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The simple outfit formula that fashion stylists swear by

Olivia Lidbury,
Fashion Editor

We share the secret to getting dressed, ensuring your outfit always looks covetable, original and has just the right amount of flair

As easy as 1-2-3

Say hello to ‘3 steps to style’: a way of getting dressed that is a stylist’s best-kept secret (until now!) and is all about celebrating your own aesthetic rather than a one-outfit-suits-all approach. “It’s about breaking down a look into three elements: your basics, an accent and a finishing touch,” explains Jo Bennett, Partner & Head of Buying, Womenswear.

“It’s about breaking down a look into three elements”

Jo Bennett Partner & head of buying, womenswear

Effortless dressing

“It’s just a really simple way of looking pulled together and a bit more styled, without being too considered,” echoes stylist and writer Alexandra Fullerton, whose first book, How to Dress: Secret Styling Tips from a Fashion Insider, is out now. The formula is deceptively simple, but the outcome really effective: all it involves is picking a basic piece, adding an item with interest, then finishing off with a final accent. So with a classic Breton top, a pair of bold trousers would act as a hero piece and a colourful handbag would provide the final flourish.

“I’m a big fan of a statement necklace”

Sian Clarke Partner & Personal Stylist

Make a statement

Sian Clarke, Partner & Personal Stylist, has always instinctively dressed like this. “I’m a big fan of a statement necklace with a sweatshirt and bright trousers,” she says. “Or I’ll match my earrings to my shoes. For anyone who gets stressed or overwhelmed when putting an outfit together, it’s a really easy guide.”

Indeed, it’s a savvy tip that Fullerton employs both when creating looks for herself and when styling shoots. “I dress quite minimalistically, so I always think about what that other extra piece is that I could add into my outfit to make me look a little more up-to-date.”

What’s more, it’s a really clever way of getting extra mileage out your clothes. “They say that you wear 20 per cent of your wardrobe, 80 per cent of the time,” says Fullerton. “You do just go back to the same things that you know work, but if you can break out of your outfit rut by adding one other little element in then you can take one piece in many different directions.”

“You can take one piece in many different directions”

Alexandra Fullerton Stylist and writer

something old, something new…

Fullerton’s “ultimate starting point” is jeans and a white tee – she suggests experimenting with a buckled belt for a “preppy look”, or a plaid shirt layered on top for a “grungy look”. Clarke suggests a turtleneck sweater with a colourful skirt and an oversize necklace. The possibilities are endless. The best thing about this styling trick is that you don’t need to hunt down a completely new outfit: experiment with the pieces you already own, or add in just one new piece to totally transform your look.