More on French Wardrobes

July 3, 2014

My first pair of worn out shoes.

My first pair of worn out shoes!

It’s been 2 weeks since I began The French Capsule Challenge, which was inspired by French/Parisian wardrobes.  I selected a core of 4 colors, spread out among 21 items for 3 weeks.  For my observations after week 1, check out this post.  After 2 weeks I have a few additional observations:

  1. The more you wear it, the faster it wears out
  2. Prefer a non-black core, less contrast, or both

Let’s jump right into the observations.

1. The more you wear it, the faster it wears out

The black buckle loafers in the photo at the top of this post have been a ‘go to’ shoe for the French Capsule Challenge wardrobe.  And they have worn out!  The soles are separating from the shoe.  I tried some glue, but that did not help.  I thought about a cobbler, but they are not worth the price to fix.  These shoes were $79.00 and I purchased them in 2013.  I’ve worn them 33 times, this brings their cost per wear to $2.39.

In contrast the tall black riding boots from my shoe wardrobe, were $108.46 and I purchased them in 2011.  I’ve worn them 97 times, this brings their cost per wear to $1.12 and they are still going strong.  This is probably why I often read that the smaller the wardrobe, the higher you’ll want the quality of the items to be, if you plan to sport the piece often.

2.  Prefer a non-black core, less contrast, or both

Whenever I read about a French/Parisian inspired wardrobe, I always hear about how the French adore black, as well as other neutrals (grey, beige, taupe, etc).  And I’ve often thought that black is the ‘go-to’ color for most people.  I see black items in stores, season after season, regardless of the time of year.  And I find it easy to shop for black items; shoes, tops, trousers, jeans; black is always available.  And I often purchase black thinking that it is a universal core wardrobe color.  However, as Bridgette Raes discusses in her blog (she discusses black quite a bit, but I really enjoy this post and this post about black), black may not always be the correct core color to flatter one’s complexion.

I still adore black, but with light brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion, I’m beginning to think that black may work better as an accent color for me.   In the wardrobe for this challenge, the two main colors are black and white, which are classic, but also a high contrast look when paired together.  And I’m doing this often since these are core colors for this capsule.  I never thought there was anything ‘wrong’ with my outfits, but I often do not feel like ‘me.’

French Capsule Challenge wardrobe

French Capsule Challenge wardrobe

Overall, my French Capsule Challenge wardrobe is full of bold, strong colors, (black, white, cobalt and kelly green) and my personal coloring is on the softer side (light brown hair, blue eyes, fair complexion).  Back in the spring I mentioned that I prefer strong colors to spring colors, however, strong colors that pair well with a neutral that is not black, may be the missing piece of the puzzle here and help to tone down the contrast of my outfits.

Do you have black in your wardrobe because it is flattering or because it is easy to find in the stores?


  1. I have always adored black, and it comprises most of my current wardrobe. But like you, I have started to feel somewhat “trapped” and wish to rethink my approach.

    I have started to purchase items that are navy blue . In many ways, it is a subtle change, but better for my coloring, and it gives me opportunity to bring in other colors that I truly love. It is a variation of a theme, but one that I can be excited about. It is said that the French treat navy and black the same, interspersing them and even wearing them together! Perhaps this will be my new path.

    1. I am also thinking of shifting from black to navy. Navy can still act as the dark color for an outfit, just a tad softer than black is. Also I think dark wash jeans in blue are easier to find than black one’s. 🙂 I have also read that the French like black and navy, and I’ve also read that they like earth tones, especially in warmer months. I’m beginning to think about giving some earth tones a try.

  2. Interesting! I have a couple of black pieces in my wardrobe, but I do not like wearing them. I like a black print, but a solid black piece tends to make me feel down. Do you feel more like you if you pair navy with white?
    That pop of green in your closet is lovely.

    1. Yes, I do feel more like ‘me’ with navy and white than with black and white. Navy is still dark, but not as dark as black and more flattering on my complexion for some reason. The green blazer is a happy piece, but one that I’ve had for a few years and I may be growing a little weary of. It is nice to have a blazer in a strong color though, it really brightens up an outfit. Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Many years ago I let go of black for a number of the reasons Bridgette Raes discusses. But without black as a core color in my wardrobe I didn’t feel like ‘me.” I tried to adjust but was never really happy, so I’ve returned to black because it fits with my style and personality. I also wear other colors that are more flattering on my complexion, but have learned that I also need and want to black. I also treat navy and black the same, interspersing them and wearing them together.

      2. Navy and black are lovely paired together. I also enjoy black and brown paired together. I used to enjoy brown, but then picked up on French wardrobes having black and I thought it would be more versatile. I do like black but I only recently realized that black is a bit dark on me and brown was a better choice. So now I’m going to shift back to brown. Sometimes you’ve got to try out the colors before realizing which one’s to choose. It’s nice to hear I’m not the only one who has tried out different core colors. Thanks for stopping by!

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