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How Many Clothes Do We Actually Need?

How Many Clothes Do We Actually Need?

We have talked about finding your personal style, how to properly declutter your closet, the benefits of shopping resale, and how to shop with intention. And while this may look different for each individual, there are some cold hard numbers out there for us to chew on. I came across an article from Vogue that talked about how many clothes we need exactly, and the results had me thinking (link here for the full article). The article states,

 “Researchers from Berlin’s Hot Or Cool Institute found that we should only be purchasing five new garments a year in order to stay in line with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, if nothing else changes.” 

You read that right, 5. 5! I know that most of us are far surpassing this number before May. And while cold, hard facts are great to induce shock and hopefully action, how realistic is this request? 

Not only that, but if we are limited to only 5 new purchases in a year, then what would be the best 5 items to add to your wardrobe? So, I have broken down a method to figure out what items would be the smartest purchase for your closet. Let’s dive in. 

Step 1: Write Down Your Lifestyle Habits

Take note of what you usually do each month. Here is a sample list of what that might look like. 


Step 2: How Many Times 

Next, calculate how many times you do each activity. Note it down

Step 3: Levels of Formality

With a new chart, determine how dressed up you get throughout the month. 1 being loungewear/sleepwear to 5 being a fancy dinner date. 

*These levels are tailored to your lifestyle, label them as you see fit. 

Step 4: Calculations

Go back to your common events list and assign a level of formality to each situation.


Step 5: Put It All Together 

Now, add up the amount of times you are in each level, and it should look something like this:

Final Thoughts

What does this all mean? This means that your closet should reflect these numbers. According to the example above, the order of importance in your wardrobe should go accordingly: Level 4, next Level 2&3, then Level 5. * I am not including Level 1 in order of importance because these items usually never see outside your home. 

After applying this method to my own closet, I now understand why I have a hard time getting ready sometimes. It’s not that you have “nothing to wear!” it’s that you might have an imbalance of what you have according to what you need.


And with that my friends is the 5-step roadmap to a functional, practical, and happy closet that might just comply with the 5 item rule.  

Any thoughts? Let me know in the comment section below. 

Until next time, 


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