Two years ago I was pretty inspired by blogger Elise Joy when she did a Capsule Wardrobe. Basically, she paired her wardrobe down to roughly 30-36 items to wear for 3 months. That included shoes & coats. I was inspired at the time and kind put it in the back of my mind and wanted to try it. I even remember talking about it with a friend about HOW HARD that would be, yet a seed was planted.
Last month, after much buzz, Mike and I watched The Minimalists Documentary on Netflix. This documentary was fascinating & captivating. I would strongly encourage everyone to watch it because likely, you will take away ONE THING that might make a BIG difference in your life, or perhaps how you view THINGS. I was a little nervous to watch it because my history with documentaries is that they make you feel REALLY BADLY about yourself or your habits or what eat or drink ... you get the picture. You end it feeling like an utter failure and that surely jumping off a cliff is a better option than whatever you are doing you that is SURE to kill you. Ya feel me? Well, this one is different.
Their approaches laid back & simple (duh, Minimalists.) But more so than that, they aren't PUSHING their agenda on you as much as they are educating & inspiring you to make a change. They seem pretty judgement free in regards to others who are not self proclaimed "minimalists" and they simply want to share the good word & make a difference.
I walked away inspired. I immediately went to work on my closet. I dug in to the methods from Project 333 and decided that I'd start with one month. I'd pair down to 33 pieces - accessories & shoes included - for 30 days "just to see." I set about it pretty easily. I decided I'd grab all of my favorite "go to" pieces and just see how many that was. Turns out my favorite pieces amounted to 25 items so I had some wiggle room to add more. I tried to think ahead for the coming month in regards to what I had (any special events? Am I traveling? Etc) and add along those lines. Here is what I ended up with:
- 1 black vest
- 1 dark grey thick sweatshirt
- 1 black long sleeve swing dress
- 1 denim dress
- 2 denim shirts
- 1 light grey cardigan
- 1 grey long sleeve tee
- 1 yellow swing tee
- 1 grey swing tee
- 1 black long sleeve tee
- 1 black/tan buffalo button down
- 3 pair of leggings
- 1 pair black jeans
- 1 pair of navy jeans
- 2 pair of boots
- 2 pair of booties
- 2 infinity scarves
- 3 bracelets
- 5 cami's (I later changed these out for a sweater, another pair of leggings, a pink shirt & athlete pants since they are technically under garments)
- 2 pair of tights (grey/black)
And that was it. Workout clothing and sleepwear are NOT a part of the 33 items. I am happy am PROUD to report that I did NOT STRAY from these items! Nor did I purchase or shop for any new items during my 30 days. Here is what I learned ...
- It was significantly easier to get dressed
- I never got tired of my clothes (I totally thought I would!)
- I picked really reliable items and that was the RIGHT thing to do. Quality will pay off.
- I think a month was a good amount of time for me - 3 months with these same clothes would bum me out. I need a fresh perspective every now and again.
- It forced me to look at how I pair things differently, think outside of the box and work smarter, not harder.
- I felt a bit drab. However, it is Jan/Feb in Minnesota. I had to be prepared for pretty cold snowy weather. I didn't anticipate a massive warm up that we had but luckily I did have layer options and short sleeves too
- I did NOT count coats into my plan because: MINNESOTA. I have AND USE about 3 - 4 coats right now. A dress coat, a ski coat, a thin down coat & a leather going out coat. I wore each of these coats over the month. Each of them are classically styled investment pieces that I will wear over and over again over time.
- I WOULD do it again. I think I will do it at least for a month in each season.
- It has changed how I shop, think about clothes and what I wear more. I would rather splurge on classic pieces that are reliable and high quality that I can wear over and over again a variety of ways - rather than buy a cheap top that frays or falls apart after one wash.
- I do LOVE accessories and it was hard to pair down on that. I would have loved more scarf options because that is an easy way to change a look. I was glad it was winter because I wouldn't wear a scarf in spring/summer and then I'd need more necklaces or other accessories. That area was HARD to pair down for sure and not sure if next time I'll include accessories.
- This past weekend I went through my closet AGAIN and got ride of 4 more big bags of clothing. It made it SUPER easy after having just done this challenge because I was much more thoughtful and less attached to my clothes!
- I'm finding that it is spilling over into my REAL LIFE. I'm being much more thoughtful in my purchases and finding myself mentally saying "I don't need that STUFF in my life." I'm also finding that I want to STREAMLINE EVERYTHING. ;)
- I find a lot of comfort and agreement in their tag line "Love people, not things" and find myself reminding myself of that often. I want to focus on experiences and time together rather than things. A good practice for all of us.
Overall, I'd encourage you to give it a try. I think it truly can be life changing. It was also good because my daughter documented the whole thing for me from start to finish so she understood what I was trying to do. I hope that I can start to assure my kids that we really don't need stuff as much as we need one another. I know that is a hard thing to learn and conceptualize though. But, it starts by example. And frankly, I haven't been a good example. I love consumerism! I love stuff, pretty things! One step at a time is the best any of us can do. If you need help taking the first step, start with the documentary, it's a great starting point!
I will admit. I bought a few things this week. But I was thoughtful & wise in my spending and hope to continue to be that way moving forward. And one final note. I work for Stitch Fix where I send people clothing as much as they want it. It seems counter intuitive, but actually it can be really amazing to have someone personally style for you - with your budget & body in mind - to curate a wardrobe that can keep giving back to YOU. This experiment has also changed the way I do my job! Another WIN! All around, I think this was an awesome & worthwhile experiment for me. Who wants to try it with me next time?