Minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 is often met with strong reactions. It’s usually one of the following …
- Yes! I’m in.
- I would but because of (insert one of the popular excuses listed below), I can’t.
- I could never do that.
Wait, what’s Project 333?
You can find everything you need to know about this minimalist fashion challenge I created in 2010 here, but here’s a quick rules refresher:
- When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!).
- What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outer wear and shoes.
- What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (but workout clothes have to workout).
- How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your wardrobe, seal it with tape and put it out of sight for 3 months.
- What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.
While some have tried the challenge and given up, or decided dressing with less isn’t for them, those who have approached it with curiosity have learned a lot about themselves and their relationship with stuff, clothes and shopping. Some of them (including me) discovered so many benefits (that went far beyond the closet) and decided to carry on capsule wardrobing long after the 3-month challenge.
A few common excuses/fears that prevent people from getting started:
While this challenge isn’t for everyone, you may be curious and scared at the same time. The trick is to be more curious than scared. Hopefully unpacking some of the most common fears will help:
If you are concerned because at the beginning of spring, it’s snowing and at the end of spring it’s really warm where you live, I can relate. Choose your 33 items knowing that some of your pieces will only be worn in the very beginning or at the very end of the challenge. I didn’t choose 3 months of similar weather on purpose. This is a challenge after all.
If you dress differently for work than in the rest of your life, there are a few things you can do to make a capsule wardrobe work. For starters, dress your work wear down about 10% and your out of work wear up about 10%. If you wear a uniform to work, count all of your uniforms as one item.
If you are used to housing several sizes in your closet to accommodate for weight fluctuations, only keeping one size in your closet will feel scary. Remember that the challenge is only 3 months long and most clothing can accommodate some fluctuation.
While there are others, these are the 3 big fears/excuses and they always come from people who haven’t tried the challenge. They are all imagined problems. They haven’t happened yet. They may never happen. You can deal with them if they do, when they do. They probably won’t. When you begin to see your excuses as things that haven’t happened yet, you’ll begin to move outside of your comfort zone in many other situations too.
Are you ready to try minimalist fashion Project 333?
Yes, I’m in!
Awesome, I love that about you! Jump in. Clean out your closet for good, hide your other stuff for 3 months and get started. If you are on Instagram, share before and after closet pictures, or your daily outfits with hashtag #project333.
I would but because of (insert one of the popular excuses listed above), I can’t.
I so get you! I felt that fear too before I got started but I started just the same and I’m so glad. I realized I had been imagining all of the things that could go wrong and they never did. When I started this challenge, I thought it would be so hard, but it wasn’t. In fact, it made most things easier.
Even though you have permission to break the rules with Project 333, perhaps there is some benefit to really going for it and sticking with the rules above.
I’ve done the nutritional reset/food challenge Whole30® 6 times. I’ve also fallen short a few times when I tried to bend the rules. It is only when I am fully committed that I stick with it. I also get so much more from it when I am all in. Whenever I think giving up sugar, dairy, processed food and other things for 30 days is too hard, I remember founder, Melissa Hartwig’s words, “This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written.”
Minimalist Fashion Challenge Project 333 isn’t hard either. Clothes are easier to quit than carbs (especially if you love pasta like I love pasta). This is not hard. I believe you can do it, and that it will change your life in ways you can’t imagine.
If you are still thinking … “I could never do it.”
Please, please, please … always challenge your nevers. And not because I want you do this challenge or any other challenge, but because I want you to know you can.