I am devoting a large proportion of my January posts to wrapping up last year. It’s now time to take a look at some more statistics, this time my wardrobe “all-stars” for 2015. I have now been tracking my wardrobe for five years! Ever since the beginning of 2011, I’ve recorded how often I’ve worn the clothing and shoes in my closet. I mostly only track “out and about” clothing, but I’ve started tracking at least some of my at-home wardrobe as well. There is now more crossover between the two areas, as I’ve started wearing more of my “regular” clothes at home, especially the tops.
Each year, I’ve aimed to improve upon my stats from the previous year. Seeing that 2012’s numbers were just as abysmal as those from 2011 was what prompted me to start this blog in January 2013. In my initial goals for the blog, I set 8 times per year as my desired frequency of wear for most wardrobe items (with formal and special occasion wear as exceptions). I knew I wouldn’t reach that target overnight, so I aimed for 25% in the first year of the blog and 33% the second year. I ended up wearing 20% of my wardrobe at least 8 times during 2013 and slightly less than that (17%) in 2014.
Although I didn’t set a target percentage for wardrobe “all-stars” (those items that are worn 8+ times in a year) in 2015, I was hoping to improve upon my 2013 and 2014 numbers. In today’s post, we’ll see how I did with that endeavor. We’ll take a look at the clothes and shoes that I wore most often last year and what those items had in common. Later this week, we’ll look at the other side of the equation, my wardrobe “benchwarmers,” those pieces that I either didn’t wear at all or only wore once over the course of the entire year.
So how did I do? Not that great, actually. Although I made some excellent strides in improving my personal style and being more satisfied with the outfits I wore, I didn’t increase my percentage of wardrobe “all-stars.” I ended 2015 with the same percentage of all-stars as I had for 2014, 17%.
In total, I had 30 wardrobe “all-stars” in 2015. These items are broken down into the following categories (the 2014 numbers are included in parentheses as a point of comparison):
- Shirts: 8 (5)
- Casual Jackets: 5 (4)
- Cardigans: 3 (1)
- Pants: 2 (2)
- Jeans: 5 (3)
- Shoes: 7 (8)
The following categories included no wardrobe all-stars in 2015 (again, the 2014 numbers are in parentheses):
- Coats: 0 (2)
- Blazers: 0 (1)
- Skirts: 0 (2)
- Dresses: 0 (0)
Here’s a snapshot of all of my 2015 wardrobe all-stars:
Why Are My Numbers So Low?
You may be surprised to see that I had so few wardrobe all-stars last year and you may wonder why this is the case. I have to admit that I expected to see better numbers myself and felt a bit “deflated” as I was doing my calculations. But as I took some time to ponder the situation, I gained a better understanding as to why my all-star percentage did not improve last year. The three main reasons for my relatively low number of frequently worn clothes are:
- Illness – As I have mentioned in some of my previous posts, I continue to struggle with a number of health issues. This results in my having a large number of days when I don’t leave the house. While I’ve been trying to wear more of my standard wardrobe at home, I still like to dress fairly casual and comfortably in that setting, especially when I’m not feeling well. Consequently, my dressier and less relaxed clothes just don’t get worn all that often. And when it’s hot, I pretty much stick to lounge wear since I don’t have air conditioning and don’t want to have to wash my clothes every time I wear them.
- My Wardrobe is Still Fairly Large – Although I have pared my closet contents down by about half since starting the blog, I still have a relatively large wardrobe, especially for my lifestyle needs. I like having variety in what I wear, so I don’t think I will ever be a wardrobe minimalist a la Courtney Carver of Project 333. But if I want to achieve a yearly frequency of wear of 8 or more for most of my clothes, I will need to pare down quite a bit more.
- Buying Too Much – I have continued to do wardrobe culling over the past year, including in May via the “KonMari Process,” but I have also persisted in bringing a lot of new clothes into my closet. As I shared in last week’s 2015 accountability wrap-up, I added 70 new garments to my wardrobe last year. While 18 of those have already either been returned or purged (mostly because they were purchasing mistakes), the high in-flow of new pieces makes it a lot harder to achieve my goal of wearing things 8 times per year or more.
I will get to some conclusions and future goals at the end of this post. However, I wanted to explain my low all-star percentage off the bat because I knew it would be something many of you would be curious about.
A Closer Look – The Clothes
Let’s take a closer look at my 2015 all-stars. Here are the 23 garments that were worn at least eight times last year:
What do these items have in common? I think it’s always useful to look for patterns, as they can help to inform our future behavior in terms of shopping and wardrobe management. Here are the characteristics that I identified:
- Dark Colors: 5 of the items (22%) are black. While I don’t consider myself a “blackcident,” I do like to wear black a lot! Another two all-stars are navy, which is also a very dark color.
- Jewel Tones: 10 of my all-star garments (44%) are jewel tones such as cobalt, burgundy, green, purple, and turquoise. I have really honed my color palette and my favorite colors feature heavily among my most frequently worn items.
- Denim: There are 5 pairs of jeans among my all-stars. My lifestyle is very casual and when I’m wearing pants, more often than not they are jeans (unless it’s lounge or workout wear).
- Casual: Every single article of clothing in the photo above could be considered casual and most of these pieces can be worn at home as well.
- Knits: With the exception of the black parka and the jeans, all of my all-star items are knits, which is appropriate for my casual lifestyle and desire for comfort.
A Closer Look – The Shoes
Now let’s look at the shoes that I wore eight or more times last year:
I can see some common ground among my all-star shoes, too:
- Black: 6 of the 7 shoes are black (the 7th shoe is metallic).
- Flats or Low Heels: All of the shoes have a 2-inch or lower heel.
- Comfortable: I have very “fussy” feet, so all of my all-star shoes are very comfortable to wear and I can walk in them for fairly long periods of time. My walking shoes, shown at the bottom right in the picture above, were my most worn pair of shoes. I don’t track how often I wear them, but it’s almost every day!
- Black boots: I have three pairs of black boots that are quite similar (the third pair is new as of December and was bought as a replacement for the first pair of boots shown above). The two pairs shown above were worn 61 and 11 times respectively last year. Clearly, black boots are staple shoes for me.
While I know I will continue to love and wear black shoes this year, I would like to broaden my horizons a bit. I don’t plan to purchase too many new pairs of shoes, but it would be nice to add a little color and pattern to the mix. I’m not sure if I am up for the colorful shoes that Bridgette Raes frequently recommends, but I could see adding a burgundy pair and a black and white print.
The “Ultra All-Stars”
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at my most worn items from last year, those pieces that I wore 12 or more times. Just for grins, let’s call these the “ultra all-stars.” There were 15 items that fit that description in 2015:
As you can see, it’s all pretty dark – lots of black, with a few bright colors thrown in. Mind you, I haven’t been tracking my workout tees and pants. However, I’m sure virtually all of them would fall into this “ultra all-star” category (and many of the tops are quite colorful).
Here’s how often I wore the items pictured above, from most to least worn:
- Black Vionics walking shoes: Worn 100+ times (didn’t track, but I have worn the shoes almost every day since I bought them in June)
- Black Eddie Bauer parka with grey lining: 75 times
- Navy Eddie Bauer cotton tie-back jacket: 68 times (I’ve had this jacket since 2009)
- Navy Eddie Bauer long fleece jacket: 64 times (I often wear this jacket at home)
- Short black Clark’s boots: 61 times (I recently got a replacement pair, as these are wearing out)
- Green Patagonia sweater jacket: 53 times
- Burgundy Eddie Bauer fleece jacket: 41 times
- Eddie Bauer boyfriend jeans: 33 times
- Black Eddie Bauer Lily pants: 24 times (mostly worn at home and on walks)
- Purple print short-sleeved Henley: 23 times (mostly worn at home and on walks)
- Blue print short-sleeved Henley: 21 times (mostly worn at home and on walks)
- Black Taos wedge sandals: 21 times
- Silver Ecco flat sandals: 18 times
- Black Ecco flat sandals: 16 times
- Lucky Sofia Straight jeans: 14 times
Six of the items on the list above were also “ultra all-stars” last year:
I’m happy that I’m wearing at least some of my closet pieces on a regular basis, but I hope to expand upon this “ultra all-star” group this year! I had 13 items in this category for 2014 (see the last all-star wrap-up post), so I improved a bit, but it would be great if I could double my number this year.
What Got Worn 5 Times or More?
When I first started identifying wardrobe all-stars back in 2011, I defined them as items that were worn just four times or more during that year. At the time, I had a very large wardrobe and there weren’t many pieces in my closet being worn even that often. In 2013, I decided to raise the bar a notch higher to five times per year.
Using my 2013 criterion, my all-star grouping expands considerably, to 51 items. This is close to one-third of my wardrobe (I will be posting another closet inventory soon, but it hasn’t changed much from my last one). Here’s a bird’s eye view of the 51 items that got worn at least five times last year:
It’s definitely a more colorful picture, with cobalt, burgundy, purple, green, and turquoise sharing the stage with my beloved black. There are also some prints represented in the mix, mostly stripes (no big surprise there…), but also a few other types of patterns. I tend to prefer more subtle clothing, so there’s nothing too “loud” in this group. I’m much more likely to wear bright colors than busy prints.
Lessons from the Analysis
I shared a lot of numbers and photos above, but I don’t want to close out this post until I glean some lessons from it all. I would definitely like my number of wardrobe “all-stars” to go up. I think I’m starting the year off on a good note, as I have been wearing a lot of my “out and about” clothes at home. I’m mostly wearing my standard wardrobe tops with loungewear pants, but I have more tops than anything else anyway. Here’s what else I need to do if I want to have better frequency of wear numbers for 2016:
- Buy less overall (of course, this is easier said than done!).
- When I do buy new clothes, focus on pieces that I can wear at home and for my casual lifestyle activities.
- Purge any wardrobe items that I don’t feel compelled to wear. Of course, we all have some pieces that we love but don’t have the occasion to wear very often. But if I find that I could wear an item but virtually never reach for it, it’s probably time to pass it on.
- Continue with the spirit of my LIWI Challenge (I will post a wrap-up on this challenge next week) by wearing what I love most and not saving clothes “for good.”
- Get out and about more often so I can get more wear out of my clothes that aren’t really suitable for at-home wear. Of course, this requires that I be healthier, but let’s just put that positive intention out there!
Goals for 2016
I know I will probably never wear all of my clothes 8 times or more per year and that’s okay with me. I don’t need to be perfect in this regard, but I would like to improve upon the numbers I shared in this post. If I still have some items that I truly love that only get worn a few times per year, so be it. I just don’t want that category to represent such a large proportion of my wardrobe.
Here’s what I’d like to see happen for 2016:
- Wear 2/3 of my clothes and shoes 5 or more times this year.
- Wear 1/3 of my clothes and shoes (a sub-section of the group above) 8 or more times over the course of this year.
- Aim for at least 30 “ultra all-stars” (items worn 12+ times), double my number from 2015.
Basically, I’m looking to double my statistics from last year, which is a pretty ambitious goal. I may not make it, but it is something good to reach for and I find it motivating. Having this goal will also push me to let go of some of the wardrobe “benchwarmers” that are hindering my progress. But that is a subject for another post… my next one, in fact. You may be wondering how many “benchwarmers” I had last year, but I’m going to keep the suspense going a bit longer. Did I do better than I did in 2014? And what am I going to do with that wardrobe “dead weight”? Stay tuned for my next post, to go live later this week.
Now it’s time for you to chime in, about my wardrobe “all-stars” or your own. I know that most of you don’t track your clothes to the exacting degree that I do (read about what I do in this post), but that doesn’t mean you can’t determine your own closet “MVPs.” I’m sure that if you spend a few minutes looking at your clothes, shoes, and accessories, you’ll be able to pinpoint the ones you wear most often. It may be helpful for you to make a few notes and jot down the common features you notice among these items. You may learn some things about what you do and don’t wear and why.
If you’d like to share what you learn about your wardrobe – or comment on mine, feel free to do so in the comments section. If you notice any patterns among my all-stars that have escaped my notice, or if you have any suggestions for how I might better approach my wardrobe in 2016, let me know. You may even spark a future post, as I get some of my best topics from reader comments. I wish you all an abundance of wardrobe “all-stars” this year!