Can you have too many clothes?

As Vivienne Westwood criticises Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, for having “too many clothes”, The Fashion Police ask: IS there such a thing? Can you have too many clothes, or is it a case of “the more, the merrier”?

Isla Fisher as Becky Bloomwood in Confessions of a Shopaholic

Becky Bloomwood doesn’t think you can have too many clothes… unless Hugh Dancy says so. 

Can you have too many clothes?

Vivienne Westwood’s at it again. Last year she criticised Kate Middleton’s eyeliner; this year she says the Duchess of Cambridge has too many clothes, and should wear the same thing over and over in order to help the environment. Guess it must be Fashion Week again, then!

“I don’t have any advice to her,” said Westwood, before going on to give Kate the following advice:

[yo_quote author=”Vivienne Westwood”]I think it would be great if she wore the same clothes over and again, because that’s very good for the environment and it would send out a very nice message. If you’re going to all that trouble to get an outfit that suits you, then you should keep on wearing it.[/yo_quote]

Poor old Kate, eh? One minute she’s being criticised for NOT buying new clothes, the next she’s being criticised for BUYING them. She must feel like she can’t win with this one, and to be honest, she’s probably right.

Vivienne Westwood thinks Kate Middleton has too many clothes

Kate Middleton: has too many clothes. Allegedly. 

Our first thought when we read these comments was that it’s a bit rich for a fashion designer, whose job is basically to convince us we need an entire new wardrobe each season, to be telling people not to shop. Does Vivienne Westwood REALLY hope no one buys anything from her new collection, because we’ve all taken her words to heart and are wearing our existing clothes “over and over again” rather than buying new ones? Probably not. In her defence, though, Westwood claims to have created a smaller collection than usual this season, and to be concentrating on quality rather than quantity:

[yo_quote author=”Vivienne Westwood”]All I can say is it’s quite a short collection this time because what I’m trying to aim for in my second line and all my offshoot products is to just keep aiming for quality all the time and have less quantity.[/yo_quote]

There’s definitely a lot to be admired in this approach to dressing. After all, we’re always talking about how in the REAL world, most people DO wear their clothes many times over rather than buying something new every day of the week. A few well-made basics can be far more useful than an endless parade of fast-fashion – and at least you won’t look back on your outfits in a few years time and wonder what on earth you were thinking, either.

Vivienne Westwood in an orange top

Vivienne Westwood: thinks you can have too many clothes, unless they’re hers, in which case that’s fine.

But is it really possible to have too many clothes?

Not according to Matthew Williamson, patron saint of shopaholics everywhere. Asked if he thinks it’s possible for a woman to have too many clothes, Williamson answered, “Of course not.” And on the question of the Duchess of Cambridge, and her alleged shopping problem, he had this to say:

[yo_quote author=”Matthew Williamson”]She has a lot to do doesn’t she? So she needs a good wardrobe.[/yo_quote]

Well, quite.

As for The Fashion Police, well, we have a foot on each side of the fence with this one. We agree with Vivienne Westwood’s idea that it’s a good idea to go for quality over quantity. At the same time, though… we love clothes. It’s not always possible or desirable  to save for months just for one item (even if it WILL last for years…); for those who count fashion as a hobby, there’s joy to be found in a well-stocked closet, and sometimes a quick fix is exactly what you need. Fashion is, after all, fun: we don’t think it’s a crime to enjoy it. Or not ALL the time, anyway. The fact is, though, that as much as we’d love to side with Matthew Williamson and declare there’s no such thing as “too many clothes”, we think there definitely are situations in which it’s possible to have too many clothes: and now we want YOU to tell us what you think those situations are.

Matthew Williamson's clothes are frequently worn by Kate Middleton

Matthew Williamson: has no particular reason to defend Kate Middleton, other than that she frequently wears his clothes

Do you think it’s possible to have too many clothes? How do you know when you’ve reached that stage? And what about Kate Middleton?

[All images:]


  • February 19, 2013


    I think Viv needs to step off, to be honest. I don’t think it’s appropriate for someone whose job it is to sell clothes to be judging anyone for buying clothes! Seriously! Also, as Matthew Williamson has pointed out, Kate Middleton has the kind of job where she needs a lot of clothes and, unlike some, she clearly does rewear things. Yeah, not as much as your average person but, you know, SHE’S A PRINCESS.

    I do think it’s possible to have too many clothes, and I certainly think it’s possible to shop too much – anyone with a modicum of sense can see that the explosion of ‘fast fashion’ has a real and significant downside. That said, I think that if Vivienne Westwood really wanted to address that issue, she’s going about it in an asinine way.

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  • February 19, 2013


    To be serious about this one (sorry) you can have too many clothes. You can be a hoarder, who buys clothes and fills the house with them. You can be a shop-a-holic, and put yourself into debt for clothes you never wear. You can struggle with your weight and feel the need to keep a full wardrobe of each size you have ever been.

    Or you could be a normal person and having too many choices can short circuit your brain.

    Keeping a closet clean, organized and full of only what you wear helps make clothes decisions easier. It also avoids the “wow, I didn’t know I had that” syndrome, where great clothes get lost in the huge pile of stuff you don’t wear. Be ruthless with your closets!

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  • February 19, 2013


    Couple of weeks ago I decided that I didn’t really need or want any more clothes. I feel blessed with the wardrobe I’ve got. It means I’m lucky enough to wear something that I love everyday. I just feel that if I acquired any more clothes at this point in time, it wouldn’t make me happier, nor would I get to wear them as often as they deserved. Maybe I’ve got fashion burn-out or I’m getting wiser/set in my ways, maybe I’ll be inspired later on in the season, but right now, 3 jackets, 2 coats, 4 pairs of jeans, 7 t-shirts, 2 shirts, 3 skirts, 3 jumpers, 4 long-sleeved tops, couple of dresses and a couple of trousers is all I basically need and want.

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    • February 27, 2013


      Fashion burn-out – I like that!

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  • February 20, 2013


    there are people who believe that you can survive with 6 articles of clothing (disregarding underwear and footwear). That’s usually three tops, two bottoms and a jacket. It’s certainly possible, but you’ll have to do laundry a lot and it’ll get boring at some point.

    I guess for me, ‘too many clothes’ is when they no longer fit whatever closet space you have.

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  • February 23, 2013

    annette tirette

    It depends. When you’re talking about cheap and fast fashion, yes, you can have too many clothes. In general the people’s approach to clothes has shifted: clothes have to be as cheap as possible and aren’t expected to last long because they fit into a trend that will be over soon. This creates huge amounts of discarded clothing that isn’t fit for second hand stores because the quality is so bad, and can’t be recycled properly because of the cheap material. If you add up all the production costs and materials for a more expensive dress that isn’t made in China, suddenly the higher price makes sense. Westwood might be wrong criticizing Kate Middleton on this because she seems to go for the slightly higher quality stuff, but she does have a point with wanting her to set an example. I think it’s a very interesting stance to take as a fashion designer, and a kind of attitude I’d like to see more often.

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  • February 24, 2013


    I only classify someone as having to many clothes when: they only wear something once (with the obvious exception of wedding, prom dresses and things like that) or when you buy stuff and you don’t even use it.

    With that said, I don’t think Kate Middleton fits the “has to many clothes” bill. She is a public figure and a member of one of the most important, if not the most important, royal houses. If she wore the same clothes all over again, it would give a bad image to her country. Besides, while she does have some expensive stuff, she actually buys things from stores who aren’t really expensive, which shoes she isn’t a fashion victim (which would also be a terrible image). Not only that, but she “recycles” outfit once in a while. There are tons of royals who would never do that.

    To me she is actually a good example when compared to other important figures. She has a nice wardrobe that allows her to fulfill her obligations elegantly, but she doesn’t spend as much as others in her position would do.

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  • February 27, 2013


    You can have too many, especially of those you hardly ever wear because they suit the lifestyle you would like, not the one you have. My deceased mother-in-law, a hardcore fashionista, was having difficulties in shoving aside the compressed garments in her wardrobe to hang something in, it was so much in there. Her wardrobe really was a “clothes press”. Every piece was expensive and excellent, everything was flattened, wrinkled and had an unpleasant smell to it.

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