Wardrobe: Outfit #2 and Defining “Chic” for Yourself

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Outfit #2: Ann Taylor shirt+BCBG shorts+ivory flower necklace

I’m continuing my attempt at Courtney Carver‘s challenge for minimalist fashion– Project 333— by showing you the outfits I create out of the eleven pieces I selected. As you know, I have been downsizing my wardrobe this summer in order to move into a small apartment in SoCal. I must admit that it has been tempting to pair outfits in advance to see how many combos I can pull together, but my first advice from this project is: construct your outfits one day at a time!

My previous post on Project 333 explains that I will be wearing 11 items in 1 month (with a few exceptions such as shoes, my bag and sunglasses) to demonstrate how easy it is to maximize the potential of a small wardrobe. The end result is to purchase only what we need or absolutely love, and allow our budget for each item to rise a bit. That way, we can purchase beautiful pieces to wear for years.

The eleven pieces!

The eleven pieces!

I love what Courtney Carver herself has to say about a simple wardrobe: “Simplicity in the closet lends itself to personal style. Instead of chasing trends, you can finally wear clothing that fits your body and your lifestyle. It may take some time to figure out how you want to dress, but soon you’ll feel more comfortable, receive more compliments, and be better dressed with less.”

Instead of chasing trends, you can finally wear clothing that fits your body and your lifestyle. This is fantastic news– how great is it to actually develop your signature look? I can tell you that the compliments will start flowing in no time!

 

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Why I chose these pieces: A loose silk top goes perfectly with almost anything. It tucks into shorts for a “romper” look; it pairs well with high-waisted skirts for a more polished ensemble; and it goes with your favorite pair of pants.

On top of that, these shirts are super flattering and comfortable!

I was also lucky enough to find a top and shorts that are pretty close in color. This outfit would look great with monochromatic pieces. The easiest pairings are, of course, white on white or black on black. Très chic!

Where to find these pieces: As I mentioned in my first Project 333 post, the sale rack is a great place to look for silk tops and flattering shorts. You’ll be surprised to discover how versatile a plain dressy shirt can be! My top is from Ann Taylor (similar here) and shorts from BCBG. (Psst! Banana Republic is having a 40%-off everything sale RIGHT NOW)

Pull the look together: With a funky necklace, cat-eye sunglasses and a natural red lipstick. My sunnies are from Anthropologie (similar here); necklace from my mom in the 80s, and lipstick from Cle de Peau Beaute in 103S (absolutely LOVE this line).

 

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Wardrobe: Project 333 and the Challenge of Minimalist Fashion

Fashionable Minimalism: Can I make it through a month wearing only these?

Fashionable Minimalism: Can I make it through a month wearing only these?

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?!

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My list isn’t quite the same as Phil’s, but sometimes this is me at the mall or Williams-Sonoma.

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

  1. My favorite Ann Taylor jeans.
  2. Vintage Missoni knit.
  3. Pink Ann Taylor mid-thigh skirt.
  4. C Wonder chambre button-down.
  5. Beige silk scarf.
  6. Olive BCBG shorts.
  7. Olive silk shirt.
  8. Long gold and pearl necklace.
  9. Vintage ivory flower necklace.
  10. Vintage Escada shirt.
  11. Yellow cotton dress.
The eleven.

The eleven– yikes!

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

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Dress up your favorite jeans with a fancy top and a glam long necklace.

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I love pairing gold and pearl elements with practically anything– such an elegant combo.

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A topknot, Breakfast-at-Tiffany’s style sunnies, and a pink lip make this look clean and polished.

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Let down your hair and take off the heavy jewelry for an off-duty look.

Let down your hair and take off the heavy jewelry for an off-duty look.

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!