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Tag: fashion

Project 333 wrap-up

I ended my Project 333 experiment after two months. This is a fashion challenge that asks you to choose 33 items and wear them for 3 months. Categories like exercise and sleep wear are excluded, but it counts most other wardrobe items. I discussed how I approached it in this post, and here’s my one-month assessment.

Overall, I enjoyed the process and learned from it. I didn’t clear out my clost of the non-333 pieces so I had to remember or look up what was in the list of 33 when I couldn’t quite remember. Most of my choices worked well, although I did swap out a couple of things because the weather turned out to be colder and icier than I had expected. I departed from it a couple of time to wear coats that were not on the list, but otherwise I stuck to it.

What I liked: I chose pieces that I knew I enjoyed wearing so I didn’t have any unpleasant surprises, i.e., discovering that the shirt I had chosen wasn’t going to go with anything and I was stuck with it for months. There were pieces that I didn’t wear in January but that I was able to wear (and was glad to have) in February. I also liked the way the limited options made me put things together in ways I hadn’t done before. A dress that I’d generally thought of as kind of dowdy became much more stylish when I added a belt and a scarf draped in a new way. Shirts rather than turtlenecks under casual sweaters made the overall look more polished. My bright olive green trousers looked great with a cropped navy sweater. And so on.

I was also able to rotate my teaching clothes enough that I didn’t feel I was wearing the same things over and over again. Yes they were the same pieces, but adding scarves and pairing them with the full range of complementary pieces meant they didn’t look exactly the same. If anyone noticed, they didn’t say so. And more importantly, I felt that I was mixing things up, so I was confident and I’m sure that makes a difference. I did wear the same pair of jeans once or twice a week, but they are classic skinny jeans in a dark wash so they’re basically uniform material anyway.

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Project 333: One-month update

Happy February! January felt about 90 days long, but at last we’re finally through it. I’ve been wearing my 33 pieces and wanted to take stock now that I’m one-third of the way through. With a couple of exceptions I managed to stick to the rules. The idea is to choose 33 pieces for 3 months, or essentially a capsule wardrobe for a season. I deviated from the official rules in a handful of ways: I didn’t count scarves, jewelry, a belt, and outerwear accessories; I swapped out a couple of pieces that I started with but didn’t wear; and I had to exchange one of my skirts.

I managed to wear 27 of the 33 pieces over the course of the month. The things I didn’t wear were mostly for weather-related reasons; it was a cold, rainy, snowy January, and I stuck to turtlenecks, boots, and my heavier sweaters. I got a couple of chances to wear my snuggly wool kimono coat, but for the most part I was in my LL Bean down parka and Heattech. This meant, however, that I had fewer opportunities to switch up shoes and tops, and it got a bit boring. It also turns out that I picked a LOT of black, navy, and grey, which also got boring. My folded poncho was a welcome change, as were my bright olive pants, but for the most part my clothes were as dark and gray as the days. Bleh. The funny thing is that I love wearing no-color colors as a rule, but until I limited myself I didn’t realize that I do mix in actual colors on a regular basis. Lesson learned.

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time this month reading about capsule wardrobes and fashion. I borrowed two books from the library and skimmed/read most of both of them: The Conscious Closet by Elizabeth Cline and The Curated Closet by Anushka Rees. They are both designed to help women make better fashion choices, but Cline emphasizes eco-conscious clothing while Rees has a more traditional approach to finding your personal style. They’re both writing in response to the rise of fast fashion, which I find very interesting as a phenomenon but not entirely applicable to my situation. I don’t do a lot of clothes shopping unless I need or want particular items, and I don’t buy much fast fashion apart from Uniqlo, where I get basics and some pants and tops (I like the Ines de la Fressange collections that drop twice a year, but after buying from them a few times I’ve pretty much exhausted my options).

I do, however, have more clothes than I regularly wear, and I’m not talking special-occasion or extreme-weather items. This is mostly because I don’t get rid of things enough. I don’t have a lot of pieces that I never wear, and my clothes aren’t bursting out of my closets and drawers, but I still have more than I need and I’ve hung on to things even though I haven’t worn them in ages. I’ve done a few big purges over the years, but not as recently as I should have, and I don’t systematically weed things out every year.

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2020: Wardrobe adjustments

I’m trying a few new strategies this year and I’m planning to write posts on them so that I can go back and revisit how I’m doing in a few months. First up: changes I’ve made to my closet. I decluttered using the Marie Kondo method back in 2015, but now my closet and drawers are full again and I need to purge a bunch of stuff. I also discovered technical clothing last spring and summer, mostly because of one-bagging the Wales vacation and then going minimal on weekend trips. But I also like having clothes that I can wear for a while and that all go together. I wear a lot of neutral colors, but I’ve been buying a few individual pieces in brighter shades to mix things up.

I decided to try a version of a capsule wardrobe called Project 333. The idea is that you have 33 pieces that you wear for thee months and then you choose another 33 for the next three months, etc. It’s more season-friendly, which is handy for people like me who live in places with well-defined seasons. I thought about doing the uniform thing, wearing one outfit all the time, but I can’t see teaching in the same clothes over and over. I’m still scarred by a friend’s teaching evaluations where her clothes were critiqued for not being varied enough. I’ve received evaluations that made observations about my clothes and even my jewelry; they were friendly ones but it’s a bit weird to me that students would notice and comment.

I expanded the 33-item requirement a bit by not counting cold-weather accessories (gloves, hats, and outdoor-only scarves) and jewelry. For the latter I’ll stick to a small rotation which is what I usually do anyway. But I wear multiple bracelets at a time and those add up fast. The point, I think, is to reduce choice, which I practice without really thinking about it. I have a bunch of jewelry but I tend to cycle through rather than making new choices every day. And according to the rules I don’t have to count loungewear, exercise clothes, and underclothing in the 33.

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