Wardrobe Principles According to Chanel

July 28, 2016
Whether you are aware of it or not Coco Chanel has had a huge influence on your wardrobe and style choices. To many she is the epitome of class, style, and taste. She had strong opinions about how a woman should and shouldn’t dress. I recently noticed an image on Pinterest (I’m not including the original image for copyright reasons) showing the 6 qualities of an ideal wardrobe according to Coco Chanel and started thinking about Chanel’s thoughts on style. The original source of the pin (Whowhatwear.com) doesn’t go into much depth on each of the principles so I thought I would add my thoughts on each here.

The 6 Principles of an ideal wardrobe according to Coco Chanel are:

  1. Black and White
  2. Good Shoes
  3. Plenty of Dresses
  4. Polish
  5. Simplicity
  6. Well-fitting Clothes

Black and White

“Woman think of all colors except the adsence of color. I had said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony”

This principle I have to agree with, a wardrobe made up of black and white basics means you will always have something to wear. However, you can’t always wear black and white so should be mixing in a few other colours to keep your wardrobe interesting (read my guide to adding colour to your capsule wardrobe)

Good Shoes

“A woman with good shoes is never ugly”

For me, the second principle really depends on how you define good shoes. Are you talking about practical comfortable shoes which work for your lifestyle as well as looking good? Or are we talking about those gorgeous shoes you struggle to walk in and give you blisters? Obviously, if it’s the former then count me in, however, I’m not sure I’m prepared to suffer because Chanel said so.

Plenty of Dresses

“Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress”

As someone with a capsule wardrobe, I’m aware that a good mix of separates creates so many more outfit combinations than lots of dresses. However, I do appreciate the simplicity and ease of throwing on a dress in the morning and definitely like to have a few in my wardrobe for those days I need a simple and quick outfit.


“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impecably and they remember the woman”

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness.”

I have mixed feelings about this principle, on the one hand, I completely agree that we should try to make an effort whenever we go out, and on the other hand I’m not going to get dressed up and put on make-up to go to Tesco. Yes, I think it’s important to look polished for work, or meeting up with friends as it shows respect. However, there is absolutely no need to get dressed up or make an effect for running errands or when you’re in the house.


“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”

This principle is something I can get behind, I love simple minimalist outfits. Keeping your outfit simple makes things easier for you in the morning and you know your outfit will always look good. Some people may find it a little boring but personally, I love simple, classic outfits.

Well Fitting Clothes

“Fashion is architecture: It is a matter of proportions”

As a petite woman, I get attest to the importance of well fitting clothes. If my clothes don’t fit right I can so easily end up looking like a little girl playing dress up in my mum’s wardrobe. It’s not just us petite women, everyone looks better when their clothes fit probably.

All of the quotes used in this post are from Coco Chanel herself.

What do you think of Chanel’s wardrobe principles? Do you agree with them or think they are a load of out-dated nonsense?




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