In my mind it’s still summer, but pumpkin spice has arrived at Starbucks. So if you want to get a jump start on fall and are contemplating a seasonal wardrobe change or rotation, here are the pros and cons of doing just that.
Changing your wardrobe with the seasons is one of those clothing related things that is surprisingly divisive. I know people who fastidiously change out the clothes hanging in their closets at the beginning of each season, and people who would never consider it because “why bother with the effort”.
Maybe you always rotate your clothes because that’s what your mother (or grandmother, or aunt) did. Or maybe you never rotate your clothes because that’s what your mother (or grandmother, or aunt) always did.
Either way, there are pros and cons to both. In this post, I’ll walk you through both the pros and the cons of rotating your clothing, plus who it’s good for, and who it’s not. Basically, we’re covering everything you need to know about rotating your wardrobe.
But before we dive into seasonal wardrobe change pros and cons…
What does rotating your clothing with the seasons mean anyway?
Rotating your wardrobe literally means cycling through your closet. Traditionally it’s done with the seasons – you put your fall clothes away at the beginning of winter and pull out your winter clothes, which you then swap out for spring clothes when winter is finished (if you live in the Midwest or Northeastern US, just don’t get fooled by false spring).
If you live somewhere with storybook-perfect four seasons – rotating four times a year can be a great option.
If you live somewhere with a sunny and a rainy season – twice a year is great.
And if you’re in a place with wild weather swings – you can even overlap your seasonal wardrobes for 2-4 weeks. Simply have both summer and fall clothes out for the weeks when the temperatures see-saw. Finally put your summer dresses away when fall has decided to stay. (This also works if you want to start dressing for fall cozy vibes but the weather still says it’s summer.)
But you don’t have to change your wardrobe with the seasons. Rotating your wardrobe consistently is a great way to refresh your style without having to buy anything new. Capsule wardrobes can also be a method of rotating your closet.
Rotating your wardrobe is as simple as periodically cycling through your clothing.
The PROs of a seasonal wardrobe change / swap out
There are a ton of pros to cycling through your wardrobe.
1. If you have very seasonal weather, you always have seasonally appropriate garments. No more digging through your sundresses with a foot of snow on the ground.
2. You limit your options so you have the opportunity to ditch decision fatigue and get dressed faster in the mornings.
3. You have built in opportunities to refresh your style. Each season you get the joy of pulling out clothes that you haven’t seen in almost a year.
4. Off season clothes get stored properly and are less likely to get damaged between seasons.
5. Rotating your closet gives you the perfect opportunity to bring items to the tailor to be fixed or altered if necessary. If they need repairs, bring them at the end of the season so you can put them away without needing to remember to repair them next year.
If you don’t or can’t get around to bringing them in, leave a note for next-year-you so you don’t have to re-find the necessary repair. (A wardrobe inventory is fantastic for this.)
Or if they need to be altered because you’ve changed since last fall, bring them at the beginning of the season and have perfectly fit pieces all season long. (I have a whole section in Personal Style Fundamentals about maintaining the clothes you love, so if you want more pointers on this, sign up here for your free copy.)
6. You get breathing room in your closet. This is particularly true if your closet is on the smaller-side. Rotating your wardrobe means you only have to look at the clothes you’re wearing now, instead of sifting through the non-options each morning.
The CONs of a seasonal wardrobe change / swap out
Of course, everything comes with both pros and cons. Some of the cons to rotating your closet are:
1. Time: it takes time to rotate your wardrobe. If you’ve never done this before, or if you have a very large closet, or very minimal storage, you’ll want to dedicate a full day.
But once you have a system down, the actual time spent bringing out this season’s clothes and putting away last season’s clothes should only be a couple hours.
To speed it up, make sure you’ve done the laundry and picked up any repairs before you start, so you don’t hit any interruptions.
2. Storage: this is the flip side to having spaciousness in your day-to-day closet, you do need somewhere to store the clothes you’re not actively wearing. Space-saver bags and under the bed bins (not to mention storage units and otherwise empty luggage) mean you don’t need a TON of storage space, but you do need somewhere to put your clothes.
My favorite place to put not-in-use clothing is, in space-saver bags, inside of otherwise empty luggage, under the guest bed. But there are tons of options.
3. Rotating your wardrobe does limit your outfit options. This is most impactful if you have a mix-and-match layered type of style because the more items you have out at any given time, the more options you have.
Plus if you like to layer the more you’re able to wear garments in seasonally “inappropriate” weather. For example, one of my favorite cozy fall day looks is summer sundress with wool tights, boots, and a sweater. So if that’s your personal style, you may not want to put your summer dresses away until a couple months into fall.
Like all clothing advice, there will be some for whom rotating your wardrobe is a great fit, and there will be some people for whom it is not.
Who rotating your wardrobe is GREAT for
Rotating your wardrobe periodically is great if you…
- live somewhere with very distinctive seasons.
- have very limited closet space. (Or a particularly robust selection of clothes.)
- get easily overwhelmed. (Or want to super-speed up your mornings and significantly reduce decision fatigue.)
- utilize a capsule wardrobe. If your capsule wardrobe is built around the season of the year, then rotating your wardrobe with the seasons is perfect. Otherwise cycling through two or three capsules or periodically changing items out gives you the benefit of a capsule without potential boredom or stagnation.
Who rotating you wardrobe is NOT so great for
On the other hand, rotating your wardrobe probably won’t be great for you if you…
- want all your clothing options easily accessible to you all the time.
- won’t remember to rotate your closet.
- will immediately fill up every empty hanger out of a fear of “nothing to wear.”
- utilize a capsule wardrobe. (Yep, capsule wardrobes can be great for rotating, and also not-so-great.) If your capsule wardrobe is built around something other than the season (such as a year-round capsule closet, or a work specific capsule wardrobe), then rotating your clothes by season might end up too limiting.
And one last thing, rotating your wardrobe is not so great for you if you don’t want to rotate your wardrobe. Even if you tick all the boxes, if you don’t want to rotate your wardrobe, don’t rotate your wardrobe.
To wrap up
So there you have it, the pros and cons, ins and outs of rotating your wardrobe plus who a seasonal wardrobe change out can be great for, and who it probably won’t be great for. If you do rotate your wardrobe with the seasons, consider utilizing a wardrobe inventory to help.
And if you want more ins and outs of building and keeping a wardrobe you love, put your name on the list here to gain access to the resource library including your free copy of Personal Style Fundamentals.