Harness The 'Sandwich Dressing Rule' To Create A Balanced Statement Look

Balance is an important part of many aspects of life. For example, when putting together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you wouldn't stack a piece of bread on top of another piece of bread and spread your peanut butter and jelly across the bottom of the second slice. The double-stacked bread with nothing in between would not taste (or look) right. 

If you remade your sandwich properly, with the peanut butter and jelly inside the two slices of bread, it would be much better.  In fashion, the same principle applies — aptly titled the sandwich dressing rule or simply just the sandwich rule. With this rule, you coordinate your outfits so the top and bottom elements match in color and/or proportion. The middle element is different, providing some visual interest while keeping the overall look effortlessly balanced. 

Stylist Lydia Tomlinson posted a video on her Instagram account breaking down the sandwich dressing rule with visuals to explain how it works. She modeled various outfits that both did and did not adhere to the rule for viewers to get an idea of how they can implement it in their own lives. The following examples should inspire you to try your hand at building a metaphorical sandwich with your wardrobe too.

An outfit sandwich for winter

This sandwich dressing example from Tomlinson shows how the rule can work with color. If you would like to recreate this look, choose a white jacket and a matching pair of white sneakers — a fuzzy white jacket like hers is great for colder days, in particular. For the middle element, choose a pair of dark pants. Tomlinson decided on a baggy, dark gray pair as the middle of her sandwich. You can also incorporate both colors in your accessories — for example, with a white or gray purse, scarf, or headband. The result will be an aesthetically pleasing outfit sandwich.

Plaid is rad

You can also create an outfit sandwich that works for both color and weight. Choose a shirt that is tight and can be tucked into your pants. Then, find pants that are a bit flowy and flared at the bottom. Be sure that the colors are not the same. For example, pair a white shirt with plaid pants (or pants in your pattern of choice). To finish off the outfit sandwich, slip on a pair of shoes that is the same color as your top. Be sure the shoes complement the outfit well. If your top is white, don't wear black platform boots.

Stylish symmetry

A bright pop of color that can contrast with neutral hues is a great middle to an outfit sandwich. Pick a pair of pants in a fun color, such as the dark pink and high-waisted pants in the above example. For the "bread" of the outfit, choose a simple black shirt and matching shoes. If you want to wear a shirt that is slightly more cropped, opt for strappy sandals or heels so the top and bottom elements match in proportion as well as color.

The sporty sandwich

The sandwich dressing rule is not just for going out. You can easily incorporate the principles of an outfit sandwich for a workout, whether at home or at the gym. Similar to the previous example, choose a statement piece for your sandwich's middle — such as dark green joggers. Then, utilize lighter colors for the pullover and shoes. Or, if you would like, you can invert the outfit sandwich by wearing a colorful shirt and shoes with joggers in a more neutral hue or complementary shade.

Accessorize your sandwich

The sandwich dressing rule can work for colors and textiles alike. When putting together your outfit, pick a jacket and boots that are both leather (or even natural vegan leather, if you're trying to be more conscious). Wear a plain black shirt under the jacket and choose a pair of pants in another color and fabric. The difference between the look of the leather elements and the pants will make the outfit very symmetrical and cohesive. The addition of a black leather purse would be a nice touch, too — perhaps such an accessory is the equivalent of a pickle spear in the sandwich rule metaphor?