Style and Styling

How to “Finish” an Outfit

AKA: The Power of a 3rd Piece!

Happy day, reader dearest!

How is 2021 feeling so far in your corner of the world? Vaccines are rolling out in our area. So far we’ve been able to get Mama jabbed, and Mr. CP because of his work, but I’m at the bottom of the barrel. There’s some conflicting information out there between what the state Department of Health has posted and how the counties have been instructed to proceed. What’s a few more months? I’d prefer weeks, but am trying not to get greedy. How about an odd number of weeks. Preferably a single digit odd number. Why odd?

The human eye loves odd numbers. Which may be why I’ve been tied to blogging thrice weekly. AND why blogging twice weekly feels wrong, even if it is what I need to do for a while. Please, let me know your thoughts! I’m thinking Mondays and Thursdays or Tuesdays and Fridays. Do let me know if you have a preference!

Back to the human eye loving odd numbers… Research data shows that even newborn babes will look longer at an odd numbered group of objects (dots, rubber ducks, flowers) than an even numbered group. We find odd numbered groups more interesting and often more aesthetically pleasing. Which is thought provoking when you consider that much of our body comes in twos! Our body isn’t necessarily designed to catch the eye, it’s designed for function. (Note: Some people are hard-wired for symmetry in ALL things and find odd numbers of items disturbing.)

Dressing Odd-ly

This innate interest in odd numbers plays out in dressing, too! A third piece makes an outfit feel finished and more interesting. Today we’ll take a basic top and bottom and add a third piece to see the difference it makes. (Yes, the top and bottom are the jeans and white tee, again. You’re probably sick of them, but that combo is incredibly generic, often seen, and gets the point across.) Here’s our:

Starting Point

Note: I’ve been asked about shoes. For some reason, shoes don’t seem to count. I’m working on the why… It may be because they come in a pair and our eye discounts them because they have a mate. My instinct tells me that it has more to do with whether they are neutral or colored, than number. I need to do some more research on this one!

For our visual experiment, I chose to keep all the additions neutral. Not because I want to dress in all neutrals or think you should. As a matter of fact, I think you should wear color. I encourage you to wear color. I WANT you to wear color! Probably every day! I chose all neutrals to illustrate the 3rd piece point. Because color is so powerful, it would confuse the issue.

Add a Topper

You could choose a jacket, vest or waistcoat, kimono, or a cardigan.

Add an Accessory

In warmer weather, when a topper might cause wilting or heatstroke, look for an accessory to be your third piece. I like to tie on a scarf…

Or don a hat…

Or throw on a necklace! Pinning on a substantial brooch would work, too! Or pop on a pair of statement earrings. (Let’s think bold, here.) A single dainty necklace isn’t going to have the same impact.

For me, odd numbers also play out in the number of accessories. I wear 1, 3, or 5 pieces on my wrist. That might mean one large cuff or just my watch. Or my watch and two or four more bracelets. Odd numbers works for pops of color, too!

So How About YOU?

What third piece do you gravitate toward most frequently? Did any of the ones above catch your interest? Are you going to give it a try? Is there one you’d never wear? Do tell! Please, let me know your thoughts about blogging only twice a week. It’s not you, it’s me… I need more space! 😉 Mondays and Thursdays, or Tuesdays and Fridays? Or some other combo I haven’t thought of at all? Maybe a Saturday?

Stay safe and sound, sane and stylish, friends!

(Even in all neutrals!)

24 Comments

  • NATALIE

    Liz, I would love Tuesday or Thursday and Saturday. I pray that two days a week allows for you to regroup. Please come back three days a week soon! May the Lord Jesus bless you above anything you could imagine! Your hard work iis so appreciated!

    • Liz K

      Thank you for letting me know your preferences, Natalie! My husband also asked “Why not Saturday?”, so I am giving that serious consideration…

  • Sara

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog posts.
    When I see one pop up in my inbox I save it for a time during the day when I can sit with a cup of coffee or tea and give your ideas and words my full attention.

    As far as two or three a week, do what is BEST for you. Any two days are better than no days…in my opinion. And it comes down to what gives you the best space to achieve your goals. Which in turn, makes our days that much sweeter.

    Your joyful personality shines through your words. And, you encourage me to think outside the box.

    I appreciate the time you take to give me (fresh into my 60th year and Mimi to 9 little ones) and my closet a chance to keep on rockin comfortable yet youthful outfits. Your ideas are encouraging me to take care that my joyful personality never grows frumpy. My three beautiful daughter in laws tell me I need more color. So that is my goal henceforth.

    THANK YOU Liz…Many Blessings…from me (also a blogger) in the Berkshires of Massachusetts ~
    Sara

    • Liz K

      Thank you for reading, and weighing in, Sara! Mimi is a FABULOUS grandma name, I’m the Lulu to our three grandsons. Glad to be encouraging! I agree with your DIL’s; color is powerful! Please let me know where I can find your blog, Sara. I did a quick search using your name, location and the word blog. I came up with a few Sara’s, but none that I think are you!

      • Sara

        Good Morning Liz,

        LuLu…I love it. Isn’t life JOY FILLED and full of promise and HUGE LOVE with little ones in our lives???

        I have 4 grandsons and 5 granddaughters. Our littlest granddaughter lives with her big sister, big brother and her parents in VA. Our son is in the Navy. Sadly, this pandemic has kept us from meeting her yet…she will be 7 months old on Saturday. Ohhhhhhhh…we endure…

        Thank you for expressing interest in my blog. I am Sara Taft when I’m not Mimi !!!! My blog is part of my cooking/art/writing life come to fruition with the love and support from my husband Bill and my family. The Soul of the Secret Ingredient is always LOVE, is it not?

        My Navy son once told me, many years ago…, “Mom, you put the secret ingredient in everything you do and it shows…”
        I believe he was 14 or 15 at the time…it blew me away.

        You will find my blog at: Thesoulofthesecretingredient.com

        I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy yours.

        Many Blessings…Sara

        • Liz K

          Thank YOU, Sara! I’m going to check it out! And yes, the secret ingredient is always love. I remember telling my DIL (when they were still dating) that cooking isn’t just feeding stomachs. She asked how I could cook for the tribe day after day. I told her: It’s feeding souls not filling holes. And we’re a Navy family, too!

  • Susan

    I understand needing to cut back. I prefer Monday and Thursday only because it’s nice to start the week reading a positive blog. However, if you choose other days, I will still visit your site. I enjoy your posts!

    • Liz K

      Thank you for weighing in, Susan! I know I will not be able to honor everyone’s preferences; if I did, I’d be blogging 7 days a week! I’m going to take a good hard look at my calendar and those of the others to see what will work best. Thank you for letting me know you will still be there! XO

  • Leslie Susan Clingan

    There is something to the fact that we prefer groupings of odd numbers of things. I have always heard that about groupings in home interiors. I tend to reach for a cardigan to make my third piece and to finish my outfit. I need to try to wear my blazers and jackets more often.

  • NATALIE

    Liz, I used to wear blazers often. Sometime while my son was growing-up I stopped. I’ve always loved blazers! I have found two chanel style blazers that are so me that I’m considering buying. Either these are two very feminine skirts, I’m not able to buy both and I’ve not decided yet!

  • NATALIE K

    Liz, Really? I won’t be able to do that first. I’ve decided with the heat not to order the blazers I love so much! I always love adding linen every year and with the sale I plan on picking up a few more pieces to combine with my linen wardrobe. I know what pieces of linen I own! You are so right! I am due for a wardrobe inventory. Once we have vaccines and I can see people my best friend is going to come over and do that with me. She physically helps me and keeps the ball rolling while I make the dicisions. She’s a waonderful friend!!

    • Liz K

      What a blessing to have that friend! You are a lucky woman, Natalie! Yes, unless you are going to end up naked for lack of clothes (Not usually a problem for us in the Western World!), I wouldn’t do anymore shopping until you’ve done an inventory of what you really have! An inventory is different than an edit! An inventory is really just that. Until you know what you have, it’s hard to determine what you really need. And shopping according to our actual needs is good stewardship of our gifts.

  • NATALIE K

    Liz, I must admit I have been doing a great deal of shopping during this lock down. When you say a inventory. Do you mean writing down every clothing and acessory item you own? That’s what my plan is so far. Or do you have something different in mind? Then when I put together outfits I decide what is missing. I do realize I will need to add more interesting pieces to complete outfits. I tend to buy classic pieces mostly.

    • Liz K

      If writing it all down works for you, then do so, Natalie! I find just grouping pieces together by category and then color within each category gives me a really clear view of what I have enough of, and what I need to round things out. Most people are surprised by the total number of items they own, and it’s a good exercise to come up with that number and see how it sits with you before doing any shopping. I usually set my clients on a shopping fast when we start working together, until we get very clear on what is and isn’t working for them, and what direction is best for them.

  • NATALIE k

    Liz, I had not thought of groupngs then colors, this would be easier. Thnak you for sharing!! My mind doesn’t tend to work this way. I’m afraid I may have too much to be honest. I realize a shopping fast is a really good suggestion for me. Honestly, I just haven’t been able to convience myself enough!! Thank you for your suggestions and encouragement!

    • Liz K

      Most of us DO have too much, Natalie! If you choose to fast, it’s a good idea to unsubscribe from all those store and sale emails that come in daily!

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