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rowenaz's avatar

How much clothing do we really need for school or work?

Asked by rowenaz (2436points) August 14th, 2008

We don’t want to be Einsteins over here, but we are discussing paring down the level of apparel that is cramming our drawers and closets…and saving money in the process, since times are tighter and tighter…so the question is how much do we really need? Which pieces and which amounts? For example, would a school age child need five pairs of pants, 8 shirts, three sets of dress clothes? Would you as a business man need five suits? Give me your ideas, please…

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5 Answers

marissa's avatar

For kids, here is a rough guideline of what I try to do. I try to do it in a rotation, so you aren’t buying everything at once, so they get new clothes through out the year and it allows for kids to grow out of clothes without suddenly most all of their clothes being to small.

4 sets of summer weight pjs
4 sets of winter weight pjs (try to get ones that can also double as thermal underwear on really cold days)
6 pairs of short socks
6 pairs of longer socks
12 pairs of underwear (this allows for ‘accidents’ and such, you don’t want to run out of underwear)
10 pants (2 that are on their way out, they can have holes or what not, they are the ‘messy’ play pants, 3 that are older but still decent that can be used for play and school, 3 that are new that are for school only, 2 dress pants {tan and navy}) If any of these pants are the kind that you zipper off the bottoms and then they are shorts, that is a bonus.
10 t-shirts, as with the pants, some should be old for play and some should be good for school and at least 3 should be long sleeved
7 shirts for school, 2 of them should also work for dress and go with the dress pants, 2 new, 5 still in good condition {then later in the year I will buy them 2 more shirts and get rid of 2 that are too small or no longer in good condition they may end up as ‘play shirts’}
3 play shirts
2 decent sweaters
4 sweatshirts (2 old and 2 newer)
2 swimsuits (an older one and a newer one)
5 pairs of shorts (fewer, if some on their pants have bottoms that zipper off)

They need footwear and coats, but that is dependant upon the weather in your area.

Of course, there is room for variation depending on your needs, how frequently you do laundry, etc, but this is the general rule of thumb I go buy. As for shopping right now, I will go through the clothes and see what is still good for school this year. Then I will replace about half of what I need now and about half in a month or so after they start school. Most likely, this is what I will end up buying now:
4 shirts
3 pants
2 t-shirts
In a few months
1 sweatshirt
1 sweater
1 shirt
1 pair of pants
1 winter pj
1 pkg socks
1 pkg underwear
2 t shirts

I hope this helps.

robhaya's avatar

I think for a businessman who has to wear suits everyday, 3 classic suits in light gray, navy blue, and subtle pinstripe suit on black would be sufficient. I’d also have at least 6 tailored or nicely fitted dress shirts that can be interchanged with any of the suits to be essential (Stripes, check print, solids, etc) and 6 ties as well.

The key is to buy the best quality you can afford and go for the classic styles, try and avoid anything too trendy.

If you don’t have to wear a suit everyday, buy 10 essential pieces (e.g. a classic blazer, cashmere sweater, dress pants, white dress shirt, nice loafer, etc) that can be interchanged with one another and build around it.

Good Luck!

bodyhead's avatar

5 shirts
1 pair of pants

Should be all you need.

augustlan's avatar

For the school kids (all girls), I try to have 5 or 6 bottoms (pants, capris, shorts as applicable – at least one of these should be “casually dressy” – like khakis), 8 to 10 shirts that they’ll actually wear to school (though somehow, we usually end up with more than that), plus shirts that are just for “lying around the house” or getting messy, and you can never have too many pairs of socks and underwear. 2 sets of pajamas for either season, 2 or 3 pairs of shoes (the oldest, a 14 year old fashionista, buys more shoes with her own money), a light jacket and a winter coat. I generally buy 1 “special” item at a favorite, nicer (read: more expensive) store like American Eagle or Aeropostle, then all the rest are more moderately priced from Target, Old Navy, Charlotte Russe, or JC Penney. Socks & underwear from WalMart or Target.

Alyanna's avatar

@bodyhead 1 pair of pants? What if you get stains on them, or worse, they get ripped?

My general rule of thumb for the minimum amount of clothes needed is to have enough to last between washes plus one extra (just in case). So if you wash every 3 days, you should have at least 4 full outfits per person (double that if you count warm & cold weather clothes, depending on where you live). My daughter has 2 lightweight jackets & 2 heavy jackets because she’s young & tends to leave them at school when it warms up in the afternoon. Otherwise 1 of each should be plenty. And I agree with augustian about socks & underwear – you can never have too many.

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