Project 333: The Summer Edition

I’m still informally keeping up with Project 333. Which is to say that I’m not as strict about it as I was last winter, but I am trying to keep my wardrobe limited to 33 items or so at a time, and rotating things out (and giving things away) pretty consistently. I thought it would be fun to put together my summer wardrobe on Polyvore so that you guys could see it. These items are similar (not identical) to the ones I own, but here’s what I came up with:

And here’s a breakdown of the 33 items, starting with bottoms, then tops, then accessories:

  1. grey dress pants, trouser cut
  2. burgundy cords
  3. tan cords
  4. trouser cut jeans
  5. grey skirt
  6. patterned skirt
  7. floral dress
  8. black t shirt
  9. white ruffled top
  10. black dressy tank
  11. patterned tank 1
  12. patterned tank 2 (it’s helpful to have a couple for summer – you can layer!)
  13. graphic t-shirt
  14. striped t-shirt
  15. patterned blouse
  16. white knit shrug
  17. neutral, dressy cardigan (I went with grey)
  18. black cardigan
  19. colorful cardigan (I went with a bright blue – I’m always cold in the office, so I included more cardigans than most people would for summer)
  20. colorful trench coat (yellow is my favorite!)
  21. black jacket
  22. black ballet flats
  23. grey Mary Janes
  24. colorful ballet flats
  25. sandals (I do love my Chaco’s)
  26. hiking boots or sneakers
  27. scarf
  28. favorite earrings
  29. sunglasses
  30. swimsuit
  31. black belt
  32. colorful belt (yellow)
  33. bright handbag (yellow again)

So here are some general rules for constructing a wardrobe for a successful Project 333:

  • the ratio of tops to bottoms should be about 2:1, counting sweaters. Think about how often you wash an item when deciding how many of it to include.
  • Layering is good, because layering leads to variety.
  • Comfort is key. Forget about heels and such nonsense.
  • It’s good to have a mix of neutrals and patterns
  • Everything should coordinate with multiple other items.
  • A color scheme (say, yellow and grey and black, with bright pops of color) can really unify things. Go with the colors that make you happy.
  • Don’t forget about exercise, or outdoor activities! I always make sure to include hiking clothes, and a swimsuit for summer!
  • 3 months essentially means you’re going to want a 3 season wardrobe – especially in spring and fall – so plan for all sorts of weather. That’s why mine includes jackets and sweaters, especially since I spent the early part of the summer in Maine, where it was still quite chilly. If you live in the Keys, ditch the sweaters and add more t-shirts and tank tops, and perhaps an extra swimsuit.
  • Know thyself: I don’t really wear shorts (ever), so even though it’s summer, I didn’t include any. On a really hot day, I wear a skirt.
  • Include mostly basics. Keep accessories to a minimum. I only include a single favorite piece of jewelry, a couple of belts, and a scarf. I stick with a single handbag.
  • Above all, go with your favorites! It’s tempting to buy new items, but you never know how those will work out. Include the items you wear every week even when you’re not limited to 33 items. That way you really know you’ll be happy and comfortable in them!

I’ve found that 33 items is plenty, for everything from the office to a wedding to a backpacking trip. You just have to choose your 33 items well, and take pleasure in the simplicity and elegance of a minimalist wardrobe. Never once have I had anyone notice that I was limiting myself to 33 items for 3 months (except for the folks who read the blog, of course – but you guys have been tipped off, so I don’t count you). The 33 items in the photo aren’t the 33 I actually own – they’re similar ones that I was able to find photos of. And I never count my wedding ring, my glasses, my underthings, or my backpack – that’s pretty consistent with the original rules of Project 333. I don’t know if I’ll stick with it for the whole summer, but I do know that the first time I did Project 333, it simplified my life and helped me stop shopping and really question my purchases. Plus, it greatly reduced my laundry load. I highly recommend it!


4 thoughts on “Project 333: The Summer Edition

  1. Pingback: Awesome and Inspiring Stories of Dressing with Less | Project 333

  2. Thank you for the very excellent guideline for organizing our own Project 333. The comment to know yourself and your needs was bang on…I am a 50ish woman, retired and travel a lot. Don’t need many dress up clothes and never wear heals. Thanks so much!

  3. So it’s more like Project 33 for spring/summer and fall/winter? Is that correct? I also follow Jennifer L. Scott’s blog and YouTube channel. She wrote Lessons From Madame Chic. She approaches it a bit differently. She has The Ten Item Wardrobe.

    • Victoria,

      Project 333 is 33 items for 3 months, so you could do a separate wardrobe for spring, summer, fall and winter – but I live in a part of the country where the weather varies wildly (especially this year), so I’m always putting together a 3 month wardrobe that can work in a lot of different weather conditions!

      I’ll have to check out Jennifer L. Scott!


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