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How much of your wardrobe do you actually wear more than 3-5x per year?


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I just started clearing out my closet. I used to have a system for clearing my closet, but when I changed closets a few years ago, I realized that system isn't working any longer.

I just counted and I wear less than 1/4 of my wardrobe on a regular or semi-regular basis. Time to purge, but man, it is hard! 

 

So, I am wondering, how much of your wardrobe do you wear? Feel free to exclude clothes that have a specific purpose like formals, painting clothes, sports gear etc. Unless your whole world revolves around those and they are a bulk of your wardrobe for a reason. 

I changed jobs and went from wearing a medium to a large. So I am seeing that much of my wardrobe isn't really of much use right now. I decided to do a purge. It is really hard because many of these items are very nice brands and the clothes look almost new! (that is what happens when you don't wear them LOL). I still like them but don't wear them, so they don't have much use anymore. I gave a few to my older daughter, like a pair of Frye boots that I have maybe worn 5 times. But she wears a small/medium in clothes and I wear a medium/large so not many fit her. I was only able to fill a kitchen garbage bag with clothes that I can be certain I won't wear again (usually due to mis-shaped shrinkage, itchy etc). The other 3/4 of my closet will be much harder to part with! I am hoping to get rid of 1/4 today and then keep whittling it down from there. I think I will likely stop at purging 1/2. Just because some of them, maybe useful if I change jobs again sometime. 

What helps you purge when you don't want to? 

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I have very few clothes, so all of it is worn literally to its death if it fits. Our clothing budget has never stretched far enough for me to get clothes since the kids constantly needs clothes and DH needs work clothes.

Now that I have returned to work this spring, I've added $ to a clothing budget just for me with my paycheck (so every other week). I guard it jealously - everyone else can wait until THEIR fund has money for new clothes. I have bought 3 new shirts, one pair of pants, and a pair of flats since March. The flats were actually free after rewards points - yay! I'm needing to add some sweaters and shells for the fall/winter now. I've never had so many new clothes unless my mom was buying lol.

I always wanted to do a capsule wardrobe since I have so few items. I've never been able to implement it though, partly for budgetary reasons, partly because I suck at putting outfits together.

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I wear nearly all of my wardrobe year round.

A few years back I began replacing worn out items or things I didn't like with more classic, better made items.  Before that I shopped a lot at Old Navy and other mall stores, and the clothes wouldn't fit right after one wash.  So, I gutted everything.  If I had a shirt that didn't fit well, I went out with the purpose of replacing it with one I did.  And I got rid of a LOT that didn't work for me anymore.  My lifestyle changed when I moved.  I needed more base layers, more hiking pants, more long sleeve quick dry shirts. There are a few things in my closet I can't bring myself to get rid of yet, but they're more sentimental.

 

Now, ask how much of my jewelry I actually wear. 🤣

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When I relocated to the states, I brought along a few formal blazers just in case I need something formal and they don’t have my size (XXS) here. I found they have my size at Neiman Marcus so I kept the black one and donated the rest. 
 

My usual wardrobe is jeans and tshirts so all of that gets used since we run a washer load once a week. 
 

I find that formal dresses are what I don’t purge but I have very few.

I purge outerwear every year for the one warm coat drive. https://www.onewarmcoat.org/give-warmth/donate-coats/

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2 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

I wear nearly all of my wardrobe year round.

A few years back I began replacing worn out items or things I didn't like with more classic, better made items.  Before that I shopped a lot at Old Navy and other mall stores, and the clothes wouldn't fit right after one wash.  So, I gutted everything.  If I had a shirt that didn't fit well, I went out with the purpose of replacing it with one I did.  And I got rid of a LOT that didn't work for me anymore.  My lifestyle changed when I moved.  I needed more base layers, more hiking pants, more long sleeve quick dry shirts. There are a few things in my closet I can't bring myself to get rid of yet, but they're more sentimental.

 

Now, ask how much of my jewelry I actually wear. 🤣

LOL. Yeah, my problem is jackets. HAHA

I have 8-10 Northface fleece. Basically, the same jacket, in different colors. I used to wear all of them, but the fleece is starting to get a bit worn looking. I ordered a sweater shaver to clean them up, but then realized, I should probably just get rid of some of them. LOL. They are harder to get rid of than any other item for sure!

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All but 2 items are something I wear regularly or are for certain occasions. 

I found a uniform of sorts.  I wear dresses with bike shorts and Jack Rogers comfort sandals when it’s warm.  The bike shorts are bc I still have baby gates to keep the little kids out of the kitchen, and because I sit on the ground with kids several times a day.

When it’s jacket weather I wear dresses with leggings and boots. I layer on cardigans or jackets to go outside. 

When it’s cold I wear jeans or corduroy pants with sweaters and boots or loafers. 

I have a handful of navy & black dresses I keep for occasional things like court or funerals. 

I have 10 pairs of my favorite black yoga pants and an assortment of tanks & tees for exercise.  I also wear those tops with jeans or skorts if it’s super casual. 

One item I don’t wear but haven’t gotten rid of is a navy eyelet sundress I ordered from Sundance catalog.  I can fit in it, but it’s 5 pounds too tight from being flattering.  It’s the only fantasy self thing I have, so I said I’d give myself until next summer to fit in it. I’ve been slowly losing weight, so that’s how I justify it.

The second item is a pair of black loafers. I had just stretched them to fit my feet when I found some secondhand designer loafers I now wear instead. They’re too nice/new to donate do they are backup shoes. 

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27 minutes ago, Tap said:

LOL. Yeah, my problem is jackets. HAHA

I have 8-10 Northface fleece. Basically, the same jacket, in different colors. I used to wear all of them, but the fleece is starting to get a bit worn looking. I ordered a sweater shaver to clean them up, but then realized, I should probably just get rid of some of them. LOL. They are harder to get rid of than any other item for sure!

When I donate outerwear, I hope the items would help keep some children or petite adults warm. When I donate semi-formal jackets/blazers, I hope they would benefit someone going for a job interview. For me its easier to let go when I can hope my gently used items would help someone. 
 

e.g. https://jailstojobs.org/free-interview-clothes/

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I still have some clothes from my last office job.  I guess in case I ever go back to work?   I also have dresses and skirts that I never wear now that we don't go to church regularly, but I would wear if we were invited to a wedding or other semi-formal event.    But I definitely don't need as many as I have.   I've gotten rid of some things over the past couple years but held on to favorites.  I really should cut down more.  

I live in yoga pants and science tshirts for work, and pj pants and other tshirts at home, with the occasional hoodie if I'm cold.   I would say I wear about 20% or less of my wardrobe more than 3-5 times a year.  About 10% of it I wear 90% of the time.

I really should get rid of a bunch of stuff and donate it. 

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I probably regularly wear 75 percent of everything I have. Most of that is super casual stuff--yoga pants and tee shirts (like LLBean pima cotton tees). The other 25 percent consists of a few dress pants, dressier blouses and shoes that can see me through a funeral or a wedding, stuff like that. I've never particularly enjoyed having more clothes than I need. I really should up my wardrobe quality, but I hate shopping.

Edited by Pawz4me
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All of it.  I have about 10-12 pair of different styles of jeans that I wear from Oct -March.  Capris and shorts from March-Oct.  Short sleeved t-shirts year around.  I have a 3 light weight sweaters, a couple of fleece vests and some long sleeved items I can wear from Dec to Feb. My weakness is shoes.  I like comfy shoes, so I have a bunch.  I do wear them all though.

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41 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

When I donate outerwear, I hope the items would help keep some children or petite adults warm. When I donate semi-formal jackets/blazers, I hope they would benefit someone going for a job interview. For me its easier to let go when I can hope my gently used items would help someone. 
 

e.g. https://jailstojobs.org/free-interview-clothes/

I think I need to do the same. I have donated to a woman's shelter before. Guess it is time to make a drop off again! 

I may look into the Jailstojobs or similar program in our area. I have a whole tote of office clothes (most still have tags on them). I was going to change careers a few years ago and had an opportunity I was going to take. I bought a two week worth of clothes and then didn't take the job after all. LOL Some I have already donated but the rest is pretty blouses and sweaters. Things I truly love, but I know I will never wear. I held onto them because I knew I was going to take a new job, and assumed that I was going to wear them at my new job. Instead, I went to a place that is even more casual than my first job. LOL They sit in the tote unless I am going out for a nice dinner (maybe 3-4x per year) and then pick something to wear from the tote.

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I purge often, but little at a time, and now that the 90s blazers are back, I wish I had kept them. That’s one of the roadblocks to purging. The what-if situations. 
 

When I put outfits together I wear them very frequently, but then neglect the rest of the clothes. I went up one size in 2020, and rather than hoping and feeling bad about the weight gain, I took every pair of pants and put them out for donation. And for shoes as well; if they are not comfortable but look good, I also l put them in a bag to donate. 
 

I buy many items especially wool coats second hand, and I like Arcadia’s idea. I have too many wool coats and now have a destination for them. 

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I wear almost none of what I own.  I do laundry every couple of days and wear the same clothes over and over again.  I rarely go out other than to run errands so I wear my workout clothes all the time.  My weight fluctuates a lot so I have clothes in all different sizes for all different occasions.  I don't want to wear nicer stuff if I'm just home or running errands because I worry about stains.  We have nowhere to shop around here so it's nice to know I have clothes available for different functions if needed quickly but having so much stuff in the closet is kind of stressful at times.  

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I’ve gotten pretty good at purging clothes, but have no real secrets to share about it! It probably helps that I layer year round, and don’t have need for several different “types” of wardrobes. There’s hanging out at home, hanging out with friends, and errands clothes kinda bleed between those two, then just a few things if I need something nicer.

I’d say I wear around 80% on a VERY regular basis. It was probably closer to 90-95% before I got StitchFix.

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Honestly, not very much of it, because my mother loves to give me clothes to wear for occasions that either have never happened or that happen rarely.  But she gets rather offended if she finds out I got rid of things.  Plus I have a "professional wardrobe" that I'm not wearing at the moment because I'm not working.  

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I emptied my walk-in closet/storage room for crafts and school last summer 1½ walls at a time and repainted the room. Then I put back the stuff I liked it used the most and made hard decisions about the rest. The clothes were surprisingly easy, all the tchotchkes and gewgaws were the most difficult. Now virtually all my clothes are in stacks on open shelves. The things at the bottom of the stack are reviewed periodically if the stack gets too high.

I also swore off keeping dress-up clothes just in case somebody died or got married or I suddenly found myself working outside the home. I'll deal with those when they arise.

In case I sound uber minimalist, know that I have embarrassing amounts of yarn, fabric, and books.

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I wear most of my clothes regularly when they are in season. The exceptions are a pair of slacks that I keep when I need to look/feel businesslike, a black “funeral dress” which is very flattering but black is not my color, and my going away dress from when I got married. It fits but I just don’t wear it a lot but I keep it out of sentiment. I guess I also have a blouse my mother embroidered for me that I keep for similar reasons. I could use a wardrobe purge to weed out things I bought but don’t love, or things that are getting too ready to  wear.

I don’t have any formal clothing. I’ve had zero occasions to wear formal clothes in the last 20 years. 
 

my funeral dress doesn’t get worn often but I like not having to cobble together a dark colored nice outfit for funerals. I do need to get some comfortable black  closed toe heels, though. 

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I have no idea. I purged my wardrobe when we moved at the beginning of 2020. I’ve just started back to in-person business meetings in the past couple of months, so it will be a while before I figure that out. For casual clothes, I think I’m close to 90% if not higher. I have jeans, shorts, leggings, sweatshirts, T-shirts & polo shirts that I wear consistently. I’d been working on the capsule wardrobe idea for a couple of years before we moved, so everything pretty much goes together. I wear black, grey, white, cream, light blue and occasionally coral in the summer & that’s it. My T-shirts are random colors, but otherwise I stick to the capsule colors. 

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Maybe 65%? I live where I need 4 seasons of wardrobe. I just packed away all the hot summer stuff, but my closet is too small to pull out the heavy winter items yet. I'm constantly tweaking my wardrobe and I like to thrift shop and I have a hard to fit body type. I bought more casual clothes last year when I worked at home. I'm also playing with my style a bit - doing more vintagey type outfits. So, I'm generally working on creating outfits, so I might hang onto something until I see if it works. 

I also have lost some weight in the last year, after putting some on in the previous months. I'm finally able to get back into a pair of my favorite casual capris. 

I have been much better about shoes, I wear 95% of those. 

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So, I have decided to move my favorites to the back and the others to the front. I will give everything a last chance to claim its position in the rotation. Part of the problem is living in a 4 season state. Just today, I was wearing a t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt and then I wore a vest when I went to the store. Then I switched the vest for a coat when I took the dog out for a walk. Then old clothes to work in the yard. Back into the regular clothes to do household chores/cook dinner. Now I am changing into sweats for the night, so I can avoid turning on the heater. 

When I look at things, sometimes I realize that forgot I had them. Or...like a nicer sweater, I don't want to put it on for weekend errands, but hate to just toss it. I would wear it if I was meeting a friend for lunch or a casual dinner (something I am doing more over zoom right now and not dressing up for). They are post-covid clothes LOL

I do have a jacket problem, but I do wear at least one daily because I work in these jackets (the pharmacy is too cold for me). I probably have 20 fleece in 3 different weights/styles that I wear to work in different seasons. I have 5 vests that coordinate with various fleece that I layer over the jackets if I want to be warmer walking to the car, but don't want to cram a full coat in my locker. 3 ski coats in different lengths for different activities (dd22 wears 1 when she is here too). 3 Northface shells. 1 light weight down jacket.  1 plain black dress coat. 2 cotton jackets. 4 t-shirt material jackets. Oy! Those are just the ones I can think of without looking. I really do like jackets. 🤣 I think that if I took my jackets out of my closet, I would remove 75% of the contents HAHAHAHAH

 

I cleared clothes off of 20 hangers today. I started with over 100.  It is a good start!! 

 

 

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All but a few items.  If I'm not wearing something regularly in its season, I analyze why then donate it.  When I buy new clothes I think very carefully about what is most useful to me.  I'm replacing things because I've lost weight. I'm going with French Classics in mostly solids: navy, teal, wine red, rusts, blacks, whites, and creams. Everything has to mix and match and have a timeless feel to it. My wardrobe ranges from casual to dress casual. 

This person is most influential in my clothes selection:

 

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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There are a number of things I regularly wore that I haven't worn in the past 1 1/2 years--I didn't wear my skirts or dresses--I could simply wear a dress shirt and a pair of shorts or sweat pants when teaching online.  Now, I am gong back into the office and classsroom and have to rethink wardrobe choices.  Most of work and casual clothes I wear on a regular basis.  However, I have some winter clothes I may only wear a few times in a year (or none at all) if we have a warm winter.  

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Maybe half?  But I have several items for dressier occasions...  not even fancy, just dressier than casual.  I guess I haven't had much to dress up for in the past two years!  But I keep thinking I might need them, so I keep them.  

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All of the wardrobe, some of the vintage.  My "wardrobe" lives in my bureau: skirts, t-shirts, underthings, sweaters.  My "collection" lives in my attic: loads of vintage dresses and coats plus many boxes of kid dress-ups.  I only wear skirts and dresses which makes my wardrobe smaller. I've never had a job that required business casual and I would have no idea how to make that look happen.

When I have to get rid of nicer things that I've loved either to make space or because it's just silly to keep, I have to move it into psychic purgatory for a few months before I can let it go.  Psychic purgatory is currently in the trunk of my car, sometimes it's the mud room of the shed.

7 hours ago, Tap said:

I do have a jacket problem,

Try calling it a "jacket collection."  It sounds thoughtful and you know, curated, and then people will give you more of them.

Edited by Harpymom
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We moved last year and I had another clear out.  I have office clothes that I'm wearing rarely these days - because I work from home a lot.  It all fits and I don't care about fashion, so I'll just wear it all until it's not in good condition for work.  I wear all of my casual wardrobe.  I have a few pairs of shoes that I need to donate - thank you.

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I wear my clothes to death. No joke. Dh gets antsy with me because I don't replace them soon enough, and he feels bad about it, worried that someone might think he is against me spending money on myself or something. It is only because I truly hate shopping, and am not a fan of a lot of styles or the fit. But that said, I have four evening gowns for performances, one of which is my favorite, a second of which I do like a lot, a this that is "meh" to me but is there for variety and so if I repeat performance with same venue/same audience, I have some variety. The fourth INE I wish I had not purchased. So it is drawing dust. Covid gutted my fledgling music career that was finally getting off the ground. I don't have the energy to try again, and am moving on to Aerospace Engineering and STEM education outreach for some of the Space Consortiums. I have a feeling I will never wear these evening gowns again. While 3 and 4 can be parted with easily, I find myself struggling mightily to get rid of 1 and 2. I can't tell if it because I like them so much, or if it is because getting rid of them signals the last vestige of a career I once loved so much.

Edited by Faith-manor
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9 hours ago, Tap said:

 Part of the problem is living in a 4 season state.

 

And I realized this is exactly why I wear my wardrobe year round.  Ds plays on ice, so even in the summer I have my jackets and sweaters out.  It's nothing for us to go from 30 degrees in the morning to playing at the beach in the afternoon.🤣  Dh mentioned one day last month that it's time to bring out the winter clothing bins and I looked at him like he was nuts.  I don't have a winter clothing bin.  I have a section of my dresser for my fleece lined rink pants and wool socks and a section for tees that go under the sweaters next to them.

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I also agree that sometimes seasonal issues go hand in hand. Here we have four seasons, but spring and summer are similar for temp/humidity/ etc. So items from spring can be worn again in fall. But winter and summer are diametrically opposed. Some years winter is mild, spring/fall clothes are worn into December and then brought out again in March. Other years, snow boots come out in November, and don't go away until May. You have to be prepared so yes, some elements in a wardrobe can be used rather infreauently, and yet you cannot just get rid of them because that is an immediate signal to Mother Nature to make you regret that decision. Nature in Michigan has a really mean spirited, performance based sense of humor.

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Oh geez, I have a whole contingent of”work clothes” that will never get worn again. I may have 30 pencil skirts 🤣 I recently gave bags and bags of dresses to a college student, her mom tells me she’s wearing them for orchestra ❤️There were some party dresses too 😉 

my own DD is very young but doesn’t wear dresses. I’m saving some DvF wrap dresses and the like for her in case she changes her mind. 
most my clothes now are hand me downs from my little sister. And carhart overalls 🙄

Edited by madteaparty
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I have a whole closet full of clothes I almost never wear.  Some of them will be worn once I get back to attending church and business meetings.  But some haven't been used in at least a decade.  Some have been in there for decades with the tags still on.  Because I might wear them someday.  😛  Or my kids might.  😛

Edited by SKL
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8 minutes ago, SKL said:

I have a whole closet full of clothes I almost never wear.  Some of them will be worn once I get back to attending church and business meetings.  But some haven't been used in at least a decade.  Some have been in there for decades with the tags still on.  Because I might wear them someday.  😛  Or my kids might.  😛

Thank goodness.  I'm glad it's not just me.

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For people who are frustrated with having clothes in their closets, but they don't wear a significant percentage of them regularly, you might benefit from asking yourself if you have enough basics compared to more trendy items.  Basics are foundational to any wardrobe.  Here's a resource that might be useful. She has a checklist that can printed. (She's more trend conscious than my own style, but I find some of her videos useful to me.)

 

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To be fair, it's not like my closet is bursting with clothes.  I have purged in the past and kept only certain types of items.  But since I work at home, I only wear t-shirts and jeans/shorts most of the time, and I keep those folded in a cabinet.

That said, I should probably do another purge soon.  Right after I finish cleaning out my kids' rooms/closets.  (Hint:  that task will probably never be finished.)

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I have a lot of clothes for different purposes and seasons. Running, swimming, snorkeling, skiing, etc. If I really like something I’ll buy multiples and different colors. I have a lot of different purses/bags/wristlets which are difficult to store easily.

My problem is actually too little closet space. 😄

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