As you might know, I've been doing this whole French-inspired, reduced wardrobe thing over the past couple of months. I thought I'd commit to an eight-week cycle of my edited deep winter wardrobe before allowing myself to pull in new pieces. While I have not been diligent in recording how often I wear pieces - and I have tried to wear most of them - it's become clear that I have a few favourites.
First: the rules of the game. I only allowed myself to dress from the pieces on my rolling rack. While a 10 item wardrobe (the original goal) sounded delightfully simple, I allowed myself more than 10 pieces because it became clear early on that I'm not a minimalist. My object was not to get rid of everything, but rather to wear everything I had and try to slay the want monster that emerges when it feels like I have nothing to wear. I wanted to determine what pieces I loved so I could reduce the size of my closet (I have two closets in my room, but I want to do a small reno at some point and give half that space to my daughter who is closet-deficient.) Quite a few winter things made their way to the giveaway pile as a result of this exercise.
I kept a mix of high and low-priced items: Ralph Lauren, Escada, Brooks Brothers, J Crew, Eric Bompard, Brora, Ferragamo, Citizens of Humanity, Hermes, CHRiST, H&M, Banana Republic, and Lord & Taylor.
Here is what I wore:
Navy boucle jacket, silk ruffled tank, jeans
Grey cashmere sweater, grey cashmere skirt
Grey cashmere jacket, black cashmere short-sleeve turtleneck
Camel cashmere sweater, camel skirt
Leopard cashmere sweater, leather croc embossed skirt (I wore this the least as I literally feel like a cougar in it!)
Black velvet jacket, silk top
Black cashmere Sabrina neck sweater, B&W mohair skirt
Navy and black tweed jacket
I also added basics that will stay with me year-round: a light grey merino wool v-neck sweater, a blush cashmere sweater, a classic white button-down shirt, a white tee, dark slim jeans, black pleather skinnies, and Modern Knit Slim Pants in black and charcoal. I also played with accessories.
The pieces I wore the most (at least once a week) were two black knit dresses. This surprised me as it's a new look for me. Also, I thought black knit might not be the wisest choice as I own a small, tan, shedding dog; at least the bulldog hair is french, I suppose…
I wore this washable wool Eileen Fisher dress a lot:
And this cashmere one from Banana Republic:
They are very comfy and I've been wearing them with a myriad of scarves and shawls.
I'm not totally bored with my wardrobe for once and, given that it's still deep winter here, I will have this same collection on the go for at least another month.
I had to break character slightly for the Jamaican dinner. I wore a silk tank with a light grey sweater and my grey cashmere Escada skirt. I was the least festively-dressed person at the party, but I take a Method approach to my art...
I also jumped the season a bit by sporting Fall 2014's pale blue when I had a routine medical test.
One of the keys, I found, to this whole look was to learn to wash cashmere well, as the dry cleaners and the delicate cycle are notoriously hard on it. I set up with a little cashmere washing station in my laundry area. The key is to have stacking drying racks, a cashmere brush and a gentle detergent.
I must say that this is a fun experiment. A couple of my friends are following suit. If all of the fast fashion retailers of Oakville go out of business, I humbly apologize!
How are you managing with your winter (or summer for those in the southern hemisphere) wardrobes? Did the fashion groundhog see his shadow for 6 more weeks of winter dressing or is it spring in your closet now?