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Rule of Three for snazzy fashion

There is a YouTube video getting attention lately from people who may not be typical social media users — people like me.

The topic is “capsule wardrobes,” defined as “a streamlined approach to shopping and dressing that focuses on maximizing a limited number of items of highly wearable essentials that work together.”

Lately the reoccurring focus has been on something called the “Rule of Three.” I have long aspired to that rule , although not necessarily applied to what I wear.

The best YouTube fashion advice is “work with the same three colors so you can mix and match them more efficiently and effectively.”

At first exposure, I thought my closet full of loose and comfortable black, white and gray clothing items would be ideal, but the rule states black and white are neutral colors and not even in play. Uff-dah.

According to well-dressed writers at the NY Times, the ideally arrayed person considers dressing in 60% primary colors (red, yellow, blue), 30% secondary colors (orange, purple, green), and 10% neutral colors. That noted, the red, yellow and blue paisley-patterned rubber boots I wore when I took the dog out in the rain this morning combined with my navy-colored rain jacket and the bright purple scarf I tied around my neck might be a good beginning. Who knew?

Another rule of three states, “One example of anything is a fluke, two is a coincidence and three is a trend.” If I am going to set any neighborhood dog-walking trends, I will need to wear that combination every day this week.

But the rule of three has more important application. “Three is the magic number” (“Jailhouse Rock,” 1973). “It is the smallest number to create a pattern, and patterns are how humans process information.“ Public speakers who are the easiest to listen to say things like, “I have three points to make.” And then they make them.

Memorable statements such as, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.” (Sir Winston Churchill, 1942) or “Duty, Honor, Country” (General Douglas MacArthur, 1962) adhere to the rule of three.

In mathematics, the rule of three has to do with solving linear problems in which three variables are known and the fourth is not (ax+by+cz=r). Uff-dah — yet again.

If you pay attention. you see the rule of three everywhere. In religion (“Father, Son and Holy Ghost”), in public safety (“Stop, Look and Listen”), in public safety (“Stop, Look and Listen”), in sandwich-making (“Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato”)

My long-held use of the rule applies to health and aging. If your son says, “Dad seems to be having some new memory issues lately.” Later a distant friend, after a lengthy telephone conversation echoes that same observation, and the following week a neighbor does as well, I encourage you to take note. Three different people from three different vantage points come to the same conclusion. Is there a problem possible, i.e. a trend? Attention required.

Sharon Johnson is a retired health educator. Reach her at sharjohn99@gmail.com.