Project 333 Update: Week 12

I have been participating in a minimalist fashion experiment called Project 333. This is an update at the end of Phase 2 (April-June) and Beginning of Phase 3 (July-September).

Phase 2: Reflections
It is time once again to change my 33 items for another season, and prepare a wardrobe for the next 3 month phase: July, August and September.  At this point, I have successfully followed Project 333 for 1 ½ phases, or 18 weeks.  It has been a huge learning process for me and I have developed a completely different attitude toward the purpose of clothing in my life. 

My Phase 2 April-June list and a larger photo of my wardrobe items can be seen here.  I only made one additional change since my last post: my sun hat had a short brim and no SPF protection, so I swapped it more a more effective wide-brimmed model.  For the most part, much like in Phase 1, I was able to find clothing suitable for every occasion from staff meetings and awards nights to book clubs and baby showers.  Overall I’ve come to realize that a small number of quality items can create a versatile and simple wardrobe.

Phase 3: Looking Ahead
In the next phase, I have six weeks of vacation, followed by the first six weeks of a new job.  The first six weeks will be full of casual days at home and outdoors, while the last six weeks will require a more polished professional wardrobe.  Over the course of doing Project 333, I have learned that the demands of my weekend/casual wardrobe are different from my work wardrobe.  While both are casual, my work clothes are of a better quality that I want to preserve and protect.

As I started to decide what items to include in the next phase, I felt overwhelmed by having to limit my choices to 33 things that would be work-appropriate yet could withstand the rigor of my active vacation and weekend lifestyle.  I decided that if I wanted this project to continue to be a source of growth rather than a source of stress, I would need to change the rules of the game. 

Over the past four months I have learned to identify clothing that I love and that I actually wear.  I have come to better understand what clothes suit my lifestyle.  This has enabled me to see how the basic guidelines of project 333 can be modified to better meet the needs and demands of my life.  Here are the basic guidelines for Project 333, with my modifications for the next phase:

  • When: Every three months 
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
    • I expanded this number to 58 items in two categories: 33 “work worthy” items and 25 “weekend wear” items.
    • “work worthy” are basically my nicer professional clothes
    • “weekend wear” are more versatile items that can meet the demands of housework, gardening, errands, biking, walks, on the beach, etc.
    • Many “work worthy” items can also be “weekend wear” depending on what I have planned, but all “weekend wear” is too casual for work.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear,  and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)
    • I’m including my sunglasses in the same group as my watch, ring, and earrings I never take off.  I only have one, functional and stylish pair that I love and wear everywhere.
    • I’m changing the category of “in-home lounge wear” to “weekend wear” and limiting it to 25 items.
    • I’m not counting “all-weather gear”: my 2 rain jackets and rain pants.
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of site.
    • I’m adding the guideline that the boxed up items can be off-season only… all fall / winter or all spring / summer.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.
    • When the “work worthy” clothes in my wardrobe wear out, they will become “weekend wear”
    • When I buy new clothes they should be “work worthy”
    • New clothes should be as locally and ethically produced as possible, or secondhand.
Over the past few days I’ve been thinking of what new things I might need to add to my wardrobe and planned to go shopping.  But when I opened my box of stored clothes I had so much cute summer stuff that I realized I have plenty of clothes right now.  I only need two or three new things, not the six or seven I had imagined.  In the past, with a new job on the horizon, I would certainly have used the occasion to go shopping for a whole new wardrobe.  It is a sobering realization that what I already have is, indeed, good enough.

In the next few weeks I will post a list and photos of the items I have selected for the next three months.  As always thanks for reading and I hope you have found some inspiration for your own projects in happiness and simplicity.


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