Project 333: Year 2 / Phase 1

Hello readers! Happy New Year.  As I look back at 2013, one of the most read topics on this blog has been my participation in Project 333, an experiment in keeping and wearing items from a relatively minimal pool of clothing, shoes and accessories.  Here is more information about the project from founder Courtney Carver, and here are my posts on the subject.

The popularity of these posts leads me to believe that others are interested in reaping the benefits of a simplified wardrobe.  After almost a year doing Project 333, I have completely changed my relationship to clothing, shopping for clothes, and how I approach dressing everyday. It's hard to believe that I have lived since last February with just 33 items in my wardrobe, yet still had an appropriate and stylish outfit for every occasion.

This year, I plan to continue the project with some changes that I have made to suit my lifestyle, based on what I learned working through the phases of the project in 2013.  One thing I have certainly taken to heart is that the project is not an exercise in martyrdom; if you want to wear something that is not in your current wardrobe, or if you want to change or bend the rules midway through a phase to suit your personal needs, do it!  The point of the project is not to follow a set of arbitrary rules about what to wear, but instead to learn more about oneself and one's relationship to clothing and its purpose in one's life.

With that said, here's a review of the "rules" and of my personal modifications based on experience:

  • When: Every three months
    • I modified the dates to correspond more with local seasons and my job as a teacher.  Phase 1 starts December 1, Phase 2 on March 1, Phase 3 in early June, and phase 4 at the end of August.
    • After a year, I have been getting a bit bored with my accessories and decided to change my jewelry each month, instead of every three months.
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
    • For a time I expanded this number to 58 items in two categories: 33 “work worthy” items and 25 “weekend wear” items, but I'm no longer keeping track of "weekend wear" since summer vacation is over.
  • 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, socks and underwear, sleepwear, 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 my rain jacket and rain pants.
    • I don't count tights, leggings, or base layers like undershirts.
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
    • I put my extra items in plastic storage bin under the bed.
  • 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 “loungewear”
    • When I buy new clothes they should be “work worthy”
    • I would like all my new clothes should be as locally and ethically produced as possible, or secondhand, but also have to be conscious of my budget and being fiscally responsible.  Sometimes the best choice for me is to buy a shirt from Target.
And here's a list of my clothes for this phase, December 1, 2013 - February 28, 2014.  I wasn't really blogging during Phase 4 which for me was October - December 2013, so I'll just update from my last posted list.
Items in bold are ones that I kept in my wardrobe from the first phase (July - September). An asterisk (*) indicates items that were purchased or that I plan to purchase during this phase, as opposed to taken from my off-season storage box.  I still need to get 2 more items.  I'm looking to replace an open-knit sweater that I wore all year last year, through every season.  I'm not sure what I need for my other item.  I probably still need a belt!

Year 2 Phase 1 Capsule Wardrobe (33 Things)
December 1, 2013 - February 28, 2014
1. purse
2. heart earrings
3. silver hoop earrings
4. brown dangle earrings
5. white shell flower neckalce
6. turquoise scarf
7. grey & black leopard scarf*
8. green ls tee*
9. navy 3/4 sleeve tee
10. coral ss tee
11. lt grey ss tee
12. white ss tee
13. tan cords
14. skinny black jeans*
15. skinny blue jeans
16. denim skirt
17. green dress
18. black cutout dress
19. grey peacock print dress*
20. brown fern dress*
~Sweaters and Jackets~
21. tan cotton cardigan
22. navy long cardigan
23. black cardigan*
24. cream cowl neck sweater
25. long tan wool sweater
26. long black wool sweater
27. wool coat
28. hooded zip jacket
29. TBD*
30. TBD*
31. brown boots
32. black boots
33. grey canvas loafers

I will try to post photos this weekend.  As always, thanks for reading!


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