World 54

In World 54, every adult is only permitted to own 10 items of clothing at any one time as rationing never properly ended after WWII.

Textile waste hardly exists and most individuals have sufficient sewing skills to alter and customise their clothing. Swapping and sharing is common. Garment manufacturing is a highly skilled and valued profession as each garment must truly be built to last. Fashion as a concept no longer exists and garments reflect the wearer’s history, tastes and culture.

What if …

we were all only allowed to own a maximum of 10 items of clothing?

Issue targeted:

over-consumption and disposability


the concept of the core wardrobe

This World was contributed by Wendy Ward (located in Sheffield, UK) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

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Response to World 54

This reminds me of capsule wardrobes, consisting of 10 items or less. Currently the capsule wardrobe seems to be associated with minimalism and decluttering (following Marie Kondo), but in previous decades I have seen it associated with urban lifestyle and the need to fit clothes into small apartments.

Advice about capsule wardrobes in Fashion mags commonly identifies 10 items that can be mixed and matched in various different ways to create the impression of a large number of different outfits. For example:

– Barbara Brownie

Response to World 54

The idea of a capsule wardrobe always makes me think of glamorous models on holiday in the Caribbean but historically, for the working poor a ‘capsule’ wardrobe was part of their everyday life.

In an inventory of clothes lost by adult victims in a fire at Brandon, Suffolk in 1789 John Neel, Cordwainer lost 3 shirts, 1 coat, 2 pairs of breeches, 2 pair of stockings and 3 neckcloths. His wife lost 2 shifts, 1 pair of stays, 2 petticoats, 2 aprons, 4 caps, 1 hat and 2 handkerchiefs. These lost garments were the sum of their collective wardrobe. This information and research on the clothing and fashion of everyday people in the 18th century can be found in The Dress of the People (Styles, J. 2007)

– Matilda Aspinall

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!

Published by Amy Twigger Holroyd

explorer of Fashion Fictions