I’m the same – shopping has never been a hobby for me and the thought of shopping malls brings me out in a rash!!!
It’s a difficult question to answer though as it really does depend on your lifestyle, and your gender, and also your local climate.
As we live in England we need very different types of clothing in the summer to the winter (blazing hot sun versus freezing cold rain) so that immediately doubles everything we need.
I’ve also discovered that i need more variations in clothing than my husband – he has one pair of smart shoes that last him, i have 6 – 2 for work (summer and winter), 2 for going out (low heel, high heel), 2 pairs boots (ankle and knee length) and i have tried, but i can’t get by without any of them! I have clothes i go out in that i couldn’t wear to work, and vice versa, he has one suit and 4 shirts which he wears whenever he wants to look smart.
My friends and i do regular swaps with our clothing, since we often admire each others clothes and being girls we get kinda bored of our own stuff from time to time, and it’s all free! It does depend on you all being reasonably similar in size though.
My advice is to evaluate your wardrobe (with an honest friend to give you a kick when you need one!)
a) make a pile of things you haven’t worn for ages and get rid – swap, charity, ebay, whatever
b) another pile of things you do wear infrequently (nice dresses, lovely shoes, lucky interview suit etc) to keep if they still fit and look good or to put in pile A if they don’t (this is where the friend comes in)
c) another pile of stuff you wear all the time
if you can’t bring yourself to throw something out immediately stick it in storage (i put mine in a suitcase under the bed) and if you haven’t dug it out in 3 months, send it packing.
Then go through what you have left in pile C.
If it fits PROPERLY, keep it; if not, alter it or replace it.
If it’s starting to look tatty or worn, repair it now before it gets any worse. Remember if colours have faded or things are stained, you can dye them and replace some of their original glory! If you’re handy with a needle and thread (or have a talented friend) you can cannibalise old clothes to add new life to them.
Once you’ve done all that, organise your wardrobe by type – trousers, skirts, dresses, tops etc. That way you’ll always be able to see and remember what you have and won’t buy things you don’t need! Have a good look through and see where the gaps are, then replace those items.
Most important of all though, from this point on:
ALWAYS BUY THE BEST YOU CAN AFFORD – especially on basics like underwear and t-shirts, since you wear them all the time they need to last longer.
A HIGHER PRICE DOESN’T MEAN BETTER QUALITY – check the stitching on all your potential purchases, as good overlocking is generally a good guide to the standard of manufacture.
BUY CLASSICS THAT WON’T DATE – mad colours and funky fabrics look sooooo old 6 months later. If you do want something trendy, buy it cheap, wear it til it falls apart, then turn it into dishrags.
TREAT YOUR CLOTHES WELL – follow the care instructions and your clothes will last longer. Also i’ve found that handwashing things that are only lightly soiled is much nicer to them (and quite therapeutic for you)
Sorry if i sound a bit bossy, but this is actually what i do for a living!!!