Having recently finished Courtney Carver’s Project 333- I declared in my review that it wasn’t the best time to read the book given that I am pregnant.
After I posted the piece, I thought about it and it occurred to me- why not? Some of my clothes aren’t specifically ‘maternity’ as I tend to wear pieces that are more generous around the tummy area anyway like smock dresses and relaxed tops and the same goes for my other seasons of clothing too.
So, I decided to set myself the challenge of counting all my ‘maternity’ clothes just to see what it would amount to. So here is a list of my current collection:
Black leggings x 4 (3 of which are maternity)
Black sparkle maternity top
White v neck t shirt
White round neck t-shirt
Black v neck t-shirt
Long sleeve black t-shirt
Black round neck t-shirt
Navy v-neck t-shirt
Navy round neck t-shirt
Green tie dye t-shirt
Pink tie dye t-shirt
Blue tie dye t-shirt
Black spot maternity top
Pink sport maternity top
Black sweater with silver buttons
Black tie dye long sleeve top
Grey tie dye smock top
Denim smock top
Black leather boots
Black cardigan with silver buttons
Black waterproof jacket
Black smart jacket
Diamond stud earrings
I count a total of 30 items in my maternity collection, some of which I will continue to wear after my baby is born. As you can see, I favour black above all else and keep it pretty neutral with my other items so everything can be worn together.
Extras that aren’t included in the challenge but are worth mentioning are:
2 pairs of PJ bottoms (I use day time tops to accompany these so they are interchangeable)
Underwear (bras and knickers)
I have highlighted the items that are specifically classed as maternity (which amounts to just 8), but the rest I either had before, or bought with an appropriate style in mind or in a bigger size.
My collection proves that you can go through pregnancy with little need to exceed the 33 items and should I need it- I have room for three more pieces in my closet.
I am now 7 months into my pregnancy and I don’t envisage having to buy anything else other than a nightshirt for hospital so even in the last two months I shouldn’t tip over this number.
Without even noticing, I have been rotating these few pieces over the last few months and had no problem in keeping up with the washing and at no point have I felt like I’ve been deprived of anything.
It just goes to show that you don’t need to buy the entire maternity collection from your favourite brand to get by.
Obviously, I haven’t been going out so I still haven’t worn my sparkly black top yet, however I might be able to squeeze in a meal out or non-alcoholic cocktails before the baby arrives when this will come in useful along with my clutch.
As previously mentioned, I can transition pieces into the postpartum phase as the tops and dresses will all allow some flow/floatiness around my tummy area and my beloved leggings will remain a staple of my wardrobe for comfort and ease as they did before I got pregnant.
In some ways, having 33 items for the duration of your pregnancy is arguably harder because you need to make them last for nine months rather than three, however the beauty of the first few weeks or months is you can still get away with your usual clothes if you don’t show/grow until the second or third trimester.
What pregnancy teaches women above all is that comfort is key and that clothes that are ill fitting or uncomfortable are a waste of time and money. Plus they make a pregnant woman feel miserable at a time when they are probably already experiencing some level of discomfort anyway.
Comfort is something we should all look for in a 333 collection pregnant or not- items that are so easy to wear that you barely know they are there.
Ultimately- pregnancy is about looking after yourself and your baby and restrictive waistbands and tight clothing is not going to make things easier.
Choose items that get the air to your skin, give you plenty of room to grow and pieces that can be warmed up with a cardigan or jumper or worn on their own on a hot day (or just when you are having a flush!)
While I didn’t think I would get much from doing this activity at this point in my life, it’s actually been insightful and freeing, so if you are pregnant and looking to maintain a 33 item capsule wardrobe, here are my top tips:
- Look at your pre-pregnancy collection before investing in anything new: What has excess material in it that you can still wear when your belly grows? Smock tops, maxi dresses and swing tops are all examples of things that you could carry through to your maternity wardrobe. Leggings are also your best friend as they usually have a lot of give in them- just be sure to choose ones with a high waistband to go over your bump (long rather than a regular fit even if you aren’t very tall will give you that extra material required)
- Remember- comfort is key: While those maternity jeans may look great, if they dig in when you sit down- they aren’t going to do you or your bump any good. Choose items that are comfortable when you’re standing, sitting AND lying down- no compromises.
- Buy second hand: Rather than buying everything new that you require- see what you can pick up on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. The very nature of maternity clothing is that the pieces aren’t worn for long so they are usually in good condition even if they are previously used. Once you have your child, you can put them back on a second hand site, sell the item and leave yourself the flexibility to welcome back in the clothes you put in storage.
- Stick with your usual colour palate: If you generally only wear 4-5 colours- buy pieces that tie in with these if you need to add some new things to your wardrobe. If you get something that is garish and you would never ordinarily wear, you won’t want to put this on once your baby arrives so stick with what you know and like.
- Buy clothes you enjoy just in a bigger size: If you really like something- why not get it in the bigger size to accommodate your bump while pregnant and then take it in or ask someone to do this for you once your baby gets here? That way you won’t be spending money on something that will only last you a few months but it will become a staple in your wardrobe.
It’s hard to get away with buying nothing for your wardrobe when you are pregnant- some speciality items do become somewhat of a necessity. Hopefully my tips will help you to curb the spending by utilising what you already have and thinking about how items can be repurposed postpartum.
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...