The Third Piece? Not in This Heat. Here Are 5 Ways Two-Piece Dressing Can Still Look Polished.

We all know the rule of the Third Piece, right? If not, it’s the styling guideline Nordstrom used to give to their employees to put together, well, a put-together look. It has since been popularized by blogs, style guides, and stylists like myself. The rule is simple: add a third piece to finish your look and up your style game. That can be a jacket, blazer, vest, or cardigan. It can also be an accessory like a hat, statement necklace, scarf, or belt.

But, hello, when it’s a sweltering summer day in the DMV, you are certainly not going to layer or scarf up your look. So, how do you cultivate style in the spring and summer with two pieces? Here are some easy ways to up your style as the temperatures rise by wearing only two pieces.

Wild Thing

Adding an animal print shoe will always finish a look that is only two pieces. This leopard-print loafer is perfect for a non-layered, business casual look that is a long- or short-sleeve blouse with slim-fit ankle pants.

Griffin Loafer by Veronica Beard, available at The Shoe Hive


Tie It Up

Look for tie details in either tops or trousers. This can be a blouse that ties at the hip and finishes your two-piece look without a jacket. Or, it can be a high-rise paper bag waist trouser like this Veronica Beard pair. Wear with a simple t-shirt or collared shirt and heels and your look feels finished without a third piece.

Melika Pant by Veronica Beardavailable at The Hive



I have been talking about creating a “column of color” for a chic, polished look. A monochromatic look elongates the body line under a blazer, jacket, or cardigan. This works for two-piece dressing as well. Creating a one-color look mimics a dress or jumpsuit and automatically looks like a complete outfit.

Available at Kiskadee


All in the Details

You will think of blouses less as a base layer and more like a stand-alone. The tops that work best as stand-alone pieces have a shift-like shape, pleating or belting, or even details that mimic blazers like this double-breasted blouse.

Arlene Long-Sleeve Blouse, available at TSALT


Go Wide or Go Home

I did this last post on my love of the wide-leg cropped silhouette. I am loving it this season for two-piece dressing. The trouser makes such a statement that keeping it sans third piece and just with a simple blouse works so perfectly.

Cynthia 12.5″ Gaucho by Veronica Beardavailable at The Hive


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Founder, Chief Stylist | DC Style Factory
Rosana has 18 years of fashion and retail experience. Her team has worked on more than 1,500 closets and wardrobes since she launched DC Style Factory 10 years ago. She has been featured by the New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, Washingtonian Magazine, Northern Virginia Magazine, and more. Her clients include U.S. politicians, lobbyists, authors, lawyers, and corporate executives.

DC Style Factory is a personal shopping and styling service for men and women looking to add polish and individuality to their wardrobes. We believe personal style is for anyone who wants it — regardless of age, size or budget.

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