My verdict after three weeks of Project 333
Part 2: Recap and recommendations
Now that I'm done with my 3-week-experiment of doing project 333, with my personal addition of wearing only one make up look, with a reduced amount of products, for the whole time, I'm ready to give you a recap! I have summarised my observations into 5 main points. At the end, I'm answering the question: yea or nay — would I recommend doing project 333?
1. It's true, you don't need that many clothes.
Surprisingly, I have not struggled with the amount of clothes I had chosen. As I described in part 1 of this post, after accessories, I was left with 26 pieces of clothing, including shoes and jackets. Neither the weather, nor laundry, nor variety posed a problem. I think one big reason for this was my careful planning process in the beginning. I tried to account for all eventualities so in the end I really had a wardrobe that served me well, no matter what. In terms of laundry, I just kept on top of it. And it even seemed more manageable somehow — I did it frequently but didn't end up with a huge basket full of dirty stuff (or stuff I had to fold away for hours). So I really like this side of minimalism — it does make things easier.
2. The minimalisM swept over to other areas.
I felt lighter, more content and I had more to wear (!) because it all just flowed together and worked each time. So I wanted the same for other areas of my life — for my beauty products, home stuff etc. I even reconsidered my general priorities in this phase of life and what I wanted and didn't want to spend time on. So compared to the KonMari method, where theoretically you could still end up with a lot of stuff you like, I found that the all out minimalist approach of the project 333 served a different purpose. It was a reduction first and foremost and very practical, too. I didn’t focus on what sparked the most joy, but rather what served me most. As I had completed the KonMari method previously, all my clothes sparked joy anyway! But the point here is that a forced reduction in number had an additional benefit of clarifying things.
3. Every piece has to work very hard.
If you only wear 33 pieces throughout the season (or in my case, throughout most of the month), each piece has to do a lot of work as part of your wardrobe — it has to be versatile enough to be paired with lots of different items and outfits, it has to fit exactly right, be practical in terms of your day to day life and just overall work well for you. This approach doesn't leave room for pieces that are just okay. Each and every item has to be great for it all to work. Basically, your whole closet now consists of wardrobe staples. And this is one thing I absolutely loved about project 333. It significantly curbed my desire to shop, even though I had already been a capsule wardrobe aficionado for quite some time. I realised that my life was much easier day to day when I only had items that I like 100 % and that also worked 100 % of the time!
4. The Weather Doesn’t fluctuate that much.
I've noticed that I don't really need sandals in spring, or a light-weight pant option. And I only get use out of two dresses max. But I do need variety for those 90 % of in-between-days, where it’s mild, but not warm yet. Previously, I have repeatedly miscalculated our ‘German spring’ and added in several pieces that would not be relevant until maybe July. I call this the Pinterest effect — scrolling through outfit inspo pics for spring, I see people with bare legs, feet in sandals, but that’s not representative of the temperature I would need to dress for. So I think designing my experiment with a time frame of only three weeks really brought this point home to me. Otherwise, I always thought: next month. But it didn’t happen. I guess now I have finally learned how to dress for spring, yay! And of course it’s much more satisfying to have a variety of outfit options for the weather that’s actually happening than 50 % of your capsule wardrobe just hanging there, day to day, unworn.
5. You get a crash course in wardrobe planning.
Doing Project 333 made it very obvious to me which items didn’t 100 % work and where I had wholes in my wardrobe. As I said, I didn’t need sandals in spring, but I did need two pairs of ankle boots, as this was the type of shoe I was wearing 80 % of the time. Only rarely would I mix it up with either tennis shoes or flats. Another example: I chose to wear only jeans as pants and added two dresses and a skirt for variety. But I soon realised that most of the days, I gravitated towards something pant-like and in comparison didn’t get that much wear out of the skirt or the dresses. And more bottoms = more outfit combinations. So I think now, after completing my project, I will integrate a navy pair of pants to add more variety. So basically, you just get very savvy in terms of making the most out of the clothes you own. And there were nice surprises, too. I got a ton of wear out of my navy trench coat which previously I didn’t even think of including into my capsule wardrobe but had stored away. And I think that overall, I also got a very good sense of my current style through breaking it all down to 33 pieces. I’ll stick with wearing only those three pieces of jewellery I selected, as well as the one make up look — it’s just exactly what I like right now.
Project 333 — Would I recommend it?
I would definitely recommend this as an experiment for anyone who is struggling with their wardrobe or for anyone who is afraid of downsizing. I think that it gives immense clarity in terms of your preferred style, your lifestyle's requirements as well as actual, realistic preferences you have when getting dressed each day. It forces you to get out of the dream wardrobe bubble and settle into something that really works. I can also highly recommend this for anyone who thinks they shop too much. Project 333 really illustrated for me how unnecessary it is to buy something just to have something new.
Two things I would personally add:
I would start with only three weeks at first. In my experience, you learn so much in those three weeks that you probably want to tweak after a while. And by the way, I would definitely stick to the guidelines and include shoes, jackets, accessories and jewellery. That especially was an immensely interesting experience and helped me understand what minimalism could look like for me.
I would also include a simplified beauty routine or, like I did, wearing only one look for the whole time. This again showed me which products were truly those 100 % for me and helped me reconsider my current stance on make up. Taking away the choices and focusing on one look, day to day, that I really love was so helpful in conserving time and energy, especially when getting ready in the mornings. I was happily off to work while in the past I might have lingered around, playing with different products and then don’t even liking the end result all that much.
So now my three week experiment is over. With the start of June, my summer capsule wardrobe would officially begin, but I think I’ll stick to my spring selection for now, as I’m not convinced it’ll get predictably warmer immediately. With finishing up my project 333, these are the few changes I’m making to transition back to my ‘regular’ capsule wardrobe:
I’m taking jewellery out of the equation: While I still plan on wearing only those three items, I personally don’t want to count them as part of my capsule wardrobe (I’m still counting clothes, shoes, bags and scarves).
I’m still sticking to the number 33. I just like it! The three slots that opened up by taking out jewellery I’m filling with bags (a medium sized cognac bag, a medium sized navy bag and a red crossbody). I just enjoy having a variety of bags for different outfits and occasions — whereas shoes I’m not that interested in. This has been the case since I was a teenager. I’m just more of a bag person.
I’m removing the two thick sweaters and replacing them with another longsleeve (pink stripes) and a thin grey sweater. This just seems appropriate as temperatures do rise a bit.
I’m replacing one light grey cardigan with a pair of navy pants. As I wrote above, adding a bottom piece (and removing a top piece I wasn’t wearing that much anyway) will add even more outfit options.
I’m leaving the sandals out for now and instead I’ll add another pair of ankle boots. Right now this makes sense, but of course I can still make changes if the weather drastically changes in the next couple of weeks.
So for now I’m sticking with my spring selection and 33 pieces, excluding jewellery. I’m still very happy with my one make up look, so I don’t think I’ll make any changes in that regard.
What are your thoughts on project 333? Are you interested in giving it a try? Let me know in the comments!