As part of the now semi-occasionally appearing series The Trailer Project
I am trying to consider everything I own in the context of being able to live in a 13' x 16', 65 sq foot trailer. Last time we considered dishes and cooking
. This post, we are considering clothing.
Again, I start with the question: What do I need?
Clothing is one of those things that is wildly variable from individual to individual. It depends on a host factors: what you do for a living, what you do for pleasure, where you live (and what the seasons are), and how much space you have. Depending on your answer to these is your answer to how many clothes you "need".
So, for the test case I will pick on myself.
I live in a climate that has two seasons: Winter (mid-30's F to upper 50's F with dips into the 20's) and Summer (90-100 F plus) bracketed by two weeks on either side we like to call "Spring" and "Autumn" (they are almost that short). My current work environment allows business casual (jeans or khakis with a short sleeved collared shirt and tasteful t-shirts on Fridays). I very occasionally have to dress up (long sleeved shirt and tie or suit). So, given where I live, what do I need?
This question actually stems from a weekend cleaning project, where I went through all my shirts and pants to check and see if I had any I could get rid of. I did - but that still left me with well over 50 shirts, 15 pairs of jeans and khakis, 4 pairs of shorts, 1 suit, 3 blazers, 1 kilt, and 2 kimonos. And the accompanying socks, underwear, and t-shirts. And assorted costume accoutrement.
So what do I really need?
Pants: I could get by (if I had two with perhaps 3 pairs of jeans, 2 khakis, 2 pairs of "work" jeans, and slacks (the fact I have more now is just a lucky Neighborhood Google list find; I should have pants for the next 10 years). That would cover business casual, casual, and semi-formal.
Shirts: Maybe 8 short sleeved collar shirts, 2 long sleeved formal, 2 long sleeved flannel (Oh, how I love flannel in the cold!) and no more than 5 t-shirts. Really. I have too many t-shirts that have some how picked up sentimental value.
Shorts: I would still go with 4 pair, including two athletic sets. That allows me to separate my running and work-out clothes and extends the life of each.
T-shirts/Underwear/Socks - Here, I will take all I can get. They wear out rather quickly unless you rotate them regularly.
Other items: 1 blazer to be sure (I have an Irish Tweed Jacket, so that is the one). One cold weather jacket (mine is a 1960's French Soldier's Great Coat) and a lighter jacket. The kilt, of course. And the kimonos.
Shoes: Again, dictated by work: I have 2 pairs of boots and 1 pair of dress shoes, which allows me to rotate them to preserve the life. I splurged and bought 2 pairs of sneakers plus 1 for working out, but I could make do with less. And 1 pair of hiking or work boots for working or walking outside while keeping the life of the others.
(You will notice I have specifically excluded a suit. At this time in my life, a suit may be only for going to weddings and funerals in and being buried in. I would rather wear the kilt anyway).
As I write this, I realize (rather unexpectedly) that by having more, it allows me to make them last longer. Which is maybe an argument for more - but I am not sure on that. More means more space and more money (and replacement clothes of passable quality can be had for cheap).
These are all subject to change based on where I live and what I do, of course: more physical labor, downsize the business casual and up the work clothes. Living in a colder environment, more long sleeve and less short sleeve. And so on - your mileage may be vary.
I do not know that this would get me into the one closet and one drawer limit I would have to set on myself (although given my current arrangements, I think it might). What this exercise has made me do - in sorting this last weekend and now in writing - is make me question everything that I am holding on to, and why I am holding on to.
Someone once suggested that at the beginning of the year, one rotates all the hangers to the other side of the closet rack and as the item is worn, you turn it around - thus, by the end of the year you discover what you actually are wearing and what you are just holding on to.
Not a bad practice for man that has almost two months worth of shirts...