I'm trying to translate the numbers... once a week is 52 wears. Every two, 26. Every month, 12. Every two months, 6. At that point, an item should last 5 years...

RachyLou has a very good point.

Yes, I did this calculation too Rachy. But you have to take in the seasons! One can't expect wearing wool trousers during summer, or that cute sleeveless silk blouse in winter. So it's not 52 weeks, really; it has to be divided in season, depending on how long the season is in your area.

For example, here in Canada (eastern), I'd say winter is pretty much from November to March. That's 5 months. Or 20 weeks (more or less).

So if those wool trousers are to be worn once a week (which starts making them close to a workhorse in my book) then in a year they don't even make the 30 times mark.

Let's talk about that cute sleeveless silk blouse. Summer here - well, er, the summer that qualifies to wearing an almost see-through item plus bare arms without constant chills - goes from June to August: 3 months (if you are lucky. Because there could be a week or two in there during which it rains and it's cold). So let's be optimistic and translate it into 12 weeks. Wear that blouse once a week and... you get the picture. But you lurve that lil' cute top, you are so glad you got it in the first place, you promised yourself that next time you see one like this on sale you snatch it.

... or should you? Because now, with the wear 30 times rule, you know it will take you at least 3 years to get there - and that's with faithfully wearing it at least once a week all summer, every summer.

I love this idea and hadn't heard of it before. I started tracking my CPW a year ago and have considered anything with a $5 or less CPW to be a win. When I look at my stats from the past year, I only see 2 items with more than 30 wears. A pair of jeans I bought in the fall that I plan to replace this year, and a pair of black pumps that have plenty of life left in them. Lots of stuff comes close to 30. So, I guess I'm doing okay! Like others have mentioned, it's hard to get to 30 in just a year in a 4-season climate, but I like the idea. It's something new to consider alongside CPW.

Ok, if you do a summer and winter switch out... to once a week is 26, every two weeks is 13, once a month is 6, and every two months is 3. At that point, an item should be good for 10 years!

... that's not too bad. A thing can be reasonably fashionable for 10 years.

But I have a follow on question now... do you think you can find a garment that could withstand 30 machine washings? I have my doubts, to be honest.

Oh interesting! My hats, my favorite jeans, my most comfortable shoes, a few tops easily surpass thirty. Not sure what else though!

rachylou, I'm thinking I could take the following steps:

1. When possible, choose fabrics like merino, cashmere, and silk that don't retain odors and can be washed less often.
2. Try to choose styles with more longevity for items that are more limited in scope or season.
3. Look for quality construction.

krishnidoux, I live in a 4-season climate, though perhaps slightly milder than yours, and I'd push back a little on the impossibility of this. Chosen wisely, that cute silk blouse might be able to be tucked under blazer in the fall, worn with a denim jacket in the spring, and worn peeking out beneath a cashmere sweater in winter.

Sterling, your post made me laugh. I did pretty much the same thing, thinking, "Of course, I wear everything 30 times!" And then, when I looked, it turns out that silk blouse that I'm about ready to pass on because it has a hole and a run starting...has 15 wears. It's infuriating, actually.

Suz, it made me smile to see how closely your 30+ wears items matched your essentials list. It was obvious just from glancing at the photos!

Everyone else, I'm reading and enjoying your comments and thoughts!

Well, this sounds like a great idea. I was all excited about the possibility, till I read through all the comments. Krishnidoux captures my problem. As you point out, Jenn, that little silk blouse could be made to work into the fall, certainly. But I know I would get tired of wearing my statement pieces often enough to get to 30 in a year or two. And I have a closet full of statement pieces. I might be able to hold myself to the #30 concept with essentials. But those I just wear until they are no longer passable or useful to me, wear-wise or style-wise. I still very much appreciate the idea, and will ponder further!

This is a great question to consider. Last year I tracked wears for several months until getting overwhelmed in the moving process. The biggest thing I learned is that I don't wear items nearly as much as I thought I did. Also Krishnidoux and Firecracker hit on the problems of seasons and statement garment fatigue. I will need to think about this more.

Great thread. I like the concept, and certainly purchase items that I hope will last for many years - although I kick out mistakes as early as I can. Like Kondo's "does it spark joy" question, this seems to me like a good benchmark for evaluating purchases, but not necessarily one that needs to be adhered to strictly, as long as it helps with the frame of mind of buying items that we love and want to wear often and for a long time.

Well, I stopped by the mall on my way home (...it is so dangerous having a BART stop literally in the mall on my commute home) and bought four things that I'd been eyeing (the BR elbow sleeve top everyone's getting, two cardigans, and a sweater tank)... and realistically, would I wear any of them anywhere close to 30 times? Probably not, and yet each of them hit some sort of "just what I was looking for" bell in my head. Moral is, I think my head lies to me about the utility or need for the things that seem to fill a niche. It's actually unusual for me to buy that much (more often I head home empty-handed) but regardless, if I shop less, I'll buy less. I should, and will, probably return some of them, but I think more wardrobe analysis is needed.

(For myself I'd be fine with 20 as a goal number, and plenty of room for a few statements like today's tweed jacket that don't get much use.)

I had an epiphany about this a few years ago. I was losing weight at the time and realized that I didn't need many items as they wouldn't be worn over a long time.

Many of my items have been worn/used more, or much more, than 30 times. Some shoes and bags 100+. Some of my clothes and shoes I should have parted with sooner. Usually I have to notice them in daylight to realize how bad they've gotten.

The fancier items and the cheapest ones are the exceptions. I should work on wearing the fancier items more often, and some of the least expensive just don't last. Tshirts tend to shrink, etc.

I wore the same skirt for fancy events over many years and switched it up with tops. But the tops didn't get much use.

I have a favorite dress that probably has 30 uses or more over many years and 2 newer ones that have 1 or 2 wears. And I chose old faithful again last week.


Well, you have a good number of things that are winners! I made a calculation for the past 2 years (2015-2016) and my winners are a pair of jeans, a pair of black viscose pants, cognac booties, blue ballet flats, pretty flat sandals, a grey super versatile tee and a light pullover. All multi-seasonal items as you can see, and that makes sense. To answer your question, no, I do not think this will be useful for me. I am absolutely uncapable to figure out whether a garment will be a workhorse or not. I usually get it wrong ...

Oh no, I just lost a huge post about this. Ugh!

The gist was this...even though I am an "essentials heavy" dresser who works from home (so does not need a lot of variety for my daily life) and therefore wears a lot of her closet at least 30 times (as you can see from the ones I posted, which isn't even my complete list) -- I would go nuts without the fewer than 30 wears items! Living in a similar climate, I take what Krish says to heart. Some things would take a decade to get that many wears and I would be sick of them or they'd feel dated. My own wardrobe only works through a blend of trend-driven fewer than 30 wears pieces and the 30+ wears items.

It's true you can have some seasonal crossover, but honestly? Not as much as you might imagine, where we live. It's not the heat, we always say -- it's the humidity. And the wind (and wind chill). To be honest, when I look at those "winterize your summer dress" posts, I usually want to gag.

Not only that, but as someone who has multiple roles and needs to dress a bit differently for each one, I need clothes that don't fall into the uniform category at all and that simply allow me to do the stuff I need to do...

Examples of my "fewer than 30 wears" items below. Note that most of these have also been in my closet 3+ years....I am looking through my "wardrobe" Finds only, not my "history" ones. I am not including items that I think may achieve 30 wears even if they have not quite done so, yet. In other words, I'm leaving out my essentials.

Suz, I think you're probably better than most of us at "wearing the heck out of" your clothing. My goal is to be closer to where you are than where I am right now, to have mostly 30+ clothing, and fewer low-wear pieces.

When I first started rebuilding my wardrobe a few years ago, I made a lot of mistakes. I ended up donating quite a few items with only 5-10 wears, many of which had stretched or shrunk or twisted or fallen apart in that short time (I'm looking at you, Loft tees). I have multiple roles, as well, so I now have a small business casual capsule that sits alongside my even smaller cocktail/party capsule. I realize that those items might not make the 30-wears ideal, but the point isn't to flagellate ourselves. It's just to be more conscious.

Penny, you have the right of it. I'm trying to kick out mistakes more quickly, too, as my mistakes could be someone else's perfection. Donating sooner, at least makes it more likely another person can enjoy and use it. It's definitely a frame of mind, and I'm getting better with my choices.

It also occurs to me that items that frequently get included in travel capsules (things like my merino dresses from Icebreaker and Ibex, or my Prana and Athleta leggings) hit 30 wears quickly, because if I take them travelling they get worn every other day, if not every day. It may feel like items that are primarily for travel don't see a lot of use, because the uses are concentrated in a short period of time, when in fact they're racking up more wears than some of my "everyday" clothes.

I had a sleepless patch last night and thought about this. Thoughts I had were-

1. Second hand is a great for statements- jackets, bold lightly worn tops etc This could mean buying second hand or passing on to consignment or ebay. I think being wary of faddish/too trendy statements - and purchasing lightly in this area as the scope for passing on is lower.

2. Sunglasses, workhorse casual shoes and bags are all very high use pieces- my glasses would be worn 200 times a year and I have two pairs, one 5 years old. Spending an additional $20 or even $100 might be money very well spent if you get longevity or an item you really love.

3. I personally need to be wary of tops that are a challenge to wear- this category would be my one where I can struggle to get to 10 wears. No more for a while, I am drawn to them but need to wear the ones I do have! This means tops that only work with heels (to my mind for flattery reasons), ones that are a challenge to layer over,

Sal, I totally agree with everything you just said. Statement tops, and dresses and dressy footwear are definitely more likely to become my least worn items. Yet I do need them. And I think they average out with watch, bag, jeans, sunglasses, etc. Which seems fine to me.

Jenn, I like your emphasis on being more mindful -- I think it makes sense to ask the question, even if your answer is "No, I won't get 30 wears from it but I really need it anyway to make outfits I will enjoy this year, and I did get 30 wears from x, y, and z items."

I realize I misspoke myself -- the items in my "fewer than 30 wears" are actually mostly newer (this year or last). I still don't think I'll ever get 30 wears from most of them, though...even though I expect to keep most of them at least 5 years (not the shoes -- they'll wear out before that even at 15 or 20 wears).

It seems to me you do a great job of wearing the heck out of your clothes!! But I hear you on the rebuild mistakes. I made a ton of those myself in rebuild phase. Maybe it's necessary to help us nail down our style. Many of mine were actually second-hand items so I didn't feel as bad about it, either in terms of the environment or my finances.

LaPed, you said; "It also occurs to me that items that frequently get included in travel capsules (things like my merino dresses from Icebreaker and Ibex, or my Prana and Athleta leggings) hit 30 wears quickly, because if I take them travelling they get worn every other day, if not every day. It may feel like items that are primarily for travel don't see a lot of use, because the uses are concentrated in a short period of time, when in fact they're racking up more wears than some of my "everyday" clothes. "

BINGO!!! Lightbulb moment for me or what? Wow. I do soooooo much travelling, my travel items almost always get more than 30 wears within a year, and many of them are also at-home essentials...no wonder I make that 30+ mark so often with many of my "background" type items. Hmmm.

I'm back on a morning off. I have checked my lists. After 11 months of counting and tracking wears ( I had to guess the number of wears for older items when I started) I have hardly worn anything 30 times. Essentially my really really old things- the tartan shirt from 1985 with the interesting collar which is now worn with one particular red merino cowl neck in winter. The fancy bright colours 1986 jumper made in Germany, Mondi brand knitwear. My favourite Mamma Mia T-shirt from 2006. My Skechers from 2009 that are for walking and for casual. And hooray for last year's black Scope jacket like a soft blazer, now 35 times since early 2016 when bought.
Someone talked about if clothes last. The last 3 culled workhorses did more than 30- the soft merino that the Scope jacket replaced needed repairs to the turn-up lined cuff before 30. It had 3/4 sleeves and I felt was looking a bit ratty, but my DD 26 has taken it as she is thrifty and it's still soft and warm. It was a supposedly very good NZ brand and I was annoyed about the sleeves. My 2 recently culled Capri pants, black from 2012 white from 2013, had 36 and 37 wears respectively, machine washed in cold water and hung to dry. The black stretched out and were floppy at the bottom, the white yellowed despite Napisan and bleach soaking. Those have been replaced last month. They were supposedly good brands and were not washed every wear by any means. I find that irritating. The black had cost $164 in 2012, the white only $40 in 2013 as outlet store but normally would have cost more. Don't you think a $164 pair of pants should do better than 36 wears before dying?

I just have too many clothes to wear them all that much. In Anchie's wardrobe numbers thread I counted my wardrobe- 105 tops including tunics, dresses, cardigans, jackets, and 30 bottoms, and 52 shoes. I am over 20 on another 12 pairs of shoes as well as the Skechers, so pleased with that.

I just bought 12 new tops (including duplicates). My goal is still to get a reasonable cost per wear, but as I increase the number of items in a given category, it gets harder to get 30 wears. Now I do intend to keep all these new tops at least three seasons so that is point in my favor.

GREAT thread, Jenn. I really enjoyed the conversations.

Highly fascinating . I admit to reading this yesterday and not feeling I had any opinion or thoughts on it . But I've come back to it twice now , so there must be something there nagging at me . I don't doubt that my everyday stuff gets worn far more than 30 times ( coats, boots, jeans , bags , tshirts , leggings , cardigans etc) but I bet you I don't wear the majority of my closet that many times before passing them along . And that horrifies me in that we are / I am / such a disposable society and that clothing is such a disposable commodity . I don't what the answer is , but I think this will make me far more conscious of that fact when shopping . It's a good way to remind yourself not to over buy pieces that won't stand this rest of wear . Good food for thought , Jenn , thank you for posting this !

Great thread, everyone!

I keep my closet small and edited, so I always get to the 30 wears per item. Also, the advice of "only buy statement pieces that you REALLY, REALLY love" has been life-changing for me. And it's caused much more pain in the dressing room than you can imagine!

I'm completely fascinated by this concept and can't stop thinking about it! A couple of things have come to mind. What is a wear? Any time you put something on your body? Or only something you wear for much of the day? Most days I have three changes - clothing for the day (out and about - work or activities), loungers in the evening and pjs to sleep. I would count all of these as legitimate wears. But sometimes, on the weekend, I might just run out for an hour (and change out of loungers to do this) but change back again as soon as I get home. Is this a wear? It hardly seems worthy.

30+ wears for some items may mean no laundering (shoes/bags) seasonal (coats), 10 washes (jeans, sweaters), or 30 washes (light tops, basics). It seems the longevity of an item can be directly related to how often it's laundered. Why is it my basics (undies or camis) can handle many washes but cotton tees seems to fall apart so quickly? This year I'm experimenting with avoiding certain retailers for tees and spending a few extra dollars on tees in cotton and linen to see if they last longer.

I agree with others, 30 wears is a lot. I'd have to wear something every day for a solid month to hit that number! Which of course never happens. But I think it's a great goal to aspire to. I now can't get the number out of my mind, and will think of it every time I go shopping. I do track wears, so I'm going to go through my stuff and see what things have already hit 30. It's probably less than I think.

This is such an interesting thread, and I have been meaning to get to it - although almost everything I've thought of has already been said.

I can relate to Kerry's point about changes of clothes in the day and whether that counts as a "wear".

This is, as lots of you have pointed out, so much about how many of something you have in a category, not just about the longevity of the garment itself.
I have a practice of restricting purchases for this very reason. One pair of jeans a year (mostly) One casual jumper (sweater) a year. I don't usually replace shoes until they are broken, worn out, or not worth repairing.
I have just cut my work days down a day, and now only have 2 days a week where I wear office clothes (one extra work day is smart casual). Although I enjoy tailored office clothes, it is hard to get that many wears in on 2 days a week, so I'm trying to only buy clothes that can cross over and otherwise just wear out the ones I have.

I think I'd have lots of clothes that would cross the 30 wear mark - I'm still wearing office clothes bought in 1999, and 2004. (I don't think they are that dated, rather classic)
My pantyhose don't last very long though!

I'm easier on myself about making the wears out of clothes I have been handed down, too - it's a bonus if they turn out to be a workhorse but I don't expect them to.

Kerry and Anne -- I always get tripped up by what counts as a "wear" -- I tried tracking earlier this year, but because I've been doing a lot of acting (theater and video), I had too many changes during the day to keep up with: gear in the morning, then town clothes, then costume (all from my own wardrobe, so I guess technically every night of the show counted as a wear?), then lounge/sleepwear. Even without performances, I still have 3 distinct outfits during the day: one for running or hiking, one for town/work/errands, and one for the evening, which I do try to change into for cooking dinner most nights to avoid oil stains and such, so really my lounge clothes get the most wear of all, and cost me almost nothing, since they're just retired t's and cheap lounge pants... I just don't feel like I need much variety in my gear and loungewear, since very few other people see it. Of course, the easiest thing for my particular lifestyle (and one that many moms around here opt for) would be to just wear the running/hiking gear all day long... from a certain perspective all my casual/town clothes are very nearly extraneous.