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The Five Piece French Wardrobe // New Year Wardrobe Challenge



pharmacist. wife. mother.
mixmaster of new & vintage + luxe & low.
FASHION is her drug of choice.




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style of sam

// chanel jacket last seen here //

style of sam

// aquazurra sandals available here and here //

style of sam

// isabel marant flana jacket worn here //

style of sam

// chanel earrings worn here //

style of sam

// celine bag worn here, available here and here //

Last year, I mentioned the Five Piece French Wardrobe on the blog and to some of my friends.  It’s a practice where one purchases only 5 quality pieces per season (adding up to 10 pieces annually).  There are different rules and interpretations, but most agree that basics (such as undergarments, tees, workout clothing, etc.) do not count towards the five.

After the little one came into our lives, I was OVERWHELMED… not just by baby but by everything – home, CLOSET, work, blog, hygiene.  You name it, I could barely do it!  And I felt the real need to SIMPLIFY.  One night, I was looking on tpf (the purse forum) during a middle of the night feeding and saw a post about the ‘oneish a month club’ where they mentioned the five piece french wardrobe.  I was sold in a second.

I DID find five items for last season {pictured above} but then Isabel Marant pour H&M happened and those 5 pieces added up to… I don’t know… lots more.  MAJOR FAIL.  By the way, the Lanvin for H&M foiled my last clothing diet about 4 years ago.  Touché H&M, touché.

I’m not willing to give up so fast so I’m trying again this season!  I’ll let you know how it goes.  It keeps me accountable if I have it in writing instead of mentioning in passing to a couple of people.


On another late night feeding, I saw a tpf post about a wardrobe challenge for the new year originating from this blog.  Answering these questions should help me stick to resolve with the five pieces for this season.

ONE  Write a short review of your style and the progress you made in 2013.  How did your style, lifestyle and aesthetic preferences evolve?

In 2013, there were a lot of major life changes.  After the little one arrived, I started working less.  Most of my wardrobe was unused – I have a huge mix of work and “casual” clothes in my closet.  I like many different styles but was drawn towards super girly and glam outfits with major over accessorizing.  Baby S’s arrival made me realize the luxury of having as much time as needed to get ready.  But now I need fast, simple, and chic because I usually have 15 minutes max.  If I can get girly and glam in 15 minutes then I’m all for that, but lately I’ve drawn to more “masculine” outfits.  Go figure.

TWO  Write about one or two paragraphs about your style and wardrobe plans for 2014.  Which aspects about your style and your wardrobe do you want to improve, why and how?

SIMPLIFY.  That is my motto this year.  I recently did a closet purge but my wardrobe is still busting at the seams… very frustrating.  I will continue to edit my closet until I have a great capsule wardrobe – possibly for two different lifestyles, work and play.  I’m not sure if I should approach it logically i.e. Only 25% of my time is spent at work so 25% of my wardrobe should be work clothing and the majority for casual/baby/other.  I still like many different styles, but I would like to walk into my closet and be able to “breathe” instead of having anxiety with all the excess in there.

THREE  Express your five most important goals in a short, motivating sentence each and then start sketching out how you want to achieve or implement them.

1 // SIMPLIFY my life and closet.  Stick to the five pieces per season.  Possibly try the one in-one out method.  I’ve never been good at that but Mr. S does it.  Curate my closet at least four times a year (instead of my usual biannual purge).

2 // DECIDE ON A STYLE THAT FITS MY LIFE.  I have a gorgeous collection of blazers/suits that are underutilized.  They don’t fit my current lifestyle yet I tend to “collect” them because they are beautiful.  Start using each piece separately and no addition suits!!  Seriously, I haven’t needed suits for my job since before pharmacy school and I started in 2000!

3 // CONTINUE TO UTILIZE ACCESSORIES.  They are very versatile and totally change an outfit.  With Baby S, I haven’t been able to wear my accessories as often but that will change as he gets older.  Additionally, I have an large collection and need to decide what gets used regularly and then edit out the rest.

4 // NO MORE OR LESS FAST FASHION. THINK COST-PER-WEAR.  I have a hard time paying full price for an item that I really want, but then I’ll purchase multiple sale/ inexpensive items “that were cute” but not needed.  I could have purchased that ONE ITEM instead.  I love H&M, Forever 21, etc. but I want to stop the fast fashion.  My basic tees and tanks are from Target, and it’s hard for me to spend a lot on those kind of items because I do “run through” them rather quickly.  Is there a better alternative?  Probably.  I just need to find it.  Also, I have a solid wardrobe foundation, so anything additional needs to be extra special versus my usual “It was on super sale so I HAD TO GET IT”!

5 // PERFECT FIT OR ALTER QUICKLY.  I can always see the “potential” in things whether it’s a new or vintage, chipped, stained, etc. item.  The problem is that these “projects” quickly accumulate in my closet.  I just went to the tailor with YEARS worth of clothing that “I’ve been meaning to get to” FOREVER!!  I don’t have time or space for that anymore.  An item needs to be perfect or alteration services need to be available immediately from now on.


Have you heard of the FIVE PIECE FRENCH WARDROBE??  Do you have any new wardrobe resolutions for this year?  Please share – I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!  {Yes, I am aware that it is now FEBRUARY, but I’m just a little behind on things!}

Read the Comments +

  1. kimberlyloc says:

    Hi Sam! I haven’t heard of the Five Piece French Wardrobe, but I AM a huge fan of Into-Mind. I have been devouring minimalist / conscientious style blogs lately. Here’s a few more you may adore:

    I’m becoming pickier about my clothing choices, but I’m right there with you when it comes to the lure of fast fashion and being used to paying $10 for a basic T at Target. The cost-per-wear thing really helps put it in perspective, because as easy as it is to buy a “throwaway” item for $10 and wear it / wash it three time before it falls apart, if we just buy the $40 T that’s actually 100% cotton and stitched well, it will last way longer!

    I have an easier time indulging in staples like expensive shoes and bags, knowing that I’m making an investment in good leather, comfortable (or, OK, c’mon, sexy!) feet and a craftsmanship that is difficult to replicate. Based on what I see you investing in, I’d say you get it — and I love that you find things at thrift/vintage/consignment or at Last Call. No need to pay full price!

    I think defining your personal style is an evolution and once we get past trends and see what looks good on our own bodies, the colors that flatter our complexions and the types of clothes we gravitate toward on a daily basis, it will become easier. I’m thankful for these minimalist blogs (in the sea of trendy, beautiful fashion blogs out there) that help me remember to dress for ME and not for a camera. :)

    /rant over

    P.S. Looking forward to seeing more of your investment pieces throughout the year! :) xoxo

    • Sam says:


      Thanks for the other conscientious blogs! Actually, I used to read Dead Fleurette (before she merged with grayzine) when I had more time to read blogs regularly. Now it’s kind of hit or miss with everything! :/

      But I’m hoping to get to a good place with my wardrobe and trying these exercises point me in the right direction… even if I stumble sometimes.

      And totally LOVED your rant. Sometimes, it really is SO MUCH with all the trendy, beautiful fashion blogs. It’s good to just reset, remember who I am, and that I don’t need a new something every minute (because it’s really in our faces all the time)!

    • Sam says:

      I just discovered two more blogs on minimalistic closet! Don’t know if you’ve already heard of them! I’m excited to really change my wardrobe lifestyle!

      • kimberlyloc says:

        Sam! We are totally on the same wavelength. I spotted Wide Eyed Legless online last night and immediately followed her IG account … it’s so pretty! Gonna dive in soon :) I will take a look at Cuyana, too …. this is gonna be fun! Thanks doll :)

  2. Jane says:

    Lovely fives. I’ve heard of it, but I try not to adhere to anything with concrete numbers when it comes to me and a wardrobe these days. I recently got through cleaning out my closet, so I don’t have much to add there other than I can relate. My goals of late regarding the wardrobe is just to be comfortable and be presentable.
    BTW, congrats on the new baby. I still remember those days, the lack of sleep is definitely hard, but it is so worth it. My babies are now toddlers, and I definitely miss the baby days ;)
    Jane recently posted…Books: Thoughtless trilogy by S. C. StephensMy Profile

    • Sam says:

      Hi Jane! Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts! I really like that – comfy and presentable probably should have been #1 but I think the lack of sleep has been clouding my judgement! LOL!

      And regarding the little one, we can’t believe how quickly time is flying by. He is now 6 months old! Recently, he’s gotten sick from daycare but as soon as he is done with his antibiotics, then I am going to start with the veggies/fruits. Hopefully, he’ll start sleeping longer through the night! And maybe momma can get more sleep!

  3. Mica says:

    Oh you bought 5 GREAT pieces! :)

    I’m desperately trying to downsize my wardrobe too – needing to turn my handbag and overflow wardrobe room into a nursery is the main driver. It’s tricky as so much will be changing this year, I want to be sure I’m considering all the options before I let things go. Slowing my spending is definitely one thing I’ve started to do immediately to help! :)
    Mica recently posted…Pink Blush Maternity Dress, Marc Jacobs Fran | Casual Friday Oscar’s Law Tee, Striped Maxi Skirt, Bal VeloMy Profile

    • Sam says:

      That’s REALLY GREAT motivation!! I know what you mean… I have a lot of handbags that I don’t use as often but it’s very hard with me to part with them. But all they do is take up space right now (currently in the nursery closet). Lucky for me, I still have a little more time before he needs his closet!

      But I think slowing the spending is a very realistic and DOABLE alternative!

      • Mica says:

        Yep, slowing the spending is where I’m focusing on at least. That and trying to find a way to magically shrink handbags down smaller so I can store them all in one box…haha!

  4. I have always wanted to try this but can never bring myself to do it because I know I’ll be unsuccessful, ha ha…too addicted to shopping. I think all of your goals are perfect and are what I strive to do as well :)
    Closet Fashionista recently posted…{new in} ShopaholicMy Profile

    • Sam says:

      I KNOW what you mean, but I always still try… hoping that something will change! THIS TIME, I really don’t have time to physically shop because of the little one (but internet shopping is still very dangerous)!!

  5. Maci says:

    Yea! I’m so inspired. Speaking of behind, I won’t be able to think about these questions until after I send out my Christmas, uh I mean New Year, uh I mean Valntine’a day cards (I do have the pics printed btw). But what GOOD questions. I so ditto the luxury of time issue, it’s been a long time lost! I usually have to pick hair or a touch of makeup if either. Rarely both! So quick, easy to grab and wear clothes and accessories are key! Thank you for your posts Sam. They are my guilty pleasures. PS- I love French stuff!

    • Sam says:

      Oh Maci! I had the same idea about the cards but DON’T have them printed!! :/ And me too – it’s usually hair OR makeup! So I’ll have a made up face with a rat’s nest on my head! LOL!

      Miss you Maci! <3

  6. Oh so happy to see Kimberly commenting here, big fan of hers…and yours now too! Just happened on your blog by chance whilst desperately trying to weed out more gals following the french wardrobe that have goodness to honest personal style. Many of the bloggers out there are in fact huge fans of Target or big box stores and it hurts my eyes to see them formulating minimalist wardrobes on such low quality. But I agree with Mica, your capsule pieces are nothing short of drool-inducing my dear! Love it. And its truly inspiring to see such stylish women like you embracing methods like this for their wardrobe. Their is hope yet :)

    Seconding all of you and Kimberly’s links and adding my own if you’re interested in my take:

    I started it because even as a fashion stylist I needed a reset and fashion blogs are sometimes no more than a hanger with a price tag, its a crazy form of selling themselves and we can so easily get caught up. Every girl needs a good reinvention, and the context of minimalism makes you laser focused.

    New fan! Heading to your archives :)
    Letitia- The Fashion Editor recently posted…introducing the “lean wardrobe” for 5 piece french wardrobe buildersMy Profile

    • Sam says:

      Yes!!! Kimberly is great!! Thanks for sharing your link too! I’ll have to check it out!

      You are right- we all need a reset. It’s so easy to get “caught up” in this blogging world. And I think really considering pieces is a great thing. Even though I purged my closet of a lot of things, I still do have mainstay items from the big box stores (like tees). I’ll keep them until they wear out and then replace with a higher quality item.

      Again, thanks for stopping by! I’ll be saying hello to you soon! xx

  7. […] that Ter et Bantine dress just divine?!  It’s one that I am considering as one of my FIVE PIECES.  It reminds me of a vintage Dior dress made with modern fabric.  The cut is so simple and the […]

  8. […] basics to amazing designer pieces.  I know, I know… I’m trying to be good with my Five Pieces!  But I’m always happy to find a great consignment […]

  9. […] this isn’t the FIRST piece that I acquired this season, but it is the first that I wanted to show y’all.  Yes, it IS a […]

  10. […] with that bright pink DVF dress and the perfectly perforated leather dress!  {Those are part of my Five Pieces.}  What do you expect?!  You KNOW I cannot resist Last […]

  11. […] mind at the last minute.  I know what you’re thinking…”Hey Sam, what about your five pieces?  This top is new!”  I ALSO have a confession post coming up!  Nerves got the best of […]

  12. […] the little one.}  My willpower gave out to nerves, and I added more things to my closet than the FIVE PIECES for the season.  This is what I wore for The Outnet’s 5th Birthday Party to close the […]

  13. […] this is what I’m calling PIECE TWO of the Five Pieces for the season.  I got this fab leather dress and a gorgeous pink DVF number during my Last Call […]

  14. […] 2018, I’m making a choice to do more intentional shopping. I’ve failed the Five Piece French Wardrobe too many times so I’m not even going there. I really loved trying it with the eco-friendly […]

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