2016 Wardrobe Detox: The 5 Piece French Wardrobe Challenge

2016 Wardrobe Detox: The 5 Piece French Wardrobe Challenge

Happy Monday my dears! Apologies for being a bit quieter than usual here on the blog this month, my starting Youtube has been taking up quite a lot of time, but I’m very much getting into the swing of things now, which is great! If you haven’t checked out my videos already, be sure to subscribe here.

Since the beginning of January, I’ve been looking at my current wardrobe, and the ways I can make it work for me in the coming year. You may remember the extensive closet clearout I did last year, but keeping your wardrobe in a healthy, functional state requires regular maintenance and culling. So later today I’m off to Siopaella with another few suitcases of things I’ve accumulated over the past few months, and you can also check out some bits I’m selling over on the Irish Ragsbox app.

The 5 Piece French Wardrobe Challenge

After this new clearout, I have decided to adopt a brand new approach to my wardrobe. It’s called the Five Piece French Wardrobe(or FPFW for short) which I’ve learned about recently, basically it is a system that, if followed correctly, brings you to your perfect, curated wardrobe, tailored perfectly to your own personal needs. The rules are simple. You compile a list of your basics (ie essentials in your wardrobe) which you are allowed to buy at whim, but you can only purchase five trendy or statement pieces per fashion season (which would be 1: fall/winter and 2: spring/summer) which means every six months.

Here’s an overview of the Rules:

  • You are allowed buy 5 new items every 6 months.
  • Basics don’t count as one of the 5 items (see my own basics list below)
  • Underwear / socks don’t count either
  • 1 investment bag per year is allowed
  • Accessories don’t count (unless they’re over €100)

Your ‘basics’ will be the foundation of your whole wardrobe, and the list consists of things you should really have in your wardrobe, if you don’t already. I compiled my own basics list below, and surprisingly, I don’t yet own a lot of things on this list. You can see I’ve checked off the ones I do have already.


  • 3 TeeShirts – (Black ✓ White ✓ Grey ✓)
  • Breton Stripe top ✓ 
  • 3 Tanks/Camisoles –  (Black / White / Grey)
  • Button up shirt – (White / Office Blue )
  • Silk Shirt (evening wear)
  • Black Dress
  • White dress
  • Boyfriend blazer (black ✓ tan ✓) 
  • Cashmere Sweater ✓


  • Suit trousers (with matching blazer)
  • skinny jeans ✓
  • boyfriend jeans
  • Black Cigarette pants
  • biker trousers ✓
  • leather pants ✓
  • black shorts 
  • black fitted skirt
  • Denim Shorts ✓


  • Leather biker Jacket
  • Trenchcoat
  • Faux Fur Gilet ✓
  • Faux Fur Coat ✓
  • Oversized Wool Coat ✓ 


  • Nude Stilettos
  • Black Stilettos 
  • Everyday ankle boot ✓
  • Classic Flats ✓
  • Heeled Sandals ✓
  • Sneakers ✓


  • Durable leather Handbag ✓
  • Small Crossbody ✓ 
  • Eveningwear Clutch ✓ 
  • Small wallet
  • Large Holdall Tote
  • Small Card Holder
  • Small leather Pouch ✓ 


  • Dress Watch (Gold or Silver)
  • Leather Strap watch
  • Long pendant (Gold or Silver) ✓
  • Dainty Necklace (Gold or Silver) ✓
  • Everyday ring (Gold or Silver) ✓
  • Cashmere Scarf ✓
  • Everyday Beanie ✓ 
  • Leather Gloves ✓
  • Sunglasses (Classic Black / Aviator ✓)
  • Black Leather belt ✓ 

Now these basics are my new shopping-list, so before I splurge on that sequin dress or printed jumpsuit, I’ll make sure these are ticked off first. Then if it’s a non-basic but I still want it, it will be one of the 5 allowed pieces per season. I’ll also be trying to invest a little bit more into these pieces (when possible), as I know I’ll be wearing them so frequently. This might seem a bit ‘safe’ especially coming from a fashion blogger, but the idea is to curated the ultimate wardrobe which is edited to your own needs. In this modern age of fast-fashion, a smaller capsule wardrobe is the real luxury. It also saves you money, time and stress in the long run. It’s not anti-shopping, or anti budget-buys, it’s just about being selective. People who have adopted the FPFW method claim it’s changed their lives, sartorially speaking! So for 2016 my ethos is to buy less, spend more when I can, and try to shop  according to my new FPFW guidelines.

Disclaimer: Due to the nature of the work I do, I am often gifted or loaned clothing for the purposes of my job as a stylist and presenter, so you might see me in new outfits from time to time, but I’ll b sure to keep  you updated on my personal FPFW challenge here on the blog, so you’ll know what bit’s I’ve added and what’s on my wishlist.

I’m going to take you all on this journey with me through the blog, I think it will be quite the challenge! If you’re interested in adopting this method yourself, then start by having a good wardrobe clearout (read my top tips for that here) and then compile your own basics list (use mine for inspiration) taking into account your lifestyle and your working-wardrobe. Let me know if you’re trying it out in the comments below, I’d love to know your thoughts on this guys!

I’m also going to add a new Shop tab to my menu bar entitled: “The Basics List” where you can find all my wishlist items, as well as my own basics list that I’ll be working on.

Wish me luck!!

Ciara x










  1. January 19, 2016 / 11:59

    Just love this! Came across your post on the Facebook bloggers page! I have actually been doing a similar thing. But I love your guidelines. The one I have set goes by seasons so you get to buy a few items each season (which is every 3 months rather than 6 luckily!) would love to follow your journey on this and share tips!

    Great post!

    Love Danielle. X

    • ciara
      January 22, 2016 / 13:54

      Thanks so much for the kind words Danielle, Im glad you liked it! 3 months seems a lot less painful than 6 to be honest, especially since the weather can change so drastically within 6 months! I’ll see how I get on anyways but i just might have to adopt your method, haha! x

  2. Lou
    January 19, 2016 / 13:45

    I love the idea of this! I am definitely going to copy your basic list and go from there – already I know where my gaps are – I’m really guilty of trying colour and then just not wearing it – I think my comfort zone is neutrals grey/black/white/tan/khaki etc. this is a challenge I think I can get on board with! best of luck to us all!

    • ciara
      January 22, 2016 / 13:56

      Hi Lou, SO great to hear that you’re going to do the challenge with me, yay! I’ll be aiming to do a weekly post on my progress, wishlist, shopping hauls, and so on, so I can keep everyone updated. Thanks for commenting, and best of luck with it my dear! xx

  3. January 23, 2016 / 19:44

    I loved this post! Your basics list is one that I think I’ll just steal outright haha! If I could stick to this I think I’d actually have clothes that I could really wear and interchange. At the moment I just feel like I’ve too many stand-alone outfits that I tire of quickly! Looking forward to seeing how you get on!
    Lorraine x

  4. Aishling
    April 21, 2016 / 14:43

    Totally on this bandwagon. I have a major addiction to ZARA and have always been the fashionista of my group of friends. I’ve also found that keeping up with the Jones’s is not going to increase my bank balance or keep it in the green any longer. I’ve bags of really good quality clothes to try and get rid off and siopa ella don’t seem to be taking off anymore either.

    Have you any suggestions as to where I would go to sell a few bits? I’ve tried depop but it hasn’t really worked for me.

    Well done and you’ve a new follower.

    Aishling x

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