Why and how I'm doing Project 333


Project 333 Spring Capsule Wardrobe

After hearing about it for years, recently I have decided to give it a try — project 333, or: another way to structure your Capsule Wardrobe. It is somewhat more radical, compared to the process I described in this post. Nevertheless, I wanted to give it a try myself, as a time-bound experiment of sorts. That's why I only planned on doing three weeks, as a trial run. In this first part, I'm sharing my selection process and my initial thoughts after trying it for a couple of days. In the second part, I will share with you my thoughts after three weeks of doing it, as well as some additional tips if you'd like to do your own Project 333.

What is Project 333?

Project 333 was established by Courtney Carver and revolves around the idea of wearing only 33 items for 3 months. So basically you would have a four season wardrobe with 33 items each season. The twist: 33 items means clothing, shoes, jackets as well as accessories like bags, scarves and jewellery. In the original project 333, only sentimental items like your wedding ring, which you wear each and every day, are not counted. Also, sleep wear, workout gear and underwear are excluded. In other words, you pick 33 items, including all accessories you plan on wearing for the next three months. Courtney recommends to box up all your other items and put them out of sight until the three months are up.

Why do it?

For me, it was mainly an experiment. I felt intrigued by the idea and wanted to test whether or not it was feasible for me. Compared to my relatively flexible Capsule Wardrobe approach, this version seemed a lot stricter and more minimalist. So I only committed to three weeks at first. I stored the things I did not choose under my bed so I would have easy access if need be. I saw it as a minimalism challenge for myself. While I gave myself more freedom in terms of time (three weeks instead of months), I also included my beauty products into the challenge (I recently showed my minimalist make up routine on Instagram). I settled onto a very small amount of make up products, with only the necessities to create mostly just one make up look (including nail polish!). Again, I stored the rest out of sight, but not too far away.

How to choose the 33 items?

My process for choosing the 33 items I was planning on wearing for the next three weeks began by pulling out those things that I absolutely had to keep. These included my jeans, two jackets, two dresses, about three sweaters, a few t-shirts, tops and longsleeves as well as four pairs of shoes and all four cardigans from my current Capsule Wardrobe. I was also quick to choose a favourite bag I would definitely keep around throughout my experiment. I also had three pieces of delicate jewellery I wanted to keep wearing (I basically only wear those anyway right now, plus my wedding ring). Then I looked at the things I had arranged on my bed and started thinking about the weather. I pulled out more stuff to accommodate different temperatures and played around with the number of items in each category: I took out some tops and t-shirts to make room for more light-weight sweaters. I was thinking, realistically, how many days this spring have so far been true fair weather days and what are the chances this will change in the coming weeks? Do I have a couple of options for every possible weather, from cold and rainy to very warm? I also looked at the items in terms of being able to wear a complete outfit — could every item be mixed and matched with at least a few other items? Would the jackets, shoes and bags go together, with regards to colour and style? Overall, I also tried to have a good mix between colourful and neutral items, so I wouldn’t get bored, but also had enough simple pieces to create many outfits.

How Did I stick to 33?

It did take me a while to pare things down from about 36-37 to exactly 33 items. The main issue I had was jackets and bags. I felt like those items especially needed to be very versatile, meaning fit different kinds of outfits, but also weather and occasions. Two questions that helped me decide were:

  1. Which item is more practical overall, item A or item B?

  2. What would I probably want to wear more often, item A or item B?

In the end, I felt quite satisfied with my selection. I was sure I was going to get a ton of wear out of each item and I also felt confident that I wouldn't get bored, as I was careful to include enough fun and colourful pieces as well as neutrals.

My picks

So here is an overview of what I was left with:

  • 2 skinny jeans

  • 1 navy skirt

  • 2 dresses (a slightly lighter and a warmer one, but both can be styled for colder as well as warmer days)

  • 3 jackets (biker jacket, denim jacket, trench coat — suited for different weather and occasions)

  • 4 cardigans (in different colours, lengths and styles, for wearing under the trench coat or biker jacket on colder days or as a light-weight top layer when it's warm outside)

  • 4 pairs of shoes (ankle boots, white tennis shoes, red flats, pink sandals, again, suited for all types of weather)

  • 3 bags (a medium sized bag in a wine red, a small orange cross-body bag and a light blue backpack, suited for various occasions and outfits)

  • 1 scarf (light grey, fits everything)

  • 3 pieces of delicate jewellery (that fit each outfit)

  • 2  light-weight sweaters (both colourful and striped)

  • 2 thick sweaters (light grey and a colourful pattern)

  • 1 striped longsleeve

  • 3 t-shirts (white with colourful dots, light pink stripes, light pink)

  • 2 blouses (white with short sleeves and a blue striped blouse with knotted detail)

Looking at my selection I was quite confident I could make it work. I wasn't sure about the laundry requirements though. After only a couple of days, my first take is: it's quite fun. It does seem even easier to get dressed and ready in the mornings. I basically just check the weather and then something suitable immediately presents itself. I don't miss any make up products either, at least for now. So my first impression is definitely a good one. And I'm looking forward to creating outfits with the limited stuff I have! 

Have you ever tried Project 333 yourself? Let me know in the comments! And check out part 2 of this post, my impressions after 3 weeks of doing project 333!