Project 333 Week Five Update

Month two of Project 333 is under way!  During my fifth week of the challenge, I experienced a lot of ups and downs.  I share those “wins and challenges” below, as well as the five outfits that I wore last week.

Welcomed Warmer Weather!

One piece of good news was that the warm weather early in the week enabled me to wear a few skirt/dress outfits.  I was also able to wear two of the three remaining garments that had not yet been worn during Project 333.  The lone piece which remains unworn after five weeks is the white sequined tank:

White tank not yet worn

An Unforeseen Swap

Sadly, I have to say goodbye to a “wardrobe all-star” that’s been in my closet since 2006.   Call it a casualty of pre-menopausal body changes…   I’ve become more, shall we say, “well-endowed” over the past year such that some of my clothes (not to mention my bras!) no longer fit properly.  One such item is the striped tank in my Project 333 capsule, as I learned last Monday when I included this top in my outfit for that day.  The diagonal seams in the front are supposed to fall under my bust line, but I had to keep pulling the top down to keep it in place.  It felt fussy and tight and definitely not fabulous!  Time to say goodbye…

Fortunately, I have another striped tank to swap into my Project 333 capsule as I pass the previous tank on to charity.  The new tank is quite similar in look but fits much better and is much less fussy (no tricky seams to worry about!).  Here’s a photo of the old and new items:

Striped tank swap

Week Five Wins

I feel it’s important for me to identify at least one or two “wins” each week, even during weeks when I feel particularly challenged.   Here are my wins for week five of Project 333:

  1. I’m wearing more of my scarves and jewelry pieces.  As I attempt to be creative and add variety to my outfits, I’m turning to my accessories (which aren’t part of my 33) and rediscovering some items I love.  I enjoyed wearing scarves three days last week and incorporating a few new (to the challenge) earrings and bracelets into several of my looks.
  2. I explored some new color combinations that I ended up really liking. I normally wouldn’t wear red and bright blue together for fear of looking too “4th of July” but I liked the look with the addition of a watercolor print scarf.  I also wore coral and burgundy together in yesterday’s outfit and plan to re-visit this lovely color pairing again in the future.
  3. I liked that my outfits were colorful, comfortable, and worked well for my plans and activities of the week.
  4. I was able to resist the urge to shop this past weekend despite feeling a strong desire to do so.

Challenges from Week Five

I continue to feel challenged and confronted, not only from doing Project 333, but also because I am blogging about it and sharing my outfits.  Although I’m trying to just dress as I normally would for the events of my life, it’s hard not to consider that I will be photographing my outfits and posting the images on my blog.  I find myself asking, “Is this outfit good enough to post?”  A lot of my insecurities are rearing their ugly heads during Project 333, that’s for sure!

Some other challenges I experienced last week:

  1. I picked up my grey skirt from the tailor and the hem was uneven, so I had to take it back to be fixed.  Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a big deal, as I have many other skirts in my closet.  However, during Project 333, I working with just two skirts, so I feel the absence of one much more deeply.
  2. I continue to wish I had more variety in my wardrobe.  I would like to have more selections within each wardrobe category, both in terms of color choices and silhouette options.  I attempted to choose versatile garments for my capsule, but in so doing, I left out many of my more unique and “wow” pieces. I went with the “tried and true” but now I wish I had some of the more “wild-card” items to pull from.
  3. I also continue to struggle with my “bottoms.”  First off, the skirts… I mentioned in my last post that I have nine black skirts.  The skirt I chose for my Project 333 wardrobe was the one I wore most often last year, but I’m not sure it’s my favorite of the bunch.  My style aesthetic has evolved such that I now prefer shorter, narrower skirts over the longer and more flowing skirts I wore and loved for years.
  4. Pants are my Achilles Heel!  I am constantly trying to balance form with function.  I cannot wear tight pants due to varicose veins and a nerve problem, but I prefer the look of more fitted pants and jeans.  Before Project 333, I would sometimes wear tighter pants when I knew it was only for a short period of time with minimal discomfort.  However, I didn’t include any such pants in my P333 wardrobe, as I wanted to be practical and not fill a precious capsule slot with a potentially uncomfortable garment.  Also, I disqualified some pants because they must be worn with heels and I can only walk in most heels for a short time period.
  5. I’m becoming increasingly “picky” about my clothes and want them to be absolutely perfect.  This leads me to consider alterations that probably aren’t necessary or shopping which I shouldn’t be doing.  In particular, I wanted to shop for pants, skirts, and shoes, as I’m not fully happy with what I have in those areas.  Fortunately, I opted not to shop this past week, especially since I was overly emotional and anxious and I don’t tend to make wise choices in such states.

Lots of challenges, but that probably means that Project 333 is working its magic on me!  No matter what, however, I am committed to see things through and continue Project 333 until the end of June.

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. 

Week Five Outfits

Below are the five outfits I wore during Week Five of Project 333.  Included are two skirt outfits, one dress outfit, and two jeans outfits.  In what was a departure for me, I wore the same skirt twice and the same pair of jeans twice.  It didn’t up being a big deal at all.  I don’t think anyone noticed, and I didn’t really care, either!

Project 333 Week 5 - Outfits #1 and #33

Project 333 Week 5 - Outfit #2

Project 333 Week 5 - Outfits #4 and #5

I really hate the way my pants photograph and how wrinkly they look towards the bottom. I swear they look better in real life, even if none of my pants are “10”s.  Pant lengths can be tricky, though, with different heel heights.  Unless one wears skinny pants or jeans, it can be difficult to get the pant/shoe balance just right.  In the future, I think I’ll just stick with two heel heights – flats and low heels – for wearing with pants.  That will make things a lot easier, and I’m definitely trying to simplify my wardrobe – and my life!

Roller-coaster Emotions…

I’m in a much better state today, but I’ve experienced a roller-coaster of emotions since starting Project 333.  My next post will delve deeper into my continued desire to shop, what it means, and what I’ve decided to do about it (at least for now).  I’m more determined than ever to overcome my compulsive shopping habit, as well as the underlying issues which lead me to shop too much!

Thanks for following along on my journey.  I appreciate all of your comments and encouragement.  I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my struggle and I’m happy to have inspired many of you to examine your wardrobes and shopping habits. 

26 thoughts on “Project 333 Week Five Update

    • Karen, I also thank you for taking the time to express your appreciation for my blog!

    • Frugalscholar, Thanks for the compliment on my scarves! There are many more where those came from and I’m happy that Project 333 is leading me to rediscover their value in my wardrobe!

  1. Good for you on not going shopping! And those bright pops of color really make you look good. And remember this, if someone should notice (or be rude enough to mention) that you wear the same bottom twice, they have way too much time on their hand. I think I could pull off P333 without too much of a problem, but to blog about it along with sharing my outfits seems a bit nerve racking.

    • Cornelia, Thanks for your compliment and encouragement! You’re right in that blogging about Project 333 and sharing outfit photos can be unnerving. It’s helping me to grow, though, so I’m glad I’ve pushed myself to do it. Plus, the encouragement I get from my readers helps me to push through the nervousness I feel. Knowing that my posts are helping others is stronger than any anxiety I feel.

      As always, I appreciate your feedback!

  2. A few years ago I was watching the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda, and Kathie Lee was complaining about how one day she suddenly noticed her boobs had dropped as a result of menopausal changes. At the time, i thought, “oh, that’s not going to happen to me”. WRONG. I went from a 36c to a 38d in the space of a little more than a year.

    My button up shirts did not fit, the straining across my chest, and finding new shirts that fit in the shoulders and the bust was nigh impossible. So I learned to love knits as a graceful alternative.

    My recommendation to you, based on my own struggle, is to go get fitted for a bra by someone who knows what they are doing. You may have to go to several stores and I would not recoomend a famous store (whose signature color is pink) because their younger sales staff did not have the experience in determining fit. The fit in bras is all over the map. Even though I loathed the concept at first, underwires (if properly padded so they dont dig into your skin) were the best way for me to go. Well, also factoring in that its really hard to find bras without underwires once you get above certain sizes. However– I did try out those Genie bras, finding them to be quite comfortable and supportive, like a sports bra that looks more like regular bra. Depending on the silhouette of my outfit, I will choose either an underwire or the Genie.

    Like you, I also have foot problems due to a nasty fracture 4 years ago and cannot comfortably wear heels any higher than 2.5″. This can present a problem in hemming pants to accomodate different heel heights, but I just discovered something new! This season, the most on trend pants length hits right at the ankle. At first I thoought it was an unattractive length–until I tried it and discovered it has a fresh look that instantly updates you, and the height of your heel becomes a non issue, because ankle pants look great with both flats and heels! Ankle pants also look more chic than crop pants because they visually lengthen the leg.

    BTW, I really like the orange/burgundy combo you showed– very creative color choices! And your pants do not look as bad as you say– think flow. You are not standing still in life–no one will think your pants are wrinkled. A photo is just a second of stillness in time.

    • Deborah, Thanks for sharing your bra story (and Kathie Lee’s, too). I know it’s an issue for many. I know someone who had a “boob job” in her 30s and now wants a reduction in her 40s because she thinks her bust is too big! I was happy with my smaller chest and I’m not exactly huge now, but it does take some adjustment. I will have to get some new bras because it seems my current ones fit me half the month but not the other half. Frustrating!

      Interesting that you like the ankle pants. I’ve seen them in the stores a lot but haven’t really seen anyone around here wearing them. I have been lukewarm on them because I thought they would have a leg-shortening and widening effect, much like the capri pants that were in for years. I have committed to trying on ALL types of pants because I really want to find some great options, so I will try that style on, too. I have to admit that I’m skeptical that they will work on larger hips and thighs (not that mine are all that large, but just in comparison to my upper body), but sometimes you never know until you try…

      Thanks for the compliment on my color combo. I know you know colors, so it means a lot coming from you 🙂 And you’re right about the flow and movement in relation to the pants. I was surprised at the photo because the pants really do look better in real life!

  3. I enjoy your candor as you write about your experience with Project 333. And I love your skirt–it’s fun without being too formal or frumpy! I especially appreciate your comments about pants and their fit. I’m trying to replace two pairs of gray pants with one pair because of fit and length issues. It is so discouraging to go into a dressing room with several pairs and not find anything that is a “10”. But thanks to your comments and I’m going to keep looking and not settle for something that isn’t quite right–I’ve done that and I ended up with two pairs of pants that aren’t quite right!
    And thanks for the photos–you look great! And that burgundy and coral outfit is wonderful!

    • Kirsti, Welcome and thanks for your comment! I’m glad you’re finding my posts interesting and helpful. Thanks for your compliments as well.

      I’m glad you’ve decided not to settle when shopping for pants. It can definitely be frustrating to try on pair after pair, but it’s worth it to hold out for 10’s. I don’t plan on settling for less moving forward!

  4. Hi Debbie. Yes congratulations from me too on your resisting the urge to shop last weekend as I know how hard that can be, especially if one is in a mall and surrounded by temptation 🙂
    The idea of using scarves to link colours that may not be our usual combinations is wonderful and you really showed this to good effect. The weather here is now cooler and I’m loving that I can wear scarves for the lift and variation they give – it’s way too hot in the summer unfortunately.
    Thanks for all the wardrobe inspiration – I’m especially loving the Project 333 breakdown posts.

    • Megan, Thanks for your comment. I’m glad I’m inspiring you to wear scarves. They really are a wonderful and versatile accessory and there are many ways to wear them. In fact, I need to diversify the ways I wear my scarves… It’s not usually too hot to wear scarves here, but I live near the water and it is rarely even in the 80’s (F – not sure about the C conversion) here. In fact, I often wish it was warmer!

  5. You look so beautiful and happy! I can’t wait to read next week’s update.

    I am proud of you for resisting the urge to shop. You’re stronger than you know.

    • Abigail, Welcome and thank you for your kind words! I’ve been pleased to get so much acknowledge for my resisting the shopping urge. Every time I resist, I do feel stronger, but I need to come up with other coping mechanisms besides shopping. One step at a time…

  6. Yes yes yes!!!- I agree with Deborah about the ankle pant on you/as I have mentioned in 2 prior comment posts- not the cropped/capri(these run approx 25 to 27 in length and I have yet to see a woman out there on which that length is flattering- only serves to make the legs look short!) but the 28 to 30 inch length leg.
    The ankle pant is a much different story -on the the right bodyframe of slim hips and long well shaped legs they create a very flattering silhouette. YOU have exactly that bodyframe- as a matter of fact- you may not realize it but you are porportioned almost identical to Princess Di (and Ines de la Fressange as I mentioned before although Ines is a little too thin for her height). Nevertheless please google some of the pics of the 2 as they wore (and Ines still does) the ankle pant . I can’t say it enough- they are made for you Debbie and never go out of style or requiring having to worry about hems. Seriously they are a staple in my wardrobe that I couldn’t live without.

    • ABgurl, I just Googled Ines de la Fressage with “pants” and saw some lovely photos of her in the types of pants you mentioned. I do like those! I don’t like the shorter version that are neither capris nor long pants, but Ines’s pants look very nice and I could see myself wearing them. I will definitely look for such pants as it gets near the end of my Project 333 term. I haven’t shopped for pants (or much of anything) since starting Project 333, but I DO want to find some other types of pants. I plan to get rid of some of the pants I have (the ones that are either uncomfortable, unflattering, or both) and replace them with upgrades.

      Thanks for your suggestions and your kind words. It’s so nice to be compared to two such lovely women as Princess Di and Ines!

      • You’re most welcome but to let you know they are not just kind words(abt the comparison)- and as I ‘ve said before, few of us particularly with eating issues, can really see what others do.
        The fact is you “OWN” what those 2 had/have ( you and Di are much closer than I think you can see-almost identical bodyshape right down to the legs and the exact same height & although she shared the broken home, eating disorder crap,etc that we do fortunately that is where a second similarity ends as she went a step further and became a cutter/while I can understand an eating disorder as a form of personal abuse I will never be able to understand the rationale behind going that step further and actually abusing oneself with cutting. I think to myself -geez isn’t it enough to harm& damage yourself physically through starving without pain and permanent disfigurement?? )

      • Abgurl, Thanks for following up. It’s true that I don’t see myself clearly. I definitely see myself as bigger than I really am. It’s a lasting remnant of my many anorexic years. I actually did have some issues with cutting during my teens, but it thankfully didn’t last long. I think it was about wanting to feel when I was otherwise so numb. Fortunately, I don’t have any lasting scars. I identified with Princess Di a great deal, cried when she died, and woke up in the middle of the night to watch her funeral. She was a great lady and gone far too soon…

  7. Pants! I think they are the bane of many women’s wardrobe. It is hard to find pants that fit one’s figure. Your jeans are cute, though! I actually wouldn’t mind swapping my skinnies for those, because I think the are more versatile and can be more easily dressed up. For my next pair of jeans I will probably look for a more tailored slack-like pair.

    I also had a foot fracture a few years ago and cannot wear heels at all. It has required an attitude adjustment for me, especially at social events where all my girlfriends are in cute little strappy high heels and I have on the same black ortho sandals. But it does simplify things, and I literally had to get over it. I don’t have a choice if I want to avoid chronic foot pain.

    • Sara, Thanks for your comment! I’ve been meaning to comment on your blog, as I enjoyed reading about your Project 333 experience the other day (found you via a Project 333 post). Sorry to hear about your foot fracture! I had foot surgery myself 5 years ago, so I can definitely empathize with the foot issues. I now go more for comfort in shoes and suffer for the sake of fashion less and less these days. It’s just not worth it when one has foot problems! Same with my pants and the varicose veins and strange nerve problem I developed in recent years. I just can’t wear tight pants for more than a couple of hours at a time (which is why no tight pants are in my 33).

      Pants are the trickiest, aren’t they? It’s nice to have some variety in one’s pants wardrobe. I’ve been wanting to buy some pants/jeans in bright colors, but they’re hard to find at my height. I guess I just have to be persistent!

  8. I love that green and blue scarf – so pretty! Scarves and necklaces can really help fill out a wardrobe and can liven up the plainest of outfits. good on ya!

    • Thanks, Mrs. Madrigal! Can you believe that was the first time I wore that scarf? I’ve had it for close to a year! Doing Project 333 is definitely helping me to wear my accessories more and that’s a great thing!

  9. Another great recap. I have also found, when working with a smaller wardrobe, I am more inclined to repeat an item (especially jeans) or even an entire outfit (if laundry is timed right) in the same week. In the past I would never repeat an item, for a full two weeks. I didn’t want to be that girl with no clothes. And no one has ever commented to me about my repeat items.

    One of my favorite quotes is about comparing how American and French women view repeating outfits. It is so true.

    “she pointed out that the American impulse is to look in the closet and say, “I can’t wear that, I just wore it on Tuesday!” French women, on the other hand, say, “That looked great on Tuesday — I think I’ll wear it again.””

    From this page. http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/real-style/no-more-yoga-pants-how-dress-frenchwoman.html

    • I love the quote, Lisa! I’m getting more comfortable with repeating items or even full outfits, too. I don’t really think anyone notices, like you said. I would rather wear fabulous outfits over and over again than wear ho-hum ensembles much of the time. Although I didn’t love all of my Project 333 outfits, I think I liked more of them than in the months before when I was trying to wear everything in my closet, even the less fab items.

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