Different approaches to developing your wardrobe and buying clothes - Page 3
So, since about 2006, I've been keeping a spreadsheet of my closet. I like clothes, but I’m also an engineer, so the idea of a clothing spreadsheet and being able to analyze data arrives at a perfect intersection for me. It’s evolved over the years and has provided an interesting visual “history” of my tastes and spending habits.
Pretty early on, I realized I had a ton of stuff. Stuff I wasn’t wearing, items I bought because they were super cheap or a great deal, multiples of the same items, thrift purchases, etc. It really wasn’t until I started tracking everything and seeing it all in front of me in a spreadsheet that I didn’t need most of what I had and that I always returned to the same few items.
So, the spreadsheet tracks a few things:
Yearly purchases (since 2010): Current year is near the left side, past years get moved to the far right side. Items greyed out, I no longer have; either sold or gotten rid of. Generally, doesn’t include items purchased and returned right away.
Current inventory list: All suits, sport coats, pants, shirts, denim, shorts, sweaters and outerwear. Originally (around 2006), these totaled well over 200 items. Now, for the past 3-4 years, its hovered around 60-70 items and has been as low as 50. Other items (shoes & accessories) are on a separate tab. I haven’t really tracked that number, but I really should.
“Mnmlist” tab: A “wardrobe essentials” (ugh) list that I was tracking for a while, probably around 2011 or so, during the start of the online minimalist/ simple/ mindful living movement that’s since exploded. Top rows above the green line was my “ideal” minimalist wardrobe, below the green line were items that I actually owned. Haven’t really updated this much in the past few years. I still own most of those items, maybe will revisit this again.
So, what has the spreadsheet shown me?
1. I’ve nearly replaced my entire wardrobe since 2010. I currently have very few items of clothing from that year or before. I don’t expect a turnover rate like that in the next 5 years, but who knows.
2. Each year since 2010, I’ve purchased less and less. I’ve likely spent more each year, but I’ve returned more and have made better, faster “go/ no-go” decisions about what I’m keeping. Hopefully, this is a indication of moving towards contentment and buying only what I know I’ll enjoy.
3. There will always be something new to kop. Always. You can’t help but be a member of this forum and get caught up, to some degree, in the constant kopping/ binging and purging cycle that takes place here. In looking at the enormous, greyed-out list of items I no longer own, I remember that for most of them, they were items I needed to have; internet hype, brand cache, mindless kopping, thumbworthiness, 90% off sales with discount code stacking - these were the factors that drove a lot of my purchasing decisions. I’ve accumulated enough data points and history now to come to this conclusion: Just buy what you love and will enjoy. Buy less, but better. Focus. Don’t buy based on price alone. Only time and experience will teach you that.
4. Quality is subjective. Brand, provenance, price, coolness factor are not, in and of themselves, indicators of quality. Garbage exists at all price points. The longer I’ve been around and the more I’ve handled clothes from all over, the more immune I’ve become to trends, labels and sales. This could also just be the onset of old age and having little to no disposable income.
5. More than anything, I prefer utility in my wardrobe. I hate having separate, seasonal wardrobes, items that serve a singular purpose or items that only work with select other items. This is a unique challenge, seeing that I live in Wisconsin, I’m a dad, a minister, and have and office job that also requires outdoor/ field work/ construction site visits. My wardrobe needs to cover a lot of ground (4 seasons, weatherproof, layering ability, functional, dress/ formal, kid proof, office/ casual) so I need to squeeze the most out of the few items I own. I guess that makes me a maximalist in some ways, but it also forces me to think more carefully about something before I purchase. As my wardrobe stands now, it checks all those boxes. It fits my life, I wear most my items interchangeably and year round. More importantly, I enjoy what I have.
with my purchases I tend to focus on one group of clothing at a time. Ex - I'll start focusing on only pants for a few months - do a bunch of research/see what I like/whats available, not buy/focus on anything but pants for a while, get whatever I think the best/most versatile are -->move onto shoes and only shoes etc etc. (as opposed to getting a shirt one day, a pant the next, and moving around).
It's not about what you need, it's about what you want [and can't have RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT]: http://nomanwalksalone.tumblr.com/post/141100477151/the-myth-of-tantalus-by-r%C3%A9ginald-j%C3%A9r%C3%B4me-de-mans-in