R is for Rules: The 5 Pieces Rule

Fashion ought to be fun and ought not have too many rules. At the same time, considering that we only wear 10 to 20% of our wardrobes, we do waste a lot of money buying clothes. A few rules can make shopping less stressful and dressing more fun.

Most women like new clothes. Even if we buy from thrift and consignment shops or trade with friends, clothing that is new to us makes us happy. And most of us either:

  • Avoid shopping until we have an event or realize our clothing is falling apart.


  • Shop and buy all the time, have a closet stuffed with clothes, but still feel we have nothing to wear; we still shop for events.

Certainly, it’s necessary to clean out the clothing we can’t or won’t wear. But nature abhors a vacuum and so do we. It’s usually much better to gradually transition a wardrobe. Most of us own a few favourite pieces but they often don’t work together or seem to be nothing special. The “5 Pieces Rule” is a great way to take favourite pieces and create a special, cohesive wardrobe.

Let’s say you work in an office or spend some time in a setting where office wear is appropriate (church, PTA, volunteer work). Let’s say you also want to look nice on casual occasions (kid’s birthday parties, shopping, movies). Finally, let’s assume you own a great black pencil skirt, a favourite pleated brown skirt, and a pair of comfy jeans.

r fo rules- black skirtr fo rules brown skirt r fo rules comfy jeans

And, let’s say you own a nice white shirt and a pink, v-neck tee.

 r fo rules white Shirt (1)r fo rules pink tee (1)

The “5 Piece Rule” involves intentionally shopping for one piece that works with at least five pieces you already own. If you find nothing that works with at least five pieces, then buy nothing (Zip! Nada! Zilch!) and keep looking. (IT helps to shop with a friend who will hold you accountable.)

In this case, a jacket or cardigan would transform these plain individual pieces into stylish outfits that would work for a variety of occasions. It would be wise to wear the pink t-shirt when shopping to make it easier to find shades that harmonize. For now, I’d focus on pink as the colour that would tie everything together. The jacket or cardigan must work also with both black and brown. And, why not try something a bit more interesting with these five, tried-and-true, solid pieces?

First, take a look at the brown skirt. It’s a caramel colour which works with black. Black heels or flats would work beautifully with this skirt as would any jacket that works with black. (Sometimes our dilemmas are easily solved.) But, even if you’d only wear the caramel skirt with brown shoes, there are still plenty of options that would work with all five pieces. Such as these three choices:

r fo rules pink cardi (1)r fo rules pink cardi-jacket (1)r fo rules pink striped jacket

Both the long, belted cardigan and the striped jacket do the same thing. The pink tee becomes one of several shades of pink. The solid pink cardigan, on the other hand, is a paler version of the tee but it’s intricate design adds interest and texture. Any of these would go to work or give a casual look polish. They would make the tee work-worthy and tie all five pieces together.

If we begin with things that are already favourites and shop to enhance those pieces, in a surprisingly short period of time we will reach the point when removing the things we will never wear again will be easy.

Stay tuned for more “5 Pieces Rule” suggestions.

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