Inspired by Peri, as well as Beth Ann, who rolled up her sleeves and got to work in response to her post, I decided to do the same and count what I actually wore this summer.
It was pretty interesting. I counted from June through September. That's four months vs. the 3 of the "333" idea and includes two transitional months for me in my climate.
During that period I rotated:
8 pairs of pants
5 pairs of shorts
9 toppers (this includes lightweight sweaters)
That's 48 items if you count toppers but don't count footwear, etc.
Of course this doesn't count PJs, workout wear, or special occasion wear, which I also wore.
If you take out the rarely worn or annoying/ hard to style items (3 pants, 2 toppers, 2 shorts, 2 or 3 tops) the total is closer to 40, including the toppers, which I don't wear much in high summer.
Some of the rarely worn items represent shopping mistakes. Others weren't worn much because of different than expected weather or infrequent occasions for wear. Example: a very light silk top that I really only wear on the hottest days. Seersucker short shorts -- ditto.
With this wardrobe, I pretty much felt prepared for anything that came up. I didn't run into laundry bottlenecks. I did sometimes get a little bit bored by my combinations. So I was happy by the end of the season to be able to inject a bit of energy via a new VC skirt.
If I had fewer clothes, I would certainly get bored. I also wouldn't feel "covered" for all my activities, if you know what I mean. I hold quite a few different roles and require (or at least enjoy) different kinds of clothing for the different jobs I do. I think this is about the minimum for me to feel prepared for my life. I could perhaps pare back just a little bit by avoiding mistakes...but then I wouldn't be having as much fun because it's only by trying new things that we make mistakes. So all in all, I'm happy with what I've seen here and hope to keep my fall/winter closet to a similar standard and size.
Although -- truth be told, given my summer experience -- I might plan to inject some energy with a few key purchases at sale time mid-winter, since our winter is so very long.
If you have read this far, thank you! And what did YOU actually wear this summer? Will your winter wardrobe be smaller or larger?