My wardrobe is not large; it's only five suits, five odd jackets, two safari jackets, seven pairs of odd trousers, and six pairs of shoes or boots. You would think with a wardrobe so compact, it'd be easy to understand the outlines (how many pieces for each season, color balance etc.) and instinctually guide your purchases based on that understanding.
While this may be possible for some, it has not been my experience so far. I've rather more been like a crow chasing the shiniest new thing that caught my eye. With my wardrobe more or less in hibernation, now seemed like the moment to right the course.
"Is that an ancient madder tie? I need it."
To do this I conducted an inventory of my wardrobe, noting the color, season, make, cost, and date of purchase for each piece in an Excel spreadsheet, seen below. Some trends immediately emerged.
Three out of five of my suits are three-season, with one spring/summer and one fall/winter suit. I think this is optimal distribution for my suits. The colors are likewise fairly balanced, two charcoal, one blue, one navy, and one light gray.
My odd jackets however, have a distinct seasonal imbalance: all five are fall/winter. I wear safari jackets as a sport coat substitute, so my two safari jackets do give me something to wear in warmer months, but I obviously need to acquire summer weight jackets. Also glaringly absent is a navy sport coat of any kind. Clearly some work to be done on this front.
My trousers collection is also lacking in spring/summer options; only one of seven pairs are in a summer fabric. The one other noticeable gap is my lack of a pair of mid-gray or charcoal trousers, or maybe even two pairs, one in worsted wool and the other in flannel. Luckily, I have one worsted pair from Yeossal in production at the moment, so this gap will be partially filled soon. Three of my trousers are fairly low-rise, so I'll look to replace them also.
That only leaves my shoes. The first thing I noticed was the relative age, an average of two years, almost twice as old as the other categories of my wardrobe. I think there are two reasons for this: one, I made comparatively better shoes purchases early on and two, since I don't post photos of my shoe collection, I feel less pressure to buy new shoes. Nonetheless, there are some shoes I could add to have a more well-rounded collection. I think a Balmoral boot would be particularly useful. I'd like some brown suede chukkas for casual wear, and I think an austerity brogue and a pair of Norwegian split-toes would be a fun additions. Outside that, any purchases are likely to be upgrades of shoes already in rotation.
Where to from here? Following my own advice, I've created a draft list of pieces that I think I should add to my wardrobe and will do my best to only buy items on the list.
I'm not completely confident in my list though, so if you've looked through my inventory above and disagree with the list below, I'd love to hear from you.
In no particular order, here's the list:
Navy single-breasted (or three-piece) in worsted wool
Dark brown F/W
Light brown S/S
Navy double breasted
PoW, possibly double-breasted
Solaro, possibly in a greenish tint
Natural or tobacco linen
Navy three season (hopsack)
Light brown S/S
Dark blue patterned S/S
Cream or white summer weight
Light brown flannel
Tobacco/mustard in both S/S and F/W
Mid-gray worsted wool
Navy brushed cotton or other summer
Norwegian split toes
Dark brown Balmoral boots
Medium brown suede semi-brogue oxfords
Brown suede chukka boots
I'm sure I'm missing something (the odd jackets sections seems particularly uninspired) or included pieces some of you will find superfluous. If that's the case I want to hear your thoughts as I'm sure the list could be improved!
Thanks again for reading. I hope my recounting of this inventory and the logic behind it can help you get control of your closet too. If you're interested in trying it out for yourself, a version of my spreadsheet can be found here. I recommend you use, it if only to spare yourself the headache of figuring out the formulas for the age of your pieces.