ONE YEAR WARDROBE COUNT PROJECT | RESULTS

ONE YEAR WARDROBE COUNT PROJECT | RESULTS

Dear readers, this is the big day!! I have actually completed my One Year Wardrobe Count project at the end of September and the results are in!

Of course, since this launched a year ago, you might not remember what I’m on about. In a nutshell, I decided a year ago to track EVERY SINGLE THING I WORE EVERY SINGLE DAY for a year! I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t an easy task, and I failed a few times (ok, more than a few times), but I have a lot of data collected and I’ve had a lot of fun slicing and dicing to understand more about my wardrobe, wearing habits and of course, how my hand-made clothes fare vs my RTW ones.

And now I am ready to share it all with you!

Before we begin, I need to put out a fair warning that this is going to be a long one. In fact, I had to break it up in two posts (part 2 coming soon). Also, there are a lot of numbers and tables, just in case you are curious and want to go Excel geeky on me. I tried to stay away from pie charts though (whew!) All the pictures are outfits and makes from this year.

So, what will I be covering in part one?

  • A reminder on how I set about this task and the rules of the game
  • The overall wardrobe composition numbers
  • The overall wear numbers
  • The Top 10 most worn items
  • A bit on the colour palette
  • Conclusion

WARDROBE COUNT – THE METHOD

Before we dig into the numbers, I just wanted to do a quick recap of what were the rules I set out for myself for this project.

The idea was to track every single item of clothing and footwear I wore every single day for a year, from 1st Oct 2018 to 30th Sept 2019. I only counted what I wore outside the house, so nightwear, loungewear etc, were excluded. I still record pyjama days, i.e. days I did not get out of my pyjamas or only wore things I wear around the house. I also recorded speciality clothing like ski wear or beachwear (but not swimsuits, and no gym stuff, unless I wore it outside the gym for various reasons) but I will not count them in the overall tally. I also did not track accessories (hats and scarves). 

In terms of the data I wanted to capture, I created a library that has the following headings: 

  • name of the item
  • type (RTW, me-made or refashioned)
  • category (tops, dresses, etc)
  • brand (if RTW)
  • pattern company if me-made 
  • colour
  • movements (newly bought, newly sewn, sent to charity, gifted, etc). 

I flipped between various ways of recording, but in the end, I settled for an online spreadsheet on Google Sheets, that I could access from my phone or computer. I would then download in Excel on my laptop and do any analysis and charts etc. I also tried capturing in Notes (also available on the phone and on my Mac), but it ended up too complicated, as I had to copy it into the main spreadsheet. It still works in a pinch, for example, if I don’t have internet. A third method was taking pictures with my phone and then entering the items in the main spreadsheet, but that was more of a back-up in case it forgot or didn’t do it every day. 

Ralph Pink Sahara Shirt Dress

I was pretty good at recording without fail every single month, except for January and February. I was on holidays for most of January and then I got really lazy in February, but I got back on track in March and kept it almost without exception to 30th Sept. So please bear that in mind with regards to total numbers.

Also, these numbers only include what I actually wore within the year. This is not the total of my wardrobe, as there are items that I did not wear at all during this year. Some are high summer items that I pretty much only wear on holiday, others are occasionwear and some just did not get worn.

So let’s have a look at what I found.

November wear count -Day outfit with culottes, white button down shirt and grey wool poncho

Total wardrobe numbers

Drum roll: the overall number of unique items (clothes and shoes, excl. speciality) worn in a year:

196 total items = 165 clothes + 31 shoes

This is how they break down by categories:

Footwear

CategoryTotal% Total
Flats1032%
Heels619%
Sandals516%
Boots516%
Trainers26%
Lace-ups26%
Ankle boots13%
Grand Total31100%

SAVE THIS FOR LATER ON PINTEREST

Clothes:

CategoryTotal% Total
Tops3320%
Dresses3018%
Trousers1610%
T-shirts1610%
Jumpers159%
Jackets95%
Outerwear95%
Cardigans74%
Shirts74%
Shorts74%
Skirts53%
Jeans53%
Vests32%
Jumpsuits32%
Grand Total165100%

But maybe of most interest for a sewist is how do my wardrobe choices break down between shop-bought and me-mades clothes. I also made a separate category for Refashioned RTW items.

Me-Made6640%
Refashioned42%
RTW9558%

This year has marked my first me-made footwear, and although they don’t really make a dent in the overall footwear category, I’m so happy to say that 6% (2 items) of all the footwear I wore in the past year is made by me!

summer outfit inspiration

Total wear numbers

So let’s have a look at how much the individual items got worn throughout the year. First, let’s have a look by categories. This is the breakdown by % of total wears.

Outerwear17%
Trousers16%
Top15%
Jacket11%
Dress8%
Jumper8%
Jeans6%
T-shirt6%
Cardigan3%
Shorts3%
Vest2%
Jumpsuit2%
Shirt2%
Skirt1%
Grand Total100%

It’s interesting that although the dresses are the second most numerous individual items in my wardrobe, I tend to wear trousers most. So that means that although I have loads of dresses, I actually tend to reach for trousers much more. This is actually matching with how I’ve been feeling myself about my style, which has definitely swung more towards casual than the office style that made up most of my wardrobe.

This is equally true for footwear. 

Type of Shoes% worn% of total wardrobe
Trainers28%6%
Flats25%32%
Ankle boots18%3%
Boots14%16%
Lace-ups6%6%
Heels5%19%
Sandals4%16%
Grand Total100%100%

Not that I used to wear heels loads, but more importantly, I almost never used to wear trainers. In fact, I did not actually own a pair of trainers until a few years ago. And check me out now, I even made a pair myself. Although trainers only make 6% of my shoes wardrobe, they did most of the heavy lifting this year, with more than a quarter of all wears! The reverse is true for the flats, who make up 32% or my wardrobe, but have a lower wear per item at 25% of total wears. But perhaps the crown goes to my one and only pair of ankle boots that got worn 51 times just in the past year (and I’ve had them for 3 years now).

Now let’s have a closer look at the most worn individual items, clothes and shoes.

Top 10 most worn items 

So, what were the 10 single most worn clothes overall this year?

ItemSourceCount
Oversized colour block coatMe-Made91
Mona Biker jacketMe-Made34
Black skinny jeansRTW33
Denim jacketRTW30
Pink culottesMe-Made25
Medium blue skinny jeansRTW22
Leather jacketRTW22
Black crepe culottesRefashioned19
Red coatMe-Made16
Knitted turtleneckRTW15
Oversized colour block coat - I am patterns Artemis
Oversized colour block coat
Green-based 10 items capsule collection for winter, early spring and transitional
Medium blue skinny jeans

Unsurprisingly, the majority fell into the Outerwear category, namely coats and jackets, as well as some staple basics like black and blue skinny jeans, and a black turtleneck that I wear all the time in winter. My first me-made winter coat, the I Am Patterns Artemis that I made last year was the most worn item in my wardrobe, with over 90 wears! That is definitely a great return on my investment, and three times over the 30 wears goal. What an achievement! 

Black crepe culottes

Also, so happy to see that half (if I include the refashion) of my most worn items are made by me and all the others are pieces that have been in the wardrobe for ages. I can’t believe that the pink culottes made into the top 10! For such bright, definitely not neutral item, they sure get a lot of wear! 

Red coat
Mona biker jacket

The other interesting thing was that the majority of these items are either cold-weather pieces or some that go across the seasons. This definitely reflects both the long winter we’ve had this year, but also the fact that my winter wardrobe tends to be a bit more compact than the summer one, where I have loads of pieces to choose from. Also, some of them are transitional, and I wear them equally all year long (like the jeans and surprisingly, the pink culottes!). 

Pink culottes

Outside the top 10, there were 112 items that were worn two times or more, but only 4 that made it over the 30 wears mark. 52 items were only worn once, so quite a long tail. The top 15 (which are about 10% of the total items worn) have been chosen over 42% of times! 

And these are my top 5 shoes. Again, my me-made trainers made the cut (3rd overall) and I only started wearing them in late June. 30 wears in the bag!

Suede ankle boots51
Sparkly trainers46
Taupe trainers (Me-made)31
Suede medium heel knee boots21
Navy flats21

Quick Colour analysis

I also wanted to include a quick note on the most worn colours. This table is a combo between the total wardrobe % and how much I wore that particular colour as a % of the total.

Colour% worn% wardrobe
Black31%25%
Blue23%21%
Multi12%8%
White6%8%
Pink5%7%
Grey5%6%
Green4%6%
Red4%5%
Beige3%4%
Purple2%3%
Stripes2%2%
Yellow2%1%
Metallic1%1%
Brown0.3%1%
Floral0.1%1%
Grand Total100%100%

Unsurprisingly, the most worn colour in my wardrobe is black, followed by blues (which includes navy), white, pinks and greys. Multi includes colour blocks where there is no dominant colour or mixes of colours. Again unsurprisingly, I have worn exactly one printed item this year (one floral dress), but I do love my stripes.

I think this is an accurate representation of how I felt about colours this year. Grey, pink and navy have definitely been my colours of the year, I just could not get enough of them, both in what I made and what I reached for in my wardrobe.

Wardrobe count – Top tips

So now that it’s all over, what are the main takeaways?

1| Make recording routine
Well, firstly, I am pretty chuffed with myself that I (mostly) managed to keep track of my outfits every day. Once I got into a rhythm, it became part of my daily routine and it really wasn’t that much of a chore. I just did it on the tube on my way to work on my phone, or as I was having my morning coffee in the office before I start my day.

2| Record on the go Whatever method you end up using, make sure you can do it on the go and quickly. I really liked Google Sheets app on my phone.

3| Data accuracy and consistency I definitely think that actually recording each day was probably 10-20% of the time I spent on this project. The rest was data cleaning, library maintenance and figuring out how to do the things I wanted to do in Excel. So make sure that you record each item in the exact same way, it will make life much easier in the long run. To the same point, decide on a sequence of how to call each item and stick to it. For example, I put the colour first then the type of item, then further descriptives. For example, black t-shirt v-neck (as I have other types of black t-shirts), or pink culottes (no need for other descriptives as I only have one pair of pink culottes). For handmade items, start with the colour, then pattern name if it has one, then item type, e.g. Navy Addison blouse or black Ida dress.

4| Tidy up and check back frequently I used to do monthly updates on the blog, so I had to go back at least once a month to tidy up my data, ensure that there were no duplicates and fill in my library as needed. The more data you have that needs sorting, the longer it will take.

Overall, prepare to be surprised at how many items you actually own and how little you actually wear them! I have been constantly donating, gifting and purging during this exercise and only adding very few items (through sewing), and yet I am very embarrassed that I recorded 31 pairs of shoes (and that’s only about half my shoes collection), not to mention the other categories… I feel a Marie Kondo moment coming on when I have some free time…

So now what? Will I continue this exercise? Yes, I really feel like I got into the habit and I have perfected the methodology so that it will take me even less time to manage going forward. Plus the geek in me really wants to compare this baseline year with next year, as I feel my style has consolidated further.


NEXT TIME: A deep dive into the results relating to my hand-made items, including my most worn item, most used patterns, sewing stats for the year and much more.


HAVE YOU EVER TRIED A WARDROBE COUNT? HOW MANY ITEMS DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE IN YOUR WARDROBE? HOW MANY OF THEM DO YOU THINK YOU WEAR REGULARLY? TELL ME IN COMMENTS.

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8 Comments

  1. Maimu
    5 October 2019 / 12:11 PM

    … I will not count my clothes… I will not! (though I really want to) I will just spare myself from the horrible truth and live vicariously trough you 😂

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 October 2019 / 12:19 PM

      Ha ha! I have quite an anal personality, so I do get a kick out of tracking every day, especially now that I cracked the spreadsheet so that it automated some things. But I am very troubled by the findings, this is not even all my stuff, I have done I haven’t worn at all, stashed in various places. I can’t imagine what I used to have before I stopped shopping. Must have been 300 items or more! 😱 I really want to do it for another year to see how it stacks up, now that I have a baseline. I might do it by seasons, and then purge everything I haven’t worn. And hopefully the total number will be lower next time.

  2. 5 October 2019 / 5:04 PM

    I loved this exercise. I already forgot what your actual total was. As I have been sewing my way through my make nine and wearing more and more memade j think I am ready for an exercise like this. Thanks for always trailblazing!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 October 2019 / 5:47 PM

      So glad you found it useful! Try the excel template, I found it easy to track and then analyse. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. 5 October 2019 / 8:21 PM

    This is fascinating Alex on so many levels, the first being the impressive commitment and discipline you have to record it all!! I think it would be a really sobering exercise for everyone to try even for just a month, I think we’d all be shocked about what we wear and what we store.

  4. 6 October 2019 / 4:13 PM

    I’ll preface this by saying that I doubt I’ll ever have the patience or staying power to try this…yet I love to read about it! You did brilliantly keeping it up!
    I’m fully aware that I need to make sure I wear more of my clothes as I keep reaching for the same items again and again (hangs head in shame).
    I loved reading how your wears were divided between memades and RTW. and interesting to not the slight casualisation of your style. By the way…loved seeing the outfit photos. Your style is fab!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      6 October 2019 / 4:27 PM

      Thanks Di! I’ll do a post soon with more learnings specific to the me-made part, I haven’t done the analysis yet, so very curious myself!

  5. 7 October 2019 / 4:41 PM

    Wow, has it been a year already? I am so happy that we are also similar in the wardrobe composition in terms of number of items (I feel way less bad now haha) and RTW vs self sewn – end of the day its all clothing so may as well wear it, right? And I’m not surprised that colourwise, floral was practically zero. Nice to see you staying true to your style roots!

So, what do you think?

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