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Coco Chanel is famous for saying that women only need two or three suits of interchangeable clothes. As I look at my overflowing closets this morning, the simplicity of this idea seems appealing, if not impossible. Really? Could the woman who built the largest fashion empire EVER really mean that? Quite possibly, this means that my fashion idol would consider the content of my closets a vulgar excess. Have I mentioned that Mademoiselle was also notorious for straining the truth and outright fabrication?

Actress/author Jamie Lee Curtis adopted the Coco philosophy. When she wakes up in the morning, presumably what to wear is a non-starter for her. Whatever she chooses, it’ll be black and/or white. Ditto for a favorite professor I had in grad school. Both of them always look fantastic, but could I ever attain this standard of elegance?

Oh, Coco. Why did you have to set the bar so high? Heaven knows I spend a good share of time taking care of clothes, laundering them, and running them back and forth to the dry cleaner and to Jan Russ, the stupendously gifted woman who irons for us. It’s easy to see that a life with fewer clothes might be liberating. But since I can’t conceive of anything I need to part with quite yet, I think I’ll save the possibility of applying your rule of elegance for another day.  By that time, maybe the content of my closet will be entirely vintage!