J.W. Hulme Co. | Leather Bags & Luggage

Five Easy Pieces: Taking the French Five Stateside

The French have always gotten credit for their je ne sais quoi—that mysterious, minimalist style that delivers maximum impact. According to the latest theories, French women prioritize quality over quantity, and allow themselves just five new pieces each season. These pieces, when added to wardrobe staples—a boatneck striped T-shirt here, black cigarette pants there—are meant to build a timeless, wearable, durable collection which becomes each woman’s seemingly effortless mode of self-expression.

Americans have our own “certain something,” too. For every Marion Cotillard, we’ve got Gwyneth Paltrow . Levi Strauss developed blue jeans for Gold Rush prospectors. Casual, mixable separates have been our fashion strong suit, so to speak, for decades.

Fat volumes of Vogue and Elle plus the proliferation of fast-fashion shops have led us on gigantic shopping sprees that feel like a big bowl of ice cream: sweet and fun, but a little lacking in substance. Well, it’s time to gear up for style and substance for our collective closets, as we present the American Five.

Stylish up-and-comers such as Imogene & Willie or Raleigh denim have joined stalwarts such as Pendleton and J.W. Hulme to bring back honest, fair, humane design and production back to the States. Lassoing in hardworking American craftsmanship, these companies have modernized traditional American style. The New American sportswear style is all about timeless, effortless, well-designed pieces that can travel anywhere and stand up against any other look…oui, even those in Paris.

Below are our picks for this fall’s American Five for both women and men…Why should the French have all the fun?

Share your your American Five wishlist in the comments!

The American Five for Women

The American Five for Men



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