Modern twist on the French Capsule Wardrobe – Applying the 80:20 rule

Pareto’s Law: 80% of results come from 20% of total input

Traditionally this concept is focussed on the concept of of working SMART but it also applies to pretty much all areas of your life. The chances are you one use around 20% of your makeup, you probably only wear around a fraction of your shoes and you know that 20% of your wardrobe does 80% of the work.

Let’s be honest – most of the people I see touting capsule wardrobes, French wardrobes and the likes are not exactly the people I believe constrict their wardrobe. One minute it will be Marie Kondo, Capsule Wardrobes and French Dressing and the next will be a haul of clothes they likely won’t be wearing next month. I feel like these topics have been ‘done’ but not really in a manageable or realistic way.

Applying the 80:20 rule to your wardrobe holds some similarities with a French or minimalist capsule wardrobe the key difference is really focusing on the 20% which needs to work the hardest. This will be primarily classic pieces which you might spend some additional time and money picking up. It means that the 80% of periphery pieces can rotate in and out as seasons and trends change.

The 20%

  • Ankle Boots
  • White Shirt
  • Black Bag
  • Smart Coat
  • Blazer
  • Comfy Flats/Trainers
  • Black Trousers
  • Everyday Jeans

Whilst in terms of volume the 20% is made up of the key pieces in terms of budget it should equate to around 80% of your budget. Whether this is by year or by season spending a little extra on trans-seasonal and timeless classics will mean that you will always be able to rely on your wardrobe. This 20% should make daily dressing 100% easier.

Throwing around a lot of numbers aren’t I? When it boils down to it – the 80:20 rule is about having the heart of yo wardrobe full of key pieces that you truly adore – it’s more cost effective than throw-away fashion, it means that you’ll prioritise quality over quantity and means that you’ll always look ‘put together’.

This jumper is the perfect example of this – following on from my commentary in being too poor to be a FASHUN blogger I picked this jumper up in the Cos sale knowing it would last me. You’ve even seen it already on here (bet you didn’t remember!). I went for quality over quantity – no matter how alluring those H&M knits are… they will only last me the season.


  1. November 13, 2016 / 1:52 am

    Can I just say I’m so in love with your post layouts? Haha love seeing these photos and reading through this. The look is gorgeous, and I’m so envious of your hairstyle tbh. <3 The 80-20 rule is a good approach to how we can organise our wardrobes though. Lovely post.
    Have a nice weekend x

    Joanne | Life in Blue Skies

    • Lisette @ Spoke + Co
      November 13, 2016 / 10:56 pm

      Hi Joanne – thank you so much I’ve been trying to crack the perfect layout! It’s less of a style and more of a ‘go to bed with wet hair’ but thank you 🙂 I found that the 80:20 rule is just a lot more manageable than the capsule wardrobes that seem to be everywhere xx

  2. November 14, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    What a combination; wise words and beautiful photos! I’m a big believer in being selective when it comes to clothes, I’d much rather have 10 items I love wearing time and time again rather than 20 trend pieces!

    Sinéad ♥ fabuleuse, toujours ♥