Project 333 – going forward

10 tops hanging on the wall

This month, I started tracking what I wear with Project 333 again. I’ve now been doing Project 333 for over a year, and have found it very effective. However, at this point, I’m starting to feel like I don’t need to track my wears anymore. The benefits of Project 333 have become fully embedded in my wardrobe, and when I do go outside of my prescribed items for the season, it’s invariably for a good reason, such as having to dress up for a more formal social occasion, or needing something smarter for an event with the most senior people at work. I’m therefore going to continue with the Project 333 principles, but without tracking what I wear each month. I wouldn’t go back to having a “free-for-all” wardrobe as I have got a lot out of Project 333:

Wardrobe space
Almost everything I can wear for the season is hanging in one wardrobe (Barring outerwear, shoes and scarves). Although logically that can’t save me a huge amount of time, psychologically I feel like I can choose what to wear much more quickly in the morning. I also find it quicker to put away my laundry, as it all goes into one place, and I hang everything instead of folding it.

Clothes maintenance
Following on from above, the new space in the wardrobe and the fact that I hang everything, means that my clothes don’t get wrinkled or squashed together when I put them away. I can be confident that everything I take out of the wardrobe will be ready to wear. This is especially useful for me as I stopped ironing my clothes at least a year ago. I hang them straight to dry, then hang them in the wardrobe, and that’s usually enough. I do have the odd thing that’s the exception, such as formal dresses for weddings, but I wear those so rarely that it’s not an issue.

Clarity
In two senses. First, I can see everything available to wear, and I no longer have the experience of forgetting something because it’s been in the back of the drawer for a while. Second, I can see what I actually wear, and what I keep for theoretical reasons. For example, I had a few formal shirts which I gave to the charity shop. I had kept them for years, in the theory that if I needed to go to a formal meeting at work, I’d want to wear a shirt. However, when that situation does arise (very infrequently), I’m much more likely to wear a more casual top with a jacket to smarten it up. I never picked those shirts, even when the exact hypothetical situation for wearing them came up.

Reality check
When I first started doing Project 333, there were some clothes in my wardrobe which were not actually for me at all. They were for my 20-year-old self, who wore t-shirts with quirky slogans, or my fashion magazine self, who wears tailored jeans with a white shirt and a belt, or my alternate reality self, who wears a party dress more than one a year for the Christmas do. Getting rid of those clothes meant getting rid of my imaginary selves, which was hard at first, as it felt like getting rid of opportunities or possibilities. However, I found that when I let go of those imaginary selves, I let go of the feeling that who I am right now isn’t enough, or isn’t as good as I used to be. Actually, present me still wears a lot of nice clothes, and they are all a lot better suited to what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis.

I definitely got a lot of benefit from Project 333; enough that I’ll continue with the principles and keep the pared-down wardrobe that I’ve developed over the last 13 months. For now, I can trust myself to stick to it without any official rules or tracking. Of course, there’s always the option to go back to that if I find myself slipping. But I enjoy it enough that I expect to carry on without any effort.

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Project333 – June 2016 (month 13)

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  • 1 June – work – black smart dress, purple scarf, black shoes
  • 2 June – work – grey skirt, black/pink top, black cardigan, black shoes
  • 3 June – home -black dress, black heavy cardigan
  • 4 June – visiting -black trousers, red shoes, black/red top and red jacket from going out capsule
  • 5 June – visiting – black dress, red shoes
  • 6 June – work – grey check trousers, black vest, black shoes
  • 7 June – work – red/black/white dress, sandals
  • 8 June – home – black dress
  • 9 June – home – black dress, purple cardigan, sandals
  • 10 June – home – black dress, sandals
  • 11 June – home – black dress, red/green top, sandals
  • 12 June – home – purple dress, black sandals
  • 13 June – home – red/white/black dress, black sandals
  • 14 June – home – black floral dress, black slash neck top, black sandals
  • 15 June – home – black dress, black shoes
  • 16 June – travelling – grey check trousers, black top, trainers (to save packing them)
  • 17 June – work -grey skirt, black t-shirt, black cardigan, sandals
  • 18 June – sightseeing – grey check trousers, black top, trainers
  • 19 June – sightseeing – grey check trousers, black vest top, trainers
  • 20 June – work – black/white skirt, black vest top, black cardigan, sandals
  • 21 June – work – grey skirt, black 3/4 sleeve top, sandals
  • 22 June – work -black skirt, red top, sandals
  • 23 June – working from home -black/red skirt, black short-sleeve shirt, sandals
  • 24 June – work -black/red skirt, black short-sleeve shirt, sandals
  • 25 June – sightseeing -grey check trousers, black short-sleeve shirt, trainers
  • 26 June – home -grey check trousers, black short-sleeve shirt, trainers
  • 27 June – work – black skirt, black/pink top, sandals
  • 28 June – work – grey skirt, black 3/4 sleeve top, sandals
  • 29 June – work -grey check trousers, black 3/4 sleeve top, trainers
  • 30 June – work – black/red skirt, vest top, cardigan, trainers

Summary of wears

  • Bottoms – grey check trousers 7black/white skirt 1, black skirt 2, grey/silver trousers , black/red skirt 1, grey skirt 3, black trousers 1
  • Tops – black short-sleeve shirt 4, black/pink top 2, purple top , red top 1, black top 2, pink top , black t-shirt 1, black 3/4 sleeve top 3, red/green top 1, black vest 4, black slash neck top 1
  • Dresses – black casual dress 6, black/red/white dress 2, purple dress 1, black smart dress 2, black floral dress 1
  • Jumpers – purple cardigan 1, red cardigan 2, black heavy cardigan 1, black cardigan 3
  • Shoes – black shoes 4, black sandals 14, red shoes 2, trainers 7
  • Accessories: purple scarf 1
  • Going out capsule: red/black top 1, red jacket 1

I’m still getting on well with Project333. I was away from home for 17 days this month, and found it very easy to choose what to take and to pack enough. However, it did highlight that there are sometimes issues with being able to wash and dry clothes in enough time. I don’t have a drier at home, and so if it’s raining outside and I hang the clothes indoors, it can take a couple of days at least for them to be available to wear again.

 

Project 333 – Year 2 1st quarter – June to August 2016

I completed a full year of Project 333, and didn’t even have to think about continuing. It’s made my life so much easier, even though I didn’t have loads of clothes before. I like being able to see everything I can wear in one go, and to have everything in the wardrobe instead of spread over a couple of drawers as well. I spend less time choosing what to wear, and I also know that almost everything goes with everything else. It’s really simple to pack for travelling as well.

Here is my list of clothes. I’ve marked them as either mainly for work (W), home (H) or both (B).

IMG_5347Dresses

  1. Black suede dress (W)
  2. Purple dress (B)
  3. Red/white/black dress (W)
  4. Black casual dress (H)
  5. Pink summer dress (H)
  6. Black floral dress (W)

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Trousers

  1. Grey check trousers (W)
  2. Silver stripe trousers (B)
  3. Black cords (B)

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Skirts

  1. Grey skirt (W)
  2. Black skirt (W)
  3. White and black flower skirt (B)
  4. black and red flower skirt

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  1. Black vest (B)
  2. Black short-sleeve shirt (B)
  3. Red flower top (B)
  4. Red/green top (B)
  5. Black and pink top (B)
  6. Pink long-sleeve top (B)
  7. Purple long-sleeve top (B)
  8. Black long-sleeve top (B)
  9. Black t-shirt (B)
  10. Black glitter top (H)
  11. Black slash neck top (B – not pictured)

IMG_5349Jumpers

  1. Black cardigan (B)
  2. Red cardigan (B)
  3. Purple cardigan (B)
  4. Black heavy cardigan (H)

Outerwear

  1. Coat (B)
  2. Black shoes (B)
  3. Black sandals (B)
  4. Red shoes (B)
  5. Purple/green scarf (B)

Project333 – May 2016 (month 12)

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  • 1 May – home – black sweatpants, black/pink top, black heavy cardigan
  • 2 May- home – black sweatpants, black/pink top, black heavy cardigan
  • 3 May- work – black/white/red dress, black cardigan, black shoes
  • 4 May – work – black/white skirt, purple top, black shoes
  • 5 May – work – grey check trousers, black shirt, black shoes
  • 6 May – working from home – black casual dress, purple cardigan, black shoes
  • 7 May – home – black skirt, red top, black shoes
  • 8 May – home – black dress, purple cardigan, black shoes
  • 9 May – work – black skirt, black/pink top, black shoes
  • 10 May – work – grey check trousers, black shirt, black shoes
  • 11 May – work – black/white skirt, black t-shirt, black shoes
  • 12 May – work – black/white skirt, black vest, black sandals
  • 13 May – home – black casual dress, black jumper
  • 14 May – home – black casual dress / grey/silver trousers, black top, black shoes
  • 15 May- home -black casual dress/ grey/silver trousers, black top, black shoes
  • 16 May – work – red/black/white dress, sandals, red cardigan
  • 17 May – work – black skirt, purple top, black shoes
  • 18 May – work – grey check trousers, black shirt, black shoes
  • 19 May – work – black skirt, red top, red cardigan, red shoes
  • 20 May – home/out -black dress, purple scarf, black shoes
  • 21 May – home – purple dress, black shoes
  • 22 May – home – black dress, red/green top, black shoes
  • 23 May – work – black/white skirt, black t-shirt, red cardigan, red shoes
  • 24 May – work – grey check trousers, black shirt, black shoes, black cardigan
  • 25 May – work – grey check trousers, pink top, black shoes
  • 26 May – work – black/white skirt, black 3/4 top, black shoes
  • 27 May – off work – grey check trousers, black chenille jumper, black shoes
  • 28 May – home -purple dress
  • 29 May – home – black dress, purple cardigan, black sandals
  • 30 May – home – black dress, black chenille jumper
  • 31 May – work – grey skirt, pink top, black shoes

Summary of wears

  • Bottoms – grey check trousers 6black/white skirt 5, black skirt 4, grey/silver trousers 2, black sweatpants 2, grey skirt 1
  • Tops – black short-sleeve shirt 4, black/pink top 3, purple top 2, red top 2, black top 2, pink top 2, black t-shirt 2, black 3/4 sleeve top 1, red/green top 1, black vest 1
  • Dresses – black casual dress 8, black/red/white dress 2, purple dress 2, black smart dress 1
  • Jumpers – black chenille jumper 3, purple cardigan 3, red cardigan 3, black heavy cardigan 2, black cardigan 2
  • Shoes – black shoes 21, black sandals 3, red shoes 2
  • Accessories: purple scarf 1

 

How to do Project 333

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I’m coming to the end of a full year of Project 333 and have found it very easy. Here are my tips if you want to try it out.

  1. Give yourself a chance to trial it before agreeing on the full three months
    If you’re feeling apprehensive, or are not sure if it’s not for you, why not try it for a month, or even a couple of weeks? I find that a trial period gives me the confidence to make mistakes, without making me feel like “I can’t do this, I give up”.
  2. Don’t feel bad about switching clothes in and out
    Depending which country you’re in and what season it is, weather can be very tricky. For most of this year, I’ve allocated myself a row for one outdoor coat, but I switch between my lighter and heavier coat, depending on the weather. In the UK, we can have warm sunshine for a few days, followed by a temperature drop and pouring rain, so if I had to commit to one coat for three months, I’d never manage. Equally, since I only ever want one coat, why keep them all on my list?
  3. Try the clothes that you don’t normally wear and see how you get on with them
    I had tops that I kept to one side for going out, or weekend wear, but wouldn’t consider for work. When my wardrobe reduced, I started wearing them for work and they were absolutely fine. Bonus: I get to wear them much more often.
  4. If there are clothes that you never wear, do you still need them?
    Why do you never wear them?
    I’ve moved evening and formal wear into a separate capsule. I might only go to a wedding once a year, but when I do, I need an appropriate outfit, so I keep it to one side. In fact, I only have one appropriate outfit, so once I’ve worn that to all wedding combinations (my family/his family/my friends/his friends/my work/his work), I’ll sell it on eBay and get something else.
    If you don’t wear them because they fit funny, or wrinkle easily, or show up sweat, or need a zip to be replaced, just accept that you’ll never wear them and get rid.
    If you don’t wear them because you don’t feel like you look your best in them, it doesn’t matter how much you love an item itself, it has to go. With a capsule wardrobe, there’s no place for something you don’t feel great in.
  5. Take some time before you identify gaps and buy items to fill them
    When I started Project 333 a year ago, I was convinced that I needed some jeans and a white cardigan. The more I got used to my capsule, even without these “essential” items, the more I realised I could get on fine without them. On the other hand, I don’t have enough comfortable trousers and am on the look-out for a new pair.
  6. Modify it for you
    Particularly in the winter, I have several scarves, hats and pairs of gloves that I alternate. If I’d added them all to my list, I’d have had very few actual clothes in my 333 for that season. So I made a decision not to count winter accessories, and the world hasn’t collapsed because of it. If you find yourself adapting the rules so that you can keep 60 items per season, maybe you need a rethink. But if you love earrings for example, and can’t consider wearing the same pair every day, don’t let that stop you from trying Project 333.

Simplify – can you go without make-up?

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In my teenage years, I wore a lot of make-up, thinking it would make me look older, prettier, cooler, more like people in magazines. As I’ve grown older, and realised that the miracles promised by each product have never materialised, I’ve cut back a lot on make-up and now only wear it for special occasions. I don’t wear it routinely to leave the house.

Yesterday, through the Dressing your Truth blog, I was emailed a make-up tutorial. The presenter said she was going for a natural, light summer look. In order to achieve this, she used foundation, concealer, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, blusher, lip liner and lipstick.

To me, it’s incomprehensible that you would buy and use eight different products to have the end result of not looking like you’re wearing any make-up. I find that there are several advantages to not wearing make-up every day.

  1. Self-confidence: you get used to the way you look, and are comfortable with it. You don’t feel afraid to leave the house without make-up, or like you couldn’t let your partner see you without make-up.
  2. Honesty: following on from this, as the people around you already know what you look like, you don’t have to worry about a big reveal when you finally don’t wear make-up, and whether they’ll be disappointed.
  3. Dress-up effect: when people are used to seeing you without make-up, when you do wear any, they notice you’ve made an effort and say you look nice. When people are used to seeing you with make-up, they’re more likely to say that you like tired when they see you without. 
  4. Equality: no one expects men to wear make-up, or finds it difficult to work with them because their skin is shiny or they’re not wearing mascara. If a woman goes to work without make-up, she can still get the job done.
  5. Invisible effort: putting on make-up to look natural is a bit like dusting. No one notices if you do it, so is it worth it?  I’m not advocating that you relax all hygiene standards in your house, but I don’t dust my house every day!
  6. Time: you save a certain amount of time every day if you don’t have to apply make-up as part of your routine.
  7. Money: obviously you’ll use and buy less make-up as a result.

Lots of people tell me they feel more polished and attractive when they wear make-up, and if it’s something you enjoy doing, by all means carry on. But if you find it a chore, or you find it difficult to be seen by other people without make-up on, then why not take a break and see how you feel without?

Project333 – April 2016 (month 11)

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  • 1 Apr – work – red/black/white dress, red shoes
  • 2 Apr- home – black sweatpants, pink jumper, black shoes
  • 3 Apr- home – black sweatpants, pink jumper, black shoes
  • 4 Apr – work -grey check trousers, black top, black shoes
  • 5 Apr – work -grey skirt, pink top, black cardigan, black shoes
  • 6 Apr – work -grey check trousers, black shirt, black cardigan, black shoes
  • 7 Apr – work – grey skirt, black shirt, purple cardigan, black shoes
  • 8 Apr – work – black dress, yellow pashmina, black shoes
  • 9 Apr – home – purple dress, black heavy cardigan, black shoes
  • 10 Apr – training – grey/silver trousers, pink jumper, black shoes
  • 11 Apr – work – grey skirt, black 3/4 sleeve top, black shoes
  • 12 Apr – work – black dress, black shoes
  • 13 Apr – work -black/white/red dress, red shoes, red cardigan
  • 14 Apr – travelling -grey check trousers, black top, black shoes
  • 15 Apr- travelling – grey/silver trousers, black t-shirt, black shoes
  • 16 Apr – travelling – grey/silver trousers, black short-sleeve shirt, black shoes
  • 17 Apr – travelling – grey trousers, red/green top, black shoes
  • 18 Apr – travelling – grey trousers, black top, black shoes
  • 19 Apr – travelling -grey trousers, pink top, black shoes
  • 20 Apr – work – black/white/red dress, red shoes, red cardigan
  • 21 Apr – work – grey check trousers, black 3/4 sleeve top, black shoes
  • 22 Apr – work – black dress, black shoes
  • 23 Apr – home – purple dress, black shoes
  • 24 Apr – home – grey/silver trousers, black/pink top, black heavy cardigan, black shoes
  • 25 Apr – work – grey check trousers, black shirt, black cardigan, trainers (running after work)
  • 26 Apr – work – grey skirt, black/pink top, black cardigan, black shoes
  • 27 Apr – work -black dress, black shoes, purple scarf
  • 28 Apr – work – black/red/white dress, red cardigan, black shoes
  • 29 Apr – working from home -black casual dress, red top, black jumper, black shoes
  • 30 Apr – home – purple dress, black shoes

Summary of wears

  • Bottoms – grey check trousers 5grey skirt 4, grey/silver trousers 4, grey trousers 3, black sweatpants 2
  • Tops – black short-sleeve shirt 4, black top 3, pink top 2, black 3/4 sleeve top 2, black t-shirt 1, red/green top 1, black/pink top 1
  • Dresses – black/red/white dress 4, black smart dress 4, purple dress 3, black casual dress 1
  • Jumpers – pink jumper 3, black cardigan 3, red cardigan 3, black heavy cardigan 2,  black jumper 1, purple cardigan 1
  • Shoes – black shoes 25, red shoes 3
  • Accessories: purple scarf

I seem not to have worn a lot of different items this month; perhaps because I’m still struggling excess weight and not fitting comfortably into a lot of my clothes.