The 30 piece wardrobe – is it feasible?

posted in: Organisation | 14

I wondered if it were possible to create a wardrobe with just 30 items, especially in a wet and chilly environment.

I have chosen a sub-set of my existing wardrobe to meet the criteria – just 30 items including shoes and bags, suitable for all UK seasons, for work and weekends. I included some of my newer SWAP items as they haven’t had much wear yet, but I am confident they would stand the test.

14 tops

I chose to go for seven jackets or formal tops, and seven T shirts and cardigans.

Of the five jackets four are hand made – the second navy, and pink, jackets are from this year’s SWAP. The navy padded down jacket on the far left is from Uniqlo. On cold days this will happily sit under the woolen jackets, but is nice on its own with all the bottoms. The turquoise and white overblouses are my Nina Ricci SWAP 2015 tops.

Fabrickated Wardrobe
7 Jackets and formal tops

Here I have two blouses – one in white linen (SWAP 2014), the other a formal pink blouse; three T shirts – navy, pink and yellow; and two cashmere cardigans in turquoise and grey

7 T shirts and cardigans
7 T shirts and cardigans

7 bottoms

I included one pair of jeans, and six skirts.  The jeans and the yellow leather skirt are RTW. The light blue is from SWAP 2014 and the two pink skirts are from SWAP 2015

Fabrickated Wardrobe
Seven bottoms

4 dresses

I have four hand made dresses – three from SWAP 2015, and one from SWAP 2014. The set includes a “LBD” (dino-dress), a summer dress (peony dress) and two work dresses which can be dressed up or down.

Fabrickated wardrobe
Four dresses

1 coat and 1 bag

I am ashamed of this coat, but it is the one I wear to protect me from snow and rain and it is practical and warm. It works with jeans and a T shirt in summer, and as a final layer over jumpers and jackets in winter with a hat, scarf and gloves. It is not very beautiful. The rucksack is a new addition. It is smaller than my big red hiking bag, but it’s still very practical (now that I am Kondoing).

Bag and coat
Bag and coat

3 pairs of shoes

I chose three pairs of shoes I wear quite a lot, so they will not last forever if I only wear thee three. But they will go with all the outfits I have chosen.

Fabrickated wardrobe
Three pairs of shoes

Now I have selected a 30-piece basic wardrobe together would I really be happy to wear it for a whole year. Nothing else?

Yes!  I really think I could. It would be a relief to some extent.

Cutting down to 30 items does feel a bit like Desert Island Discs, so hopefully I could also include

  • four or five scarves
  • a pair of brown leather gloves
  • a cerise cashmere hat
  • tights in blue, brown and clear
  • half a dozen belts
  • stud earrings and three silver necklaces
  • sports outfit – shorts, sports bra top, trainers and socks

Of course it is not just about numbers it is also about lifestyle and climate. This wardrobe suits my need for formal but not over corporate working wardrobe, weekend casual and the occasional dressy evening event. The colours are quite diverse – blue, pinky red, yellow and turquoise with dark brown, navy, white and grey as neutrals – providing me with lots of variety. Some capsule wardrobes are based on only two colours and one neutral, but 30 items allows more choice.

Do you think you could last a year with just 30 items? Plus the complete works of Shakespeare?


14 Responses

  1. Gail

    30 pieces a season would suit me better. And 3 pairs of shoes?! You have some great pieces in your 30 pieces that would give you plenty of choice and lively colour combinations.

  2. Bunny

    My climate requires a bit more outer and foot wear and is more seasonal. Things we wear in the winter here would never work in our summers. But for basics, thirty would work for me although I would have different ratios, not needing the corporate wardrobe.

  3. Caroline

    I think 30 pieces would be ideal from a practical point of view, but I would quickly miss the variety – especially in my outerwear. Having said that I’ve lived more or less out of a suitcase for much of the last two years and noticed that I don’t wear a lot of the clothes in the case – the Ts are too tight, jeans too saggy. Interesting to think about – would my life be easier and simpler if I whittled it down to the most functional, most pleasing items?

  4. Susan

    What a concept………..I suppose I could since I am no longer working but then I ‘go mad’ and like to wear very different things so I guess I would have to say no…and yes, we need different boots for up north, snow/mud/rain, FUN!

  5. Sox

    Like Gail, thirty a season might work. Here we have four distinct seasons (some would say six) and the temperatures vary from -35/40C to + 35C; what works at one end of that spectrum will not work at the other.

  6. Chris

    Good job! That looks very do-able and it’s a nice combination…

    I wanted to try the “30 items wardrobe” so I counted the clothes in my closet and there were only 22 hanging, plus I have about 10 items folded on shelves, so I was already there. It helps that I live in So. Calif, so the climate does not vary as much as some places and also I have a very casual-dress job, so I pretty much wear the same wardrobe for everything. However, I definitely need refining. I don’t like all my clothes, some are too worn, and I need some nicer stuff, too. (I don’t count accessories or shoes, but that’s just me.)

  7. rosemary

    I wear mostly casual clothes but I like a lot of tops, not many bottoms. Dressy don’t need much. If every thing was in good condition and fit well I could do with less.

  8. Stephanie

    Looking at your wardrobe I see the gaps in mine, notably jackets and cool dresses! I like this though; I think I could do it. In practice, actually, I usually have few garments in rotation. Every now and then though I need to inject a piece I haven’t been wearing, to change things up, to feel different. And like the others from extreme climates I need some different items. I especially like varying my coats. Shoes though, surprisingly, are something I could limit to a few pairs plus boots for snow and sleet or rain.

  9. Joyce Latham

    This is so interesting. I am excited to hear how the year goes. Seems you feel confident in your choices. We will see what happens.
    I’m still working on the basics….I don’t even have that, and if I did I’m sure life would be less frustrating.
    Keep us posted kate….fingers crossed, I hope it works out for you!

    • fabrickated

      I didn’t mean to give the impression that I would wear these outfits and nothing else, Joyce. I was just considering the concept. I have at least a further 30 items in my actual wardrobe, and I do enjoy having a bit more choice. But theoretically if I was in a smaller flat or travelling this sort of wardrobe would be feasible for me. I think it is something I might try for real when I retire. But then it would be a different wardrobe – much more casual and outdoorsy I think.

  10. Kerri

    I’ve thought a lot about this concept, but haven’t managed to put it into action as you have done. I try, but then fashion-creep happens and before I know it I have stocked up again with the latest this or that. As much as I adore fashion, I sometimes wish I could simplify with a basic black slacks/skirt with a black turtleneck or crisp white blouse for every occasion. Maybe some day… but more it will happen in my final appearance. 🙂

  11. Lesley

    I’ve been reading Wendy Mak’s posts since you mentioned her recently.min one youtube video she goes through her perfect wardrobe. I like the concept but hers is seriously boring and predictable. I love to look a bit theatrical occasionally, and her capsule would never do that.
    So in short, no to a 30 piece capsule (I wear different shoes sometimes 3 times a day, no matter what else happens I need footwear choices) and Shakespeare would have to move over for our Tim Winton, though I do need to buy Richard Flannigan’s Booker prize winning novel too!

  12. Joyce Latham

    Oh, ok, thanks for clearing that up for me. I think I might get bored with the same over and over for a year …. But I would like to have more basics , a stronger foundation to begin with. Good luck with your planning.

  13. Anne

    A useful exercise. I might have a go. I don’t need business clothes any more – my wardrobe would have more trousers and golf gear. It would be most useful for my youngest daughter who lives in a tiny flat in London.

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