It seems like the fight against Stuff is ongoing, whether it's toys, electronics, books, CDs, tools or anything we consume. Yesterday, Holly talked about fighting the battle of the toy bulge. Recently, reader Adrian G. posed this question for the readers:
How many clothes do your kids have? My 14-year-old son was out of town, so I sneaked into his room to catch him up on some laundry and weed out the too-small clothes.
Even after the pruning and six loads of laundry, he had 55 T-shirts alone, plus jeans, dress pants, sweatshirts and a whole wardrobe of scout uniforms and accessories for every season and activity. No wonder his room looks like a bomb went off. Now I'm wondering if this is typical or if we're some kind of clothing hoarders? What is an acceptable amount of clothing for a teenage boy?
While Adrian is asking specifically about her son, we'd like to hear what readers' thoughts are on teenage girls, working folks, etc. How many clothes do you need?
Those who work from home or who work in a casual office may have far fewer clothes than those who work in a corporate office. A couple of pairs of jeans and khakis, five or six shirts and T-shirts for men should suffice if the guy works in a casual office. Women can get by with black pants, a black skirt, some tops and sweaters.
If you're in an office where you're meeting with clients, or if you have a job dealing with the public, your wardrobe can grow out of necessity. You'll most likely have a Monday-through-Friday wardrobe of suits, dresses, special shoes — most of which you will never wear on nights or weekends. So you need a weekend wardrobe too.
If you live in a four-season climate, you'll have a variety of coats, sweaters, boots and so on to face the worst of winter. Those of us who live in an area where the weather is fairly mild all year can get by with many fewer clothes.
The wildcard that can send a wardrobe into overdrive is fashion. If you must have a few pieces that have been featured in the pages of InStyle or GQ, you're going to be adding clothes to your wardrobe regularly. And just like that, they're obsolete, as far as fashion is concerned!
So, Readers, how do you plan your wardrobe — or your children's — for value, style and maximum use? Do you have an annual budget? Do you buy your teenagers one new back-to-school outfit each fall? Have you had to curb the fashion impulse in your teenagers? What do you do with clothes that are no longer useful, whether they've been outgrown or gone out of style? Do you use eBay, consignment shops or thrift stores to move your old wardrobe or add “new” pieces? Let us hear how you manage your clothes budget.
Author: Ellen Cannon
Ellen Cannon was the editorial director of the financial services sites at QuinStreet from 2010-2015. She has covered personal finance for magazines and websites for more than 20 years, including five years as managing editor of Bankrate.com. She lives in South Florida with her kitty and sunshine.