Project 333

Have you ever noticed how you tend to wear the same handful of things despite owning an entire closet full of clothes? It feels like you don’t have a lot of options, even if you actually do. I tend to gravitate towards my “favorite” clothes, and wear only a select few items consistently from week to week. That’s why I decided to try out Courtney Carver’s minimalist fashion experiment, Project 333. If you’re unfamiliar with Project 333, I give a brief rundown about the project in my most recent post about Getting Started with Minimalism.

Project 333 is, essentially, a fashion “experiment” (as a scientist, I use the word “experiment” loosely). Well… it’s more of a fashion challenge. The challenge is to have only 33 articles of clothing in your wardrobe over the course of 3 months. Sounds challenging, right? It means that you have to get creative with the clothing in your selected wardrobe. I’m always up for an interesting challenge, so I’m going to give this one a try.

This challenge is interesting to me for a couple reasons. For starters, I believe that having a smaller wardrobe will eliminate something called “decision fatigue”. Decision fatigue is the idea that as the quantity of decisions you make in a day increases, the quality of those decisions decreases. This is because your brain literally gets fatigued by the amount of decisions you have to make in a particular session – such as a shopping trip – and by the end of that session, you’re more likely to make choices that are impulsive or rash (such as buying candy in the grocery store aisle).

Some experts argue that you can limit decision fatigue by limiting the amount of choices you have to make in a particular day. That’s why many notable people, such as Barack Obama and Steve Jobs, would wear the same outfits each day. This project is based around the same idea.

I also hope that this project gives me more insight into my shopping habits. Not that I’m much of a shopaholic, but I do sometimes fall victim to fast fashion trends. Hopefully, this project helps me learn which high-quality clothes I can keep for years to come.

So here’s how I’m going to do it.

The Rules

  • For the next 3 months, you may only wear 33 articles of clothing. The 33 items will make up your “Capsule Wardrobe”.
  • It’s helpful to start by decluttering your closet (bonus points if you do it KonMari style). Sell, donate, or give away any clothes or accessories you’d no longer like to keep. For the remaining items you are keeping, start to build your Capsule Wardrobe.
  • Once you’ve done that, pack everything else up and put it away (preferably somewhere you can’t see them), and take them back out once the challenge is over.

My Additional Rules

Because I love to make my challenges “extra challenging”

  • If I need to buy a new article of clothing (i.e., to replace something that’s worn or torn), I must follow the one in, two out rule. Essentially, if a new item comes in, then two items must go out.

What Counts

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Outerwear
  • Accessories (including scarves, hats, hair accessories, etc.)
  • Jewelry

What Doesn’t Count

  • Socks
  • Undergarments
  • Workout clothes (that are used only for working out)
  • Pajamas/lounge clothes (that are used only for sleeping and lounging)

And what doesn’t count specifically for me:

  • My trainer’s uniform (which consists of a uniform t-shirt and workout pants)
  • My Halloween costume (since I’m attending Halloween parties that are actually in November)
  • A backpack and a canvas bag that I use for work and school

And, finally, here is the list of 33 items that will make up my Capsule Wardrobe for the next 3 months!


My Capsule Wardrobe

  1. Down coat
  2. Green utility jacket
  3. Black sports jacket
  4. Dark jeans
  5. Light jeans
  6. Navy blue cropped leggings
  7. Black cropped leggings
  8. Rain boots
  9. L.L. Bean boots
  10. Black sneakers
  11. Toms
  12. Short beige booties
  13. Black T-shirt (1)
  14. Black T-shirt (2)
  15. Green sweater
  16. Gray turtleneck sweater
  17. Maroon cardigan
  18. Beige cardigan
  19. Tan pocket t-shirt
  20. Purple v-neck t-shirt
  21. Light blue collared button-up
  22. White long sleeve shirt with black stripes
  23. Black v-neck bodysuit
  24. Gray ¼ zip shirt
  25. Northeastern gray ¼ zip
  26. Gray crew neck sweatshirt
  27. Patagonia
  28. Black belt
  29. Earrings
  30. Headband

I’m going to leave items 31-33 blank for now. They’ll likely fill up with either a scarf or gloves when the weather gets cold, but I haven’t quite decided what those will be yet. I also plan to give monthly updates on my progress, including any fashion fails (but hopefully there won’t be any). Comment below if you’re also interested in trying this project out. You can start at any time.

Here goes nothing!

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Alexandra Pettaway

Hello, my name is Alexandra! I am a student at Northeastern University pursuing an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering. I enjoy health and fitness, food, and the outdoors.

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