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How many clothes do we need?

minimalist wardrobe basics

A wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear? So many of us can relate to this. We continuously search for a perfect piece in the hope of solving the problem. This is exhausting! So, let’s figure out how many clothes we need.

Why do we have nothing to wear with a wardrobe full of clothes?

There might be different reasons for that.

  • The clothing we own does not suit our lifestyle. 
  • We have too many clothes.
  • Too many styles, colours and prints make it too difficult to pair items.
  • Our style has changed, or we are still looking for it.
  • We buy clothes driven by our fantasy self-image but are not ready for it.

So, how do we know how many clothes we need?

There are a few steps that can help to calculate that. The actual number of clothes is a personal matter. We are different and have different lifestyles, needs and fashionista sparks.

First, we need to assess our lifestyles. There is no need to consider the fantasy self-image at this point. What is your lifestyle right now? Do you work at home or go to the office? Do you exercise? What do you do with your spare time?

Second, we need to calculate the frequency of your standard weekly activities. How many times during the week do you go to the office, gym, go out, etc.?

Third, what is your preferred style? Be honest with yourself. Are you casual or preppy? Do you need to have formal wear for the office?

Now, it is possible to start counting. Having at least one outfit per activity to cover the entire week should be comfortable enough for many. Well, at least for those embracing a more minimalist approach. Simple and high-quality clothing in neutral colours would be ideal. That would help you build a versatile capsule. And that gives the possibility to mix and match. This, in turn, allows the creation of many outfit combinations without the need to own many clothes.

minimalist closet casual outfit combination

How many shoes should I own?

This is also a personal decision. A few pairs are always a must: casual, formal, athletic. Then, it all depends on your lifestyle, climate and practical needs. 

How many accessories should I own?

Unfortunately, I cannot suggest an exact number here. This one might be too tricky. The thing with the accessories is that they help enhance even simple outfits and help you create different looks without the need to own many clothing items. Ideally, we should have a few good-quality pieces that we love wearing. 

What are the accessories we need?

  • Jewellery. A few pairs of earrings, necklaces, bracelets. These can change and elevate the look of any outfit.
minimal set of jewellery
  • A watch. A timeless and practical accessory that can add sophistication to any outfit.
  • Sunglasses are a must not only for summer months.
  • Scarves, hats, and gloves are not only for keeping us warm but also add style and class to our outfits. Or a hint of colour.
  • Belts can often transform a boring outfit into a fashion statement. 
  • Bags and wallets. One versatile wallet, an everyday tote, an evening clutch and a more formal structured handbag can be considered sufficient.

What other clothing items should I own?

Underwear, sleepwear and loungewear.

That should be a bare minimum that allows you to feel comfortable. Based on my experience, having a week’s worth of underwear is enough. And for the sleepwear and loungewear, two sets for cold months and another two for hot months are enough in most cases. 

Sportswear and activewear.

The number and type of items will depend on the frequency and activities you perform regularly. 

Seasonal clothes we need.

Our wardrobes need to adapt to the climate we live in and our specific needs. Seasonal items are the ones you rotate with each changing season to make your wardrobe appropriate for weather conditions. Some examples:

  • Spring: T-shirts, blouses, light sweaters and jackets, raincoats.
  • Summer: shorts, sundresses, tank tops, sandals, swimwear.
  • Autumn: sweaters and cardigans, long-sleeve shirts, boots, scarves.
  • Winter: winter coats, heavy sweaters, gloves, hats, snow boots, thermal wear. 
stylish winter attire: wool hat and heavy oversized sweater

Attire for special occasions 

When it comes to special occasions, we should consider the dress code requirements, the weather conditions and the frequency of such events. 

Most of us will have to attend casual events such as birthday parties and weddings that require dressy but less formal outfits.

When we need to attend corporate events, we are expected to wear business casual or professional attire.

When attending cultural or religious events, we should follow specific customs and traditions that dictate the dress code.

Then formal (black tie) and semi-formal (cocktail parties) will need a much more polished look. Considering the infrequency of such events, renting a dress may be a good idea.

Final Thoughts

The exact number of clothing items and accessories is very personal, and there is no fits-all approach. Ultimately, it is all about finding a balance that suits your lifestyle, style, practical needs and climate conditions. It is crucial to avoid excessive consumption and clutter. We should all reduce, reuse and make sustainable choices as much as possible to create a more responsible and eco-friendly wardrobe that we can be proud of. 

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