Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Project 333

I was intrigued when I first noticed the title of this project on one of my favourite fashion blogs, The Vivienne Files.  Did it mean I had to have 333 items in my wardrobe?  Even counting my underwear, jewellery and other accessories, I didn't think I had as many as 333 items, though I wasn't going to start counting them! Was this a good excuse to go shopping then?

Sadly not!  It meant that I actually had to start a purge of the contents of my wardrobe and discard everything too old, too small, too outdated and frankly, in some cases, waaay too unflattering.  I was slightly shocked at how many unflattering clothes I owned: it made me wonder what had possessed me to buy certain items in the first place!  This exercise in itself can be eye-opening and makes you think about why and how you buy clothes. 

I then had to divide the rest into a Love pile (clothes I love and that I look good in) and a Maybe pile, which I have to admit was huge.  The target was to end up with 33 clothes to mix and match over the next 3 months - yep, that is what the 333 stands for.  We were allowed to exclude underwear, nightwear, lounge wear plus exercise clothes (if we only wear them for work outs).  

According to the project rules, shoes and accessories should be included in the 33 items as well as any jewellery, though a wedding ring or other sentimental piece of jewellery that is always worn could be excluded. Considering the number of clothes crammed into my wardrobe and folded into my drawers, plus the overspill in the spare room wardrobe, I felt a limit of 33 was a bit too challenging for me at this stage.

There was room for a bit of flexibility, so in my case I didn't count jewellery and scarves, plus I have included three tops and two bottoms to wear on warmer days - after all, I do live in Spain! Once it gets cooler, I will swap these with other items from the Maybe pile.  As Courtney herself pointed out, she isn't going to come over here and inspect my wardrobe, which is probably a good thing!

My list is: black trousers, black pencil skirt, navy jeans, brown trousers & brown jacket, black & white coat, grey flecked jacket, brown, grey & white patterned dress, navy & pink patterned dress, dark brown cardigan, navy cardigan, purple/grey/black jumper, navy & white striped jumper, navy & red striped jumper, red jumper, pale blue v-neck jumper, dark green top, purple top, light red top, brown heeled shoes, black heeled shoes, black flat shoes, tan flat shoes, medium size grey bag, medium size cream bag, small turquoise bag. In addition, for warmer days, I have included navy/white striped cropped trousers, beige linen trousers, dark green short-sleeved top, dark brown-multi s-s top, white/grey patterned s-s top, grey s-s top and navy sleeveless top. When it gets a lot colder, I will swap the summery clothes with my favourite winter clothes from the Maybe pile.

What has Project 333 taught me?  For a start, how easy it is to accumulate clothes over the years and buy new things a) because they are in the sales or b) because they are fashionable or c) because they look lovely (even though they don't actually suit me!)

I have also learnt that if it is hard to let go of clothes, even though they don't fit you or suit you any more, then think about what you will achieve if you let them go.  I have filled about 10 bags (here is a photo of the last of them) which have gone into the recycling bins to help a local charity. That is far better than letting them stay in my wardrobe wasting space.  I have also given a trench coat to a friend, who is delighted with it, as I had to admit that it is now far too tight on me.

In three months' time I will be repeating this exercise, but I already know that some of my first 33 will be carried forward, as I have realised that these are clothes that I love wearing and that feel good on me.  Isn't this what clothes should be all about?

In my next post I will show you the clothes in my 33, and you will be able to see how versatile they are.  Maybe this will encourage you to join in the project yourself!

More clothes and bags for the recycling bin!


  1. Thanks for sharing. I did the same project here in Canada. Loving my closet.
    Pat P

  2. Thanks for your comment, Pat. It certainly teaches you a lot about your relationship with clothes. Funnily enough, when there were a lot more clothes in my wardrobe/closet, I probably wore the same clothes most of the time! Having said that, it was still hard to let certain clothes go, but I feel better for it. Sue

  3. You post echos my experience doing this at the same time you did.