Conclusion of The Five Piece French Wardrobe Challenge
My sincere apologies for being so late with writing a Five Piece French Wardrobe update. Frankly, when I started this challenge in January I was initially focused on completing the first six months. Then, I wrote a lengthy conclusion regarding those months and showed the garments I invested in. After that post, it seemed as if I had assessed my wardrobe properly and would just leave it at that. However, since the first six months gave me a good amount of insight into my spending habits and thus went so well (with the exception of the Isabel Marant Deyis Boots, oops), I decided to continue the Five Piece French Wardrobe challenge for the rest of 2016. However, I am not entirely sure whether I explicitly mentioned this on my blog, though. Anyway; this post entails an overview of my wardrobe investments from July up until the end of December and a definite conclusion of the Five Piece French Wardrobe challenge.
Five Piece French Wardrobe: Last Six Months
The first six months of the challenge had flown by. But the truth is, when autumn came along, things became a little tricky. First up were the basics. On the first chilly day of Autumn, I noticed a striking hole in my loyal black cashmere cardigan (which I’ve had for four years now, so fair enough). Then I realised the colour of my blue cotton shirt had become so faded it resembled more of a discoloured hue of misty grey instead of the original Oxford blue. Not a good look, in my opinion. Long story short, a lot of my basic items were in dire need of replacement. I know that in the original version of the Five Piece French Wardrobe one is allowed to invest in basics, as long as they are truly essential. However, I decided to be tough with myself at the beginning of this year and limit myself to basic items only (you can read the initial rules I set up if you are interested). Therefore, you would think that these last six months revolved around getting my basic items replaced. But then, when I compiled my list of purchases, it looked like this:
When buying these items I thought they were, piece by piece, true essential garments that were lacking in my wardrobe. Now, when assessing this list, I think they are a little bit less so. Truth is, I do think they are beautiful pieces (and I wear these items – with the exception of the Castañer espadrilles – on a weekly basis). But, a tiny voice in my head is saying that I must have slipped a bit. Are these items really that basic? I mean, there are floral patterns, heart-shaped logos and wedge heels involved here. Not your most average items if I may say so.
But then, to be fairly honest, I came to realise that I need to be a little less strict on myself when it comes to buying clothes. Not every single garment that I own needs to be an absolutely timeless, basic piece that is the most simplistic version out there. There will always be certain pieces that you wear less as they tend to be a bit more extravagant. And that is just fine. A good wardrobe needs a fair mix between basic, everyday garments, and a little more out-there, statement pieces. And I feel like I am slowly building on that idea. I tend to steer towards clothes that are often too basic, which can result in a boring wardrobe without anything special to wear. I happen to have a gut feeling that tells me when I should go for a certain, special item. And 99 percent of the time, that gut feeling is right.
Looking at this list, I am especially happy with the A.P.C. Ancolie top and the recently acquired Comme des Garçons Play cardigan. Although the pieces may not be considered that basic upon first glance, their versatility has proven itself after purchasing, and I have been wearing both pieces on repeat. My attempt to make my wardrobe a bit more casual has therefore proven to be successful; both pieces are easy to wear in a more chic ensemble and they also fit in a casual, everyday look. The Castañer espadrilles were my favourite item to wear this summer, and I wrote an extensive review of them in August.
As a conclusion of a full year of the Five Piece French Wardrobe, what I have learnt so far is that fuzz-free, basic garments indeed go a long way and that it is very helpful to assemble a style uniform that can be worn everyday. But what I found even more important is looking at possibilities to invest in beautiful clothes, while simultaneously being a bit more ethical and thoughtful about my surroundings. And this is where Ebay and Vestiaire Collective (and for the Frenchies: Videdressing and Vinted) come in. Therefore, two key points of what I have learnt from this year of Five Piece French Wardrobe piece are:
1. It is always a good assessment to reflect upon one’s own consumerist habits and spending patterns. Sometimes it is helpful to stop yourself in the middle of a so-called spending pattern and to ask yourself: why am I actually buying this? Which on most occasions for me personally leads to the question: why am I buying these clothes and why am I spending money on this? Do I really need these clothes or are they simply extra? Could I spend this money in a better way?
2. Even more important, I think, is that I learnt that there are alternatives to the way I used to spend money. I am fond of designer garments. I am a big fan luxury brands such as Isabel Marant, A.P.C. and Margaret Howell and the aesthetic they create, the cuts of their clothes and the materials they use. Which is fine. But instead of buying these items new and for a full price, I can also scour the internet for secondhand versions of these designer items. This in the end saves me heaps of money, plus I recycle a piece of clothing, which would have otherwise been thrown away. For me, buying secondhand pieces from the brands I adore is the golden compromise of acquiring the designer items I desire while not entirely ruining the environment.
Three out of five pieces on the list above are secondhand and were bought on Ebay. I have also managed to sell an old Isabel Marant shirt, my black A.P.C. jeans and my green A.P.C. parka on Vestiaire Collective. In the end, I ended up not wearing these items as much as I thought I would and felt that they deserved a better owner. With the earnings of these sales, I could buy half of the items on the aforementioned list. I will not make this an actual calculation, but in my opinion, I did pretty well in terms of spending.
As for now, there is very little that I am interested in purchasing. There might be just one long-term quest: I have been looking for a new warm knit for months now. I found a perfect cable knit by Isabel Marant, but it was sold out before I got my hands on it. The hunt goes on – but I am sure to not purchase anything until I have found the absolutely perfect piece.
Five Piece French Wardrobe 2016 Purchases
Five Piece French Wardrobe: Final Conclusion
The Five Piece French Wardrobe challenge has been an interesting journey and has given me a clear overview of my spending habits and consumerist behaviour. In 2017 I will not be participating that strictly anymore, but I will still regularly post an overview of garments that I purchased and other items I am interested in. For those who are interested in re-assembling their wardrobe and are keen on investing in a set of good, basic items which will function as the skeleton of their wardrobe, the Five Piece French Wardrobe may serve as a good aid and a helpful way to commence. I find that creating these FPFW-lists gives me a sheer overview and inspire me to wear every piece (may it be basic or more out-there) as often possible. I will, therefore, continue with writing posts about my investments and planning. Because after all, the search for the perfect wardrobe is an ongoing process which is never finished.