November 2, 2011

Today's Everyday Fashion: The 5-Piece Rule






































Be still my nerdy little heart. There is something about this buttoned-up preppy look that I absolutely love! I know I do the pencil skirt/cardigan/belt look often, but here is why: the 5-piece rule. I have no idea how I came up with this idea, but essentially in my head an outfit is not complete unless there are five pieces. That can be shoes, cardigan, skirt, shirt and belt (like today's look) and a statement necklace or a fun purse would also count. I think outfits with less pieces are less visually appealing for some reason. (And is a huge reason why I end up wearing a belt most days, I need my fifth piece of flare!) Art is certainly not scientific and I'm sure I could find plenty of outfits with less than five pieces that are amazing (evening wear being a good example) but on most days I follow this rule when getting dressed. Tell me - do you ever count the number of items in your outfit?

Inspiration photo: Snapped with my phone at J. Crew
Sweater: LOFT, $20
Shirt: Limited, really old
Belt: Urban Outfitters, $20
Skirt: Limited, $38
Shoes: Restricted via Endless, $40
Purse: River Island, $60
Earrings: c/o Mikel Maia
watch: Michael Kors, family gift


1. Nordstrom pea green cardigan, $46.90
2. Banana Republic leopard belt, $49.50
3. Rugby striped shirt, $37.49

48 comments:

  1. I've never counted the number of items in my outfit before, but I'm sure i will now! The 5-piece rule actually sounds pretty legit. It certainly works well here--I love this look!!

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  2. I've never counted the number of items I wear either, but now that you put it in my head, I probably will, ha ha! This look is definitely one of my go to looks.  A preppy outfit makes my heart happy!  Heather

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  3. I don't ever 'count' my pieces, but I do feel like my outfit is not complete until my accessories are added! :)

    Erica
    www.theprettyfactor.blogspot.com

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  4. I don't have a 5 piece rule, but I do have a 3 color rule.  A primary color, a secondary color, and accent color.

    J, do you purchase your belts bigger and add a hole or two?

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  5. i have never even heard of this 5 piece rule but now that i think about it i always wear 2-3 pieces but if i had 5 my outfits would probably look more complete.. Thanks for sharing ;)

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  6. It is nice that you have a template to work with! I just attack my clothing blindly!
    http://work-it-blog.blogspot.com/

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  7. I love that you take pictures of the j.crew mannequins—I am SO very guilt of that!
    beautiful outfit! adding this to my inspiration file :)

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  8. i can honestly say i have never thought about the number of items i put on
    i know there are certain items i won't wear together like big necklace, big earrings, but i bet i will start to notice now!
    brett

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  9. Interesting! I never thought to count the pieces I'm wearing but I think I agree with you. I always feel like my outfit is "unfinished" if I'm just in a top and pants/skirt and shoes which is how I dressed for years.  I only discovered belting last year (gasp) but I'm addicted now LOL! And I wear at the very least one item of jewellery.  I feel incomplete without it!

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  10. I never thought about it that way. I do feel incomplete sometimes when I dont have enough "flare" on so going forward I'm going to try the 5 piece rule! Thanks J!!!

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  11. Joanna, I have TONS of pictures on my phone from J.Crew. Pretty funny!!

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  12. I like that idea Kelly! Very cool. I do like my belts to be pretty generous so that I can wear them anywhere on my body, not just my waist. I don't ever punch new holes though. If you watch this video, I show you how I move the prong over and create leverage so you don't need to do that! :-) http://www.jseverydayfashion.com/2010/11/video-how-to-belt-cardigan_12.html

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  13. I love it!  That cobalt skirt is amazing, especially paired with the cardigan and stripes!  Great outfit.

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  14. Love this look. So classic but relaxed. I have a 'formula' that requires layering. I don't feel complete unless I have a jacket, cardi, or other layering piece on. I belt most of my outfits but I also love to throw on a scarf as the 'pow' piece.

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  15. Yep.  I count 'em.  At least twice!  Gotta make sure all the different places I buy from get credit on my website!  I'm worried I might forget to list one!!!  That would be awful!  Luv your blog!

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  16. I never count the items in my outfit but it is a great idea. I love the green + blue + leopard :)

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  17. Great
    outfit! Today I happen to have on the same LOFT cardigan, a blue and green blouse, and a cobalt blue coat; though I must admit I am "challenged" when it comes to accessorizing :)

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  18. This is such a cute look!! I don't do the preppy look that often but I'm really loving how this looks! And the belt totally pulls it together! I've heard of certain retail stores having a 3-5 piece rule for their employees outfits and it makes sense- the details are where you get the flair! I myself don't count, but will often reach for that long necklace or scarf to complete the look!

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  19. Love that outfit for work!! I just found this awesome fashion blog you have to check out. This girl has fab outfits too!!

    http://cupcakesandcashmere.com/

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  20. Thank you!! :-) My blog was actually a response to that blog and many others. It's pretty, but I find it frustratingly unrealistic. The Prada shoes, the perfect photography... that's not real life, at least in my book. ;-)

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  21. love the look. I like to wear atleast 4 items in order to feel outfit is complete. actually I am wearing 5 things if u count accessories! :)

    xo Nav
    http://navlandstyle.blogspot.com/

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  22. I don't, but I do love acessorizing everything) I love big earrings, bracelets, necklaces, scarfs, belts - not too much, but just enough to make everything more interesting))

    http://tri-skelos.blogspot.com/

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  23. I totally agree. I tend to go for layers- for example i prefer a blouse with a cardigan then just a pullover sweater.

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  24. So cute- very much like the inspiration picture!

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  25. i was a "stylist" at Loft for a few months and we had an i believe 7 piece rule, maybe it was 9....headbands, scarves, shoes, earrings, watches, etc. they all counted as a piece. Loft also loves that looped belt look.

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  26. love that sweater and belt! you're so pretty, J! :)

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  27. I definitely have never counted my outfit items or checked to see that I'm accessorizing enough or that I'm wearing a primary color and a secondary color, etc....or any of the other (great) ideas that people have when it comes to their outfits. I just put on what I like and go! I think I dress pretty nice, but I am not that into accessorizing. Jewelry? Well, I always have to have my watch on and some earrings in. Don't need much else...even though I do occasionally wear a necklace or bracelet. I just don't feel the NEED to like so many others. I do need my handbag though. Definitely a purse person. I've never been into scarves, belts, or other such items.
    Anyway, I digress. I DO love reading your blog, and one of these days I am going to actually take you up on some of your suggestions! Ha! :-) Keep up the great work!

    http://health4lifekc.blogspot.com/

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  28. That is too funny! I have never been much into purses (made a resolution to work on that this year) but I could literally wear a new statement necklace with a t-shirt for the rest of my life and die a happy woman. I love them!!

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  29. Aw, thank you Paige! :-)

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  30. I definitely don't count my watch or delicate jewelry in the 5 - only if it's a big statement necklace do I count it! :-) 

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  31. This is so true. When I have great outfits thrown together, I always feel like something is missing. Thanks for inspiring me J :-)

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  32. Gah this is wonderful! Finally, a detailed explanation of my OCD-ness! I just don't feel "right" without a few things! Thanks for the laughs!

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  33. I just found your cute, stylish blog! So glad I ran across it! You are darling, and I love your looks! I'd love for you to stop by my style blog sometime and follow along!
    I'll be back :]
    xo.
    http://alwaysamrsforeverakidd.blogspot.com

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  34. I love it, J! Your commentary is too cute. I never thought about how many pieces the outfit has, but I have heard people tell me that when it comes to accessories/jewelry in the business world, you never want to go with more than 5 pieces, and earrings count as 2. But I agree with you, an outfit is not complete without a little flare!! :)

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  35. EVEN THOUGH Coco Chanel said, "In my life I have adopted certain style
    rules from a young age…I always take off at least one piece of jewelry
    before I leave the house…to ensure that I am not “overdoing” it"----( Source:  http://stilettostorytime.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/femininity-on-friday-the-gospel-according-to-coco-chanel-by-karen-karbo/ )----does anybody really DO that nowadays??!!   

    Although your method of styling accessorized outfits certainly isn't, (as you noted), a hard-and-fast rule, from A Fashion-Education Standpoint, it does, however, seem to make more SENSE, J ............ i.e., because you've simply provided a "better-defined numerical GUIDELINE" for those of *us* (haha!!) who are essentially fashion-challenged.    Thank you ............

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  36. Rosanna, was thinking about the jewelry rule today too - I never do that! If anything, I might add a piece! :-) 

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  37. Michelle, that's a great rule for the business world, I've never heard that before!

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  38. Thank you so much and welcome to the blog! :-)  I will definitely check it out!

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  39. The 5-piece rule is definitely a mild OCD symptom for me, lol! Too funny.

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  40. I never count. I'm horrible with wearing more than two pieces. I have no idea why! Love this outfit though!

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  41. I used your rule this morning and added a belt to my outfit...you are right, it really brought it together!
    Thanks!
    Michelle

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  42. so true!! But her outfits are  great for inspiration photos!

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  43. Thx for sharing

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  44. I LOVE adding the leopard to the preppy look - strikes such a great balance!

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  45. I love this color combination, so unexpected yet so chic!

    xo Teresa

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  46. Too funny! I have the Rule of 3- which is I must have 3 items of interest in the top half of my outfit. I guess when you count the bottom and shoes- I'm actually at 5 too! 
    I love the preppy look as well! 

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  47. First of all this looks is soooo cute - I love it!  I've been really into the "preppy look" recently...button-downs layered under cardigans + pullovers oh my!
    Second, the 5 piece rule?  Amazing!  I love it!  I've never actually thought about it before but it makes perfect sense - I love to layer and maybe this is why!  I will forever be counting the number of pieces I'm wearing in each outfit now :)
    http://somethingoldmeetssomethingnew.blogspot.com/

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  48. Love this! I just bought a cardigan on the cheap at Target in this same olive color, and it's wonderful! I paired mine with a striped top, because I'm obsessed with stripes, and a black belt. The nerdier the better!

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