How To Figure Out How Many Clothes You Need

minimal wardrobe

A couple months ago I finally really tackled my clothes closet. I believe in just two months I got rid of nearly 300 articles of clothing. Most of them went to an online site where they will buy certain brands of clothing (www.liketwice.com). Some went onto eBay, and the brands that site wouldn’t take went to the Goodwill.

My clothes closet is a lot more functional than it used to be and overall I’m wearing more of what I have. I think it could still be pared down even more, but I have a hard time knowing what I need beyond what I typically wear every week.

One method I’ve heard is to turn everything backwards on its hanger and see what you haven’t worn within a year. Another way, if you had the space, is to put all your clothes elsewhere and see what you pick out over a year.

One way I’ve tried to get ideas on minimizing the clothes closet is by looking at the fashion category on Pinterest, and by searching ‘minimalist wardrobe’. I’ve gotten ideas on how to pair a wardrobe by having colors that all work together.

To figure out how many clothes you need, I think you should begin by writing down what you do and what type of clothing that requires. Clothing generally falls into these categories for what you need:

Clothing Categories:

  • Work (Whether you have to dress up, if you have to get dirty, wear a uniform, be outside, etc.)
  • Formal & Dressy (Church, Events, Going Out)
  • Dressy Casual to Comfortable Casual  (Going to the store, hanging out with friends, being at home)
  • Outdoor (Hiking, Beach, Gardening)
  • Athletic
  • Pajama & Lounge
  • Dirty Work (Painting, Concrete work, Workshop etc.)
  • Special (Rain suits, Aprons, etc.)

What percentage of what you do per week will probably dictate how many clothes you have in each category. Maybe you need to dress up rarely. What does a dressy outfit look to you? Can you have one dress, one pair of dress pants or skirt and a couple of blouses?

What also effects what type of clothing you choose to have?

Other Factors:

  • Climate
  • How much time you have to launder special items
  • If they’re machine washable, hand washable, dry clean only, needs to be ironed
  • If you travel

Ways to decrease the amount of clothing you need:

Choose clothing that is versatile. Can your hiking clothes also be worn to garden in? Can your sweaters be worn on a dressy day and a casual day with just a switch between dress pants and jeans?A camisole with lace can also be worn under blouses and as an added layer under a sweater.

Blending Colors:

Choose colors that fit one palette and can mix and match. You can build your wardrobe with the basic colors: Black, Grays, Browns, Blues. These will usually be your pants, suits, skirts, dresses. Then build upon there: Good colors to build upon the basics are reds, pinks, whites, greens, or continue with the basic colors. Most colors in my closet are black, grays, blues, whites, with some pink, red, and green in there. Nearly all of my clothing is a solid color as well. If you choose patterns, choose ones with colors that still go with everything or have a subtle pattern.

Do You Looooove It?

You have to like what you’re going to be wearing. It has to be comfortable too. It has to be easy to wear, and you feel good wearing it around others.

Is it easy to take care of?

If you have a blouse in your closet still needing to be ironed, you probably won’t be ironing it anytime soon, and it may mean you don’t wear it that often. Choose as much clothing as you can that is easy to take care of. You will probably wear those items more often. I have seen in stores nice dressy clothing that is machine washable.

Buy Quality Clothing

It will last longer and look nicer over time. Rather than having a closet with a lot of cheaper articles of clothing, invest in some nicer ones that you love, are going to hold up after washing. It may also make you keep it longer until it wears out someday since it cost more! Just make sure you love it.

Take Everything Out of The Closet…all of it

Try all of it on. When I did this, I was surprised at the items that I thought still fit or looked good, actually didn’t! This made the choice of getting rid of it easier, even when it was a piece I really really liked. Since it didn’t look good on me, it didn’t matter cause I didn’t want to wear something like that!

Make Outfits

I have some pieces of clothing that are pretty and I like but I don’t necessarily know how to wear it. It may be kind of see through and needs something under it, but I don’t have anything to wear under it. Make up some outfits that you think will look good together and see how it goes. Do particular items seem to go better with other things? Maybe you realize that this top is really hard to pair with something. You can also get a better idea of how colors go together. See how many outfits you can put together with 3 tops and 3 pants. Imagine where you would wear those outfits.

The Extras

This also means accessories, shoes & purses. If you stick with clothing colors that go with a brown or black purses and shoes, then you can eliminate a lot of those things too.



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