Wardrobe and wear count | Why you’d want to do one and how + One Year Wear Count Project

Wardrobe and wear count | Why you need to do one and how

I have to warn you from the beginning that this post comes packed-full of unbelievable geekiness, including Excel spreadsheets and charts. But, there is method to the madness, as I am exploring wear counts as a way of analysing my wardrobe and recording what I am wearing. This all links to the first step of my guide to building a meaningful wardrobe, ANALYSE, as I am looking to start a new year-long challenge aiming to dig deeper into my existing closet and figure out the patterns for what types of garments I reach most for, if they are me-made or RTW, what colours and what brands or pattern companies.

In this post, I will tell you more about my method for recording my wear counts as well as cataloguing my overall wardrobe, a few other tools that are out there and the first findings after two weeks of this exercise.

Curious yet?

Let’s dig in.

What is a wear and wardrobe count and why would you do one?

A wardrobe count is effectively an inventory of your entire closet, i.e. all the items in you own. This something that people aiming for a minimalist wardrobe tend to do in order to analyse and identify what can be removed and what needs to be added to their closets with intent. This is also great as an initial exercise at the start of a style analysis or overhaul. However, this is definitely not just for minimalists, for example, if you are a sewer and want to better plan your sewing queue and deciding what to sew in order to fill the gaps.

A wear count does what it says on the tin: keeping a track of every item you wear every day for a given period. This may be in order to identify the types of items and outfits you tend to gravitate towards, to establish a cost/wear, see how your me-mades compete with your RTW, etc.

Why I decided to embark on a One Year Wear Count Project

The simple answer is because I’m a geek, of course, and I really love stats and getting data to run pivot charts on.

The long answer is that I really want to dig deeper into my wardrobe, obviously not in a literal sense, to try to put some numbers behind the decisions I make around adding new items and of course, letting go of others. I am very curious how much of my wardrobe is actually handmade, what RTW brands have lasted the longest in my closet, what are workhorses of my closet etc. I think analysing what you already have is very important towards building a meaningful wardrobe with intent.

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The rules of my One Year Wear Count Project

I am going at it in a slightly backwards way, where instead of turning everything out of my closet and doing an inventory, I am slowly (and much more manageably) counting and tracking items as I wear them in daily outfits. The theory is that at some point, I would have worn everything I own, so I would have captured everything in say, one year. And if I haven’t worn them in a year, I probably don’t really need them in my life anyway.

I will be recording everything I wear every single day, excluding underwear, pyjamas, gym stuff and clothes I wear around the house for a year. I started this on 10th September 2018 so planning to complete it by 9th September 2019.



So, now that I’ve set the boundaries, let’s talk about the how. Before I tell you about how I’m going to do it, let’s have a look at a few methods that are out there.

Methods for tackling wardrobe and wear counts

1| The apps method

There are a lot of apps available (most are free but there are some paid for) that are specially designed for wardrobe inventories or closet organising.

Positive: There are a lot of added benefits the apps offer: styling advice, shopping discounts, planning tools and packing lists a styling community, etc.

Negative: The main disadvantage is that you have to take pictures of every single item in your wardrobe to be included in the app. Some apps have an option to import the items you recently purchased from your online shopping accounts, but that is of course not available for sewers or people who buy mostly from charity/thrift shops.

Apps: StyleBook, ClosetSpace, Pureple, GlamOutfit, Closet+, Closet Love

2| The pen & paper method

This is the easiest, lowest entry method. Just grab a notepad and a pen and write down every single item you have in your wardrobe, and then start putting lines, crosses, dots etc next to each item. Then count them every so often and do the maths. If you are already into journaling, this will be right up your alley.

Photo by Jess Watters on Unsplash

Positive: Super easy to do by anyone, no matter how tech-savvy or not they are. Very cost effective as well.

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Negative: You have to have your pad with you all the time if you want to do any planning on the go. If anything happens to your notebook, you lost all your archived inventory.

If you’d like a bit of starting inspiration, I found this Pinterest board with a lot of ideas.

3| The digital method

If you have a smartphone or a computer, you can go for taking stock in a digital manner. This can be as simple as the Notes app on your phone, or a bit more complicated like Excel/Sheets/Numbers for Mac etc. You can even store it in the Cloud, in Dropbox, iCould, etc for access at any time, from any device. You can also try digital note-taking apps like Evernote ,OneNote etc.

Positive: You can access your inventory from any device, anytime, if uploaded to the Cloud. You can also back it up on storage drives so make sure that if it gets corrupted or damaged, it can be recovered. Also, you can do all sorts of analytics stats and calculations to come up with neat graphics (no? just me?).

Negative: If you are not familiar with Excel or other sheets software, it might be a bit difficult to get the hang of it. But if you just want a simple inventory, just making digital notes on your phone can be easy enough.

My method for wardrobe and wear count

As you might have realised by now, I do love my stats and figures, not to mention a graph thrown in for good measure. I am pretty good at Excel (all my colleagues ask me for advice in the office), so it felt natural to try to bring my wardrobe counting into a medium I am familiar with.

I originally started just writing down what I wore every day on my Notes app on my iPhone, which also talks to my Mac. This took less than 30 seconds every day and was super easy and convenient. However, this did not allow for any kind of analytics and additional stats. So I just copy/pasted all the info I accumulated over a few weeks into Excel and started adding more info, like if it’s a RTW or handmade item, the colour, brand, pattern company, category etc, which would allow me to eventually pull stats.

[ctt template=”1″ link=”GQ_Nq” via=”no” ]Have you ever considered doing a wear or wardrobe count? Alex from @Sewrendipity wrote a post about why you should, how to go about it and her project to record everything she wears every day for an entire year. Check it out.[/ctt]

Then I realised that I would have to do the copy/paste every time I added something new on my phone and that I should just be adding every new daily outfit straight into the Excel. That’s why I just uploaded my spreadsheet into Google Sheets. I downloaded the Sheets app on my phone (it’s free), no now I just type in the new clothes I wear straight into the app. Or I can go online on my Mac and type it in. Simples!

These are the categories I’m using:

Item Date Month Worn Me-Made/RTW Category Brand Pattern Brand Colour

I have put in some formulas to count how many unique items I am wearing each month, what is my most worn item, my most worn colour, and what is the split between me-made and RTW.

Slowly, I hope to record most of my items, except wear-at-home stuff and very seasonal, so that my wear count actually develops into a proper wardrobe count.

I’m looking to develop my spreadsheet even further and I will be sharing it with you guys when it’s ready.

Initial findings after 2 weeks of wear counting

I only started my wear counting on the 10th September, so 13 days ago, but I already have some findings I can share.

Outfit with dark grey culottes, white woollen cardigan, black turtleneck, red earrings and perspex lips brooch
Daily outfit from 22nd September
  • My RTW leather jacket and my M&S sparkly trainers are the most worn items, with 7 wears each.
  • I wore a total of 46 different items (including scarves and shoes).
  • I am definitely wearing more RTW than me-mades, but I have worn something I made every day, with two days almost exclusively me-made.
  • Black is my most worn colour, but I never wore an all-black outfit. Second most worn colour is navy.
  • Out of my me-mades, the majority, 3, were self-drafted, followed by Vogue and Burda patterns with 2 each.

OOTD from 22 Sept, I’m wearing: Burda Style Cardigan (10/2014), self-drafted turtleneck, wool culottes, V&A earrings.






  1. 24 September 2018 / 8:00 AM

    I think it’s a great idea. I’d been thinking of doing something similar myself but haven’t found quite the right app yet – I don’t get on with Excel on my phone and I know that it’s got to be on the phone or o won’t remember to update it.

    • sewrendipityalex
      24 September 2018 / 8:54 AM

      I had started a review of apps, but this post was getting ridiculously long. I’ve written half of it, so I might publish it at some point. I like Pureple, I had stats similar to my Excel, plus an outfit selector with an algorithm which seems fun to try.

      • 26 September 2018 / 5:16 PM

        I’d definitely be interested in that. What’s working best for me for sewing planning in general is Pinterest, which surprised me.

  2. 24 September 2018 / 10:54 AM

    I count haphazardly and use an excel spreadsheet. I also keep count of my fabric in the same way. I wear no rtw at all, but am a bit shocked at how few of my many pairs of shoes I wear.

    • sewrendipityalex
      27 September 2018 / 8:32 PM

      He he, Excel lovers unite! I have loads of shoes too, but I mostly wear my everyday flats and trainers. I don’t think I will be surprised of how little I wear my heels.

  3. Elaine Marsh
    24 September 2018 / 12:41 PM

    No, not for me all of the time. When I go on long holidays with formal wear involved I do go to a similar extent in planning, down to a spreadsheet matrix that involves colour coding with shoes, accessories and jewellery. When I was full time working, business wear was the normal wear, and conservative at that. Now I am retired all of that micro managing my clothes went out the window. I still have a lot of clothes but now I spend a good deal of my time labouring in the garden or maintaining the house so ”around the house’ gear is my usual stuff. I can analyse my needs mentally from piles of old clothes for mucky work, smart casual day wear (seasonal, weight and colours) and some smarter things for going out. Mostly trousers, jeans, some skirts, some dresses but like you I gravitate to things that take little fuss coordinating, mono-colours that go with everything. Easy wear, comfortable fabrics that move with you, muted colours that suit my colouring, no fuss. When I buy or make something now it has to fit that criteria. I make and buy RTW less now because I alter what I have already have and give things a second life. I buy small items of a seasonal colour that extends what I already have too. I enjoy mixing up my clothes and inventing new looks. I have a few pieces of cloth still to make up, plaid, woollen, and velvet which were bought with jackets in mind.
    What you suggest is a good idea if you have the time to do it, I like Excel, used it a lot in the past but not for me now, it occurs to me that I already micro manage too much 😀

    • sewrendipityalex
      27 September 2018 / 8:35 PM

      Wow, that is impressive, Elaine, re the matrix! In any case, sounds like you have it down to a tee and having fun with it! I do hope that by the time I retire, I will have my wardrobe figured it out and then I can throw it all out the window as I will be moving to the Caribbean and none of my London clothes suit :).

  4. 24 September 2018 / 3:46 PM

    I’ve been using the StyleBook app for a little over two years every day and really like it for tracking this. You do have to load photos, but I’ve been loading as I wear or make things, instead of doing a giant closet photo session all at once. I’ve also found that with a little googling, I can usually find photos to load of my store-bought stuff, and as I buy new I screen cap the website photos to load. It has a place for price and a daily calendar, so it does the math for me over time and shows best/ worst cost per wear, most frequently worn, never worn (when I load something I’ve bought or made that never makes it back out of the closet), and even a total wardrobe cost once you get most everything loaded. I use the notes section for my makes to track fabric brand/ name, pattern name, hashtags if the pattern has them, and where I bought it for later social media stuff like MeMadeMay. And I save my fabric receipts so that I can add those costs into the price for me-made stuff and figure out which pieces I’m getting the best bang for my buck out of.

    I even have a “look” set up for my daily wear jewelry, so I know the cost-per-wear of my wedding ring- LOL. Yep. I love the number crunching. The one thing I don’t really use that they offer is “outfit” pre-planning. I don’t usually mix and match the same things every time, and I never remember to search for the outfits anyway. It is handy for packing and capsules though to get those pretty layouts if you want to post your mix and match. (I sound like an ad for StyleBook- I’m not paid, I swear- hahaha!)

    • sewrendipityalex
      27 September 2018 / 8:38 PM

      I’m glad you are enjoying StyleBook, I’ve heard loads of good things about it. I really struggle with the pic taking. Most of my stuff are so old that I won’t find online pics. I do take outfit pics for the blog, so I do have some of them documented.
      Out of interest, what’s the cost per wear of your ring :)?

  5. gilliancrafts
    25 September 2018 / 12:08 AM

    This is fun! I think it’s perfect for you, because you love data and want to streamline your wardrobe. I have so many clothes that I often wear things I love less than 5 times in a season… but they make me happy and they last a long time that way! 😉 I do pass things on to make room for more. I’m looking forward to hearing what you results are!

    • Alex
      27 September 2018 / 8:00 PM

      Thank you, Gillian! I am absolutely not saying this is for everyone, but I do hope people will find it at least entertaining! I think that wearing what you have and loving it is the most important part of all!

  6. 28 September 2018 / 11:51 AM

    I’ve tried kind of planning and keeping track in the past when I was active on a fashion forum. I used something called Dress Assistant (outdated now). I found the photographing tedious though. I think an old fashioned noted book and pen would be my weapons of choice as I’ve barely used Excel, so haven’t a clue! The thing with me is that I’m rubbish at keeping going with something, so you can guarantee that the novelty would wear off. I’m really interested to follow your progress though Alex.

  7. 1 October 2018 / 4:15 PM

    Great post! I actually got the stylebook app a few months ago hoping to do just that but the slow increment of outfit didn’t work for me, I would need to do a photo session of all my items first and I am completely unable to carve out the time to do that…

  8. 6 October 2018 / 3:54 AM

    Love this! I tracked items worn and wear counts in my bullet Journal for September, which I found helpful, but didn’t take outfit photos and regretted that because I wanted to see which pieces I wore lots of different ways and couldn’t really remember the outfits. Adding that layer for October and giving it another go 🙂

  9. 17 May 2019 / 1:20 AM

    My method to date to ensure I wear everything in my wardrobe has been simply to put clean clothes at one end of the wardrobe and take my next outfit from the other end. But of course there are some things that don’t seem to come out the other end very often. I love your solution because it seems to me to be very simple and doable. I’m fine at setting up a spreadsheet but I would be very interested to get more in depth knowledge of yours and your formulas when you are ready to share.

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