In Discussions, In my closet, Organization, Style, What I bought, What I sold

The real numbers behind my wardrobe: Tracking what’s in my closet (Statistics) 2021

As part of all this free time I have, I have always wanted to track every piece of clothing in my wardrobe and analyze it. Yes, I realize this sounds ridiculous, insane, and weird because…. WHO THE HELL HAS THE TIME?

But I hope by now you have realized how much I love spreadsheets, tracking, analysis and statistics.

These are my findings, of the clothes I CURRENTLY have in my wardrobe on rotation (not the ones yet to be sold, they’re not on this list), and what I have collected over two decades, ever since I was 17.

(Yes I still have pieces from when I was in high school…)

I own 396 clothing items, paying almost $50K

Note: This does not include the following as I have yet to categorize it as well!

  • Jewellery of any kind
  • Belts
  • Purses
  • Shoes

I seem to have a real penchant for tops, and this bears true, because I love sweaters and find that tops are the best things to wear underneath toppers, or to change a look with layers.

Is this excessive? Well, maybe a little, but it’s surprising because as I was going through my pieces, I think I could easily cut 10% in my wardrobe, but not more. Everything else has been chosen and kept quite deliberately and the only reasons I’d get rid of them are:

  • They’re getting old, faded, yellowed, stained
  • They’re too small for me *sob*
  • They’re no longer my style and I will never see myself wearing it again (e.g. short SHORT skirts/dresses)

I somehow, thought that I’d have closer to $100K paid in my wardrobe, and so to know it’s only almost $50K is a surprise. Maybe if I added bags in there and footwear, then the numbers would skyrocket.

Almost half of my clothes are secondhand

I am very proud of this. I am hoping this will become an even higher percentage of my wardrobe because secondhand is my new mo (modus operandi, or way of shopping).

I very rarely buy anything retail these days, let alone full-price. Only a few pieces made it as full-price and it was because they’re truly amazing.

The savings on secondhand clothing is phenomenal at 87% versus 18% if I buy retail (obviously). It’s as though I could have saved an additional 69% or a dollar value of $22,701.50 if I had just purchased all my retail items as secondhand pieces.

I really didn’t get into secondhand shopping until 2018-2019, and now I am fully committed. It was partly because in the thrift stores we have here, the brands aren’t as great as in Toronto, Vancouver or even Edmonton. It’s all relative to how much money people have, and then their donations. If you live in a city that is richer, you get nicer pieces by default.

Where I have really blossomed for secondhand shopping is online and via Poshmark (use code SHERRYISH for a $15 credit), and having access to Canada-wide personal closets has really been a game changer.

More dresses, bottoms (skirts & pants), and toppers (jackets) are secondhand than at retail.

I’ve worn most of my wardrobe

The items I wear 100% of, are mostly basics / toppers. T-shirts that get worn out, if they’re still nice and comfy, turn into house shirts, so it isn’t like I toss/sell/donate everything as well, they just no longer stay in my “Going Out” wardrobe.

As for toppers – it’s easier to layer and pick pieces to wear constantly if you already have a basic outfit on, you can throw on a duster/topper and be done with it.

As for what I haven’t worn…

Reasons why the other 63 pieces have been unworn?

  • Pandemic shopping – can’t wear most of this stuff out but I have it..
  • One-event/specific items that need… well, an EVENT! – I am ready for any wedding attendance, etc now
  • Wrong season – Sometimes I buy summer things on sale in winter, then I don’t get to wear them until it is summer, and in this case, summer never came for me in 2020 so… a lot of pieces have been waiting to debut since 2019.
  • They need to be tailored (chopped up, taken in, let out…)

That’s the case for most of the items up there. They’re waiting for a debut!

Here’s the breakdown between Retail and Secondhand worn/not worn:

What are the priciest items

Now please note, there are pricey items that are RETAIL tag price (e.g. most designer items I own0, and then pricey items based on what I paid out of my own pocket with cold hard cash.

Here’s how it breaks down by each category:

No surprises here. Sweaters tend to be where I spend my money because the quality is evident versus in a simple tee or a blouse. I am very tactile, and I want to feel a soft cosy sweater on my arms, not an itchy fascimile.

The leather leggings are amazing. Double-bonded leather! But I bought them before my revelation that I should only stick to high-rise items because they make me feel better, and they’re mid-rise.

I still wear them and love them, I just have to wear longer tops to cover my mid-section, or use them just for the legging-legs part. They’re very comfortable, I just wish they were a higher rise. I wonder if there’s a way to sew on a tummy panel or something….

As for the skirt, that was.. seriously eye-popping what I paid for it at retail. Luckily, I found its navy blue twin secondhand on Poshmark and scored it for less, but this skirt I have zero regrets on. The colour is a showstopper, the draping is great, and the quality is beyond belief (double-faced SILK?)… it’s why it cost so much and now they no longer make this version because it took too long to sell (too pricey), so they have cheaper viscose options.

Sometimes.. you have to buy what you want. I bought that vegetable dress below because I have been hunting it for TWO YEARS on the secondhand market, unwilling to fork over $4000 CAD for a dress.

I still paid a pretty penny, AND IT DOESN’T FIT because IT (Italy) 36 = Size US 0 and not “36” as in Size US 6. I decided after hemming and hawing, and agonizing.. that the bottom part does fit (I am surprisingly small on the bottom), and the top does not. I mean it gaps like crazy, so I figured I would chop the dress in half, and add panels (pleated?) to the side so I can still wear the print and it doesn’t look stupid.

To be determined…with a tailor, after the pandemic, of all my options.

I am doing this (insane right) because the print is just beyond stunning. It is like my love of vegetables and fashion have come and made a perfect dress. The print is so detailed, it’s beautiful.

I recently picked up this Max Mara coat (video here) because camelhair has been on my list for years and I saw it for such a GREAT price (this is an incredible deal) with very tiny microscopic flaws (under the arm, some of the camelhair has rubbed away).

As for the Burberry Regimental trench coat, I bought that as one of my “congratulations you’re amazing!” pieces when I became a freelancer. My other purchase was a classic Burberry trench coat but post-baby, it no longer fit my torso (my hormones expanded my torso/ribcage by 1″ or 2″), so I sold it.

This coat however, still fit as I bought it a bit looser on sale. Good call on my part….!

Now, my least expensive items?

White shirts are so hard to keep white. It’s why I have a stock and now they’re being used as at-home lounge shirts, and I have been turning them into rags when they’re reaching their end.

As for The Fold shirt – I used so many eBay Bucks that I really only paid $1.21 out of pocket which is a steal for me. Of course, I also shopped like mad on eBay to “earn” those bucks…. so it’s not “free”, really.

These jeans have been used for moving homes, painting, playing in the park on the ground with a baby, then a toddler… they’re comfortable, soft, and I got them for dirt cheap on clearance. The quality may not be the same any more (I tried touching a few in recent years and it’s no longer the same), but they are truly the perfect worn-in jeans.

The other item, was a thrifted black wool skirt I wanted to use for an outfit with a striped top as shown below. It’s great, but I’ve not even gotten a chance to wear it (I got it in summer in 2019!!!):

When Target Canada came, screwed up the launches, crashed and burned, they sold all their stock off, and I scored this cute dress which.. I still wear. The second is because the print is so cute on the thrift store rack that I thought I’d wear it and then re-donate it or sell it but I still love it.

It’s ironic that both of my cheapest pieces are maternity dresses because they are VERY expensive normally. They don’t even look like maternity wear, to be honest.

This blazer was SUCH A FIND. Bright red silk, lined in cotton, made in France. It’s just quality you can/could never find these days for this price. It’s like a high-end luxury brand piece, honestly.

I didn’t know this brand, but when I touched it, I felt quality. I pulled it off the Goodwill rack and then I saw the draping, saw the pockets, the cool sort of cape-look of it.. and fell in love with the cool oversized look. I bought it for $5, and then went home to Google it in detail, and realized it was quite expensive at retail!

What I have spent over the years:

You can see in recent years I have been trying to spend less. 2019 was pretty good but 2020, I sort of went bananas near the end with a lot of high-end designer coats (like that Max Mara Manuela Icon in camelhair).

Here’s what I paid on average & the brands

I am not surprised at these brands showing up on the list as being my most owned brands:

Banana Republic is a hit and miss. It’s a hit for some things (my favourite dresses and skirts, including button-ups), but such a MISS in other areas like their cheaper tops. It’s so difficult unless you touch them in person. Only a sequin tank and another purchase I made off Poshmark is unworn.

MM Lafleur is consistently high quality, but I prefer to buy them secondhand these days if I can, or on a DEEP DEEP sale/discount. I love their pieces, I really do (a lot of what I wear has been reviewed here). I recently bought a whole bunch of things at the MM Lafleur major sale last year, so.. those are all the 7 pieces that are unworn.

Massimo Dutti is another unsung hero in terms of mainstream brands. I think their quality is better than J. Crew or Banana Republic, and they’re priced slightly higher, but the pieces are also nicer and simpler. Less flashy. I have only one unworn piece (a white tunic).

All Saints is the perfect casual brand for relaxed, casual sweaters and looks. My two unworn pieces are my most recent purchases of the most amazing Ridley sweater (light grey and charcoal grey).

The priciest brands in my closet

 

No one is surprised right? Haha!

And here’s where I sourced all my clothing

 

So these are all the numbers of ITEMS I bought at each source. Poshmark has really been the winner in my wardrobe as of late. I don’t see that stopping any time soon.

I also wanted to do more Goodwill shopping but… pandemic.

I’ve spent the most in terms of dollar value at these places buying items. “Store” just means an independent retailer, not a branded store. Could have been anywhere, an amalgamation of stores.

eBay is a major source because I bought my super expensive coats off eBay (all 3 Max Mara), and so that jacked up the price.

I also bought a lot of pieces at retail at the other stores – not secondhand, as these are source stores, not the brands themselves.

Final observations

Yay secondhand!

I am surprised at HOW MUCH in my wardrobe is secondhand. I thought it would be a lot less, and I suspect that amount will go up as my wardrobe keeps evolving. It’s also way cheaper (13% of the retail cost!) to buy things used.

I could have saved a solid $20K at least, buying secondhand my entire life. This is the #1 trick I want to recommend to all fashion-lovers out there.

Yay tracking!

Now I can go through the list, and mark off pieces I won’t wear again or want to resell. I have at least 20 on my list, if not more. I am also really happy about what I own/have. I have quite a nice variety, and it isn’t boring at all to me.

Also, if I buy secondhand, I am less in pain when I cannot fit into it any more, want to resell it, etc.

Will I keep up with this? Yes. I think if I can use the app (Stylebook) on my phone to track what I have plus prices, I can also make a second entry in this sheet now that I’ve done all the work of entering it.

Now, to enter the data for purses, jewellery and shoes…. O_o

———

This was all inspired by this article: I made a massive spreadsheet of all my clothes – her findings were very cool too!

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2 Comments

  1. Gail

    So much work! I cannot figure out why I so enjoyed reading this, being one who has a wardrobe less than one-tenth the size of yours, but it was interesting. Is it difficult to remember what you own, though? You have many beautiful items and a fascinating hobby. I enjoy looking at elegant and classic pieces such as yours but am too lazy to grow such a collection myself. If I were to be a collector, I would probably collect dishes!

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      It’s because you love stats like I do 🙂 It was satisfying to see it all at once and to realize how great of a closet I really had (and versatile).

      It is not difficult to remember at all – I know all of my pieces because they’re not boring basics, and I treat them as if they have personalities…

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