Project 333 Fall/Winter 2014

It’s that time of year again! The time when I start planning out my minimalist capsule wardrobe for Project 333. A new round of the project starts November 1 (so yes,I’m planning ahead a bit….)  Are you thinking about trying it? Here’s Courtney’s invitation to start small.
I find that my wardrobes are getting simpler with each round of this project. I’m wearing fewer patterns, and more easy-to-coordinate basic pieces (compared, say, to my second round of the project last summer, or to my wardrobe from around this time last year). I don’t shop much, but when I do, I gravitate toward simpler, better constructed items. I’ve made a few changes to how I go about this project. I’ve stopped counting all of my exercise clothes toward my total. I have a drawer of sports bras and yoga pants and old t-shirts, and I wear them only to work out at the YMCA. Unlike the rest of my day, I put essentially no thought into what I wear to the Y. I realized that for me, simplicity in my exercise routine means doing laundry a bit less frequently and not overthinking my workout wardrobe, so I limit that space to one drawer, and that’s as much thought as I give it these days.
What I do think about is my work wardrobe. I want to look like a professional, but a big part of my job is playing on the floor with little kids, so wash and wear is a must for me. Project 333 has helped me learn to keep a minimalist, easy-to-coordinate set of work and casual clothes so that I can get dressed in the morning without angst, be presentable at work, shop less, reduce my impact on the planet, and be part of a community that is striving to do the same.
Sources: Most of these are items I already have, but the bag is the satchel I’ve had my eye on for quite some time, from Cambridge Satchel Co. If I make a new purchase for this round of the project, that’ll be it. Yet I doubt I’ll buy it; it’s mostly a daydream. My clothes are mostly from J. Crew and Madewell, purchased at the occasional clearance sale, or from clothing swaps with friends. A few of my more colorful items are vintage or, in the case of this dress, from Modcloth. I find it most helpful to include a variety of simple wash-and-wear tops, a few dressier ones (and a few dresses), cords and trousers, and some comfy sweaters…and to keep accessories as minimal as possible. Also, I always include a colorful coat and (at this time of year) an old-fashioned ladies’ hat, because I love them, and because it’s such a nice way to brighten up a basic wardrobe and make it my own. I always include at least one fancy dress, because in a three month span, odds are I’ll go to a wedding or some other fancy event, and a simple cardigan and flats let me dress it down enough to wear it to work in the day-to-day (on an office day. Not on a playing-on-the-floor-with-kids day. I’m not that ridiculous).
So with no further ado, here’s my wintery take on Project 333:

Project 333 Fall 2014

  • 3 t-shirts (grey. navy. black.)
  • 2 button up blouses (black. chambray.)
  • 2 dressy tops (black camisole. white peplum.)
  • 1 pencil skirt
  • 2 pairs work trousers (khaki. black.)
  • 3 pairs casual pants (dark green. denim. yoga pants.)
  • 5 sweaters (2 pullovers. 2 cardigans. 1 hoodie.)
  • 2 dresses: a formal floral number, and a more casual vintage-y grey one
  • 2 coats (black down coat. coral dress coat.)
  • 4 pairs shoes (sneakers. loafers. ballet flats. boots.)
  • 7 accessories (hat. scarf. gloves. necklace. earrings. belt. satchel.)

And that’s all, folks! It really is enough – more than enough – for three months of daily wear. Don’t take my word for it. Try it out!

Project 333 Late Winter/Early Spring

Project 333 Late Winter/Early SpringI put together a Project 333 wardrobe for late winter and early spring. This spring I’m teaching a master’s level class, so I’m aiming for a decent mix of professional wardrobe options, along with some clothes more appropriate to farmer’s market weekends and our regular trips to work out at the YMCA. The weather here remains wildly unpredictable, so I’ve got clothes here for snow days along with dresses and a swim suit for spring. Choosing a wardrobe gets easier with each cycle of the project – I know my go-to outfits and favorite items, and I have a good sense of what coordinates.
Staples:
  • my vintage dress coat, which I wear every.day. Like a cartoon character. I’m in love.
  • corduroy pants in several colors (these are my version of “office professional,” and I find I wear them more than actual dress pants. On teaching days, I pair them with a blouse or sweater, throw on my Mary Janes, and roll out the door).
  • t shirts and shells: I try to have more of these than any other item, since they have to be washed the most frequently
  • the lovely cashmere sweaters my mom has given me over the years, which are my FAVORITES (…and my cashmere hat. So cozy!)
  • the wool sweater that Josh’s mom gave me for Christmas. I wear it all weekend, every weekend- it’s love.
  • cardigans for layering over dresses and shells
  • spring dresses that I can dress up or down for the occasion
  • my tall boots. I live in them all winter. They’re warm and weather proof and look good with almost anything.
  • brown Mary Janes. They work with everything and have good support – as an OT, I’ve come to really value that. You’ll notice that there are never any high heels in my Project 333 collections. I just don’t believe in suffering for fashion. Ever.
  • my yellow raincoat – it’s almost spring, and in North Carolina, that means months of rain!
  • favorite jeans from the clothing swap! (see below) I can already tell that these are going to be a go-to on the weekends.
  • dressy sandals (I got mine at a J Crew warehouse sale, and I love them). They’re super comfortable, but also work for fancy occasions, and are the one thing I can pair with my party dress.
  • my YMCA clothes, including my new running shoes! Running shoes are the most frequently replaced item in my wardrobe. They’re the one item I don’t recommend wearing until they fall apart – too hard on the feet!
  • a lot of Carolina blue. It’s basketball season, y’all.
  • my yellow pencil skirt. I like to pair it with boots and a blouse on work days.
As always, my choices are mostly pet friendly and wash-and-wear, along with a few more special items (a fancy dress for spring weddings; the amazing burgundy wool vintage coat I found this winter and can’t stop wearing). Confession: I love that coat so much that I coordinated most of my wardrobe around it. I also added the Madewell tote bag I’ve been coveting. It’s probably time for me to get a grown up purse that will also work as a briefcase (for my laptop, student papers and the rest), but I’m having a hard time choosing. This project has made me a much more selective, thoughtful shopper, and I love that. That Madewell Transport Tote (in black or saddle; I love them both) is at the top of my birthday list this year :)
I’ve got a few new items in the mix this season. My friend Jill had a clothing swap recently, and I was able to swap out many of the nice things I just don’t wear enough (loss aversion kept me from donating them to a thrift store up to this point). I’m going to play around with the new-to-me items I scored at the swap and see if I want to swap any of them in to my Project 333 rotation. Probably so! I’ve already added the awesome blue jeans I scored from our friend Emily. Clothing swaps are a great, free, sustainable alternative to shopping – ours also included cookies and a few rounds of Bananagrams. A good time was had by all!
Happy spring, you guys. I know I’m ready for it! What about you?