In recent years, many people have participated in Project 333's challenge of decluttering their closets and their lives by wearing only 33 items for three months. (https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/) With the New Year upon us, are you looking for a resolution that will simplify your life, save you money, create space in your closet and help you feel confident every day in what you are wearing? I did it last spring, and it was life-changing! So, are you up for the challenge?
Think about what you will be doing over the next 90 days, and consider your wardrobe needs. For example, work, travel and/or dressy events.
Clear hanging space on your closet rod for your streamlined wardrobe.
Pull out all of your seasonally appropriate tops, bottoms, jackets and dresses. Place them on your bed or other available space.
Choose 33 pieces that are in good condition, fit you now and make you feel confident when you wear them.
Put the rest of your clothes away, either in a box or relegated to a dark part of your closet.
Workout clothes, yard work clothes and pajamas are not included in the 33 pieces, but do not be tempted to wear your workout clothes all day. This is about looking and feeling your personal best.
Some challenge purists include shoes, scarves and jewelry in their original 33 pieces. I did not. My 33 pieces included clothes only — and only pieces that I absolutely loved, were in good condition and fit me. Pieces that I kept in my closet and wore once in a while out of guilt (really?) did not make the cut.
At the end of the 90 days, take another hard look at those clothing items that weren’t included in your minimalist wardrobe. Consign or donate any past-season items that you didn’t wear. I just consigned a bunch of items that I haven’t worn the past two years — some because of sizing (thanks, menopause), and some because I upgraded (real fox fur vest). My closet is now filled with clothes I love, and I confidently invest in foundation pieces and great shoes.
Next, assess how the following 90 days will look according to weather and your activity schedule, and take the challenge again with that season’s wardrobe. You will find you don’t need a closet full of clothes. You just need a few quality items that fit, are in good condition and make you feel confident and appropriate.
What the challenge is...
Stress-free: I dressed quickly each morning and felt fantastic in what I wore, because they were my favorite pieces that were of quality construction and beautiful. On one of the first days, it was cold and I needed a sweater. I thought about grabbing one of my cheap cotton crewnecks, but instead put on a fabulous cashmere sweater. I was warm, and I felt stylish and confident all day long.
Liberating: I traveled to Portugal during that time, and packing was a breeze. I literally bunched my wardrobe together with my hands, lifted everything — hangers and all — off of the rod and folded them into my suitcase.
Money-saving: Because I knew what I was going to wear, I wasn’t tempted to run to the store to find something to make me feel the way I wanted to feel. It was already hanging in my closet.
Mind-freeing: Because I knew what I was going to wear, I could think about things other than clothes.
What it isn’t...
Suffering: The creator of the challenge mentions several times that it is not about suffering. If your clothes wear out or do not fit, replace them.
Boring: My streamlined wardrobe was not monochromatic. It was colorful, filled with patterns and just enough neutrals to make all the pieces relatable. I created several “new” outfit combinations with the items I already had in my closet.
My cream-colored T-shirt developed a hole at the belt buckle (many cotton-slub tees do). I went to the store to find a replacement for it. While shopping, I was tempted to buy some fun trendy tops. OK, I actually bought them and brought them home. Once in my closet, I realized they didn’t fit as well as what I already owned, nor did they go with my current wardrobe color palette. I happily returned them, knowing I was going to meet my goal of wearing only the items I had carefully chosen a couple of months before.
I stopped doing the challenge during the winter/fall, and found that I am back to my old habits of standing in my closet every morning wondering what I am going to wear and buying duplicates of items I already have. I am now resolved that 2019 is my year for a streamlined closet and wardrobe! Are you with me?
As a personal wardrobe consultant and owner of Alpharetta-based Fashion With Flair, Lori Wynne helps people look their best. Connect with her at fashionwithflair.com.