Monday, September 15, 2014

Wardrobe Got the Blahs? Let The Power of “3” Work Its Magic!

In the fall of 1998, a new television series aired about three pretty sisters in their mid-twenties who lived in a mansion in San Francisco.  Aside from their obvious good looks, cutting-edge fashion sense and the whole living-in-a-mansion thing, the Halliwell sisters seemed otherwise quite ordinary.  I mean, they had trouble finding and keeping jobs and boyfriends.  What young lady can’t relate to that?  In fact, they were anything but ordinary; in fact, they were the Charmed Ones, good witches who fought and vanquished evil every episode.  Each sister had special powers, but it was together that they and “The Power of ‘3’ ” were unbeatable.  By the following year, every teen-aged girl I knew had fallen under the spell of the Charmed Ones and The Power of “3.” 

The Halliwell sisters’ ability to triumph over evil is just an updated version of the mystical power of the number “3,” the modern incarnation of an all powerful holy trinity in designer duds who comes to the aid of man in his eternal struggle to keep the bad within him and around him at bay.  

But it may surprise you to know just how magical and powerful the number “3” is in the decidedly non-mystical world of our daily lives. 

The Great Pyramids of Giza

For example, take the ordinary geometric shape we know as the triangle.  Add two more sides, three all together, and we have the great pyramids of Egypt.  We’ve taken that flat, two-dimensional object and made it into a three-dimensional form, giving it shape, mass and movement. 

When it comes to the written word, where would we be without the love triangle, that time-honored literary device which adds depth, complexity and conflict to any love story. 

10:30 du Soir en Eté (10:30 P.M. Summer) (1966) de Jules Dassin
Romy Schneider, Melina Mercouri and Peter Finch
And certainly all of French cinema would collapse without France’s sophisticated version of the love triangle, the ménage à trois, in which hubby decides to go on vacation with wife and mistress and kids, and they spend endless hours sitting around drinking wine, smoking fat little cigarettes and being utterly blasé about the whole thing.  It’s pretty hard to get more sophisticated than that!

Aside from the books we read and the movies we see, the number “3” works its magic in our every-day lives through color – in the world around us, in our homes, and in what we wear. 

Your grandmother may have called it bottle green and your mother may call it hunter green, but that deep shade of green, a secondary hue, is the offspring of the union of two primary colors:  blue and yellow.  Indeed every hue, whether secondary or tertiary, tinted, toasted, washed or neutral, can trace its parentage back to the “3” primary colors:  red, blue and yellow. 

Like the Charmed Ones, interior decorators and fashion consultants regularly use the magic of color and texture to vanquish the blahs and to breathe new life into tired living rooms and boring wardrobes by calling upon the Power of ”3”.  So, if your wardrobe has the blahs here are some easy ways to get the Power of “3” to work its magic for you. 

Desigual Scarf Available on Etsy

Polychromatic color schemes contain a minimum of “3” colors and are found in prints, plaids and tweeds.  If you opt for a polychromatic print in a skirt or a blouse, look for one where the dominant or background color is a warm hue, such as a deep terra cotta or apricot.  The eye needs a pleasing focal point upon which to rest when confronted with an array of colors.  While a polychromatic dress is usually a bit much, a polychromatic scarf can be a beautiful accent to a neutral color scheme. 

Polychromatic color schemes are used to great effect in the theater, where your aim is to dazzle the eye for a brief period of time.  Over time, however, the riot of colors has a fatiguing effect on the eye and, if you are giving a speech or presentation or even talking to colleagues at work, you will find that your listeners will start to look away and their attention to wander.  So, although it may be a great way to attract attention, it’s not a great way to hold it. 


Monochromatic is the opposite of polychromatic.  Here you are putting together an entire outfit using one color.  By using a vertical column of color, you are creating a longer, leaner silhouette, something I recommend to all my clients who want to look a little taller and a little thinner, and who wouldn’t want to look taller and thinner???  Sound a little boring?  Absolutely not. 

Let’s take that brown wool suit you only wear to the office.   

Now, change the blouse for a chocolate silk cami, add a mocha leather jacket and chunky beaded necklace in shades of brown and dark pewter, and it is no longer just a boring brown suit.  You’re still monochromatic, but you have now added “3” levels of texture to make the outfit pop:  silk, leather and shiny beads. 

The Power of “3”

Vanquishing your wardrobe blahs is as easy as 1, 2, 3.  All you need is an inspiration piece from which you can pull “3” colors that will take your outfit from two-dimensional flat to three-dimensional fabulous.  And here’s the best part….the colors you choose don’t actually have to BE in your inspiration piece.  As long as you add colors from the same color palette, everything will come together beautifully. 

Cabi Collection
Take this adorable top with a ruffled, asymmetrical neckline in warm peach and floating gingko flowers.  Using this as my inspiration piece, I’m going to create an outfit using “3” colors from the warm, autumn side of the color palette – just perfect for the season.  I’ll start with brown as my dominant color and then add touches of orange and red; and, I may just surprise you by pairing this print top with a print skirt and print scarf.  Trust me, it will all work. 

Eh voilà! 

Mixing Prints and the Colors of Autumn

So, the next time you put an outfit together, think about the Power of “3.”  You never know where a colorful dash of je ne sais quoi will take you in life.  Although, if you should find yourself sitting around a table with your husband and his mistress drinking wine and smoking short, fat little cigarettes, I would suggest you be very blasé about the whole thing and discreetly drop your fat little cigarette into her glass of Beaujolais when no one is looking.  Now that’s a dash of je ne sais quoi!


  1. Replies
    1. I agree, Kathy. Just my autumn colors. Thanks for stopping by.


  2. loved the "power of 3" examples + numbers fascinate me + great post.

    1. I have always been rubbish at math, but love the concept of numbers, as well, especially the number "3."

      Thanks for stopping by, Peggy.


  3. Dearest Marie-Thérès,
    That was like reading an entire magazine... I've always loved the monochromatic style but I guess a lot of people have yet to learn what works slimming and lengthening for them.
    Sending you hugs,

    1. Dearest Mariette, I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. Yes, the monochromatic style has great charm and can be very interesting if done properly.

      Hugs to you, too,

  4. Great lesson on the power of three! I'm a monochromatic lover from way back...and it's never boring. Fabulous outfit...the jacket is stunning. It's all gorgeous. You are one veryv talented lady. xoJennifer

    1. Awwww shucks, mam! I do my best. We'll talk soon.

      xoxo, M-T


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