Heavy Lifting

Une femme’s ongoing efforts to ruthlessly edit down the contents of la garde-robe have stalled. Not only am I struggling to cast off those “maybe-I’ll-wear-it-someday” items, but I’ve taken a step (or four) backward as I’ve recently been accumulating rather than shedding. The goal of refining my wardrobe down to only those items that are classic, chic, flattering, and well made has at times seemed insurmountable.

Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” Well, dear readers, I think I have found my lever and fulcrum.

La Belette Rouge posted today about applying the “wear it in Paris” standard to assess potential purchases. I love this idea, and it’s a great way to keep myself focused on my goal when tempted by those cute-but-redundant items on the sale tables. While she was speaking of limiting purchases to those she’d use on her upcoming trip, I’m going to expand on this standard to apply to what I already own and imagine whether I would wear it, not for a specific trip or occasion, but if I were to suddenly find my entire life transplanted to Paris.
Would I wear it in Paris?” It’s clear, it’s concise, and it shall become my wardrobe mantra. Managerial and motivational textbooks stress that success comes from goals that are clear and results that are measurable. And lo! the yardstick has appeared.

The good news is that there’s nothing I need right now for any occasion short of a black tie gala (and I don’t see any of those on the horizon). I can hold the line on any new purchases without much pain. Plus, with the money I’ll save in the next few months by cutting back on spending, I can splurge on something really fabulous when we get to Paris!
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  1. hahahaha..I love that rule, only mine this year is “Can I wear it in Scotland in August?” as my younger daughter is getting married up there to a lovely British guy and I am trying to figure out what to take. So far, other than wedding clothes, I’m up to a tan twill suit(that I am in the midst of making), two knit tops and a black pair of pants, which is not very cheering, I must say.

  2. metscan – I’ve actually only been once (last May) and am going again in October. But Paris is a state of mind as well as a place, non?

    blackbird – for me, that’s precisely the idea. I need to get rid of stuff that I’ve been hanging on to.

    toby – Best Wishes to your daughter and I’m sure you’ll have a lovely time in Scotland. That’s one of the places next on my list to visit.

  3. Just did a nettoyage of the closet and begged my DH to take the bags to Goodwill immediately or the stuff sneaks back in.

    Great rule, Pseu! I also use WWJD- What Would Jane Do (Jane Birkin).

  4. Yeah. Me, too. I have fantasies of weeding out everything in my closet except two blouses, one pencil skirt, a cashmere pullover and 36 fabulous scarves, but who am I kidding? I like stuff!!!

    That said, WIWIIP is an excellent standard, and one I’ve been aspiring to for the last few years myself. Sadly for my credit card, there appears to be a lot of things IWWIP.

  5. I love LBR’s rule as well, and I plan to start seriously applying it. Notwithstanding the fact that I actually live in Paris, sometimes I buy things (especially during les soldes) that I later realize I don’t want to wear outside. Even if it was a great deal.

  6. Delighted that my rule is proving helpful in your mission to ruthlessly edit. Even though I am planning on only spending a month in Paris this year(hee-hee, only a month!;-), I would like to have a wardrobe that always had Paris in mind. It is my hope that my wear it in Paris lives long past my trip to Paris in July and that it will save me from making costly mistakes that are not a match to my personal fashion mission statement.
    p.s. Love the title of this post!:-D

  7. Now I got it,I just was confused,cause you have been talking so much about Paris ,that while you are `packing´in your state of mind, I actually thought you already sat in the plane. What a misunderstanding!

  8. I have now learn to gently walk away from an impulse buy and wait for 3 days. If I still want it at the end, then I will go back to buy it then. Saved me lots of money this way.
    When I travel, I usually won’t bring anything with me. I go with an empty suitcase and come back full. Heehee… The first thing I did after putting my empty suit case down was shopping in Paris. How unfortunate, my hotel is only a few boutique down from Hermes and across from Chanel. Sigh…. 🙂

  9. LBR – *only* a month? ONLY? Can you smell the envy from where you are???

    Style Spy – two blouses, one pencil skirt, a cashmere pullover and 36 fabulous scarves Well I wasn’t envisioning anything *quite* that drastic, as I like stuff too. But I like the idea of 36 fabulous scarves!

    phantomminuet – if Italy floats your boat, go for it!

    duchesse – yes, it’s important to get everything out of the house quickly.

    chicamericaine – yes, I’ve learned that if I wouldn’t wear it at full price, I won’t wear it even marked down 80%.

    savvygal – my hotel is only a few boutique down from Hermes and across from Chanel. I actually do plan to stop in both of those to search for my “something fabulous.” 😉

  10. Had spare time and checked your packings for your last year´s visit to Paris-quite a list of clothes.Did you have use for all of them? I don´t travel much,but I always pack much more than I really need.I don´t want to spend my time changing clothes all the time.But good shoes are very important.I think they are the most important things to pack along.

  11. i just returned from 8 days in paris, and i spent months deciding what i was going to wear there — i finally realized, i was going to wear exactly what i always wear here, because it was comfortable, and suited me perfectly. i never wear sneakers, love black slacks and have about 20 turtlenecks and a couple of short jackets that fit under my long black coat — i was comfortable and stylish in paris. i never did any clothes shopping while i was there (i was there to research my book, after all) but enjoyed comparing my wardrobe to that of all the women i saw walking around the boulevards (away from the touristy areas).

    and by the way — a month! i’d *kill* for a month.

  12. bonnie-ann – so glad to hear your travel wardrobe selections worked out for you! What is the nature of your research that you must do it in Paris? I may need to find work like that!

  13. Oh I just found your posts and love them! My shopping mantra is always WWCW “What would Coco wear?” Whenever I am tempted away from that aesthetic, I always regret regret it