Paring Down Your Wardrobe to 24 pieces: Can You Do It?

Paring Down Your Wardrobe
Photo courtesy of HGTV

Are you in the process of paring down your wardrobe?  If there is one request that I hear most often with my clients getting their closets down to a manageable level.  Many of these clients dream about the idea of what most of them refer to as a “European closet” with a few choice items of value that they can wear more often.

Paring down your wardrobe
Photo courtesy of

This way of dressing is the complete opposite to how most American women dress or manage their wardrobe.  For most of us, our closets are overflowing with a bloated mish-mosh of clothes with tags still attached and pieces that have long been forgotten about.  There is nothing attractive about a closet of this nature.  For most, it causes overwhelm, panic, frustration and extreme dissatisfaction.  Yet, what makes me laugh this manner of hoarding is that, usually, a client has a small section of the closet or a tiny pile of clothes that they’re actually wearing.  This client is dressing the way they crave to dress– in the European, less is more, way without even realizing it.  So, why can’t they just let go of all the other stuff that is burdening their closet and minds? Often, after I clear out the gunk from a client’s closet, I get a follow up email or phone from them stating  that because I removed so much of their wardrobe they have nothing left to wear.  When I challenge my clients by asking them when was the last time they wore any of the stuff we got rid of, most can’t remember a time that they actually wore any of these eliminated pieces.  In the end, my justified response to them is: “I didn’t get rid of your clothes, I got rid of your false sense of security.”

Paring Down Your Wardrobe to 24 Pieces

paring down your wardrobe
Photo courtesy of

There was an article in the Telegraph today about a woman’s desire to create a capsule wardrobe of just 24 pieces that she can mix-and-match.  By doing this she realized that the pieces she would need to buy would have to be more classic as, obviously, the less novelty the more possibility for outfit-mixing.  What I liked about this article is that it went on to talk about the dilemma that simple dressing can create– a boring stagnant of too much simplicity and the risk of looking like everyone else with a simple pair of jeans, a crisp white shirt, a little black dress or a blazer, for example.  Therefore, in regards to a simple capsule of pieces, the goal is not to sacrifice personality or flair when you pare down, but to find those pieces that play a basic role in a novelty manner and choose pieces that are YOUR core pieces.

It may surprise many of you to know that I have an EXTREMELY small wardrobe.  I live in a small apartment, I need to share a closet with my husband who wears suits daily and I’ve not had the budget to go crazy with my clothes spending.  I’ve had no choice but to streamline.  Yet, what has never been sacrificed in my own sense of style or excitement.   Yes, sometimes I get a bit bored of wearing something over and over, but when that happens I just know it is time to trade out one piece for something that replaces the piece I’ve grown weary of.

paring down your wardrobe

So, here is a challenge for all of you.  Can you trim your wardrobe down to just 24 pieces?  And, if so, what would those 24 items be?  List them as a reply.


  • wendy

    I look for articles like this all the time to help me reduce my wardrobe to a desirable number. 24 sounds very reasonable and I’m slowly getting there. Right now my entire wardrobe consists of 100 items including shoes, bags and all other accessories. It’s a far cry from 24 and I can certainly reduce more in time. But the question is if I had to, my choices would be the following:

    1) Black velvet blazer, 2) Grey herringbone boyfriend blazer 3) Mid-length brown wool coat 4) brown suede ankle boots 5) black lace up leather boots 6) charcoal cashmere sweater 7) oversized creme cashmere cardigan 8) red knit vest 9) black 3/4 sleeve loose cotton top 10) boyfriend jeans 11)black skinny jeans 12)python ballet flats 13) black sandals 14) floral dress 15) baggy tailored shorts 16)stripe leggings 17) creme roll-sleeve t-shirt 18) kelly green linen t-shirt 19) army green pencil skirt 20) light brown baggy wool pants 21) breton shirt 22) black leather slouchy bag 23) vintage brown belt 24) one gold pendant necklace

    Hope this post is not too long. Sorry!

  • Pingback: 1 garment + x others = a capsule wardrobe | Working mom style advice - The Closet Coach()

  • Colette

    Hi Bridgette. I’m curious. Why the number 24? Is that how small your wardrobe is or is that the magic mathematical number that can create multiple outfit combinations without us looking like we only have 24? I noticed purses and scarves in the picture. Do the 24 also include accessories or just clothes and shoes? The title of this post made me want to challenge myself. Then I saw the picture and realized those are ONLY 24 items! I became hesitant. :/

    • Colette

      Sorry for the previous comment. I just realized I had forgotten to read the article. For some reason this post shows that I’m the only one that commented, but while reloading the page, I caught a glimpse of other comments.

  • another guest

    NB: It’s “paring” not “pairing” when reducing something.

    • When I got your comment I panicked and looked for the typo. I couldn’t find one place I used “pairing” instead of “paring”.

      • Alina

        It’s in your title.

        • Alina

          Oops. Nevermind:)