BUY LESS BUT BETTER: my french wardrobe fail

Buy less but buy better is like a mantra for minimalists. Sounds easy right? Let me tell you: it really is NOT. Think about what this means.  No more random trips to H&M or Zara, careful planning and a lot of self discipline. In this post I share how I keep failing at a french wardrobe (and some tips on what did work). 

Probably around one year ago I started to try and live by the minimalist wardrobe principle. The “French wardrobe” or “30 piece wardrobe” are both widely used to achieve this goal. Basically, you are allowed to buy a number of well planned, high quality basics and add some (5 in the french wardrobe) fashionable pieces per season for variation. The idea is that you stay true to your signature style, own less items but wear them more.


In order to achieve a French wardrobe, you need a signature style first. Into Mind gives a pretty awesome description on style on her blog. For me, my style was a bit eclectic (=a nice word for all over the place, let’s just say I liked to change it up). At the same time I owned a lot of variations on the same theme (babydaddy says I am obsessed with prints 👏). So I started developing moodboards, analyzing my most and least worn pieces and thinking about the fabrics I love to wear. I like to think my style is somewhat Parisian chic with that “je ne sais quoi” thing going on.



From these exercises I gained more insights into my wardrobe. Below some tips that worked for me.

  • Analyze your favourite fabrics/fits and stick to them 

Comfort is much higher on my list than I realised. I like comfy shoes that I can actually walk in and love to be wrapped up in soft fabrics. I pay much more attention to the quality of a garment now and the way the fabric feels on my skin.

  • Minimize your closet space

I only have 1 clothingrack which fits all my clothes of that season (and an extensive backup collection packed up in the attic). A simple rack gives you a much better overview of what you own & you end up wearing items a lot more. Added bonus: going to the attic is like entering your personal shop. You come across all kind of items you forgot existed in the first place.

  • Throw away stuff 

I really do own less items now. After a while I started throwing away items I never used or old harments I was keeping just-in-case (but in reality it never happens).

  • Wear only pieces you love 

My style has become more consistent and I love my wardrobe much more. Also, I really had a lot of great buys that I am still very happy with.


I stated before that I keep on failing at the French wardrobe system. I buy more than 5 items per season and I own much more than 30 pieces of basics. So what happened? Why do I keep failing?

  • 30 is just a number, it does not work for me

30 piece wardrobe/ french wardrobe is just not for me. It is damn near impossible to own just 4 pair of shoes. Cannot do it. And it takes a lot of time to plan. I need more than 30 pieces.

  • I still have too many impulse buys

I am a still a sucker for variations on the same theme. For example, I love sweaters: they are comfy yet stylish and I can also wear them to the gym or in bed. This makes me susceptible to impulse buys. And yes, there are still a lot of impulse buys (🙈big fail).

  • Investing also takes self discipline

I have invested in a couple of really good quality pieces. Unfortunately this line of reasoning (buy less but better usually means more expensive) seems to give me a reason to up the budget in general. Add the hormones and growing bump and you get a recipe for disaster.

  • Styling the same pieces different ways is hard

I am just not good at recreating outfits around a signature piece. I love buying signature pieces but styling them different ways does not come natural to me. Working on it…

Below 2 items I bought last month which illustrate my point. Love them, will wear them lots BUT I now own 4 leather jackets variations and 6 black dresses….(fail?).





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