How to Create More Outfit Choices With Fewer Clothes

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Bulging Closet
You need to trim that shit!

We all want a bit of variety in our outfits, since we don’t want to be sporting the exact same look day in and day out.

Most guys try to add variety to their wardrobe by filling their closets up with tons of clothes. This isn’t necessary.

In fact, having a wardrobe bulging with clothes is very impractical. It will take you a long time to find what you need, and most of the clothes in there will hardly ever be worn.

Seriously, open your closet and take out every piece you haven’t worn in the last 3 weeks. I bet you’ll find a lot.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

You can actually have a lot of outfit variety with just a few clothes, as long as you pick the right ones.

The Flawed Assumption: For More Variety You Need More Clothes

Most people assume you need a full wardrobe to have a lot of choice.

The reason they assume this is that their current clothes only work well in a couple of outfits.

They go shopping, see a really cool shirt and buy it on impulse. Then they start looking around for items that work with the shirt, until they feel they have compiled a good outfit.

This seems like a smart shopping method, but it’s usually applied very inefficiently.

While they may add a really great outfit to their wardrobe, they’re not adding a lot of variety.

Why Your Clothes Aren’t Adding Variety to Your Wardrobe

The thing about most guys is that they don’t want to wear “bland” outfits, and they think bland outfits are created with bland clothes.

So when they go shopping for something new, there has to be something about it that sets is apart.

Then, when they have made a purchase, they start looking for something to combine the piece with.

But of course, this item can’t be too dull either.

Let me show you why this system doesn’t work.

For example, Imagine a guy buying a really eye-catching red graphic tee.

red graphic tee
Something like this?

He wants to have something to combine it with, so after searching a while he comes across this cardigan:

Black & Red Striped Cardigan

Now he goes home feeling great about the wicked new clothes he’s bought himself, and adds them to his wardrobe.

So what has this guy achieved?

Since this is his usual shopping method, you can be sure that neither of the two items will match with the rest of his wardrobe very well.

He’s purchased 2 items, but he’s only added 1 outfit to his wardrobe.

There’s got to be a smarter way of doing this, right?

How to Increase Your Options Exponentially with Each Purchase

The secret to adding maximum variety to your wardrobe with each purchase is to invest in versatile items.

You want to buy clothes that can be matched to as many other pieces as possible, rather than just what you buy them with.

The more versatile clothes you have, the more outfit options each purchase will add.

You’d be amazed how fast your choice can grow with just a few wardrobe additions.

Check out this guest article I did for Image Granted to get an idea.

Versatility Math
36 options with just 10 clothes

If any item you bought would add 12 (or more) new options to your wardrobe, how many clothes would you really need?

Action Step: Invest in Versatility

What I want you to do is create a list of Grade A versatile items that you could add to your closet.

List items from different categories of clothing, such as shirts, pants, jackets, etc.

Then, go out and buy them.

Items you may have previously considered “bland” can be used to create very interesting outfits. It just takes a bit of creativity. Try mixing and matching them in different ways, and you’ll quickly develop a couple of looks that you like.

Investing in versatility will guarantee you a whole new bunch of outfit choices with every purchase you make.

Not only that, but you’ll be able to buy whatever you like, and you won’t have to scour the shops for any matchable clothes. They will already be present in your wardrobe.

How great would you feel being able to make any purchase you like, knowing you have plenty of clothes to combine it with? Let’s hear it in the comments!


    […] You can trim your wardrobe and expand your wardrobe at the same time. You only need to ensure all your clothes can be worn together. […]

  • Paul says:

    The link to your Image Granted article is dead. Here’s the correct one:

    Thanks for your work. This has been an invaluable site in rebooting my wardrobe!

  • David says:

    I appreciate the argument for versatility, but I was underwhelmed by the picture shown, particularly because of the shirts. I think that neutral colored pants/jeans allow for a guy to all out when it comes to selecting shirt colors. A beige pair of chinos can go with blue and green off the bat, with more muted shades of orange and some yellows. A pair of blue jeans matches anything under the sun, and so does black. That’s just my take on it, but I am a beginner, and will gladly take correction.

    • Robert says:

      Do you mean the last picture?

      That one just serves to illustrate how many options you can create with a handful of versatile clothes, alone.

      You can do the same with more colorful shirts, once you have a versatile foundation.

  • Ryan says:

    One thing, on your picture of the 36 options, if you counted people also wearing the shirt/pants/shoes combo without the blazer that’s even more possibilities (additional 18). Other than that I loved the article!

    • Robert says:

      You’re absolutely right, Ryan. Great point.

      And it gets even better when you add more types of clothing to your wardrobe, such as sweaters, T-shirts, hats, etc.
      Then your options start growing even faster.

      • DannyBlue says:

        Very useful article, and you brought an extra good point with this comment – accessories! A very bland outfit in pastels or grays or whatever (even without pattern) can be really easily and cheaply brought to life with an accessory or two, say a colorful necktie or ascot and a pocket square or a hat, or a patterned sweater vest (fits under blazer better than a long sleeve sweater).

        • Robert says:

          Thanks, Danny. And yeah, I’m a big fan of simple outfits, but an accessory or two can put them over the edge.

  • Izzy says:

    My oldest sister has talked to me about this one a lot. She always say “Izzy, you have to think about what you have in your closet and more importantly how many outfits you can create with a new item purchased”.

    This is actually something she modeled for me when we used to go shopping. I would point at a shirt I liked and she would either explain why it was versatile or it wasn’t.

    It is funny how this lesson she taught has stuck with me but most of the others haven’t… I think I found it interesting.

    I like the content Robert because it is straight forward practical advice for beginners (like me).

  • Christopher says:

    Great article…keep them coming!

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