Project 333

Minimalist fashion.

Somehow, it makes me picture a very stark wardrobe, comprised entirely of black clothing. One of the very un-minimalist things about our household is our tendency to adopt stray pets. We have three cats and a very old dog.

See the guy on the left? He’s fluffy, orange, and very affectionate. He accessorizes everything I own. So…I don’t wear black. Almost ever. And that might make my current minimalist fashion project – joining a host of other bloggers in participating in Project 333 – a bit of a challenge.

I do have one black down coat, with a waterproof shell that nothing sticks to, not even cat fur, and I have a pair of black shoes. They both made the cut, as I was selecting the 33 items I’ll wear for the next 3 months. But when I reach for something in my closet that everything else will match, the only thing I come up with is jeans. I love my jeans, so much that I wear them almost every day (in that way I’m already way ahead in the minimalist fashion contest). I can’t wear them to clinicals, though. That’s the divide between items in my wardrobe – I’ve got the everyday clothes, and the few items that are nice enough for clinicals, and that’s about it.

My wardrobe, when I gave it a closer inspection, turned out to be long sleeved t-shirts with a sweater over them, for winter, with jeans on school days and one of my two pairs of dress pants on clinical days. I’m not a big shopper, and as my sister could attest, I’ve never, ever been a fashionista. I like clothes that are durable, comfortable, and second hand. In the last six months, I’ve bought three new items of clothing (a hat, a jacket, and a sweater. Only the sweater made the 33 item cut). My weakness is skirts, and most of my favorites have come from thrift stores. I have perhaps a dozen of them, most of them colorful, and they’re what I reach for in the summer or if I need to dress up. As I was choosing my 33 items from my closet, I started thinking about how I was going to match them. I should choose basics, I thought, things I can combine in a lot of different ways. Thing is, I don’t own any. I own a pair of (hand-me-down) raspberry corduroy pants, but not black ones. So my regular wardrobe (which is relatively small; I got to include about half of what I own in my 33 items) is a colorful one. Why fight it? My 33 items are colorful as well. I might have to get creative in combining them, but so be it.

Here are my 33 items. In keeping with the rules of the game, I didn’t count my wedding ring, my glasses (believe me, those are not a fashion statement), my workout clothes or my pajamas. I also didn’t count my backpack, ID badge or umbrella, or any sort of underthing (leggings, camisoles – anything I wouldn’t wear on its own). Those of you who know me in person will be seeing a lot of the following items in the months to come :

  1. Black down coat
  2. Cream wool coat
  3. Purple rain jacket
  4. Lavender fleece
  5. Dark wash jeans
  6. Medium wash jeans (did I mention that I wear jeans almost every day?)
  7. Tan dress pants
  8. Brown dress pants
  9. Raspberry cords
  10. Black and lime floral dress
  11. Orange and cream ruffled skirt
  12. Grey t-shirt
  13. Brown t-shirt
  14. Black t-shirt with crocheted trim (I did find one more black item in my wardrobe!)
  15. Striped blouse
  16. Blue cardigan
  17. Long tan cardigan
  18. Pink sweater
  19. Grey sweater
  20. Burgundy sweater
  21. UNC hoodie
  22. Navy blue sweatshirt
  23. Brown leather boots
  24. Black Mary Janes
  25. Cowboy boots
  26. Brown clogs
  27. Green scarf
  28. Plaid scarf
  29. Grey hat
  30. Black gloves
  31. Brown belt
  32. My great aunt’s gold locket
  33. Striped purse

I’ve put enough thought into the list that I just typed it up from memory. I’ve got one more day to make adjustments – I’d timed the project to start with the new semester, but we’ve been given an extra day of grace because of the snow.

Here’s my newly minified closet:

I’ve checked the average temperatures for Chapel Hill during the months of January to April. They range from a low of 27 to a high of 71. I tried to include clothing for each of those ranges in my selection, but this being January and a snow day, I’ve included proportionally more winter items. I decided to participate in this challenge for a couple of reasons. First, I want to simplify my wardrobe. Second, I suspect that 33 items is plenty to suit my needs, and I want to prove it to myself.

Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

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9 thoughts on “Project 333

    • I’m usually opposed to counting one’s things, because I think it can quickly go from “helpful tool” to “obsessive habit,” but in this one case the challenge looked like too much fun, and too much of a learning experience, to resist it. I look forward to hearing from you when you give it a go!

    • I counted mine; I own several that I put away for the next three months, but truthfully, most days I wear my plaid one anyway, because it magically matches EVERYTHING. I think you have to follow rules that will work for you – the point is to reduce the stuff you don’t really use (and perhaps to combat the tyrrany of choice – in some ways it’s easier to get dressed from a closet of 33 things than 333). So if you don’t want to count your scarves, maybe count one of the other usually uncounted categories instead? (exercise clothes, or lounging around the house clothes)…you’d still be getting the same effect, and it would work better for you! Courtney Carver of Be More with Less originated this challenge, and I think she’d say the real purpose is to simplify your life, however that works best for you!

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