What is it about women that so many of us like to make up all of these complicated, personal rules for ourselves? I say, women, because a lot of my female acquaintances have the same mild obsession that I have for collecting, curating and editing their own arbitrary rules that are unique to them.
Of course, many of these rules (for me anyway) tend to centre around clothing and beauty items. On the beauty front, I have to confess that I spend more time thinking about my facial skin care routine than I really should admit to. And, I know I’m not alone in having the fantasy of the perfect skin care product line-up that looks beautiful, with matching or complementary packaging (very important if you are rule-oriented) and of course, works better than any other combination out there. Naturally, I have never achieved this.
So, as a rule-addicted person, I was curious about Project 333. Have you heard of it? Essentially, you limit yourself to only 33 items of clothing every 3 months. What??? I know what you’re thinking, but some things are exempt for the list (more rules, see).
Project 333 Rules
- Do this every 3 months
- 33 items have to include your jewellery (except wedding rings), outerwear and shoes
- Underwear, sleep wear, workout clothing are not included
- And, yes another rule: apparently you can only wear your workout clothing to an actual workout. Evidently adding your Lululemon yoga pants to your already selected 33 items and pretending that they are just workout gear but actually wearing them to do your Saturday morning shopping is tantamount to cheating!
- The 33 items do not include shoes, boots, coats, outdoor jackets, gloves, scarves, etc. Please, I’m not insane.
- Including your jewellery – are you kidding me? That’s a non-starter. No way - that’s a separate 33 item list in itself
- I do it for 60 days at a time – 3 months is too long, not because I get bored with the 33 items but because I have so many other things to wear that won’t see the light of day if I leave it longer than that.
I know you are probably thinking that 33 items of clothing sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. I started on September 1st and put together my 33 capsule wardrobe for 60 days.
It was a bit of a challenge as we were at a resort for one week during this time and the weather called for bathing suits, shorts and tees – items I wouldn’t normally wear at this time of year.
I tried to pick items that could be worn outside of the office and do double-duty. Basically, I made do with 3 pairs of dress pants, 5 skirts, 1 day/eveningdress, 1 casual resort dress, 2 blazers, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of leggings, 2 cardigans, 7 office-appropriate tops, 5 tshirts, 2 swimsuits and 2 pairs of shorts. Sounds ample doesn’t it? I did find it a bit of challenge in that I felt I didn’t have enough tops and I was constantly doing laundry.
- Black suit jacket
- Grey stretch blazer
- Black stretch wool day dress
- Skinny jeans
- Bootcut jeans
- Black leggings
- Floor length Boho dress
- Black Ponte knit pant
- Grey ankle crop pant
- Tweed mix dress pant
- Black pencil skirt with leather inserts
- Black Aline skirt
- Grey pencil skirt
- Black/cream/grey pencil skirt
- Black/rust/emerald/gold print pencil skirt
- Black drapey, buttonless cardigan
- Grey cardigan
- White / black striped shirt
- Paisley blue and red silk shirt
- Gold/aqua/emerald/rust print tunic top
- Black and burgundy tunic top
- Emerald sleeveless jersey blouse
- Pale grey sleeveless silk blouse
- Cap sleeve blush silk blouse
- Grey scoop neck jersey tee
- White tee
- Grey tank tee
- Black/grey art print tshirt
- Burgundy scoop neck long-sleeve tee
- 1 piece Bathing suit
- Tankini Bathing suit
- Pale grey walking shorts
- Khaki shorts
Although I edit my wardrobe on a regular basis, I was still surprised to see how many clothes I still had hanging in my wardrobe that I love but didn’t put on the list. The upside to that, is that because they were out of sight for 60 days, when I did finally pull them out earlier this month, it was like seeing them with fresh eyes.
Of the 33 items, I managed to ruin two of them - spilling foundation on a white tee and wearing out the armholes on my beloved J Crew paisley silk shirt, which I was heartbroken about. Also, once the bathing suits, shorts, tank top and Boho dress were done for the vacation, I was then down to 25 items.
The biggest challenge was feeling like I didn’t have enough tops to wear and getting bored with plain tshirts. I didn't wear the bootcut jeans once in that whole two months, which told me something that I already knew anyway. Whenever they come back to the style forefront again, these ones will be too old anyway, so I'm going to kiss them goodbye. Also, one office-worthy dress wasn’t enough.
Overall though, I really enjoyed the process. It was a pleasure opening up my closet door every morning and seeing just a few choice items on hangers and folded on the shelves. Because everything had to be colour coordinated in order to maximize the choices, it also made dressiing decisions much easier each workday morning.
I started the whole process over again for November and December and, so far, feel like I learned something from the first go round.
Why don’t you give it a try and tell me what you think…