Women Require More Clothes

While presenting at a corporate event this week, I had a fun discussion with one of the male participants.  I don’t get as many chances to hang with the guys as the women in my practice, so I welcomed his change of perspective.

He posed a great question to me: What is the right ratio of HER clothes to HIS clothes? 

Well, remember, there are very few “right” answers about anything in this world, and even fewer right answers when it comes to the sexes.  But I did gently explain to him that, despite my best attempts, I know from personal experience that it is not possible for me to simplify my wardrobe to the point that my husband has.  Three factors play into this:

1.  Women have dresses and skirts as options.  This fact alone means that I am likely to have more garments than my dear husband.

2.  I believe that American cultural norms drive women to be more fashion conscious than men, which leads to more color combinations, accessories, and turnover in the wardrobe.

3.  Men can get away with wearing the same or nearly the same dark pants every single day to the office, and no one thinks about it.  If a woman tries that, she’s probably making a fashion statement.  Women are more likely to compliment each other on our outfits, and so we generally are taught to try not to repeat our outfits too often.

This gentleman at the conference admitted that he was after garment equality, wanting his wife to have a less crowded closet that looked more like his side of the closet.  Give it up, was my advice to him.

If you are really interested in closet parity, check out this simplifying trend to see if it will work for you.  But like any type of diet, don’t try to impose this on your mate if you want to stay happily married:


Research others by searching “wardrobe diet”.

What I’m really interested in is what ratio you think you currently have compared to your boyfriend or spouse?  Me, I probably have 3x the clothes my hubby has on the racks, but maybe only 2x the shoes.  I’m guessing I’m running at about the national average, but I’d love for you to comment on this.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. dressingmyself

    I’m currently experimenting with limiting my wardrobe to 7 items. I’m on Day 11 and realise that I simply could not do it if I worked outside my home or had young children.
    My husband has nearly the same number of garments as me – maybe a higher ratio.
    He travels with his job, so he needs to have more shirts that if he was at home all the time. It’s a question of practicality. When he has a quick turn around at home he sometimes needs a about 5 or maybe 8 clean and ironed shirts immediately.
    The number of casual shirts/trousers he owns is probably higher than the average male, for the same reason.

    1. HeartWork Organizing

      I love the touch of reality…if you had young children your plan wouldn’t work. Yes, I do manage more costume changes than planned some days. If I only had 7 (or 10 or 15) items, would I ever have a full load of wash?

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