It’s time for another Project 333 update… Nine weeks down, four to go! During Week Nine, I wore six outfits, completed my May shopping hiatus, and delved back into the world of shopping (big surprise…). In this post, I share my wins, challenges, outfit photos, and a few links to other bloggers who have written about the Project 333 challenge.
Wins for Week Nine
In short, the following are what I see as my wins for week nine:
- More Outfits: I “got dressed” on six of the seven days last week. Included among these outfits are two skirt/dress outfits and lots of black, burgundy, and grey. I also experimented with more advanced pattern mixing in my third outfit. I’m trying new things to break up the boredom of dressing with only 33 garments. I think the combination worked out okay…
- No Shopping in May: I successfully completed my challenge to not buy any new clothes, shoes, or accessories during the month of May. In order to do so, I had to resist the temptation of the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale. I’m proud of myself for seeing my shopping hiatus through and not giving in to the siren call of the sale!
- Repeats are Okay: When I was processing my week nine outfit photos, I noticed that I wore one of my cardigans and a pair of my jeans on two of the days. I used to go out of my way not to do “repeats,” even if I didn’t think I’d see the same people on the day of the encore wearing. This past week, I didn’t care. I see this shift as progress. I’m caring less about what others think and concentrating more on how I feel and what I want to wear.
Week Nine Challenges
I experienced fewer challenges this past week than during week eight, but there were still a few bumps in the road:
- Quality Issues: My olive and black striped t-shirt may be a “goner.” It seems to have stretched out such that it now requires a lot of fussing and adjusting throughout the day. I’ve noticed similar issues with my blue print and coral tees. I think I used to wear my tops so infrequently that it would take me much longer to notice problems, but Project 333 is really pushing me to want to find higher quality tops that will stand the test of time.
- Lack of Shopping Diversity: I finally went back to the shops (more on this below) and found a lot of “sameness” among the stores’ offerings. As one example, almost all pants are tapered and cropped (to that unflattering length a few inches above the ankle) and most jeans are either skinny or “boyfriend” styles. I was hoping to find full-length pants (a “tall order” for me) that have a fair amount of stretch (I’m tired of uncomfortable pants!). I suspect it may take me a while to find what I want and I may have to resort to buying online for a larger selection.
- Lack of Self-Trust: I don’t trust myself to buy the right things when I shop. I’m great when I shop for other people, but I seem to make terrible choices when buying for myself. I have a number of clothing ruts that I’m trying to break and I’m finding that old habits die hard. I have to push myself to get out of my comfort zone and try other things besides what I’m most drawn to. I still feel the pull toward the familiar and I’m feeling a lot of anxiety around breaking into new sartorial territory.
- Continued Boredom: I continue to feel bored with my Project 333 wardrobe capsule. I’m sick to death of the open cardigans, but it’s too cold to just wear my t-shirts and tank tops by themselves. I also feel bored with my t-shirts and wish I had more exciting short-sleeved tops to wear during the month of June. The silver lining is that my shopping list is now more targeted and I plan to buy more non-knit tops and special styles moving forward.
Week Nine Outfits
Below are the six outfits I wore during week nine of Project 333.
Delving Back Into Shopping…
Following my May shopping hiatus, I didn’t wait long to venture back into the stores. While I didn’t rush out to shop on the morning of June 1st, I did hit the shops on June 2nd (yesterday). However, I didn’t just go back and shop “willy-nilly.” I took a few moments to consult my shopping list, which I maintain and update regularly. I wanted to remind myself of my priorities so I would be less likely to grab whatever caught my eye.
I also took a moment to think about the items I had bookmarked while browsing the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale online. Surprisingly, out of the more than thirty items bookmarked, I only remembered two things, a jacket and a pair of shoes. While I may still choose to buy the jacket and/or the shoes, I know I have stronger shopping priorities. I don’t want to use my entire shopping budget for “fun purchases” and be left without the money to buy what I most need.
Adventures in Resale
My first stop was at the local resale shop where I had consigned many of my 2013 cast-offs. Through the sales of my pieces, I had built up considerable credit at that store and was hoping to use it. This store is so large that it often takes over an hour just to peruse their many racks of clothing. The try-on and decision process often takes just as long or longer, so it’s not a quick place to shop.
As I browsed the racks of clothes, I asked myself, “Do I want to wear this tomorrow?” If the answer was no, I didn’t even take the item with me to the fitting room. When I was in the fitting room, I posed these additional questions regarding all pieces I considered buying:
- Do I love this item on me?
- Do I feel comfortable in it, both physically and emotionally?
- Do I already have something very similar in my closet?
- Do I see myself wearing this within the next week (i.e. does it fit my lifestyle)?
- Would I buy this at regular price?
Weeding Through Prospective Purchases
Asking these questions really helped me to weed through my prospective purchases. Out of the 34 garments I tried on, I found only three which met my needs:
- Short black and white polka-dot cardigan (to wear with skirts and dresses)
- Long grey casual jacket
- Orange print blouse
I also purchased several accessories, including a pair of Coach sunglasses that were still quite expensive at the resale price. It has been years since I’ve purchased higher-end sunglasses and I loved this pair, so I decided to take the plunge. Not buying tons of clothing pieces like I did in the past has made me more open to buying better shoes and accessories.
My remaining purchases at the consignment store were a pair of earrings and two necklaces (NOTE: photos of my new items will appear in my June accountability post). I exceeded my accumulated credit by approximately $50, mostly due to the sunglass purchase. However, I still left the store feeling proud of myself, as I had maintained much higher standards for my purchases.
Next I ventured over to the mall down the street. I needed to return two jackets and hoped to potentially find some comfortable pants and perhaps a summer skirt or dress. Unfortunately, I was running out of time after my lengthy resale shopping experience, so I couldn’t visit as many stores as I had hoped.
Sadly, the stores I did visit were devoid of variety, as I mentioned above. I tried on probably 15 pairs of pants/jeans, but none of them worked for me. While I can often order tall versions of store styles online, the cuts and styles I tried were not well-suited to my body type. It seems that most pants these days are cut for women with narrower hips or who don’t have a large difference between their waist and hip measurements (my waist is 10-11 inches smaller than my hips). I’m used to taking in the waist on my pants, but there are limits to what tailoring can do.
I didn’t fare much better with the skirt and dress search, but admittedly I didn’t try as many of those on. I believe that with a bit more time and effort, that pursuit will yield fruit, but I’m not as confident about my pants hunt. I will head back to the mall shortly and continue that search, leaving no retail stone unturned. I will visit stores that aren’t usually on my list and try on as many pants styles as possible. After all, you never know where you’ll hit “pay dirt,” so to speak. This type of shopping may not be fun, but it will be worth it if I find some new pants that work well for me.
I did manage to find a few more workout/walk/lounge t-shirts, so my mall visit wasn’t entirely fruitless. I will finally be able to let go of all of my old, tired at-home t-shirts. I believe I will address all of my previously neglected wardrobe areas by the end of this year. After years of neglect, it feels good to pay attention to my loungewear, sleepwear, and lingerie.
Project 333 Growth and Learning
I continue to learn and grow through doing Project 333. I noticed a difference in the way I approached shopping yesterday compared to how I’ve shopped in the past. I was much more selective and my brain was running the show rather than my emotions.
When looking at clothing for sale, my lifestyle considerations took precedence over the “excitement factor” for the first time in ages. I am also more willing to let go of existing wardrobe pieces that don’t work for me. I now know that I don’t need a large wardrobe in order to meet my needs and dress well.
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.
In closing, I’ll leave you with a few links to others who have blogged about their Project 333 experience. I hope you enjoy the words of wisdom from my fellow challenge participants. If you have other links you’d like me to share, please send them my way.