In my last article, I shared my decision to begin the minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 and my reasons for taking this radical (for me) path. Well, it’s now April 2nd and the challenge is officially under way! In this post, I’ll show you the 33 garments I’ve selected as my April through June wardrobe and provide some highlights from my selection process.
There’s still time to join the challenge if you’ve been on the fence. Perhaps reading about my process will inspire some of the “bystanders”!
The Numbers in a Nutshell
I’m glad I decided to only include clothing in my 33 wardrobe pieces and leave shoes and accessories out this time around. As it was, my selection process took over ten hours! Perfectionist that I am, I wanted to ensure I made the best possible choices, especially since I’d have to live with them for three months.
My first step was to break the 33 down into wardrobe categories. After a bit of “massaging,” here is what I came up with:
- 5 Pants/Jeans
- 3 Skirts
- 1 Dress
- 5 Long Cardigans
- 1 Short Cardigan
- 4 Blazers/Jackets
- 6 Short Tops (to wear with skirts)
- 8 Longer Tops (to wear with pants)
You may wonder why I separated the tops into two categories. I’ve found that for my body shape, shorter tops that hit around my hipbone are the best length for skirt outfits, while tops that are a few inches longer are ideal for wearing with pants. For comfort reasons, I prefer to leave my tops out as opposed to tucking them in or belting them. This is a personal preference and one that I realize gives me fewer options in terms of combining wardrobe pieces. Of course, when one has a wardrobe upwards of 300 items, this scarcely matters! But for Project 333, I had to make sure to include tops from both categories, as I plan to wear both pants and skirts during the next three months.
My Selection Process
After determining the number of pieces to include from each category, I took the following steps to select my actual Project 333 garments:
- I listed my top 5 items from each category (to make sure to include many of my favorites).
- Beginning with neutrals, I decided upon the basic color palette for my capsule wardrobe (I chose black and grey as my primary neutrals and listed a few other colors to optimally include).
- I selected my bottom pieces (pants, jeans, skirts, and dress), as these would serve as the foundation of all of my outfits. I struggled a bit with the pants, as I have very few pairs that I actually love. This is a difficult category for me in terms of fit due to my height (5’10” with very long legs!). My frustration with poor selection and fit challenges has led me to avoid shopping for pants. I now realize that I need to make more of an effort moving forward, as I see the importance of well-fitting and comfortable pants in cultivating a wardrobe I love!
- I determined my toppers or “third pieces” (jackets, cardigans) and made sure to include a variety of colors in this category.
- My tops were chosen last and I did a fair amount of switching around within this category for optimal variety and versatility.
- I included both solid and patterned pieces to keep my wardrobe interesting and in line with my personal style aesthetic (for example, I like stripes, animal print, and polka dots, so I incorporated a bit of each in the mix).
- I ensured that each piece could be worn with at least three other garments in the capsule. When one is working with a smaller number of pieces and desires variety, this is key!
If you’d like to learn more about how to do the Project 333 challenge, I highly recommend the “Dress with Less” microcourse from Courtney Carver, the creator of Project 333.
The Actual Items
Below is my actual list of 33, along with photos below each category. Hopefully, since I took so much time and care to make my selections, I won’t need to make any substitutions along the way. However, I reserve the right to switch a few pieces out if necessary, especially within the first few weeks of the project
UPDATE: See Project 333 Week Three Update for swap information and photos of new items.
1. Navy cotton pants (look black in the photo, but they are navy!)
2. Black trousers
3. Black jeans
4. Lightweight jeans (shorter, to wear with flats)
5. Trouser jeans (longer, to wear with heels)
6. Grey skirt
7. Polka dot skirt
8. Black skirt
9. Black sleeveless dress (great for layering!)
10. Cream and black striped cardigan
11. Grey embellished cardigan
12. Cobalt blue cardigan
13. Burgundy cardigan
14. Black cardigan
15. Denim jacket
16. Dark orange blazer
17. Turquoise blazer
18. Black and white striped blazer
19. Leopard print cardigan
20. White embellished tank
21. Green tank
22. Burgundy embellished tank
23. Black and white striped tank
24. Grey and black print tank
25. Black embellished tank
26. Grey print tank (long)
27. Black embellished tank (long)
28. Black and white striped ¾ sleeve top
29. Blue print tee
30. Leopard print tee
31. Black polka dot tee
32. Orange tee
33. Black tee
Thoughts as I Begin the Project
My selection process was long and laborious, but was made more manageable by spreading it out over a two week period. Even though I “audit” my closet regularly, I was still able to designate a number of items for donation or consignment, which was both surprising and encouraging.
I definitely want to pare down my wardrobe, so I made a point of trying everything on as part of my Project 333 preparation. This was an important step for me, as I discovered some items I thought were good were actually either ill-fitting or just not my style anymore. I find myself becoming more and more willing to purge garments that don’t meet my high standards (at least an 8 on a scale of 1-10).
The clothing I won’t be wearing during the next three months is either boxed up or hidden in the second closet in our apartment. A small section of garments remains in the main closet but is hidden behind my husband’s clothes. My husband was delighted that I moved some of his clothing from his cramped armoire into the main closet and we both like the more open feel of the space.
Project 333 “Coming Attractions”
Each week, I will post a Project 333 update complete with outfit photos. In these posts, I’ll share insights about what I’m learning from doing the project. I’ll also continue to post articles on other topics, so I promise this won’t be all Project 333, all the time! At present, it’s a big thing for me, though, so it may take up more blog “real estate” in the short-term.
One last thing… Although I did not include shoes and accessories among my 33 items, I’ll track what I wear from these categories and aim to pare them down over the coming months. I’ve already added five pairs of shoes to my consignment bag, so I’m making progress! I’ll also track how often I wear my 33 garments and report those stats along the way. I’m still unsure how many pieces my ideal wardrobe would include, but I’m sure the numbers calculated through Project 333 will be helpful in determining that figure.
Doing Project 333? Please Stay in Touch!
If you’re joining me in doing Project 333, I’d love to hear about your journey! Feel free to comment on the blog or message me via the “Connect” page or on Facebook or Twitter. I’d love for us to support each other as we aim to shop less, love and wear what we have, and trade our full closets for fuller lives!