Whether you love or hate the fashion world’s obsession with everything Français, you have to admit that French style is somewhat fascinating. Combine that with the trend of reducing your closet, and you’ve got one compelling concept: the five-piece French wardrobe. Although the movement gained a lot of traction in 2014, we thought we’d revisit the concept, as it feels especially current in the time of capsule and uniform wardrobes—and because we thought you may find this interesting.
The guidelines are fairly simple: First, make sure you have quality basics across all categories of apparel and eliminate clothing from your wardrobe that you don’t wear, love, and love to wear. Buy new basics to fill any gaps, and remember quality over quantity. Second, limit your new purchases to five nonbasic items per season (once in spring/summer and once in fall/winter) that add a bit of personality and make your wardrobe feel current and fresh.
If you’re wondering why it’s called a French wardrobe, from what we could gather, the idea originated from a “French Style” thread on The Fashion Spot that discusses how the French wardrobe philosophy focuses on the concept of curating the direction of your wardrobe.
As for its life-changing promises, the five-piece French wardrobe is said to help you cultivate a wardrobe that feels true to your aesthetic and stand the test of passing fads and seasons. The result is less money spent on items you don’t really need, less frustrating time spent trying to figure out what to wear, and a newfound feeling of deep satisfaction with your wardrobe.
Below is a list of basics that’s popular on Pinterest (AJ Wears Clothes is behind one of the most-shared ones) to help guide your five-piece French wardrobe endeavor. We found we might add or take away some things from this list, and you might too! Consider it a jumping-off point for finding what’s right for your wardrobe. As for what counts as a basic, the blogger behind AfterDrk listed out these helpful guidelines:
A basic is something that…
1. I can wear over and over and over again until it falls apart.
2. Goes with everything I already own.
3. I pretty much can’t live without it.
4. Is the glue that helps me keep the rest of my wardrobe together.
5. Is made of a good material that will last for a very long time.
Go on to shop every item you’ll need to complete the five-piece French wardrobe.
After you have your closet narrowed down to essential basics, thoughtfully consider which five pieces you want to add to your closet each season. Below is what we would buy for this season.
This post was published at an earlier date and has been updated.