A French Twist on Mini Living

Mom_and_Me_BagWhen in NYC last week, I was talking with my eminently fashionable friend Brigitte. We were chatting about the fact that her Brooklyn apartment has no less than four closets – virtually unheard of in NYC’s housing market.

But apart from a small amount of gloating (completely justified), we were actually talking more about how if we’d down-size our wardrobe, we wouldn’t need the extra closet space. Which, in typical girl fashion, led to a discussion of the “French way of dressing.”

Quality over Quantity

French dressing (not the salad version), is that you buy only a few, very high quality pieces to wear.

The upside is that you always look completely fabulous. The downside is that you get less variety (and for us Americans, this is tough since we like our options super-sized.)

I like this idea not only because it eliminates the extraneous, but it also puts less of an emphasis on the garment and more on the woman.

For instance, a woman never wants to hear the compliment: “Your make up looks gorgeous.” Which really means: 

  1. A) You’re wearing too much makeup
  2. B) You’re seeing the makeup and not the woman

Clothes as the Frame, not the Picture

I think the same should be true of clothes. You don’t necessarily want people to comment on your fabulous clothing. What you really want is for them to think you’re a chic, attractive woman. The clothes are framing you, not up-staging you.

Spankin_Purple_ShoesI like it! And I’m going to do it! I’m going to become French! Oui Oui!

By Nov. 1, I’m giving away all my clothes and only keeping my new tres chic wardrobe consisting of these 25 classic pieces (plus a bonus piece in each category – you know, just because):

Wardrobe Base of 25: This is a wardrobe for a professional woman, read: business meetings, but also no suits.

This is also a wardrobe from someone who lives in San Francisco, with more or less the same chilly weather year-round.  I also like to wear dresses. *This list also doesn’t include athletic wear.

  1. 1. Dress Jeans (to wear with heels)
  2. 2. Casual Jeans (to wear with flats)
  3. 3. Black Tailored Pants
  4. 4. Casual Pants (I guess these are my orange parachute pants – God, haven’t I gotten my money out of these yet?!)
  5. 5. White Casual Pants
  6. 6. Ruffled Jean Skirt
  7. 7. Black Pencil Skirt
  8. 8. Black Sheath Dress
  9. 9. Aubergine Sheath Dress
  10. 10. Diane Von Furstenberg Wrap Dress (I have two – very tough decision here)
  11. 11. Black Wrap Dress
  12. 12. Grey T-shirt Dress
  13. 13. Black Long-sleeve Sweater
  14. 14. Patterned Asymmetrical Sweater (I got this is Stockholm – fabulous!)
  15. 15. Multicolored Long Sweater (From Spain – love it!)
  16. 16. Black Wrap Sweater
  17. 17. Beautiful Colored Cardigan (Current one looking a little old, might need to upgrade)
  18. 18. Jewel-toned Long-Sleeved Blouse
  19. 19. White Long-Sleeved Blouse
  20. 20. Long-sleeve Silk Tee (I might need 2 of these, ‘cause really they’re so small!)
  21. 21. Short-sleeve Black Blouse
  22. 22. Short-sleeve Patterned Blouse (I don’t love this though, might need to be replaced)
  23. 23. Sleeveless Silk Blouse (patterned)
  24. 24. Green Dressy Top
  25. 25. Multicolored Tunic
  26. *Bonus Item: Printed African Sheath Dress – from Kenya, so fabulous!

5 Outer Garments:

  1. 1. Casual Camo Military Jacket 
  2. 2. Leather Bomber Jacket
  3. 3. Reversible Angora Wrap (got it in Ecuador and it’s beautiful)
  4. 4. Trench Coat (mine is grey silver sheen with a bubble bottom and high collar)
  5. 5. Off-white Vintage Wool Winter Coat with Fur Collar (given to me by Brigitte!)
  6. *Bonus Item:  Long Black Tailored Coat (I got this is Buenos Aires and love it!)

5 Pairs of Footwear: I’m only 5’2”, so I wear heels most of the time. Or go barefoot.

  1. 1. Black Boots
  2. 2. Dress Heels – Grey
  3. 3. Casual Heels – Tan
  4. 4. Casual Espadrille
  5. 5. Flats (purple sequined with bows – so Wizard of Oz)
  6. *Bonus Item: Multicolored Short Boots (Hand-made from Spain)

5 Purses / Bags:  Obviously, I am officially over my purse fetish.

  1. 1. Faux-Snake Clutch
  2. 2. Sequined Dress Clutch
  3. 3. Red Over-the-body Bag (from Morocco)
  4. 4. Black Leather Computer Bag with Ruffles and Gold Studs   :o )
  5. 5. Anya Hindmarch Summer Bag with Silk Screen pic of Mom and me
  6. *Bonus Item: Extra Large Satchel with Gold Lock (so big, it makes one look Mary Kate Olson skinny)

French Retreat

Also in typical French style (hahahahahah!).

Ok, you have to pardon the little joke at our French friends’ expense. I’m in a little shock after creating the above list.

5 on the Fence:  I’m not sure I wear these enough to justify, but I really, really like them…

  1. 1. Black Leather Trench from the 1970s (worn by Mom)
  2. 2. Dress Black Pumps (from Sweden – I mean really!)
  3. 3. Red Linen Dress
  4. 4. Black Quilted Vest (I love vests!)
  5. 5. Checkered Western Shirt  (I just got this Jackson Hole)

 I’m going to try really hard to do it and will report back via Twitter in mid-November to let you know how the new French me is faring.  Viva la France!

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This entry was posted on Saturday, September 11th, 2010 and is filed under Shopping & Fashion.

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