March Accountability and Favorite Outfits

With all of my excitement and activity around Project 333, I almost forgot about my March accountability post!  I definitely want to keep up the monthly accountability posts, as they help me to stay responsible with my budget and shopping rules.  Knowing I’ll have to report to the “world” how I’m doing with my shopping keeps me honest!

Since I have a number of articles planned and will be posting my Project 333 outfits weekly, I decided to include my favorite outfits for March through June in my accountability posts instead of doing it separately as I did in January and February.  I will revisit this issue following Project 333.

I have no idea how popular my outfit posts are and this isn’t really a style blog, but I do like to remind myself and others that we don’t have to shop all the time to have outfits we love to wear.  Ironically, I’m finding the opposite to be true.  I love what I wear more now that I’m buying less and taking the time to “shop my closet”!

Wardrobe Additions

I did add a few new items to my wardrobe during March, but these were far offset by the large number of pieces which were removed from my closet.  Because I returned several items in March, I allowed myself to purchase two items of clothing and two accessories instead of the mandated one of each (this is in line with my 2013 rules).

My first garment purchase was an orange anorak from Eddie Bauer that I’d been thinking about since my February visit to their store.  I am pleased with this buy, as the majority of my casual jackets are heavier in weight and I wanted some more lightweight pieces for warmer days.

My other clothing purchase was a multi-color open cardigan from Chico’s.  I actually wish I didn’t buy this item, as it now feels a bit matronly to me and isn’t really my style.  I was shopping with my mom and allowed myself to be swayed by compliments from her and the sales associate, as well as the low price tag.  I should have known better…  After Project 333 is over, I will re-visit this item and see how I feel about it.  If my feelings haven’t changed, it’s another item for my donation bag (I can’t return it because it’s been altered)!

March 2013 Clothing Purchases

March 2013 Clothing Purchases

I also bought two pairs of earrings during March, Swarovski crystal drop earrings I’ve already worn several times and multi-color Silpada stone earrings I acquired toward the end of the month.  I am happy with both pairs of earrings and believe they will receive regular wear.

March 2013 Accessory Purchases

March 2013 Accessory Purchases

Finally, I purchased some items for previously neglected areas of my wardrobe:  workout wear, lounge wear, and sleepwear.  Since I spend so much time in these types of garments, these upgrades were long overdue!   I already feel so much more attractive when I’m exercising or working from home.  I wonder why I didn’t address this area of my closet sooner…

What Left My Closet and Why

As I prepared for Project 333, I tried on every single garment in my closet!  This process not only assisted me in selecting the best possible pieces for my April through June wardrobe, it also helped me to release a large number of sub-standard items from my overloaded closet.  Here’s a recap of what left my closet during the month of March:

  • 7 pairs of shoes (including 2 returns)
  • 3 purses (2 returns, 1 consignment)
  • 5 dresses
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 12 tops (including 3 returns)
  • 6 workout/lounge tees
  • 1 jacket
  • 5 cardigans

TOTAL – 43 items!

All of my non-Project 333 garments are boxed up or hidden away at present, but I will revisit those items at the end of June.  I suspect that I’ll be ready to release a number of those pieces after dressing with less for three months.  I’m feeling more and more capable of cultivating a smaller, more minimalist wardrobe.  I feel good about my decision to take on the Project 333 challenge.  Of course, I’m still nervous about it, but my anxiety is calming down and I’m feeling more relaxed and at ease as time goes by.  I’ll post an update on my first week of Project 333 Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Budget Update                  

Some good news and some bad news here… The bad news is that I spent $1023.12 during the month of March, but the good news is that my returns (two of them for items purchased during March) amounted to $835.80.  Consequently, my net spend for the month was just $187.32, well within my monthly budget of $250.

I am still a bit behind for the year, however, due to overspending in January and February.  My current total sits at $790.44, so I’m still about $40 over my budget at this point.  I’ll definitely make up the difference during April, though, as I plan to only buy some more workout wear, undergarments, and perhaps one accessory item this month.  I’ll continue to keep a close eye on my budget, as it’s important for me to keep to the limits I’ve set for myself.  I haven’t done that for ten years, but this is the year I will turn it around!

A note about the returns… I am aware that my serial return habit is a problem. I know that when I return things, sales associates lose much-needed commissions that impact their livelihood.  I became more aware of this issue after reading a recent article written by an ex-Nordstrom employee, so I’m making a stronger effort to curb my returns moving forward.

One way to help limit returns is to take a “time out” prior to making a purchase.  Jill Chivers of “Shop Your Wardrobe(who offers two great programs for compulsive shoppers) recommends taking a “power pause” of two hours to two days before buying something new.  While this isn’t always practical or feasible, I feel it’s a good guideline that can help keep us out of trouble.

Favorite Outfits

My favorite outfits continue to be casual in nature and incorporate many of the common themes I identified in January and February, including stripes, polka dots, animal print, black, jeans, and jewel tones.  Being comfortable is important to me, so I try my best to blend style with comfort in my ensembles.

Here are six of my favorite outfits from March 2013.  Some of them include 2012 “wardrobe benchwarmer” items I was surprised that I loved upon wearing.  I look forward to revisiting many of these pieces later in the year after I complete Project 333.

2013 Favorite Outfits 1 and 2

Stripes, black, and polka dots, oh my!

March 2013 Favorite Outfits 3 and 4

Pink, animal print, and kitty “photo bomber”!

March 2013 Favorite Outfits 5 and 6

Blue tones and a cozy casual look

I Welcome Your Comments!

Speaking of Project 333, I will be posting my outfits and sharing my insights each week during April, May, and June.  Stay tuned for my first Project 333 update early next week.  In the meantime, I welcome your comments.

How are you doing with your shopping and spending this year?  Are you learning new things about yourself and your style?  Have you adopted any new goals, rules, or challenges to help you shop smarter, dress better, and feel more confident about your wardrobe and your life?  I appreciate your insights, as well as any questions you have for me.  Thanks for reading my blog and accompanying me on my journey!

10 thoughts on “March Accountability and Favorite Outfits

  1. Thank you for your blog!
    I have been doing Project 333 too! It’s a strange paradox isn’t it … I have also noticed that I’m enjoying wearing my clothes more now that I have less to choose from! Too much choice seems to cause confusion and feelings of being overwhelmed ! I have slips up by purchasing more … old habits die hard … but I figure its a process … not an event!

    • Wendy, Thank you for your comment. You are SO right! I was completely overwhelmed by my wardrobe before and feel more peaceful about the small collection that is in my closet now. I suspect that my optimal number of clothes is somewhere in between, but I”m going to reserve judgment, do Project 333, and see what opens up for me.

      It’s true that old habits die hard. I felt SO strong at the beginning of the year when I started my “recovering shopaholic” project, but I’ve had a few slip-ups since then, including my big over-spend in early March. I am trying to be gentle and kind towards myself, as I didn’t get this way overnight and won’t change overnight, either. But I AM making progress and it sounds like you are, too!

      Welcome and best wishes with Project 333!

  2. You’ve inspired me to sort through what I have more than ever, and I have found myself using your rating system too! I discovered a big motivation that leads to my over shopping is that I have SO FEW 8+s, and I am always looking for them/purchasing hoping to find them and failing! I want a closet full of 8+’s, not a couple nice items and a lot of mediocre ones. I hold on to the mediocre ones because A) I feel guilt for wasting money (biggest factor) B) I keep hoping I will discover something really works for me now even if it didn’t before (I’ll lose weight, I’ll figure out how to style it better/etc) and C) I don’t have enough really nice items to even do a versatile 33 for 3 without at least a couple mediocres thrown in.

    • So happy I’m inspiring you! I am working on practicing what I preach with only having 8+s in my wardrobe. It’s a more than worthy goal, though!

      About the wasted money, I remember something that Courtney Carver (Project 333 founder) said… She talked about “sunk costs” and how the money was wasted when we spent it and we can’t get it back. Holding on to something out of guilt won’t bring the money back; it will just have us keep feeling bad! One of the dresses I took to consignment the other day cost me over $100 and I NEVER wore it! It just wasn’t me and I shouldn’t have bought it. From time to time, I would try it on, wince, and then put it back on the hanger. It would hang there in my closet and silently taunt me, but I STILL didn’t wear it. It felt freeing to get rid of that item and a bunch of other things I don’t wear.

      I tried consignment first for some things so that perhaps I could recoup some of my costs, but they didn’t take everything. I have a few pairs of shoes to donate this weekend. They were hardly worn, but I am happy to pass them along now. Once someone is out of my site, the guilt fades away. I try to learn from my mistakes, but we are all human. It’s a process and a journey and I’m trying to enjoy the ride as much as possible.

  3. Forgot to say- the chico’s cardigan isn’t necessarily matronly, it really depends on how you style it- I think it could be really fun!

    • You’re right! It does depend on the styling. I will see if I am inspired in early July when I bring the cardigan back into my closet. If so, great! If not, someone else will get to enjoy it (as I know there are those who will really love it).

  4. Hi there – I’ve loved reading your posts and your wardrobe analysis. I’ve been doing something very similar myself – including Project 33! It does really focus the mind doesn’t it. Good luck in the endeavour – an edited closet full of fabulous pieces that make you look and feel wonderful – without spending a fortune. Definitely sounds worthwhile!

    • Welcome, Ally, and thanks for your good wishes! I wish you the best as well! Yes, I am excited by my goals for Project 333 and beyond, and I’m starting to feel more and more like I can actually achieve these objectives.

      I’m happy to have you as a reader and a fellow Project 333 participant. Please feel free to comment again anytime. I’d love to know how you’re doing with Project 333 and your goals.

  5. Hey Debbie,
    I have a feeling that you may enjoy wearing the multi-coloured cardigan from Chico’s with a lighter colour dress/pants for spring/summer, which will go well with the multi-coloured earrings you purchased this month. Let me know how you end up styling this cardigan, I am much curious as to the fate of this garment.
    Thank you for blogging, I like your blog very much, it is very useful and very thought-provoking. You’ve done a great job and I look forward to your wardrobe and shopping journey!

    • Belle, Welcome and thank you for your comment! I’m glad you’re finding my blog useful and thought-provoking. I appreciate your suggestions regarding the Chico’s cardigan. I agree it would look nice with lighter-colored pants, but I don’t have any! I haven’t worn the cardigan yet, as I’ve been doing Project 333, but I plan to look at the rest of my wardrobe more closely beginning in July. I will also try harder to find pants that work for me and I hope to find some light-colored ones at that time (fingers crossed!).

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