7 Lessons From a Tiny Wardrobe (and pictures of what I’m wearing now)

Every 3 months, I create a capsule wardrobe of about 33 items including clothing, shoes, outerwear, jewelry and accessories. I don’t count underwear, sleepwear, or workout/sports clothes.

7 Lessons from a Tiny Wardrobe

I started this practice more than 5 years ago when I created minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 to help simplify my closet. I thought I’d only do it for three months but there were so many surprising benefits that I just kept going.

During my very first season, I chose 33 items from my chaotic wardrobe and boxed everything else up. I didn’t give anything away at first because I didn’t want to deal with that fear of “what if this is a big mistake?” Over the last 5 years, I’ve pared down each season and my wardrobe choices become simpler and simpler.

The rules of the challenge are to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months and sometimes I have trouble including all 33 items. Less is ok too, but I have to laugh when I think about how challenging I thought 33 would be once upon a time.

I’ve been sharing my Winter (January – March) capsule collection on Instagram

7 Lessons from a Tiny Wardrobe

along with what other people include in their capsule collections …

7 Lessons from a Tiny Wardrobe

It’s really different for everyone which is one of my favorite parts of the challenge. I love watching people discover their own personal style and find confidence in the ability to live with less in other areas of their life.

I’m the last person who should be giving fashion advice so I don’t share brands or mention where I buy things, but I am highly qualified to share these 7 lessons from a tiny wardrobe.

7 Lessons from a Tiny Wardrobe

One more thing won’t complete the perfect wardrobe.
If you’ve ever thought a certain pair of shoes, or a beautiful scarf would be the perfect addition and “complete” a look or wardrobe, it won’t. With that thought process, there will always be one more thing to buy. It never ends.

Choosing from a small selection of clothing reduces stress and anxiety.
Many people report that participating in Project 333 helped them reduce stress and decision fatigue and some have even conquered larger anxiety issues by getting simple and making room to breathe.

No one really cares about what you wear.
When I started wearing only 33 items, I was working full-time. I attended staff meetings, had lunch with clients, and went to other work related events. No one noticed what I was wearing, or what I wasn’t wearing.

A colorful wardrobe does not result in a colorful life. 
Some people worry that a small wardrobe will be boring and all black, or neutral colors. I have to admit that over time, I’ve reduced the amount of color in my wardrobe but on the flip side, I’ve become more engaged in my creative work, travel, and doing things I love with people I love. There are great examples of colorful capsule wardrobes, but color doesn’t prevent boredom. Curiosity does that.

Advertisers will do whatever they can to convince you that you need more to be good enough.
It’s their job to demonstrate how good your life will be, how good you’ll look and how happy you’ll be if you just buy something from them. Instead, watch True Cost and see who is really paying for fast fashion. It will make you completely rethink your future clothing purchases.

Dressing with less will give you the confidence to live with less.
After a few months of dressing with less, you’ll be looking at other areas of your home and life and wondering what it would be like if there was less there too.

You will never find something to wear that makes you feel beautiful, smart, or loved, if you don’t believe you already are.
I used to wear shoes I thought would make me look more powerful, and make other fashion choices based on how I wanted to feel, or how I wanted people to think of me. It never worked. Now I wear what fits my body and my lifestyle.

Plans are underway for the first few cities in the Project 333 Tiny Wardrobe Tour including Salt Lake City, Boston, NYC, and London. If you want updates on the tour, or advance notice for tickets, please sign up here.