4.04.2012

a small wardrobe






good morning!
  today i thought i'd talk a bit about my pared down wardrobe.
  if it wasn't for participating in project 333 for a year i don't think i would have come this far simplicity-wise.  the project gave me the discipline to do what needed to be done to control my closet. namely, take a hard look at why my closet was full but i often felt like i had nothing to wear, or didn't like what i was wearing.  my ultimate goal was to have a small, wearable and pretty wardrobe.  i think i'm there!  i understand that this is not for everyone but it's what i was looking for.  to be completely honest with you, in real life i don't need fancy clothes and i don't need many clothes.  this is a huge revelation for me because one of my downfalls was always buying clothes that didn't match my real life.  but on the other hand, i also love clothes!  i like having fun with them, getting dressed up for the occasional nice event, reading about them and just thinking about them.  fashion is a pleasant escape for me. 
that being said, i only have so much room and i hate clutter and cramped closets so i have chosen to try to build a simple yet versatile wardrobe that fits my life perfectly.


another goal i had in mind was to have the whole wardrobe fit in my closet and drawers all year round.  in other words i did not want to have to rotate clothes in or out.  i wanted to be able to see my entire wardrobe in one space - all the time.  
my uber-ultimate goal is to have just the right amount of everything.   
right now it looks kinda like this...

bottoms...

black skinny jean old navy
skinny light blue jean old navy
seven wide legged jean
theory black pant

rl houndstooth maxi skirt
banana republic camel pencil skirt
vintage kilt
j. peterman linen skirt
chambray skirt
navy and white stripe skirt



dresses...

navy vintage silk dress
vintage little black sleeveless dress
kayce hughes red dress
2 vintage maxi dresses

tops...

red/orange/black sleeveless silk top - vintage dana buchman
black 3/4 sleeve t shirt
anthropologie navy floral blouse
j. crew red and white striped t shirt
rrl white shirt
red and white vintage silk blouse
j. crew chambray
old navy chambray
american apparel sailor top
rrl plaid shirt
j. crew leopard cardigan
j. crew yellow cardigan
j. crew fisherman sweater
vintage black cardigan w/rhinestone buttons
vintage beige cardigan



other notes...

there are clothes on this list that i'm actually thinking of getting rid, i'm finding that i just don't need that many.  the desire for less, keeps growing in me and i can't explain it.  i hope to have less of everything by this time next year.  i also have 2 dresses and 2 skirts to take to the tailor to see if they can be altered to fit me, if not i will sell them on ebay. 

i also have a drawer for my sportswear.  it basically consists of 2 pr of yoga pants, 1 hiking pant, 2 shorts, some assorted t shirts from target, 3 or 4 tank tops, a vintage gray sweatshirt, a zip up hoodie and a bathing suit.  some of these clothes occasionally make their way into my non athletic wardrobe.

i also have 3 items of clothing that i purchased new a long time ago that would now be considered vintage.
one is the lillie rubin sequined dress, an ann taylor black halter dress and an old t shirt that i will share with you soon.  these 3 pieces are special to me and i'll keep them forever.

so there is some room for growth and if i get tired of something or my needs change i can change too.
i don't feel locked into any particular number and i'm sure clothing will flow in and out of my life, there is always that freedom.  but if your brain is wired like mine then having this structure feels good too.
every new purchase is now considered thoughtfully, as i don't want to wind up where i was a year ago.  it is a new and fresh way for me to think about my clothes and shopping habits that's for sure and the best part is, it seems to be working. 


so if you have any questions about anything just ask away.
i will answer them as soon as i can.


xo janet




100 comments:

  1. Hi Janet -
    I always love your posts and find them so inspirational. The way you maintain your wardrobe and refrain from buying frivolous articles of clothing reminds me a lot of a French friend of mine. My French friend is always telling me, "it is good to buy yourself a little something now and then." But when she makes a purchase, it is well thought out and she always shops for sales and quality -- and buys things that stand the test of time -- all the while keeping things pared down to a minimum. I think I need to go clean my closet now.

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    1. well thank you for the compliemnt. i think the french have this down pat, so chic. i'm nowhere near that level but it is something to aspire to.

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  2. It's such a good feeling isn't it, to have a small wardrobe...I wear basically the same thing everyday so for me it's easy and I'm comfortable with that. My downfall is loungey clothes...I have a huge stock in old navy pajama pants!

    I have 6 bags of clothes waiting to be donated...most I never wore. I probably could have taken a vacation with the money I wasted on them!

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    1. i hear you. i wonder how many trips i couldn't afford b/c i bought crap instead?

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  3. I wish I could maintain my wardrobe the way you do! At the moment I can't. Love different sorts & styles of clothes too much.

    Good luck & Happy Easter,

    Madelief x

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  4. oh, to see your wardrobe list in photo form.
    i am very visual & love to SEE all the possible combinations.

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    1. well i hope you don't get bored seeing the same clothes over and over!

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    2. Bored? Are you serious? Never! :-)
      -Suzanne in Illinois

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    3. Me too! I'd love to see this list photographed!
      I'm so impressed by this Janet. I've been impressed by all your posts but this is the most influential one I think.
      I'm going to try and declutter my closet tonight.
      I only wish I'd read this years ago... I probably could have bought a house out of all the money I've spent on shoes.
      Janelle x

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    4. PS When I travel for business, I only ever take a 7-kilo carry-on bag, even for an 8 week trip around the world, and that includes a camera and tripod. Do I get Janet points for that?
      Will keep trying on the overflowing wardrobe though. If only we could look as stylish as you with so few clothes!

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  5. Jante, you have inspired me so much over the past year. I enjoy and appreciate your classic, streamlined style and after finding your blog had to go back and read every post you'd written. Something about the pared-down life you try to lead really spoke to me. Over the past year, I've rid our house of excess furniture/clutter and pared my closet down to one rod. I'm still working on things...and with 2 children still at home I can't go TOO far, but just wanted to say thanks for the inspiration and ideas!

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    1. you are welcome and to do all that with 2 little ones is inspiring to me.

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  6. I love that sequined dress on you too and that vintage coat with the fur collar...
    do you wear those two pieces together ever?

    Try as I might I have not been able to get all my clothes into one tiny closet...
    my overflow is in a wooden wardrobe in the basement...
    my 37 going on 38 year old wedding dress and my mother of the groom outfit and all my LBD's reside there.

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    1. leslie i have never worn those 2 things together. i have worn the vintage coat with my lbd though.

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  7. I am English. Things are more costly in England for the most part and we don't have much clost space (or even no closets) so your wardrobe is pretty normal to me. I think it is the huge walk in closets in the US that so many people have, it is easy to just fill them up, and empty ones don't feel good to a lot of people. You just CAN'T have so many clothes when you simply have NOWHERE to store them.

    I remember when I first moved to the US, in our first house, I asked my American husband why the bedroom upstairs had no window and was lined with shelves! I honestly DID NOT believe him when he told me it was a CLOSET, for STORAGE!! I asked him why ON EARTH we would ever need so much space, HOW ON, or WHY earth would anyone ever be able to fill such a thing . .and I started asking people if they USED their closets! I was GOBSMACKED when people started telling me yes, they did, and they felt they NEEDED MORE CLOSET SPACE! Ha!

    When I look back I laugh at myself but I was totally schocked. 20yrs later I now have more stuff in my American walk in closet than I ever thought I would, but a tiny amount compared to most people I know. I LOVE CLOTHES, and accessories though and feel like I can mix and match and create outfits.

    Louise

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    1. that is so funny about thinking the closet should have been a window. thanks for sharing your story.

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  8. The storage in my bedroom is a disaster. My wardrobe is a disaster. If I ever get a job again, my goal is to do some serious decluttering and organizing. You've been an inspiration.

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    1. i know what you mean by storage disaster. does having none count?

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  9. Thanks Janet for always being so open and honest! I know it has helped me in the clothes department!
    Since I am in the middle of painting our bathroom I plan on taking a serious look at all my aquired clothing. I think I have wasted so much money on impulse buying, when my life basically just requires jeans and a tee! (I do realize that I need some prettys, though) Thanks for sharing your inspiring ideas!
    kim
    http://whitebarnbasics.blogspot.com/

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    1. jeans and some t's and some pretty dresses sounds like perfection to me. and practical!

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  10. Thank you Janet - what a thoughtful post! I have been watching you and Slastena do this and am always in awe. I think so many of us (myself included) struggle with the need to express ourselves through our clothes and yet are not quite sure what they are expressing. And most of the time, I really love the items in my closet or I spent way too much on them.. and then I feel guilty selling them or giving them away. I am going to relook at this post this weekend. I don't think I could get down to your amount given the job I do, but I think I could get down more for sure!

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    1. i'm going to go look at slastena's blog right now.

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  11. Thanks for the inspiration! I use to get rid of two things for any one new that I brought in...it worked really well...I am going right upstairs and going through my closet. I did buy a vintage suede coat with fringe recently ;) that came with a pocket of lighters haha. I wonder if it was message-

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  12. p.s. - it must also be a little easier living where you live? Here I have a winter wardrobe, a spring/fall and then summer, without temperature fluctuating from -20 to 80+ degrees. Makes it so hard to pare down!

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    1. i agree 100%. i've got it easy here in california.

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  13. I too am British, unusually, my wardrobe is built in, but it is shared with my husband who thinks less is sad! I keep the disposable fashion to a minimum, pass on what I no longer need, mend what needs it and only buy what I will wear. Wouldn't it be great if our young people were educated in how low cost clothing really costs us all so much, how you don't need expensive handbags, how if something is made with care and love you want to treat it the same. Your posts inspire.

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    1. I appreciate your comment. I recently learned from Whole Living that it takes 2,900 gallons of water to produce just one pair of jeans! All the reason to keep patching, mending, even air-dry clothes and take care of them so they last.

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  14. Janet,
    I had to laugh because your list looks what I pack just for a vacation. As I examine the reason for this, I think it has to do with my indecisiveness.

    I feel great when giving things away via Freecycle, freeing up some space and hearing that the recipients are grateful. I am putting more thought into what I really need, wear and what I look good in, and that certainly helps.

    By the way, tried the Gardein burgers and they are delicious (thanks for the recommendation).

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  15. I am inspired by your blog and am working on making my life more simple in so many ways. My wardrobe is coming along. I am interested in your pared down outerwear wardrobe. Can you list these for us? I love your new trench coat. What else are you keeping?

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    1. oh dang i forgot! brooks bros herringbone jacket, brooks bros black pea coat, j. crew trench, j crew chino duster, vintage cashmere coat.

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  16. Yes, your wardrobe is British/French/European, shopping is less of a full time hobby here than it is in the US, I'd need to take classes in shopping if I moved to the US!

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    1. tabs the last thing you need is to learn how to shop. i've seen your gorgeous wardrobe and am always jealous that is is small but so luxe.

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  17. Janet, thank you so much for talking about this project, and sharing your journey. Inspired by you, I started project 333 last March, and it finally kicked in this January. I'm stunned thinking about how much I spent on clothing totally unsuitable for my real life. I actually went back through Quicken and (shudder) added up the cost the past few years. Aaack! Already I've saved quite a bit. But it's more than money. I have peace of mind now. And, with having and buying so little, I can afford to purchase and wear better quality clothes than I thought I could. That's a great side benefit!
    I have also found it spilling over into other aspects of my life. Online, home, work, the garden, even my thought processes are much clearer and more focused. I'm not a full-on minimalist, but I'm pretty close, and happier for it. Forget retail therapy, minimalist therapy rocks! xo jules

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    1. it's nice that you can buy better quality clothing that you thought you couldn't afford. the benefits are neverending!

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  18. Hi there! I enjoy your blog. I consider myself fairly organized with my clothes closet and try to get rid of one thing for every item brought in. I would like to scale down more like you have done and try the 333 project. My only problem is my husband and I often socialize with the same group of couples. We sometimes see these same couples 2 to 3 times in one month! Sometimes I feel like I need to run out and buy a new outfit because everyone just saw my latest cute outfit for spring, etc. I don't want to feel like I am wearing the same thing over and over again with the same group of people. Any suggestions?

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    1. we see the same group of friends every week so i know what you mean. this is wear getting creative and using accessories can work. here are a few examples...

      skinny blue jeans with chambray shirt and leopard flats.
      wide legged blue jeans with chambray shirt and wedge sandals and a scarf tied in my hair.
      skinny blue jeans with chambray shirt and a cardigan and pointy toed flats and pearls.
      wide legged blue jeans with a sailor t shirt and chambray over it tied at waist.
      i could go on and on but each look has a different vibe.

      no one in our group has ever said that i wear an item too often - maybe they think it but they never say anything to me!

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  19. My sentiments entirely - thanks to your good example, which is how I heard of Project 333, I am going much the same way. My space is very limited and I have grown to realise that I was buying clothes to suit a lifestyle I don't have, and often in styles that I admire but either are not "me" or don't suit me, so gradually, I'm also getting there.
    From Project 333, I also discovered Six Items or Less and have come to the conclusion that my preference for variety in colour and style fits neatly into a combination of these two projects - several small parallel capsule wardrobes which differ in style/season (with a lot of overlapping!), i.e. theoretically 4 or 5 versions of SIOL that fit neatly into 33-40 items in my wardrobe for year-round endless combinations. Although I still occasionally buy something to wear, I'm far more critical, often spend a bit more and always find a few things that can go again... yes, I've spent and wasted too much money to think about over the years, but better to learn late than never! Less is more.
    Thanks for this inspiration!

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    1. yes, it is never too late to learn is it. and i've wasted a ton of money too!

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  20. As you know from my blog I have tried Project 333 and was able to more or less stick to it but overall I decided it is not for me. I need more clothes because I do get bored with what I have and I need seasonal change living in New Jersey. But I have learned a lot from Project 333 and I was happy having less, I have to reexamine my wardrobe again, I think I will pick about 50 items for spring. Thank you for sharing with us and if you can share pictures that would be great!

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    1. i think if i worked in an office setting i'd be addicted to the j crew #2 pencil skirt. seeing them lined up in your closet just makes me sigh with happiness. and it would be like a uniform for me so that would make me happy too!

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  21. Thanks for the fun and informative post, Janet. I always love to read about how other owmen are managing their wardrobes. And paring down is always on my mind.
    I haven't even looked at the project 333 (although I have seen it mentioned on your blog)and perhaps now would be a good time to do so.
    I have been slowly but surely paring down my wardrobe for the past 2 years or so. It is a slow process because I'm stil trying to figure out what that means for me. I hate clutter and hate having too many choices. For example, when packing for a vacation, I really wish I didn't have so many cute tops or cute pants or cute skirts to choose from. I have a lot of favorites in my closet! What this shows me is that I've been fairly successful at weeding out the unattractive or ill-fitting or unflattering things in my wardrobe. But I still have too many pieces remaining. At least for my taste. Compared to most women I know, I don't have a bulging closet, but I'd still like to winnow it down. It's hard to cull at this point.
    Did you have the same problem - narrowing it down from too many favorites?

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    1. oh yes that was the hardest part b/c i still was thinking that a lot of the clothes would somehow work in my life, but it wasn't the truth. when i finally bit the bullet and sold them on ebay then it all started getting easier.

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  22. My 1st house was well under 900 sq ft & I pared down my wardrobe quickly in order to fit it into the dinky little closet. But then I got married & we moved into a larger home which has this giant walk-in closet. So we started to fill it up. But now we are yet again relocating in the next year or so down to the FL Keys & back into a little "conch house" which is just under 1000 sq ft. So we are paring down not only our wardrobe - but everything. I been keeping a running list of everything we have either sold, donated, trashed, recycled, etc & it's astounding how much crap we accumulated for no other reason than we had a bigger home to store it in.

    My wardrobe has been pared down to ONLY & I mean only realistic clothing that fits me now & more importantly fits my lifestyle - not some aspirational lifestyle I once imagined. In fact, the aspirational clothing accounted for the majority of the clothes I sold or donated. With a little creative organizing & arranging - we should easily fit both mine & the husbands wardrobe into a single shared closet & dresser/bureau. It's the most carefree feeling.

    Funny thing about all this though is that I adore reading fashion blogs especially JCrew-oriented ones even though I haven't bought anything from JCrew in the longest. What tickles me though is that with each new season or monthly roll-out of new clothing is how many folks buy 2, 3, 4 or 14 new things. Where the heck are they storing all this stuff? How big are their closets???? How big are their bank accounts???? How many new Stadium coats or "boyfriend blazers" does your average suburban wife need?

    The husband & I figured out long ago that we would rather buy a house with cash in the Keys than have yet another sweater or "bubble" necklace or another disposable round of seasonal clothing from Old Navy. So we use what clothes we have & by doing so discovered what clothes we loved or hated & when we do "need" something new - it had better be worth it & it has to be justifiable.

    I now only own 1 pair of "heels". 1 pair. That's all I need & I have even considered ditching those on occasion. Anyways, they are black & will work with whatever event I need to attend - but most "events" we attend are less the heels & wine type and more the flip flop & beer type anyways. Which I much prefer anyways!!

    I didn't myself participate in Project 333 - but instead went right for the kill & culled my wardrobe down ruthlessly & without regard anymore to "well it once looked good on me" or "do you know how much I paid for this". That line of thinking stalls people in their tracks & makes it much more difficult to part with clothing they neither need nor will ever wear.

    I simply tried everything on. Did it fit? no - then it goes. Did it fit? yes? Will I wear it? Really? no? Then it goes. Do I need a parka in the Keys? no. But what if I get invited to Vail. I won't. The parka goes.

    It was that easy & that vicious & in hindsight, I've not regretted getting rid of a single thing - only that I had bought it in the first place.

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    1. wow. this is better than my post! i love your viciousness. when i first started getting rid of things, i was giving them to girlfriends and then they'd show up in something i'd given them and i'd think, wow that looks really great on them, what was i thinking? but then i remembered that it didn't fit me right or it didn't look great on me. i now give to family services in redlands and that is such a great feeling b/c all the clothing there is free and it's for people who really need it. that makes parting with things a lot easier and it makes me happy knowing someone who really needs it is going to really wear it - unlike what i was doing.

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  23. I have nothing to wear.
    well, maybe... there's one pair of jeans, 1 pair of khakis, 2 nice blouses and a black 3/4 sleeve top. I've started eating healthy and walking and now these are getting too big for me.
    But the rest is scrubs tops (for work) jeans and capris with either bleach stains from work or paint splotches from creating and yet I can't bear to get rid of these rags because I wear them to garden and work around the house....and yet I have nothing to wear.
    I feel like chucking it all and starting fresh. But I will continue to lose weight so I don't want to invest time and money in clothing that won't fit for long. My goal is to eventually get to my ideal healthy weight and then have a few perfect quality pieces that reflect who I am and not who I WAS.
    I thank you for your wonderful posts, they always inspire and motivate me.
    Sincerely, Cindi

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    1. yes, that is a good strategy. i recently lost weight and had to sell things or donate them too. waiting would be smarter.

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  24. Hi Janet,
    With a mailbox that seems filled with clothing catalogs daily, I am finding that I am enjoying the shopping without the buying. What a revelation! Now, I regret the acquisitions but not the de-acquisitions!
    On a long trip, a friend brought only a tiny carry-on with a very adequate wardrobe for a 6 week trip. I was taken aback at her minimalism but adopted the same on my subsequent travels. I saw how that self-control and planning made so much practical sense and I see that same quality in your wardrobe management...It's a great thing and you've got it, babe!
    xoxo, Chris

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    1. chris i have been doing the same thing with catalogs and websites. j. crew is a great place to get great ideas for fresh ways to style classic things that you may already own.

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  25. Your posts are always inspiring. I can identify with you because I have always loved clothes, but as I age I am feeling the same inexplicable pull towards simplicity and paring down. I think the passion for clothes can coexist with the desire to weed out the chaff, it's just a matter of being choosy and being realistic. You've got a great thing going, keep it up!

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    1. yeah, i really don't know what is happening to me re wanting less. esp after pretty much wanting more for most of my life. glad i'm not the only one.

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  26. I love this post Janet... What about your handbags and shoes too? How many of each and have you pard these down too. And (sorry for another question!) do you wear a uniform at work? You are an inspiration as ever... Have a fabulous Easter break. Sarah xx

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    1. sarah i wear black yoga pants and a aveda t shirt to work. i think i own about 15 pairs of shoes and probably have about 8-10 handbags (i think), most of which were gifts from larry.

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  27. Love this...do you have any suggestions for a nice corporate but chic wardrobe along the lines of simplicity? This is where I struggle..with professional clothing. Suggestions??? Thanks. :)

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    1. oh boy i wish i could help you but i've never worked in the corporate world. i would go visit lpc over at privilege, she writes about corporate wear all the time as that is the world she lives in.

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    2. Can I suggest to anyone that needs help culling and creating a capsule wardrobe (plus SO much more great info) visit blogger: The Vivienne Files
      She has a more-is-less mentality. Suggestions include: buy the finest quality classics you can afford, built around a color story and add accessories to give them flair and uniqueness. It's based on the french philosophy of a pared down wardrobe. Everyone that reads her blog feels she could write a book--I don't doubt that one is in her future. Everyone (including myself) that finds her blog, is so inspired that they go back and read every post from the beginning. Not unlike most that find your blog, Janet! Myself included:)

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    3. Thank y'all...would you have a link please. : )

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    4. http://theviviennefiles.blogspot.com/

      I found her on a quick google search. I want to pair down my wardrobe as well, and need the corporate clothes so I'm sure this will help. Once upon a time I didn't have to switch out clothes with the seasons and I'm trying to get back there. Which means even my handknits won't get put up for the summer! (I'm a knitter. The handknits ~will~ multiply)

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  28. I have found your blog such an inspiration! I am impresssed with the vegan recipes and have used many of them. Your emphasis on simplicity in home furnishings and wardrobe are starting to have a big influence also. Thank you so much for this post. I have read about project 333 on a number of blogs but the list you provide is very helpful in showing how this can actually be applied. And of course if one lives in a four season climate (as I do in Canada) a little leeway is necessary. Chanel's comment about elegance being refusal can also be applied to the wardrobe as a whole - a small number of good quality items that fit and flatter.

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    1. yes, you must give yourself some leeway b/c of the 4 seasons or else you'll drive yourself crazy and that is not the point at all of the project.

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  29. I think I have less than you! I find I actually wear items until I wear them out and they are worse than threadbare. When you have so few, it is hard to find the right replacement! I do realize I don't buy as nice of cut of clothing to start, possibly part of my problem.

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    1. there are a few things that i own that i'd hate to have to replace b/c i love them so much so i'm super careful with them.

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  30. I've been following your blog for a while and I wanted to chime in and let you know how inspiring you are. After I read this post I cleaned out my closet. I've got several bags of clothes and a lot of shoes to sell or donate. The hardest part about the process is being honest to yourself and admit that you wasted money. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. i know what you mean about the wasting money part, that's what makes me think 2 or 3 times now before i actually spend.

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  31. Janet thank you for this post as always an inspiration. I started Project 333 just after you did and have enjoyed my year of living with clothes that I really love AND wear! It has also helped my with my clients and getting them to see that one can own a minimal amount of clothing as long as it is the right fit and style for their body! Everyone that I have 'helped' with their wardrobes finds it a joy getting dressed everyday, I hear from them all the time about how easy it is getting dressed now with LESS to choose from, and I agree it is easy to get dressed when I know exactly what is in my closet! I do have MORE that 33 items in my closet, I don't count my coats or accessories (one way to change up an outfit!) in my 33 but find that I wear 20-25 items of clothing consistently.

    I also like that Project 333 is not a shopping ban but an exercise in really evaluating my life and lifestyle and buying appropriately for the life I have right now! ; ) I also live by 'if one item comes into my closet then one goes out' lol I have a really good relationship with my local consignment shop! It is much easy getting rid of clothing that I have loved and worn a lot to make room for something new that I know I will also love that will also get a lot of wear. : )

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    1. i agree with you. 333 is not a shopping ban but rather an exploration into your closet and ultimately into yourself. and accessories can change anything up, for sure.

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  32. I found your blog via search "project 333" because I wanted to see real people making it. I like your style, and share your goals also - minimum # of clothes makes me happy because it is manageable and I'm focusing on quality. Also I have limited storage and didn't want to clutter it. I gained weight this winter and actually my usual clothes don't fit me anymore, so I just store it out of sight in boxes. And I don't miss it! I wore only pants before, now I wear mostly knit dresses - this is what is left from my old closet, I had them for years and they only got used now. And I look better now, and feal better too! I think having 33 items of clothes fit only for people who have not much of social life and no more desire to dress up differently every day. What do you think?

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    1. i really don't have much of a fancy social life but we do meet with friends at least once a week and socialize. so far the small wardrobe is fine and honestly i don't think anyone even notices that i may be wearing the same thing over and over.

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    2. And if they are friends..they don't care! Maybe even admire you all the more:)

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  33. So you used to feel that way too?- a whole closetful of clothes but the feeling that you have nothing to wear? I thought that was only me. I tend not to like alot of the fashions out there and feel alot of it doesn't look good on me or it doesn't suit my lifestyle now so I wind up buying things that I then don't wear but keep them out of guilt I guess. This causes overload in the closets and dresser. I wish I could pare down my wardrobe the way you did. I am going to give it a try. Less frivolous shopping and more thought out purchases should do it. Thanks for your clothing list and thanks for your wonderful blog.

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    1. or worse, hating what you have on! that happened to me a lot.

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  34. Oh how I wish I were more like you in this respect! My biggest challenge - which feeds a closet bursting with clothing - is that my weight fluctuates. A lot. And it's not something I feel great control over. I have clothing from a size 6 to a size 18. It's a disaster. There's so much clothing, I wear so little of it, but it's such a psychological hurdle to get rid of the "skinny" clothes or the "fat" clothes for various reasons. And I worry about having to spend money to repurchase clothing if I get rid of some sizes. Obviously, the core answers is to stabilize my weight, but I'm not close to mastering that.

    Any suggestions?

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    1. gosh i wish i had the right advice for you but i think you already answered your question. stabilizing your weight would be the only way to solve the problem. maybe you can still go through your closet and weed out the things that you don't like regardless of your size. i wish you well.

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    2. I wonder if it would not make sense to get rid of anything that makes you feel bad about yourself when you see it? Keep the items that you absolutely totally love and that put a big smile on your face. And make sure you have things that you love and that make you feel good today. Then only put the things in the closet that actually fit well and look good now and pack away the others that don't fit but you love too much to part with. Then you can figure out if your "right" now wardrobe needs a few more items to be useful and provide you with something to wear every day. Don't wait to live your life until you are the "perfect size" or perfect anything. There is only today.

      When you feel like it (next year/never) you can dig the box of clothes-you-could-not-part-with and review whether you still feel like keeping them. But it sounds as though right now those clothes are keeping you trapped.

      (Sorry to hijack the blog, Janet.)

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    3. hijack away! that is really good advice.

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    4. Can I jump in too, for those with clothes of all sizes?
      why not treat yourself to a few really nice things for the weight you are now - and keep ( preferably out of sight) 1 box for bigger and one for smaller, clothing you already have ? If your weight stabilizes somewhat, and it probably will if you love your new mini- wardrobe... you will feel much better about who you are, not the size you should be.
      You can then decide how to proceed - if your weight is inching down you can have another new mini-wardrobe to augment the one you love and what you have in the "smaller" box and possibly eliminate the "bigger" box altogether.
      If nothing else, just deciding what to put in the two moderate sized keep boxes, will
      give you a good jump start on culling and down-sizing - so your beautiful new mini-wardrobe would be an excellent reward for doing so...

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  35. Wait a minute---how can you live without white jeans?

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    1. i know, i know. i've been looking for a pair and i know one day i will find a great fitting pair.

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  36. Janet, this is totally inspirational. I have been working on my own closet for about a year now. We did taxes yesterday and I had my lists of clothes that have left the premises--unbelievable...and there are still things I would like to get rid of. Like you, I want everything in one space (few exceptions because of living in a Northern climate), to work well together and to decrease the clutter. Well done!! ~~Bliss

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    1. thanks bliss and i sure know the feeling of shock at the wasted money.

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  37. OK. So I have been thinking this over. You have 5 pants, 5 skirts, 10 tops, and 5 cardigans/sweaters. I have often received comments about being a clothes horse, and I suppose I am, but I truly don't have a lot of clothes; I just switch things which makes for a "new" looking outfit. My work clothes get repeated every other week i.e. having bottoms and tops for one week, and different bottoms and tops for the next, switching these articles up within each week.
    While I don't have my closet pared down as nicely as you, I realized that the numbers you selected would work perfectly--5 work days goes with 5 pants/5skirts/5 cardi-sweaters...And the 10 tops would break down into the every other week category nicely. Hmmm... Still having some angst, but just might go into the closet this weekend and see what could be done. :-)
    -Suzanne in Illinois

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    1. good luck suzanne. i think 7 of everything would be perfect.

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  38. Janet, maybe too personal, but what do you wear around the house and garden? I have been decluttering, and realised I use my old clothes to wear at night and weekends when I don't go out. But they don't make me feel that happy. Like the previous poster I am trying to stabilise my weight and keep some things in case I get fatter or thin.
    Janey

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    1. i get dressed ea day janey. if i know i'm doing a lot of work in the garden then i'll wear jeans and a shirt and my rubber garden boots. but i dress each day from the list of clothes i posted. does this help?

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  39. hi janet,

    i sense a movement among many people, who are just tired of having so much and not feeling fulfilled. wardrobes are great places to start peeling away the layers to be left with just what we need to look and feel good. your blog is always inspirational. rosanne

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  40. Hi Janet,

    I was just thinking about you and decided to drop by to wish you a wonderful Easter, my friend.

    Missing you,


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

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  41. Oh wow - you call that list not having many clothes?
    My total wardrobe:
    4 short sleeve tops
    1 cardigan
    2 sweaters
    2 pairs jeans
    1 pair good trousers
    2 skirts
    1 dress
    2 coats (1 short jacket, 1 long coat)
    Underwear & socks
    2 pairs shoes, 1 pair boots.

    That's it.

    You call yours not many!!!!
    Helen

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  42. Janet,
    I aspire to be as pared down as you are, but working in the clothing industry I simply cannot. I lack the willpower to even try. I have gotten better over time, but I have always been and will always be a clothes horse. I simply love them way too much!

    Happy Easter!
    xoxo

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  43. I got it when I read Bill Blass, "If a woman has a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear, she doesn't know herself very well."

    He nailed me.

    I had nothing to wear with 4 closets full. Purged until I took up only 1/2 of 1 closet. But there is creep upward. Time to donate. It's where it mostly comes from anyway.

    Also stole from darling Bill. If a woman has a landscape full of plants but not a pretty garden, she doesn't know herself very well.

    Happy Easter.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

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  44. Thank you Janet for your transparency in this post. I had been trying to achieve a similar goal for quite a while, but I always felt like I was missing something. Now I realized that most of your items in the same category are somewhat dissimilar from one another. This (IMO) adds options in mixing and matching. Anyway, thank you for sharing. The list and your explanation really helped. Also thank you for sharing your realizations with your style-it helps some of us visualize what is possible.
    -Missone

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  45. I am so looking forward to the next rainy sunday, where I will go through my wardrobe with the camera and take pictures of all the outfits I am not so sure about and donate them. those photos always help me to decide.

    Did you have to donate some clothes after your weightloss?
    I am always afraid of donating thosenice clothes that don't fit any longer due to weightloss/gain. Because one day they might fit again ...

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    1. yes i did paula. i'm not planning on gaining my weight back:)!!!

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  46. I live in a small cottage and have only 1 closet to store everything. It makes life so easy. My purses are an investment. My shoes are 1 season wonders as I don't have room for a lt so I wear out my new ones each year. My coat is vintage Donna Karon ankle length I've had sice the early eighties. I buy 2 or 3 outfits a year that are quality and will serve me for 10 yrs or so. I try to buy solids and add whimsical color once in a while. It's so easy to dress and I always am complimented. I love your style.

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kindness is never out of style.