The 13 Timeless Pieces You Shouldn T Live Without Who What Wear Essential Wardrobe Pieces For Minimalist Living
The 13 Timeless Pieces You Shouldn T Live Without Who What Wear Essential Wardrobe Pieces For Minimalist Living

Amazing Essential Wardrobe Pieces For Minimalist Living

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Translator: Riaki Poništ
Reviewer: Nada Qanbar Today, I’m going to be talking to you
about the "10-item wardrobe." A few years ago, I wrote a book called
"Lessons from Madame Chic." The book explores the top 20
life-changing lessons that I learned while living as a study-abroad student
in Paris with a French family. The book covers a wide range of topics:
everything from clutter control, to exercise,
to how to live life as a formal affair. And depending on where people
are in their lives, they tend to gravitate
towards certain sections of the book. But there is one section of the book
that is universally gravitated toward. And that is the section called: "Liberate yourself
with the 10-item wardrobe.

" The 10-item wardrobe. It’s a concept that sparks confusion
in a lot of people, I think, and curiosity because we are a society
who has become accustomed to having closets that are completely
crammed with clothes. It’s true. we go shopping, we go shopping,
we fill, we fill, we fill, and very rarely do we check out
what’s going on inside there.

Very rarely do we edit the contents and see if what we have
is actually working for us. Well, some people might say,
"So, what’s the problem with that?" Well, one of the very strange side effects
of having too many clothes is that we still have nothing to wear. How many of you
have experienced that before? Yes, so you’re getting ready for work
or to go meet friends, and you try on an outfit,
and it’s not quite right, so you take it off,
and you try on another one, and then another one and another one
and as soon as you know it, you have clothes strewn
across the floor, on the bed. Then you’re running late,
so you just pick anything, then you go throughout your day slightly uncomfortable
with the choice you’ve made. We are operating under the misconception
that the more clothes we have, the easier it is
to get ready in the morning when actually the opposite is true: the less clothes you have,
the less choice you have, the more thoughts and organization
you put behind your wardrobe, the easier it is
to get ready in the morning. Other problems that arise from a wardrobe
that is too stuffed with clothes are that we’re not discerning
about what goes into our closets. So we are more prone to impulse buys. You’d be at the sales and you’d see
neon lavender lace shorts and they’re on sale. So you buy them
even though they have nothing to do with your true style
or what’s going on in the wardrobe. Another problem that arises is that our own sense of style
is actually clouded. How many people could actually
define their style in one or two words? Not many, because we don’t
really think about it, do we? And because this is so overwhelming
for so many people, I think a lot of people give up
and just wear exercise clothes all day even though they don’t exercise. So, I know that’s a problem. I’m going to take you back now
to Paris in the year 2001 where I started to think
about all of this. I went to live with a French family
and I call them "Family Chic." That wasn’t their real name
but that was who they were to me. They were chic, not in a flashy
nouveau-riche kind of way, but in an elegant, comfortable-
in-their-own-skin kind of way. And the first afternoon when I met
my host parents Monsieur and Madame Chic, they sat me down
in their living room with a cup of tea so we could get to know each other. I sized them up and my first impression
of them was very good. Monsieur Chic was dressed
in a nice suit and in dress shoes; Madame Chic was wearing an A-line skirt,
a silk blouse, pearls and low heels. And I remember thinking
to myself at the time, "That is so sweet!
They dressed up for me!" when actually they didn’t dress up for me. That was just how they dressed
on a regular basis; they wore their best all the time. After our cup of tea, Madame Chic
took me to my bedroom to show me where I’d be sleeping
for the next few months and of course I was excited to see this. And the bedroom did not disappoint. It was charming;
there was a little tiny twin bed, and floor-to-ceiling windows that had
a beautiful view of the courtyard outside, the curtains matched
the lampshade on the desk, I mean, it was perfect. And then she showed me
where I was going to keep my clothes.

And it wasn’t a closet
like I was used to back in California. No, it was a little armoire. And she opened it up
and there were ten hangers hanging inside. Now I panicked because I brought
with me to Paris two suitcases that were completely stuffed with clothes! I was thinking, "Where the heck am I going to keep
my clothes for the next six months?" I didn’t say that of course
because that would have been rude. But the next day I did ask all
of my friends on the study abroad program if they had the same unfortunate
wardrobe situation that I did. And it turns out they did! Nobody had these closets that were big
like we were used to back in California. Everybody had a little tiny armoire that had around 10 to 12 hangers
hanging inside. So, I said to myself, "Gosh!" I felt so bad for these French people. How did they cope
with such little storage space? I decided to observe them. So I observed Madame Chic of course, I observed the other mothers
on the study abroad program, I observed my college professors, the ladies who worked at the local
tobacco boulangerie. And I noticed something about them. They all wore the same,
high-quality clothes, over and over and over again
in heavy rotation. And they didn’t appear to be suffering.
(Laughter) Au contraire. No, they actually exuded their own
unique individual style beautifully. So I thought, "Well, maybe there is something
to this whole 10-item wardrobe business." About the idea of wearing
the same clothes over and over again, we have a little bit of a stigma
about that over here. I think a lot of people
– and I used to be like this – would not want to be caught dead
wearing the same thing twice in one week, especially in front of our co-workers
or the other moms at school. And this is very evident,
the cultural difference, if you check out French films
versus American films. Check out a French film,
and the female protagonist, OK? She will wear the same clothes over
and over and over again in the film because that’s what people do. But if you check out an American film,
typical American film, the female protagonist will rarely
wear the same thing twice. Unless the film director wants to make
a point that she’s depressed, fallen on hard times
or is mentally unstable. And this is really evident in
Woody Allen’s "Blue Jasmine" that was recently released. For the Cate Blanchett character,
when she was wealthy and everything was good,
she was in a different outfit every scene. When she had to go live with her sister,
and she went a little crazy, she had a 10-item wardrobe! She wore the same high-quality clothes
over and over again. I thought she was fabulous. So, we really have to get over that stigma about wearing
the same clothes all the time. Many of you might be thinking, "Jennifer, did you adopt
a 10-item wardrobe as soon as you got back to America?" And the answer to that question is,
"No, of course not." I went right back to my old ways
of storing my clothes. I had a closet full of junk clothes. At this point, I graduated college,
I had entered the workforce, and at one point, I did have
three jobs at the same time. So getting ready in the morning
was crucial for me. I was experiencing that same frustration
of getting ready, picking my clothes, not knowing my true style,
none of the clothes that I had, they weren’t sophisticated; they weren’t
how I wanted to express myself. So, finally I had enough, and I decided to get rid of over 70%
of the clothes in my wardrobe. And I tell you what,
I have never looked back. Some people might think
that this topic is superficial. But I believe that when you take something
that we all have to do every day and we all have to get dressed,
and you put thought and organization and a game plan behind it,
you can completely change your life. So, how can you get a 10-item wardrobe
or how can you share this with someone you know who needs it
like the roommate or a spouse? The first thing you have to do is take out
all of the clothes in your closet. Maybe not all at once
if you have hundreds of clothes, but take out sections at a time. And you must go through every single piece
and ask yourself the following questions: Does this fit me? Is this age appropriate? Is this my true style? Do I love this? Do I wear this? The clothes have to pass the test, and if they don’t,
you’ve got to get rid of them. Donate them to somebody
who will appreciate them more than you. Then with what you have left,
you must take out the clothes that are not pertinent
to the season that you’re in. So, we are entering fall, although you
never know it today; In New York, it’s very hot outside. But you’re not going to need
your seersucker shorts and your spaghetti straps, sundress. Take those clothes out
and store them away, either put them in space bags
or in a guest closet, or if you don’t have that space, put them to one side and the closet
that you do have. Now with everything you have left,
you can begin to build your 10 core items and that is what the "10" refers to. The core items – the items
that you wear on a daily basis. And for women this can be things like
blouses, dresses, skirts, jeans, slacks. Men, you have less choice;
it’s easier for you. You basically have shirts,
trousers, and shorts, right? So a sample 10-item wardrobe for a woman
for fall, for example, might be: one pair of slacks, two pairs of jeans,
three dresses, four blouses. For men, you could have seven shirts,
three trousers, OK? I could see all of your eyes
and you’re panicking right now. You’re thinking,
"There’s no way!", right? You don’t have to do 10
if that doesn’t work for you. You could do 15 or even 20, but the idea is to get your wardrobe
down to a capsule, manageable size. Now, I also don’t want you to panick
because you also have what I call "extras" and extras help round out the wardrobe. So extras can be things
like t-shirts, sweaters, obviously, if you live in a cold climate,
you’ll need lots of layering sweaters. Outerwear: things like trench coats,
blazers and jackets, special occasion wear – the type
of thing you’d wear to the Opera – we had a beautiful opera singer
here earlier today – or to holiday parties, to church,
to the special places that you wouldn’t wear them
every single day. Once you build your extras, you
have to keep the capsule wardrobe mindset. Don’t keep 10 core items and go crazy
on the extras because that doesn’t count. It’s a lifestyle change. So, what are the benefits
of a 10-item wardrobe? When you wake up in the morning, you are going to be able to pick out
what to wear wear with ease. If you plan it right, you can literally
pick two things and they’ll go together. You’re going to hone in
on your true style when you do this. You’re going to be more discerning. You’re not going to be prone
to impulse buys anymore. And perhaps my favorite benefit
of the 10-item wardrobe is that you will be inspired
to look presentable always. I have a final story for you about Paris. The first night I was there,
I was really nervous because I didn’t speak French
very well, at all actually. And my French family didn’t speak English
so I didn’t eat much at dinner time. After I thought they all went to bed, I thought I’d sneak in my pyjamas
to the kitchen to go grab a snack. Madame Chic stopped me on the way
and she asked what I was doing. I got the impression that these people
didn’t snack, so I didn’t say that I wanted to snack, so I just said
I wanted a glass of water, please. She said she’d get one for me. Before she gave it to me, she gave a really funny look to my pyjamas
which I didn’t think much about. She confronted me
about the pyjamas a week later. To preface this, my pyjamas
were very comfortable pair of white sweatpants; "comfortable"
being the emphasis word there. They were a bit baggy too. I wore those with the college t-shirt. Well, she pointed to the hole
in the knee of my pyjamas. Oh yes, I forgot to mention
there was a hole in the knee. And she said,
"Jennifer, did I do that in the laundry?" I was really eager
to ease her mind and I said, "No, no, these have had a hole
in the knee for ages!" Her look turned from one
of concern to one of confusion. And she said, "Why would you keep them
if they had a hole in the knee?" At that moment,
all was illuminated for me. I don’t know why I kept a pair
of ratty, old, holey sweat pants that I think used to be
my sister’s gym pants, and bring them from California to Paris to wear as sleepwear
in somebody else’s home. Where was my discernment? I was horrified. So, the next day, I threw out
those old sweatpants. And I went to Etam and I purchased
two pairs of pyjamas. They weren’t expensive, but they were
the nicest pyjamas I’d ever owned as an adult because they were actually
meant to be worn as pyjamas. I’ll never forget that night,
lying in my little Parisian bed; I felt amazing in my cream-colored
button-down pyjamas. It was one of the first times I realized
I could respect myself enough to present myself
beautifully at all times, not just Monday through Friday 9 to 5
when I’m trying to impress other people. No, I could live this way. And truly that is one of the greatest
benefits of the 10-item wardrobe. It infuses style
into every aspect of your life and really helps you think
about how you present yourself. And that is my wish for you
if you do try out the 10-item wardrobe. If you have any questions,
I have a blog, I have a Youtube channel, the Daily Connoisseur, and of course,
the books on Madame Chic. So, thank you, that’s it for today. (Applause) .

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