Parisian Wardrobe {Or Parisian Closet}

Hello TCL Readers! Hope you’re all doing well. I want to talk to you about closets and clothes. I’ve been thinking about mine a lot lately, and I think I want to work towards something different. I call it the “Parisian Wardrobe”. I’ll explain the meaning in a minute, but first, let’s talk about “Then” and “Now”.

Then {Quantity Over Quality}

Back in the day, I used to be quite the bargain shopper when it came to clothes. I think I could have taken down almost any coupon mom out there in my heyday, except I just knew how to shop the sales racks (they didn’t seem to have as many coupons for clothing back in the day).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love a good sale and a great deal. But, where I think I went wrong was that I was so focused on quantity over quality. Was there ever enough clothes in my closet? No. It could have been bulging at the seams with clothes falling out in some grotesque hoarder-esque way and I still wouldn’t have had enough. I didn’t really care how nice something was, I just wanted more. Did it look kind of cute? Is it super cheap or greatly discounted? Sold!

Luckily, I didn’t have a lot of money, so the lack of funds kept me from getting too out of control. Oh, and this will sound pretty crazy, but when I was in high school, and Cher (not the singer) was my “idol”, I used to track my outfits. I’d write down what I wore to school each day in my planner so I wouldn’t wear the same thing again for at least a month (preferably never).

Now {Quality Over Quantity}

These days, I’m starting to focus on quality over quantity, and I don’t mean just expensive things. I don’t think something has to be pricey for it to be quality. I’ve just noticed that I have a ridiculous amount of clothes that I’ve collected over the last several years. Do I wear most of it? Not really.

I find myself wearing a lot of the same things over and over. So, what’s the point of having all those clothes if you aren’t even going to wear them? I don’t think there is one…at least, not for me. And unlike the days of high school, I actually like wearing the same outfit repeatedly. And what I really like is when you get to wear that one special piece of jewelry or unique dress that makes you feel like a million bucks.

I don’t want to have a giant closet full of okay clothes. I want a smaller closet of clothes that make me feel wonderful. I want to find more of those magical pieces and slowly collect them.

The Parisian Wardrobe {Or Parisian Closet}

I could be wrong here, but I’ve heard that Europeans tend to have less clothes than Americans. Can anyone confirm? I know when I did my exchange to France, my host family had very petite closets that looked carefully curated. It seems like Europeans are generally more concerned about the quality over quantity. With this idea in mind and since I love all things French, I’m nicknaming my goal the “Parisian Wardrobe.”

So, what is the Parisian Wardrobe? I’m still working through better guidelines, but basically,

  • You want a closet of clothes that you love. That make you feel confident and fabulous.
  • You’re going for quality over quantity, though that doesn’t always mean paying the most money possible.
  • You should have the right number of clothes so you wear everything you own. It all has a purpose.
  • And you love every item and get a lot of enjoyment out of wearing each piece.

Très chic!

I’m planning to bring more posts to help you get your own Parisian Wardrobe dream closet. Be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter to stay in the loop.


I have a few reasons, some mentioned above, why I’m working towards a “Parisian Wardrobe”:

  • Wearing the same thing: I’ve noticed I wear the same things from my closet. There’s no point in cluttering up my space with stuff I don’t use. I need to purge and be more selective about what makes it in the closet. Which brings me to my next point…
  • Space: We have an older house with un-renovated closets. We’re hoping to remodel one day, but let’s get real – that’s not going to happen any time soon (unless I win the lottery). I have clothes spread out between 4 tiny closets in the house, which is simply ridiculous.
  • Easier to Dress: With less so-so clothes cluttering up my closet, I believe I’ll more easily be able to put outfits together.
  • Eco-Friendly: It’s more eco-friendly to have a “Parisian Wardrobe.” I’ll be purchasing less from the stores, which will at minimum save waste from all the packaging tied to shopping.
  • Ultimate Items: Instead of having a lot of so-so things in my wardrobe, I want more of those magic items that make you feel special when you wear them.


I have a couple challenges to face as I work towards my goal:

  • Shopaholicism: Okay, I don’t need a therapist for this or anything, but I have definitely been a bit of a shopaholic in the past. If I’m going to have a smaller wardrobe one day, I need to slow down on the shopping. Luckily, my mortgage and other bills help keep this in check by stealing all my shopping money!
  • Too Much Clothes: Like I mentioned before, I already have too much clothing. I’ve tried purging in the past. I’m having a hard time letting go of a lot of my clothes, even if I don’t wear them. I’ve tried doing the whole “if you haven’t worn this in a year then get rid of it” thing, but that’s so much easier said than done.


To reach my goal, I’m going to have to tackle a few projects:

  • Closet Pare Down – I’m going to have to get serious about purging
  • Adventures in Re-Sale – It would be pretty sweet if I could make some money on all those items I purge.
  • Strategic Shopping – I’m going to have to work on my shopping style so it’s more in line with the “Parisian Wardrobe” concept. Less is more!


What’s your wardrobe style?

[poll id=6]


Now, is it just me, or does anyone else feel like watching Clueless?


Reader question: I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. How do you keep your wardrobe/closet in check? Do you think you have too much clothes, the right amount, or too little?

26 thoughts on “Parisian Wardrobe {Or Parisian Closet}”

  1. I used to be the same way! I’d spend hours scouring the racks at Lazarus (now Macys) for bargains. I had store credit cards to 7 (!!) different places, and I definitely racked up debt. Twice! Now, not all of that was clothes, but a considerable portion was.

    Even when I quit my job to finish school, when the husband quit one he hated, and when I was unemployed, I still had that drive to shop…so I made do by thrifting or going to resale/consignment shops. So I still had a closet full of “stuff.” Now, I did sell a lot of stuff to the resale shops, but that really only fueled my shopping more.

    Nowadays I shop EVERYWHERE. But, I’m more selective in what I’m buying. I will rarely buy anything full price, hoping it gets marked down and my size will still be available. I’ve lost a lot of pretty things that way, but I’ve managed to survive! I think the only full price item I’ve purchased in awhile were my maternity jeans from Gap at a whopping $70, but I’ve got the cost per wear down to pennies now, so it was totally worth it.

    Oh, and now that most of my clothes don’t fit and I don’t want to spend a fortune on maternity clothes, I’m trying to be creative as well as selective to what I buy. Sure, I could live in sweatpants (especially working at home), but I do need to leave the house sometimes! I figure a couple plain dresses spiced up with different accessories is what’s going to get me through the summer.

    • I so can relate! Debt is so hard to get rid of! Oh, and I have a hard time buying things full price, too. I hate it when I fall in love with a brand that just never has specials/coupons/discounts. lol

  2. I admit I have way too many clothes and in different sizes because of weight gain/loss/gain, etc. That being said and speaking as a semi-former shopaholic, I have one spare room I use as a walk-in closet. We have a 3 bedroom house and since we don’t have children, I always wanted a “dressing room” after growing up in a small apartment. So when we moved in we called one of those California Closets (but on the East Coast) to install hanging bars and shelves in our spare bedroom. That is how we fit both our wardrobes. I still (rather guiltily admit) that the other tiny closets we have are also filled to capacity with off season clothes or lesser used items. If you have a spare bedroom you are not using as a guest room, you can have clothing bars and shelving installed (basic, nothing fancy-shmancy) and it won’t cost a fortune (it depends on type of wood, finish, and building materials you use). Or if hubby is handy, he can go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and design it and install it himself.

    But that’s how we fit everything.

    P.S. My closets are still overstuffed! *shame*

    • I’m actually using one of the spare bedrooms as a “changing room”/closet right now. But, it doesn’t really have any furniture in it, so the clothes stay in the closets. lol *hangs head in shame* 😛

  3. I love clothes SO much. I did Project 333 for a year, though, and my closet is just how I’d always dreamed: streamlined, with only clothes that fit and flatter me. I love living this way, and while I still splurge on a good handbag now and again, I don’t miss trend shopping at all.

  4. I love that you’re calling it your Parisian wardrobe! 🙂 I think part of it is that Parisians literally just don’t have anywhere to put their clothes! I lived there for 6 months and literally did not have a closet in my apartment to put clothes in. It was interesting. I’m fully of the mindset of “if I’m not completely in love with the item the very first time I try it on, don’t buy it”. It works pretty well and I don’t have many items of clothing that I don’t wear!

    • Ha! That’s sort of the reason I’m hoping to pare my wardrobe down – lack of space. Sounds like your experience in France helped you create a lovely & streamlined wardrobe. 🙂

  5. As I was taking down my winter clothes / putting up my summer clothes a few weeks ago, I had the same thought. My closet is bulging with clothes that I sort of like and hardly ever wear. I desperately need to pare things down to the “Parisian Wardrobe,” but can see how difficult it will be to dispose of those items that I kind of like in exchange for those that I love. Keep us updated on your progress…I’ll be following along and hopefully reaching the same goal!

    • It’s such a tough challenge! I hope you’re able to pare down some of your wardrobe, too. Good luck! I’ll definitely keep you updated. 🙂

  6. Well, I confess that I used to have many things that I’ve never wore and when I moved to Italy 4 years ago I brought all of my clothes, shoes and bags included with me. They were very expensive stuff, I’m ashamed to confess. Some of the bags and the shoes cost £300 and more. Anyway, they were collecting dust in my closet in Italy as I never wore them. How could I strut down the dusty road in a Gucci shoes! As I was and still live in the mountain. Last October I was asked to leave my house and in a panic (it is a long story but it was very difficult to find a place, looking for one without having a car, etc) I gave a way all my expensive stuff. Well, no, not all but almost all. I just left few sentimental things, like my Gucci killer heels and an expensive leather bag I got many years ago in Rome, haha. The thing is I felt so free and liberated getting rid of all the expensive stuff and having a very small closet. Now, I only have few shoes and bags and few simple dresses, etc. If I will be buying again, which is very unlikely, I will certainly go for quality over quantity and as Diana said quality doesnt mean expensive designer stuff, not at all. And I’m certain I will never ever pay for any designer thing in the future, as I feel ashamed wear a bag that cots £££ while there are many people who can not afford to have 3 decent meals.


    • Oh gosh…I just bought a pair of designer shoes. Please don’t hate me! lol But, I try to be careful of the (very few) designer items I have. I try to think of them in cost/wear. For example, I have a Chanel purse. It was very expensive, but my plan is to have it for…well, forever! And I’m hoping that I can purchase fewer purses over time since that one should last so long. That’s my strategy, at least.

      Anywho, I think that’s great that you’re living in such a liberated way! I bet it’s gorgeous where you live!

      • hehe, no I won’t hate you for that diana; just do not do it often. You can also buy handmade stuff, shoes and bags, made by artisans from real ethically sourced leather and they last forever. They are pretty and unique too.

        Yea, it is so pretty here but the funny thing is I’m dying to move to the USA, Arizona or North Carolina! Italy is amazing for a short stay but to live! no, it is so complicated here.

        If you fancy a holiday here with your husband, I can direct you to local nice places here. I live in a region called Marche, near a beautiful Mediaeval town called Urbino, the birthplace of the famous Mediaeval painter Rafaello His house still exist and there is a beautiful castle as well.
        Oh, and there are lots of small lovely shops as well and Urbino is number one in organic food! tons of organic shops; well not tons, as it is pretty small, but there are about five in this small town!
        Kind Regards

  7. I just read a recently released memoir called Paris in Love. It’s about a family who takes a year sabatical and moves to Paris for one year (after cancer-but that is more the reason than a theme of the book). The book was sometimes very funny and overall I liked it a lot. But one of my favorite parts was a chapter about Paris style. And what the author said is what you’re saying about quantity, but also that absolutely everything is tailored to perfection. That an excellent fit and quality garment is what all French woman wear. I am about to go through my closet critically and think about what she said. That everything you own should make you feel wonderful and should look wonderful. Get it tailored if need be. Or get rid of it if it doesn’t work. And, don’t buy new things unless they will be a permanent part of your fabulous wardrobe. If you will not wear it after the event you are buying it for, than it is not for you!

  8. I aspire to this – and when I travel (almost every other week for work now) I just have a carry on and mix and match work clothes, but I love shoes! My downfall! Nice post!

  9. Kinda late but with some nice tips. I live in crisis-struck Greece and these hard financial times have taught me quite a lot. When I had a well-paying job I would go shopping very often and my choices were not exactly my style. When I lost my job (and the matching salary…), I noticed that although I had fewer cash in my pockets, my shopping choices were very well thought out and of good quality. But I have to admit that the most important lesson I have learnt concerning my wardrobe has been that of knowing my own style. I do have the famous 10 item wardrobe (wool coat, black trenchcoat, black blazer, black pencil skirt, white button down, white blouse, black turtleneck sweater, flat boots, court shoes, day bag) but apart from that, every other piece I own or have set me eyes on is something that I love to wear and feel like a million dollars in it. I have been keeping a list of my wardrobe items and within a year I have gone from owning 100 pieces of clothing, almost all of them classics, to 40 of which 30 represent my personal style and can be mixed and matched in all possible combinations. And that includes summer and winter pieces. It is still a work in progress. Come to think about it, I think I should get rid of one or two pieces…


Leave a Comment