At the end of 2019, I decided to earnestly track how often I wear (or don’t wear) items in my closet. After a recent move, entailing a trip to Salvation Army and a box of clothes shipped off to ThredUp, I realized I generally had more than enough stuff. I wanted to better my utilization of clothes I already own, in an effort to reduce waste and consumption.
There are a lot of different closet tracking apps out there (including good ol’ Google Sheets) with similar functionality. I ultimately decided on Stylebook, which has proven to be very much worth the $4 price tag. Full disclosure: it took me about 2 – 3 hours to initially log the 200+ items of clothing in my closet, but I’m very glad I did it!
- Improved cost-per-wear
- For newer items, ideally <$5 within the first year of owning
- Reduced impulse shopping
- I have made it a habit to look through my app before purchasing anything new, to make sure I don’t already have something similar. And if I do, I adhere to a one-in-one-out rule
- Faster time to re-home, if needed
- I had some newer purchases that sat at 1 – 2x wear within the first 6 months (and not because of WFH), that I knew to immediately rehome
I’d say overall, the Stylebook app has helped me with the above goals significantly. I used to be terrible about holding onto things that did not bring (outfit) joy – Marie Kondo would not approve.
For example, a few items I rehomed were: my Polene Numero Un bag, Elizabeth Suzann Reece sweater, and Jamie + the Jones Heavyweight T sweater. I’ve accepted that greige accessories are too hard for me to incorporate – my beige Numero Un Mini and camel Numero Sept Mini are still going strong! And that thick, boxy sweaters are simply not flattering on my lanky frame.
Not Logged On Calendar
I’ll go to this view at least once or twice a week to make sure there are no items I’m forgetting to wear simply because I don’t readily see them in my closet. My goal this year is to get this down to only 2 or 3 items at a time.
Worn History: Least Worn
Similar to above, I’ll go to this screen next to make sure I’m getting additional wear out of items in this category. Sometimes, pieces are just too new – however, if I see something languishing in this area for too long, I try to re-home it quickly. Admittedly, there are a few pieces on this list simply because #2020, mainly formal shoes and dresses that I know I’ll utilize once we start having social events and weddings etc. again.
Cost per Wear
I love that this is automatically calculated as long as you input a price for each item. Generally, I am trying to get all my items down to $5 CPW or less. The only downside is that some of my older pieces have higher CPW than actual, simply because I didn’t wear them a ton in the last year (but have definitely gotten 100+ wears over their lifetime). I may try to “discount” their price based on how many times I wore them prior to the start of tracking in December 2019.
Currently, I have 226 pieces logged in my closet – which honestly sounds a little crazy to say out loud. However, I did log many “miscellaneous” items like underwear, socks, snowboarding clothing etc. not because I log those on a daily basis, but because I used them to create a packing list for our last major trip in January 2020. Ultimately, I want to try and maintain this overall count – so for any piece I add to my closet, something must go out.
This may seem like an odd one, and it actually kind of us. I don’t use the Fabric category for items in its intended manner – instead, I use this to track clothing production categories. I divide this up into six categories:
- Sustainable or Ethical
- Slow Fashion
- Fast Fashion
- Me Made
I don’t have a specific goal for these, except to slowly reduce the Fast Fashion and Other categories over time in favor of Secondhand, Sustainable, Slow Fashion or Me Made. I still have some Fast Fashion pieces purchased years ago that are still going strong, and to be clear I’m not going to discard them for the sake of reducing the count. After all, the most sustainable action is to wear them for their full lifespan!
I like my neutrals a lot. Until 2020, my closet was mainly white, black and grey. Recently I’ve expanded into beiges and camels (I know, very exciting). Being able to see all items belonging to a specific color group is helpful to make sure I don’t purchase anything too similar to an existing item. If left to my own devices, I would end up with five different grey crew neck sweaters, for example!
Less Used Features
The beauty of closet tracking apps like Stylebook is the breadth of features – there’s something useful for everyone, and of course there are some features that may be less utilized.
I don’t use looks to put together outfit boards ahead of time. I’ve seen some people do this consistently, which is nice when adding individual Looks to the Calendar view (vs. Clothing), as you can see an entire outfit at a glance. However, I do use these occasionally to help plan outfits around a single item, like a more colorful bag.
There’s a section where you can upload inspo photos, almost like a Pinterest of sorts. I may play around with this some more this year as we go out more, but for now, browsing Instagram and watching YouTube vloggers have been sufficient for me.
I found this most useful when starting up my closet, but use it less now. Instead of taking photos of my actual items, I tried my best to use the Shopping Clipper tool to pull in professional photos from retailer sites. Most of my items were still sold somewhere, and this provides a much cleaner and more pleasant visual experience in my opinion.
In the few cases where I could not find items on a retailer’s website or via Google, I would find a similar item and just use that for the photo.
I’m really just using this to better utilize my existing wardrobe, so I haven’t used any of the features or content in this section.
Overall, I’ve very much enjoyed using this app. It’s very easy to use on a daily basis – the hardest part is the time investment in the initial setup, which I think is well worth it!
There’s really only one thing I would change about the app, and it’s a pretty minor detail. There’s a men’s version with a black & white UI (vs purple & white), and I would love to be able to use that UI instead, since it’s a much more neutral color.