How much clothes do I really need? (Bespoke Era and beyond!)


10 cubed. Or cube root of 1.000. Thousand Days Of Hope And Glory. A project. How many items of clothing would I need for that? (And what is Bespoke Era anyway?)

Math can be so complicated! Especially when tried to be put right into practical use. I know that. So when our Bespoke Era project was started – a project where we look into if a person could wear bespoke tailored garments only, for a certain amount of time, and if possibly, having all the clothes made by one person only, like in the “good ol’ days” – I quickly began to plan and calculate how much clothing and time that was needed, to enable our test-person to be dressed in life’s many situations. A lot, it showed. Of course. But not as much as one would think. Still I wasen’t quite sure of my calculations.

Since I was the one making all the bespoke clothing for this project, some things was extra important for me. To make good quality was one thing. Because then the garments would last longer and less items was needed to be made. To make clothes that could be combined was another thing. Because then you could use the clothes for even more occasions, and over and over again. The real challenge though, came with the discussions of how many styles of clothing there should be. Suits – of course. Sportswear – yes. Casual wear – practical. Winter garments – hm… more layers? Underwear – needed! Formal wear – are you kidding me…? Oh well alright then. Fashion items – what? You must be joking! Luxury goods – hey! Wait a minute! Stop!

It quickly became clear, that to build a gentleman’s wardrobe from scratch would involve a huge amount of work for both the tailor and for the gentleman planning and wearing the project’s clothing. The issue would not be so much about the amount of clothing that would be needed, but more about how many garments that would be desired, to keep up a respectable look and standard within a modern way of living. A question not easy answered. And what equation to use for that?

But back to the basic mathematics!

If we break it all down into a simplified practical problem, I would probably present it like this: First, it’s about how many types of garments that are needed. Second, how many variations of each type. Third, how many combinations possible.

So, if we were to say that I basically would need three types of clothing. Something over the waist, something under the waist, and something to cover and alternate (your body temperature) with. And then, that I had one variation of each – that would be sufficient for x amount of days.

But now let’s step it up a bit! Let’s say I’m a bit of a dandy, and I would absolutely not accept to be caught wearing the same look twice! What to do then? Suddenly we’re heading into some kind of combination mathematics! Let’s se… If I had 3 trousers, 3 tops (t-shirt, turtleneck, shirt) and 3 “coats” (jacket, denim jacket, blazer) they would together give me a combination possibility of 3 cubed (i.e. 3 x 3 x 3) = 27. Actually covering enough combinations for almost a month of wearing new looks every day!

Now let’s imagine 1.000 days – almost 3 years – how much clothes would I need for that? With new combinations to wear for every day of course! Well… that would be the cube root of 1.000. And that equals 10!

There it is! I would (just) need 10 trousers, 10 tops, and 10 coats for being able to make 1.000 different combinations of those three item types! 10 x 10 x 10 = 1.000. A whole new look every day for almost three years! Amazing.

Maybe it should be tested? We could call it Thousand Days Of Hope and Glory! Or, A journey into an unknown creative struggle! Starting from scratch and see where it goes…? What do you think? It would be like the tailoring of Bespoke Era and beyond. When do we start?

– Sten Martin / DTTA


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