A few months ago, I decided to give Project 333 a try, in which you basically commit to only wear 33 items of clothing for 3 months (read details & rules here). It’s been a great experience which has helped me to simplify my wardrobe. I’ve chosen not to continue with the actual Project 333, but stick to a capsule wardrobe with only consciously purchased, valued and good quality pieces. Of course, without keeping count, my wardrobe has expanded a bit in the last time (also due to the fact that having just one pair of jeans is poor planning).
After my birthday (which was recently), I set out again to piece together a winter wardrobe; adding new bits where old ones broke and haven’t been replaced. Coming home after one such “shopping”-trip, I suddenly realised that the red pair of jeans I bought was exactly the same colour as my only skirt. And then an epiphany came upon me (can you say that?):
All the clothes I recently bought and the ones I loved the most were all the same three or four colours!
Needless to say, I was intrigued, and a few days after New Year I finally had a day to spare and took the opportunity to take all my clothes out of my wardrobe and sort by colour. I wasn’t surprised to find a huge amount of black and dark blue clothes. What did surprise me is that all of those had the exact same shade of dark blue, even the jeans I had recently bought! The same applied to the three pieces that were red. Apart from that, I had a lot of light tops, including white, light pink and creme. Coincidental, my workmates from the last place I worked gave me a pink scarf when I left, which fitted well into the colour range. Even my shoes worked, as they were black and dark blue, too!
Having sorted through my clothes, I had only one piece that was yellow, one that was green and a pair of hiking boots which technically doesn’t count (you don’t select those by their colour!). I found that one particularly pink dress and a light blue/grey scarf didn’t work with my other colours either.
After sorting my “outliers” on a pile, the rest looked like this:
The colours in my wardrobe include black, dark blue, light blue (for jeans), white, creme, light pink, and dark red. And thus I created my personal colour palette, without even intending to!
It seems with a smaller wardrobe, you start choosing only items that flatter you, that you feel good in, and that usually match with your other clothes. It gives a lot more clarity to what you have and what you need. It basically eliminated impulse buys for me, and drastically reduced purchases that I regretted afterwards.
I’ve had most of the “outliers” for several years in my wardrobe, and almost all of the newly purchased items (“newly” meaning in the last year) actually work well with my general “colour scheme”.
Knowing what I unconsciously chose to be “my style” now helps me even more to figure out what I need to buy for the summer (in terms of type and colour). I can now consciously choose to include more light and pink pieces, and maybe add some floral and patterned prints.
So what did I do with my “outliers” then? The green dress stays in my special occasions wardrobe as it has before (it’s my only fancy looking dress and I like it a lot). The hiking boots go back as well for obvious reasons. The pink and blue/white dresses will most likely be included in my summer capsule. If not, they will be donated along with the yellow jumper and blue scarf, both items which have served me well for many years and may help someone else to find their own style.
My wardrobe for 2016:
- 2 light blue jeans
- 1 pair of red bottoms
- 1 pair of blue bottoms
- 1 red skirt
- 1 pair of yoga pants
- 1 pair of rainproof trousers (for cycling)
- 8 T-Shirts
- 1 white floral top
- 1 black light top
- 1 cardigan
- 2 knitted jumpers
- 2 hoodies
- 1 woolly jumper
- 1 black 3-in-1 winter coat
- 2 blue winter dresses
- 1 pair of black boots
- 1 pair of blue sneakers
- 1 pair of hiking boots
- 1 pair of house slippers
- 1 pink scarf
- gloves & hat
- underwear, tights and woolly socks
Items for my summer wardrobe:
- 1 pair of flip flops (if I shall ever need it at all)
- 1 pink dress
- 1 light blue/white dress
- 1 pair of floral shorts
- 1 checkered blouse
- 1 light creme summer coat
- … and maybe something else
Of course, I still have odds and ends kicking about which I hope to get rid of eventually, like my old winter coat, which will be kept until its worn out, or some printed tops with my name on which are hard to donate. All in all, I still have kept to less than 50 items overall and less than 35 in my ‘working wardrobe’.
Having a small and overseeable wardrobe has helped me know exactly what I have and what I need, which saves me money and guilty feelings when a purchase turns out to be not as great as it looked in store. It’s seriously a win-win situation in all aspects, and I’d like to strongly recommend to everyone to take the Project 333 challenge and identify which clothes are truly necessary for you!