Welcome to Project 333 Style Stories, a new series featuring real people dressing with less. Your stories are so important and will inspire people to try Project 333 and discover the benefits of dressing with less. Send me your style story for consideration with 3 images of you and your 33 and answers to the questions below.
Tell us a little about yourself like what type of climate you live in, and what a typical day is like for you.
I’m a 47 year-old writer and blogger and I live in San Diego, California. I’m also a wife and the “mom” to two adorable kitties. When most people hear “San Diego,” they think hot, sunny, and beautiful weather all the time, but that’s not necessarily true. Those of us who live near the coast experience a lot of cool and overcast days, especially during May and June when we have “May gray” and “June gloom.” Not that I’m complaining, though, as we don’t really experience extreme weather on either side of the spectrum. In fact, most of the time, the temperatures here average in the 60s-70s F (15-25 C).
My typical days are spent in front of the computer in my home office, which I share with my husband. I typically dress in very comfortable clothing while working from home, but I’ve recently shifted toward wearing more of my “regular” clothes instead of the lounge wear which used to be my daily standard. Most days, I venture out for some sort of appointment or social engagement, but I tend to dress fairly casually for most of my activities.
Why did you start Project 333?
I first took on Project 333 in April 2013. I had been intrigued by the challenge for about a year, but never believed I’d be able to do it. Although I know Project 333 can seem daunting for many people, my anxiety for jumping in was pretty much off the charts. You see, for much of my life, I’ve been a full-on “shopaholic” and clothes hoarder who was pretty much the polar opposite of a closet minimalist.
At the time when I first committed to doing Project 333, I had close to 300 garments in my closet (down from an all-time high of 500-plus), as well as over 50 pairs of shoes, a jam-packed jewelry armoire, and countless accessories. My hope was that doing Project 333 would help me to learn the value of dressing with less and assist me in paring down my unmanageable and overwhelming wardrobe.
What’s in your 33?
As Courtney has long mentioned in the rules for Project 333, it’s not a project in suffering. We’re all starting from a different place and the most important thing is that we grow and learn through the process of dressing with less. To make the challenge a bit less daunting for me, I’ve opted to only include clothing items in my 33, although I have pared down my shoe and accessory collections considerably since I first started Project 333.
I geared my summer capsule wardrobe around my core neutrals of black, white, and grey. I added in some favorite jewel-toned pieces, as well as some of my signature striped garments and a few leopard and watercolor print items. I feel that this wardrobe is true to my personal style aesthetic and well-suited to my casual coastal lifestyle.
- Black dress
- Black and grey striped maxi-dress
- Cobalt blue dress
- Grey/white toned leopard print dress
- Black skirt
- Grey skirt
- Black/white/grey print skirt
- Red/black striped skirt
- Dark-wash straight-legged jeans
- Black trousers
- Black/grey striped moto-style jacket
- White/black striped knit blazer
- Denim jacket
- Grey-toned leopard print cardigan
- Deep orange knit blazer
- Black tie-waist cardigan
- Burgundy open cardigan
- White open cardigan
- Black sequined tank
- Black short-sleeved blouse with ruffled neckline
- Cobalt scoop-neck tee
- Green tank
- White embellished tank
- Burgundy embellished tank
- Red tank with lace straps
- Teal tank with lace straps
- Black/grey watercolor print sleeveless blouse
- Black/grey striped tank
- Cobalt/white striped tee
- Grey watercolor print tank
- Purple watercolor print short-sleeved blouse
- Teal/black striped ¾ sleeve top
- White/black striped tee
What have you discovered as a result of dressing with less?
The most important thing I’ve learned is that I don’t need to have a large wardrobe in order to dress well. In fact, the opposite is true; I’ve found that I dress better when I have fewer pieces to choose from. Not only do I select my absolute favorites to include in my capsule wardrobe, I’m also more creative in terms of garment and color pairings.
I’ve also learned the incredible importance of quality through doing Project 333. In my past overly large wardrobe, I wore most of my pieces only a few times per year, if that. With a smaller wardrobe, I’m wearing things more often and sub-standard quality is more easily detected. Garments that aren’t made well either fall apart after multiple washings or just don’t look crisp following even just a few wears. I’m now far more willing to invest in better constructed pieces and I pay more attention to fabric composition and manufacturer ethics as well. I want to feel good about the clothes I wear, not just in terms of how they look but also their impact upon the environment and the people who make them. I want to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
I’m happy to say that my wardrobe is less than half the size it was when I began Project 333 last April, and I intend to pare things down even further. With a smaller wardrobe, I feel happier with what I have and it’s much easier to get dressed in the morning. Gone are the days of standing in front of a full closet and feeling like I have nothing to wear. In addition, I shop far less than I used to, my purchases are much more targeted, and I make a lot fewer shopping mistakes than I used to. I’m proud to say that I’m now a recovering shopaholic and I’m on my way to becoming a closet minimalist, one day at a time. Project 333 played a large role in my transformation and I’m highly grateful to Courtney and the entire dress with less community!
Follow Debbie on her journey to trade her full closet for a full life at www.recoveringshopaholic.com and check out her new book, UnShopping: Recovery Solutions from an Ex-Shopaholic.