A recent survey found that the average British woman has over 100 items of clothing in her wardrobe. But alas, our British cousins will actually wear less than 30% of these clothes on a regular basis. What a waste! Why not keep the 30% and ditch the rest? Well, apparently British women are nostalgic, for they also reported keeping their favorite item of clothing for an average of 12 years – hoping that older pieces would one day come back in fashion (sorry dear, those leg warmers will never be stylish again in your lifetime).
This made me question, what’s in my top 30%? Like British women, I too have an oversized wardrobe, with well over 100 items of clothing, most of which have not seen the light of day in nearly half a decade. Pre-2009, I would justify my clothes habit by saying to myself, “I’m sure I will need that at some point in my life.” But, in keeping with my New Year’s Resolution of staying on a Wardrobe Diet, I have resolved to change my clothes habits.
I have recently completed the first step of the Wardrobe Diet: purging my closet of those items that do not fit, are worn out, or are out of style. All my clothes, including dresses, suits, and summer styles, were scrutinized. I admit this process was very liberating, albeit difficult. On more than one instance, I contemplated pardoning some of those clothes destined for Goodwill, but I remained strong. In doing so, I was able to eliminate 30-40% of my wardrobe, most of which I promptly boxed up and donated before I could change my mind.
Also during this process, I was completely amazed at the number of clothing items I was not wearing – some with the tags still on them, some that were lost in the back of the closet, and duplicate items for several wardrobe pieces, including 9 pairs of blacks. I wondered for a moment, how did I collect so many pairs of blacks pants? I tried on every single pair to see which ones would pass the test. Only 5 pairs made the cut and so, they shall remain. Now, some people may ask, “Do you really need 5 pairs of black pants?” to which I would reply in my best Charlie and Lola voice, “Yes, I absolutely do need these five pairs of black pants.”
And I truly believe that every woman’s wardrobe should include 5 pairs of black pants, even if she’s on a Wardrobe Diet. And here is the reason why. One needs multiple black pants for multiple occasions (and maybe personalities). And, each pair of pants is a different style, serving a different purpose. So really, when you look at it from that perspective, they are five very different pieces.
So ladies, if you too have several pairs of black pants, here is how you can justify keeping them in your top 30%…
The 5 Little Black Pants Every Woman Should Have –
- Three-season Capri – With the weather’s cooperation, these very versatile pants can be worn in spring, summer, and fall. In spite of their short stature, these pants give the image of style and sophistication. They are especially perfect for business casual Fridays, or can be paired with a lightweight sleeveless sweater and jeweled sandals for a summer evening on the town.
- Work-week trouser – These smart pants always look good (even on your “fat” days) and can convey several styles. For a casual style, it can be paired with a cashmere t-shirt, or for a more professional look, wear a fitted button-down or cami covered by a brightly colored blazer. These are your “go to” pants that will no doubt be warn often. So, whether they are boot cut or wide leg, make sure the fabric is of good quality, such as gabardine (light wool) or a rayon/spandex blend, to withstand repeated washing or dry cleaning.
- Fancy pants – They may shimmer, shine, or are velvety-soft, but they will always be fancy. These pants are great for a girls’ night out dancing, holiday parties, or any special occasion when you want a little more attention from the opposite sex. When searching for your fancy pants, keep in mind they should be long enough to wear with funky mules, strappy sandals, or boots. A word of caution – although fancy pants can be considered anything out of ordinary, leather pants are almost always a mistake, unless you’re a supermodel or biker chic.
- Yoga loungers – Ahh….lycra at its best. These pants fit snug around the hips and thighs but are a little flared toward the bottom. The right pair can show off your curves and disguise your imperfections in one fell swoop. They are ideal for walking the dog at the park, a serious day of shopping when you are constantly changing clothes, when you’re feeling a bit bloated, or when you actually are attending a yoga class. As with all pants, finding the right fit for your yoga loungers is key – it’s the difference between looking like a casual hipster waiting for her manicure or a frumpy couch potato with no life.
- Suit pants – Your “I’m really the CEO of this company” pants look unbelievably polished and modern when worn with the matching suit coat or equally stylish blazer. However, these pants frequently have unflattering waistlines and, for the most part, don’t look right unless you actually wear them with a suit coat. So, if you opt to leave the coat on the hanger, make sure what’s underneath – a sleeveless sweater or button down oxford – falls slightly at or over the hips.
Now, there you have it – 5 perfect black pants for just about any occasion. Always reliable. Always stylish. Always in the top 30%.
Are you on a Wardrobe Diet? What’s in your top 30%?