If you have read the post on my expenses, you would have noticed “wardrobe” expenses conspicuously missing. I quietly shoved them into the miscellaneous expenses. Still, a few people noticed and asked me — “what about your clothing, shoes etc expenses”. Well, I am not much of a shopper and after the brush with minimalism, the desire to buy more clothes has vanished into oblivion.
As you probably already know, once or twice a year, we do a clean-up of all the things we own. We go through everything and donate, recycle or throw away anything that was not used in the last 6 months. We started this clean-up process some 3 years ago, just before my early retirement. Before our clean-up we certainly had a whole lot of clothes, some of which we rarely used.
No more buying
Since we had far too many clothes, we decided to go on a apparel diet. We donated the clothes that we rarely wore or did not suit our tastes anymore. After 2017, I don’t remember us buying any clothes. A couple of clothes were gifted by family which we tried to explain them not to do. Since the kid is the apple of everyone’s eye, she gets a few more clothes than us, in spite of us vehemently pleading them not to :).
Same is the case with footwear. Why fill the cabinet with things that we rarely get to use, for the sake of vanity? My daughter still has a whole lot of shoes, again because of gifts.
After having retired, I did not need any more fancy clothes. So I decided to go big on super casual wear. In fact the last 6 months at work you would always notice me in track pants and worn-out t-shirt at work. I did not care. Even today that continues. My daily wear consists of 8 pants and 12 shirts. These are all the old clothes that I have been wearing for too long and have faded.
When ever I am out shopping, picking someone from the airport or railway station or for any local trips for family, I am in my shabby clothes. For events where I need to look a little less shabby, I have 8 jeans and 12 decent shirts. The numbers are coincidental and not planned. Just happen to have a 2:3 ratio of pants and shirts.
In addition, I have a couple of sweatshirts for the winter or for those days when I am travelling to cold places. Other than that I have one pair of shoes, one pair of sandals and one pair of flip-flops. My better half has similar count of clothes and foot wear too.
When do I buy?
My plan is to buy new clothes only when the number of shirts or pants in either group falls below 7 and 10 respectively. Similarly, new shoes are warranted only when one of the 3 pairs goes out of service. None of the birthdays, festivals or any other special occasions call for a new dress. We just use simple casual wear. My spouse does the same.
For our kid, we don’t buy a new dress for birthday or other occasions. We buy when she asks. And like I said, most of the times someone gifts her something all the time. In facts she liked one particular dress so much that she wore the same dress for 3 birthdays :). And for the last birthday, she created her own by cutting off a piece of a nice dress and calling it her new birthday dress.
Since neither of us are working and we don’t have a lot of social interactions, this works out well for us. Especially during these COVID times, I have almost exclusively used casual wear since 6 months. One of the best part about minimalism in clothing and footwear is that I don’t have to think at all. I just pick up the first available pant and shirt from the hanger and done. If I have to go out, I need to spend some time matching jeans with shirts. So I am wondering if I should go the Steve Jobs way of having only one color and type of shirt and jeans. This will reduce the cognitive load even further.