The Rule Of 3 I'm Using To Define My Style In 2021

For the last year, I've spent a lot more time thinking about clothing than I have about fashion. The distinction is that I've been focused on the utility of what I wear, often at the expense of my personal style. I've accumulated enough sweatsuits to fill two drawers in my dresser, an accomplishment I wouldn't necessarily celebrate. But, as I try to enter 2021 with optimism and a renewed attention to my own wellbeing, I want to refocus on dressing for myself — by way of something I'm calling the fashion rule of three. I'm choosing three words that define my style and centering my shopping around those three categories.

Even the most staunch minimalists are not shoppers who can be easily defined by a single word. But, trying to find three areas that fit your range of style allows for more flexibility while still keeping things simple. It's a concept that's floated around the fashion industry for a few years, but after a year of feeling like my own creativity was stymied, such a straightforward formula seemed like the ideal way to reset.

In brainstorming the three defining words I came up with outdoorsy, fancy, and irreverent I'm an avid hiker who also has a thing for period films and quirky indie brands, so I think these fit the bill. I texted my best friend Amanda to make sure I was in the right ballpark. "I don’t know if I’m equipped to give good words because I don’t write about style but let me think," she quickly texted me back. "Granola, Victorian, sporty. Also somehow professional but I don't know what a good word is for that." It isn't a word for word cosign, but in my mind a fairly similar assessment.

So, ready to embark on my purposeful foray into shopping in the new year, I'm outlining what I'm eyeing in each of my proposed categories. In taking the time to circle back on exactly what makes fashion mine, my goal in the new year is to nurture my wardrobe (and self).

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Fashion Rule Of Three: Outdoorsy

While technical hiking gear isn't a reflection of my personal style (though I do love my Merrell x Outdoor Voices hiking boots), my love for sporty, nature-ready gear is a reflection of my Northern California upbringing. In my everyday wardrobe, it manifests in staples like Birkenstocks, technical outerwear, and of course, tie-dye.

Fashion Rule Of Three: Fancy

A childhood story my mom loves to bring up every holiday is the fact that I used to dress up every night for family dinner. I loved to arrive at the table in a velvet dress (and gloves apparently), and as an adult not much has changed. Despite my decidedly casual daywear, I love the opportunity to infuse a bit of fanciness into my wardrobe — something I want to reinvigorate in the new year.

Fashion Rule Of Three: Irreverent

The last word I'd use to encompass my style is irreverent, as I try not to take fashion too seriously and have fun playing with colors and prints. It's been a longstanding goal of mine to minimize my fashion purchases and instead focus on supporting small and emerging brands which I think also lends itself to curating a funkier collection of clothes and accessories.