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Grown-Up Style Secrets: The French Wardrobe

Shopping sprees: we all do them from time to time. They’re an awesome way to spend time with friends or even blow off a little steam. (Hello, retail therapy!) Us college girls usually fall into two traps when it comes to shopping sprees, though. We blow a LOT of money and we tend to blow that money on trendy (or cheaply made!) pieces that fall apart—or fall out of style—almost as soon as we leave the mall.

For us girls entering the workforce (hopefully) soon, this poses a little bit of a problem. We want to build wardrobes that are going to last. We want a set style and we want it to be timeless. How do you do that? The answer is to start shopping with a strategy or a “wardrobe philosophy.” Here’s where the idea of the French wardrobe comes in.

The French wardrobe revolves around building a closet full of basic pieces that will help you to shape your wardrobe to where you want it to be 6 months and 6 years from now. You do this by limiting yourself to buying 4-5 pieces each season—no more.

What is a ‘piece’ you might ask? Well, here are the rules:

  • Fabric and quality are more important than quantity.
  • Staple pieces like T-shirts, socks, and underwear don’t count.
  • Accessories don’t count (unless unusually expensive).
  • Shoes count.
  • Everything else counts.

I know, I know, this sounds tough. And it is, especially for your average shopaholic. The basic idea is to start buying clothes that complement the clothes that you already own. Go to the mall with a strategy. Think to yourself, “What do I want my style to be, and how do I go about creating that style?”

When you limit how much you allow yourself to buy, you’re also able to spend money on more quality pieces that are going to last a lot longer than a cute tissue-thin sweater from Forever 21 (as much as it pains me to say it). You’re also more likely to buy clothes that flatter your figure and that you’ll want to wear for years to come.

Try to live by these tips:

  • Resist the urge to impulse-buy. You’re more likely to spend money on something trendy that won’t stay in style for long.
  • If you don’t absolutely love it in the store, you won’t love it a month from now.
  • Make. A. List. Go through your closet before you go shopping and ask yourself, “What do I need right now to complete my wardrobe?”
  • Be patient and don’t jump on the first piece you see. This goes along with both # 1 and #3.  For example, I’ve been looking for a new pair of black satin heels for months now to replace the ones I have. Every time I go to DSW I see tons of black heels, but none that I love as much as my old standbys. Keep looking until you find the piece that is perfect for you. (It’s out there!) When you do, it will be worth the time and investment.

The mall (and the world!) is full of cute clothes, and while we’d all love to have an unlimited closet full of them, unfortunately, that can’t be reality.  By shopping with a strategy it becomes possible to create your own style. Overtime, you’ll build a wardrobe that you’re proud of and one that will potentially last a lifetime. 

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