Wardrobe Pare-Down

My usual summer work look

One of my goals this year was to wear all the clothes I already own, throughout the year, and decide if I want to keep them. Summer has just ended and it’s time to switch wardrobes!

I tried to be honest with myself about what I actually wore this summer. I will tally as I go along.

  • Plus = added to my wardrobe
  • Minus = subtracted from my wardrobe (minus is good!)
  • 0 = numbers stayed the same

First, my work wardrobe:

I have 2 pair of pants (trousers) that I wore often, 4 that I wore occasionally, and 1 that I never wore. I also have a pair of red pants that I wore once (not for Canada Day) and felt silly. So that is 2 pair of pants I no longer need.

Score: Minus 2

I realized I wore the same 4 solid-colour Tshirts in rotation every week, alternating with 2 other tops, and 3 more that I wore just one time each. Should I get rid of the 3 or give some relief to my co-workers who must get tired seeing me in the same things all the time? I also have 6 summer tops that I didn’t wear this year at all so there is no excuse for keeping them.

Score: Probably Minus 9

I wore 3 lightweight jackets/blazers at work to deal with the air conditioning, and 2 others I wore once each. I have 6 lightweight summer cardigans (some with cropped sleeves, etc.) but only wore 3 of them this year.

Score: Minus 3

I wear plain clothes to work only I don’t look this cool

This would be a nice upgrade!

Skirts/Dresses: Did not wear them at any time during the summer; did not even get to wear the cute sun dress I bought in Toronto – foolishly optimistic of me to think I would! I have 4 skirts and 4 dresses. I would give them up, but I don’t want to buy new ones if I need to attend a more formal occasion. So I will save them all for 1 more year before abandoning. After that, the dresses, especially, will no longer be stylish enough to wear.

Score: Minus 8, to be deferred!

So tempted to buy a Dickie Dress!

Jackets/coats: I wore my serious rain gear, my light nylon jacket, and a new all-season coat that I bought for travelling. I didn’t wear my old jean jacket, which I’m just keeping for nostalgic reasons.

Score: 0 (bought new coat, need to get rid of jean jacket)

Shoes and boots: I bought a pair of black flats to directly replace a worn-out pair. The new ones were destroyed in a rain storm so I bought another pair. I was not too pleased about the expense, but they are definitely wardrobe basics.

Score: 0

Next, my off-work wardrobe:

I have made do with my one pair of blue jeans, 2 pair of black jeans, and 1 pair of shorts. No change there. I still don’t have any capris or skorts!

Score: 0

I bought 3 items of workout wear this year, and use them all routinely.

Score: Plus 3

I bought a new bathing suit which allowed me to get rid of 2 old ones. It is a racer-back Speedo, because I bought it for actual swimming. Did I go swimming? Once.

Score: Minus 1

A swim suit to swim in, what?

I realized I enjoy wearing 15 of the T-shirts from my large collection of rock band and cartoon T-shirts, and the other 11 can go. I will wear them for painting, mowing the lawn, sleeping in, etc., until they become rags!

Score: Minus 11 (gradual withdrawal!)

I need this T-shirt next!

I bought one new hoodie in London and I love it; I wore 5 others on cool evenings; and the rest are heavy-weight for winter. So yes, I now own 14 hoodies and there are other colours I still want (oops, did I just admit that in print?)

Score: Plus 1

Bought this.

Want this.

I have one pair of sneakers which I wear for workouts and walking. They are 15 months old and I bought them for $30 at a department store. They show no signs of wearing out. Link calls them my Spiderman sneakers and thinks they look like preschool sneakers, but they make me smile. (At least they don’t light up!)

Score: 0

I wish my sneakers were this awesome.

I also bought 3 accessories this summer. I got 2 backpacks, one for bringing stuff back and forth to work (a direct replacement for a damaged one) and another to wear instead of a shoulder bag for long days out on vacation. I also bought a belt.

Score: Plus 2

And the grand total is: Minus 28! I had 203 “significant” items of clothing at last count, not including under-things, socks, scarves, etc. So my new total will be 175.

Hey, I am in the 100s now! Let’s see what the Fall season will hold!


  1. I love how detailed you are with this….and that you’re now in the hundreds 😉

    PS. I want that grey jacket!

  2. Love your plus / minus / zero scoring that is so you to develop such a system! I am intrigued now to see how many pieces of clothing I own – I will have to have a count up and see how I compare. I want to create a capsule work wardrobe this Autumn / Winter and make sure that everything is something that I want to wear and that fits. I sometimes buy more expensive quite classic pieces and team them with something cheap from the supermarket range.
    PS – I like the grey jacket too!

    • I don’t think I “team up” my clothes much, but I should! My most expensive/classic items this year have been pants (trousers) and shoes. I am thinking about the grey jacket! It is only $20 mail order but is only available in one size, so quite a risk!

  3. If I got rid of everything that didn’t fit I would have nothing left in my closet other than half a dozen things!!!


  4. SarahN

    Love it… Love you (for your lists…). I realised I’ve been marking my wear rate for a whole month now. I think I’ve identified two things on outbound (one’s gone, other to be washed then donated). Have also added some tops and shoes… and not willing to part with ‘worn out shoes’ til new shoes are no longer blister producing!

    • I’m afraid I will pare down a lot and then get bored with what’s left and have a clothes-buying freak-out. We’ll see! Do you have a lot of clothes you don’t wear?

      • SarahN

        I do have stuff that doens’t get high use (a striped poncho, a shirt I made for a school formal 10 years ago, but still love), but largely most gets worn. I do and have got bored but then I set targets on what to buy (like a pair of pants that is not jeans or black… cause they are suitably filled in my warbrobe). Sadly Espirit doesn’t have my size in the sale of the pants I thought might suit 😦 I’m hoping the ‘new season’ clothes swap in might also help the ‘boredom’ (I’m loving having my patterned kaftans back in circulation now it’s warm enough – yay for colours and patterns!!)

      • My wardrobe is conspicuously lacking in patterns, unless an Iron Maiden Tshirt counts as a pattern 🙂

  5. I’ve been paring down my wardrobe for several years now. I’m down to just the things I really want to wear, plus about 5 sentimental items from my mother’s closet, which I may or may not ever wear, but will always hold onto.
    Now I just replace the items that are too shabby to wear out of the house. (I’d love to have those sneakers, too!)

    • Good for you! At one time I had a box of “nostalgia” clothes such as a couple of my child’s baby outfits and even a couple of dresses I wore as a baby, that my mom gave me. Somehow the sentimentality wore off, but I do have photos, so that made a difference.

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