Instagram

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Project 333 Update: Week 6

I have been conducting a minimalist fashion experiment called Project 333.  This is an update on Phase 2: April-June.

Let me just start out by thanking Courtney, the founder of Project 333, for linking to my blog!  It is exciting to be able to share my experience and story with a larger audience.

Nearly 6 weeks into the second phase of Project 333, one of the biggest challenges has been the weather.  I live in coastal central California where, much like Debbie who is doing her own Project 333 down in San Diego, spring and summer bring cool, foggy mornings and evenings.  I think she calls it the "June gloom" which is pretty accurate.  I work, however, 70 miles inland from my house where temperatures reach the low 90s at this time of year.  Sleeveless garments are fairly useless in my home climate, but necessary to survive in the town where I work.  So finding the right balance between sweaters and tank tops has been a challenge.

I have also been reading the book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline.  Her book focuses on the hidden social and environmental cost of the cheap, stylish clothing that can be found at places like H&M and Zara.  I already consider myself to be a conscious consumer, but Cline's book has really opened my eyes to the true impact of buying cheap and cheaply made clothes.  Her work and research foreshadows the recent factory collapse in Bangladesh, detailing many of the ways cheap labor is exploited in developing third world countries.

I am only halfway through the book, but it has already changed how I approach shopping for clothes.  Last week, one of the shirts I had purchased in for the project in April had a terrible accident involving myself and a chocolate bar.  Let's just say it did not survive the cleanup effort.  And add that I should not be eating chocolate while driving.  The shirt, a coral short sleeved tee, is a staple in my 33 items and I wear it weekly, so I knew I had to replace it.  As I looked from store to store for an ethical, good quality, affordable replacement garment I grew more and more frustrated.  Either there was nothing in my size, or the color was wrong, or the garment wasn't ethically produced.  Eventually I just went online and bought a significantly more expensive shirt than the original one, but I got exactly what I wanted.  I scoured shops in town for 3 hours.  I was online for 5 minutes.  I'm not sure what this experience means for me in the long run except that I suspect I may be ordering a lot more clothes online rather than waste my time wandering around stores that don't offer the product I want (and plenty of tempting eye candy that I don't want).  I also am willing to pay more for a quality item than to compromise on a mediocre garment, which was not true for me in the past.

Here's the list that shows my process of deciding what to keep:
  • Items in bold are ones that I kept in my wardrobe from the first phase (January-March).
  • Items that were removed after the project started are crossed out, the reason noted, and the replacement item written in.  
  • I have added an asterisk (*) next to those items that were purchased new during this phase, as opposed to taken from my off-season storage box.
  1. purse
  2. sunglasses
  3. coral chandelier earrings broke (silver hoop earrings)
  4. grey sheath dress not comfortable for spring, save for fall (skull earrings*)
  5. silver filigree hoop earrings too heavy (turquoise and coral hoop earrings*)
  6. abalone necklace
  7. sun hat
  8. turquoise scarf
  9. floral scarf
  10. paper bead necklace pretty, but uncomfortable to wear (blue zip-up hooded sweatshirt*)
  11. Levi's
  12. skinny blue jeans
  13. tan cords
  14. black long skirt*
  15. dk blue denim skirt
  16. denim jacket  too tight across the shoulders (striped tank top*)
  17. green ss tee*
  18. coral ss tee*
  19. lt grey ss tee*
  20. tan ss tee
  21. tan white stripe loose knit sweater*
  22. tan / multi loose knit sweater
  23. tan wool long sweater*
  24. tan cotton cardigan
  25. coral cardigan need different type of sweater (coral crop sweater*)
  26. navy cardigan
  27. navy white scallop dress fabric doesn't wear well (Sessions jacket)
  28. black dress*
  29. denim tank dress
  30. grey Converse  worn out (light blue Converse)
  31. cork mary jane shoes
  32. black sandals
  33. black flip-flops
Thanks for taking the time to read my update.  I hope to post again in a few weeks and report on how my choices are serving me as we head into summer!

8 comments:

  1. Good job - very interesting the way you present your choices, additions & subtractions. I'm heading towards trying this Project 333 challenge myself in a couple of months. (Getting ready to move to a different county, so that will keep me plenty busy for a while.)

    Enjoying your blog...
    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. oh - and I meant to ask how did you get all the pictures of each of your clothing items laid out so nicely? Photoshop?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Chris, thanks for your comment and for checking out my blog! for the photos, I used Picasa. I generated the mosaic using the collage maker, and then added the text on top of the collage. It took some trial and error to get the photos to work. The trick is to edit them all the same shape.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sara, I was so happy to find your blog via Project 333. Thanks for linking to my blog as well. It seems we are on a similar path.

    I finished reading "Overdressed" a few weeks ago and plan to approach shopping very differently as a result. I feel a bit confused, however, about how to find ethically produced clothing. The price tag doesn't tell the whole story, but I always suspected that $7 shirts from Old Navy and Target were made in a foreign sweatshop. How else could the price be so cheap?

    I agree that it can be easier to find what we want online, but the sizes can be SO tricky! Did the site you used have a statement about ethical production policies? I would love any guidance you have about shopping more responsibly.

    I love the way you laid out the photos of your items. I used Photoshop for mine, but it was very time-consuming. I think I'll check out Picasa to see if that's a better option for me.

    I wish you continued good luck with Project 333! I look forward to reading more about your experience. Love the coral! I bet it looks beautiful on you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Debbie! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I am also enjoying your blog. I really like how honest you are with the process and with your challenges. People can be critical when we put ourselves out there like that, but I think it is so crucial to let other people know they are not alone in their struggles to change and grow.
    It can be VERY challenging to find ethically produced clothing because, as she mentions in the book, there is no requirement to label, etc. Luckily I live in Santa Cruz, CA where these things are important to the community, and there is a store called "Eco Goods" downtown that carries brands who use sustainable fabrics and also are concerned with ethical production and giving back to the community. If they carry a brand there, I know they have done the research and I can shop with confidence. One brand I found there that I love is "Horny Toad" and their website does indeed have information about their philosophies. Patagonia is another very reliable brand. In your part of CA there are probably some similar brick and mortar stores, where you can check out the cut and fabric before buying online.
    Thanks again and I look forward to sharing more of our journey!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sara,

    I'm enjoying reading your posts as we journey along together with Project 333.

    I also have come to appreciate "Eco Goods" "Horny Toad" and "Patagonia" clothing and have decided that I am willing to pay more, and have less clothes, in order to have clothing in sustainable fabrics and from manufactures who are concerned with ethical production and giving back to the community. What I also like about Patagonia is their recycling program. Instead of giving to thrift stores, when an item becomes thread bare after years of wearing, it can be given back to Patagonia and they recycle the material.

    Thanks again for your wonderfully fun to read updates, and I look forward to sharing more of our journey!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for visiting and taking the time to comment on my blog! I checked out one of your blogs (terratrevor.com) and only had a chance to skim the "about me" page so far but your writing style is gripping and left me wanting to read more! So exciting to be "meeting" like-minded people on my journey, and I look forward to diving into your work more deeply.

      Delete