Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

As I mentioned in my last post, it would have been beneficial to determine my ideal wardrobe size before taking on the “half project,” even though that challenge is geared toward increasing awareness and paring things down. Deciding to work with just half of my wardrobe was somewhat of an arbitrary decision, as I may find that I need more – or fewer – than that number of items. My sense when starting the half project was that cutting my wardrobe in half would work well for my lifestyle needs while still offering me ample variety, but let’s put that theory to the test by doing some deeper analysis.

In today’s post, I’m going to revisit the wardrobe size question. I explored this issue multiple times on my Recovering Shopaholic blog, including in a December 2016 post titled “Normal-Sized Wardrobe Revisited.” At that time, I presented an exercise that calculates optimal wardrobe size based upon frequency of wear, climate, lifestyle, and clothing preferences. I consider those factors again today, but I also add some new thoughts and perspectives on the topic.

ideal wardrobe size

Ideal wardrobe size is a very individual thing, but you can find a ballpark estimate by doing a simple exercise. 

I intended to publish this post last month, but life got in the way. Sadly, my mother-in-law passed away recently following a brief illness. Although she was well into her eighties, it was still unexpected, and the truth is that we’re never truly ready to lose the ones we love. I will likely share my feelings and insights about this difficult loss in a future post, but I’m not ready to do so just yet. I have struggled to get back into the groove of daily life, including writing, so I’m going to ease back in by doing a couple of wardrobe-focused posts. These posts can often be time-consuming, but they’re emotionally easier for me to produce, and I didn’t want to go too much longer without publishing something new on the blog.

It’s Not About What’s “Normal”…

As I’ve written numerous times, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “normal” or “ideal” sized wardrobe. How many clothes we need and desire is a highly individualized situation that can evolve and shift over time as our lifestyles, living and working situations, climate needs, and personal sensibilities change. Additionally, some people like a lot of variety in what they wear, while others prefer to dress using a smaller capsule of “tried and true” items. Likewise, some of us enjoy incorporating new trends on a regular basis while others stick to the same classic styles for years on end. There is no definitive right answer; it’s about what works best for each of us.

For most of my life, I have had a larger-sized wardrobe, but that has been based mostly upon personal preference and shopping habits rather than on actual lifestyle and climate needs. I have mostly lived in a temperate climate and even when I have worked outside of the home, I was usually able to dress casually. My wardrobe has remained oversized primarily because I have difficulty in limiting my purchases, and sometimes the sheer number of items in my closet has become quite unwieldy (especially back when I started my previous blog).

Since I have embarked upon a year-long challenge to pare down what’s in my closet, I wanted a more defined target than just “half,” although half can be a great place to start! Since it’s been a long time since I’ve written about – and done – the ideal wardrobe size exercise, I’m going to do so now – with a little bit of a different spin on things. The basic components to the process are the same, but I hope that the way I explain it will feel more straightforward and doable for you. I will use my own wardrobe as an example as I go through the process.

How Often Do You Want to Wear Your Clothes?

The exercise starts with deciding how often you’d like to wear the items in your closet. This number may vary for different wardrobe categories, but to get started just pick one uniform number. Don’t worry; you won’t necessarily need to track wears, but of course you can if you want to. This question will just help you to eyeball your wardrobe size needs.

I tracked how often I wore my clothes for eight years, but I stopped at the end of last year, as I mentioned in a February post. This change is part of my freedom theme for 2019 and my desire to cut down on the number of “shoulds” in my life. I’m still using “the hanger trick” (turning hangers around after I wear things – I explain this process more in this post) as a visual representation of what is and isn’t getting worn, and this is good enough for me for now.

the hanger trick

This is a visual representation of how “the hanger trick” works… 

Your mileage may vary when looking at frequency of wear. You may love having lots of variety in pants and shoes and be okay with wearing the same few jackets over and over again. Or you may want a lot of choices in your work wear and be completely fine with re-wearing your casual pieces and ensembles many times each season. This is all highly individual and there is no right or wrong. It’s all about personal awareness and making the choices that best fit your preferences. Of course, the amount of space you have and the size of your budget will factor into the equation as well.

My Target Wear Number

Since I tracked wears for so many years, I learned that I didn’t wear many of my pieces nearly as often as I suspected. I also discovered that I wore certain types of garments a lot more than others. Back when I started tracking, I set eight wears per year as my benchmark for how often I’d like to wear most items. Of course, I wore some things – such as jeans, jackets, and shoes – much more frequently than that, but I would have been delighted to have reached eight wears for everything in my closet. What I found, however, is that many garments didn’t even come close to that target, especially when it came to tops (because I had so many) and dressier items (because I just didn’t have the occasion to wear them very often).

Even though I’m no longer tracking, I’ve done it enough to have a good sense of how often I wear things. I still like the eight wears per year benchmark for most wardrobe categories, so I’m going to stick with it for the purpose of this exercise. However, I’m also going to do calculations for alternate benchmarks (five, ten, and twelve yearly wears) so I have more comprehensive information to go on when determining how many pieces I’d ideally like to own. My reason for this is that I like more variety in some areas (i.e. tops, toppers, and dresses) and less variety in others (jeans, pants, and shoes). More on that below…

Looking at 365 days per year and a target wear rate of eight times per year, that works out to 46 items in each wardrobe category (i.e. tops, bottoms, toppers, and shoes), assuming one wears the same types of clothes each day. For five, ten, or twelve wears per year, that works out to 73, 36, and 30 items per category, respectively. These very basic calculations would really only apply to those who live in a climate with uniform weather and do the same type of activities daily. Since that’s not the case for most of us, let’s move on to the next question.

How Variable is the Climate Where You Live?

Do you live in a four-season climate or is the weather pretty much the same year round? Unless you live somewhere like Hawaii (lucky you…), there’s bound to be some variation in temperature and weather where you are.  Suffice it to say that those who live in a four-season climate will usually need larger wardrobes than those who enjoy a very narrow range in temperature throughout the year.

If you live in a four-season climate, we’re looking at roughly 91 days each season. If your region of the world experiences three seasons, that would be about 121 days each, and two seasons would be 182 days each.  Now I know that the way seasons unfold in some places is not uniform, so if you want to divvy things up a bit differently (i.e for long winters), go right ahead and move things around accordingly. However, unless the seasons are vastly different in terms of how long they last, you may want to keep things simple when you do the math. After all, this doesn’t need to be a super scientific or exacting process. It’s just to give you a ballpark estimate of what you need, as many of us believe that we need far more clothes than are really necessary for our actual lifestyle requirements.

My Climate Calculations

As most of you know, I live in the coastal region of San Diego, California. The climate here is what could be termed “temperate,” so I don’t need to include things like heavy coats, wool sweaters, and snow boots in my wardrobe. There are really only two seasons where I live, which I like to call summer and “not summer,” so my wardrobe calculations will be a lot simpler than for those who experience more variable climates.

My “not summer” season is usually a bit longer (perhaps seven months per year instead of six), but for the sake of this exercise, let’s call it even. There isn’t much overlap in what I wear for each of my two seasons, although I do wear some of my tops and toppers in the “shoulder seasons.” But since I don’t want to complicate things too much, I’ll just keep things separate for my calculations here.

When you break things out by season and have little overlap in what you wear, the amount of items you need to meet your desired frequency of wear obviously decreases. In my situation, assuming I wear completely different items each season, here’s how many items I would need within the high-level wardrobe categories (tops, bottoms, toppers, and shoes) for the various yearly wear benchmarks each season (again, assuming just two seasons):

  • 5 wears = 36 items
  • 8 wears = 23 items
  • 10 wears = 18 items
  • 12 wears = 15 items

As you can see, I don’t really need that many items within each given wardrobe category, especially if I want to wear things more often each year. It’s pretty eye-opening to do this math, isn’t it?

How Do You Spend Your Time?

But we’re not finished yet… We also need to consider the activities that make up our lives. Whether you work in an office or work from home (or don’t work at all) can affect the size of your wardrobe, in addition to whether or not you wear a uniform for work or dress differently in that environment than you do otherwise. Also, if you attend a lot of formal functions or frequently go out in the evenings, you’ll need wardrobe capsules to cover those occasions.

The above are all things to take into consideration when planning your wardrobe size. You may want to make a pie chart and map out the types of things you do and the proportion of time each activity occupies. Such an exercise can be beneficial in helping you to determine how often you wear particular types of garments so you can decide how many such pieces you ideally need to own.

My Time/Activity Calculations

My life is simpler than most in that I don’t work outside the home or attend virtually any formal events. Most of what I do is extremely casual, so I don’t need business or formal clothing. This part of the exercise is where my oft-quoted term “out and about” clothes comes into play. I continue to struggle with purchasing more out and about items than I truly need, so if I want to meet my frequency of wear targets (even though I’m not currently tracking wears), I need to concentrate on keeping that portion of my wardrobe smaller and more manageable.

All of my calculations in the previous section on climate needs are based upon my donning my seasonal out and about items (also called “regular clothes”) each and every day, but that’s not what actually happens in my life. There are many days on which I only wear lounge wear and/or workout clothes. In fact, I would guess that I only wear out and about clothes on four days most weeks rather than seven.

Thus, if I’m trying to determine the ideal number of items for my out and about wardrobe each season (which is what this is about for me, as I don’t overbuy lounge or workout wear), I would need to recalculate all of the numbers above to represent my reality. Consequently, my seasonal wardrobe numbers will now be based upon 104 “wearing days” per season rather than the roughly 182 actual days per season (four days per week instead of seven).

This works out to the following for the various yearly benchmarks each season, again looking at little to no overlap between the two season’s garments (all fractions are rounded up or down to the next nearest number):

  • 5 times = 21 items
  • 8 times = 13 items
  • 10 times = 10 items
  • 12 times = 9 items

Now the picture is becoming much clearer in terms of what I actually need, and I can see that my frequent anxiety around not having enough is usually unfounded. Even if I want the type of variety that five wears per year affords me in particular wardrobe categories (i.e. tops), I still only need 21 such items. That’s not a small number, but I often own more than 21 tops per season and I see now that it’s really unnecessary.

What Do You Like to Wear?

Lastly, I feel that it’s important to look at what you most like to wear. This is something that can change over time, so it’s helpful to check in with yourself regularly. If you’re someone who likes to wear a type of “uniform,” you may not need as many pieces as those who enjoy varying their colors, styles, and silhouettes more regularly, regardless of climate considerations. As one example, some women exclusively wear dresses and skirts in the summer (that used to be me), others only wear cropped pants and/or shorts, and a third group likes to alternate among all of these types of garments. Still other women just wear long pants all year round but vary the types of tops that they pair with them.

If you mix things up more often in terms of styles and silhouettes, you will typically need more clothes than someone who sticks to one or two basic “uniforms” all the time. This is especially true if you live in a more variable climate and engage in many types of activities that necessitate different types of clothing. Again, there’s no right or wrong, but having an awareness of your preferences can help you to plan for your wardrobe needs.

My Preferred Garment Calculations

During the cooler months, I only wear pants and jeans and I wear some sort of topper every day (cardigan, jacket, or coat). When it comes to the warmer weather, I used to only wear dresses and skirts all summer long, so my seasonal wardrobe included a lot of variety in these categories, as well as multiple shorter tops and toppers to pair with them. However, I started to mix it up more with cropped pants last year and I now alternate between cropped pants and dresses/skirts during the summer months. Since I also tend to run cold, I at least carry a topper with me most days. With these changes, my summer wardrobe now needs to be larger than it did before, as I typically wear different tops and toppers with skirts and pants due to proportion issues.

The past two years, I’ve been wearing summer pants more often than dresses and skirts, and I now vastly prefer dresses over skirts for their simplicity. But since I like to have more choices among the dresses I wear than my pants (and since pants are so difficult for me to find due to my height and my shape), I’m going to aim for fewer yearly wears in the former category than the latter.

Because my cool weather (“not summer”) outfits tend to fit into more of a standard “uniform,” the numbers in the previous section are really all that I need. Depending upon how often I’d like to wear each given category, I will need somewhere between 9 and 21 items in that section of my cool weather wardrobe. For pants and shoes, I’m fine with sticking to the lower numbers (9 or 10), but for tops and toppers, I’d like to have the larger numbers (13-21) in order to experience the greater variety that I desire.

Things get a bit more complicated for my summer wardrobe, as I like to mix up my “uniforms” more there. For the purpose of this exercise, I’m going to estimate that I wear pants two-thirds of the time in the warmer season and that I only wear dresses and skirts a third of the time. Therefore, if I’m looking at 104 “wearing days,” I would be putting on pant outfits on 69 days and dress/skirt outfits on 35 days. Because of this variability, my calculations are a little trickier, so I will split them out here:

Pant Outfit Items (based on 69 “wearing days”):

  • 5 times = 14 items
  • 8 times =  9 items
  • 10 times = 7 items
  • 12 times = 6 items

Dress / Skirt Outfit Items (based on 35 “wearing days”):

  • 5 times = 7 items
  • 8 times =  4 items
  • 10 times = 3-4 items (it came out to 3.5)
  • 12 times = 3 items

Wow, that’s not all that many items, is it, especially for the dress and skirt outfits?! Because I have so few “wearing days” for my dresses and skirts, I’m okay with sticking to the lower wear benchmark and only wearing most of the pieces in those ensembles 5-8 times per year. Since I’m now more partial to dresses over skirts, though, I’m likely going to phase out the skirts and that tops that pair with them to focus primarily on dresses moving forward. However, as long as I still like and wear those skirts and tops, I will keep them around. I probably won’t buy more, though, unless my preferences shift again. It’s just a lot easier to focus on dresses, as I need fewer of them and don’t need to worry about coordinating top and bottom pieces. I like the “one and done” option that dresses afford me, so it would also be nice to find more ways to wear dresses in the cooler months, too (but one step at a time here).

The Final Numbers

So if I add all of the numbers up, here’s what I’m looking at in terms of an “ideal wardrobe size” based upon how many times per year I’d like to wear each item (in parentheses):

Summer Wardrobe:

  • 7 pairs of pants (based upon 10 wears per year)
  • 14 tops to pair with pants (based upon 5 wears per year)
  • 9 toppers to pair with pants (based upon 8 wears per year)
  • 7 dresses/skirts (based upon 5 wears per year)
  • 4 tops to wear with skirts (based upon 5 wears per year, based upon splitting dress & skirt wears)
  • 7 toppers to wear with dresses/skirts (based upon 5 wears per year)
  • 9 pairs of summer shoes (based upon 12 wears per year)
  • TOTAL = 57 items

“Not Summer” Wardrobe:

  • 10 pairs of pants/jeans (based upon 10 wears per year)
  • 21 tops (based upon 5 wears per year)
  • 21 toppers (based upon 5 wears per year)
  • 9 pairs of cool weather shoes (based upon 12 wears per year)
  • TOTAL = 61 items

If I assume no overlap between my two seasons’ wardrobes, then the total number of items in my ideal-sized wardrobe would be… 118 ITEMS! You may be wondering how this calculation lines up with the “half” benchmark that I decided to work toward with my “half project…” That’s the $64,000 question, but since my next post will be an update on how I’m doing with that challenge, I’ve decided to hold off until that update, which I plan to publish sometime next week.

Conclusion

This has been a very enlightening exercise for me and I hope you have found value in reading about my experience in doing it. If you opt to take on the exercise for yourself, I hope you will comment on how it went for you, and if you’re open to sharing your numbers, that would be great.

For those of you in the United States, I wish you a wonderful Labor Day holiday, and I send all of you warm weekend wishes!

Happy Labor Day Greeting

18 thoughts on “Revisiting the Wardrobe Size Question

  1. Wendy says:

    Many condolances about your mother-in-law. Hope you are taking the time for you and your husband to properly mourn and heal. I await to hear of your thoughts when you are ready to share.

    It’s been a long time since I have commented on your wardrobe posts but I do read all of them. As you may remember, I’m obsessed with my own wardrobe size and frequency of wears. It’s been an erratic year of wardrobe experimentation with a shameful amount of churn due to weight gain over the past few years. As of yesterday, I’ve dwindled my wardrobe to clothes I like to wear on a daily basis and I will have to work hard to control my impulse to buy new items despite all the wardrobe holes I now have. I’m definitely one of those people who wear 20% of my wardrobe 80% of the time, especially when it comes to going out clothes. My most recent acquisition is an excercise outfit as I am going to try to get back to the weight I was happy with. I really like your stats on the amount of days you wear cold and warm weather clothes, I also live in a mild winter/hot summer place and don’t have much opportunity to wear coats and thick sweaters. The most difficult things for me to get are transitional weather clothes. I basically hate layering and prefer to have one-off items like a thin sweatshirt or some type of cotton top for spring. I will continue search with great caution and relish on my travel-size wardrobe.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Wendy. There are lots of ups and downs with mourning, which can be compounded by all of the practical stuff we’re having to deal with (financial and legal matters, cleaning out my mother-in-law’s house, etc. It’s definitely a difficult time…

      I’m glad you’re still reading my posts and it’s always nice to see you comment here. I feel you about the weight gain and wardrobe churn, as I have had the same issues as a result of menopause. My weight has mostly leveled out and it’s starting to slowly go down, but it’s not as easy as it used to be! Your purchase of an exercise outfit seems like a very wise one and I wish you the best of luck with your fitness and weight loss journey. Also, it’s great that you have pared your wardrobe down to those things you like to wear and I hope you can resist the impulse to fill up your closet again (I know that impulse well!). Yes, transitional weather items are difficult to buy and like you, I don’t really like layering beyond just wearing a top and a topper. It must feel like kind of a relief to have a small wardrobe. I always say that’s what I want, but my behavior often says otherwise!

  2. Katrina says:

    Oh my goodness, an unexpected death of a loved one can just throw everything into disarray both emotionally and functionally for a long time. My sympathy to you and your family.

    Your wears-per-year analysis is fascinating. I actually probably don’t want to know how many wears-per-year a couple of my jeans have – it might be in the hundreds! Also I think your consideration of “what do I like to wear” is something that’s often missing from wardrobe planning guides. Many discuss colors and body shapes and lifestyle, but they forget that people will only wear what they like, after all. I would like to do this analysis at some point but for right now I’m still caught up in this temporary work clothing situation that is interfering with my neat little closet.

    I need to decide whether I am still a retired/work at home person with a temporary office job, or whether I am a working person who sometimes works at home and sometimes in an office. This will make a difference in how I approach my clothing investment. I initially had the mindset that I would spend the absolute bare minimum on any work clothing since the clothes would only get used for this one-time contract and it would be a waste of money to buy either a lot of garments or very high quality garments.

    Now I’m wondering, when I come to the end of the contract and I’ve worn and washed everything in my small capsule work wardrobe 18+ times and most of the items are worn out (they were second-hand to start with), will that have been the best investment? Discarding the clothes will contribute to the textile waste environmental problem, AND I will have to buy new work clothes if I get another in-office contract in the future.

    I can see from writing this that I have a lot of conflict about the fact that these are “work” clothes, and I have more thinking to do on the subject…

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you so much for the kind wishes, Katrina. Yes, things have definitely been thrown into disarray for my family and it’s taking a while to try to get back to “normal” again…

      If you’re wearing some of your jeans a hundred or more times in a year, that’s very impressive! I have some jeans that are worn quite often, but not THAT often. My most worn items are my workout and lounge wear items for sure. Yes, looking at what I most LIKE to wear has been a breakthrough for me, as I was focused too much on what’s stylish and what other people like for far too long. I guess one thing that’s good about getting older is that I’m starting to care less about such things and am really wanting to dress more for myself.

      I can imagine that your situation is challenging with working a temporary office job. What I would likely do is get a small capsule of good quality work items, utilizing resale stores to lower the cost, which it sounds like you might have already done. I would also try to find some items that would work for the office and for other areas of my life if at all possible (i.e. for going out, tops and pants that might work for work and weekend, etc.). I think it’s important that you feel happy and attractive in what you’re wearing for work, no matter how long the contract is for. Yes, there is the issue of the environmental impact, but if you take good care of your items, hopefully they can find new life after you no longer need them. I hope you can find a solution that will bring you peace.

  3. Jenn says:

    My sympathy to you and your husband for your loss of his mother and your mother-in-law. You are so right in saying that we are never prepared to lose the people we love. I hope you both give yourselves grace and time to deal with your grief
    .
    As for your post, I’ve found these calculations fascinating, extremely enlightening, and helpful to me. Like you, I tend to dress for “out and about” about four times a week, but living in Michigan, I experience four seasons. I’ve made some initial calculations based on these factors and plan to fine-tune them as I go.

    As always, thanks for sharing!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you so much, Jenn. My mother-in-law was a big part of my life for 20 years, but my husband is about to turn 60 and is very sad that his mom won’t be there to help him celebrate. We’re still cleaning out her house, which has been very hard in multiple ways…

      I haven’t lived in a four season climate for much of my life, only for a few years when I lived in Colorado and Lake Tahoe. Even when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, we had just three seasons at most. I can imagine it’s a lot harder to figure all of this out for people in your situation. I’m glad my post was helpful to you and I hope you decide to share more about your calculations at some point. I always like reading about other people’s numbers.

  4. Lori says:

    I am sorry for your sudden loss of your Mother-in-Law. Grief takes a while to work through and can pop up in the most unexpected ways.
    I,too, live in a temperate climate in CA and find that I have far too many “not summer” items. I am working on having a year ’round capsule wardrobe always in the closet with just seasonal additions. My capsule is probably bigger than what other people consider a capsule because I do like a bit of variety. I am no longer forcing myself to fit into a certain number of items and I am using the hanger “trick” this year to see what I am really wearing. It has been pretty eye opening. I am eagerly awaiting the cooler temps that will come in Nov/Dec.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for the condolences, Lori. Yes, I remember having a lot of ups and downs with grief in the past, so I suspect it will be similar this time around…

      Interesting that you have too many “not summer” items. I actually feel like I have too many summer items at this point. Back when I tracked wears, I found that my numbers for the summer pieces were usually lower, but I think I like to shop for warm weather clothes more. I like your idea of a year round capsule wardrobe. I would like more crossover items, too. Some of my tops and toppers cross over, but I’d like to up that number. I have found the hanger trick to be enlightening, too, and I like the simplicity of it. With the past few weeks really heating up where I live, I join you in eagerly awaiting some cooler weather!

  5. Sam says:

    I’m sorry for your loss and thinking of you and your husband.

    I’ve been making use of your exercise and trying to make sense of the weather in Normandy where I live. I’ve divided the year into a long, cold, rainy grey periods, a short, too hot one, and two so-called transitional-but really all over the place-one. Doesn’t sound fun, yet I love the place and the forest, and I walk a lot, so I need to be realistic if I want to feel good. I try to keep more transitional and cold weather clothes than summer clothes, enough bottoms for one week and tops for two weeks. I enjoy variety in toppers, both formalish and casual-today I’ve been wearing a winter cardigan under a summer jacket. I’ve almost finished a chart where I try to match clothes to cold/transitional/hot weather to make sure they reflect reality, rather than a fantasy of a longer summer, and I still don’t have that many more winter clothes than summer ones;-)

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for the kind thoughts, Sam. I’m glad this post was useful to you. I have never been to Normandy, but I understand that it’s a beautiful place, even if the weather can be difficult to dress for sometimes. I like your idea of having enough bottoms for one week and enough tops for two weeks each season. I’m sure some of them can be crossover pieces, but maybe not when it comes to that too hot season (we’re experiencing some of that where I am now, and I want this weather to pass ASAP!). I’m very curious about your chart and think it would be a great exercise to take on! Many of us have wardrobes that reflect fantasy more than reality. If I were truly dressing for my reality, I would have a lot more “at home” types of clothes than out and about items. While the ratio is better than it used to be for sure, it’s still much more fun to buy out and about clothes and I still struggle with restraint…

      1. Sam says:

        Well I’ll be glad to share my chart with you when it’s done-I still need to check it as I seem to have ended up with a summer longer than the total transition season… Take care of yourself

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          Thanks, Sam! I would love to see your chart when it’s done. Yeah, weather can definitely be unpredictable and variable… Even when we have the best plans, sometimes we need to improvise. I hope you’re enjoying the summer!

  6. Heather says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. It’s so hard to say good-bye to those we love. I hope you are able to give yourself lots of grace right now, as you grieve and also juggle all the responsibilities of closing out her home.

    I always find your posts on number of wears fascinating – who would have thought that with the number of wears you picked, you would only need 118 items.

    We have 2.5 season where I live – summer clothes for 8 months, then a short transition (2-3 weeks), then it gets cold for 2.5 months and then another short transition. My winter clothes are my favorites, but sometimes I wonder if that’s just because I’m only wearing them for a few months out of the year.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you very much for your kind thoughts, Heather. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Yes, I was surprised to find out then I only need 118 items, too, but I think the key is that I only have the two seasons where I live. I’m curious where you live that you get 8 months of summer. The short transition seasons sound challenging in terms of what to wear and how many such items to keep on hand. Hopefully there are some crossover items that work for those “shoulder seasons” and your longer seasons. It’s not too surprising that your winter items are your favorites. For years, summer items were my favorites, but that was when I lived in a place (SF Bay Area) where the warm weather didn’t last as long. I don’t like very hot weather (like we’ve been having where I live lately…), but I love warm weather (70s). We have that much of the year here, so I’m grateful for that.

  7. Gail says:

    Debbie–May you find strength to live the best life you can and honor the memories. I am so sorry for your loss.
    I live in a place that has a long, hot, humid summer and a cool winter that sometimes is cold for a short time. The intermediate seasons are gorgeous. I find what works for me is long sleeves–down in cold and in AC, and rolled up in heat. Cotton seems best; linen is comfy, but I don’t like wrinkles or ironing. A couple of toppers work for all seasons, and a hooded and waterproof coat with a removable liner simplifies the outer wear situation. I like pants, so cotton ones in a medium to dark shade work all year, worn with lighter colored tops. I do keep a dress worn with or without topper for occasions. I keep my shoes to three pairs: sandals, lace-ups a little nicer than sneakers, but usable for the gym, and Mary Jane-like “dress” shoes. (Foot problem requiring orthotics.) As you know I like a smaller wardrobe, and this is my system for keeping that. It is relieving once you have pared down that all you need to do is replace. While seeking a right-sized wardrobe, I found I thought about clothes and buying a bit too much, too.
    Peace to you, sweet Debbie, and thanks for all the interesting writing that keeps my early mornings special.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I appreciate your kind words and wishes, Gail, and thank you for your comment. I love the intermediate seasons, too, but variations are pretty mild where I live. I would struggle with a long, hot, humid summer, but I guess we all get used to things. It seems like you have some great formulas for dressing for various temperatures while still maintaining a small wardrobe. I’m sure it took some time to figure that out, but your system seems to work well for you. I’m not a fan of wrinkly fabric that I have to iron, either, which is why I stick mostly to knits. I’m impressed with your ability to work with such a small wardrobe. I can imagine that it’s peaceful not having a lot of clothes. I have had a lot of ups and downs in that department, as you know, but I’m feeling better now with a more medium-sized (for me) wardrobe. I just have to keep it that way!

  8. Gail says:

    Debbie–I am thinking about you. When I start to miss my parents, gone a long time now, I find a small way to honor them. I got in touch with a cousin who was their “favorite” and rekindled a relationship with her. When I am tired or lazy, I make an extra effort at doing what I should,knowing they would be proud. I try to keep my grandkids familiar with what kind people they were. In ways like this they live on. And as time passes, you will find the many good memories will overshadow much of the grief. Best wishes.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I appreciate your coming back to share this, Gail. I love the idea of finding small ways to honor our lost loved ones. My husband and I have done a bit of that, but we have mostly been focused on clearing out her house (so much stuff!!) to get it ready to be sold. As an aside, that process is making us more committed to minimalism… That’s wonderful that you are sharing about your parents with your grandkids to help them live on. My stepson is taking quite a bit of my mother-in-law’s things (he’s 35 and he lost his mother just 17 days before losing his only remaining grandparent – tragic), so hopefully he will share about her and my father-in-law if/when he has kids. She will also live on through all of the wonderful artwork she created over many years.

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