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Page 3 in the conversation "#30Wears" by Jenn
this #30 number fits right within my values and what I want out of my closet. I easily hit that number with my old office clothes, because I hated spending money on work. I think I had at most six pairs of pants in rotation during the six cold weather months, and wore some of them for years. I don't care about variety, really. Not at all. Being true to my core values means a much smaller closet of pretties now that I spend most of my days in gear, even though I like to look sharp when I step out.
Suz, thank you for validating my point about the impossibility of wearing an item in a different season. As a person who lived many years abroad, in more temperate climates, I had to seriously re-adjust when I came back and found myself having to shop a lot to complete my closet (which I did very well thanks to YLF!). You see I had been relying heavily on cross-season garments for years, as it makes for a smaller closet - and smaller suitcases!). But the reality is that there are places in the world where you just can't do that. And my country of birth is on that list, unfortunately.
Yes, Krish. Maybe if we lived on one of the coasts it would be different...or if we spent no time outdoors at all...but the sweater I wear in winter is unthinkable for me in spring/ summer.
I was even in awe of Angie's packing capsule. I noticed she took a cashmere tee. I have packed away my cashmeres here now; I realize the weather in the Netherlands may be iffy and cool -- but it is iffy and cool here as well right now, and still feels wrong (to me) for my cashmere. Merino or a thick cotton sweater layered would be better now. I would probably itch in the cashmere.
I think 30 wears is setting the bar a little low. I remember when former forum member Mo talked about the 50 wear lifecycle of clothing items. I get at least this in almost all catagories. Summer tops are the exception. 30 wears would be a good lifespan for them. I have the odd item that doesn't hold up, but not that many. My natural wearing style is that I may wear things a lot in some years and not in others. I look at longer wear trends when deciding what to purge. An example is that we had a mild winter and I ran warm. I wore thicker sweaters very little. I'm not ready to dump all my thicker sweaters yet, but I won't be hunting for any more. If I haven't worn something in a few years, I would spend a few minutes thinking about why. Do I still like it? Do I need something to make it work?
Suz, Merino in our corner of the world, at this point in time precisely, is just... out of the question. Period. Look, we've had what? 6 months worth of Merino in our drawers? No no no. I am all too happy to pack it away and swap it for cotton in April. Even if it means feeling sometimes a little drift... then I use my other strategy: layering upon layering under a denim jacket plus a huge scarf wrapped around my neck. Plus my sunglasses. The largest ones I own. Because I don't want people to recognize me as that crazy lady who prefers wearing her whole wardrobe rather than what she would really need... her winter coat. lol
This has been super interesting for me to think of in terms of what I spend money on vs how many wears each item gets. Winter puffers and parkas get way more than 30 wears, so I probably shouldn't feel bad if I pay full price for them. Ditto both my pairs of ECCO sneakers--I had sticker shock paying $150 and $170 dollars for sneakers, but I've worn both pairs more than 30x each and I only got them in the fall (relatively snowless winter helped). Ditto expensive running shoes, yoga pants/workout tights, and bras (both regular and sports-). Ditto snow boots, one pair of which I've had for >10 years and the other 3. These things get worn/used over and over again, day in and day out, so if I get what I really want on sale, fine, but if not, paying top dollar should be okay.
But what really astounded me when I thought about this, is nightclothes. I should be embarrassed to admit it, but I have several pairs of Old Navy PJ pants that date to 2001. They've been worn 300x if they've been worn 30. Last summer broke down and bought a "green cotton" nightgown from Garnet Hill and felt a little silly paying almost $70 for something to sleep in, but frankly, I'm sure it will get well over 100 wears before it's a rag, so why is that silly? It's pretty and comfortable. I might buy some shorty pjs from the same line without guilt now, because those Old Navy pants are basically see through at this point.
Very interesting thread. It makes me happy that I track my wears, because then I can pull up some data and see how I am doing.
I found that I am at 30 wears for a lot of my workhorse items, actually. Many of them are over that, and quite a few are in their 20s. But...most of my wardrobe is about three years old. I realized a while back that for me to feel like I get my money's worth out of my purchases, I need to plan on wearing them for about three years. (Side note: Now I know why I feel so bored with my wardrobe as of late. It's because a lot of what I'm wearing is three years old!)
I agree with a few other posters who said that not everything can hold up to being laundered 30 times. I hate that! It's mostly fading and pilling that get me. And I really don't feel fab wearing a faded top. I should turn my tops inside-out when washing, as suggested on another thread. Jeans are usually OK with fading, but I always turn them inside-out.
Another thing I do when shopping is ask myself, "OK, if you want to average $2 CPW for this item, how many times would you have to wear it, and do you want to wear it that many times? How many years would it take you to wear it that many times?" That can be an eye-opener. It helps me assess how much I truly love the item.
As Krish pointed out, the four-season climate is also definitely a factor. You are limited in how many times you can wear a given item per year. This is one reason why I try to limit my summer shoes (short spring/summer) and try to buy more cold-weather items (long fall/winter).
And you really do have to be careful about buying an item that "steals" wears from another, because then you feel like you have two similar items, both of which struggle to reach the 30-wear mark.
Great post Gigi. You bring up several relevant points. I still have 15 items from 2011- now 6 years old- and 23 items from 2012 now 5 years old. It is the ones that have been worn less which I am less tired of. The 2011 Summer top with approx 30 wears is still good, I am just getting sick of it. It's a good brand, it still fits, good colours, looks nice, not dated, gets compliments ( even one from a clothes designer I know, seemed genuine). I am just doing a seasonal swap over. I kept it until next summer as I am still musing on all this.
Maybe your wardrobe is quite a bit smaller than my 187 items. Which could be why you are able to wear things more than me but are also getting more sick of them.
I have come back to this post repeatedly. It has motivated me to watch multiple YouTube videos about sustainable fabrics, minimalism, safe dyes, and recycling of clothing, etc. I have no clue about how many wears I get from anything I own? I am not tracking wears, but this could possibly be a motivating enough reason to keep track. My best guess is that I get the most wear from my jeans, my exercise gear and running sneakers, and from my pajamas. I keep my cashmere sweaters a long time so they may get 30 wears over time, but because we have only 6 months to wear them, and I have a lot of sweaters, it will take me a long time to get to thirty! The numbers here are eye opening. Somehow thinking about things this way reaches me in a way that CPW doesn't.
Staysfit, it's motivating to me, also. I can't use the 30 wears standard for every item, but I can consider what proportion of my wardrobe I want to reach or exceed that standard.
Like Gigi and AndreaH, I have some things that easily surpass 30 wears in one season and then I go on to keep them much longer (puffer coat, snow boots, sneakers, favourite jean). Also like Gigi, I tend to keep most items for 3-5 years, unless they wear out (usually jeans and footwear and summer tops or often-worn knits for winter). Some things I would keep much longer -- mostly coats.
I think the number of wears is a helpful benchmark especially if your budget is either quite flexible or extremely limited. If you have a flexible budget, CPW isn't really all that meaningful in itself -- you are not terribly worried about the personal cost but can be moved by the social cost of your actions. Meanwhile, if your budget is super limited, you need to be especially mindful of the "joy per wear" factor -- if you are spending money on something, is it going to give you the happiness and usefulness it ought to? You have less room for expensive mistakes.
Staysfit, I'm right there with you, in that this reaches me in a way CPW doesn't. I'm at a point in my life where I'm privileged enough that I can spend a bit more on clothing, so my priorities are shifting from cost-effectiveness to my impact on the world.
#30wears feels equal-opportunity, in that any piece, carefully-chosen, has the ability to reach that threshold. I have a pair of $20 jeans that's at over 60 wears right now. It would be crazy to aim for a 33-cent CPW on, say, my EF dress, but wearing it thirty times is a lot more doable.
(Basically, what Suz said.)
What a cool thread!!
My at home loungewear is at 100s of wears. My slippers get replaced every fall as they lose their comfort/support. My Birkenstock Arizonas are worn 12 mos a year...barefoot in warm weather, and with socks in cold weather.
I have 3 pairs of identical EF slim ponte pants and these have been in constant rotation for years now (down side is they require dry cleaning). Statement work pieces see the smallest number of wears, but if they don't make me happy, I am trying to figure out what went wrong so that I don't make the same mistake in the future. The problem with statement pieces is that they are so memorable. For example, I bought a mustard yellow EF boiled wool jacket/coat. It's fabulous, but I literally write down which customers I see when I wear it because it is always remarked on.
I am so easy on shoes that I have favorites that I wear seasonally for years on end. I now focus on fit and quality as I will have them for years if I purchase wisely.
My goal is to now buy more consciously and support USA made and sustainable fabrics and processes. My spring/summer purchases are fewer and better quality. My tried and true favorite Eileen Fisher, and new love Elizabeth Suzann.
And am trying to buy fewer pieces which require dry cleaning, which is easier to accomplish in warm seasons as I adore linen.
I am also trying to wear my "good" jewelry for every day...seriously, what is the point in saving it?? My dear husband thought I had bought new pieces, that's how long it had been since I wore my pearls etc.
I love this! There are definitely some workhorses in my wardrobe which far exceed 30 wears, like my first pair of black Express Editor pants, which I've worn to work most weeks (sometimes multiple times a week) since I bought them... about 12 years ago. It's really time to let them go; the fabric is getting a little thin, but they still look great and have held up to a ton of wear and washing. I have a newer pair (still a few years old) that I really should get hemmed... it's waaaaay too long for the tallest shoes I'd wear to work, so it doesn't get out of the closet much.
And then other things that get let go after a wear or two... I'm trying to get better about spotting my buying triggers so I don't make those mistakes so often.
I feel this concept might revolutionize the way I think about my wardrobe, shopping habits and numbers.
Last fall I considered using CPW as a way to set a clothing budget. I came up with these numbers ...
I went back today and totalled wears and divided by 30 (assuming I'd want to reach 30 wears in one year). I got about 153 which is much larger than my wardrobe and only accounted for one year so I knew I'd missed the mark. I went back to the list and eliminated most categories. I only kept tops, bottoms, footwear, toppers and coats and got 52.5. To me this means I shouldn't have more than about 50 "main" items in my closet if I want to get to 30 wears in a year, 100 in two years, 150 in three years.
This doesn't mean I shouldn't consider the other categories but in my case basics, pjs, robes, loungers and workout gear get worn many, many times and rarely get tossed before they wear out and much of that stuff wears like iron.
Wow, this is so interesting... I don't think that a lot of my clothes get to 30. Probably favorite shoes and pants, but very few tops and statement pieces that make it that far. But I am terrible about calculating stats, so I honestly don't know. This is really good food for thought! Thank you for opening the conversation!
Jenni NZ, if I don't count accessories, I probably have a wardrobe size of about 170, so a little smaller than yours. I think that part of the reason I am bored is that many of the items that I bought three years ago are essentials and not very interesting (long-sleeve solid tees, etc.). I don't have very many statement pieces in my wardrobe. And I don't have very good support acts for the statement pieces I do have, so I am forced to repeat the exact same outfit over and over. I don't mind repeating, but to have to wear the same outfit every time I want to wear item X is a downer. I am trying to be better about buying more statement pieces moving forward.
I too have a sweater that is some years old that I always get compliments on, but I'm just tired of it. I've been wearing it because it works well with a number of bottoms.
DakotaCheryl, I've been pondering what you said about your mustard yellow jacket, because it rang so true to me. I feel the same way about my plaid dress, because it always gets comments and compliments, so I try not to wear it often with the same people.
But then I thought...wait. Do I want to be the person who never wears the same thing twice? What's wrong with, "Oh...Jenn has that great plaid dress that she wears all the time." That shouldn't be a negative thing, so I'm trying to reframe my thinking.
Jenn I came back to this thread with similar thoughts to yourself.
I think with statements, it helps to think of them as signature items. and to be unfazed by people associating them with you. I do have pieces that I "ration" a little, but am trying not to.
This winter my seagreen winter coat, my new black dark floral top and my bold striped draped sweater will all be thought of as signature pieces.
I am not a big shopper. But at 1X per week and 8 weeks of summer (more some years), it would take me 4 years to properly use a summer top. I actually currently prefer to have just a few favourites and often wear them twice a week, so that'd be two years. Reasonable enough, but I do find that with the long intervals between summers, my mood and my weight may change significantly. One year's favourites are rarely the next's.
Three season items get much more wear overall. I'd guess that the "mistakes" that don't get worn much average out with the items I wear to death. I work at home so imperfect or slightly worn items can also be "house" clothes. Soft old tee shirts are my preferred sleepwear.
Some items are just not made to last that long. I minimize knits for this reason.
I think with statements, it helps to think of them as signature items.Sal, Jenn, I think this is a great way to think about such items. I do this, in fact. And don't worry a bit if people associate them with me (silver booties, pink jacket, red or lilac coat). Even so, my summer tops and more "statement" like sweaters do probably wear out before 30 wears...just the nature of summer tops (frequently laundered) and knits (which pill and get "tired" looking). Though, having said that...if I keep them 3 years, the knits do get at least 30 wears, and so far that seems to be my pattern. Some summer tops only last one season (if cheap mistakes!) or two (even if decent) and that might not equal 30 wears. Footwear will pretty much always get 30 wears unless dressy pumps...but might wear out in one season.
I love this idea. I regularly wear sweaters until they literally fall apart (always on the right elbow) and then I take them to the cleaner to get patches put on the elbows. I've tired of the collegiate leather elbows, however, and am now branching out into skulls, smiley faces, etc. I also wear jeans until they fall apart.
I have a new dress that I bought from Poetry pictured below & I'm having to fight myself from wearing it EVERY SINGLE DAY. I don't need more dresses, but I'd like to buy it in another color because I love it so much.
Then I have other clothing that I don't wear because I'm "saving" them for something special. I should just consider date night special & start wearing those pieces. I love them, they fit, they make me feel good. I'm not sure what my mental block is there.
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