August 18, 2015


If you have a wardrobe of 27 pieces, how often do you wear each piece?

The Self-Made Wardrobe is a project where I only wear garments I’ve made for a year.
It was a year about making things and seeing what happens.


As agonizing as it initially was, one of the best things about photographing every day of the self-made wardrobe is that, now the project is over, I can go back and look at things like how many times did I wear each piece of clothing?

I ended the project with a wardrobe of 27 pieces of clothing. Plus a made-by-me winter coat, and a handful of tank tops.

So how many times did I end up wearing each piece of clothing?

self made wardrobe # of wears graph
(click to embiggen)

It turns out a lot, or a little.

This graph shows straight up the number of times I wore each piece of clothing, I just went through the photos I took each day and counted.

I’m not all that astonished that I wore my black maxi skirt and my graphic silk circle skirt the most. I’m also not surprised that the second cluster from a scale of most worn to least worn included my 1st Archer, my cascading flowers skirt, my boring black sweater, or my jeans.

I’m a little bit amazed that my black maxi skirt and my graphic silk circle skirt stood up to 92 wears and 85 wears respectively, and while the circle skirt is showing a little bit of wear and tear, the maxi skirt looks like it could go for another 92 wears.

The fact that I wore my handknit sweater dress 22 times amazes me. I could have sworn I had worn it, at most, once or twice. Though thinking back on it, that was the piece of clothing I turned to when I just wanted to stay in my pjs all day.

I’m a tiny bit surprised that I only wore my handspun handknit sweater 7 times, and my 2nd purple pullover 4 times – but these few number of wears has more to do with how late in the year I finished them, not how much I love them.

self made wardrobe day garment introduced
(click to embiggen)

You see I first wore my handspun handknit sweater on day 206, and my 2nd purple pullover on day 270, towards the end of winter, so neither sweater had much of a chance to get worn before the weather turned warmer.

While I was counting how many times I wore each piece of clothing (tally marks for days…), I made a note of when each piece of clothing first appeared.

This creates a pretty accurate (though not perfect) timeline of the order I made my clothes in. With the exception of a handful of pieces I made before the self-made wardrobe, I usually wore a new piece of clothing no more than a day or two after I finished it.

Since this is a makes a decently accurate timeline, I found it really interesting that from Day 1 through Day 98 there was a pretty steady introduction of new clothing. Then from Day 98 to 206 there were only two new pieces, my 1st Archer, and my 1st purple pullover. And at the end of the project there were a handful of pieces all of which I really adore.

This actually makes a lot of sense.

I started the project with a scary small number of made-by-me clothes, so the beginning of the project involved a lot of making clothes in order to have something to wear, which led straight into fall & winter sweater knitting. And then when I got a comfortable number of clothes I got a little bit of burn out, so I didn’t make as many clothes. Then when I started making clothes again, I had a much better sense of what I would love wearing, so some of my absolute favorite pieces came more towards the end of the project.

wears as percentage of days owned
(click to embiggen)

Since I already had the number of times I wore each piece, and the number of days it had been part of the project, I thought it would be interesting to look at the number of times I wore each piece of clothing in relation to how long it was part of the project.

So this chart shows the number of times I wore a piece divided by the number of days I “owned” it (for the handful of pieces I made before the self-made wardrobe project “owned” = was part of the project).

For example, even though I wore my jeans for the first time on Day 230 of the project, I managed to wear them 45 times, which is about once every third day, or 33.09% I owned the jeans. Make sense?

Along with my jeans, I’ve managed to wear my grey maxi skirt about 1/3 of the time I’ve owned it as well, even though it was the last garment I made for the project (the final piece of the project is actually a toss up between the grey maxi skirt and my 2nd archer button up, the archer was worn before they grey maxi, but got it’s buttons added after the skirt).

I’m not all that surprised that my black maxi, 1st archer, and graphic circle skirt are all hovering around 25% of their lifetime so far.

Though I find it interesting that there are some interesting clusters: my boring black sweater & 1st purple pullover are both at 15%; while my deconstructed sweater & vine print skirt are at 11% (even though they were finished over 150 days apart); and there’s a nice little cluster in the 6.5%-8% range of various garments that I thought I wore more often than I did.

Damn that was long!

I didn’t mean to go on for quite that long, but I hope you found something interesting in there. I found it really interesting to go though and notice patterns that I had no concept of while I was in the middle of them.

I also have some numbers, charts, and thoughts about how much each garment garment cost, and also how much each garment cost in relation to how often I wore it – but I’ll save those for another post, since this just crossed the 1,000 word mark.

If you have any questions or noticed anything else interesting, just leave a comment.