Save. Spend. Splurge.

How to put together a classic French minimalist wardrobe – Part VII

All of my Parisian Style & Wardrobe Posts can be found here.

Try to stick to a 5-per rule category

Try and stick to a 5-per category rule.

5 t-shirts

5 tops

5 pants

5 pairs of jeans

5 skirts

5 dresses

… and no more.

I am terrible at sticking to this and I am trying my best (really I am), but more than 5 items, I would say, even more than 10 items, it would be hard to pick out from your closet, what to wear at any given time.

Think about multi-use purchases

A simple camel shift for instance, would be both casual and formal depending on the shoes paired with it (flats or heels), and you could belt it, wear a topper or a sweater over it. You could take it from work to night, or from the weekday to the weekend.

In contrast, a pair of leather leggings might look great for now, or for style bloggers who make it their career to blog about how versatile they are, but could you really wear them chasing your toddler around on the playground?

Or out to a casual brunch with your in-laws?

Thinking about purchases, and putting MORE money towards items that will really work and go the extra mile for you (where it’s warranted), is the pinnacle of every good, minimalist, wardrobe.

For instance, one of my classic items is the cropped ankle pant. I can wear it in all of the situations above (I just switch the flats out for heels), and I don’t even need to spend a ton on it because lots of mid-tier brands make this cropped ankle pant in a fairly decent quality.

I don’t need the designer version of the classic cropped ankle pant.

In contrast, a camel trench coat which I wear to death, does not look as good in the mid-tier brand. Sure, when you try it on or first buy it, it’s fine, but over the next few days, you start to see pilling and/or bubbling in the texture of the fabric because it isn’t the best quality of cotton gabardine.

It looks pretty cheap after a few wears and that to me, is just wasted money even though I spent hundreds on it and I should have spent a few thousand instead.

In that arena, I have splurged and purchased a classic Burberry trench coat (purchased on sale) which has served me very well in spring, autumn and in the rain, no less.

Have a few classics but have a few not-so-classic items as well

Your classics are not my classics.


My classics include a trench coat, a wrap dress, ankle pants, skinny jeans and a wrap sweater (see above).

Yours might be more jeans, a peacoat, a t-shirt.. I don’t know. Whatever it is that you wear all the time and find to be a classic, workable piece, is what you should put in your Top 5 category.

Get a uniform that you can wear casually and dress up as well

A white t-shirt, jeans and ballet flats


Wear it with heels & throw a leather jacket on and you’re running errands, ready for a casual brunch, going out on the weekends, chasing your toddler, or hanging out with friends at home.

A wrap dress with ballet flats


Switch it out with heels, put on a blazer and you’re ready for a meeting.

A classic cropped ankle pant with a striped breton shirt with canvas sneakers


Wear it with heels and throw on a nice jacket and you’re ready for a night out, or going to a casual client meeting.

Wear it with sandals and throw on a hat and you’re at the playground with your toddler.

Wear it with knee-high boots and a wrap sweater, and you’re walking around downtown sipping a nice latte, enjoying the fall weather.

In all of the above outfits you will notice a combination or pattern emerging with the actual outfit, a topper to make it more “day” or “night”, shoes that signal “day” or “night” and then accessories or bags to help finish the outfit.

In general, wardrobe uniforms are that — uniforms you wear and don’t need to think about.

All of my Parisian Style & Wardrobe Posts can be found here.


  • MauiShopGirl

    What a great post! Having the # of _____ rule is the only way I can stop myself from buying more. I also like to dress in basics and just change the topper, shoes and accessories. This works great for travel as well. Just got back from a trip to Seattle and I brought two coats, which seemed excessive at first but it worked well to change the dressiness level of my outfits. I had a wool black double breasted coat with cropped sleeves (military inspired) and a short hooded trench. When it wasn’t raining, I could wear the wool coat if I wanted to look dressier. I was so happy I brought both.

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