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.
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.
SAVE FOR LATER
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.
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.
Positive: Super easy to do by anyone, no matter how tech-savvy or not they are. Very cost effective as well.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
SO WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK? AM I COMPLETELY MAD OR IS THERE SOME SORT OF METHOD? DO YOU DO YOUR OWN COUNTS, BE IT WEARS OR THE FULL WARDROBE? IF SO, WHAT METHOD DO YOU USE? PLEASE TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.
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