Why I Chose To Wear Just 33 Items For 3 Months

07/09/2016 14:40

sustainable fashion

Hands up who has recently had one of those, I am meant to be leaving the house in ten minutes but here I am lay hopelessly on the bed in a rut about what to wear meltdowns recently?

This used to be me. I had a wardrobe filled to the brim with clothes, and a chest of drawers which I struggled to close. I think I even managed to break a draw at one point because it was so overstuffed.

Yet whenever it came to Friday night events I would be sat on the bed begging my other half to just choose something for me as I had tried everything on a hundred times and nothing worked.

I decided that it was time for this far too regular occurrence to come to an end.


I have been living minimally for a long time now. No I don't just own a plate, a sofa and not much else, but I do see the value in living with less to experience more.

After some frantic searching I came across Courtney Carver's Project 333. I was instantly sure this was the approach I needed to get my closet from cluttered to compact and functional.

If you want to be able to follow the same project yourself, there's a great guide on the Be More With Less blog the original creators and investors of Project 333.

However for those wanting a quick guide, the project involves wearing just 33 carefully chosen items for three months. This includes clothes, accessories and shoes. It however doesn't include workout gear, loungewear or underwear.

So what did I do?

I opened my wardrobe and chose my thirty three items which would see me through the next few months. There might have been a few moments in this process when I considered not taking part in the project at all and embracing my wardrobe for the chaotic mess it was. Thank goodness I didn't go down that route.

This is what I decided on:

1. Blue skinny jeans
2. Black cord pinafore dress
3. Camel coat
4. White denim shorts
5. Long knitted black dress
6. Chequered black slim fit trousers
7. Black cigarette trousers
8. Cropped black ribbed jumper
9. Striped blue detailed back jumper
10. Striped crop top
11. Monochrome striped black blouse
12. Pink pinafore dress
13. Black mini dress
14. Blue shoulder cut out dress
15. Pink cross back jumper
16. Cheap Monday ripped black skinny jeans
17. Leather look black jeans
18. Black zip front blouse
19. White t-shirt and black dress one-piece
20. Blue silk shirt
21. Black floaty dress
22. Black playsuit
23. Black Jumpsuit
24. Marbled necklace
25. Skagen watch
26. Circle silver earrings
27. Marbled earrings
28. Black suede heels
29. Black ankle wrap flats
30. Black slip on flats
31. Black choker
32. Black Bag
33. Brown Clutch

So how is it in reality?

I am not going to sugar coat it and pretend that it is all incredible and I felt instantly inspired by my new wardrobe. It's true that on some days I struggle to make choices still and I have had a couple of occasions where I wanted to wear something that wasn't on my list. I definitely missed my cream silk Mango dress that I forgot about when compiling my list of 33 items.

However for the majority of the time I really do feel less restrained. My closet remains tidy, is easy to maintain and I have quickly felt the stress of getting ready reduce throughout the months.

It also highlighted to me the value we tend to put on materialistic items and clothing in particular. I still get plenty of compliments for my looks, continue to post fashion pictures on Instagram (follow me here) and also save time in the day by not worrying about putting together outfits.


So what now?

Going forward, I am going to continue with the practice of living from a capsule wardrobe and repeat this experiment at least once a year. It has allowed me to objectively look at my wardrobe as a whole and whittle it down to a quarter of its size. A lot of items have now been donated, rehomed or recycled if they are worn or broken.

Most importantly, I am not going to buy new clothes unless necessary. Regular decluttering doesn't work, you need to stop the impulse and in-moment buying.

With the UK currently buying two million tonnes of new clothes each year, we need to place more value in the things we currently own, and stop embracing this fast-fashion culture we currently live in.

This project showed me the importance of not buying for the sake of it. No more 'new dress for the event tonight' or 'new bag because it's so on trend'. Otherwise I will just have a wardrobe filled with in the moment purchases which honestly aren't of the best quality. Not to mention the impact I have had on the environment by doing this.

It also showed me that it's not what I wear that makes an event or experience good. It is who I am with and what we are doing.

So here's to living with a capsule wardrobe, and using that extra time and money I have saved by not buying clothes to travel, write and read more!

Follow my adventures in living minimally over on the Minimalist Insider blog.

This September The Huffington Post UK Style is focusing on all things sustainable, for the second year running. Our thirst for fast fashion is dramatically impacting the environment and the lives of thousands of workers in a negative way. Our aim is to raise awareness of this zeitgeist issue and champion brands and people working to make the fashion industry a more ethical place.

We'll be sharing stories and blogs with the hashtag #SustainableFashion and we'd like you to do the same. If you'd like to use our blogging platform to share your story, email