On the subject of quality/quantity and French wardrobe, I found a great and very enlightening excerpt from the book “Elegance” by Kathleen Tessaro:
One of the most striking differences between a well-dressed Englishwoman and a well-dressed Parisian is in the size of their respective wardrobes. The Englishwoman would probably be astonished by the very limited number of garments hanging in the French woman’s wardrobe but she would also be bound to observe that each one is of excellent quality, expensive perhaps by British standards, and perfectly adapted to the life a Frenchwoman leads. She wears them over and over again, discarding them only when they are worn or outmoded, and she considers it a compliment (as it is meant to be) when her best friend says, ‘I’m so glad you decided to wear your red dress – I’ve always loved it!’
Foreign visitors are often shocked by the high prices in Paris shops and they wonder how a young career girl, for example, who earns no more than her British counterpart, can afford to carry an alligator handbag and to wear a suit from the Balmain boutique. The answer is that she buys very few garments: her goal is to possess a single perfect ensemble for each of the different occasions in her life, rather than a wide choice of clothes to suit every passing mood.
I wonder if the Englishwoman wouldn’t profit by replacing once in a while her penchant for quantity with a quest for quality. She might find that not only is her elegance increased, but also the enjoyment and even the confidence that she gets from her clothes.
(Excerpt via tfs)