The French Wardrobe

I like the idea of the French wardrobe. The idea being that you have a very select, carefully pruned wardrobe of only great pieces that you wear all the time and update it only every season with anywhere from two to five pieces.

I was given a “A Guide To Elegance” by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux for a birthday once. The book claims to be “for every woman who wants to be well and properly dressed on all occasions” and it is a tad outdated. Nevertheless, it is one of my most cherish tomes. It holds a place of honor on the back of my toilet along with my favorite copy of Elle Decor. You laugh but really, you spend more time there than you think.

This is what Ms. Dariaux has to say on Quantity:

One of the most striking differences between a well-dressed American woman and a well-dressed Parisienne is the size of their respective wardrobes. The American would probably be astonished by the very limited number of garments hanging in the Frenchwoman’s closet, but she would also be bound to observe that each one of excellent quality, expensive perhaps by American standards, and perfectly adapted to the life the Frenchwoman leads. She wears them over and over again, discarding them only when they are worn or outmoded, and she considers it a compliment (as it is meant to be) when her best friend says, ‘I’m so glad you decided to wear your red dress – I’ve always loved it!’.

I am holding myself to purchasing three to five things a season. That is four seasons for you which means at most, twenty pieces to add to my wardrobe. Twenty pieces might seem a lot but believe me, I can find twenty thing I am in love with in a given shopping trip and in a single store.

So far, for my spring/summer wardrobe, I have bought:

 a aqua Jackie cardigan because one can never have too many sweaters and my husband and my mother have pointed out that I have as many black cardigan as most women have underwear.

Frances striped tuxedo shirt because The Crew has this up every year and I never buy it because the price is just crazy. I mean $90 a shirt? So I bought during the Spring sale with free shipping and an additional 20% off.

A tailored pencil skirt for no other reason than because I frequently find myself thinking, I could really use a denim skirt. Most however, I find either too casual or cutesy. I like this one. As you can see, The Crew and I have a long standing relationship.

However, I still have to get a dress (I acquire one every year to add to my collection. Some girls prefer shoes, some prefer bags, I prefer dresses. I live in them during the summer and spring.

A couple of shoes would also be awesome. I might be going over my shopping quota this season. Hmmm…

So what is your fashion shopping philosophy?

Do you buy with abandon? Do you sit down and list what you need? (I have a friend who does this by the way. On the back of her bedroom door are lists: clothes to buy, movies to watch, books to read. I am a fan of this although I have not done it because I am afraid my list would be unbearably long) Do you buy everything in quantities like Cory does? (On the rare occasion he goes to the mall, he finds a polo he likes and buys it in eight different colors and calls it a day).



3 comments on “The French Wardrobe

  1. Stacy Marie says:

    Ohhh Jackie cardigans! I have 4 and I LOVE THEM. I Dryel them to keep them looking nice for a long time. Ryan does the same thing with Polos…lately he’s been going to Express when their Modern Fit button downs are on sale for $20 and buys 3-4.

  2. Kirsty says:

    Sounds like a great philosophy!

    I like to keep my eye out for interesting pieces, I do not usually shop with a list though… unless I am desperate for something specific.

    I have started trying to buy clothes that are locally made, that is a good way to stop impulse buys!

    In saying that I think that lists are good, and when I go to Melbourne for shopping I usually have a list of things that I would like to buy!
    (Melbourne = lots of funky local designers)

  3. Jenny says:

    In recent years, probably due to being broke, I have bought almost all my clothes from thrift stores. Almost everything I buy is $3 or less. I have found $180 designer jeans for $3. Several times.

    Surprisingly, I have really upgraded the quality of my clothes by shopping at thrift stores. This year I have been trying to get rid of the clothes that I no longer wear, don’t love, and are no longer “me.” I will never get down to a truly minimal level, but I do want to continue being careful in my choices and buy high quality, yet inexpensive, thrift store finds. I like that idea of the French wardrobe. (And I love that the book place of honor is on the back of your toilet. Hilarious.)

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