I think it would be hard! That’s if it includes clothing for messy outdoor work and for exercise- in part because of having got used to wearing a few dedicated pieces in the fabrics and fits I like for those activities and also activity- specific footwear.
I don’t think it’s as hard to have a 4O-piece professional wardrobe, though I’ve now retired without having to have done it! But that’s because I well recall wearing a lot of favorites, having more shoes ( at one time) than I needed— more about over- buying a bit and then if they weren’t faves, or were over- duplicates, I wore some things just few times a year but couldn’t bear to cull them.
But i’m much more intrigued, and tempted as to doing challenges, by wardrobe numbers like 75- 100 pieces ( actually I haven’t done any calculations, so that would be fun, to make up some potential numbers by making categories and hypothetical #’s in each) because there I could see things like “ the power of one” for some items and the “ power of 3-5” (!) for things that need frequent washing.
Examples of how I’d be challenged by the 40 pieces TOTAL, except still excluding underthings and pjs from that number, are as follows:
I’m in a 4-season climate though winters aren’t fierce. Summers get very hot and I do lots of yard work year round . I need tank tops, T’s, shorts, long pants, and sun- protecting button front shirts, and rugged shoes. I don’t necessarily need a lot of each type of item often can’t wear items again unless washed, so if trying to collect a washload, maybe need 2-3 each, not sure. So just throwing a dart, I could take up 15- 20 pieces for those. However they could overlap some with hiking, walking, travel where some if same is done.
I need really warm clothes for 3-4 months even indoors, and pretty much want to be softer/ comfier if just ar home. But, I could see some “ efficiencies “ of pieces, meaning more multi- use, if some light outerwear is a soft zip jacket that I layer indoors and also wear out and about. It have the perfect hoodie that’s comfy indoors but thin enough to layer under another jacket. And a nanodiwn that I’ll wear indoors because it’s not too puffy and the slick fabric is softer than most, so it layers both under or over. And make a point to use things exactly that way to reduce total numbers—as in not having as many different weight jackets.
And er, plaid shirts… would have to have the one cotton. The one fleece. Darn.
Sweaters — lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Not even one dark neutral, one light neutral, one color, in cotton , or linen, then heavier cotton, then lightweight wool, then heavier wool, but…. Ooonnnne.
So I’m being partly facetious, but I love this line of thinking because I actually do want to have fewer items because of storage space ( I prefer having most of my clothes where I can see them, even if I can tuck bins under beds and on higher closet shelves) and I DO suffer from the brain fog of too many choices makes it harder to get dressed.
I think I want to move more towards embracing “ uniform dressing” a lot more, because then I can grasp, how many uniforms do I really need for this role/goal/season ? I already do wear several “ uniforms “ ( silhouettes) that have enduring appeal for me, but am not disciplined in holding new purchases to a high enough standard- for quality, for whether replacing/ upgrading items vs just expanding, sometimes for color versatility.