A Wardrobe Audit

A Wardrobe Audit

A cluttered wardrobe results in difficulty finding what you own and creating outfits to make you comfortable and confident. Being overwhelmed by too much choice can leave you feeling like you have nothing to wear and stressed about not being able to express your personal style: a wardrobe full of clothing and nothing to wear - sound familiar?

Auditing your wardrobe enables you to see the difference between how much you think you own and how much you actually own; you’ll be able to identify your goals, uncover gaps in your wardrobe, reinvent outfits from your existing clothing without having to buy anything new, and recycle the pieces you no longer wear. You’ll also have a method of tracking what you own with an up-to-date list.

Why Do A Wardrobe Audit?

A thorough audit weeds out duplicates, worn or faded clothing, and items that are the wrong size; hand me down clothing that doesn’t fit in with your lifestyle and items that are rarely worn. An audit is more that just decluttering your wardrobe, it’s about identifying style goals, eliminating unwanted pieces, and reflecting on clothing ownership so we can become more conscious consumers of fashion.

Before The Audit

Remove everything. Put to one side anything that is: the wrong size, worn out or broken, ill-fitting or uncomfortable, and any items that haven’t been worn in 6 - 12 months. If the idea of this is daunting perhaps you need to purge with a wardrobe declutter session before doing an audit. Decide what items you are going to count; make sure the items you’re counting are important and pieces you’re definitely keeping. A good general rule is: if it’s a big part of your life or you have a large number of a specific type of clothing or accessory - count them all.

Wardrobe Audit Questions

1. Why do you want to do a wardrobe audit? What do you hope to achieve?
2. What three words do you want to describe your style? What three words actually describe your style?
3. How many items do you think you have in your wardrobe? How many items do you actually have?
4. How “old” is your wardrobe? How long have you owned each piece?
5. What are the dominant colours in your wardrobe?
6. What items did you exclude from your audit?
7. What do you own enough of?
8. What does your wardrobe need?
9. What can you get rid of?
10. What do you want to replace / buy more of / buy less of?
11. What's your main focus for working on your wardrobe?

I’d love to hear your answers to these questions so please do leave them in the comments below!

A Wardrobe Audit

My Answers

Why do you want to do a wardrobe audit? What do you hope to achieve?
I want to keep track of everything I own so I can identify changes in my style as they develop. I want to work on maintaining a compact selection of clothing where each piece works together and suits the lifestyle I have (rather than one I think I have.) Having an up-to-date spreadsheet will enable me to focus on making considered choices and avoid mistakes. I want an empowering wardrobe, which helps me to feel confident and comfortable.

What three words do you want to describe your style? What three words actually describe your style?
Three words I want to describe my style: Smart. Comfortable. Effortless. Three words that actually describe my style: Functional. Understated. Comfortable. Although I'm happy with these words, I’d like to focus on nailing smart and effortless with more structured pieces.

How many items do you think you have in your wardrobe? How many items do you actually have?
I was surprised to find it’s still hovering around the 50 mark. After receiving a few gifted items and making a couple of unexpected purchases I thought I had blasted my 50 piece wardrobe out of the water, so I was pleasantly surprised to find I’m getting rid of more than I’m keeping.

Are most of your items new, a few years old, or decades old?
Most of my clothes I’ve owned for 0 - 3 years. In the past couple of years I’ve really focused on style and fit, and have been replacing "not quite right" pieces when I find suitable better quality replacements. Several pieces are second hand purchases and one coat (bought from a brand I would never buy from now) is well over 10 years old!

What is the dominant colours in your wardrobe?
Black! (No surprises there.) Followed by muted shades working as accents: navy, grey, burgundy, and camel.

What items did you exclude from your audit?
I’m excluding lingerie, loungewear, activewear, and most accessories. I have a modest collection of these and (aside from jewellery) they’re not an important part of my life. I included bags, which I excluded from my last 50 piece minimal wardrobe count.

What do you have enough of?
Dresses but since I don’t wear trousers or jeans (and therefore don’t need as many tops to pair with them) I don’t think it’s an excessive amount to own, especially not considering my lifestyle.

What does your wardrobe need?
Possibly more skirts if I can find the right style and fit. Perhaps a couple of tops for layering. I need to replace my old bathing suit, slippers, and another pair of leggings (in the right size!) although there’s no great urgency there.

What can you get rid of?
Shoes that pinch and a couple of pieces I like but never wear because they're too big/small or not quite right. I’m trying out Depop before donating, you can follow me here!

What do you want to replace / buy more of / buy less of?
I want to replace a couple of dresses when I’ve found suitable replacements especially A-Line styles that can be dressed up, worn daily, and layered with existing pieces. I certainly have plenty already so there’s no urgency to replace them just yet.

What's the one thing you want to work on regarding your wardrobe?
Confidence in wearing the styles I love the most and not worrying too much about whether they suit me or if I look odd. If I enjoy wearing the clothes I should wear them regardless. I’d like to feel comfortable wearing more fitted clothing as it suits my body shape yet I have a tendency to feel self-conscious when my curves show.

After The Audit

Do not put anything back into your wardrobe that you are not going to keep. If it’s an item you need to repair, repair it and then put it back; if you're gifting or donating items keep them in a separate bag. Anything that goes back into your wardrobe must fit well and make you feel confident and comfortable. All that should be left are clothes you love.

Create an organisation method: store items of the same type together. If you have a lot of space perhaps consider storing them by season also. Everyone’s method for organising their wardrobe will differ depending on their life and style, and it might take a while to develop a system that works for you.

Consider using the Stylebook app or creating a spreadsheet to keep track of your wardrobe’s contents. I created my own spreadsheet (including my makeup and skin care too!) which I’ll be using to keep track of my wardrobe as it shrinks (or grows!)