In El Cee's wardrobe challenge, Sterling identified wardrobe churn as a current concern and I know a number of others of us also wish to think about that, especially in light of continued scandals in the garment industry and environmental impacts of manufacturing. It can be hard to reconcile a love of fashion with the aspiration to do less harm.
Shedev, in her "5 piece" wardrobe may offer a kind of solution, at least for some.
As I understand it, you break your wardrobe into two main categories: what they call "basics" or Angie would call "essentials" and others might call "core" items. And "statement" or "impact" or "trend" items.
Core essentials -- you replace or upgrade these as needed -- throughout the year, whenever your budget allows.
For each main season you choose up to FIVE new "statement" items or trend items to add to the closet.
How you define "core essentials" or "season" or "statement" is probably up to you -- Shedev outlined how the originators of this technique conceived of them but she has made small adjustments to suit her own lifestyle and needs and I would probably do the same.
For example -- for most people in my climate some kind of bootie would be an essential -- but is only one "essential"? Or do I say that one light coloured neutral, one dark coloured neutral, and one bright are "essential." Do I say one casual and one dressy? Or 3 casual and one dressy? That is up to me, I think. This allows us some flexibility with wardrobe size and permits a certain amount of variety in the closet, which could otherwise become quite boring.
I think it's pretty clear for me also that sweaters of some kind are "essentials" -- but how many would I call "essential"?
I don't think there are any right or wrong answers here -- but I do think that perhaps thinking in these terms could help some of us establish baseline numbers for a wardrobe (which we could then test out as practical or impractical over a year or two by tracking wears and happiness factor.)
Tracking wears shows us if an item is truly getting worn. And tracking "happiness factor" may show us that even if worn infrequently, the item has deep value in our closet. I own several items like this and they are not all statement or trend items. Some of my dresses fall into this category. I don't get to wear them often because of my casual lifestyle, yet they are still core essentials because I could not get dressed for certain occasions without them -- and they offer high happiness factor, which also contributes to their worth in my closet.
Some people might need to add 10 statement items per season. Others, only 2. There might be years where statement items themselves had all worn out and you would need to replace more. But again, it gives one pathway.
Does anyone else have thoughts on this? As Shedev pointed out, this system can only work for those who already have a working closet with all the essentials (or most of them) covered -- and can probably only work for those whose style is fairly well defined.