The Plus-3 Fashion Rule Will Change the Way You Dress Forever

Some of the best outfits follow this quick formula.

Person with a blue shirt, red neck scarf, white pants, and purse
Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images

There have been plenty of mornings where I've examined my outfit in the mirror, only to realize it's missing ... something. More often than not, the solution involves swapping out my shoes or adding a few key accessories. Still, I've definitely gone overboard at times, adding one too many extras, causing me to wonder: is there a trick that ensures you'll always find that happy medium?

Looking at street style images, I discovered there was, indeed, a popular yet subtle fashion formula, which I've since named the 'Plus-3 Rule.' Unlike other hacks out there that count the exact number of pieces to add to your look, this one focuses only on the statement-making additions (accessories, shoes, and layers) that take your outfit to a whole new level.

For example, let's say you're wearing a basic black dress and simple black slides. Alone, that combo might seem unexciting. However, with the Plus-3 Rule, you could add a shiny pendant necklace, a belt, and a floppy hat — three pieces that would all be eye-catching on their own. Alternatively, you might trade out your slides, which otherwise blend in with your outfit, and wear red heels instead. In place of the belt and hat, a fuzzy cardigan and a silk scarf would have a similar, fashion-forward effect.

The way I describe the method in my head is 'Bam, bam, bam,' noting the three pieces that my eyes gravitate to first. But, it's best to explain it through photos. Ahead, take a look at some outfits that incorporate the Plus-3 Rule.

Jacket + Drop Earrings + Silver Boots

Person with a long black dress, leather jacket, silver boots, drop earrings, and sunglasses
Streetstyleograph/Getty Images

We already know that blazers have the power to transform a look, and in this case, the gold earrings really stand out against the dark colors. Black boots would have been the more predictable route, but instead, this street-style savant opted for a metallic pair, providing that third and final statement.

With this rule, I also ignore the pieces that don't necessarily make or break the outfit. So, even though the bag and glasses are a nice touch, without them, it would still be just as fun.

Bandana + Chain Necklace + Hoops

Person with a cropped white shirt, head bandana, and ripped jeans
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

Without accessories, this look is essentially a white button-down, jeans, and sneakers — a tried and true classic. It's the three accessories that really turn it into something playful and modern.

Earrings + Scarf + Colorful Bag

Person wearing earrings, a scarf belt and a bright green bag, demonstrating the Plus-3 Fashion Rule
Raimonda Kulikauskiene/Getty Images

Normally, I wouldn't include a bag in this rule — it's possible you won't be carrying it all day long, after all — but the green design does lend a fun splash of color. Meanwhile, the scarf worn as a belt creates a unique twist. The third 'bam' in this case are the earrings, which add the final, dainty touch.

Beret + Chain Necklace + Blue Platforms

Person wearing a beret, oversized white shirt, yellow shirts, crossbody, and blue sandals
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Despite the fact that this outfit includes more than three accessories, these are the pieces that immediately command your attention and pack a punch. Plus, the blue shoes make it all the more special.

Glasses + Earrings + Red Sandals

Person with a long olive green dress, sunglasses, black handbag, and red sandals
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

For me, it's always tricky to accessorize on warm days — less tends to be more, especially when you're trying to stay cool — but, a few small additions, like clear glasses (which can be worn indoors), a bold earring, and a colorful shoe, makes all the difference.

Orange Jacket + Necklace + Blue Slides

Person wearing a hijab, gold necklace, orange jacket, blue shirt and sandals, and black maxi skirt
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

It's the colorful and shiny pieces that really wowed this time around, spicing up the basic t-shirt and skirt combo.

Blazer + Pendant Necklace + Chunky Sandals

Person wearing a blush pink blazer, wide-legged ankle jeans, t-shirt, and blue sandals
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Although these glasses really pop, once they come off indoors, the key pieces of this ensemble will be the necklace, the shoes, and the light pink blazer.

Necklaces + Earrings + Vest

Person wearing layered necklaces, cropped black vest, nude shirt, and trousers
Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images

The layered necklaces act as a single, attention-grabbing piece, so I'm counting them as one item. Plus, without the large earrings and the vest, the outfit would be rather simple.

Hat + Necklace + Socks

Person wearing a wide-brim camel-colored hat, shorts, Y-necklace, white shirt, socks, and sneakers
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

Here, it's about what you would notice from far away. The hat, of course, stands out, and the Y-necklace provides a nice contrast against the white shirt. The final detail is the ankle socks, which quickly change up the look and give it a modern spin.

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