I have now completed almost two months of Project 333. Amazingly, I continue to learn more and more about my wardrobe and myself as I navigate this challenge. As those who have been following my journey know, it’s really been a roller coaster ride for me. Case in point… While week seven was quite easy and smooth-sailing, week eight had me feeling confronted at times.
I sometimes wonder if would have stayed the course with the challenge if I were not blogging about it. While I hope I would have honored my commitment to myself in any event, it definitely helps to have a group of readers who are routing for me to succeed. Knowing I’ll be writing about my experience also helps me to think more deeply about what I’m learning and pushes me to find wins to report even in the more difficult weeks.
Wins for Week Eight
While I had to wrack my brain a bit more this week to find the positives, I do have some wins to report.
Still no shopping!
I continue to honor my promise to you (and to myself) not to shop at all during the month of May. I have to admit that I found it more challenging this past week, as notifications of Memorial Day sales were everywhere! Every time I looked at my television, email, or Facebook page, I saw yet another notice of “amazing deals” to be found in stores over this holiday weekend.
I had to harness all of the willpower within me to resist temptation this week, especially for the all-too-easy online shopping. But I’m proud to report that I did it! I’m pretty much taking it one day at a time at this point and reminding myself that May is almost over.
I really want to shop, but I know that it’s more due to the reasons I outlined in “The Reasons We Shop Too Much” (mainly boredom, avoidance, and anxiety) than from a genuine need for something new. In my heart, I know that buying new clothes or shoes won’t cure my inner turmoil, but rationality doesn’t always quell my hunger to shop. I just hope that as I continue to explore my internal motivations and take on challenges like Project 333, my desire to buy will decrease.
Is the thrill gone?
Saturday surprised me, however. That day, I took my recent wardrobe cast-offs to the local consignment store. As per usual, I had to wait fifteen to twenty minutes for the staff to go through my items to decide which pieces to take. While I waited, I browsed the shop a bit. Business was hopping and many women were frantically perusing the racks. I saw the fervor in many of their eyes and the hurried, frenzied way in which they moved reminded me of how I behaved during previous visits to that store.
Meanwhile, I noticed a shift in myself. I’m not sure how much of my change was due to my May shopping hiatus and my general feeling of malaise on Saturday, but I was not all that tempted to look through what the shop had to offer, let alone buy anything. I browsed through a few racks, but not very much caught my eye.
I wondered if perhaps the spell had been broken. Was I no longer tantalized by the hunt for consignment “diamonds in the rough,” or was the mere knowledge that I couldn’t buy quelling my enthusiasm? Time will tell, I guess, but I do count my Saturday consignment store experience in the win column for the week.
During my Project 333 stint, I have rediscovered my love of scarves. I have quite a large scarf collection but hadn’t been wearing them much over the past year or two. Instead, I’ve been relying more on prints, patterns, and layering as means for varying my look. However, my limited Project 333 wardrobe has led me to turn more to scarves to mix things up a bit.
I’m enjoying rediscovering my scarves over the weeks of Project 333. This past week, I included scarves in three of my outfits. While I feel the third look fell a bit flat (and the scarf may hit the donation bag), I really liked the first two scarf outfits. I believe that the scarves raise my “uniform” of pants, knit top, and open cardigan up a notch to create a more stylish ensemble.
My next challenge with scarves is to learn new ways of tying them. I tend to use the same few tying methods over and over again, but I’d like to discover alternative ways to wear this versatile accessory. I found a few fun links which I’m sharing here for my fellow scarf enthusiasts:
- Scarves.net – How to Tie a Neck Scarf
- Scarf Queen – How to Tie a Scarf Tutorials
- Nordstrom Scarf Tying Video
- Wendy’s Look Book – Tie a Scarf 25 Ways Video
Challenges from Week Eight
And then there were the challenges… Two of my week eight challenges have been mentioned before, so I’ll keep those rants brief. My third difficulty is not new to me, but I don’t believe I’ve broached this embarrassing subject before on the blog. I’m sure some of you can relate, so I’d appreciate any tips or words of wisdom you can provide.
I continue to experience boredom with my lack of garment choices during Project 333. In particular, I really wish I had more tops to choose from. If I do Project 333 again, I will likely include more tops and fewer jackets and cardigans within my capsule. I wanted to add more variety to the mix through layering, but in doing so, I chose fewer and less exciting tops, something I now consider a mistake. I feel like I’m suffering from basic knit overload and sometimes it’s not very fun!
“May Gray” a.k.a. When Will Summer Arrive?
It just hasn’t been very warm in the coastal area of San Diego where I live. I know some of you live in bitterly cold regions and may feel tempted to play the world’s tiniest violins in my honor, so I’ll refrain from any heavy complaints. Suffice it to say that I should have planned better when selecting my Project 333 wardrobe. I’ve lived here for eleven years now, so I should know that our warm weather doesn’t really arrive until late June or even July. More long-sleeved tops should have made their way into my capsule and fewer tanks, skirts, and the like.
The Dreaded Water Retention
As I become “more mature” (my mom’s term for aging…), I’ve been experiencing more frequent water retention and weight fluctuations. I’m not just talking about the weight gain that accompanies the monthly (or in my case, every 21 to 25 days) nemesis here. That’s bad enough, but at least it’s to be expected. I now seem to retain water for seemingly no reason at all! I wore a pair of jeans yesterday (last outfit photo below) that were loose when I last wore them just over a week ago, but they were quite snug this time around. That made for a less than comfortable day, much to my dismay.
When I have my full pants wardrobe to choose from (which, believe it or not, is not very extensive), I am better able to dress for unexpected water weight gain. But with Project 333, my choices are more limited. I know I need more pants in general, Project 333 notwithstanding, so I’d love some suggestions for more forgiving choices. Perhaps if I buy pants with more stretch, they will better accommodate the ups and downs of this “fun” (dripping with irony…) premenopausal time. Maybe I need two sizes of pants, one for slim Debbie and the other for bloated Debbie. I don’t know the answer, but I definitely don’t want to feel as uncomfortable as I did yesterday!
Week Eight Outfits
Here are three of my four outfits from last week. One is shown with and without the jacket I wore as part of the ensemble.
I liked the way the first three outfits looked (I already discussed the fourth look), but found the skirt outfit to be a bit “fussy.” I had to continually adjust each piece (skirt waistband and seams, bottom of tank, collar of jacket) and that annoyed me considerably. Of course, I was in a bad hormonally-charged mood that day anyway, but the outfit fussiness added insult to injury. I liked the look, but I doubt I’ll wear those three pieces together again. Perhaps I’ll wear one of my other black skirts instead next time around (I’m down to only six now instead of nine, but I should still have a good alternative in the mix!).
It can be difficult to discern the “wear-ability” of clothes when trying things on. After all, one can only move around so much in a tiny fitting room. I do my best to twist and turn to mimic my everyday movements, but the fussiness of some garments simply can’t be predicted. Some pieces are fine when they’re brand new but stretch out after being worn, while others simply don’t wash well. This is a frustrating part of shopping that cannot be fully mitigated. Sometimes garments end up being failures despite our best efforts. You win some, you lose some…
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.
I hope these links are useful to you! If you have suggestions for links to add in future weeks, please send them to me and I will be happy to include them.