Sabrina Meijer On The 5 Piece French Wardrobe

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Quality over quantity has always been a favorite maxim of mine. It applies to so many things (relationships, food, jobs, etc.) but it’s something I’ve always attempted to keep in mind when purchasing clothes. That’s why I was so intrigued when I came across a post on Sabrina’s blog, AfterDRK, about a 5 Piece French Wardrobe. This concept means that you only purchase five pieces every six months. This excludes basics, underwear, and accessories that are under $100.

Most bloggers don’t speak this language.  Many blogs are all about consumerism, and products, and taking pictures of yourself with products that brands send you. It was refreshing to hear from a blogger that’s thoughtful and strategic about her purchases. Sabrina and I met right before New York Fashion Week to discuss the 5 Piece French Wardrobe along with other things. Read on to see how this concept has worked for Sabrina, where she shops in Amsterdam, and if she dresses for the photographers during fashion month.

What made you start blogging?

I studied graphic design and I always wanted to do something with fashion but not study it because it is such a competitive world and I didn’t want to end up as something or someone I didn’t want to become. So I built my own website, which I learned how to do in school, and I kind of threw everything up there. It’s slowly changed into what it is now.

Do you do it full time now?

Yes.

How has that been?

Scary but fun at the same time. It’s really trial and error because you can’t do anything wrong, but at the same time you want to do everything right. But it’s fun. I think it’s good to kind of have a goal and work towards it.

What’s your goal now with the blog? Are there a lot of Dutch bloggers?

Not a lot. Not as much as in the U.S. or in Sweden, but I feel like it’s really shifting now. Everyone’s trying to find their own niche and trying to make it less of a me thing. One of my friends actually just changed her whole blog and turned it into a career platform. I’m leaning towards more photography because I’m really interested in it. I’m more comfortable on the other side of the lens. After seven years I still feel awkward posing. I think it’s good to change things up and ask yourself, “What am I going to do when I’m 40 or 45 or 50?”  You don’t have to know it all, but it’s good to kind of go somewhere.

What made you decide to limit yourself to buying 5 pieces per season (basics excluded)?

My mom always taught me to buy one thing that you really really love that is a bit more expensive instead of come home with three huge bags filled with hot fashion. That’s fun, but it doesn’t make any sense to spend a huge amount of money on stuff that you aren’t going to wear forever.

Sabrina Meijer wearing Acne shirt, Zara shorts, Mansur Gavriel bag, and Hermès slippers

You’ve done it for a few years now. Do you attempt to do it each season?

I try to. Sometimes it’s really hard. Especially around fashion week. The monster kind of comes out and I want everything.

Have you bought anything in New York?

Yes. This shirt. It’s a classic. It’s by Acne. I have this blue shirt from Rika. She’s a Swedish designer, but she’s based in Amsterdam. It’s really, really pretty. She makes good stuff and the shape of the shirt is perfect, but it wrinkles so much and I hate ironing. So I was looking for something that’s a little more low maintenance. And I also bought these shorts from the Zara sale. I try to make my readers aware of the fact that it’s ok to spend more money sometimes if you’re going to wear it over and over again.

Where do you shop in New York?

I like the whole SoHo area. I like Opening Ceremony, Acne, and Creatures of Comfort. But also Zara. I like Zara a lot, but I think it’s cheaper in Europe. I try to do a bit of vintage shopping here because I think it’s better here than in Amsterdam, but I’m not really good at it. I just went to Ina with a friend and she bought a bunch of stuff for almost nothing, but I was like I can’t do this, it’s too much, it’s too complicated.

With fashion week, do you feel a certain amount of pressure about what you wear?

Sometimes.

Do you get dressed to get shot by photographers?

No. I think I’ve done a little bit of that in the past to be completely honest and I hate myself for that. But I feel like when I really stay true to my own style, I look back at those pictures and they are the best. I used to wear a lot of heels during fashion week, but it’s just not possible to do that unless you have a driver, which is fine because I love flats. I’ve been wearing flats all summer. I haven’t planned anything out yet, but I didn’t bring a huge suitcase so I don’t have a lot of options. And it’s probably going to be hot. I think I’m going to go for comfort/classic/something funky with every outfit. I guess how I dress at home.

You have a thing for French style, right?

Yes. It’s hard to pinpoint how they do it, but sometimes I guess it’s a little boring because I feel like they wear the same thing every day. But it looks classy. It’s a uniform that works. Like Kate Moss has her black jeans, striped t-shirt, and blazer uniform.

Sabrina Meijer of AfterDRK

Do you have a uniform?

I kind of do I guess. Last winter it was skinny jeans and a shirt and a sweater. But now it’s more boyfriend jeans and a shirt and a sweater. I know you shouldn’t wear oversized on oversized but i like it.

Are you limiting yourself to five pieces over these next six months?

It hasn’t really worked out too well for the past season, but i think it’s mostly because my summer wardrobe is so tiny and we don’t have a lot of summer days in Amsterdam. When I started packing for New York I was freaking out because I didn’t have any shorts and I don’t have a lot of dresses. So I bought a little bit over five pieces. I don’t know how much exactly I bought.

What’s your favorite piece that you bought? What else did you buy?

I guess this shirt. I love my slippers (Hermes). It took me two hours in the store to decide. I walked out and came back two hours later.

I want to talk about that. I think a lot about what I buy. I have to be smart about it. I’m not an impulse shopper. I interview women and sometimes when I ask “Do you plan out shopping for your wardrobe?” it’s a foreign concept to them. They are like, “Plan? No. I just buy what I like.” And it’s as simple as that for them. And I do a little bit of that of course, but I always feel best making a list of things I want for the season and trying to stick with that. That just works for me. When did you start planning your purchases and why?

I think since a year or two ago. I think it’s because I see so many things and I got confused and when I didn’t keep a list I managed to buy some stuff that I ended up not wearing. Sometimes you just buy stuff for the sake of buying it, which I don’t like at all, so I’m back to writing it down first. I have three pieces written down for winter.

What are they?

It was a white shirt, which I just ticked off. I want a new winter coat because I’ve been wearing mine for four years now.

Do you have any in particular that you are eying?

Not yet. I love the Celine and Stella McCartney coats, but I don’t think I can spend that much money on a coat. I think I will end up at Cos or something like that. They have good wool coats. It’s an awesome store. I love it. Some of there stuff is a bit too conceptual, but the quality is good. I also want a pair of shoes with a decent heel that’s wearable for everyday.

What made you finally purchase the slippers?

One reason is that I was with a friend and she told me just get them. And then I tried to not listen to it and just figure out if I really want them or if I want them because she told me to get them. Also, I was in Italy and it was so hot and I only brought sneakers. And then I figured I didn’t have a pair of good sandals back at home either. I have Birkenstocks, but they don’t work with everything. I’ve been wearing the slippers ever since. I’ve worn them a lot this summer. So it’s a good purchase.

Do you have any specific shoes that are on your wish list for fall?

I tried on a pair of Givenchey boots in Barneys the other day. I liked them but I didn’t love them. And they are too expensive to buy if you don’t love them. There’s nothing specific that I want yet, but I am still looking for a pair of shoes with a decent heel that are wearable for everyday. Like a really feminine shoe that is not too high but works with all my boyish clothes.

Sabrina Meijer of AfterDRK

Sabrina Meijer of AfterDRK

I see you like to splurge on shoes. Do you only buy luxury footwear?

Not at all! I actually just replaced my Stan Smith sneakers with a white pair of Zara sneakers. As long as they’re real leather I think it’s fine. I just dislike seeing half of the town wearing the same pair of shoes, so that might be one of the reasons why I like to splurge on shoes a little.

So let’s talk about shopping in Amsterdam? Where do you shop most often?

There’s a Bermuda Triangle of three stores in Amsterdam. One of them is Acne, which is my thing. I could write a blog about Acne. Then there’s Rika. She sells her own label and then she also has Proenza, Alexander Wang, and Phillip Lim. And then there’s PS Atelier, a second hand store with designer stuff. That’s a fun triangle. And then I love, a store called Van Ravenstein. They sell stuff like Balenciaga and Dries Van Noten, but they always have sale downstairs. So I usually skip the first floor and go straight downstairs.

Where do you go for shoes?

I like De Bijenkorf, because they have a lot. I also like Shoebaloo, but sometimes it’s a bit tacky.

How do you stay inspired to care about what you wear everyday?  

It’s kind of really weird to explain I guess. But I guess some people are into cars, and I’m into clothes. I like the fact that it’s always changing and stuff is coming back but it’s never the same. It’s never completely the same at least. It’s a super, super cheesy answer, but it’s also a way to express yourself. You don’t necessarily have to look amazing or be into fashion, but I like when people take the effort to get dressed.

You do a good job of wearing minimal clothes, but not looking boring. How do you do that? Do you ever think you have to do more?

When I’m too basic I try to wear lipstick. That’s one of the things I do. I try to play with styles. If I wear sneakers I wear them with a suit. Or if I wear a skirt, I wear it with sneakers or frumpy sandals. Just something like that. And also I think it’s about super little personal things. Like I always wear this ring. I always wear this set of earrings. Sometimes I change it up a bit, but it’s stuff like that that makes it personal and stylish.

What’s the current goal for your blog?

I would like to shoot more editorial stuff. I like creating stories with people I like. Rens Kroes, Doutzen Kroes’ sister, has a blog about food and she just launched her book. I would love to create a story with her cooking in a cool look. I’d like to create editorials with real people that inspire me.

 

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