The Funky 8 Piece Wardrobe

When you start reading about capsule and minimal wardrobes, sooner or later you will come across the so called "French 5 Pieces Wardrobe". And it's not what you might initially think. It just means that, starting from your base wardrobe, you are only allowed to add 5 new and/or trendy pieces "per fashion season". Which amounts to 10 per year if you don't count "Resort" and "Pre-Fall" as fashion seasons.

At first, that sounds truly drastic, doesn't it? 10 new pieces per year only? Yikes, there have been months where I went over that mark. But then you read on and see that it actually excludes a lot of items. For example, replacements. Or essential basics that are part of the core of your wardrobe. Which you get to define what they are.

Then I think one must also take into account where one lives and ones lifestyle. The satorial needs of someone who lives in an area where temperatures on average vary only by 10 degrees C° are different than those of someone who lives in a region where you see everything from +40 C° down to -5 C° (and very rarely even more). Likewise, some lifestyles and jobs require bigger range of clothing.

I want to train myself to become a more mindful and conscious shopper, buy quality over quantity and stick to the minimal wardrobe concept where everything I own is a winner. So I've been thinking about rules & conditions to apply something like this to my personal wardrobe/shopping for the rest of the year. An experiment on top of the experiment. After all, it doesn't make much sense to whittle down, define and refine just to fill it up again.

This is what I came up with:


  • No new items from the "Not Shopping" List, only replacements are allowed (in some cases). If I buy new without it being a replacement, it'll of course count towards the X items, no matter the price or function. Basically 1 in, 1 out.
  • Basics can be replaced. For me that would be simple, monocolor t-shirts, long sleeves, tank tops. Underwear. Socks. Skinny Jeans. A good button down. Simple Sweaters. However, I will try my best to actually not do it because I have quite a stash.
  • 12 Items for the full year. Since I've already bought 4 major items in January & February, that leaves me with 8.
  • Anything that comes via cooperation, or is gifted, doesn't count towards my total.

"Not Shopping" List 2016

Items on this list I preferably do not want to buy new at all in 2016, even if some of them are basics for me, because I own more than enough already. The difference between the two lists lies exactly there. The amount already owned in the category.

  • socks - I apparently have a serious fancy socks addiction
  • decorative cosmetics - going to try and use up some stuff first, but I will replace my basics, like black mascara, if necessary
  • tank tops - yeah I have a gazillion of these as well
  • bags - I am happy with my bag collection, I just need to start rotating them more.
  • shoes - I am pretty happy with my shoe collection as well. there's only one thing I put on my wishlist

Shopping List 2016

Items from this list are those that would definitely go towards the X-items count, as I don't need them, but at the same time they are things I would want to have more of because...well because.

  • High waisted pants - I would like another pair, but it would count
  • Graphic t-shirts - my kryptonite, yep
  • otherwise fancy tops - I don't need them, but if a really nice one comes along ... hmmm
  • dresses - after several rounds of purging, I am left with few
  • the perfect for me black skirt
  • jewelry - if it's a special piece, not random cheap thrills
  • platform shoes - 1 pair of platform sandals

I realize it sounds really drastic to only buy 8 (12) new pieces per year, but when you think about it, it's not so bad. If I avoid spending my budget on tons of small stuff that in reality I don't need or won't fully appreciate and use, then I can go for the big, the good stuff with the pieces I do end up buying. Because that's really what it is. Allocating the same budget in a different way. I could even end up saving money, but honestly that's not the main goal here.

Besides wanting to put my money towards good, quality, longterm pieces I want to start allocating my style budget towards "fashion" that is either locally made, or produced eco-friendly/sustainable, or fair trade. I've started scouting for some brands & shops that could be good fits for me.

Now, I don't think it'll be easy. Temptation lurks everywhere. Guess I better keep myself busy with lots of things. That way I won't even notice them so much. I've already unsubscribed from all shopping newsletters, including my favorite high street stores. No sales announcements, No "Free Shipping" to lure me in. I'll be living in a blissfull bubble of not knowing. Still I'll appreciate good luck wishes.

Have you ever heard of the "5 Piece French Wardrobe"? (The name still puzzles and amazes me by the way). Would you try something like this?

Let me know in the comments.

Read up on the 5 Piece French Wardrobe:

Who What Wear - How to Create a 5 Piece French Wardrobe
Brit & Co - 5 Piece French Wardrobe Game Changing Detox

And read here about the modified edition for 2017