Those who have been reading “Recovering Shopaholic” for a while know that I took on the Project 333 challenge during the months of April through June. I posted weekly updates and monthly recaps of my Project 333 experience and later summarized my top 8 lessons learned from completing this minimalist fashion challenge.
An Alternate Approach to Project 333
As the end of June approached, I contemplated taking on another term of Project 333 but ultimately decided to do something a bit different. A member of the Project 333 Facebook group wrote that instead of selecting her 33 items at the beginning of the challenge, she instead selected her garments each day and tracked them as she went along. Intrigued by this concept, I decided to do the same, at least for the month of July.
Each day when I got dressed, I simply wore what I felt like wearing and wrote everything down on a piece of paper. I allowed myself to select from my April through June Project 333 capsule, as well as from the other garments I had stored while doing the challenge. New garments were only added back to my closet after they were worn. Thus, I avoided the packed closet which overwhelmed me in the months before starting Project 333.
July 2013 – By the Numbers
July has ended and I have tabulated all of my numbers. Here’s a brief summary of what I wore last month:
- Number of Garments Worn: 33 (isn’t that amazing? I didn’t plan it out at all!)
- Repeat Garments from April-June: 9
- Number of Shoes Worn: 9
- Repeat Shoes from April-June: All of them! (NOTE: I did not include shoes and accessories in my April-June Project 333 capsule)
The 33 garments I wore during July were comprised of the following:
- 4 pairs of pants / jeans
- 4 skirts
- 4 jackets / blazers (1 long, 3 short)
- 6 cardigans (4 long, 2 short)
- 15 tops
Included below are photos of all of the garments and shoes I wore last month.
I wore these skirts and pants during July 2013:
Here are the jackets and cardigans I wore last month:
I wore 15 tops last month – all one time each!
Shoes worn during July 2013 – all repeats from Project 333!
Not Too Many Repeat Wears Last Month…
I also kept track of how often I wore each of my garments and shoes during July. Here’s how those numbers stacked up:
- Garments Worn 4 Times: 1 (Cabi trouser jeans)
- Garments Worn 3 Times: 1 (black seamed skirt)
- Garments Worn Twice: 5 (burgundy cardigan, white/black print skirt, denim jacket, grey embellished cardigan, leopard print skirt)
- Garments Worn Once: 26
- Repeat Garments Also in Apr-June P333: 6 of the 7 (leopard print skirt was not part of P333)
- Shoes Worn Twice: 5 (Clark’s pewter peep toe flats, Raffini sandals, silver Kelly & Katie sandals, Clark’s tan sandals, leopard print flats)
- Shoes Worn Once: 4 (all of the others)
Some Insights from July…
As July began, I found myself feeling overwhelmed with my wardrobe. Since I opted not to start an official new term of Project 333, my entire wardrobe was open to me once again and I felt challenged by the overabundance of choices. When my husband and I took an overnight trip for our anniversary on July 4th, I had no idea what to pack. Tears actually welled up in my eyes as I contemplated what to take with me on even that very short trip. There were just far too many garments to choose from, and the fact that most of them were still in boxes only served to complicate things further!
In getting dressed during July, I decided to start with my favorite pieces from my Project 333 capsule and add in one new garment at a time. The new garment was generally a top, as I felt my Project 333 capsule was light on tops and I desired more variety in that area. As the month went on, I sometimes created outfits using two or more new pieces, but I needed to keep things simple early on to avoid anxiety.
Raising My Standards
A few of the tops I wore during July are either slated for donation/consignment or “on the bubble” in terms of their fate, meaning they may not make the cut. In these cases, I love the color and style, but the fit and comfort level may be a bit off. You may have tops like that, too. You know the ones that are fabulous when you’re standing still, but “fussy” and require continued adjustment as you go about your day? They’re kind of like the “taxi shoes” of garments. Lovely to look at, but not exactly functional… As I write this, I’m beginning to think they should just go!
Some garments I considered wearing didn’t even make it out the door, as my standards continue to increase as I become more comfortable with a smaller wardrobe. Knowing I just don’t need that many clothes is helping me to let go of anything that is sub-standard in terms of fit, style, color, comfort, or the “love factor.” Why should I hold on to anything I don’t really love?
I did manage to pare my wardrobe down further during July. I’ll share those numbers in my next post, which will be my accountability update for June and July. I’ll also let you know what I bought, how much I spent, and how I’m doing with my 2013 budget. These are usually monthly posts, but I got a bit off-track with wrapping up Project 333, doing a mid-year closet inventory, and reporting on my progress with the “wardrobe benchwarmer project” last month.
What I’m Doing in August
I’ve decided to continue wearing what I want and tracking what I wear during August. It will be interesting to see if the August numbers bear similarity to my July counts. In addition to carrying on with my sort of “Project 333 in reverse,” I’ll also be making decisions on all of my remaining “wardrobe benchwarmers” as I promised at the end of my July update. To help me decide, I’ll likely try to incorporate the items in question into some of my August outfits. But no matter what, I commit to either embracing or letting go of all of my benchwarmers by the end of this month. It will feel good to remove that albatross from around my neck!
At this point, I’m considering doing another term of Project 333 beginning in September. After reading about Linda’s progress from doing the challenge for three seasons, I believe continuing on that path will help me reach my wardrobe goals. I believe that we best grow by doing things that are difficult or scare us. It still scares me a bit to dress with less, which tells me I should probably keep doing it. I haven’t decided yet, but I’ll definitely keep you posted! I also welcome your thoughts and suggestions.
What Others are Saying About Project 333
In many of my weekly Project 333 updates, I included links to what others were writing about doing the challenge. Since my last update, I’ve read a number of new Project 333 posts, so I’m sharing a few of the best ones with you here. Enjoy!
- Melissa from “Made in the Eighties” is doing weekly Project 333 updates. Here’s the latest!
- Linda from “Beautiful Again” is doing a multiple part series on her Project 333 experience (she’s in her fourth season now!). Check out Part One and Part Two for lots of photos and statistics!
- For a rare post about a man’s experience with Project 333, check out Paul Schiernecker’s “What Project 333 Gave Me.”
- Caitlin from “Born Again Minimalist” shares her “Modified Project 333.” I especially liked her novel methods for making wardrobe decisions!