AMY’S RADICAL CLOSET REFASHION PART IX
At last, I’m ready to unveil the HARD FACTS of my recent wardrobe inventory.
First, let’s have a quick recap of why on earth I decided to count my clothes anyway. It all started with my PhD research into homemade clothes, which involved me looking at the number of items we own, and why we keep garments we don’t wear.
As I wrote in my second post
“Research for a recent report by British recycling organisation WRAP called Valuing Our Clothes found that the average number of clothing items owned by adults in the UK (including underwear) is 115. Meanwhile, social anthropologist Sophie Woodward, in her excellent book Why Women Wear What They Wear, inventoried the wardrobes of 27 women. She counted a total number of items (not including underwear, this time) ranging from just 35 to a whopping 182, and the average total was 98 items…”
Having found these figures, I was keen to make an inventory of my own heaving wardrobe. I was pretty sure I’d beat that maximum of 182 items.
So, over Christmas, I bit the bullet and counted the contents of my wardrobe. With a house move imminent, I took the opportunity to also have a good sort out —so here are both ‘before’ and ‘after’ figures!
Without further ado:
KNITWEAR (cardigans, jumpers, fine knits) 59 »> 49
TOPS (t-shirts, vests, sweatshirts, blouses and other tops) 189 »> 120
BOTTOMS (trousers, skirts, shorts) 37 »> 21
DRESSES 45 »> 44
UNDERWEAR (including hosiery) 159 »> 153
HOMEWEAR (and sportswear) 35 »> 28
COATS & JACKETS 31 »> 28
In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll mention that I also counted my shoes (52 »> 35); that I haven’t yet considered accessories — scarves and such; and that, in the move, I discovered yet another bag of tights that I haven’t dared open!
So - that gives a grand total (including underwear) of:
607 ITEMS »> 465 ITEMS
Even after the sort out, that’s an impressive four times the WRAP figure of 115 items. (However, I’m a bit dubious about that figure, as it’s based on asking people to estimate their wardrobe - a tricky task!)
If we strip out underwear, my post-sort-out total is still 312 items — way above that maximum figure of 182.
Whichever way you split it, I think it’s fair to say, I have a lot of clothes. This is pretty much down to hoarding, rather than rampant purchasing— I reckon I acquire a new item once every month or so nowadays.
I do like to hold on to things, though I found the sort-out - which resulted in a total reduction of 25% - rather cathartic! And I think I can go further — having started to look critically at what I have, and what I wear, I think there’s more to do. Interestingly, standing back and looking at what I have has also highlighted the gaps (yes, incredibly there are some) - spaces where having just the right item would help me to wear more of what I already have. More on that in the next installment…
- Amy Twigger Holroyd
One-woman British fashion disruption engine Amy Twigger Holroyd is completing her PhD on folk fashion, while conducting stitch-hacking workshops, developing the practise and philosophy of reknitting, and producing fantastically restructured garments under her label Keep & Share. Read (and shop) more here.