Saturday, January 11

Encapsulate

I recently read this article about a woman who, as a participant of Project 333, only has 33 items of clothing/accessories to work with at a time. Her closet is incredibly streamlined and simplified, making it so that dressing from day to day takes as much thought as tooth brushing. Having a minimalist closet intrigued me because my closet is, first of all, an entire room AND a closet in my bedroom, and secondly, totally insane. It takes me 15 minutes to do my hair makeup and 20 to get dressed. That's not okay.


I was also really attracted to the idea that having a capsule closet can help curb your need(?)/desire to shop. I get annoyed at my husband's insatiable impulse to buy comics, but it's really not unlike my own impulse to buy clothes. At least once a month I feel my wardrobe get stale and I want something new, so I'll get on Forever21.com for cheap basics and trendy crap, hit up the mall and comb clearance racks, or spend a day digging through thrift stores. I don't usually spend a lot, but it adds up, not only monetarily but in quantity. I have a lot of Goddamn clothes.
The thing is, no matter what I always get bored or my clothes start to feel like they don't belong on my body because they don't reflect my me-ness. I know from experience that it's a stupid feeling to give in to; I've done closet culls and put things aside because they ~just weren't me anymore~ and in a couple of months I'll miss the item (or sneak it back out of the donations box I keep forgetting to take to the Arc...) and regret tossing it. Boxing up winter clothes in summer and summer clothes in winter has been helpful in making what I already have feel fresh again, but the refresh only happens every six months, and I want one several times a year.
The need to change my appearance through clothing is a whim I have regularly, and it's mostly just expensive and wasteful. Still, that's just the way I am: fickle, capricious, self-spoiled. That's who I am and who I've always been, but I'm thinking that maybe I can be less wasteful and just as flighty if I capsulize my closet.

The Project 333 rules are:
  • Every three months you reevaluate your closet and make necessary changes based on season, need, etc.
  • Your closet is comprised of 33 items of clothing including accessories, jewelry, outwear and shoes. That's it. Your coat counts, your shoes count, your hats count.
  • Exceptions to the 33: wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout).
Unfortunately I'm not great at restrictions. I follow rules when they suit me, I adjust constraints to fit what I want, and I definitely don't diet. Since Project 333 seems like the fashion equivalent to being a gluten-free vegan, I've decided it's not for me and made my own rules.
  • Every three months you reevaluate your closet and make necessary changes based on season, need, etc. 
  • Closet should be comprised of 50 items of clothing. I'd like to streamline and simplify my wardrobe, but I'm not a nun, okay? I live a motley lifestyle, I need variety.
  • Exceptions: Leggings and tights (North Dakota), coats (NORTH DAKOTA It's not fair that my huge ugly coat should count), hats, gloves, scarves and shoes. I'm pulling the North Dakota card again for shoes because I'm already limited to 3 pairs of cute ones and snow boots, so whatever. If I lived in Florida I would probably limit my shoes, but to like, 5 pairs. I'm also exempting jewelry because I don't wear statement jewelry, so it seems unfair to say that a pair of stud earrings or a pendant necklace counts.
Paring down my wardrobe took about an hour and a half to do. Some people like to start with a palette or to consider the next three months' events and weather to give them an edge, but I trusted my gut. I started with blouses, picking things I was already wearing, things I could teach in, and some stuff to wear out. After that I went through my skirts and picked what I wanted to keep, then pared that selection down further by visualizing outfits. I wasn't worrying about numbers at this point, and went on to pants, then dresses, then sweaters. I had about 60-70 pieces and went through them all over and over again, thinking carefully about what could be worn where and how. A few times I even tried on some things I hadn't worn in a while or otherwise wasn't sure I could make an outfit with.
I finally worked my way down to 50 pieces and everything else was hung up in an unused closet or packed into a bin. My main closet is now quite sparse and mostly old standbys and well-worn favorites, but I've got a few wildcard pieces in there to keep things interesting. My goal is not to wear every outfit combination possible (don't even ask me to do that math), but rather to wear everything at least once. I'm going to turn my hangers around and document each outfit as a challenge, and if by April I've worn everything at least once I get a prize. Shoes, the prize is going to be shoes.


Clockwise from top left: 1 blazer and 22 tops, 8 skirts, 4 cardigans, 4 sweaters, 5 dresses, 4 pairs of pants and 2 pairs of shorts. Basics, plaids, prints, a lot of stripes. No restriction, just streamlined. Like I said, I'm going to try to snap each outfit (at the very least to help keep track of what's been worn and what hasn't) and you can scrutinize them on Instagram if you want. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Stezie88 said...

I love the idea of this! The problem is I treat my clothes like children.