A Lesson on Timelessness from French Fashion

I took French in middle and high school. While I may only remember how to ask for the time and order a coffee, learning the intricacies of the language and culture grew my appreciation for the French lifestyle exponentially. Throughout my sophomore year, many of our learning units focused on fashion, which was basically my dream. 

After all these years, the one thing that sticks with me about how the French view their wardrobes is that they prefer quality over quantity. Globally, our world is one of fast fashion and consumption. I am guilty of this, as I enjoy trying trends, which usually results in articles of clothing worn an embarrassingly low number of times, only to be donated shortly thereafter. The French are strikingly different from most of us in the United States. I am generalizing, of course, but based on our textbooks, many French people have a surprisingly small amount of clothes that make up a capsule wardrobe of sorts. Each piece is intentionally curated to be worn multiple times in multiple ways, all while maintaining classic style. Perhaps they spend a bit more on a designer blouse or a leather pair of loafers, but the quality is sure to uphold years of wear. And who would not get excited about wearing a Chanel blouse each time the opportunity presented itself? (Not that I can relate, but a girl can dream.) While the cost is greater on the front end, the payoff in the long run is priceless: timeless style through many seasons of life despite countless uses and outfit combinations. 

Just as the French fashion philosophy of quality over quantity stands the test of time, there are similar foundational principles to a successful and healthy financial life. Much like the Chanel blouse, these principles are timeless, but may require significant (but lucrative) sacrifice to start. Some of the financial principles that come to mind are: 

  • Spend Less Than You Earn - My grandfather has always told me to “watch the pennies, and the dollars will count themselves.” Saving is not always easy. For some, it is second nature, but for others, there is sacrifice in setting aside money each month for the future. Making savings automatic (scheduled monthly transfers to savings) can be transformational in our overall financial picture. 

  • Selective Enjoyment – In his book, “I Will Teach You to be Rich,” Ramit Sethi says this: “Spend extravagantly on the things you love and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t.” Spending money on the things that bring you the most joy is a great way to live your best financial life, but what is equally important is cutting back in the areas that don’t support a healthy balance in spending or bring you joy. 

  • Have a Plan – Rainy days and unexpected things will happen from time to time, so it is important to have a plan with clear cut goals to refocus you during uncertainty. 

The more consistently we implement foundational habits, the more peace of mind we will reap through time. For so many, financial freedom is a daunting task, but perhaps all it takes is a few consistent pieces and some time-tested principles to complete the outfit. 

The opinions expressed herein are those of PYA Waltman Capital, LLC and are subject to change without notice. This article is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. 

PYA Waltman Capital, LLC (“PYAW”) is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about PYAW’s investment advisory services can be found in its Form ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.  PYA-22-17

PYA Waltman Capital, LLC
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