You may recall that I did another Project 333 round earlier this year (for those who are unfamiliar, the basic premise is to have a capsule wardrobe of only 33 item for 3 months). I wasn’t going to write a recap here because, being honest, it was a bit of a failure. But thinking back on it I can say I learned from those mistakes, and maybe others who are struggling with a minimalist wardrobe (or the thought of attempting it) might find those mistakes useful to hear about.
When I chose these items I had just come back from almost 4 months of travelling Europe, and were house-sitting for family whilst looking for our new home (this ended up taking a couple of months). I’d also just started a new job, and whilst it thankfully didn’t require more than a smart-casual wardrobe, I did want to make a good impression. All our stuff was in boxes and not easily accessible, so many of the item I chose were ones that I’d bought whilst overseas, being tempted by the likes of Zara and Mango, plus some staples that I’d had for much longer.
Unfortunately a lot of these untested and cheap quality items didn’t stand up to the kind of wear and tear needed! Others turned out to be a little to ambitious – I’d assumed I’d drop back to my normal size quite quickly after returning to my regular non-holiday diet, but those tight skirts unfortunately stayed a bit too tight. Others were just poor choices – slightly too sheer or low-cut to wear to work or with family, or just too formal or ‘out there’ to wear to my new job. There was also a bit of wishful thinking on my part with the weather – whilst Perth does have a mild Autumn, and there were some swelteringly hot days early on, it eventually got too cold for the few warmer items I’d included. Two months in I realised that about half of my 33 items weren’t really wearable for most of my day-to-day activities.
I held out as long as I could, but with just a few weeks left to the finish date we moved into our new place, and I had access to all my stuff which had been boxed up for the past 6 months. And as much as I’m trying to be less materialistic, having all my stuff made me so so happy! I reasoned that it was pointless to continue when my choices had ended up so limited, and gave up. I like to think that if I’d chosen a little better and had the best version of these items I would have made it, but it was getting to the point where it just wasn’t practical anymore.
- Fast fashion is often really poor quality. That’s not to say that it always is (I am currently wearing a pair of pants I bought from WestCo about 15 years ago), but that reason amongst others combine to make me not want to shop at that sort of place anymore.
- Scoop necks are not for me. I always think it’ll be okay, but movement and inevitable stretching of the fabric leads to it being er, not.
- Not a fan of sheer. I don’t feel comfortable with the look on me, but don’t like having to layer a singlet underneath either.
- Straps that fall down are a deal-breaker. It’s so annoying!
- I need to be more realistic about sizing. I don’t lose weight quickly, so assuming that I will fit into things which were bought slightly too tight is not a good idea!
- I hate ironing. That green shirt is lovely but didn’t get worn much because it’s so annoying to iron!
- Black tees are my best friend. I think that one got more wear than anything else – must get some more.
- Skirts and dresses can be layered creatively to give more options and variety.
- One great bag is all I need. That medium sized Longchamp Le Pliage bag I bought in France has been used daily, even after I gave up on this round and had access to my other bags again. I’ve heard many say it’s too casual, but for me the fact that it’s versatile, tough, waterproof and the perfect size for carrying my DSLR makes it just right.
I feel like even though this round wasn’t exactly a success, I’m narrowing down further what works and doesn’t work for me as well as being more creative with combinations. I’ve now cut down my entire wardrobe to less than 100 clothing items, and whilst there’s a few gaps I’d like to fill and a few less than perfect items I’d like to replace, I’m getting to a good place with my personal style and being more minimalist. Doing these challenges has definitely helped!