Wednesday, 7 September 2016

How many clothes do I really need? An inventory.

After starting the Make and Mend Challenge  in June (2016) I started thinking about what kind of clothes I regularly wear and what I really need. Then when summer started I noticed how very faded my linen trousers were and redyed them (and then discovered one had got really thin and is see through in the crotch area, that's not cool... because of the overall thinness it is not really worth mending it, I am going to trace the trousers for the pattern though). I was really gutted about that. And noticed: black linen trousers is obviously something I really wear often. (2 indicators: feeling and worn thin trousers). 

Anyhow, I repeatedly thought about what kind of clothes make sense for me and of course had a look online at what other people thought about it... (288 things:  interestingly the minimalist Joshua Fields Millburn owns (according to his own list) "Casual Clothes. 79 items, including jeans, hoodies, T-shirts, button-down shirts, etc. Dress Clothes. 50 items, including suits, ties, dress shirts, etc. Clothes (Miscellaneous). 58 items, including shoes, socks, underwear, belts, gym shorts, coats, etc." - that means 65% of his possessions are clothes! WOW!)

So, a wardrobe is something very universal but at the same time something very personal. I've searched around a bit and found a lot on the "5 piece french wardrobe" Link1 and the "capsule wardrobe". (Link2Link3,   Link4)

I liked this jpg

And on the whole enjoyed the stylish pictures of the people that wrote them. 
My main problem is: Most of those wardrobes seem to assume that
  • You wear businessy-like classy stuff all of the time
  • You have the built and disposable income of a top model (Ballerina shoes for 350 Euros? Really?)
  • You have 4 seasonal wardrobes (!?!?)
  • You constantly think about fashion and how to perk up your wardrobe
  • You don't have babies or toddlers that cover you in all sorts of stuff 

None of that is me. (Although that above list is a good starting point, as ist this German link: Weltreise mit Handgepäck) And this is quite useful, too Capsule planner And considering just a basic wardrobe is a good effort, too:  Basic Wardrobe) Soo... althought the above links help to understand about style and combining clothes, they still suggest to buy a lot of clothes new. Hm. Doesn't really agree with me any more.

So obviously if I don't identify with those lists, I have to come up with my own.

  • Enough clothes for a week (we do weekly washes and due to the children I have to change everything daily (at least once, (on all of us) although sometimes I don't bother... *smile* )
  • At work I get clothes and I have my work shoes there, so I don't need much work stuff
  • At home I am with children that paint, have sticky fingers, want to move around with me a lot - clothes have to be washable (a lot) and comfortable
  • We go outside for walks (forest, hills)
  • Sometimes I need to look respectable :) Very rarely, though.
  • I mainly wear black. Tried other things. It's mainly black and it stays mainly. Or REALLY weird and childish patterns. :) But, mainly, black. But let me assure you, I am wearing only the very happiest black!
Theoretically you could argue, that I could just wear sweats at home with the children, I suppose, and then end up wearing them all of the time. The thing is: I don't like sweats, although they are comfortable. While wearing practical clothes that are easily washable I would also like to maintain a minimal amount of casual chic. If an active Mum ever has casual chic.

I was working very long on this list. And I've kept it to the absolute minimum. And I am also sure, it's not for everyone. But here we go anyway. 

This is my list

This Basic Wardrobe list is meant to be the minimum stock of my wardrobe, so if you own a few more t-shirts, it won't matter that much. Especially if you don't wash every week. Onthe spot. And everything dries immediately. :) So this list is certainly open for personal adjustments.

I admit, my actual wardrobe doesn't only contain what's on this list. I made it thinking about what I actually use regularly in my daily life and admitting, that my wardrobe is filled with WAY more clothes than I actually need. It made me realize that is wasn't just the odd "extra" T'shirt. It was way more. It's basic because it is meant to be open for small adjustments that occur. E.g. you'll find there is no "fancy stuff" on the list. We don't go out much at the moment because of the children, so I don't really need fancy stuff. But everybody has different needs, habits and lives. So, grab a pencil, think about your needs, habits and life and

Make your own list! Share it!


  1. Oh, eine tolle Idee von dir das so zusammen zufassen! Mir sind diese Ideen auch immer wieder über den Weg gelaufen, aber ich hatte mir bislang noch nicht die Zeit genommen mich damit zu beschäftigen.
    Wobei ich sagen muss, während der ersten paar Monate mit Kinder Nr.2 bin ich erstaunlicherweise mit ca. 3 Stillkleidern, Strumpfhosen und einem Mantel (plus ein paar "Notklamotten") ausgekommen. Trotz winterlich schniefendem Kleinkind und reiherndem Baby. Probleme hatte ich nur wenn etwas nicht schnell genug getrocknet ist. Allerdings musste ich halt sehr häufig waschen, was dann umwelttechnisch wieder nicht so der Hit ist.

    1. Der Witz ist ja, dass man mit sehr viel weniger auskommt, als man glaubt, man muß es nur probieren. :) Wir waschen hier wie die Weltmeister 1x/Woche mindestens eine volle Maschine, wobei ich jetzt nicht wüßte, wie ich das umweltschonender hinbekommen sollte (außer eben die Sparprogramme wählen, so wenig wie möglich Waschmittel etc...). :)