Ok, I know that wardrobes aren't exactly science-talk, but hear me out - this is a minimization problem.
I've never had a lot of money to spend on clothing. I generally don't have a lot of closet space to devote to clothing. And I seem to travel and move around fairly often. I always thought these three conditions were what drove me towards a minimal wardrobe (i.e. a wardrobe that would keep me reasonably clothed while being as small as possible). I realized recently that there's another factor driving me towards this minimal wardrobe: I don't like to have to think too hard about what I wear each day. I don't want an entire department store worth of clothing and accessories to choose from each morning. I want a small, carefully selected number of items. I want my wardrobe to be small so I have fewer choices, and it's easier to get dressed in the morning.
Now, don't get me wrong. I like clothes. And accessories. And shoes. Especially shoes. I like to play around with outfits and looks sometimes, either in my own closet or in clothing stores. But for the everyday grind, I just want go-to outfits that are comfortable and make me feel and look good.
So, my minimization problem is this: what is the minimum amount of clothing a person can own and clothe themselves nicely for a year? That means they have enough clothing in quantity and style to wear for 1-2 typical weeks (time between laundry sessions), clothing for all seasons, and clothing to cover the usual special occasions.
First, I need to define some terms. What kinds of clothing do I need in 1-2 typical weeks? I need clothing for work, for weekends, for work-outs, and for sleeping. For work, I must have comfortable clothing - comfortable closed-toe shoes, outfits I can bend and move around in, some layers for buildings with poor climate control, and nothing that's going to dangle into the dangerous elements of my experiments. For weekends, I do a lot of walking, a lot of indoor and outdoor activities, so I need to be cute and comfortable. For work-outs, I sweat! I need good clothes to sweat in and do tough work-outs. For sleeping, I must have loose shorts and comfy tops. So there we go - my needs for 1-2 typical weeks.
Next, I need to define the typical special occasions. Let's see...We have weddings and funerals, job interviews and presentations. dressy parties and social outings. I also like to swim, ski, and hike. I think that covers the special occasions category for me.
So we have the requirements for typical 1-2 weeks, the usual special occasions. The requirements for four seasons varies by region, but I'd say appropriate shoes, coat, hat, scarf, gloves, light layers and short sleeves for summer, heavier layers including sweaters and long-sleeves for winter. Those seasonal requirements can be fairly universal. So here we go, my minimal wardrobe, below.
For work and weekends:
-1 pair Cute, comfy ballet flats
-1 pair of Dark, straight leg jeans
-1 pair of black pants
-7 casual tops for summer - camisoles, ribbed tanks, short-sleeved T's, graphic T's
-7 dressier tops for summer - dressier short-sleeved and sleeveless blouses
-7 casual tops for winter - long-sleeved t's
-7 dressier tops for winter - thick sweaters, thin sweaters, button downs, blouses
-scarf, hat, gloves
-14 pairs comfy, no show undies
-2-3 good bras (1 black, 1 nude)
-socks for ballet flats
-1 pair each of work-out pants: shorts, capris, and long
-1 short-sleeved and 1 long sleeved work-out shirt
-1 great sports bra
-1 pair of great socks
-If these items are the right fabrics, I can rinse them after each work-out and hang dry. If I want to be less gross, I could up the numbers to 3-5 of each item.
-2 pairs of loose fitting shorts
-2 comfy tank tops
-1-2 robes (preferably 1 light-weight for summer, 1 heavy-weight for winter)
For special occasions - dressy
-1 little black dress - sexy but classy
-1 pair of perfect heels
-1 non-black dress
-1-2 wraps/shrugs to go with dresses
-1 suit (can be black pants and blazer from work-wear)
For special occasions - sporty
-flip-flops, swimsuit, swim cover-up, sun hat
-can wear work-out tops for skiing and hiking
-ski boots, socks, thermals, pants, fleece, waterproof shell, gloves, helmet, muffler
-hiking boots, pants (can wear same socks, fleece, shell as for skiing)
There you have it, my minimal wardrobe. So, is this wardrobe what I own? Of course not. But a girl can have dreams, can't she?