Never buy something unless you can think of at least three ways to wear it.
Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. It’s alright to buy a standout piece every now and then even if you won’t be able to wear it very many places or with very many articles of clothing. I’m just saying that when you’re deciding on a garment you should be mindful of how useful the addition to your closet will be.
You should use this advice as a rule of thumb when shopping for workwear for three reasons:
- The money you spend on a garment will be worth it because of the wear you get out of it.
Who wants to spend $60 on a blouse you can only wear with one pair of pants? We all have a shirt or a blazer or a pair of pants we can only wear one way.
I’m obsessed with a beautiful white jacket I bought last year… sadly, though, I’ve worn it only once. Why? It’s got giant, mid-length, frilly sleeves that won’t fit inside a coat, so I can’t wear it when it’s cold outside. The jacket is kind of an awkward length, so I can’t wear it with any bottoms that are low or mid-rise. It has a high, round neckline, which limits the kind of shirts I can wear with it.
It’s frustrating seeing this chic jacket hanging in my closet because I want to wear it so badly. Unfortunately, I just don’t have very many garments to pair with it or occasions where it’d be appropriate. If I’d spent more time figuring out what I’d be able to wear with it, I might’ve reconsidered my purchase. Instead, I swiped my card and went home giddy about the cute jacket I had in my shopping bag.
- You’ll expand your outfit options quickly by adding choices you can mix and match.
Purchasing a garment you can wear at least three ways rapidly multiplies the number of outfit options you have.
For example, in the photo below, I’m wearing a black shirt with white windowpane print and a white collar. I prefer to wear the shirt tucked in and it’s long enough to wear with low- and mid-rise pants and high-waist ones. The print isn’t distracting, but it adds just enough spark and interest to an outfit; I can wear it with all black without my outfit being bland and I can wear it with a pop of color without my outfit being overwhelming. I can wear the shirt with slacks or a skirt to work or I can pair it with jeans on the weekend.
There are far more than three ways I can wear this shirt, so, not only do I feel like my money was well spent on this article of clothing, this shirt allows me to wear a lot more of the clothing in my closet since it matches with so many items.
- It just makes sense.
These things can limit the amount of ways you can wear a garment:
- An odd length
- A strange neckline
- Hard to match patterns or colors
- Permanent accessories (like a necklace) that are attached to the garment
Try using this rule next time you go shopping and see how it works for you and your closet!
Pictured below: blazer (H&M), shirt (The Limited, old), pants (H&M), shoes (BCBG Max Azria), jewelry (Forever21).