It's August again, which is when I like to look at my whoooole wardrobe and see how it's evolved over the course of a year, before making plans for how I want it to look in the months ahead.

Previous iterations of this post: 2019 here, 2018 here. 2017 here. 2016 here.

If you don't like numbers or are bothered by posts about wardrobe size, now's the time to click away or skip ahead to the photos. I track purchases, retirements, and wears religiously, because I'm interested in learning more about the durability and longevity of my garments and gaining insight into my own consumer habits. It's never a judgement on anyone else's choices.

Here's the current count:

Total Main Wardrobe: 85 items (97 with gear)

This is my entire wardrobe, except lingerie and sleepwear. I also don't count jewelry or strictly functional cold weather accessories.

I've been actively shrinking my wardrobe, trying to buy less than I retire each year. Part of that is because I appreciate the simplicity of a streamlined closet, part is because my needs have shrunk after relocating to a more mild climate, and part is because I want to reduce my consumption for ethical reasons.

Last year's total: 95 (111 with gear)

Wear levels (not including gear):

(For clarity, these numbers are over the life of the garment, not just over the past year)

More than 25 times: 55% of wardrobe, 47 items (last year: 56 items)

5-24 times: 38%, 32 items (last year: 49 items)

Less than 5 times: 7%, 6 items (last year: 6 items)

(I think I’d like to tweak my ranges a little to provide more useful information about where my items are in their life cycles, so these slightly different breakdowns are for next year’s comparisons: 30+ times: 44; 10-29 times: 28; Less than 10 times: 13)


Both my mean and median wear numbers are up from last year. The median number of wears is 31 for items currently in my closet. It was 25 last year. The mean number of wears is 40. That was 35 last year. The mean was brought up by well-loved bags and outerwear, but the median tells me that, in general, my wardrobe is now lasting well past the 30-wears mark. In fact, I've retired/passed on 13 items so far this year, and only three of them were below 30 wears. My newer purchases are, for the most part, aging better than my older ones, both in terms of durability and style longevity.

There will nearly always be items in my wardrobe in the <10 wears category, because that's the nature of clothing. It doesn't last forever and needs to be replaced occasionally. I'm okay with this, but at any given time, I'd like it to be less than 10% of my total wardrobe. I'm actually a little over that now (15% is under 10 wears), so time to make a concerted effort to wear what I have!


Now into the real nitty-gritty, breaking things down by category:

Dresses: 6 (last year: 11)

I count my jumpsuit in this category, as well, since it’s a one-and-done outfit. It’s the piece with the most wear, actually. Least is the Elizabeth Suzann dress I added in July. That will change.

Wear count on my dresses ranges from 4 to 70 (previously 2 - 41).

Outerwear: 4 (last year: 3)

The only difference here is that I moved a light jacket from toppers to outerwear, since that’s more how it functions here in SoCal.

Wear counts range from 35 to 201 (previously 33 - 178).

Jeans: 1 (last year: 2)

I always have churn in this category, as I wear though my jeans on a regular basis. I’m actively shopping for light wash cropped jeans right now.

Wear counts range from 47 to uh… 47 (previously 19 - 53)

Pants: 2 (last year: 3)

This is another category I'm semi-actively shopping for. I have an essential here that needs replacing before cooler weather, but I have several months before that'll really be necessary.

Wear counts range from 35 to 79 (previously 21 - 38)

Skirts: 7 (last year: 6 )

I've been wearing a lot of easy skirts and dresses this summer. I expect this number to go down, though, as a couple of my skirts are feeling tired and at least one is near wearing out.

Wear counts range from 3 to 48. (previously 4 - 34)

Toppers: 9 (last year: 12)

I'm including any top layers that would be worn indoors in this category. This number has gone down from last year, mostly for climate reasons. I passed several sweaters on and did not replace.

Wear counts range from 10 to 84 (previously 5 - 61)

Tops: 24 (last year: 23)

Tops have increased due to my building out a little Disneyland graphic tee capsule. Theme parks have been closed in California since March and (unlike in Florida) still have no planned reopening date. Luckily, the tees work well with skirts for summer, at-home, casual wear.

Wear counts range from 1 to 91. (previously 6 - 79)

Footwear: 11 (last year: 14)

Are shoes still a thing?

Wear counts range from 7 to 104 (previously 7 - 128)

Accessories: 15 (last year: 15)

This includes scarves, belts, and hats, but not jewelry, I also don't count winter gear, like gloves and beanies, or masks, all of which are shared amongst the family. Bags are counted separately below.

Wear counts range from 3 to 54 (previously 1 - 53)

Handbags: 6 (last year: 6)

No change, but if things ever get back to normal, I expect some additions here to create a more functional capsule for city life.

Wear counts range from 24 to 397 (previously 17 - 281)

Gear: 12 (last year: 16)

Gear includes swimwear and clothing I only wear for exercise.

Wear counts range from 12 to 78. (previously 8 - 113)

THANK YOU, if you've managed to read this far. Your reward is a few happy photos of color, pattern, and texture from my closet.

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