Four relatively affordable cashmere sweaters for those looking to stay warm during fall. Now I know that when it comes to cashmere, you usually get what you pay for. The quality of cashmere depends on the thickness and length of the fibers. The longer the fiber, the better the quality but also the more expensive. But let’s be honest, not everyone can or wants to pay €400 for a sweater. And although I don’t mind investing some money in quality basics, I personally have some really good experiences with cashmere from Weekday and Zara. I’ve had both sweaters for over a year and they still look great. Now we only have to wait for temperatures to drop!
Before I present to you my wish list of five for this season, let’s discuss basics first. Last week I wrote about the 5 piece French wardrobe and how a high quality, well-chosen selection of basics is key to making this work. Over the years I’ve read a lot about this shopping method and some people seem to wonder what qualifies as a basic. For instance, I hardly ever wear skirts or dresses, so I don’t consider them basics but they might be for you. What’s important to keep in mind is that your basics are the items that hold your wardrobe together and make it easy to mix and match with your investment pieces (aka those 5 items you’re spending your money on).
– T-shirts in black, grey and white
– A white and black long sleeve
– A cashmere sweater or cardigan
– A white (preferably silk) shirt
– Black skinny jeans
– Grey skinny jeans
– Blue skinny jeans
– A pair of black trousers
– Black ankle boots
– A pair of black flats or loafers
– Converse sneakers
– A trenchcoat
– Black leather jacket
– Oversized winter coat
– A black blazer
– Medium sized black bag
– Small black/navy bag
– A delicate bracelet or necklace
– Silver watch
Pretty basic right? I could throw some of these items on and be done for the day. Admittedly, it wouldn’t be the most exciting outfit, but since I made sure I bought the best basics suited for my body, I would feel 100% comfortable, put together and myself. And to me, knowing that I look my best and not having to worry about anything, is the most important thing. Now tell me, what would your list of wardrobe basics look like? Would it be very different from mine?
I started my 5 piece French wardrobe adventure a couple of years ago and it changed my life. Sounds dramatic, right? But it did. For years I spend a lot of my hard earned cash at fast fashion clothing stores like H&M and became somewhat of a compulsive shopper. But then I was introduced to the 5 piece French wardrobe shopping method through two of my favorite internet forums. I had seen pictures of the Acne Pistol boot floating around the internet and developed a major crush but quickly moved on since I thought I could never afford such a purchase, let alone justify it, as a student. Until I clicked on those particular topics. In case you have never heard of this method, let me talk you through it, starting with this quote from one of the topics:
“It is said” that many French women spend more money on each individual garment, but purchase fewer garments overall. Thus, French women are able to wear high quality, brand name clothing while spending the same or a lesser amount of money as someone who buys more clothes at cheaper prices. According to many, this is why the French are so chic: they have small wardrobes comprising completely of high quality garments, which they wear year over year.
Interesting, non? So how does this thing work? When following the 5 piece French wardrobe method, you need to make sure you build up a solid wardrobe consisting of well-chosen basics (think: white shirt, black jeans etc.) Then every season you are allowed to buy 5 higher quality garments to update your look. Mind you, we’re talking fashion seasons here (spring/summer, fall/winter), not weather seasons. The end goal is a small wardrobe filled with pieces you truly love and want to wear over and over again. Thus, making it easier to get dressed in the morning without the I-have-a-full-closet-but-nothing-to-wear-experience.Now you might not save a lot of money doing this, since we’re going for quality pieces. But, because you’re only allowing yourself to buy 5 items, you need to plan your purchases carefully. So while this may take some time, think of all the bad buys you’ll avoid this way! At the beginning of every season I like to create a list of most-wanted pieces while keeping in mind that:
- Basics that you’re missing or that need to be replaced don’t count
- Accessories like jewelry do count
- Socks and underwear don’t count
- Bags and shoes do count
These rules aren’t set in stone though. Everyone is free to make some minor adjustments. So, did I end up with those Pistol boots? Well I guess the picture kinda spoiled it. It took me a couple of months to get used to this idea of ‘shopping’. But they ended up being my first expensive designer purchase and I paid for them with trembling hands. After that, I never looked back (okay, except for that one time I bought my Balenciaga bag and almost cried when the sales guy charged my credit card, but let’s not talk about that). It does get hard every once in a while, so that’s one of the reasons why I started this blog. It’s a good way of keeping myself on track and maybe I’ll meet some lovely like-minded people along the way.
Would you ever consider the 5 piece French wardrobe way of life?
I apologize if you just had a traumatic flashback to your teenage years when you read the word acne in that title. But let’s talk about the brand. I’m a huge Acne fan when it comes to their knitwear. I bought my first cardigan several years ago on sale in Antwerp. I couldn’t believe I bought something so expensive, even though I got it at 30% off. But 4 years later and it still looks like new, so needless to say it was a good investment. Over the years I bought a couple of wool sweaters and a cardigan, but I never managed to get my hands on the Raya cardigan.
I was determined to buy a grey version this year. At least, until I ran into a similar knit by H&M Trend (see detail above). Although the H&M version feels a bit thicker and heavier, the fit is almost identical (you probably can’t tell from the product pictures, but I tried them both) and if you’re careful enough, it will surely last you a couple of winters. Not to mention I saved €230, hello! I recommend washing it by hand or using the wool program on your machine, both with a laundry detergent for delicate garments and clothes. Always dry it flat, no hangers or clothes pegs because it will loose it’s shape.
Edit: Oops, it’s sold out already. But knowing H&M, they’ll probably re-stock soon.