Saturday, May 4, 2013

Confessions of Living with a Ten-Item Wardrobe

I was inspired to try and pare my wardrobe down to just ten items.  Yep, that's right - ten items! The idea came from Jennifer at The Daily Connoisseur who lived in France as an exchange student and observed the habits of the well-dressed and chic Madame of the family.  She noted that Madame Chic always looked presentable, but only wore ten items of clothing - all classic pieces that flattered her.  

I thought it sounded like a great way to streamline getting dressed in the morning and to help me decide what to eliminate from my closet. As you will see I ran into some snags.

The ten items of clothing that I selected to wear did not include outerwear, night clothes, undergarments, exercise wear, shoes, scarves, or accessories.  You can read more about the process here, but these were the ten items I selected.

10 Item Wardrobe

After some consideration, I realized that I only wanted to wear the ten items of clothes for work because I don't like to wear my work clothes at home.  I spend more money on work clothes and don't want them stained or worn out so I wear less expensive items at home.  

I want you all to know that I came home from work and put on lipstick and combed my hair JUST FOR YOU!

Monday (School A) - black pants, striped shirt, red sweater
Tuesday (School A) and Wednesday (School B) - black skirt, white shirt, red sweater
Thursday (School A) - rust cords, black shirt, gray sweater
Friday (office day) - jeans, black shirt, red sweater

Monday (Conference) and Tuesday (School A) - rust cords, striped shirt, gray cardigan
Wednesday (School B) and Thursday (School A) - black pants, flowered shirt, gray cardigan in the cool of the morning
Friday (School A and office) - black pants, black shirt, red cardigan (plus red shoes to add some colour to the outfit)

As you can see I often wore the same outfit for more than one day, however only if I was going to a different school or to a school and then the office - in other words if I was seeing different people on each of the days.  

Which leads me to a few of the problems I ran into.  

First, here in North America it is a real no-no to wear the exact same outfit two days in a row with the same people. From what I've read, people do wear the same outfit for several days in a row in France so this makes planning what you are going to wear much easier.  You just figure out a good outfit and wear it for most of the week.  I can't bring myself to do that, so I was constantly trying to think what to wear that wasn't the same as what I had just worn (and was always grateful when I was going to a different locations on consecutive days).

Also, here in Ontario for the past two weeks the temperatures were low enough that I needed to wear both a shirt and a sweater (as well as something on the bottom half) every day.  That meant that every day I was wearing three of the ten items in my wardrobe.  If you look at Jennifer's wardrobe on The Daily Connoisseur you will see she often will wear a dress or pants and a top, but then she lives in sunny California so it is much warmer.

Finally, I chose to do this exercise in a month that has very changeable weather.  Now it is warming up and the next two weeks are going to be between 16 and 22C.  I feel like I have selected very wintery colours and items when what I'm really craving is some spring in my wardrobe.

Sooo, I'm going to change things up a bit.  First, I'm not going to include cardigans and sweaters in my ten items. I will consider them outerwear, if you will. It will make me very happy to be wearing all my colourful cardigans again. 

Second, I'm going to add some more colour and pattern into the mix. I've included a couple of skirts and a dress as the weather is now nice enough to wear them and they add more colour and pattern.  I also added my royal blue pants that will add more colour.  

Here's the new ten-item wardrobe for the next two weeks:

10 Item Wardrobe

What do you think - does this combination look more realistic?  I'll let you know how it works out. 

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  1. Good luck with your project...looks like it's working out to be fun! I think your choices are very good because it all mixes and matches. Loved seeing all the pictures of you too!

  2. Well Done Grace, you make it look easy but looking at my wardrobe I find it's not. Thanks for sharing.

    Margo on Vancouver island

  3. I think your outfits look really chic and I like the idea of a pared-down wardrobe. Have you seen The Tiny Twig's 31 Days to a no-brainer wardrobe series? She also has an e-book that really helped me streamline my clothes.

  4. You look like an Eaton catalogue model! Well done. I do not own many clothes nor do I care to so this is right up my alley.

  5. Wonderful Grace! I'm glad you tailored the ten-item wardrobe to your lifestyle/ situation. That is what it is all about and it looks like you are having fun in the process. All the best, Jennifer Scott xx

  6. Thankfully I work from home, so I do not worry about getting dressed. You are very brave to have ten items! I do not think I could o it.

    Have a great week, Elizabeth

  7. What a great idea. I have so many things in my closet that don't really serve a multi pose. As I prepare for a girls shopping trip to Pennsylvania next week I'm going make a list of what I can add to my current Spring wardrobe. Bring on the 10 piece wardrobe.

    Thanks again for the idea.