Fashion experts and style books suggest that you should only add something to your wardrobe if you can wear it in three to five different ways. That way you’re assured of adding a versatile piece that gives you the best bang for your fashion buck. This shopping strategy encourages wardrobe efficiency, creativity and above all, value for money.

I used to feel the need to make a new item earn its place in my wardrobe by working it into as many ensembles as possible, but over the years I’ve changed my approach. These days my wardrobe workhorses work their buns off as I haul them into endless combinations, but I also have several items that I only like to wear in one, perhaps two outfits. Items like shirt dresses, sack dresses, some sheaths and a few skirts, jackets and blouses often fall into this category. I no longer feel the pressure of having to mix and match excessively in order to reach the so called desired 5 ways. If an item looks its best in one or two ensembles, then those are the  combinations that I’ll stick to. I don’t have more clothes as a result of not fulfilling the required outfit combination minimum. I simply wear the same outfit combination more often. And I’m perfectly happy to do that!

Perhaps I don’t get bored with my clothes as quickly as I used to. Perhaps I’m doing a better job of selecting items that have style staying power. Perhaps my incessant “need” for purchasing beautiful handbags keeps the outfit combination pressure at bay (adding a new handbag to my wardrobe makes my outfit combinations feel new).

We’ll leave occasion wear out of the discussion, seeing as no one expects you to wear a cocktail dress or ball gown in five different ensembles. For the rest of your wardrobe, do you feel the need to make an item work in three to five different ways before you make the purchase?  Do you feel that an item is orphaned if you can only wear it in one or two outfits?