Math for Optimal Wardrobe Size

Janice of The Vivienne Files makes this observation:

You’re out driving around and see a house that’s really attractive, so you buy it.  Yea, you already own 8 or 10 other houses – you’ve really lost track – but this one is pretty, and it’s a great price.  Right?

Right – it’s an analogy!  The mentality described here is often how we think of clothes.  Many of us already own multiples jeans or sandals but if we see a cute pair for a good price, we think, why not?

closetJanice calculates her optimal wardrobe size: she wants to wear pieces at least twice a month, which equals, say, 14 pants/skirts/dresses for a month.  Etc.  She ends up with 45 – a few more than 33, but not by much.

Her optimal equation: 45 = ((3 garments per day *365 days)/2 seasons)/12 wearings per year

It got me thinking.  I prefer to wear pieces more than twice a month.  But I bet I own more than 14 pants/skirts/dresses for a season.  I keep many of them stored when not in my 33 and end up wearing some of them only once or twice a year!

Have you ever calculated your optimal wardrobe size?  How would you do it?  What would you minimize?


About Eva

Digital marketing entrepreneur. Niche: women-owned businesses. Polka dot enthusiast, space nerd, feminist.
This entry was posted in Consuming, Me, Minimizing, Project 333. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Math for Optimal Wardrobe Size

  1. starfish says:

    For me it would be about 50 items (without socks, underwear, scarves, and outerwear like coat, gloves, and shoes, but including what you call “lounge” clothing and gym clothes), because we have 3-4 different seasons, all with rain and cold wind on many days, so I tend to layer a lot. 4-5 items of clothing per day are not out of the unusual range (though I wear jeans and sweatjackets for up to a week and that twice a month). There’s a handful of tops and blouses I don’t wear very often and one or two pairs of jeans and shorts which don’t fit me very well anymore, but otherwise about everything gets used pretty often – apart from the few dresses I own, most of the time it’s just too cold or impractical to wear them. I need to move to some warmer place.

    • Eva says:

      Fifty sounds about right to me. I find that I have to stretch my 33 items more in the cold months, since I layer so much. In the summer 33 is pretty easy, because at most I’m wearing two pieces, plus shoes. (I often grouse about the cold but I do love scarves! I would miss those if I moved somewhere much warmer.)

      • starfish says:

        Scarves are fantastic. I wear them almost all year round because either we have a lot of wind or the sun is so hot and bright I have to protect my head and shoulders when walking across the street, hehe.

  2. starfish says:

    Do you wash only full loads of laundry (aka wait until you have enough laundry to fill the washining machine) or do you wash whenever you need something clean to wear? I think for a person not owning a lot of clothies and living on their own it would be hard to wait all the time. On the other hand, some minimalists just go with clothes easily washable by hand, I guess …
    Hope you don’t mind random questions. Our short but hot summer is here (finally!) and I’m confronted with the yearly “oops, I only own three pairs of shorts and maybe five nice tops for this weather, and the washing machine isn’t full enough to do a round of laundry yet”.

    • Eva says:

      I wait for full loads, as that’s a better energy use. I often combine my clothes with towel or sheet washing, to fill out the load. I also hand wash – sometimes just a small part of my shirt is stained or smelly, and I can easily spot-wash that in the sink. That helps the clothes last longer, uses less energy, and takes less time. Win win win! But sometimes I do get down to just a few things in my closet, but not very often. I also have a lot of underthings, so I don’t run out of those often.

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