# 10 Item Wardrobe

Ten-Item Wardrobe Chat

Before we jump into this week's post, I wanted to share the new author photo for my upcoming book with you. Thank you to Kevin McIntyre for another great photo shoot!

Ten-Item Wardrobe Chat

The ten-item wardrobe continues to be the most popular topic of discussion from Lessons from Madame Chic, and the questions continue to come in. Many of you are asking the same questions so I decided to do this chat video to answer the most popular ones for everyone to hear.

The first half of the video is shot in my parents' home. I had a dreadful cold (that felt like it was never going to end!) and was staying with them while I recovered. The second half of the video is shot back in Santa Monica.

Here are the topics addressed in the video:

Winter wardrobe updates I haven't purchased much since I showed you my fall/ winter ten-item wardrobe for 2013, but I do show you the the purchases (mainly tee shirts) I have made, including a lacy Zara tee that I simply adore!

Should I have a ten-item wardrobe for both work and home? This is the question I receive the most. It all depends on what you need to wear for work. If you have a drastically different dress code to what you would normally wear on your down time, you will need to have a separate work wardrobe.

Should my children have a ten-item wardrobe? This is the second most popular question I get. With the little ones it is harder to be as minimalistic because they change sizes so often (especially the baby/ toddlers) and they have so many outfit changes during the day due to dirt and spills, but yes, our kids can have a capsule wardrobe. The most important thing is to instill the values of a ten-item wardrobe in them so they don't grow up with the same shopping neurosis we did!

I also address other topics in the video such as: the ten-item wardrobe is not a diet (I like that, don't you?) and limited thinking.

Check out this week's video for the full chat. Thanks for all of your get well soon wishes on twitter. As you can see in the second half of this video, I am feeling much better!

If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Please let me know in the comments section how your ten-item wardrobe is coming along. I love to hear from you on twitter, facebook and instagram too! Use the hashtag #TenItemWardrobe to send me your pictures and/or feedback.

Have a marvelous week. Our Untethered Soul Book Club starts next week! See you then.

For more on Kevin McIntyre, visit kevinmcphotograph.com

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Unknown said...

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for an update. I'm glad you're feeling better. I had the same cold at the same time. Glad to have that behind me.

I appreciate your comments and answers.

One thing I like that you mention is to donate your cast-offs to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or the like.

What people may NOT know, is that donate your clothing items in ANY condition. I used to only donate just the items that were gently used with little wear, but I found out that they WELOME ANY clothing because if it isn't fit for resale they GET MONEY from selling clothing/fabric by the pound to cloth buyers (to be made into other things like insulation and such). So ANY fabric/clothing is welcome, in any condition.


Rose said...

Hi Jennifer,

Thank you for the long video especially when you've been under the weather. I'm progressing toward my ten item capsule wardrobe by decluttering and replacing only with good quality pieces. I look better and though it may take me another year or so, I'm getting closer to the ten item wardrobe. I don't stress over it, I cull, I forgive myself for past mistakes and move on.

That's a terrific photo of you for the new book, you look lovely in the teal.

If you ever get the chance to address this I'd love to know if Mme and Monsieur Chic know of your progress? I'll bet they are proud.

Warm regards from Australia.

Sally in Sydney said...

Hi Jennifer,

I LOVE the concept of the 10-item wardrobe and I have been practising it this summer in Australia. I am a high school teacher and hence I need to be well dressed but not necessarily in suits etc. I have two dresses, several skirts, a couple of blouses, a few t-shirts (stripey are my favourite), and one navy cashmere cardigan. My theme is red, navy and white and hence everything has to go with that navy cashmere cardigan! I find it so easy to get ready for work.

I include a couple of pairs of jeans as 'extras' for the weekend, because they are the only days I wear them.

Thank you again for your inspiration!

Sally x

Deb said...

I too have been using the 10 item wardrobe this Summer. And not once have I felt or looked "daggy". :)

Jomara C R said...

How lovely picture, Jennifer! You look gracious in your green dress! I’m looking forward to reading your new book.
It’s so good to know you feel better now - wishing you all the best.
Thank you very much for this new video. It is very instructive and inspiring. I had this question about work and home wardrobe as I use a kind of “formal dress code” at my job.
I’m still learning and adapting to this new way of thinking about clothes, shoes and accessories. I think I’m doing fine, but I still need to improve in some particular aspects, for example, I love sales. I’m trying to avoid them as I tend to buy things I don’t really need because they’re on sale. I also have difficulties in letting some old stuff go… I tend to think I may need them in the future and keep them in boxes in my wardrobe. Oh, well but I progressed a lot this past year and I keep on going!
By the way, I’m reading Untethered Soul and loving it. What a wonderful perspective. Very deep, motivating, enlightening… I’ll be joining the book club next week.
Greetings from Brazil!

Unknown said...

I try to keep my toddler with 14 outfits and my 6 year old with 10 shirts. Grandparents make this extremely difficult. I am ashamed at the BAGS of unused clothes I have in our basement, but loading up my kids drawers/closets with too many causes confusion for them. I pass ~50% of my kids clothes on to some cousins and donate the remaining trashed stuff (like another poster mentioned, Goodwill sells them for rags, etc).

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I've been going to a big closet-change over the last 3 year. At the time I have a pretty limited wardrobe, andIi just love it. I'm using your concept as a part of my preparation for the seasons, among other concepts. What I love is that the ten item wardrobe helps me figure out what will be the statement for the season, at what I want to buy.

Last, i live in Denmark, and we have big temperature changes over the year. I don't find it hard to practice the ten item wardrobe. So your right, I can certainly be done...

Unknown said...

Thank you for your videos! I have not whittled my wardrobe to 10 pieces yet, but I have cleaned out at least 1/3 (I was never a clotheshorse to begin with) and you are correct...getting dressed in the morning is easy, and I truly appreciate every piece of clothing I own. Plus, I have become much more discerning with the few items I have purchased.
Most importantly, I am transmitting the concept of a capsule wardrobe to my 14 year old daughter who has recently discovered fashion. She wants to be like the girls in her school and have tons of brand name, new clothes. She has several good quality items, and I have refused to buy her more this season, forcing her to come up with new outfits using her current clothes. She balks every time I tell her to be creative, but she is so pleased with herself when she discovers a new way to wear her "boring" clothes. She hasn't got it yet, but I am hoping that in a few years when she is on her own, these values stick with her (of course this applies to more than clothes!)
Please keep up your very good work. You are in the position to influence a whole new generation regarding thoughtless consumption. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Dear Jennifer,

Please, make a video about your hair care routine. Your hair is the most gorgeous one I've ever seen!

Emily said...

I love living the ten (well, probably more like 20)-item wardrobe in my cold climate! 17 degrees today and still fashionable. ;)

LadyFin said...

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for posting another great video!! Your tips have been so helpful and I have been making a lot of progress in my own home.

I live in a cold climate and my work wear is very different from my Mommy wardrobe at home, so I do have two capsules. I started doing this and then saw your video and it made me smile.

The space in my closet and the simplicity is AWESOME!! I am working on trying to change the way I think, because I still find myself thinking about shopping a lot. I found that planning and writing down my wardrobe has helped me stay focused and less distracted from sales.

I am in the midst of planning my capsule wardrobe for Spring 2014 and am having so much fun!!!

Here is my Spring 2014 capsule for work.

Colours: navy, cream, gray, coral and olive green.

Pants: light grey, and olive green

Blazers: coral and navy

Dresses: coral jacqured sheath, navy sheath, navy floral print aline, black and white floral print with pops of coral and olive green sheath.

Skirts: navy pencil

Capris: coral, beige

Blouses: white short sleeve, black and white stripe, peach lace. (Looking to get 1-2 work appropriate t-shirts)

Cardigans: white, pink, navy, gray, purple

Scarves: lavender with dots, navy floral

Jeans: dark denim, blue, and gray

Jacket: beige trench, jean jacket

I am thinking of getting a soft structured white/cream blouse, couple of t shirts, a cream blazer and some nude pumps.

Now I have a list of things I'm looking for! If I see something that is not on my list I'm doing my best not to get distracted. I have been doing this for years at the grocery store and now the same principle is being applied to my wardrobe.

Thank you so much for your tips. If I ever get the time, I would love to shoot a short video or take some pics for you to see.

Do you think it would be fun to post others capsule wardrobes to see a variety of styles, shapes, sizes and lifestyles?

virtuesandfollies said...
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virtuesandfollies said...

Hi Jennifer,

I am loving my ten item wardrobe--clearing out my closet was so liberating, especially saying goodbye to all the ill-fitting and unflattering pieces that I had accumulated over the years. I have culled my wardrobe down to a handful of teeshirts, 1 nice sweatshirt, 5 blouses, 3 sweaters, 2 cardigans, 2 pair of jeans, and a pair of corduroy trousers--no skirts/dresses for the winters here as tights just don't keep me warm enough. The ease of getting dressed as really overflowed into other areas of my life, allowing me the time to put on a bit of make-up in the morning which I have really struggled with since the onset of wee ones in my life. I just feel more put together and presentable now.

I also must brag a little too: because of the 10 item wardrobe, when my family and I packed to travel abroad this year--I was able to pack my entire wardrobe into a single piece of carry-on luggage! I love that I didn't feel like I was missing any key articles, because it was all there.

Thanks for talking about children--I've been wondering about how to incorporate this with my own little munchkins.

Daniella said...

I find it so interesting that people can take the 10 Item Wardrobe, SO literally. As if you're "tasking" tham as you said, lol. I see as just a guideline and a great one at that! People get so serious, when really curating this kind of wardrobe should be fun! I'm actually due for a small clear out and looking into a few new capsule pieces. Thanks for the inspiration Jennifer! Glad you're feeling better.

Daniella said...

oops, meant to say "tsk-ing" them*

Debbie said...

Hello Jennifer,

The 10 item wardrobe has been in my head for a few years. I just discovered your book last month and devoured it. My initial interest was your Paris experience. Imagine my surprise when I came upon the wardrobe chapter. It brought me to my tipping point, in a good way.

I am thoroughly enjoying cleaning my closet and being thoughtful about what items to keep.

The rest of your book is a daily inspiration as well. I look forward to the release of your new book. I have also wanted to read The Untethered Soul, so your book club is another timely coincidence.

Many thanks and so glad I found you!


Susan said...

I have never been a clothes - horse, so what I have taken from your capsule wardrobe concept is making sure that every top, sweater, blouse, tee, etc. can be paired with any skirt, trouser or dress. This winter I have used only black or brown as neutrals as the basis for my wardrobe. (My ultimate goal is to banish as much black as possible from my closet. I'm ready to lighten up but am waiting for my budget to catch up with this plan, :-) This careful selection of colors has made life so much easier! An added bonus is a newly discovered interest in statement necklaces and scarves. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

Ann said...

Hi Jennifer...just found your blog and have ordered your book. I am a 59 year old school librarian that tries NOT to look like a 59 year old school librarian. I love your idea of a 10 item wardrobe and hope to go through my closets and attempt to simplify. I am a "sale shopper" and hope to get out of that mindset of it is on sale so I need to buy it. Did not have much growing up and now feel because I can buy - I deserve it. Your blog - and hopefully when I get your book - will help me to realize I deserve to enjoy the beautiful things I already have !
Will you do a post on what to take on a trip...hopefully for the summer months. Might be going to Paris in July !

Ann said...

Hi Jennifer...just found your blog and ordered your book and looking forward to reading it. I am a 59 year old school librarian trying not to look like a 59 year old school librarian. My closet is stuffed as I am a sale shopper and think things are too good to pass up - Love the idea of paring down and enjoying quality and the wonderful things I already own.
Hoping to travel to Paris this summer...might you do a post on what to wear in France in summer ?
Thanks - can't wait to read your book !

Anna said...

Thank you for sharing more thoughts on the 10 item wardrobe concept! I agree that it's possible to live in a cold climate and pare down your closet. I live in the upper Midwest and find that having a warm, chic winter coat with carefully chosen accessories helps me feel put together even when weather is at its worst. Thick legging to wear under skirts/dresses, 1-2 versatile cardigans, and a few fun scarves help, too. Fashion can be functional :)

Maureen said...

I have been loving a 10 item wardrobe for two years now. Thank you for bringing the concept into my world, Jennifer. It's really opened my eyes and enabled me to invest in high quality pieces. Since I shop so seldom now, it allows me to only buy items that I truly love and WANT to wear all the time. :)

I also would like to comment on the topic of teaching our children how to enjoy what they have. Growing up, my aunt and uncle made it a rule for my cousins that whenever they got something new, they had to pick something to give away to charity. I have always loved this concept! It helps kids to evaluate what they enjoy the most and least of their things and pick something they no longer like as much as they used to and give it away so that another kid can give it a new life. It applies to toys, clothing, etc. Brilliant!

R.S. said...

Jennifer, your parents' home looks so elegant. I've been wondering for a long time: did you grow up with elegance? Was your mother a role model in that department? And how does a 21st century mom impart these types of lessons to her daughter without sliding into vanity and superficiality? Perhaps it's not something we teach but something we model?

I love your videos and am so happy for your continued success!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer! I recently found your blog and love the idea of having fewer things in life but things that you really love and appreciate. Especially the wardrobe has a tendency to grow if I don't weed it out regularly. But I have a question. With so few pieces in your wardrobe how do you care for them? How often to you do laundry? Do you hand wash often? And do you have a daily routine for caring for your clothes? With so few items I guess you need to have a regular routine in order to have the items you love ready to wear. Also, do you occasionally mend your clothes in order to make the items you love so much last longer? I would love to see a video on the topic of wardrobe maintenance. /Annika

Sheree said...

This video is very good.

I read in your book that Madame Chic is a great chef in her home. Did you happen to see how much food she kept in the kitchen? I wish I could have a peek!

I imagine it is much like her wardrobe.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

I have absolutely loved reading all of your comments and hearing about your ten-item wardrobe journey! Thank you for all of your tips, updates, questions and requests!

Keep on going! The ten-item wardrobe will always be a topic of discussion on this blog. I will be filming my spring ten-item wardrobe for you in the coming months. Lots of love xx Jennifer

mpenhoet said...

I enjoyed this update as I was giddy with anticipation about winter updates. I live in northern california so it's been chilly and while I am DYING to break out a spring wardrobe, our weather is too darned unpredictable for such a move.

My own progress has been monumental! I did it! After months of paring things down and taking my little-worn items to consignment shops (for nice proceeds!) I have succeeded in my version of the capsule wardrobe which consists of 30 items including outerwear. Wow. What a shift in lifestyle!

I feel so much BETTER each and every morning when I walk into my closet and can with little struggle pull together my favorite items in minutes and be done (and look pretty nice too!)

Thank you mille fois for the blog and the inspiration. I am enjoying the fruits of my weeks of paring down labor!

Susannah7 said...

Hi Jennifer,
As someone who DOES live in an area that has very cold winters and snow, I would like to say I have been successful using the 10 item wardrobe lifestyle (with maybe a few more things thrown in). First, for everyday wear, (shopping, lunches, errands, volunteer work at my daughters' schools & organizations, working from home, meetings, etc..) my wardrobe has been sooo easy and comfortable. I have been wearing black tights and tall black "riding" boots with about 4 skirts I rotate, 2 black cardigans from Loft, a grey cardigan from Loft, and tanks underneath. I just love the ease and fashion of this look. It also worked perfectly in October when my daughter and I went for a 3 day trip to NYC. I had to pack so little but was ready for anything all day and night. The other items I wear a lot in the winter are: dark skinny jeans paired with those same sweaters or a loooong almost sweater coat that is very cozy and same black leather tall boots. I also have 1 or 2 more skirts with 2 sweaters that I can throw in there if I've worn my favorite skirts/cardigans too much to same events. On days that we don't have snow or mush on the ground, I also rotate in some jeans with flats and a couple cardigans with maybe a cute scarf. I feel so good in the mornings or before a meeting or lunch knowing I can always go to one of my cute skirts/sweater/boots combo and look and feel so pulled together. Thank you so much for the 10-item wardrobe concept. I think I always kind of went that way anyway-always pulling out my favorites but feeling guilty I wasn't wearing ALL those other clothes in my closet and then feeling stressed. Now, it's easy.

Susannah7 said...
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Emma Knight Peel said...

I watched the French film, Shall We Kiss, last weekend, and I enjoyed noticing a lot of things that Lessons From Madame Chic talks about...like the lead female wearing the same few clothes, mixing sweaters and blouses to freshen up the same pieces with a new combination, a simple, elegant, beautiful barrette that she wore several ways, le no makeup look (simply beautiful), classical music playing in the very organized, pretty apartment, no television in sight... I love noticing these things in French films. Every time I watch one, I long to go back to Paris.

Linda H said...

Hi Jennifer:

Thanks for mentioning cold climates. As a working mom of a 6-year old and 4-year old, living in a cold snowy climate, I find 10-items a bit too limiting, so mine is more like a 15-18-capsule.

V-neck Sweaters: black, gray

Cardigans: black, plum, emerald green

Pants: black

Skirts: Gray tweed, denim pencil, black pencil

Dress: Black

Blazers: Black, denim

Tops: black/white graphic, white collared, layering t-shirts in varying colors

Transition to weekend:
Skinny jeans, black leggings (don't worry, they're very thick, pant-like), black drape sweater

The black pencil skirt and blazer is technically a suit...but I rarely wear them together.

I work in academia so most of the items are interchangeable. In fact, I've really been enjoying wearing skirts on the weekends lately.

Oh, speaking of skirts, thick tights are absolutely essential in this climate.

I love this pared down approach, it really makes the mornings much easier to handle. Who has time for the what-to-wear hassle in the morning with 2-kids to get out the door and a bus to catch!

Gabriel said...

Very nice video. I'm amazed you had the energy to do a video shoot while recovering. I have two kiddos too and when I'm sick, it's like our house is on life support!
I wanted to write about my progress. You kindly answered one of my questions on a video. I have put together a work and mom 10 item wardrobe and it's been fabulous!
For work, I really just picked the best pieces of my wardrobe. I took all the other items and dropped them in a bag to be donated. After 2 months, when I never went back for them, I knew it was safe to send them off to bless someone else.
For mom life, this was harder. I mentioned that so many moms are really frumpy and I was feeling "overdone" by dressing well. I finally got over that. I realized no one is really paying THAT much attention to me.

The biggest changes are 1. everything fits! And I've altered them to fit if needed. 2. No stains. If it's even mildly stained (that can't be removed), it's gone. 3. I leave the house looking presentable.

I was never a clothes horse, but now I just buy key pieces. Life seems a lot simpler when I just have solid pieces that all "go". It's like garanimals for grown ups!

Projekt Wymarzone ┼╗ycie said...

I'm really looking forward to reading your next book, Jennifer. In polish, in english... whichever comes out first.And I love the colour of dress you're wearing in the photo above. Beautiful.~ Magda