Monday, April 22, 2013

Wabi-Sabi Living: the Ten-Item Wardrobe

All things wabi-sabi have been floating through my brain these days.  Ideas like - simplicity, serenity, understated elegance.  Lovely words!  Uplifting words!  Words that I want more of in my life.  One of the things I've been thinking about is how this applies to the clothes I wear. 

Wouldn't it be nice to have a well-organized closet containing just enough clothing so that you always feel well dressed for any occasion.  That is my definition of how wabi-sabi applies to our wardrobes.  A noble goal, but how to attain it?

When I read about the ten-item wardrobe I was intrigued.  According to Jennifer at The Daily Connoisseur, this is how chic French women dress.  They value quality over quantity and stock their wardrobes with just a few well-curated classic items that all work together. 

Of course, there are pros and cons of sticking to a ten-item wardrobe.  Some thoughts and observations from Jennifer are as follows:

1. Dressing in the morning is streamlined as everything mixes and matches.  
2. It is easy to take stock of clothes that are wearing out when you only have ten items
3. Since each item has to pull its weight, an item that is worn out will be replaced rather than just stored.  
4. You will be less likely to go on mindless shopping expeditions since you already have a stocked wardrobe.  
5.  And finally, with only ten items of clothing your closet will be a thing of beauty.

1.  If all your clothes get dirty at once, it could be a problem.
2.  Having such a limited variety of clothing items may mean you get tired of wearing the same pieces of clothes or the same colours all the time (okay, this last one is mine).  

While I'm not a clothes-horse I regularly wear more than ten items, but I'm always up for a personal challenge and this one sounded interesting. I decided I would challenge myself to see if I could survive wearing just ten pieces of clothing for a month. 

So are you ready to see the ten items I lovingly selected (it was agonizing! like choosing your ten favourite children). And just so you know my ten-item wardrobe doesn't include the following: shoes, outerwear, scarves, necklaces, undergarments, sleepwear, or exercise wear.  It is still quite cool here in Ontario although some days are warming up in the afternoon, so I had to include enough layers to keep me comfortable in a lot of different temperatures.

10 Item Wardrobe

I thought these ten items would work well together (with the exception of the red cardigan and the rust cords). I could have included another neutral cardigan in place of the red one, but I felt I needed some colour (I like to wear bright cardigans to add some colour to my outfits.)

  1. Cream/navy striped shirt (Banana Republic) 
  2. Flowered blouse (Eddie Bauer) 
  3. White V-neck shirt (Eddie Bauer) 
  4. Black V-neck shirt (Eddie Bauer) 
  5. Gray cardigan (Eddie Bauer) 
  6. Red cardigan (Eddie Bauer) 
  7. Jeans (Eddie Bauer) 
  8. Rust cords (Joe) 
  9. Black pants (Banana Republic) 
  10. Black skirt (I've had it for years)

I'll keep you posted as to how I'm doing and, if I remember, I'll take some photos too.

Do you think you could survive?

When I told my son what I'm doing, he just shrugged and said that that is what he wears all the time. The boy's a wabi-sabi master!


  1. I love this idea. I'd like to say that I'll try it too, but not sure how I'd go. You've certainly given me something to think about though :)

  2. I love this idea! I tend to wear the same favorites over and over anyway! It sure would simplify things!

  3. I'm not nearly as fashion conscious as I used to be. Sometimes I actually find myself not caring enough which is not good either. Since I resigned from my job I've worn 2 outfits all winter. Khaki pants and a black cardigan. Black pants and a gray cardigan. Boring but it works for me right now. Looking forward to seeing how you do with your challenge!

  4. Wow, I am so impressed. I am down to about 50, but that includes all shoes and jewels and scarves. I have refined my daily work wear to a mix of about 10-15 items. I haven't started yet, just experimenting. You have inspired me to bite the bullet and just do it!

  5. I could do this if I had ten items for Pilates, ten items for running errands, and ten items for church. I really think I could do it with thirty items!

  6. Great basics...
    I've never done this challenge but learn a lot from others who have...
    I'm looking forward to your OOTD posts!

  7. You did a great job picking out your ten items, but I don't think I could do this. Even though I'm totally a clutter-phobe and constantly purging my wardrobe, ten items seems much too limiting! I like to have trendy pieces here and there, and I would definitely get sick of wearing the same things all the time. Even if my daughters didn't notice or care, I bet my students would say something! Keep us updated!