There is nothing like packing and moving once every six to eight months to make us realize how much stuff we’ve accumulated. And yet, though I’ve packed, moved and stored every half year since 2010, I still have tons of possessions, and admittedly find myself eyeing more things. What is happening?!
Here’s my diagnosis of the situation: it’s not entirely my fault, but it’s still my fault. We live in a generation of excess; in fact, we’ve celebrated it for quite a while. Despite recent claims that the “happiest income” is $50-$75k, not many people in my immediate communities seem even to be trying to live on less. Ever since World War II, we Americans have proudly led the international economy, and we built gigantic home refrigerators to prove it. So it’s not entirely my (or your) fault that we are stuck with lots of things.
But, I still have to own up to why, every so often, I discover clothing in my closet that I did not even know that I had. Moreover, it’s often relatively high-quality clothing that I purchased within the past 8 years, thinking that it was totally my style. With regards to fashion, we allow our tastes to change too much; I myself vacillated between Yoko and Blair Waldorf within a seven-year window. Trying to determine my own sense of style was costly, and I’m still assessing the damages.
Now that I am married and will be sharing a closet with someone, it’s time to downsize— permanently. In addition to discovering fellow bloggers who share my passion (and far exceed my determination) for simplicity, I’ve decided to take some of their advice to simplify my own life before it gets too complicated. And I’m starting with my closet!
Enter Project 333…
Project 333, created by Courtney Carver just a few years ago, is a challenge for everyone to live on less by keeping fewer clothes in the closet. Her goal? Wear only 33 items over the course of 3 months (details here). Wow! I’m inspired already.
Since I’m currently moving, most of my belongings are in boxes ready for pickup, so I don’t actually have 33 items on hand. So instead of 33 over 3, I will make it my goal to show you it’s possible to get by on as few as 11 items in 1 month. The challenge here is not so much about getting rid of things, but determining which 11 items should make the cut– namely, the fashion staples. If we are to downsize our wardrobes, then we’ll need some gorgeous, high-quality pieces that are versatile and long-lasting: pieces that we will be proud to wear everyday, and worthy of the extra care or dry-cleaning.
A quick disclaimer: Because I’ve shrunk the numbers so much, I will be making a few exceptions to the number 11. I’ll be excluding shoes (for foot health), my only handbag, my driving sunglasses, and earrings (which don’t take up space). Hopefully it won’t look like I’m cheating!
My Eleven Items
- My favorite Ann Taylor jeans.
- Vintage Missoni knit.
- Pink Ann Taylor mid-thigh skirt.
- C Wonder chambre button-down.
- Beige silk scarf.
- Olive BCBG shorts.
- Olive silk shirt.
- Long gold and pearl necklace.
- Vintage ivory flower necklace.
- Vintage Escada shirt.
- Yellow cotton dress.
In the following days, I will be showing you different combinations of these 11 pieces and explaining my reasoning behind selecting them. I hope you find my outfits inspiring and encouraging; ultimately, I hope we’ll all feel less inclined to jump on the next fashion trend or run to the mall on a bad day. Thanks in advance for your support!
OUTFIT #1: Missoni shirt + jeans + gold pearl necklace
How to put together your take on this look:
- Find a pair of jeans you feel great in– one that’s ok for the office.
- Select a bright, bold shirt that you think is beautiful. It doesn’t have to be designer, but it should be high-quality. If you’re shopping for one, try the sale racks at high-end department stores, vintage consignment shops, BCBG, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, C Wonder, J Crew, Anthropologie, or another favorite.
- Select a long, versatile, neutral-colored necklace that you love.
- Pull the look together with polished hair and makeup. I almost always wear lipstick!