Autumn in Paris is the most fashionable of all the seasons. It’s the time when we toss our mangled, worn out sandals and threadbare sundresses. We polish up our boots and add scarves to the ensemble. We layer. And for me and my minimalist One Suitcase lifestyle, this means that going for walks in Paris is a constant exercise in restraint. The shop windows have an army of well-dressed mannequins to show me just how fancy I could be if I just wore what they were wearing. And if I had more than one three-foot wide closet.
Janice 2.0 would be so well dressed.
Most of the mannequins have the lifestyle of staying in one spot without cares of cobblestones and weather, so they are perfectly dressed for what they do in life. For me and my urban hikes? I need sensible shoes and a lightweight bag full of pockets for my camera, phone and journal.
I basically dress like a sensible tourist all the time.
Knowing this doesn’t keep me from experiencing a hunger for autumn fashion. I can spend a week lusting after new boots, but buying them doesn’t simmer the lust because the lust just moves onto an orange scarf, or I spot a skirt, a dress, shoes, jackets, mittens… and if I actually bought all this stuff, I know what would happen.
I’d still traipse around Paris like a sensible tourist.
Because in reality, my shoulder hurts if my bag is too heavy and my feet hurt if I don’t wear good shoes. I like what I already have and what I already have works really well. It doesn’t make me a fashionista but it does keep my aches and pains at bay. I wouldn’t make further than my courtyard in a high-heel getup without spraining an ankle. C’est tragique, n’est pas?
We buy what we buy, but we wear what we wear.
Recently, a reader asked me for an update of my One Suitcase lifestyle now that I’m no longer nomadic. To recap, I spent 2010 in California getting my life down to one suitcase so I could travel through Europe in 2011, which I did. In 2012 I shacked up with the lovely Christophe and married him in 2013. We live in Paris. (Pre-order the love story.) Oh yeah.
So what about the One Suitcase lifestyle? I still have it though it has expanded to about two suitcases: one for autumn/winter and one for spring/summer. But if I had to leave Paris today, I’d go with just the season I’m either in or going to, and happily leave the rest behind.
Two stories. One WIN. One FAIL.
Since I only have about a suitcase of clothes for each season, they get worn out near either end of the equinox, which makes them super easy to toss. Last autumn, I bought a few shirts that I wore each week until spring, at which point they were just DONE so into the trash they went. I got a good six months out of my sweaters. WIN.
I also bought two pairs of shoes. Two weeks in, they were already beyond wearing. They were uncomfortable and made my feet hurt. Oh they bugged! Within a month, I tossed them in the trash, miffed. FAIL.
Most of what we have in our closets is a mix of the WINs and FAILs. I just know to chuck out the WINs when they are worn out and to chuck the FAILs earlier than most people. Most people store these items for ages. And all that clutter is the opposite of the clean, calm minimalist wardrobe. The plan here is to not buy clothes just to store them.
Storage… that pricey, energy sucking plug.
All this said, walking around Paris with my One Suitcase lifestyle on my back doesn’t make window shopping any easier.
Though taking photos on my walks helps… Paris je t’adore.