How much clothes do you really need?


How much time do you spend trying to decide which color/pattern shirt to wear to a function?

This evening I meet up with my friends for dinner at a fancy restaurant. I have identified what pants I’m wearing. I’ll go with the dark blue, slim fit denim pants. Pairing that with my low cut, black and red sneaker. Now comes my biggest challenge: which of the shirts should I choose?

It is really stressful trying to pick a shirt at times. So it’s getting late and you have to just close your eyes and take one. You then start to second guess whether or not you really made the right choice. One may even start to feel less good looking and have a reduced self-worth because of the choice made. You become so self-aware to the point that you lose focus on what’s going on around you. “Is the color the right one?”, “Are the patterns appropriate?” “I think I should have worn the other blue shirt.” This is stressing!

Of course, if you’re like Steve Harvey, where you have your own personal stylist, then it’s quite fine. The decision rests with them. Job done! For the rest of us, we have to grapple with the “paradox of choice.” Imagine having five blue shirts. Each having it’s own uniqueness. Eeni meeni my-nee mo?

…the less you have, the easier it is to get dressed.” 

I came across this statement while reading Mr. Alfred Tong’s article – How to Streamline Your Wardrobe. I thought it quite simple, practical and profound. Further to, that Ray Smith shares in his article – A Closet Filled With Regret, “Only about 20% of clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis…” While this may be more true for females, the modern man is fast approaching this average. Men tend to have far more shirts than they really need.


The idea that more options is good for us is a fallacy. Try going to a supermarket to buy bottled water. How can a simple task be so taxing and time consuming? It is harassing to be seeing so many options all at the same time in the same place. The market space tells us we need to have more choices. But psychologists actually say that an over abundance of choice leads to indecisiveness and anxiety. Stuart Jeffries in his article – Why too much choice is stressing us outquotes the psychologist Renata Salecl as saying, “When people are overwhelmed by choice and when they are anxious about it, they often turn to denial, ignorance and willful blindness.” So, before you purchase that next item of clothing, think about the following.

1. How much clothes do you really have?


When was the last time you did an audit on all the garments you own? You really should sort your clothes. Organize according to events in your monthly schedule. With that done, you’ll get a good picture of what you have and what you probably need.

2. Your Routine


What do you do on a regular basis? Work. Gym. Church. Date? What’s in your routine will dictate the type of clothes you have and purchase. A gentleman needs some structure to his life. Get out that diary. Plan for events. Arrange your closet accordingly.

3. Throw out or Donate


There comes a time when you have to clear out some of those clothes you have not been wearing in months or years even. Part with clothes you haven’t worn in over two years. Be ruthless! Never mind the sentimental attachment. It’s only taking up valuable closet space. Either throw them out or donate them,

4. Buy as you have a need

Don’t always buy on a whim or fancy. With a knowledge of what your routine is like, you’re better able to see what’s needed for your closet. Should you get something fresh for an upcoming event? You really only need to buy what you need. Mix and match. Recycle. Acessorize. Layer. Do this and they’ll think you have a large closet. If you’re affluent enough to not repeat outfits, then kudos to you.

5. Invest in quality pieces

Florshiem Rockit Chukka 

 An inexpensive, poorly made, stylish item of clothing will cost you more than you bargain for. It won’t last. Pretty soon you may have to go shopping again as it’s completely ruined. Quality pieces may cost more but think about the superior product that you’re getting. You’ll get a lot more out of a durable item. This is especially true of shoes and belts gentlemen.
Be sensible with your dollars and cents, whether you’re an investment banker or a teacher.

But hey, “style is personal.” Do you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s