Project 333 By the Numbers – The Full Debrief

A little over a week ago, I completed a full stint of Project 333, the minimalist fashion project which challenges participants to wear only 33 items for three months.  Although purists of the challenge include shoes and accessories within their 33, I opted to only count articles of clothing.  I reasoned that taking on Project 333 was scary enough for this longtime “clothing maximalist,” and I wanted to have a higher chance of success.

Warning – Numbers Overload Ahead…

Succeed I did – and Project 333 wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be!  Being the tracking geek that I am, I kept a full accounting of everything I wore during April, May, and June.  In today’s post, I share my June numbers (see the April and May numbers here and here) as well as my final numbers for the full project.  I also share my favorite outfits worn over the course of Project 333.

Before I delve into my Project 333 debrief, I have to warn you that there are a lot of numbers!  If you’re at all like me,  you’ll love my level of detail, but others might find themselves thinking, “This woman is nuts!”  Don’t worry, though.  I’ve included lots of photos for my more visually inclined readers.

Project 333 Lessons Coming Soon!

Later this week, I will recap the top lessons learned from dressing with less for three months.  I had originally planned to do it all in one post, but the “by the numbers” information was long enough for one day!  I also feel that my lessons learned are significant enough to stand alone (and I hope may compel others to take on Project 333!).

NOTE:  If you’re new to this blog and are curious about Project 333, please refer to my previous Project 333 posts or check out the “Dress with Less” microcourse from Courtney Carver, the creator of Project 333.

Project 333 – June Summary

Here are my clothing stats for the month of June:

  • Number of Garments Worn during June:  27
  • Garments Worn 4 Times:  2   (navy pants, white/black/grey print skirt)
  • Garments Worn 3 Times:   4  (black jeans, black skirt, black tank, orange blazer)
  • Garments Worn Twice:   6   (denim blazer, grey cardigan, burgundy cardigan, black cardigan, green tank, blue tee with leaf print)
  • Garments Worn Once:   15
  • Garments Not Worn:  6

June Shoes and Accessories Summary

Although shoes and accessories were not included in my 33 capsule items, I committed to tracking which pieces I wear and how often.  I’m not as concerned with excesses in these areas of my wardrobe, as I don’t tend to overbuy shoes and accessories as often as clothing.  However, I do want to purge items I don’t love and wear within all of my wardrobe categories.

Below are the shoes and accessories I wore during June, along with the numbers for each category.

Shoes Worn:  13 (one pair worn 4 times, three pairs worn twice, the rest once, April/May repeats = 7)

Project 333 - Shoes Worn June 2013

Earrings Worn:  15 (four pairs worn twice, the rest once, April/May repeats = 10)

Project 333 - Earrings Worn June 2013

Watches Worn:  3 (one worn 9 times, one worn 6 times, one worn 3 times, all are repeats)
Bracelets Worn:  10 (two worn 4 times, one worn 3 times, two worn twice, the rest once, repeats = 7)

Project 333 - June Watches and Bracelets

Necklaces Worn:  4 (all worn once, no April/May repeats)

Project 333 - Necklaces Worn June 2013

Scarves Worn:  3 (all worn once, one April/May repeat)

Project 333 - Scarves Worn June 2013

Purses Used:  3 (one April/May repeat)

Project 333 - Purses Used June 2013

Overall Project 333 Summary – Clothing

  • Garments Worn 12 Times:  1  (black jeans)
  • Garments Worn 9 Times:  2  (navy pants, burgundy cardigan)
  • Garments Worn 8 Times:  2  (black skirt, Cabi jeans)
  • Garments Worn 6 Times:  3  (grey cardigan, orange blazer, Gap trouser jeans)
  • Garments Worn 5 Times:  6  (print skirt, blue print tee, white tee, denim blazer, cobalt cardigan, black cardigan)
  • Garments Worn 4 Times:  9
  • Garments Worn 3 Times:  10
  • Garments Worn Twice:  1  (grey skirt swapped out in May for print skirt)
  • Garments Not Worn:  1  (white tank swapped out in May for black tank)
  • Swaps Made:  8  (all done during first half of the challenge)
  • Garments Consigned/Donated:  3  (grey skirt, original striped tank, olive/black striped tee)

The image below includes the garments that I have termed my “Project 333 All-Stars.”  These are the items that I wore most often during April, May, and June.

Project 333 All-Star Garments

Overall Project 333 Summary – Shoes & Accessories

Over the course of Project 333, I wore 26 pairs of shoes (10 flats and 16 heels).  I purposely wore many pairs of shoes, as I wanted to evaluate which shoes should stay in my closet and which ones should be consigned or donated.  Although I am keeping the 26 pairs I wore during the challenge, I purged 13 other pairs after attempting to wear them and learning that they just didn’t meet my comfort requirements.  No more “taxi shoes” for me!

Here is a summary of my shoe wear during Project 333:

  • Shoes Worn 8 Times:  1  (metallic Raffini sandals)
  • Shoes Worn 6 Times:  3  (black Ecco flats, pewter Clark’s peeptoes, pewter Enzo flats)
  • Shoes Worn 5 Times:  1  (leopard print flats)
  • Shoes Worn 3 Times:  3  (black Beautifeel slingbacks, Pewter Naot pumps, Black White Mtn. peeptoes)
  • Shoes Worn Twice:  4
  • Shoes Worn Once:  14

Below is a photo of my top five “Project 333 Shoe All-Stars.”

Project 333 All-Star Shoes

I enjoyed rediscovering a number of my accessories during Project 333.  Because I was dressing with only 33 garments, I relied heavily on my jewelry and scarves to add interest and variety to my outfits.   Here’s a summary of my accessory wear throughout the challenge:

  • Watches Worn:  3   (one worn 26 times, one worn 23 times, one worn 11 times)
  • Earrings Worn:  29  (one worn 5 times, four worn 4 times, five worn 3 times, six worn twice, others worn once)
  • Bracelets Worn:   17  (one worn 14 times, two worn 9 times, one worn 6 times, three worn 3 times, three worn twice, others worn once)
  • Necklaces Worn:  8  (three worn twice, others worn once)
  • Scarves Worn:  14  (one worn twice, others worn once)

The image below shows my top twelve “Project 333 Accessory All-Stars” (three watches, four bracelets, seven earrings):

Project 333 Accessory All-Stars

Favorite Project 333 Outfits

Throughout the Project 333 challenge, I posted photos of 57 outfits.  Some of these outfits I liked a lot, while others fell flat.   While I didn’t always enjoy photographing my ensembles (let alone posting them on the Internet!), seeing all of the images in front of me taught me a lot about my style.  I’ll delve into this topic more in my next post, but for now I’ll just say that I learned a great deal about what I like, what I don’t like, and what I’d like to change.  As the old saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words!

From all of my outfit photos, I have selected my top 8 skirt/dress outfits and my top 8 pants outfits.  My decision on what made these ensembles my favorites was based upon comfort as well as appearance, as I believe we always need to feel good in what we’re wearing!

Project 333 Favorite Skirt/Dress Outfits 1-4

Project 333 Favorite Skirt/Dress Outfits 5-8

Project 333 Favorite Pants Outfits 1-4

Project 333 Favorite Pants Outfits 5-8

In Closing

For those who are still with me, congratulations on your stamina!  When I started writing this post, I didn’t realize how much data I had compiled over the past three months…  Yes, it’s a lot, but the tracking I did really contributed to my learning process (read more about “Why Track Your Wardrobe?”).  I really believed I would have worn my 33 garments far more often!  Even 9 or 12 wearings over the course of three months isn’t all that much.

I will share lots more about what I learned in my next post.   I may still participate in the summer session of Project 333.  I’ve been tracking what I’ve worn thus far.  When I reach 33, I will look at what’s on my list and decide whether or not to keep tracking or finalize a Project 333 wardrobe capsule.  I’m still keeping my options open, but I am leaning toward either doing Project 333 again or devising a different type of wardrobe challenge for myself.  Stay tuned!

19 thoughts on “Project 333 By the Numbers – The Full Debrief

  1. Great work! It really is hard to wear many things more than 12-15 times per year, even with a small wardrobe. Enjoy your recaps… All the best, xo

    • Thanks, lcossco! You’re right about wear frequency. I’m not sure what’s optimal and it will vary from person to person. I just know I don’t want any more “benchwarmers” in my closet!

  2. It’s like I received a full post response from the comment I made in your last post! It really didn’t take long for you to make significant changes since starting this blog. I turned over my wardrobe 3 times in 4 years before being where I am now. Although the number of items in my wardrobe was always hovering between 110-125 items, when I do my year end assessment, I noticed the ratio between the number of items I owned vs. the number of times I wore each item was very wide. I think the 80/20 theory is true for most people. (We wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time). I would then get rid of the 80% I was not wearing and buy new items that I think I would wear more often. You would think doing a complete overhaul once would be enough. Well, for me it took 3 times and wasted over 300 items. Now my wardrobe vs. actual wear ratio is 60/40, so that means I still don’t wear or rarely wear 40% of my wardrobe. It was only this year that I focused more seriously on the frequency of use and not the actual number of items I own.

  3. I need to correct myself on the ratio I just wrote…I meant to write 60/90. I wear 60% of my wardrobe 90% of the time and the remaining 40% is rarely worn. I’m glad to find a kindred spirit that is equally obsessed with numbers as I am!

    • Seems we are kindred spirits, Wendy. I’m glad you have gotten to a much better place with your wardrobe. I know I have wasted a lot of items in the past, too, to get where I am. I haven’t posted about how many items I bought each year and I’m not sure if I have those figures (too depressing), but I think my average was 150-200 items! So I have gotten rid of A LOT on the way to where I am now. Kind of depressing when you think about it, but we can’t turn back the clock. The important thing is that we are in a better place NOW. May you continue to make excellent progress, my fellow numbers junkie 🙂

  4. I really enjoyed your ‘numbers’ post. I briefly considered doing project 222 or 333 for the months of July and August when I’m travelling, but had the hardest time deciding what to bring along as the weather will be very unpredictable. I’ve been lucky so far and have been able to wear mostly dresses and white jeans.

    • Thanks so much, FrugalFashionista! Project 222 sounds interesting… My husband briefly pondered the idea of Project 111 (11 items for one month) and we discussed what items he’d choose. But he doesn’t really have a shopping problem. He has too many clothes because I bought them for him – LOL! I’m glad your summer wardrobe is working out well. Dresses and white pants/jeans are on my list. Fingers crossed I can find them…

    • Welcome, Dawn! I didn’t know you read my blog. Nice to hear from a “blast from the past.” Hope you’re doing well!

  5. What an excellent round up of your Project 333.

    I’m not a numbers geek, but I found it fascinating. I need to re-do my 33 at the moment as a few extra tops seem to be sneaking in and suddenly there is too much choice again. It’s funny how it’s more calming to have less choice and a sparser wardrobe.

      • I’m a week and a half in to this session of P333, and I have had one extra garment creep into my closet. I need to make some adjustments to my closet layout (new apartment means new closet to get used to!) and figure out which item will be removed once I can see everything better. It’s currently a bit cramped in my 35in wide closet!

    • Thanks, Sue! Glad you enjoyed the post even though you’re not a “numbers geek” like I am. “Closet creep” is how I ended up with a closet of almost 272 garments at the beginning of this year! Having a “one in, one out” policy should help to keep things under control, but it’s nice to know that Project 333 is always there as an invaluable tool for all of us!

  6. This was a very interesting post. You have many items of clothing that are very similar to each other (the pewter flats and the pewter peep-toes, etc.) — and this must reduce the # of times you wear each item. And 3 purses for one month — two of which appear to be the same color?!! Wow! I wonder if your did another Project 333 from your now-reduced wardrobe what the results would be? Perhaps this could be your next project! I’d be very interested in what your take would be on Project 333 Redux.

    • Thanks for your comment, Dottie. I will likely do another Project 333 and maybe sooner than I think… For now, I’m keeping everything in the boxes and only adding things back to my closet as I wear them. I’m also keeping a list of everything I’m wearing and haven’t even come close to 33 yet! I do have some similar items and doing Project 333 was helpful in increasing my awareness of that. I’m okay with some similarities and DO use my pewter shoes and purses quite a bit, but that isn’t the case with ALL of my similar pieces.

  7. Congratulations !!! I am at it too at the moment. I have just finished the 6th week and have posted 33 outfits on my blog. I have also not included shoes or other accessories in the 33 items but I mainly use the same shoes anyway because they go so well with my clothes. I believe that this project really helps you to find your personal style. I have become more and more interested in the minimalistic style and I know now that this is the right one for me. And I had already a big clearout and there will be another one after summer. I can only recommend this project, even for a month or two. You will notice soon how wonderful it is not to spend an hour in front of your closet asking yourself what to wear only to go back to what you really love and always wear at the end !

    • Welcome, Tartangirl, and thanks for your comment! I agree that Project 333 can be very beneficial in helping a person to find her style. I learned so much about both myself and my style (what I like, what I don’t like, what I’d like to change, etc.) from doing the challenge and it sounds like the same is true for you. And you’re only about halfway through your first term! I definitely recommend Project 333 to anyone who wants to create a more manageable wardrobe. It certainly made a HUGE difference for me! Best of luck to you with the rest of your Project 333 term! I hope you comment again and let me know how you’re doing.

  8. I also track my wardrobe by the numbers and always find it interesting. I have learned that I tend to favor 4 bottoms at a time, then a few weeks later, I’ll favor another combination of 4. So my current working closet has 6 bottoms. I seem to have a core of 2 that I always wear, and the remaining 2 vary week to week. But in the past, when I wasn’t tracking, I would think I needed 7 bottoms. Then another 7 for variety the next week. But I don’t mind repeating bottoms often, so I don’t 14 of them! I would not have realized this if I didn’t track my clothes.

    • I find I don’t need as many bottoms as I once thought, too. I would like to have more variety in the types of pants I have, but I don’t need 15 pairs of blue jeans or black pants! Tracking has been very helpful to me, too. I would have thought that EVERYTHING in my closet was being worn more, but the numbers don’t lie!

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