For those of you who don’t know what Project 333 is- in a nutshell it’s about creating a capsule wardrobe every three months that includes a total of 33 pieces comprising of all your clothes and accessories (with the exception of things like nightwear and activewear) that are interchangeable with one another.
Carver referred to this concept in her first book Soulful Simplicity and after publication found that so many people wanted to know more about this chapter that she simply had to write a book about this and this alone.
It has become an Instagram sensation with people sharing their 33 items for the world to see and has inspired people to stop the endless cycle of shopping, donating/hoarding, then shopping some more. Project 333 is about investing in lasting pieces that you enjoy putting on in whatever combination you choose. Carver now tours with her tiny wardrobe to educate others on the benefits of dressing with less.
Admittedly, I may have reached for this book from my shelf at the wrong time in my life as I am currently pregnant. So, my wardrobe probably doesn’t apply to this challenge- or maybe it does- sadly the book doesn’t touch upon this time in a lady’s life specifically, however I am sure it can be adapted. (Courtney, if you are reading this I would love to know your thoughts!)
It was also an usual choice for me as I have zero interest in fashion- however I was thrilled to find that the book doesn’t focus on favoured branding or what is in vogue right now anyway. In fact the author states at the beginning of the book- if that is what you’re looking for you have probably come to the wrong place. I breathed a sigh of relief at this point!
I have always been overweight so I have had a bad relationship with clothing all my life- but this concept helps to heal those wounds because it’s about only keeping the stuff that makes you shine and ditching the stuff you bought because adverts, influencers, friends, family and fashions told you too.
I did take a look at my pre-pregnancy wardrobe and despite owning what I thought was a minimal collection, I was surprised to find that I exceeded the 33 items- only by a little- but I still had more than I anticipated. So I have some decisions to make once I can try everything on again with a new outlook.
Project 333 doesn’t have any rules other than keeping things to a manageable amount. It doesn’t require you to be a particular size or shape and it certainly doesn’t expect you to buy from a specific shop. With that said, if you want to support a brand- you can form your 33 items from one source- there is a lot of flexibility once you look beyond the number.
What I liked most about the book is how starting with something as simple as your wardrobe can lead to changes in other areas of your world too. Carver draws on examples of how her life changed after switching to a more streamlined closet- and it reached her career, her home, her relationships, her finances and her view of her own body. All of these were a result of simply paring down her clothes. There are also examples in the book of how other women have flourished as a result of parting with their excess clothes, which Carver has weaved expertly between the chapters.
Like most minimalist challenges, parting with the stuff is just the beginning of a more beautiful and freeing journey and this is no exception.
I’m ashamed that I didn’t approach this book sooner simply because it had the word ‘fashion’ in it and despite picking it up at time when I can’t get the most out of it- I thoroughly enjoyed reading it all the same. The lessons I have learned I can apply once my baby is born and I am looking forward to putting them into practice. Thankfully for us mamas, there is also a chapter on how you can apply Project 333 to your children’s wardrobes too!
It’s always a joy to find a book that you worry might not resonate with you- only to find out that it does in a powerful way. So, if you are like me and struggle with your weight or have little interest in fashion, don’t let it put you off because it’s about so much more than clothes. Getting the items you put on your body down to 33 is just the starting point of a happier, liberated and more fulfilled life.
Thank you Courtney for helping women to look beyond the tags, the sizes and the logos!