This 10-Second Fashion Trick Takes Every Outfit to the Next Level

You know those women who are preternaturally stylish? Who concoct outfits that you’d never think of, always look put-together and do so so effortlessly that you can only assume they came out of the womb mixing polka dots with stripes and Zara with Gucci?

Well, we know one of those women, so we had to ask: What’s your secret? Aside from an innate sense of style, she introduced us to the third-piece rule. Here’s the deal.

The idea is that every great ensemble has three main elements. If the basic necessities like your pants and a top qualify as the first and second element, the third element jazzes things up and makes the final look more interesting.

For example, if you’re wearing jeans and a white T-shirt, top it off with a blazer (like the gorgeous gal above). A statement bag, show-stopping earrings or a belt also add the best kind of something something.

So while we may never be able to wear a dress-over-jeans-ankle boots combination as flawlessly as our sartorially savvy pal, we can rest easy knowing all of our outfits just got a little more fashion-y—with minimal effort.

Everlane is all about too-good-to-be-true prices on amazing quality pieces. And their whole brand M.O. is based on radical transparency, so they disclose where their products are made and how much they would cost at a traditional retailer (which is often double Everlane’s prices). So it’s no surprise that they have a loyal following and new products tend to sell like hotcakes. Case in point: The ($75) Rain Boot, which already has more than 500 five-star reviews.

Designed like a traditional Chelsea boot with stretch panels, they’re easy to slip on and off (unlike clunky boots that require a bit of elbow grease). The grippy soles are essential for navigating slippery sidewalks, but it’s the cloud-like insole that’s basically unheard of in a rain boot. And while you’ve probably never referred to a pair of galoshes as “cozy,” this ankle-grazing pair was actually designed to be worn with thick socks (cozy indeed). At just $75 a pop (a solid $50 less than they would be at any other retailer), Everlane can barely keep them in stock. It’s no wonder everyone is catching on.

woman wearing cream wrap dress and black loafers

WHEN IN DOUBT, GO FANCIER

This one’s pretty simple, but it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you’re not sure whether everyone else will be wearing jeans or ball gowns, err on the side of dressy.

woman wearing fringe skirt and floral booties

TEST TRENDS WITH ACCESSORIES

You saw a supremely stylish woman rocking head-to-toe florals and you loved the look, but you’re wary to go all in. Test it out little by little (via boots, handbags or jewelry) before committing to actual clothing.

woman wearing black sweatshirt blue jeans and red caot

ALWAYS ADD A THIRD ELEMENT

Here’s the deal: If your pants and a top qualify as a first and second element, a third jazzes things up and makes the final look more interesting. For example, if you’re wearing jeans and a sweater, top it off with a fun coat, a statement bag or a pair of showstopping shoes. It’s a super-simple way to spice up a basic outfit.

woman wearing ponytail diamond earrings and sunglasses

NO ONE WILL KNOW YOUR DIAMOND STUDS ARE CUBIC ZIRCONIA

OK, if you can splurge on the real thing, go forth and sparkle. But it really isn’t the end of the world if your studs are—gasp—fake. Plus, on the off chance you lose one, you’ll feel a lot better if they cost 50 bucks as opposed to hundreds.

woman wearing midi skirt and black booties

PAIR FLATS WITH SHORT HEMLINES AND HEELS WITH ANYTHING LONGER

Not sure what shoes to wear with your skirts and dresses? Here’s our rule of thumb: Wear flats when the skirt hits above your knee, and heels with longer hemlines. You can, of course, make exceptions, but in general, these proportions will keep you looking polished without erring trashy (short skirt) or dowdy (long).