An oversized wardrobe is overwhelming and stressful. If you are a hoarder like me, you don't like to get rid of clothes. But sometimes, it's necessary to declutter for more space, time, and money.
The ideal size of your wardrobe depends on weather conditions, your lifestyle, how often you wear each item, how often you can do your laundry, and how much room you have at home. In general, aim for 40 to 50 items.
The key to avoiding a large wardrobe is to prioritize simplicity. Only keep your essentials and favorite pieces that you wear all the time. I believe a stylish minimalist wardrobe is the best way to go.
Here is my reasoning behind how big your wardrobe should be.
Decluttering your closet
The first to determine your ideal wardrobe size is to get rid of what is superfluous. Especially if you feel like you have too many clothes, it's time to make room in your closet.
Having too many clothes is a common problem. It's a sign you made purchasing mistakes in the past. Luckily, it's a problem easily fixed.
Only keeping the essentials and what you truly need has a lot of benefits. It earns you more time, space, and money for the things you love.
I encourage you to focus on timeless classic pieces that don't go out of style easily. You can combine them into different outfits effortlessly, and you'll have an easier time getting dressed in the morning.
If you don't know what kind of clothes you should keep, read up the following articles I wrote on this matter:
Remember to get rid of clothes you don't wear responsibly. Don't throw them in the trash! Clothing waste is a huge issue. They pile up in landfills causing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Check out my guide on 10 ways to keep your clothing out of landfills for a few simple steps you can take to protect the environment.
Climate and lifestyle changes
Ideally, make every piece in your wardrobe a winner. Only keep pieces of clothing that you wear all the time. But some items are difficult to wear all-year-round.
Our wardrobe is in constant evolution. We keep buying new pieces as some garments in our closet get too old, don't fit us anymore, or our lifestyle simply changes.
I recommend you to go through your clothes whenever you can as often as possible. If you are new to simplifying your wardrobe, going through your clothes every season is a great start.
Follow my guide on how often should I go through my clothes for a few tips and tricks on switching from spring/summer to fall/winter clothing.
Take the climate where you live as well as your current lifestyle into consideration. These are important factors when identifying how big your wardrobe should be.
Some of us can wear the same pieces over and over most of the time. Others have different wardrobe needs. They must change their outfit according to the time of the year and their activities such as work, sports, leisure, and social.
As an example, I wear the same pieces of clothing all the time. I only add to my outfit a light jacket in spring/fall and a parka in winter.
I very rarely have to attend formal events. I wear very casual outfits most of the time. Even if I feel the cold more than most people, having the simplest and most active lifestyle possible is a priority for me.
I prefer a minimalist fashion style. Most of the clothes I wear are basics with simple shapes, clean cuts, and classic silhouettes. Sustainability is the most important factor for me when buying new clothes.
Learn more about my fashion habits by reading the following stories:
There is no set number of how many pieces you should own. No wardrobe is normal-sized. The size of your wardrobe is relative and depends on a lot of factors.
Typically, the size of your wardrobe is a subjective number that depends on your fashion style, your needs, your lifestyle, your location, and more.
But if you are wondering if you have too many pieces of clothing in your wardrobe, you probably have. The number of clothes you need is much lower than you think.
The large majority of men and women in developed countries around the world own too many pieces of clothing. Many of them never wear a lot of their clothes.
It's a very common issue and easily understood. The rise of fast fashion over the last 20 years made us consider clothing as a disposable commodity.
Fashion used to be slow, local, and expensive. With the mass-production of cheaply made and trendy clothing, it's now easier, faster, and cheaper to buy clothing. Many people shop daily for new clothes!
Apparel overproduction and overconsumption led the fashion industry to become the second-largest polluter globally. It creates tons of waste, pollution, and carbon emissions every year.
Read up my article on the fashion industry's catastrophic contribution to climate change to learn more about the issues in the fashion world.
By now, you probably understand that there isn't a set number of clothes you should have. Some people are very happy with 20 pieces of clothing in their wardrobe. Others need more than 100 items in their closet.
I encourage you to keep things simple and avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many clothes. Only your style essentials. If you invest in classic timeless pieces you enjoy, you are more likely to wear them for longer.
In general, aim for 40 to 50 items, especially if you are new to a minimal wardrobe.
Read up my article on how many pieces of clothing a woman needs for some guidance on what clothes you should place in your wardrobe.
Your wardrobe can be smaller than average if you can wear the same clothes all-year-round and do your laundry often. It will be bigger if you have more space in your closet, and your lifestyle requires it.
Some people can wear the same outfit many times per week. Others have trouble wearing the same clothes twice. If you can wear the clothes you won very often, it drastically reduces how big your wardrobe should be.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what size you think your wardrobe should be. Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks four languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.