What % of your clothes do you actually wear?

My eyes were drawn in to an article on the Wall Street Journal today titled A Closet Filled with Regrets.

The opener made me stop and think about what’s in my closet…

Only about 20% of clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis, says Ginny Snook Scott, chief design officer of California Closets, the designer of customized closets and storage spaces. That’s especially the case for women since “men tend to wear more of their wardrobe, as they stereotypically have less,” she says. “They tend to have less than 10 pairs of shoes that they rotate fairly well, whereas women have four to five times that amount, on average.”

I’m pretty minimalist when it comes to clothes and shoes, so I know that I’m wearing significantly more than 20% of the clothes I own. Nonetheless, I could immediately think of a few items in my closet that I regret purchasing…a clingy dark blue patterned shirt that makes me look exhausted and fat, and a pair of ridiculously high peep-toe shoes in a shade of gray that goes with exactly nothing both come to mind.

And yet, years after they were purchased, they still remain. Technically, I recognize they are a sunk cost, and holding on to them in an attempt to amortize the cost over time is totally irrational. In fact, Professor Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice, and I discussed this very issue in-depth during a recent Podcast about how too many options wreak havoc on our organization.

Is the culprit a good sale?

Both of my most regretted items were purchased on sale. Most of the items I’ve purchased on sale in the past fall into this category as well, now that I think about it. Why? Because the issues I thought I could live with in the store turned out to be deal-breakers once I got them home.

An antidote to buying

I like Tyler Tevooren’s strategy, mentioned at the conclusion of the article, for ensuring he doesn’t make any more purchases he regrets:

Now if he sees something in a store he might want, he will wait 10 days, to see if the feeling passes.

It’s a strategy I might just have to try…

How about you? What’s lurking in your closet that you don’t wear? What strategies do you have for keeping this from happening?