February 2016 archive

The Third Piece

“Picture it,” I say in my best Sophia of the Golden Girls voice, “it’s 1994 again and you’re shopping at the Buckle.  You’ve saved up from that awful waitressing job to buy another pair of Lucky brand jeans and a flannel to wear with your Doc Martins.”

Or maybe it was yesterday.

Nothing against anyone who shops at the Buckle, they do have cute clothes.  It will just forever be tainted in my mind as the store of my youth (and I was a youth in 1994!).  I can’t bring myself to shop there.

But today’s post isn’t about the Buckle or brand name jeans, it’s about something that I remember everyone saying over and over again at the Buckle at the time.  “Layers, layers, layers.”

So what was “layers” in 1994 is now what I’ve heard referred to as “the third piece.”  Have you heard about this?  I can’t remember where I first read about it but here’s the gist- to make an outfit visually interesting it needs a third piece.  So it has to be beyond just a top and pants or skirt.  Think about that for a  minute.  Look over the pins in your Pinterest board for fashion.  What makes them special?  Generally, it’s the third piece.

Now, in the wintertime, the third piece is pretty easy.  And no, I’m not counting your coat, although it does add some dimension.  Most of the day you’re not in your coat.  During winter we bundle up in scarves, furry vests and cardigans.

But in the summer the third piece has to be a little more creative.  Some ideas for a third piece in the summer are a lightweight vest, a statement jewelry piece, a lightweight long sleeve button up, a statement belt and if it’s not too warm, a blazer.

I hope this is just a little incentive to make your every day outfits say more about who you are than just a plain old shirt and pants.  While it might not be the “layers” of yesterday, the third piece still adds a bit of something extra to make your outfit special.

I dare you to add in that third piece!

Here are some great “third piece” ideas from one of my favorite midwest fashion bloggers I turn to for inspiration! (She’s so adorable.)

Black and white prints for work chic!:

Black and white prints for work chic!

This is a great work outfit look featuring a cute little cropped blazer from Chic Street Style.  Note the bag and sunglasses are part of this look.

For more information on this look, you can visit her blog at:


Here’s one of my favorite fall looks-

Cute rainy day style:

Cute rainy day style

I’m pretty sure I own a version of that scarf.  That’s really the third piece here but don’t forget that bag with fabulous boots!

Here’s the link to that look- http://chicstreetstyle.me/rainy-day-wiww/

And lastly, here’s that allusive summer look that she does so well-

Casual summer attire - love those crochet shorts!

Casual summer attire

That thin little top is a great third piece and covering her arms makes her legs the attention getter!  So cute and just a little bit gypsy for those who are, like me, obsessed with that look.

Again, here is the link to read more about that outfit-


Thank you so much Brenna for letting me feature you!


Online Shopping Tips

Don’t you hate it when you get something in the mail that you ordered online and it doesn’t fit right?  Or it just isn’t what it appeared to be?  I am no expert at making purchases online.  But I do have a few tricks that I am giving away so our online purchases will make us delighted instead of frustrated.  Below you’ll find my secrets for finding better fits for clothing purchased online, without trying it on.  Because most of us can’t tell how something is going to fit our body on the hanger.

My face when I get the mail. :)

My face when I get the mail. 🙂

Woman Being Shocked By Amazon.com Delivery by franky242 via freedigitalphotos.net

5)  Look carefully at how the clothes fit the model. Duh, right?  But I think what I’m trying to say here is to look CAREFULLY.  Here’s some examples.

One of my pet peeves is where shoulder seams hit.  There’s a trend right now to have shoulder seams hit about mid-bicep.  This isn’t what I’m referring to (although you should probably note that, if that’s not the look you’re going for).  I’m talking about if the shoulder seam sits right at the top of the shoulder or if it hits slightly off.  For me, having them hit slightly off makes my already broad shoulders appear much broader.  Lots of cheap clothing isn’t tailored well and one thing I look for first.

See how this shirt’s shoulder seams are past the end of her shoulders.  This is a great look for ladies who need to broaden their shoulders but a terrible look for those of us with muscular shoulders.  🙂  That small little shirring at the shoulder (did you notice that?  if not, you didn’t look close enough!) is also going to make my shoulders look even bigger!

Thumbnail Image of Color Swatch 0473 Image of Gingham Henley Tunic

Loft Gingham Henley

Do you see how this one is better?  The shoulder seams are just a bit higher, hitting more on the start of the shoulder blade?

Primary Image of Utility Blouse

Loft Utility Blouse

Other examples are-  is the shirt fitted all the way down or does it fall away from the body?  Pants are very difficult to buy without trying on but pay attention to what KIND of pant you’re looking for.  If you have a curvy body, straight fits might not work well on you.

The best advice I can give you here is this- if it doesn’t fit the model well, stay away!  There’s no hope for the piece if it doesn’t fit the “desirable” body type!

4) That leads me into the next part of shopping online.  Pay attention to the description and check out all the photos.  Again, if skinny jeans aren’t your favorite, then don’t be looking at pants that are described as skinny!  Or body skimming.  Or fitted through the leg.  Most good clothing companies are going to give you all the important details of the piece in the description.  If you don’t want back flap pockets then you better be reading the description. Another big tip, never buy a pant online without seeing the backview.  If there’s no back view picture, forget it.  WALK AWAY.  How can you tell if the pockets hit high or low?  (If you’ve forgotten, never buy jeans with high, small back pockets!) So what I’m saying here, if there isn’t a good description, be weary.  Like buying a swimsuit that says shelf bra in top.  Do you need cups?  Do you need shaping?  If you can’t see more, you might end up with a trainer bra that wouldn’t have worked for you in junior high!

I’m just going to make a big generalization here, but I find it true.  The cheaper the piece, the less description there will be!  If they are leaving out important details like the fabric or there’s only a front shot, keep in mind there might be some surprises when you get it in the mail.

3)  Know your body.  This one goes for shopping anywhere.  Do you have a long torso?  Do you have long legs?  A small waist?  Or broad shoulders?  A big bust?  Some of these things need to be taken into consideration.  A bigger hipped lady needs a curvy fit.  If you have long legs, you might need a tall length.  A big bust, be careful that the button top you’re eyeing will close over the girls.  The more you know about your body, the easier it is to narrow down what will work on you and what won’t.

2)  Again, I’m telling you a picture is worth a thousand words.  Look very carefully at the picture. Zoom in.  Do you know the differences between fabrics?  Is this garment 100% cotton, be careful that it might shrink.  Does it have more than 2% spandex, it might fit more like workout gear.  Does the fabric wrinkling strangely?  Does it lay right?  How about the color.  Don’t go by what it looks like on your phone.  Check on your computer if color is an issue.  Here’s another big tip- what’s the coloring of the model who’s wearing the piece?  Is she blonde and fair?  Or olive skinned and brunette?  That

1)  Read reviews, especially on swimwear and shoes.  Do they fit true to size or are they running narrow?  Are some girls complaining about the torso length?  If you’re buying boots, remember the calf width.  Some fabulous boots won’t go over my thicker legs.

Clearly there are no guarantees.  But with these tips, hopefully you’ll get better at the shot in the dark buying clothing online can be.  I say, practice makes perfect.  😉