Minimalism Project 333

Introducing Project 333: A Minimalist Fashion Experiment

June 21, 2016

Over the next 3 months I’m going to be participating in a minimalist fashion experiment called Project 333.

Project 333 was created by Courtney Carver of Be More With Less a few years ago, and since then it has taken off globally. She explains all the rules in depth here, but the quick and dirty version is:

  • Choose to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months
  • 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewellery, outerwear and shoes
  • items such as your wedding ring, undergarments, and workout clothes are not counted

These are the ‘official’ rules, but many Project 333’ers (including myself) choose to alter them to better suit their lifestyles. For example, I really love my jewellery collection and I don’t feel like it needs decluttering, so I’m choosing not to include it in my 33 things.

To be 100% honest with you all, my entire wardrobe is only a little bigger than 33 things (after all, I’ve been a minimalist for quite a few years now!) But I thought this would be a fun exercise to share with everyone because I know many aspiring minimalists are curious to know what minimalism looks like in real life.

The answer is it looks different for everyone, but I hope sharing a sneak peak into my closet – and explaining why I dress with less – will help you feel inspired to consider minimalism in your own life!

Project 333 is a 3 month minimalist fashion experiment - but it's so much more than that. I believe starting to dress with less is a springboard that can you start you down the path to minimalism and intentional living. I'll be dressing with 33 items for the next 3 months. Click to see what's in my closet!

WHY DRESS WITH LESS

My minimalist journey began in my closet.

At one point in my life, I had a closet almost bigger than my current apartment and I owned over 100 pairs of shoes. I spent my free time reading fashion blogs and magazines, shopping, and reorganising my closet.

My wardrobe was the most obvious manifestation of my problem with stuff. I was struggling with unhappiness, self acceptance, and lack of purpose – and I dealt with these feelings by shopping. My clothes were more than just ‘things’; they represented my hopes, my dreams, and my fears.

Deciding to dress with less meant a lot more to me than just having a streamlined, beautiful closet and getting dressed quicker in the morning (although these things are nice too!) It also meant:

  • Facing past mistakes, forgiving myself for them, and moving on
  • Making a conscious decision about my values and priorities
  • Letting go of my fantasy self and accepting my true self instead

This is why I think Project 333 is so powerful. It’s more than just a minimalist fashion experiment; it’s also a springboard that can start you down the path to minimalism and intentional living.

FURTHER READING:
Confidence + Minimalism (Find the Courage to Chase Your Dreams)
The Long Road to Self Acceptance
6 Tips to Stop Mindless Shopping

MY LIFESTYLE

Before I go into all the details of my wardrobe, I think it’s important to share a bit about my lifestyle (because obviously my closet reflects my life!)

I’m in the Southern hemisphere and it’s winter here – but I live in a subtropical city (Brisbane) so it still reaches 70°F / 21°C most days. It does get much cooler at night and many homes/offices are unheated, so warm clothes – specifically layers – are a must!

I currently work in the transport industry doing short term contract assignments. Some weeks I work full time, some not at all. My work dress code is generally smart casual.

MY 33 ITEM WARDROBE

Say hello to my Project 333 wardrobe!

Project 333 is a 3 month minimalist fashion experiment - but it's so much more than that. I believe starting to dress with less is a springboard that can you start you down the path to minimalism and intentional living. I'll be dressing with 33 items for the next 3 months. Click to see what's in my closet!Not pictured but counted in my 33 items: 3 more black tanks (1 dressy, 2 casual) + 1 more grey tank
Not pictured but not counted in my 33 items: leggings, tights, a black thermal undershirt, raincoat

THE DETAILED LIST

TOPS

1. Black sleeveless blouse with small grey print

2. Plaid sleeveless blouse (*regular readers will know I don’t wear white because I don’t like to do seperate loads of laundry. I let this one slip in, but I don’t seperate it for washing and so far so good!)

3. Lightweight chambray button down top

4. Cream and navy striped 3/4 sleeve top

5. Olive green sweater

6. Black 3/4 sleeve cardigan

7. Black racerback tank top

8. Grey racerback tank top

Project 333 is a 3 month minimalist fashion experiment - but it's so much more than that. I believe starting to dress with less is a springboard that can you start you down the path to minimalism and intentional living. I'll be dressing with 33 items for the next 3 months. Click to see what's in my closet!

9. Scoopneck black tank top *not pictured

10. Muscle tee black sleeveless tee *not pictured

11. Cropped black sleeveless blouse *not pictured

12. Grey tank top with draped back *not pictured

BOTTOMS

13. Black trousers

14. Grey casual trousers

15. Black pencil skirt

16. Black skinny jeans

17. Blue skinny jeans

18. Black and white printed miniskirt

19. Black faux leather miniskirt

Project 333 is a 3 month minimalist fashion experiment - but it's so much more than that. I believe starting to dress with less is a springboard that can you start you down the path to minimalism and intentional living. I'll be dressing with 33 items for the next 3 months. Click to see what's in my closet!

DRESSES + COAT

20. 3/4 sleeve black printed dress

21. Sleeveless black dress

22. Brown suede coat
Project 333 is a 3 month minimalist fashion experiment - but it's so much more than that. I believe starting to dress with less is a springboard that can you start you down the path to minimalism and intentional living. I'll be dressing with 33 items for the next 3 months. Click to see what's in my closet!

BAGS + SHOES

23. Crossbody tan leather bag

24. Brown fringe leather bag

25. Black and gold clutch

26. Black platform high heeled sandals

27. Tan flat sandals

28. Black ballet flats

29. Black trainers (sneakers)

30. Tan leather ankle boots

31. Black high heeled booties
Project 333 is a 3 month minimalist fashion experiment - but it's so much more than that. I believe starting to dress with less is a springboard that can you start you down the path to minimalism and intentional living. I'll be dressing with 33 items for the next 3 months. Click to see what's in my closet!

THE MISSING PIECES

32. ???

33. ???

Realistically, I think I might need another warm top. I’ve been holding off on buying one because I want to see if I really need it … but it has been pretty chilly lately!

Also, I may need to get another pair of shoes for work. Sometimes I get assigned to work sites that require more sturdy shoes for health and safety reasons. Again, I’m going to hold off until I know for sure before I buy anything.

SECONDHAND STYLE

This isn’t really relevant to Project 333, but I thought it would be worth mentioning that 9 of my 31 items were purchased secondhand. Just a gentle reminder that there are a lot of great secondhand options out there – a great way to save money and be kind to the earth!

UPDATES

If you’re interested in seeing how my Project 333 wardrobe plays out (read: outfit photos!), I’ll be posting occasional updates on Instagram (#simplyfiercely333) and I’ll be posting monthly updates here on the blog.

If you feel inspired by this post but don’t know where to start with your own closet, please check out my Simple Guide to a Simple Wardrobe.

Dressing with less has made such a difference in my life and I truly believe it can change your life too! I invite you to join me on my Project 333 journey. Comment below and let me know if you’re in!

If you want to share your progress with us, use #simplyfiercely333 on Instagram, or leave a link to your blog/social media below.

photo credit: Me or the hubby!

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  • I started capsuling with Project 333. This is SO awesome. So glad you’re doing this, and can’t wait to see how it turns out for you! x

    • Thanks Daisy! I’ve attempted Project 333 a few times before when I was first discovering minimalism – it’s amazing how many people have been touched by the project! xo

  • I think minimalism naturally starts in the wardrobe (at least for women!). Getting rid of soo many clothes really made a big difference in feeling light and getting organized. Plus, I pretty much love the fact that everything can fit in a large/medium suitcase. Recently, a coworker gifted me with her hand-me-downs and I gotta say, I’m going to toss the majority of it. If it doesn’t make me feel fab, fit right, etc, then why bother? Good luck w/ the project!

  • I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Project 333 slash capsule wardrobes in general and I absolutely love the idea! Since I’ve spent a long time living out of a backpack, my problem isn’t with having too many clothes, it’s having inappropriate, old, ill-fitting clothes that just don’t work in my life anymore. I’m slowly trying to get my mind around investing in a few well made pieces that can carry me through multiple occasions and seasons. I look forward to following your journey.

    • Thanks Lauren! I’ve been living out of a backpack the past 7+ months … so I can definitely relate! Sometimes spending a bit more money up front can be a big hurdle, but I try and balance higher end pieces with getting things secondhand, so the costs stay down overall. Good luck with your wardrobe + happy travels! xo

  • Exciting, Jen! I notice you replied to my name twin about attempting Project 333 a few times before. How did you find it and what’s different about your approach this time? 🙂

    • I first tried Project 333 when I was just getting started with minimalism. The truth is I still had a bit too much emotional baggage – I was experimenting with decluttering but I was applying any other principles of minimalism or intentional living to my life, so I kept falling back into the same old patterns! I wrote a bit about this cycle (and how I broke it) in this post http://www.simplyfiercely.com/struggling-with-minimalism/ ☺️ xo

  • Nicola

    I’m keen to see how this works out for you. I’ve been intrigued by capsule wardrobes for a while, but never really taken the plunge because a lot of what I’ve read has included “rules” about sticking to a few colours (difficult when my fave tops are about half a dozen different ones) or “key pieces” like a little black dress, something I’d rarely find a use for with my lifestyle (casual dress code at work, and my main formal events are weddings, where black is generally frowned upon here in the UK, at least by older generations) and therefore would have to buy to even start the challenge.

    The idea of picking out clothes from amongst those you already own sounds like a much better way to get started with living with less, rather than trying to stick to a pre-ordained list of things you “need”.

    • Hi Nicola, I’m going to be posting monthly updates here, but so far it’s working really well! It’s been a little chilly lately, so to be honest I’ve been wearing a lot of the same things over and over, but I feel great about it.

      And YES! Don’t worry too much about lists. The idea is most women are already only wearing small parts of their closets, so start with what’s already working for you – and with time you’ll naturally figure out if there’s anything that’s not working or that you really need to add.

  • Your capsule is so cute! I’ve been needing to hit “reset” on my style so I’ve been thinking of doing one, too. I love how you use mostly neutral colors (I do too) but still make these layered/textured/interesting outfits.

    • Thanks lovely! My style is pretty simple, but I love everything I have – and it’s such a great feeling to not have any closet related stress. I’d LOVE to see your capsule if you make one! x

  • deisolive

    Wow! I’ve been decluttering a lot but I’m still not sure if I would be able to have only 33 items. What I have been doing is getting rid of old stuff and not buying another to replace…I guess at some point I will have these 33 items. I really liked your blog!

    • Hi there! I have a bit more than 33 items total, but this was an experiment for 3 months 🙂 And that’s a great plan for downsizing your wardrobe! I did a big purge at the start (years ago now) and then that’s pretty much what I did for a long time – I just stopped shopping!

  • Charlei Scott

    what kind of leather boots are those?

    • Hi Charlei, they are Acne Pistol Boots. They’re not cheap but they were a great investment – I bought them in 2012 and they are still in great condition. I wear them everywhere in the winter and haven’t felt tempted to buy another pair of boots or an alternative winter shoe since then, so the “dollar per wear” is actually very cheap 🙂 They are also very comfy – I highly recommend! Cheers