How Many clothes Does One Need?

Now that I have ended my challenge, I am faced with two sets of wardrobes. The combined total of all the clothing I have may be closer to three of four wardrobes.  But how do I decide what to keep, what to save in case there are leaner times, and what do I get rid of. I don’t get rid of things easily. If I really don’t like something or know I have no use for it, it is easier. When I am unsure, or I like it but have several, then things get harder.

So I need a plan. I need to decide exactly how many pants, skirts, shirts, blouses, sweater, jackets, and coats to keep. Do any of you out there subscribe to the system where each time you buy a new item, an equivalent item has to go? If you do, then how do you get to the starting place where you decide you have enough?

Having enough will be different for each of us. I think there are three things that dictate how much clothing to own. What we do for a living, how big our closets are and weather. Here in Florida we wear shorts 6-12 months of the year. Up North I’m guessing it is more like 3 months. So I would want more pairs of them. I don’t often pack my shorts away for the winter, but I do pack my winter things away for the summer. What do you do when the seasons change?

So now that I am bringing my clothes down from the attic and looking through them I am noticing my reactions. There actually have been few items that I have said, “Oh wow! I can’t wait to wear that again.” Mostly it has been, “Oh yeah, I remember that.”  The two shirts that I had been missing were my cotton and wool river driver shirts.  I have been happy to see some things and will definitely keep those.

I have my MIL visiting again. This has delayed me in getting all the boxes down and sorting through everything. Had to get the house cleaned up first. In the next few weeks I will be sorting, packing and donating.

So how many of each item of clothing do you have?



  1. suburbanlife said,

    February 8, 2009 at 1:11 am

    I have:
    Underwear – 3 bras – new, older and oldest. When the third bra gives up the ghost and is no longer serviceable for schlepping about the house, out it goes and a new bra arrives. A bra lasts me up to three years of wear. new ones are for going out in public occasions, naturally under clothing, heh. The older is for day wear – shopping, running errands.

  2. suburbanlife said,

    February 8, 2009 at 1:46 am

    I messed up my post – to continue:

    7 undies – they last up to 2 years.
    1 short half-slip
    1 long half slip
    4 pairs socks, black; 6 pairs knee high stockings, black.

    Shoes – 1 pair flat black day shoes – the best pair I can buy in terms of quality. These go for regular maintenance at the shoemaker and are weekly shined.
    1 pair well made black three inch heel leather pumps for formal wear.
    1 pair good leather, tan, summer sandals with heels
    ! pair rubber wellingtons
    1 pair duck boots
    1 pair red holey soles
    1 pair good tennis shoes
    1 pair Doc Martens, Navy, 15 years old in excellent repair.
    1 pair cheapo flip flops for slippers.

    Spring Summer, Indian Summer clothing
    3 long lightweight skirts with mix and matching sleeved tops
    3 lightweight long pants
    6 tees of varying colours to coordinate with pants and skirts
    5 sarongs for garden wear
    2 cotton shirt jackets for layering on cooler days
    2 cotton culottes
    1 lightweight cotton sweater
    2 fleece jackets

    Fall and Winter clothing

    1 formal wool coat, dove grey, swing style
    1winter jacket , old for chores outside
    1 casual winter jacket for wearing to town
    3 cowl-neck sweaters
    2 fleece hoodies
    3 light-weight sweaters
    6 long sleeved tees, various colours to coordinate with pants
    2 pairs casual black pants
    2 pairs well tailored dress pants, black
    2 long evening skirts
    3 dressy slinky blouses in jewel colours
    1 black and white tweed pantsuit, with 5 different blouse that can be worn with it, and dressy pants can co-ordinate with to alter the outfit
    3 formal-wear black tops with differing necklines, detailing and sleeves to coordinate.
    various scarves and silver jewelry pieces, black gloves, black purses, black hose.

    Winter housecoat and nightgown – fuzzy and warm flannel
    Summer housecoat and nightgown – voluminous white cotton.

    That pretty well does it for clothing. I am early sixties with silver hair. Never do i have to agonize about what to wear, because I believe clothes are a form of uniform, should be well made of good materials and of a rather severe but attractive cut. I want to wear the clothes and forget about how I may look. It is important for me to have ease of movement, some degree of modesty and for clothes not to wear me. It is also important for me to be able to be prentable in public with my husband, and not call undue attention to myself. This is the way I have dressed since my early twenties, and I have never felt uncomfortable, even though friends have teased me about being a bit drab. And yes, a woman should always have on hand a comfy but killer bathing suit. Black, naturally, or white. G

  3. Christina said,

    February 8, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Things that factor into my clothing supply: 1. homeschooling mom 2. SF Bay Area 3. unheated home 4. two weeks in inland Washington each winter 5. community chorus participant (so concert dress).

    If I put everything together, it would take up 3 linear feet of organized closet space, floor to ceiling. I use 2 linear feet day-to-day, because I don’t keep my parka and snow pants, hiking boots, etc. in with my other clothes. I keep my winter clothes out year-round, because I don’t have a lot since I don’t live in a winter climate, because we don’t heat our house, it stays at 60- and layers are the name of the game, because we camp.

    I find even within a season there are plenty of my so-called daily clothes that I don’t get to much. Rather than purge them in favor of my favorites, I keep them so I have options. Although I feel I have way fewer clothes than most of my peers (who use at least a 6-8ft closet for themselves), I believe that I still have more than is essential!

    This is my accounting:

    3 bras (2 sport, 1 underwire)
    9 pair underpants, 1 girdle for fancy dress
    12 pair cotton crew socks, 3 pair ankle socks, 3 pair hiking socks, 1 pair wool bed socks (homemade with another to come), 2 pair colorful clog socks, 3 pair nylon trouser socks
    12 tank undershirts (way more than I need, I sleep in these)
    2 sets silk thermals
    2 pair jersey pajamas
    1 flannel bathrobe

    2 pairs sweatshorts
    4 pairs knit casual pants (1 pair dedicated to gardening)
    2 pairs knit capris
    1 pair blue jeans
    1 pair black pants for dress
    2 black skirts (1 really formal)

    14 tshirts
    10 turtlenecks
    6 concert shirts
    2 heavy cotton cardigans
    1 heavy wool turtleneck sweater
    4 sweatshirts (2 housebound, 2 unstained ones for out and about)

    1 raincoat
    1 parka
    1 waterproof pants
    snow hat, scarf, gloves, waterproof gloves, fingerless gloves
    1 bathing suit
    3 sunhats (baseball, straw beach variety, floppy hiking hat)
    1 each:
    summer slip-ons
    winter slip-ons
    nice leather clogs
    black dress shoes
    flip-flops (for camp showers)

  4. Karin said,

    February 9, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Well, here’s what I do. But I don’t get off the farmlette much. I work at home. I have a couple of “going to town pants”. I have two pair of work pants that can get messy with animals, gardening and cooking stuff. They are patched and mended, sometimes embroidered. I have several long sleeve jerseys in one color, black. One thermal shirt and a turtle neck. a couple paris of thermal udnerwear. I spice up the winter wardrobe with hand knitted sweaters that I’ve made. I have about three of those and one work sweater from a thrift store. I have one winter dress and a couple of nice blouses for more dressier occasions that I wear with my “going to town pants”. I live in rural Maine. It is more about being warm than stylish in the winter.

    Summer is about the same with shorts instead of pants and t-shirts. I tend to have a couple skirts I wear to town. And a couple of sundresses to freshen up in after working in the garden all day.

    One fleece jacket, one winter jacket, one dress coat given to me years ago.

    One pair of hiking boots, one pair of birkenstocks, one pair of garden clogs and one pair of dress shoes, one pair of sneakers. Foot wear is always of good quality and taken to the cobbler when in need of repair.

    2 pairs of pj bottoms that I made myself. I have a couple of tshirts reserved just for sleepwear. In the winter I wear a cardigan I made instead of a bathrobe.

    I think the key is to have some favorite pieces of clothing that you save for special occasions. If you need a wardrobe for work, have clothing that can be mixed and matched, so there is variety without needing a overly large wardrobe.

  5. Seanna said,

    March 3, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Just dropping by.Btw, your website has great content!


  6. Katherine said,

    February 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I am so happy that I found this site! I have been putting off going through my way to big wardrobe for over a year! And here I am with a pile to conquer,
    Suburbanlifes numbers are going to help me greatly!!!!

  7. Ida said,

    July 6, 2011 at 3:04 am

    10 bras (inclusive of 2 sports bra)
    20 panties
    10 camisole
    5 short sleeve tees
    3 thermal tops
    1 long johns
    10 socks
    6 ankle stockings
    4 sockettes
    2 panty hose
    5 opaque tights (inclusive of 1 wool)
    4 bralettes (to got o bed with)

    2 party dresses (1 long & 1 short)
    4 day (at home) dress
    1 denim skirt

    1 black skinny jeans
    2 denim jackets (1 traditional, 1 fancy)
    1 dress coat
    1 hoodie
    1 leggings
    1 sleeved turtleneck
    1 sleeveless turtleneck
    1 winter casual dress

    2 office dress
    1 skirt suit
    1 pants suit
    3 nice office tops
    1 summer casual office pants

    1 dress

    2 work heels
    1 hiking shoes
    3 ballet flats
    1 thongs
    1 casual summer heels
    1 comfy ‘grandma’ sandals

    I only replace when they are really worn out. I’ve been trying to replace a dress for over a year now. I’m just not in love with what I can find 😦

  8. Ida said,

    July 6, 2011 at 3:06 am

    I also have:

    7 handbags
    2 suitcases
    5 belts
    5 scarves
    2 gloves

    and ‘pinch’ of jewelery 🙂

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