Curated Dressing: The First Eight Weeks

First up, I’m in search of a 30″ gas range/hob/stove/player-to-be-named-later. If you are in love with your cooker, I’ve love to hear about it in the comments or directly.

As you might know, I’ve been doing this whole French-inspired, reduced wardrobe thing over the past couple of months. I thought I’d commit to an eight-week cycle of my edited deep winter wardrobe before allowing myself to pull in new pieces. While I have not been diligent in recording how often I wear pieces – and I have tried to wear most of them – it’s become clear that I have a few favourites.

First: the rules of the game. I only allowed myself to dress from the pieces on my rolling rack. While a 10 item wardrobe (the original goal) sounded delightfully simple, I allowed myself more than 10 pieces because it became clear early on that I’m not a minimalist. My object was not to get rid of everything, but rather to wear everything I had and try to slay the want monster that emerges when it feels like I have nothing to wear. I wanted to determine what pieces I loved so I could reduce the size of my closet (I have two closets in my room, but I want to do a small reno at some point and give half that space to my daughter who is closet-deficient.) Quite a few winter things made their way to the giveaway pile as a result of this exercise.

I kept a mix of high and low-priced items: Ralph Lauren, Escada, Brooks Brothers, J Crew, Eric Bompard, Brora, Ferragamo, Citizens of Humanity, Hermes, CHRiST, H&M, Banana Republic, and Lord & Taylor.

Here is what I wore:

Navy boucle jacket, silk ruffled tank, jeans

Grey cashmere sweater, grey cashmere skirt

Grey cashmere jacket,  black cashmere short-sleeve turtleneck

Camel cashmere sweater, camel skirt

Leopard cashmere sweater, leather croc embossed skirt (I wore this the least as I literally feel like a cougar in it!)

Black velvet jacket, silk top

Black cashmere Sabrina neck sweater, B&W mohair skirt

Navy and black tweed jacket

I also added basics that will stay with me year-round: a light grey merino wool v-neck sweater, a blush cashmere sweater, a classic white button-down shirt, a white tee, dark slim jeans, black pleather skinnies, and Modern Knit Slim Pants in black and charcoal. I also played with accessories.

The pieces I wore the most (at least once a week) were two black knit dresses. This surprised me as it’s a new look for me. Also, I thought black knit might not be the wisest choice as I own a small, tan, shedding dog; at least the bulldog hair is french, I suppose…

Zut alors! I resent that.

I wore this washable wool Eileen Fisher dress a lot:

And this cashmere one from Banana Republic:

They are very comfy and I’ve been wearing them with a myriad of scarves and shawls.

I’m not totally bored with my wardrobe for once and, given that it’s still deep winter here, I will have this same collection on the go for at least another month.

I had to break character slightly for the Jamaican dinner. I wore a silk tank with a light grey sweater and my grey cashmere Escada skirt. I was the least festively-dressed person at the party, but I take a Method approach to my art…

I also jumped the season a bit by sporting Fall 2014’s pale blue when I had a routine medical test.

Shameless, I know…

One of the keys, I found, to this whole look was to learn to wash cashmere well, as the dry cleaners and the delicate cycle are notoriously hard on it. I set up with a little cashmere washing station in my laundry area. The key is to have stacking drying racks, a cashmere brush and a gentle detergent.

I must say that this is a fun experiment. A couple of my friends are following suit. If all of the fast fashion retailers of Oakville go out of business, I humbly apologize!

How are you managing with your winter (or summer for those in the southern hemisphere) wardrobes? Did the fashion groundhog see his shadow for 6 more weeks of winter dressing or is it spring in your closet now?


  1. You really do look stunning in blue. Having been in the same clothes since October, I am looking forward to moving on to a lighter more casual way of dressing come the 'better' weather – fingers crossed. I can't wear leopard print at all, with my ing messy hair, I am the epitome of a cougar in it, I do however love it used in interiors.


  2. I hear there is a home dry cleaning kit that is like dry cleaning but softer and weaker that one of my friends swear by but i think you can get it only in the US. Handwashing cashmere always leaves it limp I find and yet I don't like the health issues with dry cleaning either…I can't believe how streamlined and on point you are being – very nice! It must feel good to be so disciplined!


  3. If I look best in a hospital robe, I think that this simpler wardrobe thing is something I should continue to pursue! But even the lab tech commented on the colour suiting me. I too am getting to the stage of leopard only on cushions. I'm getting ma'amed far too much when I wear it out.


  4. I will have to look into that home dry cleaning. So far hand washing is working fairly well but I want to find something milder for silks as I too hate strong chemicals. I'm so over the quantity approach to living that the streamlining feels good. I still have a long way to go, though!


  5. Obviuosly Serena has you vamping up your game as it's not just anybody who can rock a hospital robe.My Estella is very big into Eileen Fisher (too much so I think) and they do several things very well with your selection being one. Incidentally we recently found out our old schoolmate is EF's Artistic Director.


  6. I always wash my cashmere. The smell of dry cleaning fluid give me a headache, and they never seem quite as clean as when I do it the old fashioned way. I use a cleanser I get at knitting shops for hand knits. It works pretty well, but your bottle looks prettier. Very nice capsule wardrobe. I still haven't culled mine down, but it's in the thinking stage. That blue is very fetching on you. I wore it this week also! So glamorous. I was just startng to think of spring clothes, when it turned nasty and rainy, so it's black and more black for the time being.


  7. You're a good cashmere Mum. I always just send them to the cleaners and hope for the best. usually everything comes back just as dirty but smelling of chemicals. Love your selfie face at the drs – plus you suit that pale blue!! Love our electric induction Gaggenau stovetop, its called, flush with the bench and easy to clean.


  8. Jen I love your wardrobe! All of those outfits are so perfect. You are looking very sharp and pretty which is extremely difficult while living in the polar vortex. I haven't been getting any of your post updates, I need to make sure I'm following properly. What else have I missed? xox


  9. It's so hard with the vortex. I've tried to do wool coats most days but a few days pull out the big brown sleeping bag jacket that stands up on its own and requires it's own closet. Horrible!


  10. Hi Jen~I'm just catching up after a trip and a bought with the flu-ugh! I'm loving the challenge you are doing and I like your style. You have some fun outfits here. I've been going through a less is more phase myself lately…so less shopping…except for the shoes-they are always my weakness (I see they are your too;). xx, Heather


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