Monday, January 13, 2014

Project 333: Day 0

Remember this? This was my closet on Friday. Cluttered and messy, mixing summer and winter clothes, and dominated by dark.

Now check this out:

How much better does this look? How much calmer?

So you've probably guessed by now that I'm having a go at Project 333. The rules are roughly 33 items of clothing and accessories for 3 months. Normally you exclude underwear, socks, pajamas and running kit, but I am also excluding: outerwear (coat, scarves, hats, mittens), my handbag, jewellery and a pair of sturdy walking boots I only really use when it's snowy or icy. This makes me look really wussy but even this will be a severe challenge. 

A confession: I have never in my life 'put together an outfit. I pretty much throw on the first clothes that come to hand, which are usually the clothes I wore yesterday. I don't really have a style, I hate clothes shopping and I never buy fashion magazines.

Having said that, though, this project is already making me think about my clothes slightly differently. They are after all a fairly essential tool of life and need to be up to scratch for my various activities (sturdy and practical for housework, smart and professional for work, and warm and comfy for around the house.) I have ignored this part of my 'armoury' up until now, largely thinking that it doesn't hugely matter and I can't do any better anyway. Now I'm starting to think that I've been selling myself short.

I told you that I set out to write down 33 items from memory and realised my wardrobe consisted largely of dark and muted colours, and of unimaginative cuts (lots of v-neck sweaters worn over v-neck shirts). I have over the last few days been thinking up a 'dream' list of 33. If I could build a wardrobe from scratch, what would it look like? And to my utter astonishment, when I sit down and think about it, I actually have a very clear idea of what this would like look. And it's colourful, varied, textured, smart but fun, pretty but not fussy... All the things my current wardrobe is not.

It's incredible. I'm drawing little pictures of dresses with asymmetrical collars and thinking of the exact shade of red, and sketching out some cardigans and jackets to go with it. Have I discovered my inner fashion designer? And this is so much more fun than poring over magazines or traipsing round clothes shops. I'm starting to ask myself questions about clothes - real and imaginary - that I never have before, which are actually very relevant to the whole question of living with less, of living well with less.

Not just will this item suit me - the colour, the cut - but how will it complement what I already have? Can I combine it with several other items in a range of outfits? Will it cover different situations - work, home, social, travel? Does it add a new colour or shape to my existing range? Does it have some interest - a pattern, an aysmmetry, an unusual colour or other design feature? I have never cared about these things before but I think this is in part why I have arrived at this point. Most of my clothes are block colours, symmetrical and half-length, so I generally walk around looking like two-thirds of a less colourful Neopolitan ice cream. One half black, one half blue.

I'm wondering if I can perhaps try this year to make some of these 'in my head' clothes? Bring about a handmade wardrobe that is both functional and beautiful? A small, versatile, interesting and above all personal selection that can display my creativity, imagination and (growing) skill?

Not a small challenge by any means, I've only ever made two garments...


  1. I'm a little like you in that I don't think about clothing very much. I work here in the farm and so most days I just have the same old work clothes on. And when I go off farm I'm usually in a hurry so it's whatever I grab first and hope it's clean/suitable/etc. But I have just in the last year or so been making some things for myself, more because of the creating more than I need more clothes. I have found a pattern I really like and variations of this one pattern seem to be what I make. I think when you make it yourself rather than buy them, when you put a little of yourself into each one it makes a difference to how you view your wardrobe.!! Anyway good luck with it all and have fun!

    1. Thanks. I've rarely worn anything I've made, and never out of the house, so it will be interesting to see wether I feel any differently in homemade things. And if anything ends up to 'errr.... where did you get that' then I can always give it to my far more fashionable sister for her birthday. Just for the look on her face.

  2. You definitely need a colour injection! I am about as far from fashionable as it is possible to be and generally buy clothes second hand or in the sales but in the last couple of years I have realised that wearing fun clothes makes me feel good. You may need to be smart for work, but that doesn't have to be boring. Comfy is great but can be pretty too. Have a mooch around the charity shops and see what you can find - a treasure from your wish list might just be waiting for you! Colourful accessories are a great way to start. Have fun! Eleanor xx

    1. Colour most definitely needed! I entirely agree, there's no reason that clothes have to be divided between mutually exclusive categories. Charity shops is a good suggestion - sadly nowhere near as good here as in the UK but perhaps next time I'm over I'll do me some mooching.

  3. Oh my gosh, do it! You have the vision and the desire, if all you need are the skills, take some sewing classes and make it happen! It's sounds like a terrific creative/artistic outlet and you get custom made new clothes to boot! Win!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I can sew reasonably well - it's the patience and persistence I lack. But so far I've finished my first jumper so I am making (slow) progress.



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