style & clothing step 9

Image from Step 9: Analyze, Declutter, and Organize Your Wardrobe

Have you ever felt like you have too many clothes but nothing to wear? Well, you’re not alone. According to California Closets, the average woman only wears 20 percent of her clothing. If they are correct, we are not wearing 80% of the clothes we have…and yet we keep buying more clothes.

I wanted to see if that 20% statistic applied to me, so I did a closet audit. As a CPA, I couldn’t resist setting up an Excel spreadsheet to track my results. I counted everything by category (tops, pants, shoes, handbags, etc.), and I discovered I had 604 items in my wardrobe. And California Closets was right…I didn’t wear most of them.

If you do your own closet audit, I bet many of you would find similar results. So why don’t we wear 80% of our clothes? The reasons vary, but you may find that some clothes don’t fit. Some styles and colors don’t flatter you. Some are not comfortable. Some are no longer in style. Some don’t go with anything else in your wardrobe. Some don’t fit your lifestyle. And some just aren’t “you.”

We’re smart women, so why do we keep buying clothes that clearly aren’t working for us? The short answer is that we often do not shop mindfully. We buy clothes on impulse. We buy what is “on sale.” We buy something trendy we saw on a celebrity or in a magazine. We shop with friends and are influenced by their tastes. We buy based on habit, buying the same type of clothes again and again. We shop last-minute for a special event and settle for whatever we can find that day. And we shop when we’re bored or upset. In other words, we buy clothing for every reason other than to satisfy our true wants and needs.

If we were more mindful when shopping, we would only buy clothes that make us look and feel good.

Once I realized why we end up with too many of the “wrong” clothes, I decided to create a system to help us make smarter choices. The result is a 10-step process for creating the perfect wardrobe. I describe the system in my latest book, The Smart Woman’s Guide to Style & Clothing.

If you would like to find out more about the 3 principles behind the system, here is a video of a presentation I gave to the local chapter of the National Association of Professional Women. (This video is of me rehearsing the speech…It starts with what I’ve said in this post and then goes on to explain the principles of versatility, style, and personalization.) If you keep these principles in mind when you shop, you will be able to create a wardrobe you will love and you will always have something to wear!



Kara Lane is the author of The Smart Woman’s Guide to Style & Clothing. © 2016. You can find more information about all of her books at
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