Yes, I Counted My Clothes. I Learned A Few Things.

Every now and then I get hooked (I hook myself) into reading articles about wardrobe statistics, spreadsheets, formulas, and apps. What’s the “right” number of clothes to own, and how many pieces in each category, and what color scheme, and more left-brain analysis. (Recognizing that in much of the world, people have three or four outfits, this is obviously a self-indulgent, first world activity.)

There’s always a pie chart for “how do you spend your day?” and mine is kind of embarrassing: 70% cool casual, 30% you’ll-never-see-me casual and zero percent for the office. That’s a humble-brag, I retired from paid work three years ago.🙂


This woman leisures/sleeps even more than I do. Source.

My overall wardrobe jam is to be organic and authentic. Not to stress – or even think hard – about numbers of clothes and shoes. I don’t plan my outfits in advance, unless I’m traveling. I’ll wear the same outfit two days in a row if I feel like it. But there is still that lurking analyst inside me, trying to figure out the parameters of dressing.

Does it matter how much you have as long as you love it and wear it, or even love looking at it? I say no, of course not, what if you collected coins or French horns for pleasure? You do you.

I still wanted to know where I stand in the pack, so I did a total count, excluding workout-only clothes, PJ’s, and undies. Here is my tally, higher than I thought:

52 tops (all seasons, all types – from tanks to cardigans, mostly thrifted)
17 skirts
3 jeans and pants (that sounds weird – why not more jeans?)
16 outerwear/blazers (mostly light to middle weight for Florida weather, and all thrifted)
16 shoes and boots, all of which I finally love (mostly retail)
13 dresses
Total = 117
not counting workout clothes, pajamas or underwear/socks

Plenty to choose from: The survey polled 1,000 women across the country and found that, on average, they have more than 100 items of clothing in their closetsI’m average. That is not the same as “normal.” Source.

The number was higher than I expected, because I only have about 65 hangers. The rest of the goods are tees and tanks, folded away in a dresser, and therefore outta sight. What did I learn from the exercise?:

I have enough tops, but the fact I still hunt them while shopping means I clearly don’t love all 52. Fifty two beloved tops would be enough for a couple of years without buying a new one, yeah?

I actually have enough of everything, and can easily do a one-in, one-out guideline. This is comforting, as that’s how I like to roll. There are no gaps in my closet, unless you count Versace trousers and Valentino shoes, heh.

I am average. Sigh. The one thing I do not want to be. According to a 2016 survey, the “average” American woman has 103 items of clothing.

Have you ever done the clothes count? Willing to share your number? Stay fabulous and have fun with your closet, xo,

Here’s some wardrobe-enhancing pieces to browse:

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  1. This is an interesting idea! Would I have to count the bins in the attic? Or just the things in my actual functioning closet? which includes waaaay too many jeans. oh dear. I like how you mentioned thinking of fashion as a collection – like French Horns. HA! That made me feel better. I’m glad I happened on your blog today!

  2. I have not counted my clothes, but it sounds like a good exercise, if for no other reason than just to remember what all I have! (That suggests I might have things I don’t think about anymore….) What I do know is that I have too few tops–what’s up with that?–and too many jeans and jackets. (I LOVE JACKETS!) Buying trousers is harder than jeans for some reason, so I don’t have many of those either.

    Now I’m scratching my head wondering what all I do have! May need to take some time and do an inventory like you did. Thanks for the idea, Patti!


  3. Oh, I do think I have a problem 😉 I’m not even going to attempt counting what I have. Sigh! xxx

  4. Well now I just feel bad. LOL. We are preparing to downsize our home up north where we spend not quite half of the year. I pulled everything down and laid it on the floor. Then I told myself to put back my favorite 100 items. I did. Then I gave myself 50 more. The rest had to be consigned or donated. BUT, that doesn’t include the closet upstairs with my winter items or the 100 plus that I am sure I have in Florida. I feel totally over-indulged and materialistic but I will own that. I love my stuff. I love purging too but I guess it might have to come with baby steps for me. Thanks for the fun insights though.

    • You do it your way, you’ll never go wrong! (And come to think of it, I didn’t include the 25+ pieces I keep up in New York.)

  5. Hi Patti! Long time!

    I did a wardrobe analysis back in 2015 and the count was 137. Not excessive, I thought, but there were some surprising numbers: 17 dresses and 12 jeans. The jeans were OK – I tried them all on and purged only 3 pairs. I have so much trouble finding ones that fit that I was willing to give them the closet space. But the dresses? Those had accumulated through my love of sewing all the pretty fabrics and latest patterns, but guess what? I hardly ever wear dresses. It was painful, but I pared that number down to 4.

    Earlier this year I did another count and it was 116, so a few things have worn out, or more likely, I’ve “outgrown” them. I think I’m at equilibrium now, so when a shirt or pair of pants bites the dust, I do start thinking about replacing it.

    • Sounds like you’ve hit a sweet spot and did some smart analysis, Katrina! Thanks for coming by, xox.

  6. What an amazing idea! I’m not at home right now (staying with daughter) but as soon as I am back I’m going to do the same thing as you, count the lot! I think the largest number of items will be the skirts – mind you, all of these are thrifted. But it’s a great idea x

    • Skirts are so easy to buy, and always work out! I look forward to your count, and it’s only a number. xox

  7. Really interesting post – I’m seriously afraid to count. And, did you count just summer (the season we’re in now) or did you include year round. And, I’m like you – I already have too many tops and really only like a few. Why did I buy the others? I’ve already purged my closet earlier this year – looks like I need to do it again.

    You’ve definitely given me something to think about.


    • thanks for your comment Iris. The count is for my whole closet, and summer clothes dominate (Florida). “Why did I buy the others?” is always the question. : > xox

  8. I cannot believe you own three pairs of pants and 16 pairs of shoes. It is refreshing and terrifying at the same time. Ha! Before, when I’d travel, I’d probably take 3 pairs of pants with me just in case something happened to the other two and I wouldn’t have anything to wear. (Yes, my mind goes to strange places like that.)

    As you know one of my nieces counted my shoes when she was here and I will not repeat the number she arrived at. I’ve been culling some of my shoes lately but need to work harder on that.

    The one out, one in policy really appeals to me but I wonder if I could make it stick. My business provides too much temptation I fear.

    Ideally I would like to go through and reassess my closet and needs. The thought of doing it though overwhelms me.

    The meaning of clothing has changed a bit for me since I started my Etsy shop. I look at it more as work and less as play.

    Great post!


  9. This is so me! I, too, have clothes that I just like to look at, all secondhand, and that’s Ok:)

  10. I’m also afraid to count, but I think that knowing yourself and knowing what is in your wardrobe is always useful. So I’m taking notes on this and I’ll probably do it asap!. Probably there’s an overwhelmingly high number of clothes in my wardrobe, but I love almost every one and wear them a lot!

  11. I think I’m above average, which is a forgiving way of putting it. Heh. I must reduce. REDUCE. Too much stuff. Three jeans and pants? Oh, heaven.

  12. I daren’t count! Can I make the excuse that I live in England and we have so many changes in our weather during the year so I need double the amount of clothes someone who lives in a year round warm area needs? Even to me that sounds like just an excuse! This might be an interesting exercise to do though, I’m pretty sure I have stuff in my wardrobe which doesn’t actually get worn anymore.

    • No excuse needed, Debs! Enjoy your closet, and if you really don’t like something anymore, it can go, xox.

  13. Even without counting, I know my number is higher but my rationalization is that I live in an apartment and need to make sure I have a full load before putting those quarters into the machines in the laundry room. But I have told my daughter that if I buy one more navy t-shirt or jeans jacket, she should take over my finances.

  14. I have not counted my clothes ever. I do look at my closet and say “I need to clean this out.” Not because I feel guilty, but because there are a lot of things there I do not wear. I am tired of bring out the clothes I do wear wrinkled because there is too much in my closet. Some of it is thrift shopping and some is not. I think we should have as many clothes as we feel comfortable with and can afford on the budget.

    • Thanks, Sue for your comment. I totally agree there is no “right” number of clothes! xo

  15. OMG….I definitely have a problem seeing your number. I think I have that many boots by themselves. Can I rationalize that we have lots of snow???
    At least I can say that much of my stuff is thrifted also…does that help??

    • Don’t worry, Jodie, it’s all good. Although I would love to see your shoe closet! xox

  16. \Honestly? I’m afraid to do this. I know I have way too much. Coincidentally I have just signed up for the “From Frustration To Functional” 14-Day Challenge from Kelly Snyder, and I’m hoping this will inspire me to winnow things down efficiently!

  17. 52 ‘BELOVED’ tops! Lol that would be something!!! (That was a good book, too!) I always count Versace pants & Valentino shoes! 3 jeans/pants is weird!!!!

  18. I’m dividing my clothing for a temporary move to NW Florida for the winter. My numbers are similar to yours except I have more jeans and fewer skirts.

    You are right; it is just numbers.

  19. Great post!! This post makes me want take another good look at my closets. My problem is that, I have some great pieces that I would no longer be able to afford on my retirement budget, so they are ever ready for the occasion. . . I guess I need therapy.

  20. I’m afraid to count…I’m sure I need a 12 step program for my wardrobe! LOL
    However, I still work in an office; so I have work clothes, casual & play clothes. Although I would like to downsize my things. I have started getting rid of things I think just don’t work as well for me now that I’m over 50. I think it’s good every decade to re-assess our look. thanks for sharing your numbers! –Anne

    • Yes, it’s good to re-assess now and then, as our needs change. You have a wonderful wardrobe! xo

  21. A few days ago I started counting my dresses and got to 30 and decided I didn’t really want to know and stopped. I love my dresses but I haven’t been wearing them as much this year for various reasons – strange weather, working on the house, etc – and I was feeling a little angsty about having all these dresses I’m not wearing and having lots of fabric for more dresses and wanting to sew it but afraid I’m not going to wear what I make.

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