The Numbers Game

In light of my major June buying spree, I have decided to total up the numbers. Late winter I counted 87 items in my 4 (or 6) season wardrobe — not counting true gear, pjs and underwear, coats, shoes, bags, belts or other accessories, or true special occasion wear (i.e. the pieces that I can't easily "dress down" for my ordinary life). 

Since then, I have edited and also (obviously!) bought quite a lot. And my current number comes to 115. With special occasion wear, it reaches 120. Add coats (winter and spring) and it comes to 126.

Footwear (non gear) adds another 20.

This feels like more or less the right size of wardrobe to me.  I have not got as far as tracking wears of specific items, but I know that I do wear everything in the closet — although obviously some items are much more heavily worn than others. In the months to come, I think I will try to keep better accounting of this, so that I can get a clearer picture of my future needs. 

Here's the breakdown, for the number loving souls out there. Skip if you like:  

  • Dresses: 8    (4 F/W; 4 S/S)
  • Skirts:  5     (2 F/W; 3 S/S)
  • Pants: 9       (6 F/W; 3 S/S)
  • Denim: 11     (Note -- jeans are worn F/ W/ and Spring in my climate -- almost never in July/ August). 
  • Shorts: 10        (Note: I have more shorts than I think I need. Especially since I pretty much ONLY wear these in July and August. Two were not purchased but rescued from my daughter's donate bag -- they don't fit her but do fit me and they are Gap BF shorts so I like them. Two of my shorts are dressy shorts so are almost skirt substitutes. But for the rest, they take the place of my denim capsule for July/August.) 
  • Toppers: 9
  • Long sleeved tops: 21  (14 F/W; 7 S/S)
  • Sleeveless or tees: 18      (Note: these are primarily S/S but I do layer some, even the sleeveless) 
  • Knitwear: 24   (18 F/W; 6 S/S) 

There are items currently in my closet that I will probably edit out, come the autumn. In particular, some shirts that have a very tailored cut (but aren’t of the quality of Angie’s Ann Fontaine shirts), a couple of more dated shoe options, probably a few knits, and a dress that isn’t getting a lot of love. I may refresh my denim capsule with a few different options. 

But …but…but….my NAS this year is going to be a lot trickier than last year’s! Because if I am serious about the one-in-one out principle, I’m going to have some hard bargaining to do! 

Now, much of what I am hoping to find at NAS is underwear/ lounge/ gear related. I also want a pair of boots and I will not worry if that puts me into a higher number — these boots will fill a needed function. And if I can find a way to add to my winter coat capsule, I will. You can never have too many coats in my climate. 

So. This is the size of wardrobe I THINK I want. And SAY I want. But here's the dirty truth:  I know without a doubt that come February, despite having a full closet, I'm going to feel bored! Bored! Bored!  I will have worn every single one of those knit tops somewhere around 7 times by then. Some much more -- because I do layer them. (BRRRRR)

And
I know that I don't get bored during the summer. I wear everything I have and thoroughly enjoy it. I just don't wear it as often. 

Does this mean I really could use even more stuff? Or does this just mean I'm greedy? Hmmm. 

Thank you for reading this far, if you have, and I'd love to hear any thoughts! 


This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

57 Comments

  • Thistle replied 6 years ago

    My honest truth is that I think you need a larger winter wardrobe than summer. You are seeing that in your boredom by February.

    We have similar climates and it is really easy NOT to get bored is summer because it is so short. You really don't need a lot of pieces to see you through three months. They may be a hot three months, but they are only three months.

    For me, I start wearing fall pieces in September. Usually early to mid-September. Because it is already chilly. By the end of October, it is cold. Snow starts in mid-late November and hangs around until the end of March. So cold weather items get A LOT more wear.

    I totally have to reign myself in every year because I WANT to buy spring clothes in Jan/Feb with everyone else. But spring won't be here until mid-late April, and then it is a cold spring. What I NEED is spring colored cashmere (or so I told DH :D )

    I think you are in the same spot. It is really hard to say "I have 112 items, I am all set" if this 112 is evenly spread between seasons. Honestly, if your seasons are similar to mine 8/12 or 75% of your time is spent in cooler months. Is 75% of your wardrobe geared for those cooler months? If say, only 50% is, then I think you may need more winter pieces.

  • Mo replied 6 years ago

    Hmm, maybe it means you just need to shift your allotment around.  10 shorts could easily be 5, or less.  Then you'd have 5 more items for the winter, when you get bored with your options.  
    Or maybe you DO want more.  
    Or alternately, just different stuff each year.  You're a good purger.  Maybe this is your closet set point, but you need turnover to refresh it due to a long season of wear. 

    For myself, I know I don't want more.  I can't get the number of wears I want with what I already have, honestly.  But I probably want more 'new' each year than I was willing to admit to myself.  That means I either better get better at purging, or start buying stuff that I love so much I don't want to be done with it by the next season or two.  

  • AviaMariah replied 6 years ago

    I think you need more F/W options.  The tricky part is making sure you love what you add or you will still wear the same pieces you started off with.  But you seem to be pretty good at knowing what you love.  I believe you can do it!  Go crazy at NAS!!  (enable, enable)

  • replied 6 years ago

    Hi Suz! That number sounds about right for you, and I don't think you're going crazy or anything. You have to make hay while the sun shines, right? Next S/S there could be a dearth of goodies for your style or body type. As for your long, long winter, I think you just have to have two spurts of shopping (at least). One, starting with NAS and going into the actual cool weather, then take a break and hit up the January sales. My summer is as long as your winter, and I know I'm feeling the urge to bring in some new items (and I have been). It's been long enough that I know what's working and that a few things aren't. So I give myself permission to trade in a few new pieces to spice things up. But in your case, you need more than a few pieces, because like you said, you have to layer, and could easily be wearing seven pieces at any given moment, lol!

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Yes, I think you're right, Thistle. I really try to be careful about overbuying for summer, and in a way, I don't think I HAVE over bought...after all, I do wear it all. 

    BUT -- I still may be a bit on the low side for winter since my summer and winter top situation is more or less equal. I may actually have MORE options in summer, when all is said and done!   This is definitely worth pondering further. 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Claire, that's a really good strategy. (And I am slightly relieved to find out that you feel this longing to refresh mid-season, too.) Last year when Angie said: REFRESH YOUR KNITS capsule, I went right out and did precisely that!! :) And it truly helped. 

    AviaMariah -- thank you for that expert enabling! I can't wait for NAS now!

    Mo, I think you have hit on the sad reality. I don't want MORE. Or rather...I do want a LITTLE more. More in my winter season. Meanwhile, I also want/ crave/ desire DIFFERENT each season or two. I seem to go about 2 years per top before I really want to refresh it. Jackets (toppers) can go much longer if the quality and construction are high and I love them, and I suppose a really basic, classic style of top or sweater that is mainly used as a "canvas" for other items will also last longer. So do jeans and some trousers. But anything that whispers "style" -- well....I want to refresh it!! 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Hmmm. I just added up the tops -- I have approximately as many summer top options as winter top options. No wonder I get more bored in winter -- Thistle is right! 

  • replied 6 years ago

    Yeah I need more winter stuff too. I don't get too bored of my summer stuff either, but by the end of winter I am so sick of everything I can't stand it anymore. I definitely need to beef up my fall/winter/early spring parts.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Phew!! So I am not alone. 

    Have you done a relative count, Ceit? 

    I'm sort of surprised to see that I have so many summer tops all of a sudden. Obviously, I just went on a buying spree....but it doesn't FEEL as if I have that many. I wonder if storage issues cloud my judgement? Winter sweaters take up so much more room! 

    I seem to need this many to prevent laundry / ironing log jams in summer. And also, I often wear more than one top a day in July/ August. Either I am changing to go out (into something nicer than Work at Home) OR it's so darn hot I need to change because I've been perspiring so much. 

  • Mo replied 6 years ago

    I'm thinking that the reality for those of us with seasons that last 6 months or longer, rather than the traditional 3, is that we will need some kind of refresh to keep us interested.  The same stuff for 6 months straight, no matter how much you like it, gets old.  It just does. 
     

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Yeah...this is it, isn't it. I swear I wore some of my winter sweaters at least 40 times last year. I think doing an accurate count will be useful. 

  • replied 6 years ago

    Yes, but you needn't get rid of any summer tops or shorts that are working for you. And yes, I get tired of things too. Especially when they were never really quite right to begin with. I just wasn't very inspired at the beginning of this season, but now I'm feeling a little better about the state of fashion. Maybe I need to save the bulk of my shopping budget for the June/July sales next year. I really have to get into the season and wear my clothes before I can decide what else I need and want. I'm also drawing more from my 'seasonless' F/W capsule more than I thought I would (probably because 2 of my 5 dresses and my white clams weren't working for me anymore)

    Even if we save part of our money for half-way through our dominant season, don't you think we need to buy things that we fall crazy-in-love with when we see them? My problem is I want to tick everything off my list right away with things that are just okay to just git 'er done. When will I learn? I do my best shopping when I'm not pressed with an actual need at all. And by that I mean I am most careful and I take the most time looking for either a HEWI or a really exciting impulse buy that changes the landscape of my wardrobe completely. 

  • replied 6 years ago

    Winter tops I have (off the top of my head, I might be forgetting one or two)

    3 black Ts
    3 navy Ts
    1 navy knit top
    6 button downs (are also in my summer capsule, only 2 I would say are proper winter feeling)
    10 sweaters
    16 jackets/toppers (due a purge this year, probably down to 10)
    8 pairs denim (skinnies and straights and one full-length bf)
    1 pair wool trousers

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Claire, that's just it. The best shopping happens when you're not desperate. (Sort of like looking for a partner, or a job...) 

    I think that's why having a good "core" wardrobe is almost a necessary starting point for developing personal style. Whether your core is 10 items or 110, until you have that in place you can't make smart substitutions. 

    I also totally hear you on shopping better within the season. It's really hard for me to figure out my needs until I'm actually wearing my clothes, too -- which is one big risk with the NAS. I think having a better foundation down will make it both tougher and easier to shop that sale this year. I will be even more PPP. 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Ceit - you are SUPER streamlined for winter! My heavens! That is small for six months or so. You do make good use of all the toppers, though...I hardly wore mine last year with the weather -- it was cuddle-up-with-a-sweater weather for work at home me. 

  • Mo replied 6 years ago

    I agree that having the core in place allows better future purchasing.  It becomes updating and upgrading.  
    You realize your 'event dress' is too warm for where many of your events are held, and look for a cooler version.  Or you find your 'sassy' shoes are really too high and you don't put them on nearly as much as your flats, and so aim your future buys at lower heels, date night or not.  Etc, etc.
    I will say that I also have more summer tops than winter, but I don't always live in FL.  I suffer from 6 months of winter, too, some years back home.  But I often wear the summer ones ALSO in winter, layered up or under a jacket in fall.  I never wear the winter ones in summer.  So there is a bit more of cross use for the lighter 'summer' tops, at least in my closet.  Something to consider.   

  • Eliza replied 6 years ago

    You've got us all thinking, Suz. Similar climate here and definitely am bored with winter wear by mid-January.

    Summer offers so much more variety over a shorter timeframe for me. I'll wear casual skirts, cropped pants, "long" pants, the occasional short, with all types of tops and toppers. It's a relative circus compared to needing warm feet and dry pant hems with no salt stains.

    I think part of the season of our discontent is that the darkness and the cold makes us crave new and "shiny", metaphorically speaking. You have helped me sort this out. I am going to build in a mid winter refresh and plan for it by not over-shopping earlier. My wardrobe may or may not need it, but I do.

    Thanks for the interesting topic - I am learning a lot here.

  • Beth Ann replied 6 years ago

    Don't you think creative work stokes the furnace for variety?  I am easily bored AND easily distracted, which is a particularly difficult combination!

    I think your summer wardrobe is like a perfect meal -- balanced and satisfied, but not the kind to leave you bloated and lethargic.  Your winter wardrobe may be a bit too pioneer -- You know, the canned potatoes run out in February, and all you have left is hard tack.  You need to set up provision before the freeze, and then travel into town during the January thaw to restock!

    Seriously, as long as you aren't cramming your space or straining financing, I think you could add a bit to your winter wardrobe.  I would like to add several pairs of boot this year, because I pushed through with several pairs that were just about worn out.  I would have paced my purchases better if I had replaced at least one pair in February.

    One of my secrets to the long winter --- I buy more transitional items -- light layers, particularly, for spring and fall.  I have Warm Autumn and Cool Summer capsules, which help me not tire of what I'm wearing.  It helps that I tend to run warm.

  • replied 6 years ago

    Suz, and remember how different one winter can be from the next? Right when you think you have the code cracked, El Nino comes or some such and you get freak weather. You're smart not to be knee jerk and sell your new La Canadienne boots on Ebay because your weather wasn't conducive to wearing them much last year. A friend gave me back a turtleneck sweater that I had given her so I'd have something to wear on our ski trip, and I ended up wearing that thing all winter long! The winter before that I was in short sleeves most afternoons. The turtleneck fit fine, but it was a rather unfortunate shade of grey. Boy was I tired of that by the time winter was over (probably because I'd never loved it in the first place). I kept thinking that surely it would warm up any day and how silly it would be to run out and buy a bunch of sweaters in February or March (in Arizona). You never can tell!

  • Joy replied 6 years ago

    Your numbers look very reasonable to me Suz. I need more in the summer because I do more changing during the day and more laundry. My winter clothes can go longer between washings/cleanings. I have not bought much for summer this year so far as I was happy with what I had and planned to refresh in July. Now it is July and I'm just beginning to wear summer things.
    My fall /winter strategy maybe to refresh mid season this year when bored or knowing better where my style is going.

  • replied 6 years ago

    I thought I had more tops but I pretty much wore either a navy T or a black T most of last winter, with a topper of some kind. I did have white, grey and mint Ts but they got ratty super fast while the black and navy look almost new (due a refresh in the fall though).

    No wonder I was getting sick of my wardrobe!

  • shedev replied 6 years ago

    I'm coming at this issue from the other direction. My wardrobe is slowly shrinking. My seasons run similar to yours except I may get a few more weeks of warm weather. Last winter, I alternated between heavier sweaters and lighter tops under knit toppers. It extended use of some of my transitional tops and did lead to less boredom.

  • Caro in Oz replied 6 years ago

    Interesting dilemma Suz. IMO it stands to reason that you will need more winter items if only because of your need to layer.
       
    Just a suggestion, what if you just buy replacements/upgrades of things you are sure about at NAS & leave the rest of your shopping till you feel the need for a refresh? 

  • Gaylene replied 6 years ago

    Hmm, I think numbers, CPW, spreadsheets, and logical thinking are helpful when we are thinking through and planning our core wardrobe. To my mind, though, fashion isn't just about logic and crunching numbers; it's also about fun and spontaneity. I guess I liken wardrobe building to maintaining a healthy weight--working within a range is much easier than trying to maintain a specific number on the scale. As long as you know your upper and lower limits, it's good for the soul to enjoy an  indulgence every now and again.  :)

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Caro, that's a good suggestion. I know for SURE that I want the boots I mentioned, and also, if a coat appears that I love, I will snap it up because it surely will see a lot of wear. Plus, if I notice a great topper, I could add to my capsule there. Mine are about evenly split between S/S and F/W and I need more in the F/W. 

    Shedev, good suggestion. I do layer -- quite a lot. With the thin knits I got last year at NAS (and a few other early fall purchases) I wore many of my shirts. 

    Joy, I think that is part of the summer numbers issue for me. I change more during the summer months. But also -- you are right that our weather is so unpredictable! 

    Ditto, Claire! That's one reason why it really does make sense to do a seasonal refresh in our long seasons -- or even our short ones, sometimes. After all, winter is your short season! 

    Last year I bought my striped VC tube skirt at NAS (end of my summer). Even though I had no more than a month or so to wear it, I wore it during that first month at least 10 times. Seriously!! I've already worn it several times this season. So sometimes those refreshers are real game makers for us. 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Ah, thank you, Gaylene!! :) 

    Can I pin those words up to my bulletin board for January when I am going stark, raving mad with what I have to wear?? 

    I will certainly allow myself a wardrobe refresh then. And I think I'm also going to allow myself a little NAS fun. I'm pretty sure that when the RIGHT upgrade/ replacement comes along, it will be fairly easy to identify the item that can go to a better home. 

  • abc replied 6 years ago

    No real advice as you're light years ahead of me on this journey, but I must admit the numbers geek in me likes these posts so I have a concrete way to compare my closet vs others.

  • carter replied 6 years ago

    Suz, we need to do some trading! I have 9 months of hot weather and 3 months of cool weather, yet I have way more sweaters than summer tops!

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Carter, here's an idea. We can trade HOUSES for a month in winter.  

    (HAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, not trying to be rude. But the idea of anyone wanting to live in my house in the winter is pretty funny. I would definitely be getting the better end of the deal!) 

    abc, I'm coming to think that I have to get even more geeky if I want to be a real geek about this. shedev mentioned in another thread that a lot of the stuff she thought she "always" wore only got a few wears last year. I wonder if I am the same? Only careful tracking with show me. :)

  • carter replied 6 years ago

    I'm moving in with you in September for a taste of Fall. You can move in with me in March for some Spring.

  • abc replied 6 years ago

    Geeks unite!

    And btw I have STILL not had the courage to actually count my items yet. Kudos to you for having the guts to do it especially after the recent additions. :)

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Carter, that is a DEAL!!!!  (September is gorgeous here....truly beautiful. Best weather all year. 24 degrees and sunny most of the time. Blue water, green grass, leaves just beginning to tinge with yellow....oh, and I have a nice spare room and a really great real estate friend who would love to talk shop!) :) 

    abc, I know....I was quaking a bit. But it wasn't as bad as I had feared. I am a pretty constant editor. :)

  • replied 6 years ago

    Greedy? Not a chance! You just love clothes! :)

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Hey -- that's right, Jen!! :) 

    And Carter, that's 24 CELCIUS. Think mid-70s.  :)

  • replied 6 years ago

    Oh, I'll trade houses with you for a month this winter, but only if I get to wear your fab winter clothes as part of the deal!

  • Gigi replied 6 years ago

    Great thread! As another person who lives where it is pretty chilly nine months out of the year, I like hearing everyone's responses to your wardrobe breakdown.

    It seemed to me that this last winter, which was so harsh, required about three stages of clothing, i.e., two refreshers. I was horribly unprepared because I couldn't find anything that I was looking for, despite all the knitwear around. So like you, once I get my spreadsheet in gear I will be analyzing the breakdown between warm-weather and cold-weather items. I think I am grossly unbalanced in favor of the former. But winter is so dark and dreary that you *need* an emotional pick-me-up. I like the idea of not overspending yourself at the beginning of the season but allowing for a midseason refresh, or even two small refreshes. 

    I am like Claire in that I tend to use a "checkbox" mentality and want to just buy what I need at the beginning of the year and call it done. But that doesn't lead to happy purchases at all! At least I know that I have enough items that I can struggle through the winter while I wait for what really trips my trigger. I was actually very strong last year in not buying anything because it wasn't exactly what I wanted. It was a pain, but at least I don't have a lot of expensive sweaters to purge.

  • carter replied 6 years ago

    Funny...I was multipling by 9/5 and adding 32, hoping I was remembering correctly! I'll be on your doorstep in September...with much more than a carry-on.

  • Lyn D. replied 6 years ago

    Love a numbers post!
    Mine is similar to yours Suz, only a bit smaller.

    110 in total:
    Dresses 7
    Knits 12
    Pants 21
    s/s tops 18
    L/s tops 15
    Shirts 7
    Workout Gear 14
    Jackets and coats 16
    Shoes including workout 30

    Suz you are not greedy! 
    I think you do need lots of knits for your colder climate- will just updating-  1 in 1 out- be enough to stop the boredom?

  • Sal replied 6 years ago

    Sometimes it only takes one new item for the wardrobe to feel refreshed for a month.  With such a long winter I would give yourself permission to update later in the season.
    There are other ways of updating without adding to the wardrobe - new hair do, new pedicure or shade of lipstick.  I sometimes use these when everything seems blah!

  • MsLuna replied 6 years ago

    Suz! Great post on your thoughts on your wardrobe! Echoing what everyone says here - if you get bored in February (OMG I DO TOO!), then perhaps you need a more extensive winter wardrobe. OR... Maybe you need more creative accessories. I'm trying to figure out the cause of February blues myself but I'm almost certain they yucky super cold snowy weather contributes to this! I'm not sure if thus is true with you but I also feel mor BLLLLLLAAAAAAAH and less "inspired" in the winter months because I have to dress more practical for the weather (and the icky cold and slush). Maybe being able get past the blaaaaah-ness can help?

  • Isabel replied 6 years ago

    I agree with MsKatieKat  ! I think that many of us are just worn down come February and thinking that spring is the following month.  

    I don't bore of my clothes easily but I have come to face the fact that I don't like wearing something a lot.  For me, the question has become, " When did this all change ? " How did we go from being happy when we were younger with wearing something over and over...to the current situation.  So many blogs are about not wearing the exact, same outfit twice or not wearing it more than once a month, or whatever.  This fascinates me.   Mostly because I have no clue as to the answer.  :  ) 

    Accessorize !      :  )

  • Neel replied 6 years ago

    Suz - if I had 8 months of chilly weather out of which 4 snowed ... I would have 15 coats, 25 toppers and about 50 full sleeved tops (minimum). Why did I put those random numbers out there?

    Because I have 10 toppers now for my 2 months of mild winter o_O. And I don't even wear them every single winter day!

    I get bored very easily. In fact seeing something hang in my closet very long makes me feel bored even if I haven't worn it! All this just to say, nope you are not alone or greedy! I think your winter wardrobe needs to be larger. Or it needs a refresher mid season, where you chuck out all tops and get some new ones. Your summer wardrobe sounds like my winter wardrobe, too many for too little time!

  • Marley replied 6 years ago

    Maybe some day I will count my items - would probably be good information for me.  Suz - I'm assuming that you're not taking including tanks/camis into your total number?

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    That's right, Marley -- not including tanks and camis. I count those as "undies" since I don't really ever wear them alone. 

    Neel, thank you for the commiseration! Our winters ARE very long. I definitely think more coats are in order at the very least!! 

    Isabel, I am not sure if I used to bore less. Good point to ponder. Sometimes I'm not sure if boredom is actually the problem. Maybe, as Ms. KK alludes to, WINTER is the real problem! Ha!! 

    Ms. KK -- you're right that the long long spell of having to dress in a silhouette that allows me to walk around without ruining my clothes is part of the problem. In summer, I don't only have more actual items, but I can wear them in more different ways. 

    Kiwigal -- good reminder. I don't have to think about a complete overhaul every year. One or two new items in mid-winter could be enough. 

    Lyn, I am really impressed with your numbers -- mine do not include workout wear, or shoes. 

  • shevia replied 6 years ago

    Suz I like what Claire and Gaylene and lots of others have said. You need to build in mid-season refreshers and by then you will know what is not working for you and can keep some balance by getting rid of that. Of course I can't help but think ahead to a late spring shopping refresher that will probably be summer oriented. <Insert Cheshire Cat grin>

  • Caro in Oz replied 6 years ago

    I second the tracking process as a way to help in the decision making process Suz. It's amazing what the data reveals :) I thought I had a really good idea of what I wore but I really didn't. It doesn't have to suck the fun out of the process imo. To me it gives me data that allows me to buy better & buy what I actually wear.

  • Sterling replied 6 years ago

    Fascinating assessment.  I find tracking to be incredibly helpful in decision making.  I no longer buy haphazardly or impulsively.  My wardrobe actually goes together.  And whats more, I think I can reach into my closet for whatever occasion comes my way.  This was not always the case.  I used to have to frantically shop for complete new outfits (clothes, shoes, purse) for special events (wedding, funerals, parties).  It was exhausting.  

  • replied 6 years ago

    Suz- I hear you on the seasonal boredom issue. We have the opposite problem here- long spate of hot weather and then brief not-so-cold winter. Last winter however was unusually cold and lasted longer, so my few cold weather items saw a lot of wear and I was really tired of them by March. I’m much better situated for the warm/hot weather where I can wear most of my wardrobe (and due to heavy AC even my jeans get worn in July-Aug). Your #s seem very manageable and again, from what I have seen of your items, I don’t think any purging is necessary!

    ClearlyClaire- your comments made me think that retailers are not helping us: it’s only during the season that you can see what you want or need, but by then that stuff is gone from the stores and they are pushing the next season (when you don’t know yet what you might want/need). I remember one year trying to buy a bathing suit in August (in Houston- where you can seriously swim on Christmas day!) and being told “that season is over”.

    One more point that my tracking showed me- even though I was sick of my winter wardrobe in March (after 3 months of coldish weather) and I am pretty happy with my summer wardrobe 3 months in, each month (winter or summer) I still wore about 30 different items (including shoes and scarves). Not sure why the summer things seem less boring- maybe more color or print?


  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Pam, that last point is SO interesting!! It could be that you are more used to wearing summer clothes so have more idea how to wear them in imaginative ways. Or it could be that you prefer summer silhouettes. Or get to wear more silhouettes in summer. 

    Many of us -- including me -- bemoan our summer style and complain that we are not as stylish. So now I am faced with a paradox. I may not feel as stylish in summer (more on that in a second) --- but I'm not as bored as in winter.

    And, as a matter of fact, I actually DO feel as stylish or more so now in summer! My avid buying has helped. :) 

    Hmm. This may deserve a thread of its own. 

  • Karie replied 6 years ago

    I'm a little late to this party, and I do agree with a lot of what's already been said. Our summer season is so dang short that it's practically impossible to get bored with the outfits. Every year I struggle with NOT buying too many dressy summer clothes because the reality of my summer life is that it's super short and super casual. I'd love to purchase a few more skirts and dresses, but what am I going to do, wear them while paddle boarding? Ziplining? (That would give everyone a show!) My S/S (and I've skipped over spring because it's practically non-existent here, we seem to go directly from winter to summer) wardrobe needs to be super focused and super budgeted: Mostly gear, with a few casual outfits. 

    F/W is where tracking will be extremely telling. I haven't done it yet, but I already know, since I took daily pics, that I have several items that I love and yet I only wore them 2 or 3 times. I also have clothing that I like but haven't worn at all. I always want what's new, what's of-the-moment, what looks good and what feels good when wearing. You know Maya Angelou's poem "I Love the Look of Words?" My version would be, "I Love the Feel of Fabric!"  

    So for me, I need to get on with that taking inventory and tracking project. Right after I browse the NAS catalog...(oops, did I say that out loud)...

  • Lisa replied 6 years ago

    I always adore a numbers thread.  I do think it is difficult to own the same number of items for each season, when the seasons are not even in number.  As others have mentioned, I would replace some of the shorts which seems a high number for only two months, with more cool and cold weather options. 

    DH and I have been talking about what to do once the closet challenge is over.  He is someone who literally wears it all out before purchasing new items so imagine my surprise when he advised that I focus on replacing half or less of a wardrobe each year.  His logic is I enjoy fashion too much to wait until things wear out, so why punish myself by waiting for items to wear out.  A half or less refresh means I can add new trends and styles as I like and I know roughly how many items to replace because I finally know how much I wear and need.   

  • jackiec replied 6 years ago

    First off, these numbers posts actually make me fall off my chair....as an accountant it shouldn't be the case, but I can't even make myself go there ;) Maybe because I know I have a jam-packed closet of tons of things I don't wear. It's getting way, way better, but I think I'd embarrass myself with the stupidity of it. I've been regularly purging but still have tons of bad stuff...

    My summer wardrobe is way smaller than my winter/fall wardrobe, similar to you. I get the same sort of blah feeling mid-winter but prefer to ease that by shopping sales mid-late winter as opposed to stocking up earlier in the season. 

    This might motivate me to take a closer look in my closet....maybe another purge is in order. Having just returned from vacation, and lived with a small hot-weather capsule, I'm sure I could easily ditch half of what I have.

    Great topic.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Lisa, that's amazing! Half or less as a replacement goal. 

    If I were living with a smaller wardrobe, this would make a huge amount of sense -- and maybe it is a goal for me -- to continue to whittle back, but simply accept that I will replace more things more often. I wonder. Something to ponder. 

    I do think I'll probably reduce the shorts -- I'm at an artificially high number because of inheriting two pair from my daughter. There are probably a few pair that can go. 

    Jackie, I started with almost nothing (after weight loss) so have slowly built this closet up after several years and lots of shopping. I'm a very eager editor, too -- I keep very little if I am not actually wearing it. 

    Karie, you and I can track together. I'm trying to decide whether to use an app or just pencil/ paper or daily photos and counts after the fact....

  • Mo replied 6 years ago

    The replacement rates is an issue unto itself!  I always figured I held on to stuff for longer than I really do.  More false information we think we 'know' about our habits.  In reality, I buy 30 - 40 items a year even when I am trying to keep a lid on numbers.  This equates to 20% - 25% of my 150 item wardrobe.  So I obviously turn over 1/4 to 1/5 of it average each year, even if I think my rates are closer to every 6 or 7 years.  
    This may be a newer phenomenon since I used to be bad at purging and am now improving.  Odds are, I used to keep things upward of 7 years on average, but now that I'm keeping overall numbers down with regular in and out, the resulting turnover rates changed.  
    I'm comfortable with a 4 or 5 year rate of turnover.  I know tops will likely average only 2 or 3 years and coats and boots are going to go past 5 easily.

  • Mona replied 6 years ago

    Suz, I agree with you 100% about how challenging summer wardrobe can be. You have made an excellent comparison between summer and winter clothing. Lots to think about here.
    I actually feel a little bit paralyzed right now. I have purged my closet to a very small number but am afraid to add new items as I dont want to make any mistakes. I am thinking that actually counting each item like you should give me some idea where to start.
    I did a quick count in my head as I am at work but here are my summer numbers.
    Pants - 2
    Denim - 5 (these are worn year round except two pairs of Bf's which are strictly summer)
    Tops - 6 (this number will go up by 2 when J.Crew linen sweaters arrive)
    Jackets - 3
    Shoes - 5
    This makes 23 items in total for my summer wardrobe.

  • Susie replied 6 years ago

    Oh I can so relate to what Claire said about buying too early and too quickly in a rush to check off the items that I think I need.

    Even though I have gotten a lot better with shopping and making good choices vs mistakes in general, for some reason I felt that it was imperative to be prepared with casual knit tops. So I bought a bunch early on. Some have been good choices but there are 5 that I bought that were probably mistakes because of the 5, I've only worn 1 and that was 1 time only, for a stay at home day! And I think I knew when I bought them that I was settling. And I justified it with their low price. Just not worth it! If I truly had an absolute limit on the number of items I can have, I would be mad at myself for wasting space on those tops. Because this past weekend I found 2 knit tops that are so much better. AND since it was well into the season they were on sale.

    Anyway....enough about me!

    Suz, I agree that it does look like, numbers wise, you have room to increase your count of fall/winter items. I know that we both tend to favor our new stuff. So I think that you just have to plan to add mid-winter refreshers to avoid the boredom. Yet you may need to limit the number of pieces you add at one time so that there's still room to add the next season. Though I have to say that the tops you got for s/s really are nice. I can't imagine that you won't be excited to wear them again next year.

  • unfrumped replied 6 years ago

    Many points to ponder.

    How do you feel about "silhouettes" in terms of change, vs just having more of similar items?

    I'm finding I want to be able to explore different cuts in clothing--more or less taper, longer or shorter, that sort of thing. Then I tend to start to feel better in certain styles and not some of the older ones. Then I run the risk of over-stocking in the favorite shapes which might not be favorites later.

    So, in addition to numbers of items, I think it's interesting to look at picking 3 or 4 "silhouettes" which are kind of capsules, and then having enough of those.
    Also I think I am not a "stock up for winter" or whatever person. I don't want to be "set". I'm trying to repeat when I feel that the weather or the styles are not where I want them so I wear what I like of what I've got, and then be able to buy when the item comes along that really fits me. That can mean not on sale, or it can mean buying something mid-season.

    The thing about boredom is, you have to be able to tell whether you're bored with something because you're tired of it altogether, or whether if it's in your wardrobe but not in rotation it'll still feel fresh when you do wear it. Does that make sense? Because if the former, you may want to wear and wear and then do one-in one-out and really plan for many seasonal refreshers, while the other you can have a larger wardrobe but wear something, concentrate on a few capsules in rotation, wear something just a few times a year and really enjoy it.
    I'm having trouble with the latter because I feel fashion is fickle or that I'm changing faster than I thought.

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