Shopping Smart

Exactly How I Got My Wardrobe Down To 28 Pieces Of Clothing

By | Thursday, April 07, 2016


Over the past year, I’ve dramatically downsized my belongings and now live with just 25% of what I once owned. Sometimes, I look around my home and still feel like there’s more I could get rid of; like the big pot I only use once every few months, or the beaten up copy of The Alchemist I read every year. I choose to keep them, because I do use those items on occasion, so they still serve a purpose. But when my eye catches something I haven’t used in a while, I’m pretty quick to donate it.

One area of my home where I’ve had no problem removing items from is my bedroom, specifically, my closet and dresser drawers. When I started this downsizing journey, my wardrobe was the first thing I tackled, and I ended up donating four black garbage bags full of clothing items, shoes, and accessories. Since then, I’ve continually gotten rid of more and more pieces, and have dwindled my wardrobe down to just 28 items of clothing. Would it surprise you to know I only wear nine things each week?

Let me preface this by saying that I never write about fashion because it doesn’t interest me. I don’t know what’s trendy or in-season, or really how to piece together an “outfit” at all. I’ve never cared, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I’m from the west coast of Canada where it is perfectly acceptable to live in jeans and flannel, and that’s what I do. I take care of my clothes and replace them when I need to, but that’s about the extent of my interest in/knowledge about clothing.

And this isn’t new for me — I’ve always been this way. When I was in high school, I was either in jeans and a hoodie, or tearaways and basketball jerseys. When I worked for the government, I wore black or gray pants with one of four sweaters I owned. I’ve always cycled through a very tiny wardrobe. How I was ever able to fill four black garbage bags with clothes, shoes, and accessories is still beyond me, except that most of what I got rid of was stuff I’d worn years ago — some of it as far back as 2005.

When I started seeing news articles and blog posts about how successful people have a signature look or only wear one outfit repeatedly, my first thought wasn’t that it was shocking; it was, “sweet, I already do that.” On most days, my “signature look” or “uniform” is a pair of skinny jeans, a flannel shirt, Blundstone boots, and my rain jacket. That’s me. In the spring, I swap the boots for TOMS. And then, of course, I switch outfits and dress appropriately when I go for a hike.

I don’t do this to save time or money, remove decision fatigue or any of that, though those are all great reasons to own tiny wardrobes or capsule wardrobes, which I can say I do enjoy the benefits of; I just do it because I’ve always done it that way. The only difference between my wardrobe two years ago and my wardrobe today is that I’ve removed all the clutter that took up drawer/closet space, and now only own what I actually wear on a regular basis. And it fits into one three-drawer dresser. Take a look:


In Drawer #1, I keep:

  • (1) pair of jeans
  • (2) pairs of khaki capris
  • (1) skirt
  • (3) dresses
  • (1) sports bra
  • (2) pairs of workout pants/capris

In Drawer #2, I have:

  • (5) tank tops
  • (4) t-shirts
  • (2) casual tops
  • (4) sweaters
  • (2) flannel shirts
  • 1 hoodie

The third drawer includes another 34 items that I wouldn’t necessarily consider “clothing,” in that they are namely socks, bras, and underwear.

And finally, I own a few accessories that are weather-dependent:

  • (3) pairs of shoes (flats, runners, TOMS)
  • (3) pairs of boots (ankle, rain, hiking)
  • (4) jackets (denim, rain, winter, snow)
  • (2) hats/toques
  • (1) scarf

Altogether, I technically own 75 things I could wear on my body (including bras, etc.), 28 of which are tops and bottoms. But every week, I wear the same nine items of clothing in a few variations:

  1. Workout pants or capris (1-2) / T-shirt (3) / Hoodie (4), or jacket (5) to go hiking
  2. Jeans (6) / Tank top (7) / Flannel (8-9)
  3. Jeans / Tank top or t-shirt / Hoodie

And if you’re wondering what people say when you wear the same thing every day, the answer is: nothing. Maybe they think I’m crazy or talk about me behind my back, but I highly doubt it, because it’s just clothing. And remember, I take care of the items I own and replace them when I need to. I also have no problem spending $40-$100 on something, if I know it will last (a lesson learned after wearing through many fast fashion items in a month or less).

So, that’s it: my teeny-tiny wardrobe. I wish I could offer advice on how to own fewer clothes or create a capsule wardrobe, but my friends have said it all, so I will leave you with their posts for now. What does your wardrobe look like these days? Do you have a signature look?

Image via Unsplash


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