Picking out your wardrobe essentials

There are various factors which will come into play when we are decided how many items of clothing we should have. Firstly, how often do you do your laundry? This may seem like a fairly futile question, however if you only do your washing once every fortnight or three weeks due to other commitments, then having a larger wardrobe may be a necessity. Likewise, how much space do you have? Although it might seem like a worthwhile investment buying four more jackets and pairs of jeans, because they were on sale, but if it is making your living situation uncomfortable, its safe to say it was a pointless endeavour.

A recent study discovered that the average man owns 56 different items of clothing, 62% of which he wears on a regular occasion. On the other hand, an average woman has 95 different garments but only wears 59% of that figure on a basis which you consider to be regular.

In order to help you get the whole palaver under control, we have compiled a variety of top tips in how to organise your wardrobe’s inhabitants.


Fifty different pairs of shoes clogging up your utility room is by no means a necessity — take a step back and think about what you need your shoes for, and exactly how often you wear each pair — the answer is more than likely, not very often! Three is the magic number in regard to this department.

  • One pair of trainers — For casual occasions or nights out when you don’t fancy dressing too smartly, a pair of trainers come in handy. Choose white or black so that they can be paired with lots of different looks.
  • One pair of smart shoes — These are great for work, interviews or more formal occasions. Leather is a good choice here as you can keep them shiny and clean and they’re less likely to tarnish in the weather as suede might.
  • One pair of boots — Again good to mix and match between formal and casual events, a good pair of boots can’t go wrong. For women, a black heeled ankle boot can be paired with many outfits including dresses and skirts and for men, you can’t go wrong with a Chelsea boots.


A good quality piece of outerwear is crucial in this area. If you have a sturdy jack that can take a bit of abuse from the elements when it throws it your way, between three and four is more than enough. To complete the look of any outfit, a good outer garment is key.

  • Two casual jackets — For the cooler months or daytime events, a casual jacket is an important one to have in the wardrobe. This could be a leather jacket for some protection from the rain or a denim jacket for the warmer days.
  • One blazer — A blazer is great to slip on for a job interview with a slim fit shirt, or skirt and blouse for example. Also great for a dressy night out when paired with more of an informal outfit. In order to limit your purchasing, buying a men’s suit can be the more financially viable option
  • One waterproof/warmer jacket — It’s always a good idea to have a waterproof or warmer jacket in your wardrobe for practicality. Choose a staple colour like black, navy or grey so that you can pair it with many outfits.


Tops, despite not always being on show, are vital if you’re going to complete the killer look — no one wants to see a jumper taken off to reveal an unmatching tee. In this section of your wardrobe, we’re firm believers between six and ten is plentiful. Of course, it depends on your employment, if you’re always at formal meetings and events your top collection will probably look different to someone who has a manual job.

  • Two tops for smart business wear— These are tops that you need to have in case of an unexpected business meeting or for an interview. It’s always a good idea to have at least two of these tops in in case you have multiple meetings with the same person or a follow-up interview.
  • Three casual tops — These are tops that you’d wear for heading out to lunch or local pub with your friends, or for visiting family on a weekend.
  • Two going out tops — Going out tops are a must-have for men and women to have in their wardrobe. For women this might be a glitzy blouse or cropped top and for a man it may be a good shirt, but not one that’s suitable for the office.

Tops are a fairly unique item in that their universal nature means they can be paired with other garments to dress the outfit up or down. For example, pairing your formal top with ripped jeans would create more of an informal look and a casual top with smart chinos could become a suitable office outfit.


Pants and skirts should account for between six and eight of the items in your wardrobe. This might depend on your preference though, if you prefer shorts or dresses in all climates then you’ll probably own less pants.

  • Three pairs of jeans — One denim expert recommended owning three pairs of jeans in her wardrobe and it makes sense! The first pair is “this year’s jeans” these are used for casual meetings, posh dinners and night time events. Then you have “last year’s jeans” these are what you would put on to run errands or head out for lunch. Finally, “the year before last year’s jeans” which are essential for housework or painting.
  • One pair of office-appropriate pants — For men this may be a smart pair of chinos and for women a pinstripe tailored trouser. Either way, it should be pants that are suitable for work and interviews.
  • Two pairs of pants for warmer weathers — The garments that sit in this category include skirts and shorts. Feel free to wear them at all times of the year, but they’re always a go-to when the sun is out.

Obviously, your needs will change throughout the year, that is simply natural. Picking up a new pair of shorts during the summer months, or a new scarf in the dark of winter, is totally acceptable, however with research suggesting the average person will only need 18 to 25 garments of clothing, it might be worth trying to shop with more of a universal approach.