Wardrobe Under 200 Pieces and Decreasing!

Lad Musician Cardigans

I’m popping in with an “interim report” on my wardrobe paring-down project. I jokingly said I had 480 pieces of clothing on January 1, but that included every scarf and pair of socks! The number of “substantial” pieces of clothing was 263. By July, I was down to 203, and the number currently stands just a little lower, at 186. We had a warm fall and I am barely into my winter wardrobe, so it will need a pare-down in January.

Approaching year-end, I need to give some serious thought to how I’ll go forward.  Here are some things that were not working with my old strategy:

  • Kept wardrobe in several sizes
  • Kept wearing large, baggy clothes after losing weight because I didn’t like to discard “good” clothes
  • Kept clothes that didn’t fit right or look flattering, because they were “close enough” to what I really wanted
  • Similarly, wore clothes that had faded from wear, because I didn’t want to replace them
  • Kept items, such as suits, more than 10 years old “just in case,” but never wore them
  • Replaced worn out items with something nearly identical, so style never got updated
  • Have too many comfy/around-the-house-only items, not fit to be seen
  • Wore the same 10% of my wardrobe to work every day
  • Skimped on work wardrobe to spend more on casual attire like hoodies and T-shirts
  • Spent too much on special outfits for holiday parties, which were worn just 2 or 3 times
  • Spent too much on outfits for summer vacations, which were worn just 2 or 3 times
  • Made buying mistakes, like buying a sundress I never wore

I’ll give myself a little credit – here are some improvements I’ve made:

  • Bought a skirt I actually wear (I never wear skirts or dresses!)
  • Bought nice flats that can be worn with the skirt or skinny jeans
  • Resolved the top 7 problems above by strictly getting rid of everything that was worn out, unused, didn’t fit or didn’t look flattering

My conclusions are that I held onto clothes for too long because I wanted to save money on buying new clothes; I tried too hard to buy classic items that never go out of style but erred on the side of dullness; and the hundreds of items I owned were obscuring the bare bones of what I needed.

So now I have a wardrobe that fits, but some pieces are beyond updating with a scarf or a bag! My work wardrobe needs a big infusion of mix-and-match pieces that are not too boring. I am going to have to exercise some discipline next year to update my wardrobe, and should be able to fund that by making fewer buying mistakes, spending less on summer vacation clothes, and less on holiday clothes (like Christmas and New Year’s). I think it would make sense to set a clothing budget and assign amounts for work, casual, vacation, holiday and “investments” like coats and boots.

That is assuming I even care how I look, and I begrudgingly admit that I do – which will be the topic of my next post!


  1. Excellent work, its very hard to make your wardrobe one that fits, is updated and with an even amount of clothing for the different things you do in life whilst maintaining or improving on your budget so massive kudos to you!

  2. Yikes my strategy is a lot like your strategies that aren’t working (mostly because I don’t like to waste money so I hold on to not so great stuff). Great job on paring down your wardrobe!

  3. SarahN

    I do the same – a faded favourite pair of shorts gets ‘remade’ in new fabric. I’m onto the third iteration! Actually my recent holiday prompted me to take away the ‘less’ good of the paired (ie one new, other old/dingy) items, and leave them there – freeing up space for new purchases. I’m interested to know more about your holiday outfits – my mum sometimes takes us all out for a new ‘christmas’ outfit, but whilst she’s away I have no qualms throwing on something I’ve worn before for Christmas.

    • Freeing up space is good! For Christmas and New Year’s outfits I am always tempted by sparkly things and short skirts which I wouldn’t wear any other time. Fun to buy, but then my day-to-day wardrobe suffers!

      • SarahN

        Ah sparkly things! I am prone to buying them too! And they are always super cheap (cause others are smart enough to know they’ll never wear them!?) IN any case, I try to find opportunities to wear them out, but you’re right, seems infrequent!

      • Maybe I just need a small annual sparkly things fund 🙂

  4. Pingback: 2012 Goal Update: Month 11 « An Exacting Life

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