In At Work, Capsule Wardrobe, Discussions, In my closet, Minimalism, Style, Style, Wardrobe Help, Women

How many clothes is too many in a wardrobe or closet?

I’m curious to know what constitutes “too many clothes”? I’m not trying to be a troll or start an argument but why would this be considered too many clothes?

Is because they are packed tight in that closet or that you that you have to resort to multi item hangers? I have several racks of clothes.

I love my clothes. I’m always going through them, purging or adding, concocting new outfits. I consider fashion my favorite hobby. Do I have “too many”? How does one tell?

You know, this is a fantastic question.

I personally, think I have a smidge too many clothes only because it doesn’t quite fit comfortably in my closet.

Frankly, I could stand to maybe cut down each section in half, and it would give a lot more breathing room in between the hangers.

I know I have a smidge too many items, only because I don’t even wear each and every piece once in any given season or even year. I could probably go a whole year without repeating a single outfit.

I have also looked into friends’ closets helping them declutter and clean out, and I have noticed that I have WAY, WAY more than they do. They have maybe 10 dresses. I have over 75.

That alone, would suggest I have too many clothes, if I were to compare my closet to others’.

That said………… I also consider fashion my favourite hobby, as the reader above does.

I too, love going through them, purging, adding, making new outfits, creating accessories, thinking of belts… and generally speaking, coming up with different outfits each time. Sometimes, I come up with an outfit and get so stuck on it because I love it, that I will wear it a week in a row before forcing myself to wear something else. (HAHA)

So, how do you really know if you have too many?

If you feel that you do

Like I do. I feel that I have a smidge too much, and yet, I go through everything and cannot get rid of anything.


I have let’s say, 5 maxi dresses. They’re floaty, different designs, colours, different cuts. I could technically do away with 4 and live with just one maxi dress, but I don’t really want to.

Every dress makes me feel differently, swishes differently, drapes differently.

The only maxi dress I almost purged from my closet is this one:

http://shopstyle.it/l/Odq

I very nearly put the maxi dress up for sale on Poshmark Canada (use code SHERRYISH for $15 credit), because it had spaghetti straps and I felt like it made my shoulders look extra wide.

But it had a new life breathed into it by adding a cropped open-back top I created from a leftover super expensive Erdem dress (think thousands of dollars, chopped up to make a skirt and this cropped top):

I’m very happy I DID NOT get rid of this dress because now, this is a perfect outfit in my mind. The skirt is long, draped, in a very beautiful water-splotch pattern I adore, and matches perfectly with the Erdem cropped top. I could not have dreamed of a better pairing, and it even has a bit of an edgy high-fashion couture look of a two-piece that I love.

Other maxi dresses I own include unique upcycled saris like this one in purple that I am in love with. How can I not be in love? Look at the flow, the drape, the COLOUR and the print!

… and here’s another one — a deep cobalt blue dress with pockets, that I just change the look of with a belt:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BEy6aATvTE6/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BEJiVNlvTFc/

Every dress for me, has a different feel and purpose. I KNOW and FEEL that I have too many clothes for my closet space, and yet I do not want to get rid of any of these pieces.

They are all pieces I reach for, time and time again, on occasion (at least once a year), and wear to make me feel a certain way.

If I got rid of them, you can bet your bottom dollar I’d find its replacement pretty soon.

If you still have items with tags on it, never worn

I do not have many items like this with tags still on it. This one, comes to mind:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFKPqZAvTI2/

I bought it for a wedding I thought I was attending. I AM STILL waiting for this wedding to happen, and it hasn’t yet.

So, I am saving it for an occasion that will warrant a need for a very fancy maxi dress with heels.


I could have definitely chopped the length off the bottom so I could wear it with flats, but I couldn’t bear to cut the fabric, as beautiful as it is.

So I am keeping it, and I still fit into it, although I may one day, decide to wear it with heels to a grocery store, just to bring it out for a spin.

Otherwise, I tend not to have tags on anything. I wear everything I buy, or it is a replacement for something in my wardrobe.

If you are keeping items out of sentimental, or “Maybe” reasons

I used to have quite a few of these. I have narrowed it down to only about 4 pieces that are still “maybe I will fit back into it” reasons. I have since decided I will never be a size 0 again, so I have listed them on Poshmark (PROGRESS!)

I have to go through my closet again, but I am slowly ripping pieces out of my wardrobe heart that I will never fit back into again (no desire to become a size 0 again), and/or I really just don’t wear them for whatever reason – I can’t make it work, the colour is too brown for me to pair with my other jewel-toned pieces, whatever.

If you do not have enough closet space to store it all

DING DING DING!

I have a lack of closet space. Did you not see the crammed hangers on the rail?  I got multi-clip hangers to save on the rail clutter (see below) but the clothes have pretty much stayed as-is.

In conclusion, I check all of the above 4 boxes.

What I am doing about it?

  • Slowly going through each section, and trying on every single piece to make sure it still fits great
  • Listing things I really don’t reach for or wear for sale on a site – So far, about 125 listings.
  • Really evaluating an outfit when I have it on, and wonder – why am I wearing this skirt if it makes me feel strange?
  • Going through the similar items I have – who needs 4 khaki green skirts in varying styles!? … Who needs 2 pairs of distressed white jeans? … Apparently I do, and I am trying to see if I can get rid of something there yet.
  • Touching each piece / wearing it and seeing whether it still remains as my current ‘style’ or not and if it is truly flattering or if I just .. like it for some reason.

And that, is my current challenge and struggle. I do not have space for an Archival Closet, because if I did, you can believe me that I would have pieces there in Archive, that I could bring out in a few years to re-try on as a “new piece to me”.

Or a seasonal closet where I can stuff all of my truly Winter-Only items (e.g. camelhair skirts!! wool skirts and pants!!), and only have what I can wear in this season, on the rack.

Alas, that is for a bigger house and another life. I can only do what I can do at this point, and this is my sticking point in my otherwise pretty clear quest to have less in my life (hello minimalism!)….

I can’t handle capsule wardrobes – I get bored and want to break out of the 30 chosen pieces, the second day I create the capsule (LOL), and I like variety too much.

How about you?


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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4 Comments

  1. Anne

    What you did with that Erdem dress was genius! I never would have thought of that, but I will now. Love the blog and Instagram! Great content!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you so much. I never give up on a great print. It cost a bit more to tailor it out but the previous owner DEFINITELY had it taken in, because I own the same dress in another print in the size 4 and it was NOT THAT TIGHT up top.

      Reply
  2. Roberta

    I have 238 pieces of clothing (not counting coats, accessories, or shoes) and two responses. Ten years ago I moved into a much smaller home that had twice the amount of closet space, so over time I filled those closets right up. Then I moved again to a place with smaller closets. *sigh* So my wardrobe had to be edited (FINE) and the closets had to be maximized for proper storage. Now everything fits well. Not too big a wardrobe from that angle.

    But in a few years I will retire, and then at least 50% of my wardrobe will be surplus, and then it will definitely be too big. The last two years I have only bought work clothes and shoes that skew casual/comfortable, so I’m not stuck with suits and dresses that really can’t be worn outside the office. Even so, I know a lot of items will go unworn. (I have a few fancy items for weddings in all seasons)

    I’m just not comfortable with a smaller wardrobe. I like a lot of variety, and I feel like my things last longer because they aren’t worn/washed as often.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I completely one thousand percent know how you feel. I am slowly getting rid of items. To be honest, this is difficult too. I always find a reason to wear it.

      Reply

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