


On the other hand, if you want to use this rule to create a statement look, there are plenty of ways you can still do so. Fashion content creator Anastasia Ferreira showcases on Instagram how you can manipulate your third piece to give your look something extra. Instead of just putting on a sweater over a button-up, Ferreira uses her grey sweater and ties it around her shoulders. While still a third piece, the gray sweater creates something unique and fun for her look. Another way you can use your third piece in a fun way is by putting on a sweater vest, beret, or neck scarf. These third pieces will still help elevate your outfit while keeping true to your style.