As disheveled as it appears, this is my closet. My only clothing closet (I do have a closet for coats and winter outerwear and a chest of drawers). Genevieve Deveraux tells us in her book "A Guide to Elegance" that American women would be shocked at the French woman's vastly smaller wardrobe than their counterparts in the U.S.A. As an American woman, I am not shocked, but I am also a minimalist (only in the matter of clothing) and an exception. I must have a little French blood in me because I don't believe in giant walk in closets that resemble a clothing store or so much stuff in my style arsenal that I have to keep a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet inventory on my clothes and accessories.
When a female friend comments on a dress she has seen me wear before, that truly is a compliment because it made such an impression that she remembered it (now wether it made good impression or bad impression, I can't say, I hope it was good). Too often, we think we must always be seen in a new outfit to prove our worth or importance. Why?
Sunday is Easter and religious or not, you can use the Easter holiday to become more French. For the past 40 days (the timeframe of Lent) I have been purging my closet of one item a day. If I haven't worn it in a year, it goes. If it doesn't fit, it goes. If it is stained or damaged, it goes. If it is a horrible idea of a fad-like item, it goes. Easter is a time of resurrection, so to speak, and I, for one, am resurrecting as a fashion minimalist! It's amazing how liberating it is to "decide" to limit your wardrobe. In essence, to connect with that fabulous French woman who lives inside you.
Do you know what else is great about minimizing your style arsenal? The fact that a small wardrobe forces you to be creative and put some real thought into your attire. When you have a minimalistic wardrobe you have to really think about an outfit, to get imaginative, to explore unique ways to make the same pieces outstanding and fresh. When you have a limited wardrobe you have to plan and you can't just throw on some dress and shoes and call it a day. Being elegant is not necessarily being quick and easy. Being elegant may be simple and uncluttered but it is never thoughtless!
I encourage you to find your inner French woman and minimize your wardrobe*. For one, it will feel really liberating and, second, it will awaken those creative fashion styling genes (not jeans) that will help you be a seasoned and elegant woman. Voila!
* Next week, we will discuss great ways to dispose of your discarded clothing and accessories.