French 5

A few weeks ago in my resolutions for 2014 I mentioned that I’d like to get my wardrobe in better shape with basics so I can implement the “French 5” concept of shopping going forward.  So now let’s talk about this concept a little more.  The concept of the French 5 is simple - it's based on the classically minimal French style of dressing, with the goal being to limit your purchases to 5 purchases per season.  Think quality over quantity.

I’ve noticed that I’m drawn to a more simple sense of style. Take these images for example; there is nothing that jumps out at you about these women, no major statements being made with trends etc., but they both appear super stylish (at least to me!).  So in an effort to keep my attention (and dollars) focused on things like traveling and saving for a house I decided to get my wardrobe up to date with the basics and give this French 5 a whirl.  So here are the French 5 rules…
 First and most important - only FIVE new pieces per season allowed (I’m going with 2 seasons (warm and cool) so 10 items per year. Many would debate 4 seasons but for now I'm sticking with 2.)
 Second - basics and delicates do NOT count in your five (unless they are overly expensive)

Third - handbags and shoes DO count
Last - accessories don’t count (I’m still fine tuning this rule because it could easily get out of hand)
So here are what I consider my classic basics… some I own and some I’m on the hunt for… 

Note - these basics are probably similar for everyone but not necessarily the exact same.  I’ve seen some using a smaller list than this but I just don’t see how. Maybe I’ll try to reevaluate one more time before nailing it down.

I'm excited to give this a try!  I think it will simplify not only my day to day dressing but the entire process of shopping as well. What do you think?  Do you think if you were up to date with all of these basics, you could limit yourself to just 5 pieces per season? 

- Heath

top images unknown and via


  1. Heath! This is so great. I am learning this exact thing through doing the spending fast. Since I can't shop, I'm forced to really take inventory of my closet. I am finding that most of my clothes are fun, trendy things that I buy but then get sick of when the season passes. I find myself choosing the same basic items over and over again, and am so wishing I had more simple things like crew-necks and plain sweaters. I love this concept and will be referring to it soon! Love Ally

    1. Hi Ally - Andy and I put ourselves on a spending freeze every now and then, it makes me realize everytime how important basics are. I'm basically not letting myself buy things other than basics until I'm set with the items above, it's crazy how things can get out of hand. Good luck!