I’m come across the 5 piece French Wardrobe a few times (normally during a pinning session – follow me on Pinterest here), but never really given the concept much thought until now. As I said on Monday I want to relax my capsule wardrobe a little but still keep control on my spending and the 5 piece French wardrobe seems like an ideal solution.
What is The 5 Piece French Wardrobe?
Before you panic it’s not a wardrobe of only 5 pieces. Instead, it’s a wardrobe of high-quality basics, which allows you to purchase 5 statement or extra pieces each season. For this wardrobe, there are only 2 seasons a year, spring/summer and autumn/winter so you can purchase a total of 10 new pieces a year. Apparently this is what French women do, and is why they are so stylish (obviously not all French women but some).
Why a 5 Piece French Wardrobe?
Other than wanting to become a stylish French woman, there are a few reasons why I think this could be a good alternative to capsule wardrobes.
- Like capsule wardrobes, you have a minimal wardrobe which you can switch out each season. But unlike capsule wardrobes, you can shop throughout the season. This is perfect for those who want a minimal wardrobe but still want to make a couple of purchases.
- Unlike capsule wardrobes, the 5 piece French wardrobe doesn’t have a set number of pieces or a timetable to follow.
- You can take your time to find your perfect pieces. You can plan out your purchases and identify the items which will work for you and your wardrobe.
- Can ease the transition to a more ethical wardrobe, by purchasing 5 ethical and sustainable pieces each season you will slowly build an ethical wardrobe.
- The process focuses on building a long-term wardrobe rather than following trends
- The wardrobe has a strong foundation of quality basics, meaning you can always put an outfit together.
How to get started?
Starting a 5 piece French wardrobe is a relatively simple process (depending on the state of your current wardrobe).
- Clear out your current wardrobe. Like all wardrobe changes, you should start by having a good clear out, read my tips for clearing out your wardrobe. If you are transitioning from a capsule wardrobe you may be able to skip this step.
- Put together your foundation of quality basics. What you choose to have will depend on your current lifestyle and style. There is no set number of basics but the idea is to create a minimal wardrobe. I would suggest limiting it to a max of 50 pieces (remember this is a 6 month season instead of 3 months), but if you can live with less go for it. Read my tips on identifying your personal style and you can read my tips for creating a capsule wardrobe here (the advice also applies to your basic pieces).
- Now you can start planning your 5 statement pieces you want to add to your wardrobe. Unlike a capsule wardrobe, this can be purchased throughout the season so take your time to make sure you get the perfect pieces for you and your wardrobe. Remember this is about building a high-quality wardrobe so avoid fast fashion and focus on purchasing quality, ethical and sustainable pieces for your wardrobe
It wouldn’t be a wardrobe challenge without a few rules, would it? The 5 piece French wardrobe is one of the most flexible wardrobe challenges out there, but it does have a couple of rules about shopping
- Basics don’t count (they can always be replaced)
- Accessories don’t count (unless they cost more than usual – so that designer bag counts)
- Socks and Underwear don’t count (they can always be replaced)
- Shoes Count
- Everything Else Counts