I’ve been doing The Project 333 – a project in wardrobe minimalism – since August 2014.
I want to talk about my mistakes, what I’ve learned, and how I’m growing as a person from this very interesting and insightful challenge to my life.
Here’s my January update.
First mistake: long dresses
I tried incorporating long dresses into my Capsule wardrobe. It didn’t work.
I found them awkward and ungainly, and just not very comfy for either lounging around or being very active, which is what I like to do. I also found them difficult to manage on escalators, when I was travelling in Hong Kong and Singapore – I kept having to lift the hems so they wouldn’t get caught.
I realised really quickly that none of the local women wear long dresses. I could see why!
So I’m calling that experiment a Failure. I tried the dresses because I’m moving into my forties now, and I thought maybe the demin shorts I usually wear might be a little too young for me. But you know what? I don’t care! I’ll move to cutoffs as I get older, or trousers instead. But I’m just not a dress person.
The dresses, with the exception of one which I really like, will be resold.
Second mistake: Trying to be something I’m not.
I’m a relaxed, easy-going person, and the clothes I feel comfortable in reflect that. Anything too structured, too formal or too feminine feels uncomfortable. I’m a jeans and shirts girl, and always will be. I need to accept that. I’m beginning to accept that.
Third mistake: Spending on feature items and neglecting the basics
I found that my original Capsule wardrobe was very short on the basics when I first began the project in late winter. I found I literally didn’t have a single pair of jeans that fit me well, so I couldn’t wear any of the lovely shirts I owned.
As I progressed into summer, I found I didn’t have any jeans shorts to wear, and my basic summer tops were missing. So these first few months of the Project have been a process of “filling in the gaps”. I now understand the importance of good basics.
Good basics for me are: jeans, jeans shorts, basic black tank tops, basic neat comfortable t-shirts, sandals, boots. These are my staple “uniform” items, and I wear them every day.
I am learning:You don’t need many clothes in a wardrobe. What you need is clothes that work well together.
For me, that means basic tops that fit well and are comfortable in all kinds of weather that I can wear all year round. I like items I can layer together. Plain black tanks work well because I can wear them underneath open shirts or kimonos, or just by themselves. Of course, finding good quality plain black tanks is another matter altogether…
My 33 item wardrobe, as it stands for January, February and March 2015.
I’m nowhere near the 33 number yet, and still have a few spaces left. My sportswear is a separate Capsule wardrobe and is not listed.
1. Brown crossbody bag
2. Black handbag
3. Brown leather jacket
4. Black leather jacket
5. Brown leather belt
6. Black leather belt
7. Brown leather ankle boots
8. Black leather knee boots
9. Purple sandals
10. Black dressy sandals
11. Red vans
12. Blue jeans 1
13. Blue jeans 2
14. Blue jeans shorts 1
15. Blue jeans shorts 2
16. Black tank crossback
17. Blue polkadot tank
18. Coral round neck t-shirt
19. Blue and black kimono
20.. Blue floral shirt
21. Yellow and black floral shirt
22. Yellow and green floral shirt
23. Green zigzag shirt
24. Green vintage shirt
25. Black a-line dress
26. Silver leaf ring
27. Brass circles cuff bracelet
28. Brown leather winter coat
I still haven’t thrown out all the boxed up clothes I put away in August. I’m a bit scared to do so, to be honest. That whole letting go process is a big issue for me. What if I regret it? What if I need some clothing I got rid of? But the time has come, and over the next few weeks I’ll be selling everything I don’t wear any more.
The time has come to simplify, and move on.