In the Vogue article on wardrobe size that Jenn shared in this week's Link Love, the author mentions that, "An average French wardrobe during the 1960s consisted of around 40 pieces." Even more than the recommendation that a sustainable modern wardrobe might consist of ~74 pieces, this "French 40" stat really caught my attention. Could I get by with just 40 pieces, to cover four distinct seasons? Diverse activities, roles, and obligations? What would that look like?

I suspect the real victim in my case would be silhouette variety. Any difficult-layer-tops (looking at you, chunky cardigans with dolman sleeves!) would probably not make the cut. Impractical shoes would be off the table as well (ahem, cute little suede oxfords that are only seasonally appropriate for a few weeks in late spring and early fall!). I would be looking for pieces that span wide ranges of temperature and layer easily without too much bulk. Like a big travel capsule, in essence! Natural fibers that can be aired out rather than washed after every single wear. Durability to hold up to lots of wear. Cuts that tolerate fluctuations in weight or the addition of baselayers in cold weather. I have a feeling we would all look at the fabrication of our clothes with a more critical eye if we didn't have a virtually unlimited pool (or stream?) of them to choose from.

I'm curious, what would your wardrobe look like if it contained just 40 items? And what would it not include? What would your biggest constraints be? Varying work demands/levels of formality? Wide range of temperatures/four-season climate? Unless I sell my house and adopt some sort of #vanlife, I'm not going to jettison 2/3 of my wardrobe today, but I do think this thought experiment might be helpful in evaluating whether I really want/need to make new wardrobe additions, and what additions will have the highest impact based on my actual daily needs.