When Clothes are a Frenemy


wardrobe difficulties

How Many Articles of Clothing Do You Actually Wear On a Regular Basis?

Clothes can make the morning more stressful, which is crazy because most of us love clothes. But sometimes we have to many, which is the root of the stress.

Ladies, say you have 6 pants/skirts, 12 tops and 5 pairs of shoes (which is a pretty sparse wardrobe, honestly). The math says these clothes can create 360 combinations. With this limited wardrobe, you could have a different outfit for almost every day of the year. Throw in a couple dresses, and you’re there.

Guys, don’t laugh. Say you have your 4 trusty pants, 8 shirts and 3 pairs of shoes; that’s 96 combinations. And men’s clothing is generally more interchangeable, so more of those 96 combinations are realistic.

Math probably has little place in fashion; some clothes just won’t go together. The point is that few of us are really suffering from a shortage of outfit options. On top of that, formal and informal styles are starting to blend together in today’s fashion environment; what you wear to a party is often okay to wear to work. With this mix-and-match kind of style, we don’t need to buy as many entire outfits. Instead, it’s easier to piece together outfits from different articles of clothing and look great doing it, especially if they come from the same brand.

Take a typical month; how many outfits do you wear? Say you average 5 outfits per week because some outfits are repeated multiple times in a month. So you “need” about 20–25 outfits a month. If you had 3 pants/skirts, 4 shirts and 2 pairs of shoes, you’d have 24 outfit combinations. Even with underwear, belts and socks, it’s a wardrobe that fits into a backpack.

But living out of a backpack is no fun, and walk-in closets are the best. Nonetheless, it’s healthy to realize that a smaller wardrobe is okay. 

Here’s how to get rid of clothes:

Group your clothes by clothing types (jeans, slacks, dresses, T-shirts, collared shirts, sweaters, coats, sandals, shoes, etc.). Step A is to remove the articles of clothing you love/wear the most. For step B, pick one article of clothing that you like the most from each pile. The remaining clothes are probably items you rarely or never wear. Step C is to discard, gift or put those clothes into storage.

Reasons to own fewer clothes:

  • Limited spending due to being wardrobe conscious.
  • Less organization time.
  • Less time spent getting ready in the morning.
  • Less clutter.
  • Easier packing.
  • Easier laundry.
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