Month 1 of Project 333: December
I just finished one month of attempting to dress myself with 33 items and the results are….mixed.
The theme for this month is:
life doesn't fit into neat little boxes
So far, I very much enjoy wearing a capsule wardrobe. I have less stress in the morning and I find that what I am wearing always fits well, is appropriate for the occasion and I feel great in it. Thumbs up for that. However, I do find the need for more flexibility than traditional capsule dressing offers.
My overall takeaways are:
1. Seasons are not always neat, 3 month occurrences
2. I don’t always wear ‘outside’ clothes
3. Don’t be afraid of statement pieces in a capsule
4. If you’re not a morning person, capsule dressing is made for you
Seasons are not always neat, 3 month occurrences
When I first put together my capsule I knew that I was going to Mexico for Christmas to see my in-laws. I read optimistic accounts that a 33-piece capsule can take you through any weather, reading statements like “I travel the whole country with my 33 pieces and it works Arizona to Alaska!”
With it being about 40 degrees Fahrenheit in NY and me thinking it would be 65 in Mexico, I was very optimistic. I purposely included some t-shirts and I picked items that would match with a pair of navy soft pants that I thought would complete the collection for warmer weather.
Best laid plans, right?
I packed mainly items from my capsule, but at the insistence of my wife I included some of my summer go-tos: a striped tencel dress, white jean shorts and a thin checkered button-up. I also included some summer active clothes.
Well, it ended up being 80 degrees with 90% humidity and I pretty much lived in those summer items.
At one point I wore those jean shorts with an active top and my wife's button-up. All sorts of 'against the rules'.
When I got back to New York it was -10 degrees and the 2018 ‘bombcyclone’ arrived, delivering many feet of snow. As quickly as it came, it turned to slush when the temperature rose to 50 degrees. Crazy weather, right?
I get it- neat 3 month increments with a capsule for every season is simple and sounds sexy. But the reality of life is a little different. With weather patterns how they are, sometimes winter stretches to 5 months long, and sometimes it comes super late and it’s fall weather right up till Christmas. Sometimes spring comes for a week and then goes away again. And sometimes we travel to very far off places where the weather is completely different.
My takeaway is: have 4 capsules going at once.
My suggestion to myself would be this: instead of hiding away ALL the clothes, maybe I will make 4 capsules (one for every season). The other 3 that I am not actively using I will not pack in box, instead I will leave them out of sight but easily accessible. This will allow for some flexibility to grab ‘emergency’ items from different capsules to allow for travel and crazy changing seasons.
I don’t always wear outside clothes
Confession: I wore surprisingly little of my capsule wardrobe. About half.
A big reason for this is that I don’t always wear ‘outside clothes’. Project 333 does not include PJs, activewear for working out or in-home loungewear, so therefore I will refer to what is leftover as ‘outside clothes’. Turns out I wear loungewear a surprising percentage of the time.
Sometimes I work from home all day and don’t leave for meetings. And sometimes on a Saturday I binge-watch The Crown and do puzzles all day:
Sometimes I bake cookies at my best friend’s house in my PJs:
Sometimes I wear PJs to an actual party:
Also, I work as a barre instructor and my favorite activities are running and indoor rock climbing. So sometimes I only leave the house to do something active:
My takeaway is: My life is a lot more varied than I realized and my clothes shopping needs to reflect this.
I buy so many blouses and dresses, but it turns out I am only wearing that type of clothing maybe 60% of the time. So it’s time to stop shopping for so many ‘outside’ clothes.
Don’t be afraid of statement pieces in a capsule
This follows up from the point above. I included a fair number of statement pieces in my capsule: a printed blouse, a printed long sleeve, 2 tops with beading, and an all over sequins sweater. Initially I was worried that this would make it obvious that I was wearing only 33 items. A lot of capsule examples that I found online are much muted and neutral.
However, when I look at the aggregate of the pictures from this month I realize that I only wore each statement piece 1-2 times, so I bet no one noticed.
Takeaway: add even more statement pieces!
Let's not be afraid to add some flavor, even when dressing with a capsule! I’m in the market for a great pair of leopard print booties to complement my black dresses and navy tops/sweaters in my capsule. A wonderful thing about capsule dressing is that it laser focuses my shopping list to something I really want (hello money savings!)
If you’re not a morning person, capsule dressing is made for you
I went to a presentation last week about de-cluttering your life and focus. One of the points that was given was to pick out your clothes the night before so that your morning is efficient.
I chuckled to myself and thought ‘girl, I got this on LOCK.’
I feel like I have cracked the code of not being a morning person AND not being late to everything: capsule dressing!
It used to take me so long, either in the morning or the night before, to pick out an outfit because it had to match the events of the day perfectly and be something those people haven’t seen me in. Now, all those worries are long gone. I have 2-4 options to choose from depending on the events of the day, It takes me 30 seconds to pick, and I never put something on and take it off again. Life hack.
My takeaway: more of this please!
The verdict: I will definitely keep this challenge going. I can’t wait to see how I continue to grow and learn the next 2 months.