Minimalism is the discarding of all but the essential. This can be material possessions, such as furniture, or non-material, such as apps on your phone. The point of minimalism is that by removing the unessential and leaving only the essential, you give yourself more room to focus on the things that matter, e.g. relationships, career, travel, etc. In short, it’s a way to free the mind.
This concept can be especially effective in the wardrobe. Today, fast-fashion and cheap consumerism reign king. As a result, many people have closets and drawers filled with clothes that will never be worn again. This might allow more choices in an outfit, but having too many choices can also be overwhelming and waste time. On the other hand, people like Mark Zuckerberg, who wears the same gray t-shirt and jeans every day, eliminates the amount of decisions he makes in a day and has more energy for the decisions that count. Although most people are not making decisions on his level, the practice can be just as useful in our lives.
This brings up the french wardrobe. It’s a practice as much as it is a philosophy. The key is that you are only allowed to have five pieces in your wardrobe a season. By doing this, you grow your wardrobe and transform your style in a way that forces you to emphasize quality, flexibility, and aesthetics. If you are someone who wants to go backpacking or just enjoys the freedom to do things with less things bringing you down, a french wardrobe may be a beneficial challenge to try. Although the rules are a little mucky, here is a simple set of rules to approach it:
- You are allowed five tops (shirts, sweaters, jackets) and five bottoms (shorts, pants, and shoes)
- Things like socks, underwear, and accessories don’t count.
- Everything else counts.
- You cannot change your wardrobe until next season
Easy enough? Maybe not. Most people would have massive trouble attempting this challenge, which I think makes it all the more worthwhile. Although it’s difficult, the effects of doing it can and will spread into other areas of your life. Maybe upon seeing that you can be fine with five tops and five bottoms, you will realize that many other things in your life are unnecessary as well. Maybe you will even feel compelled to pack up your tiny wardrobe and take a plane-ride anywhere. You get the idea. And if the thought of spontaneity doesn’t get you excited (it sure does for me!), then maybe minimalism is not for you.
So give it shot, I’m certainly going to. Curious about what a french wardrobe might look like? Here’s what mine might look like:
Tops: Black t-shirt, long-sleeve henley, flannel shirt, grey sweater, and mountain parka
Bottoms: Raw denim jeans, khaki chinos, brown boots, running shoes, and basketball shorts