Project 333 Round Two Update

In early January, I wrote that I had decided to do another round of the minimalist wardrobe challenge Project 333.  Since more than a month has passed since I began my current Project 333 stint, it’s time to share an update on how things are progressing for me.  In today’s post, I share my wins and challenges, some of my favorite items and outfits so far, and what I’m learning from dressing with less the second time around.

Challenge Yourself

You can learn a lot from challenging yourself to dress with less!

My Project 333 Wins

Let’s begin on a high note with my wins from round two of Project 333.

Less Angst

I would say that my biggest win is the ease with which I’m negotiating Project 333 this time.  Gone is the angst that I experienced during my first go around with the challenge, when I experienced boredom dressing with only 33 garments.   While I find myself wanting to pull from the rest of my wardrobe now when getting dressed, I don’t feel stressed out or worried about it.  Rather, I know I have enough to wear for now and I also realize that I’ll be able to dig into the rest of my clothes again very soon.

Dressing for Myself

I’m also not nearly as concerned with compiling exciting outfits during round two.  Although I always want to look nice and dress well, I don’t feel as compelled to have tremendous variety in what I wear.  If I like what I’m wearing and feel good in it, that’s enough for me.  It helps that I decided not to photograph all of my outfits and share them on the blog this time.  It also helps that I no longer have the title “wardrobe stylist” attached to my name.  Having shed that moniker, I feel freer to be myself and dress in a way that feels comfortable to me, regardless of whether or not it’s objectively stylish or modern to others.

Shoes Included, No Problem

In my first term of Project 333, I only counted the garments I wore, but this time I opted to also include shoes in my minimalist wardrobe capsule.  I did that to stretch myself a bit more and to be truer to the spirit of the challenge (generally, all accessories are included in the 33 items).   Not only was it easy for me to select the shoes for my capsule, I haven’t even worn all of them!  I selected seven pairs of shoes, but I’ve only worn five of these options to date.  Consequently, I plan to swap the two unworn shoes out in order to allow myself more selections for tops (more on this below).

My Project 333 Challenges

While I am pleased with the wonderful wins I’ve experienced thus far, I’ve also encountered a couple of challenges along the way.

Too Much Bottom Half Sameness

One thing that made it easy to compile my Project 333 capsule this time was that I only included pants and didn’t add any skirts or dresses to the mix. This decision was mostly related to the weather in that I rarely wear skirts or dresses during the colder months of the year.  I run very cold and feel more comfortable and warm in pants and jeans when it’s cool outside.  I’m fine with only wearing pants during the winter months, but I could use a bit more variety in terms of pants options.

I’m very happy to have found some new pants and jeans to purchase during the latter part of 2013, but I still need to upgrade my selections for bottoms.  At this point, I only own jeans and dark neutral pants (black, charcoal, navy), which means that all of the excitement and variety in my outfits needs to come from my tops and toppers.

I would love to be able to find a couple of pairs of lighter or brighter pants to add to my wardrobe, but pants shopping has always been challenging for me.  Not only do I need long/tall lengths for my pants, I have curvy hips and am unable to wear the ultra-skinny styles that are dominating the market at present.  Even if I might actually look good in such styles (which I seriously doubt), I can’t wear tight pants due to nerve pain in my legs.  I was lucky enough to find straight-cut jeans with a long inseam last month, though, so perhaps I will locate similar pants in the coming months. I did order two other pairs of pants online recently, so fingers crossed that one or both of them will work out!

Lack of “Special” Tops

I mentioned above that all of my pants are basic neutrals, so my outfits rely on my tops for excitement and variety.  What I’ve found, however, is that my tops aren’t all that exciting or special, either.  Don’t get me wrong… I really like most of my tops, especially in terms of their colors, patterns, and comfort level.  However, most of them have similar fabrications (mostly knits) and silhouettes (fitted, hip length) and lack the type of details that might render them interesting and special.

I would like to add at least a few special tops to my wardrobe this year.  You know, the type of “wow” pieces that can really make an outfit.  I don’t need a lot of these types of pieces, but my goal is to purchase a few of them in my 38-item allocation for the year.

Pants Lengths and Heel Heights

I have two pairs of black ankle boots in my Project 333 capsule.  I also had two pairs of closed-toe black shoes, one of which I have recently swapped out.  The reason for this duplication is that my pants are different lengths and require varying heel heights in order to give me the perfect pants lengths (PPL) that I desire.  I would like to change this moving forward.

My new goal from is to have two heel heights to wear with pants, flats and low heels.  From now on, I will only buy shoes that match these criteria (I can buy higher heels to wear with skirts and dresses) and I will hem all of my pants so that they work with one of my two heel heights.  This will simplify things dramatically for me and enable me to get by with far fewer pairs of shoes, both in my closet and when I travel.

When I took my trip to Tahoe in December, I wasn’t able to pack my favorite pants because that would have required me to cart along too many pairs of shoes.  I wanted to limit my shoe selections for the trip to only two and that forced me to make difficult decisions regarding my pants and jeans options.  I would like to avoid such difficulties on future trips!

General Learnings from the Challenge

One of my main reasons for doing Project 333 a second time was to better understand the types of clothes and shoes I would need in the minimalist wardrobe which I’m working to create.  Forcing myself to select 33 items to work from for a period of two months (this time, vs. the standard three) has highlighted some ongoing issues with my wardrobe that I need to address.  Had I continued to pull from my large closet for all of my outfits, I may not have gotten in touch with the challenges I highlighted above.

If I truly want to cultivate a smaller and more manageable wardrobe, I will need to do the following:

  1. Streamline my color palette
  2. Incorporate more style and silhouette variety into my garments
  3. Select standard heel heights to wear with pants
  4. Have items that mix and match better with each other
  5. Add a few “special” pieces to my wardrobe for increased impact

I have already made progress in some of these areas.  The fact that I’ve pared down a lot of my repetitive and sub-par garments and shoes has made a significant difference, and I’m both proud of myself and grateful for these changes.  I need to keep moving forward and continue my progress over the course of this year.  Having a smaller item number “budget” to draw from is pushing me to be more deliberate about what I add to my closet.   That rule alone should keep me from overbuying at sales and in consignment stores, which constituted the bulk of my shopping mistakes in recent years.

The Second Month of Project 333

For the second and final month of this Project 333 term (I’m doing two months instead of three), I have made a few swaps within my wardrobe capsule.  Below are the items that I’ve swapped out of my capsule.

P333 Items Swapped Out

These items have been swapped out of my Project 333 capsule.

Why I Swapped Out These Items

Here are my reasons for swapping out the items above:

  • Black Cole Haan Low Wedges:  I feel these shoes are too similar to my new AGL flats.  Both are black and have patent cap toes.  The main difference between the two shoes is the heel height.  Since I like the AGL shoes better and have not yet worn the Cole Haan wedges, I plan to return them to the store (I purchased them in December).   I will try to replace these shoes with a shoe purchase that is on my shopping priorities list.
  • Pewter Bow Flats:  I love these shoes and wore them frequently during 2013.  However, they are so flat that they don’t work with most of the pants in my Project 333 wardrobe capsule.  Fortunately, I have other pants that work well with these shoes, but they weren’t the best selection for Project 333.
  • Grey Cardigan:  I wore this cardigan once in January and felt frumpy in it.  I have another grey cardigan that I like a lot more and I’ve been “splitting my wears” (as Bridgette Raes calls it) between the two cardigans.  I am swapping in the preferred cardigan and this cardigan will likely be consigned or donated shortly.
  • Purple Crewneck Tee:  I love the color of this tee, but the sleeves are a bit too short.  I went to wear it once and just didn’t feel fab in it, so I’m either going to downgrade it to loungewear or send it out the door this month.

What I Swapped In and Why

Swapping out the four items above gave me the opportunity to add four new items to my Project 333 capsule.  Here’s a photo of the new pieces I added:

P333 Items Swapped In

I swapped the following items into my Project 333 capsule.

Below are my reasons from adding the new items to my capsule wardrobe:

  • Green/Black Button-Up Top:  I love the color of this top, as well as the pattern (my beloved stripes), but my main reason for adding it is that it’s a bit more “special” than many of my other capsule items.   When combined with jeans or dark-colored pants, it looks more interesting than a plain tee and fewer accessories are needed in order to create an interesting outfit.
  • Grey Embellished Cardigan:  I am swapping this cardigan for the plain grey cardigan that felt frumpy last month. I should have included this cardigan instead of the other grey cardigan from the get-go, but I was trying to mix things up a bit.  This cardigan has long been one of my favorites and I think the embellished sleeves play a large role in that designation.
  • Teal Sweater:  I recently bought this sweater and like the color, the warmth factor, and the interesting ribbing on the front (hard to see in this photo, but there is a diagonal design there). I can wear this sweater with all of the pants in my capsule and it will work with many of my scarves as well.
  • White V-Neck Tee:   Most of the garments in my Project 333 capsule are fairly dark in color.  This tee will add a bit of lightness to my outfits and can be worn with all of my pants and cardigans, as well as almost all of my scarves.

Creating a workable capsule wardrobe is not easy and I’m still learning!  I feel that the changes I made will make the second month of Project 333 both easier and more enjoyable for me.

Most Worn Pieces and Favorite Outfits

I’ll finish off this update by sharing my most worn items and a few of my favorite outfits thus far.  It’s no surprise that my most worn items are the pants and boots in the capsule.  The one top-half piece that was worn often was my burgundy open cardigan.  Burgundy is currently my favorite color and I hope to be able to find a few more garments in this hue, as I know they’ll be worn frequently.

Here are the six items I wore most often during the first month of Project 333.  The boots at the bottom left are the top “all-star” in that they were worn seven times last month.

Most Worn P333 Items

I wore these Project 333 items most often in January.

Unlike my first Project 333 term, I haven’t been photographing all of my outfits.  However, I did manage to get photos of a number of them.  Below are a few of my favorite outfits thus far.  The coats that appear in two of the outfits are not part of my Project 333 capsule (I did not include outerwear or accessories in my 33 items).  My pants still don’t photograph well – they don’t really “pool” at the bottom like that in real life!

Project 333 Round Two Outfits 1-3

Project 333 Round Two Outfits 4-6

All of my outfits are fairly casual in keeping with my current lifestyle and the area in which I live.  In speaking with a friend the other day, we agreed that San Diego is probably the most casual area in the entire country, at least in regards to the places we’ve both visited (which is a decent cross-section of the U.S.).  Even when I’m dressed in outfits like the ones above, I am sometimes called “dressed up” by people around here!

I enjoyed experimenting a bit more with accessories last month and have been tracking the pieces I’ve worn.  I will share an accessories recap at the end of the challenge, along with photos of my most worn jewelry pieces.

The Bottom Line

I’m glad I decided to do another term of Project 333, as it got me thinking more about my wardrobe and how I eventually want it to be.   At this point, I don’t think I will do another term of the challenge after this month is over, but I’m happy to have Project 333 as a tool to use whenever I feel the need to push myself to dress with less and pare down my wardrobe.

I still highly recommend Project 333 or another wardrobe challenge to those of you who are feeling overwhelmed and confused by your closet.  I’m glad I decided to feel the fear and do it anyway last April and I’m grateful for the many lessons I’ve learned from Project 333 over the past year.

39 thoughts on “Project 333 Round Two Update

  1. I have thought on doing this and realized I just want to have more variety to pull from. The funny thing, though, is my entire closet adds up to 4 rounds of 33 items, or 132. I have from 120 to 140 items depending on my purge or buy cycle at any one time including shoes and coats (but not belts, jewelry, etc). I found it quite interesting that I had the amount equal to doing one full year of project 333.
    I have about 80 items here with me in FL and I have been here 5 months. No boredom yet! With my purchase plan I should be adding about a dozen more items through spring and summer. They are carefully chosen and should help parlay the pieces I have through one more hot season here.
    The choosing of heel height is an interesting problem. Now that I only have 3 or 4 pair of non skinny pants, it’s not too much of an issue for me anymore. Makes sense to streamline here to make your closet work for you better.
    And I love your outfits you shared. Agreed in many parts of Cali it would look almost dressed up. Believe me, mountain style back home is rife with hoodies and jeans, I know all too well!
    Good luck with your next month of 333.

    • Thanks for your comment, Mo. Your wardrobe size sounds pretty ideal to me – and what I’m working towards. I like to have more variety, too, which is why I only opt to do Project 333 once in a while and for only two months this time. Interesting that 80 items have been enough for you in FL for 5 months. Maybe that’s because the weather is fairly uniform there (I think). As I am buying more deliberately, I am becoming more satisfied with my wardrobe and not feeling like I have to have so many new things coming in all the time. I’m getting there…

      I know about the hoodies and jeans in the mountains, as I lived in Tahoe for a year and a half and visit my family there pretty often. It’s similar here except it’s tanks and tees instead of hoodies and flip-flops all year round. Quite maddening! I’ve accepted that I will be called “dressed up” here if I dress in the way that feels right for me. I’m okay with it now.

  2. Hi Debbie.
    I am also dressing with less and doing a version of Project 333, however I have doubled the figures. I am finding it a breeze and LOVING it.

    Last year I commented on the fact that I owned every neutral (not all which look great on me.) I decided to have ONLY black & grey + white as my neutral colors + denim and removed the rest. I have cool coloring – blue eyes and dark hair. These neutrals really work the best on me. I kept one core outfit cluster in navy. Just doing this alone eliminated a huge chuck of my closet that always gave me problems.

    I added in all the colors that worked best, which happen to be my favorites – the greens, blues, reds from clothing, shoes and accessories. I removed ALL muddy khaki/olives and brown/beige tones from all sections of my closet.

    My wardrobe is very streamlined and it has been easy to get dressed as I am not searching for things that go with each other or putting on clothes that don’t feel right and taking them off again. It is also easy to see what I feel like wearing each day as it is not overcrowded.

    One of the positive results has been that I have not looked at anything in the shops that would not go with my core wardrobe. I can also see clearly what the gaps are – I need new jeans, a replacement black cashmere cardigan and some more dresses would be good.

    One of the other results is that I have been wearing all the “good” stuff and feeling great in my clothes. I don’t feel bored at all. On the contrary I feel very well dressed and groomed and no desire at all to add random items to my closet. I am wearing my signature looks and instead of feeling like I have to try to look like someone else I feel more interested in developing my own look.

    • Good to hear from you again, Carolyn! It sounds like you are doing so well and have made tremendous progress in a relatively short time frame. It’s great that you are doing your own version of Project 333 and have pared your wardrobe down to your best colors and styles. Good to hear that you are wearing the “good” stuff regularly and feeling great in your clothes. Thanks for sharing your success story with us!

      • Debbie, I really decided that enough was enough. I have spent far too much of my life worrying about my wardrobe, and have wasted too much time and money on it. I want to stay out of the stores, and when I do go there, buy well and be happy with my purchases.
        Like you, I like fashion and I like to be well-dressed and well groomed.I decided to invest more in personal grooming as I always feel great when my hair is colored and my nails done, regardless of what I wear. I also want to exercise more as, although I am slim, I would like to be more toned. I have noticed that just paying attention to being groomed and polished automatically makes me reach for the good clothes.
        And I have really decided that although I love taupe, it needs to stay in the store. As do classic button up shirts, scratchy knits, cheap knits,tops and shoes.
        Hope 2014 is a good year for us all.

      • Really great points, Carolyn! You’re so right about the importance of personal grooming. I’m so happy for you for the wonderful changes you’ve made. It’s great to be discerning about what works best for us and what we buy. I’ve never liked the classic button-ups on me, either, but I do enjoy them on others. And thumbs down on anything scratchy or cheap-looking!

  3. You look nice and happy, Debbie.

    I’m glad your project (2)33 is working well for you. You’ve made some useful observations about what is constraining your outfit choices. I’d be hesitant to buy more burgundy, because it was a really popular colour last year and you may tire of it more quickly because of that. On the other hand, since there is a lot around, maybe now is a good time to buy it. I tend to buy more of something when I have one that I like a lot, and I’m learning that I never like the extras as much as the original, and that one or two is just as satisfying as many. Just some thoughts about buying more of something that you like!

    If you don’t feel fab in that purple top, release it! Why wear something you don’t feel great in, even to lounge? I try to follow that rule. I have one exception – a sweater that I don’t feel fabulous in, but that I bought for about five dollars second hand and is the most amazing, thick, comfortable and warm cashmere. I can’t stay away from that thing!

    You seem much more clear-headed about your wardrobe, you’ve made such amazing progress.

    Have you ever tried ponte cotton pants? I find they’re a nice way to wear a slightly tighter pant without revealing too much or being uncomfortable (I’m also sensitive to tightness for health reasons). I don’t know if that’s something you’re even looking for, but experimenting can be fun.

    • Good point about not buying too much of one color, Abby. I have definitely done that in the past and only plan to buy one or two other burgundy pieces now. Why knows, I may not love that color long-term. Regarding the purple top, I’m actually wearing it now (lounging…) and am liking it. I think I was in a funky mood when I went to wear it last week. The sleeves are okay and I feel comfortable and happy.

      I would love to try ponte pants! I’ve been looking for them but have had trouble finding any in long lengths, but I will keep looking. I would love to be able to wear slimmer pants sometimes (I did get slimmer jeans last month) and still feel comfortable. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Those outfits really suit you! I think you are making great progress. Yesterday I counted all the items of clothing (not shoes, accessories or outerwear) that I own and it was only 65 to cover 4 seasons. I rarely feel a gap but when I do it is for our hot humid summers and the occasional really cold days. I’m focusing on upgrading and increasing my hot weather wardrobe and have my eyes open for one or two more warm but light weight pullover sweaters that can be layered. I’m also going to narrow the color palette for summer and see how that works out. Replacing worn out shoes and athletic/lounge wear add to the list but still it will be minimal shopping.

    • Nice to see you commenting again here, Juhli, and thanks for your kind words. I’m very impressed that you have such a small wardrobe and that it’s working well for you! I’m not sure if I will ever be that minimalist with my wardrobe, but it could happen… It sounds like you have a great plan for making your wardrobe work even better for you this year. Best of luck to you!

  5. Lovely progress as always Debbie!

    I love your reflection on pants lengths. I have 3 pairs of short inseam trousers for flats and 8 pairs of heel-length trousers. Reversely I have 1 denim trouser for heels and 8 pairs of short inseam jeans for flat shoes. I prefer heels when I’m dressed up and flats for casual, but at work sometimes I am working in environments where flats are more appropriate, hence the trousers for flats. I am most definitely keeping both lengths myself, but my needs are different from yours so reducing this may be a great step for you!

    The observation on clothing with special details is spot-on for me. I always gravitate towards items with special details, no matter the purpose (casual, business, etc). It is a great way to really define your personal style and feel great about what you are wearing when you love something about each piece. I do this with everything- cardigans, sweaters, pants, etc. Boring basics are not boring when you have a great cut, pattern, or detail, no matter how small!

    I also love your outfit pictures- you look fantastic and happy!

    • I appreciate your kind words, Meli. You are also making excellent progress! Regarding the pant lengths, I also like to wear heels with my pants and jeans, but I’m usually happy with lower heels (I’ve gotten fussy feet in my middle age). My plan is to have flats and low heels (will settle on one height – prob. 1.5 to 2 inches) for both pants and jeans. This will ev0lve over time, though, as I focus future shopping on more streamlined heel heights.

      I looked in my closet today and saw more items with special details than I thought. I probably don’t need as many new such pieces as I thought, which is good news! I’ve enjoyed seeing your 30-day challenge posts with your lovely outfits. I think I will take that challenge on as well, but it will extend longer than 30 days since I spend so many days at home. But it could still be useful and fun to do.

      • thanks! I’m not 100% feeling my outfits but the overall is much better than I have felt in the past. I’m glad I have the inspiration- it gives me something to focus on, a little more creativity in my outfits, and reminds me- I am NOT supposed to be shopping! I’m worried about next week, I’ve promised to help out a friend shop for clothes (she’s been promoted and has nothing office appropriate). I’ll be in the thick of it all and it will be super hard to not buy anything for myself!

      • Meli, perhaps this true story will help you not shop while you’re assisting your friend in finding clothing for her new job–

        My best friend of 30 years is no longer my best friend. Sadly, whenever she’d offer to help me find an outfit, shoes, purse, etc., I’d go home w/ nothing and she’d go home with an armful of items. It got to the point where I could no longer stand to shop with her — it was simply too depressing and frustrating. That feeling then expanded into one where I could no longer deal with her “it’s all about me” approach to everything! Over time, our friendship ended — b/c of the initial ways she hurt my feelings while shopping!

        It’s really nice of you to want to help your friend — now, make the day about her and not about you. She will undoubtedly thank you and count herself lucky to have your focused attention!

      • Thank you for the story! I was planning on focusing on her but I can see how easily it could end up with me having an armful of things and her nothing- especially because we have such different body types. I’m pretty easy to fit in standard off-the-rack and she is not as easy. Thanks to your story, I am going to make double sure that the day is all about her and celebrating her promotion!

        It’ll still be hard, knowing I have a shopping addiction and I am going to the mall- I’m bound to see things I am tempted by. What I will do if I see anything to die for- since 99% of everything is online nowadays, I’ll wait for March 2nd and if I am still enamored by something I’ll look it up then :-).

        By the way, what stores would any of you recommend us visit? We’ll need that middle range of sizes, where many stores stop carrying and plus-size stores don’t often carry (14-16 is my guess, and she’s 5’4″ like me to boot). I was thinking New York and Company and JC Penny would be worth checking out. She’ll be on a super-tight budget and is just beginning to build her professional wardrobe (dressy business casual)- complete blank slate! I’m hoping I can be a help- maybe not so much in the finding but more in concepts-all those things I had to learn over time and didn’t know when I started out in the professional world. You know- selecting a color palette, what things can be altered, proportion/figure flattery, how to mix and match, etc.

      • Meli, be sure to have your friend sign up for sales/coupon notifications for whatever stores you think you may shop at. I get some great choice coupons from NY and Co all the time

      • You’ve gotten great advice from others on your shopping trip with your friend, Meli, and it seems you have a good plan in place, too. Back when I was doing wardrobe consulting, I often shopped with clients. I never shopped for myself in the process, but I did sometimes get tempted to shop afterwards. It helped for me to have other plans to do after my client meeting. This allowed me to have a “power pause” during which to decide whether I really wanted the things I saw. If I made the effort to return to the store (or even order online after a day or two), I knew I really wanted (and hopefully needed) the items in question. If you are able to wait until March 2nd, that will be a very good “power pause.” Most items will still be available then, but if not, there will always be new things available down the line.

        I think it’s great that you’re going to share your knowledge of fashion and style with your friend. I wish you the best of luck with your shopping trip! I’m sure you will be a big help to your friend and it will be fulfilling for you as well.

  6. I guess I’m lucky because I feel just fine with a very plain base: only black pants (w/ one pr of jeans and one brown) and either a black top w/ cardi or jacket or a colored top with black cardi or jacket.

    I love your maroon and blue–you look great. I’ve been meaning to pick up a maroon topper myself–it’s a good color for me also.

    • I’ve mostly been fine with a very plain base, too, Frugalscholar, but lately I find myself wanting to shake things up a bit. I probably won’t venture too far into other territories, but I would love to find one non-neutral pair of pants and one skirt. Yes, I love maroon and blue. Those are two of my favorite colors and I enjoy wearing them!

  7. WOW~ I think you’re doing great and I love the outfits you shared! You’re looking colorful and pretty and they are not at all boring. I think the addition of scarves gives so much variety. Since you want more burgundy, you might consider a scarf that could be added to a black, white or gray top for more color.

    On the pants length, I think you’re on the right track. All of my pants are a length that can be worn with any of my shoes, as I stay with very low heels or flats in my basic wardrobe for foot comfort reasons. I only wear heels with a skirt or dress. My only problem is that some shoes don’t look as nice under my skinny jeans. It makes travel packing so much easier if your pants & shoes all work together!

    I’m with you on the need for more “exciting” tops to go with my pants for evening & weekend wear. That is the lack in my wardrobe as well. I’m happy with my pants and basic tops. I also wear only jeans & black pants, which means the variety and color has to come from my tops. I do have a pair of colored pants for warm weather and I might try to find another pair for the summer, when I wear more white tops.

    In the end, your comment “If I like what I’m wearing and feel good in it, that’s enough for me.” sums it up for me. I like having some special outfits, but I live a very casual lifestyle and if I feel good in what I’m wearing on a daily basis that’s a win. I think we’re both making progress.

    • Thanks for your wonderful compliments, Diane! I also like your suggestion for getting a burgundy scarf. I’m going to keep my eyes open for one… Sounds like you and I are in similar situations with our clothes and have similar philosophies. I’m glad I’m focusing more on pleasing myself with how I dress. I’m much happier and feel more like myself as a result!

  8. I’m glad it’s working out well for you and that you’re learning some good lessons. I love the combo of the blue shirt and scarf. The colors are great on you 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Tonya. Yes, it’s amazing how much I continue to learn, not just from Project 333 but from this whole process. I think I used to have so many blinders on regarding shopping and my wardrobe, but I’m happy to be figuring things out now!

  9. I think you look fantastic in the v-neck, ruched top and jeans in the last set of photos! You have a great body (!) and that top flatters your curves!

    I own the same embellished gray cardi and think it is SO cool. I used to wear it as a light cover-up to the gym — now, I’m thinking this would be a great springtime option here at the beach. Thanks for reminding me!

    • Wow, Bette. I don’t think of myself as having a great body, but it’s nice to receive such high praise. I did feel attractive in that outfit. The top was one of my GOOD consignment buys (no alterations needed!). How interesting that you have the same embellished gray cardi as I have! I bought it over 3 years ago at a boutique in the Bay Area and I love it. I’m glad I reminded you about it and I hope you enjoy wearing it come springtime!

  10. Wow, these are all great outfits. You have done really well, and I love seeing you in the blues and teals. You are really progressing! I also love the brighter green top you subbed in. I did the shoe heel height thing a while ago – I got so annoyed having pants that would only work with certain shoes (and I would avoid wearing heels because they were uncomfortable, so some of the pants lingered in the closet just because they were too long) that I decided it was flats only from here on out, and ALL my pants needed to work with them. I did mess up the proportion on one pair of pants I tried to keep by over-hemming them, but otherwise it has worked out.

    • Thanks for the compliments, Sarah. I really love blues and teals and enjoy wearing those colors. I can identify with what you wrote about the pants. I do have some pants I rarely wear because they have to be worn with heels (which are frequently uncomfortable). I am going to hem all or most of my pants for flats and low heels. Many are already the right length, but I do worry about the over-hemming issue you mentioned. I will proceed slowly and deal with one pair of pants at a time. Eventually, they will all be done. I’m getting rid of all of my uncomfortable shoes and will save the heels that do work for skirts and dresses.

  11. I’m also doing another round of 333 and what I’m discovering is that I don’t get bored with my choices in the winter, and once again it is easy. But 33 items tends to be a greater challenge for me in the summer because I crave more variety when the weather is warm. Whereas in winter I’m content in the same jacket, sweaters and jeans. This is teaching me a lot about myself and my style.

    I also highly recommend Project 333 or another minimalistic wardrobe challenge for anyone who feels overwhelmed and confused by their closet. Within the past two years, I’ve gone from an overly stuffed closet to about 75 items of clothing, 12 pairs of shoes and 4 purses, and for the first times in years and years I’m feeling happy and stress-free when I get dressed each day, or pack for a trip.

    • My experience is similar to yours, Terra. I also tend to get bored with my choices more during the warmer months. Case in point… I’ve been satisfied with mostly wearing jeans and black boots this year, but I can’t see myself doing something similar in the summer. But I do have to watch out how many summer clothes I buy, as that’s a pretty short season here (our weather is more like fall most of the year here).

      Congrats on getting your wardrobe down to such a manageable size! Mine is still much larger (and too large for me), but I now believe I will get to the happy and stress-free closet situation that you describe. It takes time, but if one keeps working at things a bit at a time, big and lasting changes are possible!

  12. I made an effort to branch out in my pants colors as well and picked up a pair of burgundy skinny jeans. I recently loaded most of my wardrobe into the online closet management tool called Netrobe. Before I bought the pants I loaded an online image of them into Netrobe and created a few outfits with pre-existing images of items in my wardrobe to see if I could make it work for me. Per one-in-one-out, I’m donating some lighter wash jeans to make room for the new item. The Netrobe tool has been really helpful so far. In creating virtual outfits, I managed to see some repeat items that were not obvious by just navigating my physical closet.

    • Thanks for your comment, Marjorie. I’ve been trying to find colored pants/jeans for awhile, but nothing has worked out as of yet. I just ordered two more burgundy pants to try and I hope one will be a keeper. I know this wardrobe addition would really help me to have more outfit options than I do currently. I hadn’t heard of Netrobe before, but it seems like something I’d like to use. I’m definitely going to check it out!

  13. This doesn’t have anything to do with project 333, but I just wanted to say that I am utterly bored with the idea of shopping for clothing right now, I actually have been purging quite a bit out of my winter wardrobe and need to do a count. Passing by department store windows while running errands, I see that the newest trend is “black and white”. It doesn’t seem very interesting.

    After reading a number of Bridget Raes’ posts, instead I’ve become more interested in accessories. I am one of the people she points out as being guilty of “always wearing black shoes”. I do wear a lot of black. With this in mind, I bought a pair of Clark’s shoes in pewter metallic, which is a bit of a daring foray into shoe color for me–and I found that I quite liked them, that they are a stepped up neutral!

    Then I culled through all my scarves and decided once and for all which ones I would never wear no matter how much I liked the design. I have a love/hate relationship with scarves because I have a short neck and am a bit claustrophobic, so I don’t often like to have things around my neck unless they are loose (which means they usually fall off or get in the way). I took all the keeper oblong scarves and evaluated them for their ability to become infinity scarves, my new love. Most of them did, so with a bit of stitchery one evening I converted them to infinity scarves and now they are much more useful now as I don’t have to fuss with tying them–my inability to nicely tie being a deterrent to wearing scarves in addition to the aforementioned love/hate reasons!

    The next area of purging might come as a surprise: opaque panty hose. I realized suddenly that I just don’t wear them unless I am wearing dressier shoes because Ifind them to be mostly uncomfortable, and so there was no need for me to have quite so many colors–especially colors that didn’t really go with the things now hanging in my closet… I do wear skirts, but I also realized that most of the time–I pair them with boots and seldom shoes. I usually wear natural fiber socks with boots so my feet can breathe. Instead of opaque hose, I wear thin leggings that look like opaque hose (but have the added benefit of not pulling and falling down!) + socks.

    So I felt pretty good about not shopping but clearing out in some previously neglected areas.

    • Deby, I’m also utterly bored with the idea of shopping for clothing right now, no interest at all. And I’m one of the people guilty of favoring black shoes, and last winter I bought a pair of Cole Haan pewter metallic ballet flats in order to step up my neutrals. But unfortunately they are not wearing well, wearing out fast, big disappointment. I shall investigate Clarks. And scarves, I have a love/hate relationship with scarves for the same reason you do. I own very few scarves and seldom wear them and never count them in my 33 because I’m hoping I will begin to wear them. Turning what I have into infinity is a good idea. Thank you.

      And Debbie, my winter wear is like yours, and this year I also won’t buy any new summer clothes, unless it is a replacement.

      Love your photos. You have created a fun wardrobe.

      • Ballet flats worn regularly never hold up for more than a season or two. I’ve never tried Cole Haan. I’ve had the best luck wear wise with Jessica Simpson Leve flats. I’ve got a pair of dark green suede ones I ‘ve had for several years. I always look around for them when I am shoe shopping because every season she has different colors. I like that they are made of decent leather.

    • I’m glad you chimed in, Deby, and it doesn’t matter that your comment had nothing to do with Project 333! It sounds like you continue to make excellent progress in streamlining your wardrobe. Hopefully your new pewter shoes will become wardrobe workhorses. I used to wear mostly black shoes, too, but now I wear metallic shoes at least as often as my black ones.

      I’m impressed with your creativity and inventiveness around your scarves. How great that you were able to make your favorite ones work for you by turning them into infinity scarves. For others who might be reading this and don’t know how to sew. Another (temporary) way to do this is to tie the ends of the scarf into a knot, then put the knot behind your neck to hide it. Then you can drape the scarf over your head a second time to make it an infinity scarf!

      I appreciate your ballet flat recommendation. I haven’t tried that brand but will check it out. I love to wear ballet flats, but I have fussy feet and many of them don’t work out for me. The best ballet flats I have are my new AGL ones, but those are pricey and I likely won’t buy another pair from that brand for a while.

  14. I have 200-300 clothes in my wardrobe. When I made a list of my favorites (thinking about what to choose if I only could wear a few of the during 3 months) I ended up with 63 pieces. So it’s safe to say I can get rid of a lot. I am on my first P333 month right now.

    • Welcome, Therese, and thanks for your comment! It sounds like you are making excellent progress in understanding your wardrobe and what you do and don’t wear. I think Project 333 will help you a lot with paring things down. I was able to downsize quite a bit the first time I did the challenge and I just got rid of more things this past weekend during my second term. Best of luck to you!

  15. I love skirts. However where I live the temerature drops to -4 – -22 F during winter. The solution is really warm tights with wool!

    • I love skirts, too, and it doesn’t get anywhere near that cold where I am, yet I still feel too cold to go bare-legged here. Maybe I should try some of those warm tights so I can wear skirts year-round!

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