The three word method approach to style and why it works

31st July, 2023

There’s a question I’m often asked whenever I do interviews about my style, and it’s usually what words I’d use to describe the way I dress. My answers: classic, relaxed and feminine. These three words essentially sum up the way I like my outfits to look and it’s something that carries through whether I’m dressing for an event or I’m popping out to do the school run. It acts as a great anchor for me whenever I’m trying to decided on what I’m going to wear.

Having given the topic much thought over the years, I’m not surprised that stylist Allison Bornstein’s three word method (side note: her other style philosophy the wrong shoe theory is also really popular/clever) which essentially asks people to choose three words that would sum up their style and how they like to dress has taken off so spectacularly. I think the main reason why it has resonated so much is that it acts as a clear, concise reminder about your style. It’s so easy to go off on tangents and get caught up in the latest trends, but for true stress-free dressing you need to know what your style actually is and summing it up in three words is a particularly great way to do this.

So, how do you narrow your style down to three key words? Bornstein’s approach is an all encompassing one that looks at your style and what you gravitate towards as a whole. She suggests looking at what’s in your closet and summing up the vibe of everything in there. Is it classic? Is it vibrant? Also, look at the people whose style resonates with you and ask yourself why that is? What is it about their style collectively that speaks to you? Next, how does your wardrobe make you feel? Often your outfits speak a certain word whenever you wear them and that could be one of your three words.

I’m a huge fan of this approach as it’s simple, plus it acts as a guide when wading through my wardrobe but also the seemingly endless array of options out there when I’m shopping. It helps to encourage a more sustainable approach to buying as having a few words to remind me of what my style is helps me to be a little more discerning with my picks.

Tell me—would you try this method?

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