October 5th, 2017
Fave Rerun

The Simple Wardrobe

I ran a longer version of this post 7 years ago and it’s just as relevant today. I was addressing the fact that many women wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time:

The above story from the November 2007 issue of Vogue was written by Mark Holgate who must have been prescient since it ran moments before the downturn. The ironic timing aside, I love that the stylist Aleksandra Woronieka above wears just a few pieces- but the few pieces are great and timeless. Here we are 10 years later and I would love to own everything on her rack; the perfect simple wardrobe!


What's New


Belted leather biker jacket

Jil Sander

Gathered Knit Midi Dress


Cropped leather jacket


Triple Francois 18kt gold vermeil earrings


Jimmy Leather Puffer Jacket


Le 57 quilted leather shoulder bag


Belted wool blazer


Blade velvet slingback pumps


Silvia silk-twill scarf


Logo-embellished leather loafers


Crocheted Cotton-Blend Midi Skirt


Braided leather bangle


Delcie tie-detailed ramie midi dress


Gate knotted leather slippers


Postcard fringed crocheted straw bucket hat


Santos de Cartier metal shield sunglasses

  • Having reached a milestone birthday – it was a time for reflection on many things – including my wardrobe and spending habits.

    I did an extensive clear out and was very realistic about what I kept. Having paired my wardrobe back to the bare bones of the things I loved and wore often I could see that really – Less is more.

    I have been very strict on my purchases since and ask myself – do I love it? do I need it and why I’m buying it? Consequently I’m buying very little and wearing most of my clothes on a regular basis.

    I have found through this process what I love wearing, my ‘ uniform’ of simple quality basics that are timeless and supported by a few ‘wow’ pieces like a great jacket or pair of shoes.

    MelanieOctober 5th, 2017  7:05 AM

  • Funny you reran this article. I looked it up 3 days ago because I wanted to follow her on Instagram. I didn’t edit my closet but am trying really to buy less as I get older. There are some good pieces out there and sometimes I want them all. It’s hard when you truly love fashion and you buy a piece one season then see something better come behind it where you wish you didn’t buy that other piece. I need fashion advice. Help!!!

    TracyOctober 5th, 2017  7:48 AM

  • I remember when that article ran in Vogue – and I’ve tried to adopt a less is more approach over the years, but as a person who loves fashion, it is sometimes hard to keep the blinders on. I’ve been very successful with shoes, bags and accessories, but I definitely need more discipline with clothing and this was a great reminder. Thanks for running this!

    DianaOctober 5th, 2017  9:27 AM

  • Great post. I remember when you ran it the first time. It was true then and even more so now. We are bombarded by “OOTD” on social media and even print. Most of these outfits are utterly forgettable and have little staying power. I could take every single piece out of this closet and wear forever.
    Just went through my closet and found pieces I never even wore. And some of those impulse fashion-y items are now down right hideous. Thank you for another reminder of what a classic wardrobe should be.

    JulieOctober 5th, 2017  9:27 AM

  • I need to declutter! This is fab – timeless style always looks modern and chic.

    That's Not My AgeOctober 5th, 2017  11:34 AM

  • So satisfying and yet so difficult to adhere to. I remember this article like it was yesterday. It is the reason I purchased my first Chanel 2.55. I vowed to myself I would purchase like this and have failed miserably at times. The pieces in my wardrobe that I enjoy year in and year out are the ones I bought when I was “in the proper zone”.

    BarbaraOctober 5th, 2017  11:36 AM

  • I can’t believe it’s been seven years – I still remember this post. One of your best and still just as timely and true today!

    ellaOctober 5th, 2017  11:42 AM

  • For the most part, I have lived by the credo ‘less is more,’ and for me this translates ‘less stuff, better stuff,’ which is not the same as minimalism. I have enjoyed fashion and style all my life, thanks to my mother who instilled my aesthetic and appreciation for good design and appreciation of beauty (especially in nature). But more than ‘loving fashion,’ I love quality, design, and craftsmanship. The vast majority of offerings in fashion today are, as Julie said, “utterly forgettable and without staying power.” Some examples of pieces that have been in my closet for over 15 years and which I still wear and love: dark brown calf leather shoulder bag w/minimal hardware (Hermes 2000); a deep V-neck ink blue sleeveless dress worn with plain white sleeveless shell (Hermes 2000); two Hermes skirts, a red dirndl, a black/white canvas herringbone straight (Hermes 01); 3 misc. pairs Hermes sandals (00, 01, 02); black kidskin and blk patent Blahnik/Carolyne sling backs (wear to death and replace); Tods driving mocs; Lida Baday dresses and separates dating from 2005 thru when they closed a few years ago; non-traditional Bottega Veneta handbags; classic Rolex Datejust (1983?); Lambertson-Truex wicker/leather basket bag (90’s); Tiffany pearls + Schlumberger Acorn earrings (90’s). I could go on, i.e., my most beloved clothes are not from the past 8 years. Designers are peddling a lot of junk which resemble costume dressing and splashy showy “look at me!!!” rather than dressing with dignity and elegance. I try to shop sparingly and shop well!

    PaulaOctober 5th, 2017  2:14 PM

  • I have de-cluttered and I’d de-clutter more, but I am always wary to do so because so many fashion mavens warn to never get rid of anything of quality. For example, a vintage Valentino wool dress that I last wore to a funeral in 2009. Yes, it still fits. Yes, it is classic. I have not worn it again since 2009. Why am I keeping it?

    Tori MordecaiOctober 5th, 2017  3:12 PM

  • Tori- maybe the dress just needs a tweak. I throw very few things away and wear beloved items from 25 years ago. But, I keep everything in good condition and tweak when needed.

    PrestonOctober 5th, 2017  4:04 PM

  • Thank you for reprinting this! I’ve recently decided to get off the “buying “merry go round. . This article is a good reminder that beyond every purchase is another purchase and then another. The question I have is, can I stop buying and learn to enjoy fashion without the desire to buy the next trend? I hope so!

    Paula BOctober 5th, 2017  4:17 PM

  • Preston: I think you need to do a post on Paula’s closet.

    BarbaraOctober 5th, 2017  9:17 PM

  • Missing Lisa Baday,

    MaturityMuseOctober 6th, 2017  1:27 AM

  • I want to shop Paula”s closet!

    disneyrollergirlOctober 6th, 2017  4:45 AM

  • Look at how this post has resonated with so many of the people who love your blog! Many of my favorites are classic, well-made pieces from years ago – the best being a Navy peacoat that was first my brother in-law’s, then my husband’s, then mine starting in 1999. Still looks fresh and perfect. And like several others, I want to see what’s in Psula’s closet, too. Sounds divine

    MichelleOctober 6th, 2017  7:56 AM

  • I’m glad I didn’t remember that this post was seven years old because that meant it had more impact for me: true timelessness. I have never been an impulse shopper, my closet regrets occur when I decide to “go outside my comfort zone” or “add a pop of colour”. It’s never good if I buy something because I “should”. When I’m true to my own style and more importantly my own lifestyle rather than someone else’s, that’s when my closet makes sense and is chic.
    Another reason why I’ve always loved the name of your blog, it’s the keeping it chic that is part of life.

    SueMOctober 6th, 2017  8:15 AM

  • I would love a post on Paula’s closet too!

    AnneOctober 6th, 2017  8:28 AM

  • I still have the same article that I tore out of that issue of Vogue and also occasionally refer back to it. How inspiring and, yes, I want her wardrobe too — simple and timeless.

    KathyOctober 6th, 2017  8:51 AM

  • Wonderful wonderful! I remember this too. Certainly came at a time I was refining my wardrobe. I had another realisation recently about minimalism (volume) and personal style. Or at least mine. I repeat buy black leather skirts and trousers, and white /off white skirts. I wear ivory, black, grey, pink and blue silk shirts. Red trousers. Gold mesh belts. Fitted blazers and jackets. And plain cashmere sweaters. My bags are boxy and structured. My sunglasses are 70s oversized. Shoes are timeless shapes, erring on sexy. My styling is louche. Yeah. Very seventies siren, re-reading! But it was only this past weekend when I bought another! ivory skirt and gold belt that I realised, I was in my zone for keeps. And it felt good! Downtime styling is a different matter 🙂
    I was mislead about my own essentials by feeling agnostic about a wardrobe of Chanel bags and navy blazers. So… universal and… basic!

    SundaeOctober 6th, 2017  8:55 AM

  • It’s always such a pleasure (and a relief) to come to your site and find beautifully, carefully, thoughtfully, intelligently written and curated posts and a commenter community that understands the importance of a wardrobe filled with stylish forever pieces (can’t call them basics.) Also adding my vote to see Paula’s picks 🙂

    Happy New Year!

    ElizabethJanuary 1st, 2018  6:24 PM


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