Essential Wardrobe Pieces: How Many Clothes Should You Really Own?


I was reading an article on Living on a Dime called How Many Clothes Do I Need? that made me cringe. Clothes and shoes are a complete weakness of mine and this article spelled out how many items a person should own. Ugh, I know I’m going to be embarrassed and ashamed after I read this.

Are you ready for this?

Women (who work outside the house)

7-9 work/dressy outfits
5-7 casual outfits
2-3 outfits for relaxing at home
3-4 pair work shoes (depends on your work. Only 2 if you wear tennis shoes or the like to work)
3 pairs casual shoes

For everyone, you need:

1 winter coat
1 dress coat
1-2 pairs boots, short and long

Remember, these are just the bare bones of a wardrobe. Add or subtract according to your needs. The main thing is to be ruthless. Most women wear only 20% of the clothes 80% of the time. Get rid of everything else!

Yikes! I don’t even want to tell you how many clothes I own! Shoes alone is just ridiculous and then you add jeans, work clothes, summer clothes, winter clothes etc… It’s out of control! I even just cleaned out 5 boxes of clothes to sell on the yardsale (mainly because I couldn’t fit all the clothes I own in my walk in closet)! I know I still have a long way to go. Why is it so hard to part with clothes? Because I may wear them again?! Yes that’s why I hung on to a pair of sweat pants I had since 6th grade?!

Do you agree with the number of items Living on a Dime recommends a woman to have? How do you stack up against those numbers? Leave a comment and let us know!

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  1. This article makes great sense as we women tend to get wrapped up in fashion and the old “they cant see me in this twice” ideas. I would have to say, even though I have a TON of clothes myself, I wear only about what this list contains. Most of my clothes are too small (shame on me) and they sit in a closet or packed up. Perhaps its time to clean things out!

    Thanks for the article!!!!

  2. I’m a stay-at-home mom and I own a little more than the list above. I really want to get down to the minimum but I can’t stop buying new clothes. My problem is not letting go but rather suffering from a compulsive shopping disorder. I would love to read more articles on how to stop buying for your fantasy life!

  3. Have you seen the Project 333? The basic idea is that you pick 33 garments (including shoes and accessories) and wear only those 33 items for 3 months. I’ve been doing it since March and can’t tell you how freeing it has been! I let go many, many clothes that just weren’t right for me for one reason or another, and now every single thing in my closet is worn, fits well, and is comfortable. I planned out my wardrobe around a few basic colors so everything matches and I can mix and match for over 100 different looks/outfits with my minimal clothes. Best part: I have bought so little since starting the project (even with a maternity wardrobe thrown in for current circumstances!) It has saved me money, time, effort, and I kick myself for not doing it sooner. :)

  4. Wow no I have not heard of that! I can imagine it would be freeing but I’m not sure I could handle only having 33 items that includes shoes and accessories! Maybe I could start w/ 66 and see how I would do with that lol.

    But that is a great thought that it saves you time and money and the effort of it all. I don’t know why, but it is difficult for me to get rid of clothes that just don’t fit right b/c I think I might wear them someday (of course I never do)!

    I’ll have to think about this one and see if I can do it!

  5. I too am a SAHM and a compulsive shopper buying for my fantasy life.  This compulsion started since I had my child and it’s only now that I’ve finally put my foot down and said enough is enough.  (3 years later…)  I gave away to friends, sold and donated so so SO many clothes, shoes,
    bags, accessories the past two years because of this compulsion to buy clothes that I would like to wear but don’t ever.

    My recent solution to combat the fantasy life shopping is to have very few outfits.  This way, you have no choice but to wear the few that you have and if they don’t fit into your lifestyle or you’re not completely comfortable wearing them every day, then its’ time to give them up and acquire things that you will wear without a second thought.


  6. Oh man! I would be doomed if I tried to meet these standards. I could never get it down to this level. I’m trying to get my clothes and shoes reduced, but that seems extreme to me, lol.


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