THE BLOG

The Two Wardrobe Generation

04/11/2014 09:40 GMT | Updated 01/01/2015 10:59 GMT

I realized this morning that I'm part of the Two Wardrobe Generation (I'm one of the TWIGs). And maybe you are too (but also hadn't realized it).

I was choosing a shirt, a button-up shirt, from my (one) wardrobe, when I realized with a jolt that I was choosing from a limited range - limited, actually, to just half of the total shirts. You see, the other half would be too tight for me. No, not because I've been going a bit heavy on the weights in the last couple of years, and my biceps are thus bursting from the fabric. No, but because I've been going a bit heavy on the biscuits in the last couple of years, and my gut is thus straining at the buttons.

In that moment, I realized I have two wardrobes: the one that fits me now. And the one that will hopefully fit again in a few weeks / months. Maybe you have the same. Funny, I'm not remotely a follower of fashion, and am thus not remotely interested in whether The Second Wardrobe as I will from now on call it, will drift out of fashion in the months (or years) that it is (not literally) mothballed.

Maybe you have two wardrobes too. But yours are of clothing items in vogue, and those that aren't. Maybe you scour the fashion mags for signs that your Second Wardrobe is once more 'in'. Which must be mildly more frustrating than our (I've expanded the personal possessive here, in the assumption that I'm not alone) weight-dictated wardrobe situation. After all, unless you're big in the fashion biz, you have no control over the changing fashions. Whereas we have control (though it's arguable how much) over our weight situation(s).

This splitting of the wardrobe thing is probably happening at many levels too. My first encounter with the idea that a person might have more than one wardrobe occurred at university. It was the summer term. We had returned from the Easter break, and I was chatting with a sort-of-friend. It was a red-brick university and he was more suited to a traditional-brick-and-refectory university. He said that he'd been up to London to complete his 'summer wardrobe'. I didn't really understand what he was saying to be honest. I imagined him in a workshop, putting the finishing touches to some beach-hut-like wardrobe. But then I realized he was referring to his clothes. And I didn't get that either. What? You use different clothes for the summer than for the winter? I basically just took my leather jacket off.

I'm aware too of the 80:20 rule that Italian economist Pareto came up with to describe the phenomenon in economics of, for example, 80% of profits being made from 20% of a company's clients. Only everyone now demonstrates his theory by saying that you use 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time. Which is true isn't it? Only Pareto probably wouldn't be so happy that his hugely influential observation has had as much influence in wardrobe organization as economics and corporate organizations.

It's like the fact that Einstein is becoming more known for some neat aphorisms than for his scientific ideas. "What's that? E=what?, oohh, haven't you got big hair?"

I have, probably, then at least Four Wardrobes. I use 20% of the things I can fit into 80% of the time. And I'd like to get into 20% of the things that I can't 80% of the time.

This means that I'm probably using just 10% of my wardrobe.

In fact, if I truly recognized this fact, I probably wouldn't need a (physical) wardrobe at all. I could just put it in all in a suitcase. Which is something I've been toying with anyway. I do travel quite a bit, so I like to live out of a suitcase when I'm away (I'd never unpack no matter how long I'm staying), it's not a big leap to continue to use that bag once I'm at home.

I suspect, though, that wardrobe nature would take its inevitable course: I'd find another weight variation, I'd purchase other clothes that I didn't really like, and I'd end up with two suitcases.

So, this morning, I wondered - should I throw out most of my clothes and be done with this Two Wardrobes thing forever? And I consulted my current font of wisdom - which is the book I wrote to give answers to such difficult questions, called 'F**k It is the Answer'. The idea is that you ask a question, then randomly turn to a page for your (F**k It) answer.

So I asked my question, and turned randomly to this answer:

'F**k It. Treat it like a game'. Nice. Better check the charity shop is open tomorrow.

John's latest book is 'F**k It is the Answer'.

Visit: www.thefuckitlife.com