How many outfits do we really need in our wardrobes?

Shopping isn’t as guilt-free as it used to be. With the issue of fast-fashion in the front of our minds, many of us are beginning to think twice before we make a purchase. Of course, it’s easier said than done and having a wardrobe of ‘staple’ pieces that can make up a range of outfits can take some planning. 

We might think that it’s easier for men to shop than women, but sometimes the smallest of details in suits and shirts are hard to decide on! Remember being surprised in 2017 when it was revealed that British women spend an average of £74 per month on clothes compared to British men who fork out a considerably larger sum of £100? The same study also discovered that the average man owns 56 pieces of clothing and wears 62% of these regularly, whilst women own 95 but only wear 59%. Even 56 garments sound excessive — maybe you ought to consider a clear out. Read on for our multi-sex guide on what we need in our wardrobes. 


When it comes to tops, we recommend a solid six to ten pieces per wardrobe, not considering sportswear. Of course, it depends on your employment, if you’re always at formal meetings and events your top collection will probably look different to someone who has a manual job. 

  • Three casual tops — These are tops that you’d wear for heading out to lunch or local pub with your friends, or for visiting family on a weekend. 
  • Two going out tops — Going out tops are a must-have for men and women to have in their wardrobe. For women this might be a glitzy blouse or cropped top and for a man it may be a good shirt, but not one that’s suitable for the office.
  • Two tops for smart business wear— These are tops that you need to have in case of an unexpected business meeting or for an interview. It’s always a good idea to have at least two of these tops in in case you have multiple meetings with the same person or a follow-up interview.

Of course, you can mix and match tops with other garments to dress the outfit up or down. For example, pairing your formal top with ripped jeans would create more of an informal look and a casual top with smart chinos could become a suitable office outfit. 


Another six to eight garments in your wardrobe should be taken up by pants or skirts. This might depend on your preference though, if you prefer shorts or dresses in all climates then you’ll probably own less pants.  

  • Three pairs of jeansOne denim expert recommended owning three pairs of jeans in her wardrobe and it makes sense! The first pair is “this year’s jeans” these are used for casual meetings, posh dinners and night time events. Then you have “last year’s jeans” these are what you would put on to run errands or head out for lunch. Finally, “the year before last year’s jeans” which are essential for housework or painting. 
  • One pair of office-appropriate pants — For men this may be a smart pair of chinos and for women a pinstripe tailored trouser. Either way, it should be pants that are suitable for work and interviews.
  • Two pairs of pants for warmer weathers — The garments that sit in this category include skirts and shorts. Feel free to wear them at all times of the year, but they’re always a go-to when the sun is out. 

Again, these options can be switched up to change the category that they sit in — this is what makes a great staple wardrobe!


To complete the look of any outfit, a good outer garment is key. We recommend only having three to four outerwear pieces in your wardrobe, as long as they’re good quality they should last a while!

  • Two casual jackets — For the cooler months or daytime events, a casual jacket is an important one to have in the wardrobe. This could be a leather jacket for some protection from the rain or a denim jacket for the warmer days.
  • One blazer — A blazer is great to slip on for a job interview with a slim fit shirt, or skirt and blouse for example. Also great for a dressy night out when paired with more of an informal outfit.
  • One waterproof/warmer jacket — It’s always a good idea to have a waterproof or warmer jacket in your wardrobe for practicality. Choose a staple colour like black, navy or grey so that you can pair it with many outfits.


Some people can get carried away with footwear, but all you really need are three good pairs of shoes.

  • One pair of trainers — For casual occasions or nights out when you don’t fancy dressing too smartly, a pair of trainers come in handy. Choose white or black so that they can be paired with lots of different looks.
  • One pair of smart shoes — These are great for work, interviews or more formal occasions. Leather is a good choice here as you can keep them shiny and clean and they’re less likely to tarnish in the weather as suede might. 
  • One pair of boots — Again good to mix and match between formal and casual events, a good pair of boots can’t go wrong. For women, a black heeled ankle boot can be paired with many outfits including dresses and skirts and for men, you can’t go wrong with a Chelsea boots.

Of course, there might be a few extras you want to add to your wardrobe here and there. In the winter you might want to invest in more jumpers, for example. But, overall we think that you only need around 18-25 garments! Choose them well and you can mix and match to create lots of new looks. 


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