Wardrobe- Comme les Français
The tour of my bedroom given to me on my first day in Paris by Madame Chic was something I had greatly anticipated. After a brief cup of tea and introductions to the Famille Chic, Madame Chic took me to my room. She gave me the tour (in French, bien sur):
“This is where you will sleep” (a twin bed with a velvet coverlet… charming), “Here is your desk for your studies” (a stately desk facing the window with plenty of workspace… perfect), “This window opens out onto the courtyard for fresh air” (beautiful floor to ceiling windows- the likes I had never seen before… nice view too!), and “You may place your clothes here”.
It was all going so well until that moment. “You may place your clothes here.” I instantly felt hot and started to panic. Madame Chic was referring to a tiny wardrobe- a piece of furniture that looked like it might fit about ten items. I had brought a suitcase packed with clothes to last me six months! (I clearly had not discovered the art of packing yet). Where was the closet?! The ample storage for my ridiculously large collection of clothing?!
At the time I thought I was being subjected to some cruel experiment- a fabulously chic room with no closet space. It was like being on survivor. The next day, sitting in a café with my other friends from California I lamented about my lack of closet space. I then learned that the tiny wardrobe was not just unique to me- my friends all had the same amount of closet space in their French families’ homes too!
And that is when I had my light bulb moment. That tiny amount of closet space is all most French women require. Forget walk in closets or wardrobes stuffed to the brim with clothes. The French revere quality over quantity and would rather have 10 fabulous and chic articles of clothing, than 30 average ones. I learned the hard way and literally lived partly out of my suitcase for the next six months (not chic). Now I try to cull and edit my wardrobe on a regular basis.
Now, I believe if you live in a mansion and have a walk in closet… live it up! (I know I would). But if you live in the city, are pressed for space and are interested in having a minimalistic (but chic) wardrobe, let the quality over quantity adage be your rule.
B and I recently had custom closets built (see picture above). Since we live in a townhome there isn’t much space to be had so I am practically forced to enforce this oh-so- French rule whether I like it or not. One rule I live by is if I buy something new, I donate something to charity in order to make room for the new item.
So, I would love to know… what is your closet like?