My top picks for the Fall 2023 5 Piece French Wardrobe to help you refresh your closet without falling into the trap of excessive shopping.
I’m super excited to have some fun talking about the five-piece French wardrobe method again and sharing the things that I have chosen to add to my wardrobe for this fall and winter. The five things that I deemed worthy to add to my wardrobe are keeping it maintainable and small, and making sure that I’m not shopping indiscriminately.
Today we’re talking about shopping. I will be with you and tell you that shopping used to be a hobby of mine. Committing to a Iow buy year really transformed my mindset, attitude, and heart position on shopping, how many things I own, and how I was spending money.
All the things that I have learned about building my wardrobe, personal style, and color analysis are all part of it. It wasn’t until I committed to shopping less and shopping intentionally this last year that the world just really exploded for me and everything that I had been trying to accomplish made so much sense.
My contentment changed with what I had. My level of boredom and need for variety is completely different now. I just have a different perspective on clothing and what it means. Having said that, I truly love everything in my closet and all the clothes that I wear.
I have less than 60 wearable items at this point but that doesn’t mean that my love for shopping is completely gone. It just means that it’s healthy, focused, and intentional.
Table of Contents
Reviewing the 5 Piece French Wardrobe Method
One of the ways that I accomplished this was by adopting a method called the Five Piece French Capsule Wardrobe. It’s how French women in particular build their wardrobe with the principle of quality over quantity. They are intentional and mindful about having less, but also have good things that are versatile and function well in their wardrobes.
It’s interesting because you think of Paris as one of the cities of fashion, but the mindset of these women is completely different. This method involves shopping and building your wardrobe twice a year: in the spring/summer season and again in the fall/winter season.
For each of those seasons, you commit to buying five items to update your wardrobe. There’s no requirement here to declutter anything. This is just putting a limit on what you can buy and add to your wardrobe each season. One of the things that I really love about this is that you can still window shop.
You can still think and make a plan for what you need. You can make lists in between your shopping seasons, but you have time to really focus and ask yourself if the things that you think you want are actually things that you want. Having done this a couple of different times, I struggle a little more each time with filling out all five items.
Often that third, fourth, or fifth item will sit blank on my list until something really hits me that’s a hole in my wardrobe. Then I can just fill it. I make my list and start collecting those things when the season changes. I’ve been collecting the five items on my list for about a month.
I buy many of my items from one specific retailer so I’ve been waiting for the release of some of these items because I knew they were in production and coming up soon. When they were released, I grabbed them because I had the money set aside to be able to invest in these pieces thanks to my plan.
That’s another great thing about this method of shopping, if you have a small budget for clothes this helps your budget go farther. Instead of dropping $20 here and there, you can take all that money and save your clothing budget until these two times a year come around and then you can invest in the pieces that are better quality.
Those pieces will last longer and be more true to who you are and your personal style. Now, I’m going to tell you the five things that I put on my list to show you that it’s different for everybody. Don’t think that any of these things is essential for you or something that you need. For my personal style, I wear dresses all the time.
I don’t really like separates because it’s just an extra level of decision-making that I don’t care to have in my life. I find dresses easy, one piece of clothing and you put it on. It’s also flattering, makes me feel good, and it’s feminine. My husband likes it too.
I love different kinds of layers. I’m really into different cardigans and I love vests and capes that are styled like vests. They make me really happy. You’ll find as I share my list that I’m just buying more of the things that I love, which is really what this is about.
As I share each one with you I’ll share the reasoning behind why I bought it. You’ll see how my mind works on this process, how I make these decisions, and how I decide whether something is worthy or not.
Tired of feeling confused about your style? Follow my exact plan to simplify your closet with the Wardrobe Transformation Framework.
My Fall 2023 5 Piece French Wardrobe: Stripe Margo Dress
The first thing on my list is actually what I’m wearing today. I actually just committed to doing the October dress project today because I’m feeling like a blimp as I am in the third trimester and a lot of my clothes make me feel bigger than I am. This one dress makes me feel great.
The October dress project is a 31-day personal challenge to wear the same dress every day. This is great for me because I love this dress. The Margo is a striped dress. Finding stripes that I actually liked that were the right size, the right placement, and the right colors is something that I have been struggling with for a few years.
When I saw this dress coming out, I was super excited because it’s one of my favorite colors: deep eggplant purple color with a navy stripe. Navy has been my preferred neutral over the last year because God did some work on me with the color black.
He reminded me that black is the absence of light. When I was reminded of that fact from a color analyst’s perspective and a Christian woman’s perspective, I just didn’t want to wear black all the time anymore. I still have it in my closet. It’s still a great staple, but when I have the chance to grab Navy now I’m kind of gravitating towards it just a little bit more.
This dress fits great. It makes me look like I’m only about 20 weeks pregnant versus 29 weeks pregnant, which is amazing! I will admit that I’m super in love with the cut of this dress and I am seriously holding myself back from buying a second one in a solid color. But it’s not on my list. Maybe it will go on my spring list. We’ll have to see.
My Fall 2023 5 Piece French Wardrobe: Gray Cardigan
The second thing on my list was a really big struggle piece for me. I wanted a light neutral cardigan in a quality fabric for about a year now. I have looked and looked, and I am really picky about the weight and the styling of a cardigan. I wanted something that was more fitted. I didn’t want it to be super heavyweight because I live in a hot climate.
Also, cardigans that have a heavy knit tend to give me a strange headache and neck ache, which is very particular and annoying. So I’ve really been looking for a light neutral cardigan. I really wanted an off-white ivory color so that it would hold up a little better to all these small children that I have who like to come after me with chocolate fingers.
I’ll be honest, I found one I kind of liked, but it was from a company in Australia. Not only was it extremely expensive, but the shipping was $75 and I just couldn’t make myself do it. I looked at the item but just could not get on that boat. I could not make myself spend that money.
So I let the ivory idea go but then a few months ago I saw that a gray fitted cardigan was in production at Wool& , my favorite company to shop. I started thinking about letting that be the replacement for my light neutral cardigan. When I got the notification that it was released, I immediately let go of my plans for an off-white and I grabbed that gray.
It came in two days ago, and I love it. Gray is a really hard color for me to wear because it’s so summery and unsaturated, which is not like my coloring at all. This one, despite being a medium gray, is fantastic because it has a really strong blue base.
I feel like I hit a home run with this gray cardigan. I’m really excited to wear it as it gets cooler. I did try to wear it the other day and it was just way too hot even in the house. I’m hoping for some cooler weather soon so I can really take it out for a test drive.
My Fall 2023 5 Piece French Wardrobe: Persephone Cape
The third thing on my list was another cape. I found this company a couple of years ago called Julahas, and they make different capes and kimonos out of natural fibers. They’re based out of Amsterdam and I love their philosophy and their ethos of sustainability.
If you’ve ever heard me talk about sustainability and ethics and how that relates to us as Christian women you know I’m really passionate about not buying things that harm people I’ve never met due to working conditions and things in other countries. When a company has a great ethical standpoint, I’m all about it.
I have a couple of their capes. They come in different weights. I’ve tried and so a couple because I didn’t love the weight or the way the fabric felt. One of their capes is really lightweight which is super important for me because I live in a hot climate. I ordered one of those in Navy as part of my spring wardrobe shopping and love it!
They released one in a deep magenta berry pink recently that I added to my list. Now I have essentially two of the exact same cape, one in a neutral and one in one of my best colors. I sold and replaced the one I didn’t like with a different cape to try. So we’ll see how that comes out.
I do not consider replacing or sizing down to be part of this process, especially as my weight has fluctuated. I have had to replace a large portion of my wardrobe these last six months because I lost so much weight.
I did not include those because my process was to sell the original item, because it was quality and I could recoup my investment, and take the money I and replace it with the smaller size. My wardrobe has actually gotten smaller through this process instead of larger just because I’ve had to size down so much.
My Fall 2023 5 Piece French Wardrobe: Teal Aspen Cardigan
The next thing on my list is something that I do not have yet because it has not been officially released. It is a cardigan! Cardigans have been a sticking point for me for a while. I like to have some colored cardigan options. Several years ago when I first started working on my style uniforms, my first uniform was a nursing dress and a fitted cardigan.
I had 15 nursing dresses that were almost the exact same style and I had like 15 cardigans that literally were the exact same style just different colors. The problem was they were made out of polyester, and some other stuff I don’t remember, and they pilled so badly.
Even after a few wears and a few washes, they looked like they had been in my closet for a decade. I hated that my clothes looked so bad. Once I began to transition to natural fibers, I could no longer stand the way it felt. I could no longer handle the way that it just did not help wick away sweat and odor from my body when I was hot.
This is why finding cardigans in different colors has really been a challenge. It’s the same challenge I mentioned when I talked about the ivory off-white cardigan debacle earlier. It’s just hard to find them in a style that I like, in colors that I like, and at a price point that I’m willing to pay.
Recently I discovered that the same company is releasing a cardigan that’s of what I call grandma cardigans, a longer boyfriend style and not fitted, in a deep teal color. I’m really excited because I also know this fabric composition is a little bit thicker.
It feels kind of cozy, like a warm hug. I have a couple of cardigans that are thinner and more lightweight so I’m really excited to get this one. I am signed up on the waitlist and will add it to my wardrobe as soon as it’s available.
My Fall 2023 5 Piece French Wardrobe: Leggings
The final thing on my list actually ended up being two things. If you’ve heard me talk about this before, you’ve heard me say that sometimes my five-piece becomes a seven-piece. Remember perfection is not the goal here, it’s not attainable in your wardrobe.
This is about becoming a more mindful steward of what you have and more in tune with who you are and who your style is. So the last thing on my official list was a pair of leggings. I am transitioning my leggings over to natural fibers instead of cotton ones. I don’t need leggings often because I typically only want to wear them in the fall and winter.
I used to feel that leggings were pants, but I no longer hold to that theory, so I don’t wear them as pants. For me, they’re just layering pieces in the fall and winter when it’s cool enough to wear them. They actually are part of my loungewear when I’m having lounge-wear lazy days at home.
I like to wear them with longer nursing shirts as my not-quite-pajamas outfit. I purchased a black pair last year that was really great and I really wanted to get a pair in navy and eggplant. Initially, I just put the eggplant color on my list because I was trying to stick to my five-piece list and once I got them in I realized how much I truly love them. So I went ahead and grabbed the Navy pair as well.
Final Thoughts on My Fall 2023 5 Piece French Wardrobe
This is how I shop now. It’s fun for me to truly think about what I want to buy and then ask myself if it’s something I love. I used to be so bad about impulse shopping and impulse buying. I would get this idea in my head about something I wanted and then just go buy almost the first thing I found.
I didn’t put any thought into it. I didn’t put any real planning behind it. I just went with my gut. Many times it led to me being unhappy with what I bought because there was no real intention behind it. It was just me satisfying an impulse.
If nothing else, this process has really taught me so much about not being an impulse shopper: being mindful, having a plan and sticking to that plan for the most part, and being honest with yourself about what you really want. Things that are beautiful but don’t look great on you don’t deserve a place in your closet or your body.
You don’t have room in your life or closet for clothes that don’t make you feel good, help you live out your calling, and live out your life and faithfully serve the people that you’re called to serve. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little recap of my own Fall 2023 5-piece French capsule wardrobe that I have planned and mostly bought at this point.
I will do this again in the spring. I will be pretty newly postpartum, so it may be quite challenging so I may actually put it off till April or May when I’m kind of past that fourth trimester period. Honestly, I’m not sure that I trust my shopping instincts and my clothing instincts with a newly postpartum body.
I hope it you have some ideas for what you could do in your own wardrobe and which five pieces you might want to add, also, how you could take this concept of shopping mindfully twice a year and let it transform your wardrobe and make a big difference in the things you love and the things that you own.
Related Capsule Wardrobe Articles:
Learn how to choose the Fall 2023 5 piece French wardrobe clothing items for YOU that seamlessly integrate into your existing wardrobe.
Stacey is the owner and creator behind Radiantly Dressed. She is a certified image consultant and AICI member focusing on creating simplicity in wardrobes via color and style.