What's new
  • Guest
    As per our long standing policy of not permitting medical advice on the forum - all threads concerning the Coronavirus will be locked.
    For more info on the coronavirus please see the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

Three month minimal wardrobe test

I have too many clothes. Far too many. This comes from having three levels of each garment type. Save for best, daily decent, and slobbing about the house. The save for best hardly ever gets worn, unless I'm running behind on other laundry, and takes ages to get demoted to daily decent. The daily decent does most of the work, and the slobbing around the house/garden never really gets completely worn out, yet grows in number as the daily decents tire and get demoted. Every so often, I do a purge, then get a load more daily decent stuff, some of which I decide is too good and should be saved for best, and the cycle begins again.

Anyone else, or is this just me?

I'm going to break the pattern, and try running with a minimal wardrobe for the next three months.

June, July and August, should theoretically be the warmest months, where the simplest wardrobe is needed. This means I should be able to focus on short sleeve and long sleeve single layer shirts and tops, and lighter weight trousers and shorts. I'll split the wardrobe contents, so a "minimal" amount of what I own is available to use, and the rest will be kept separate. If something wears out, then I'll replace it with something from the separate reserve stuff. However, I'll only increase the number of a particular garment type, if health, weather, or whatever, means I'm using stuff faster than its getting washed and back on the rail.

That should be a nice easy stage one.

Come autumn, I'll need more layers, and so for the following three months, I can allow more layers/garments to creep in. I won't need more shirts, but I'll either need something to wear over it, or a warmer single layer instead.

Again, as winter sets in, the heavier layers will be needed. Clothes take longer to dry inside too (I don't use a tumble dryer) so I might need to increase quantities of something that was previously enough. By springtime, I should be working back through the autumn weight items I've already shortlisted.

Voila, I've got a wardrobe that actually meets my needs.

At no point (yet) will I be throwing stuff away, unless it's wrecked, or simply doesn't fit anymore. It will just be kept in reserve while I figure out what I really need, without falling into the trap of thinking I've left myself too short and starting shopping again. I won't have that excuse, if there's more stuff that can be called into use.

I'll use this thread to make summaries as I go of what numbers I'm starting with, how many I'm leaving available, and whether it's actually working. The target isn't to run extra lean, more to understand the actual needs, so I'm not in perpetual excess or false perceptions of needing more.
 
Another trap is duplication of function, so short sleeve shirts, polo shirts, and smart tees, all need to be lumped together for this exercise. I've currently got 5 short sleeve shirts, 6 polo shirts, and 4 smart tees. Then there's 7 long sleeved tees, 10 long sleeved casual shirts, and 10 smarter office type shirts (I don't work now).

I'll pick 7 short sleeve, and 7 long. That's two weeks of shirts, tees, and polos - assuming I don't need to change shirts during the day. 14 out of 42.

Long trousers will be similarly grouped. I've got 3 smart pairs (not including suits, which are exempt from this), 4 chinos, 5 jeans, 3 canvas cargo pants (from when I was working), and 3 hiking trousers (from when I wals more active).

I'll start with 6 - one smart, two chino, two jeans (one decent, one battered), and one hiking type. 6 out of 18.

Shorts. There's 4 sports type, 3 cargo, 3 jersey, and 2 cut off jeans. I do wear the jersey ones as loungewear, but I'll add one each of the others too. 6 out of 12

So for summer outerwear, that's just 26 items out of 72. That might still sound like a lot, but health means I'm limited on laundry frequency, and impairs coordination, so I spill stuff a lot. That's also the total for all three grades of clother from my first post, including for any social events that might happen whenever lockdown is lifted, or light gardening/repairs etc. I think that's a sensible yet challenging start point. It might be easy, it might not.
 
Still way too many. I operate a strick one in one out policy. My waredrobe is full but not packed. All items fall into the daily decent category. I don’t see any need to slum it in the house. Every month I spend the same on new clothes. Normally one or two items. I never let it build up to a big shop. This works for me. 2 jeans, 2 chinos is plenty to get you through a week.
 
I too have too many clothes and sometimes go through my inventory and donate to charity any item which has been unworn in the previous 12 months. I would not throw anything away unless in really poor condition. I am in my mid 50s and recently disposed of all jeans as well as any shirt without a collar and any with too many logos etc. as they no longer suit me, if they ever did. Recent events have caused me to re-evaluate what is really important to me and it is not clothes or possessions; I intend to live a simpler life from now on. Good luck 👍
 
Still way too many. I operate a strick one in one out policy. My waredrobe is full but not packed. All items fall into the daily decent category. I don’t see any need to slum it in the house. Every month I spend the same on new clothes. Normally one or two items. I never let it build up to a big shop. This works for me. 2 jeans, 2 chinos is plenty to get you through a week.
Hmmm. We might not be that different actually. If my health takes a dive, I might not be able to do the laundry for four or five days, so whatever I decide to leave out might need to last the best part of two weeks.
 
I too have too many clothes and sometimes go through my inventory and donate to charity any item which has been unworn in the previous 12 months. I would not throw anything away unless in really poor condition. I am in my mid 50s and recently disposed of all jeans as well as any shirt without a collar and any with too many logos etc. as they no longer suit me, if they ever did. Recent events have caused me to re-evaluate what is really important to me and it is not clothes or possessions; I intend to live a simpler life from now on. Good luck 👍
I still have quite a diverse wardrobe, in that I don't particularly have one style of dress day to day. I do like being flexible in that regard. I'm 100% with you on the logos though. I've never liked being a walking advertising hoarding, unless it's something I specifically support. I do donate what doesn't fit (and probably 1/3 of what I buy is in support of, or from a charity), but if it does fit, I tend wear it till it falls apart, then use it for rags.

In that vein, most of the stuff that fits but is surplus, will be stashed away until it's needed. I don't want to donate something, only to have to replace it a few months down the line . I'll just keep that more minimal working array in use, so I get accustomed to a certain size of wardrobe, and avoid excessive purchases in future.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I lost about 80 pounds last year and none of my clothes fit so off to Goodwill. I’ve gone from a 44” waist to a 34”. So I’m having to start a new wardrobe. Fortunately, I’m retired so no suits and such are required. I do wish we would start making clothing in the US again. The flys in trousers and boxer shorts made in Asia are too short and it is a chore to have a pee.
 
I've done the initial line up to try, and done a few common sense checks. Will each shirt work with at least two types of trousers/shorts? Can they be washed together (no oddball colours which need to be separate)?

Based on the premise of laundry every two weeks (though sooner if health permits). The 6 trousers and 3 shorts should easily do it, but I'm going to need more t-shirts in the mix. I ended up with two short sleeve shirts, three polo shirts, and just two black tees. Plain t-shirts will suffice, and they can be worn under a shirt, or slept in if necessary. Ideally I could do with one or two a bit lighter coloured too, as everything else is quite dark.

I also need something to throw on top if it's a cool day. It's getting there though.

It's a shock to the system looking at so few items, and thinking that's all I'm going to wear for three months. However, it's also more than I'd pack for two weeks away, which kind of puts it in perspective. I need to try and get the three months out of the mind, and focus more on that two week cycle. It's probably more of a mental exercise, than a wardrobe exercise.
 
I lost about 80 pounds last year and none of my clothes fit so off to Goodwill. I’ve gone from a 44” waist to a 34”. So I’m having to start a new wardrobe. Fortunately, I’m retired so no suits and such are required. I do wish we would start making clothing in the US again. The flys in trousers and boxer shorts made in Asia are too short and it is a chore to have a pee.
Wow! Well done that man!

I only wear top loader underwear, so that's not so much an issue for me. I have had a few pairs I've had to discard over the years though. Some clothing manufacturers seem to think that the smaller the waist, the smaller what's below the waist, which can lead to comfort issues.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
Wow! Well done that man!

I only wear top loader underwear, so that's not so much an issue for me. I have had a few pairs I've had to discard over the years though. Some clothing manufacturers seem to think that the smaller the waist, the smaller what's below the waist, which can lead to comfort issues.
Actually, when one loses one’s belly, what’s below appears to lengthen. 😂
 

Doc4

I'm calling the U.N.
Moderator Emeritus
The save for best hardly ever gets worn, unless I'm running behind on other laundry, and takes ages to get demoted to daily decent. The daily decent does most of the work, and the slobbing around the house/garden never really gets completely worn out, yet grows in number as the daily decents tire and get demoted.
I am perhaps a bit confused by your "save for best" concept. Do all your clothes start with such a designation, or are some bought specifically to be "daily decent"? It seems as though all the clothes start SFB and move down to DD, but I may be mistaken.

I suspect the problem lies in you setting too high standards for the bottom end of your DD, and the transition to slobbing. This may be connected to you wearing "DD" more than "slobbing", compared to the durability of garments in each designation. (That is, EG: five days of DD and one of slobbing per week so stuff gets into slobbing faster than it wears out its welcome.) Can you adjust and wear slobbing clothes more? Or perhaps take the "one in one out" approach ... when a garment is demoted from DD to slobbing, a same-category garment has to be simultaneously discarded from slobbing?

Or think of it a different way ... the slobbing category is the "gate keeper": until a garment is kicked out of the slobbing category into the rags bin, another one isn't allowed to enter and has to stay in DD.
 

Doc4

I'm calling the U.N.
Moderator Emeritus
I lost about 80 pounds last year and none of my clothes fit so off to Goodwill. I’ve gone from a 44” waist to a 34”. So I’m having to start a new wardrobe. Fortunately, I’m retired so no suits and such are required. I do wish we would start making clothing in the US again. The flys in trousers and boxer shorts made in Asia are too short and it is a chore to have a pee.
Congrats. My suggestion is to go slow with new clothes, as there may still be some fluctuation until your body settles into its "new size".

I find the short zipper to be particularly prevalent in the "low rise" pants so common nowadays. I recently purchased these pants, in a 34 waist, and found them to be cut nicely with a higher waist and longer zipper. If you do not want heavy wool (great for winter and too hot otherwise) the same website offers other cotton options from the same brand.


it is a chore to have a pee
Don't think you can drop that goose poop moniker so easily.
 
Doc, great post. You nailed it, and echoed some things that I've just been realising myself.

I am perhaps a bit confused by your "save for best" concept. Do all your clothes start with such a designation, or are some bought specifically to be "daily decent"? It seems as though all the clothes start SFB and move down to DD, but I may be mistaken.
My "save for best", is something I'd wear for a casual evening meal with friends or family (as an example). Better (subjectively) than regular daily clothes, but not formal attire. After a number of washes, they might not look so sharp, and lose their "edge" for an evening out, but be perfectly good enough for regular daily wear. I buy most of my clothes online, and in all honesty, I don't truly know where exactly it's going to start life, until I get it, feel it, and try it on. I might buy something for daily, and something for "best", but they end up swapping places when they arrive.

I suspect the problem lies in you setting too high standards for the bottom end of your DD, and the transition to slobbing. This may be connected to you wearing "DD" more than "slobbing", compared to the durability of garments in each designation. (That is, EG: five days of DD and one of slobbing per week so stuff gets into slobbing faster than it wears out its welcome.) Can you adjust and wear slobbing clothes more? Or perhaps take the "one in one out" approach ... when a garment is demoted from DD to slobbing, a same-category garment has to be simultaneously discarded from slobbing?
I think that I've actually not been choosy enough for either category, and a lot of clothes have lingered on the threshold of those two categories. I'm now looking at having a clearer definition of the two.

Or think of it a different way ... the slobbing category is the "gate keeper": until a garment is kicked out of the slobbing category into the rags bin, another one isn't allowed to enter and has to stay in DD.
Absolutely! I think that clearer definition comes in here too. Just because it's not good enough (for whatever reason) for daily decent, shouldn't mean it automatically goes into that third category. As an example, a dress shirt with a slightly frayed cuff wouldn't cut the mustard in either of the better categories, but wouldn't be comfortable enough for days where facing the outside world is not on the cards.

I've had more revelations too...

T.B.C.
 
I've been shuffling things around, mixing and matching, and tying my brain in knots. Making sure that if there's only one X in the wardrobe, that there is a Y that can be worn with it. Also, that everything has washing partners. For example - white shirt. I wash whites separately, but if there's only one white shirt and one white tee, is it worth running a washing cycle? Do I add more whites, or eliminate them altogether. It applies to more than whites, but that's the clearest example.

I've long been a big believer that the key to any kind of problem solving, isn't finding the right answers. It's about asking the right questions. If you get the questions right, the answers look after themselves. That's where I was going wrong earlier. Every answer was wrong, because the questions were wrong.

I think I've got the right logic sequence now, and the pieces should start falling together better.

The key is the trousers. They, to me, are the foundation, and the shoes and shirt follow accordingly. With that in mind, and with the two week wash cycle in mind, I can build the daily decent and save for best spectrum (spectrum, not two pigeon holes). This might sound convoluted, but I think this will work like a charm...

The 6 pairs of trouser, from dressiest to most casual, are:

Grey pinstripe trousers
Tan cord chino
Dark blue jeans
Tan lightweight chinos
Light blue jeans
Zip off hiking trousers

Here's the clever bit. Instead of hanging all those together, then hanging all the shirts together, then hanging all the polos together etc, space those trousers out. Hang one long sleeved shirt, and one short sleeved shirt, between each pair of trousers. The rule being, that both those shirts must work well with both pair of trousers either side. As a result, each pair of trousers has four compatible shirts (two long sleeve, two short sleeve). In fact, the chinos/jeans/chinos/jeans in the middle means there's probably more possible combos there.

Then add one long and short sleeve shirt to each end, so they're stuff that only have to work with the hiking trousers and dressy trousers. Six trousers, seven long sleeves, seven short sleeves, MANY possible combinations. This also makes autumn and winter easier. Add in a warmer alternative to the shirts, and/or a layer that will go over those shirts, with the same rules of matching the trousers either side. Now, there's four-season options between each of the pairs, which means certainty of there being something left in the wardrobe to match whatever trousers are chosen, whatever the weather, while half the wardrobe is in the laundry.

T.B.C.
 
Ive recently tried to go minimalist on my wardrobe and Im probably still not a true minimalist yet but Im better than I was. I now have about 14 t-shirt: some white, some black and some grey; along with a handful of sports team shirts that I wear for watching games.
I also have 7 pairs of jeans. I typically wear the t-shirts and jeans during the spring, fall and winter months; along with a flannel shirt.
For the summer, Ive recently started rocking polos and shorts. I have an abundance of fairly nice polos and shorts that I wear for golf and I figure that they are nice enough to look nice but casual enough to wear around the house and if I go out.
For when we go out to somewhere nice, I still have some nice black and khaki slacks that I can wear for golf in the spring and fall and for when we go out; as long as some nice button down shirts and a vest.
I have about 10 pairs of socks and boxers, which is probably a bit too much but its whatever.
I also have probably 6 sports jerseys: an Arsenal one, a Columbus Crew one, a Wisconsin football one and 3 Wisconsin hockey ones. I probably dont need 3 hockey jerseys but they have sentimental value to me and I just cant bear to part with them. Im actually seriously considering picking up another Columbus Crew jersey, now that the new one with the new kit sponsor has come out.
Like I said, its probably still too much but its better than I once was, where I literally had 2 dresser drawers that were just for t-shirts and I had my plain white/black/grey shirts that I wore for work and I had probably about 20 graphic tees that I wore around the house and when I went out on the weekends.
 
As for the slobbing out, loungewear, "don't want to face the world" clothing, that's purely chosen for comfort. Jersey shorts, fleece trousers, tee shirts, big comfy jumpers. Some might be demoted items, but many won't. Good enough for opening the door to receive a delivery, but doesn't need to be fit for the purpose of nipping out for a pint of milk... unless you want to do it looking like The Dude. Tees can double up as base layers for the warmer months too.

Talking of doubling up, I forgot to mention shorts!!! The hiking trousers are zip offs, so that's one pair with matching tops already. I just need to pick two more pairs of shorts, that match the shirts already in the line up. That's the decent daily and save for best spectrum finished, with 8 trousers/shorts, 14 shirts/polos/smart tees, 7 warmer tops/additional layers, an a few extra warm bits for the really cold days. That SHOULD (in theory) give me a safe two week run of clothes no matter the weather or planned events.

The surplus:
I have more jeans, and more chinos. I have more of everything! Some will drop right in as replacements when it's time to replace something. They get stashed away somewhere till they're needed, then replace whatever's ripped, stained, or worn out. Some stuff just won't fall into the system. That stuff needs to find a new home.
 
Ive recently tried to go minimalist on my wardrobe and Im probably still not a true minimalist yet but Im better than I was. I now have about 14 t-shirt: some white, some black and some grey; along with a handful of sports team shirts that I wear for watching games.
I also have 7 pairs of jeans. I typically wear the t-shirts and jeans during the spring, fall and winter months; along with a flannel shirt.
For the summer, Ive recently started rocking polos and shorts. I have an abundance of fairly nice polos and shorts that I wear for golf and I figure that they are nice enough to look nice but casual enough to wear around the house and if I go out.
For when we go out to somewhere nice, I still have some nice black and khaki slacks that I can wear for golf in the spring and fall and for when we go out; as long as some nice button down shirts and a vest.
I have about 10 pairs of socks and boxers, which is probably a bit too much but its whatever.
I also have probably 6 sports jerseys: an Arsenal one, a Columbus Crew one, a Wisconsin football one and 3 Wisconsin hockey ones. I probably dont need 3 hockey jerseys but they have sentimental value to me and I just cant bear to part with them. Im actually seriously considering picking up another Columbus Crew jersey, now that the new one with the new kit sponsor has come out.
Like I said, its probably still too much but its better than I once was, where I literally had 2 dresser drawers that were just for t-shirts and I had my plain white/black/grey shirts that I wore for work and I had probably about 20 graphic tees that I wore around the house and when I went out on the weekends.
Excellent! I'm falling into a similar pattern, except I'm taking the excess duplicates out, and saving them till they're needed. That way I don't have six pairs of jeans, all developing "the big knees" all at the same time :D. As one gets worn out, there's already something in mint(ish) condition in the suitcase under the bed to replace it with.

I still haven't managed to square the circle with the whites yet, and whether to have enough whites to run a half load in the washer, or eliminate them altogether. Now, I do have some whites that used to be white, but are greying or yellowing a little. I also have a pack of esspresso brown machine dye arriving tomorrow. Some or all of my existing whites may be turning dark brown. I'll try my layout idea in full over the next day or two, and see if whites are actually needed.

As for specific stuff like dress shirts for suits, they're already in the suit bags paired up, and will only get worn when the suit does. That's one set of decisions that don't need any brain space right now.
 

Doc4

I'm calling the U.N.
Moderator Emeritus
[Note: the following "sat around" a while this afternoon, so was done without the benefit of seeing all the additional postings.]

I think that I've actually not been choosy enough for either category, and a lot of clothes have lingered on the threshold of those two categories. I'm now looking at having a clearer definition of the two.
Just because it's not good enough (for whatever reason) for daily decent, shouldn't mean it automatically goes into that third category. As an example, a dress shirt with a slightly frayed cuff wouldn't cut the mustard in either of the better categories, but wouldn't be comfortable enough for days where facing the outside world is not on the cards.
Actually, I see a lot of my own attitudes, approaches, and problems in what you say, so I am a bit more motivated to think this through and offer suggestions.

May I suggest that you take the daily approach of selecting "the most worn out" of available DD clothes, subject to an "unless the event calls for something sharper" exception if you need to avoid the "you're not actually wearing that, right?" look from SWMBO as you are heading out the door to the restaurant or wherever.

Finding myself with too many clothes in far too many categories, I take a "pick on the weakest link" approach in the hopes of wearing something out sooner rather than later. I have a small selection of items as my "regular rotation" and stick with them, leaving the other items essentially untouched; when one of my "regulars" is finally worn out, I will either just shrink the rotation or bring in a new member from the reserve stock.
 
Last edited:
Top