Saturday, September 06, 2014

Capsule Wardrobe Project 333 Autumn 2014 - I'm IN!

No, it's nowhere NEAR cool enough to wear autumn clothes in Chicago - I think right now the temperature could be around 90, the humidity nears 3 digits (I swear it goes over 100% - it's like swimming in a bathtub...) and we're going to get thunderstorms any time now.  But I am travelling very soon to cooler climes, and it's only reasonable to be prepared when the weather whiplashes us into cold, as it will...

My clothing requirements become more and more simple; after I spend eight hours a day looking at thousands of garments and accessories for The Vivienne Files, I only want to wear black or grey.  Maybe some pearl jewelry.  Maybe a scarf!  I now understand why some fashion designers wear only jeans and black tee shirts - a certain amount of sensory saturation can set in and make the prospect of shopping for yourself absolutely uninteresting!

Many of my clothes are NOT brand new (I know you're shocked!), but I'm going to try to find similar items for linking, in case you see something you must have.  But remember, this is my wardrobe - just because this is pretty ideal for me doesn't mean that you will want to dress this way!

Please note: If you are curious about the origins or Project 333, or want to see other examples of it, you should DEFINITELY visit http://theproject333.com/, where Courtney will encourage you through the early steps, and share with you her wisdom and insights around all things P333!

So this is my assortment:

First up - three dresses.  The sleeveless dress will be layered over a shirt, or under a sweater, when I'm in the mood to wear some of my sweaters with a skirt, but don't feel like skirted leggings.  Dressy events will be handled through my very simple but workhorse knit dress - completely plain, so I can go relatively nuts with accessories.  The denim dress will be worn on it's own earlier in the season, and then layered up as the weather cools.
sleeveless dress - Eileen Fisher (this one is similar), long-sleeved dress - Eileen Fisher (similar), denim dress - J. Jill (similar)
My waxed denim jeans are favorites - with them I'm thinking one of my two shirts, and either a marled crewneck or my ancient Pendleton cardigan that's black with white trim. 
black shirt - J. Jill, white shirt - Eileen Fisher (similar), marled sweater - Eileen Fisher (similar), waxed jeans - Eileen Fisher, cardigan - Pendleton (I'd buy this if the Pendleton vanished)
A couple of years ago, when we were in Paris, I found the BEST pair of grey flannel trousers.  I've never seen anything similar since then... but I wear them a lot, either grey on grey, or I introduce a little bit of denim into things to keep life lively.  The great silk satin blouse might become available again closer to the winter holidays; I seem to remember that mine was purchased very late in the year. 
grey sweater - Eileen Fisher (LL Bean's cotton version), grey silk blouse - Eileen Fisher (I can find NOTHING close), grey trousers - Saint James (nothing I can find, sorry), denim shirt - J. Jill, grey turtleneck - Eileen Fisher (this year's version)
These pants are among the newest things I have - they're this year's version of the slouch pant that I like so much.  Balancing out the super newness of my pants are the years on my black cashmere turtleneck - I seem to remember buying it the last week of 1999, in Milan!  It still shows no signs of wear, knock wood.
black cardigan - Eileen Fisher, (this year's version),  black tank top - J. Jill, slouch pants - Eileen Fisher, (tweed ones seem to be gone - the link is to solid black),  black cashmere turtleneck - No Idea (Uniqlo has similar, but beware, the "Ines" signature collection has a turtleneck called a cashmere blend which means 5% cashmere...)
Yes, my black slouch pants! One of the cardigans, and the grey blouse are both quite old... 
black, white and grey cardigan - Nick and Zoe, grey shirt - Uniqlo (similar), black slouch pants - Eileen Fisher, tweedy cardigan - Eileen Fisher (nothing really similar still exists - it has fine threads of blue and soft green mixed with black, white and grey...)
 My other new trousers for this year - except mine are from J. Jill, and they're wonderful!
I couldn't get a picture of mine, but these are very close.
sequined sweater - J. Jill, white tee shirt - Lands' End, paisley pants - J. Jill, black jeans - Eileen Fisher, striped tee shirt - Muji (long gone, but a great site), striped sweater - Eileen Fisher (this year's version)
 Of COURSE I'm wearing skirted leggings - usually with a simple sweater, and a scarf of some sort.  And my blue jeans are forever, along with a sweater I bought in Ireland when I lived there, and my trustworthy Lands' End tee shirt.
black skirted leggings - Eileen Fisher, black crewneck sweater - Eileen Fisher, blue crewneck sweater - J. Jill (similar), black tee - Lands' End, Irish cardigan - Blarney Woolen Mills, blue jeans - Eileen Fisher

I remember a time when I thought that 33 items was going to be terribly difficult!  Looking at all of this, and at all of the outfits that I have from which to choose, I'm more inclined to think that it's an embarrassment of riches.  

After the weather cools down - certainly by the 1st of October, I'll start keeping track of what I wear, and how I accessorize each ensemble, and I'll report back to you each week on how things are going.

Is anybody else joining me in Project 333?  Or does this seem like too few items?  Or are you one of the advanced individuals who find 33 garments too much?  It's an interesting process, isn't it?

                        Bogs Footwear (Weyco)

33 comments:

  1. The Eileen Fisher tweed slouchy pants are still available in some Eileen Fisher stores. I know this because I saw them in our Dallas store yesterday. If you are interested, call the Dallas store (in Northpark Mall).

    Janice, I agree with you---these 33 items give you a HUGE wardrobe! I'm moving this direction. I went shopping yesterday with an eye toward filling gaps in my wardrobe. And, I am also working toward (as I have been for some years) a wardrobe which truly suits my lifestyle (dressy casual if that makes sense).

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  2. Can you please do an accessory post too?!?! I want to see how they coordinate or pop!

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  3. You have a beautiful and varied wardrobe. I am fascinated with Project333 and other wardrobes of this type but I just can not imagine trying it myself. I enjoy my extra large and very colorful wardrobe. :)

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  4. I'd like to see an outerwear post too! Thanks!

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  5. I used to have a large wardrobe, too. You can start small by isolating a section of your closet and try it. I would recommend covering the other clothes with a sheet to really give it a try. Since it is only for three months you may vary each season with new accent colors and pull the basics through from one session to the next. I'd start with my most favorite pieces/colors first. The trick for me was to make sure everything was a 10 and that fit, and any repairs were done in advance. Just a thought.
    Janice, I'm on board.

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    1. I used same approach as Anon. Have already done challenge and never went back to oversupply. Can be a boost to add a new scarf to mix so not everything is familiar; secondhand or loaned is fine!

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    2. It could be fun to try if even for a couple weeks with my most favorite pieces. :)

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  6. Great job (as always). If anyone is looking for (admittedly spendy) cashmere turtleneck I bought this hoping that it will be the turtleneck I wear for years and years... Many thanks Janice! http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/equipment-oscar-cashmere-turtleneck/3558853?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Camel&resultback=0&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-searchresults-_-1_1_A

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  7. I'm in with Project 333. This will be my fifth season. When I first started, I thought 33 would be impossible. Now I usually come in at around 30--including shoes and scarves. The more I edit, the better my wardrobe gets. I'm not sure I could go back to a full wardrobe now--I had too many choices and nothing to wear. The 4x4 wardrobes here have vastly improved my overall closet, by the way, so thank you!

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    1. Trisha, I am so impressed with your wardrobe progress...any and all suggestions would be appreciated. I am just getting started, live in Southern California and I am determined to maintain a season less, small, wardrobe. Any tips to get started, transition the seasons, etc.
      Thank you soooo much.

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    2. I gave myself permission to "play" with Project 333 my first three months. Every month, I would reassess my wardrobe and make edits. That taught me a lot--about the clothing I actually wore vs. what I thought I liked, what I needed for work and home, and how to negotiate the seasons (well, I'm in Oregon, so it turns out I need all four seasons in my wardrobe no matter what the calendar says). It also gave me confidence. I didn't count shoes or scarves at first, and I was at 37 items, I think, because I was afraid I wouldn't have enough. (Spoiler alert: I did.)

      One of my rules now is that if I wear something and I don't feel like a rock star, it gets donated. That has helped get my wardrobe down more than anything. And I don't worry about wearing the same things over and over. If I want to wear my favorite navy sweater three days in a row, I do. No one has ever commented on this, and I've decided that either they're not noticing, they don't care, or scarves really do make my wardrobe look more extensive than it really is.

      This is way too much to say. My advice is just this: Play with the project until you get comfortable. Don't worry about the rules too much at first. You'll be amazed at how things start coming together by just being aware of what you're doing.

      And I'm serious, the 4x4 wardrobes here have been a lifesaver. My closet isn't all over the place anymore--I could go in there blindfolded now and come out looking fairly decent. Having a core of 4 basics in a few colors makes all the difference.

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  8. I swapped my closet out for September 1st. I have more than 33 items (maybe around 40) but it is my very first time trying this.

    Janice, do you think you will be sorry you haven't included a skirt? I realize you have 3 dresses and the skirted leggings, but in the past you seemed to really favor skirts.

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    1. We shall see if I regret it! But as Trisha says in her comments above - you have to PLAY with the idea of 333 - it's not a strict dictate. Admit if you've made a mistake in your choices, change things if you need to - the purpose is to learn to enjoy what we have and live with a more carefully refined wardrobe, not to suffer.

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  9. I bought those tweed slouchy pants too! But I havent worn them yet, its still to hot in California. I am not yet ready to do the 333 thing, I like options! And multiple colors! I find your blog useful, particularly for planning a reduced wardrobe for our recent europe trips. however, I find by the time I get home ( about 1 month), I feel really bored with the things I was wearing on the trip- mostly black,grey,blue and really crave some broghter colors! i realized that my wardrobe has evolved. it is now nearly all solids but I have recently become a hermes scarf addict which helps with my desire for some color and pattern. Really looking forward to the accessories post.

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  10. This scheme is really pretty, but I would love to see it in black, brown, tan/camel, and cream. Or maybe black, tan/camel, gold, and cream. (More of the autumn colors.) Thanks for your hard work and inspiration!

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  11. I am working towards 33 pieces. I just visited a friend who had been J.Jill shopping. The grey, mauve and navy look is very strong this fall. I am playing with accessories to use my few pieces well

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  12. I'm on board with Project 333 this is my 2nd season and I am still working on fine tuning my wardrobe. Thanks for all of your great posts on building a wardrobe.

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  13. Even though I live in Florida, if it worked, I would wear all black every day!!

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  14. I'm in. I did my first Project 333 in the middle of last winter, so Autumn, 2014 will be my fourth and will complete my first year. I have really enjoyed it, and the combination of 333 and your blog have revolutionized my wardrobe. I thank you!

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  15. I have lived a modified version of the project while recovering from surgery. I purchased the EF dress you linked, and it is one of the nicest pieces I have ever felt against my skin. I am in for 333 once the temps cool down in another week or so.

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  16. I'm in! Gotta do some fast repairs and alterations, but I'm in. thanks for the inspiration!

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  17. I'm using the Starting from Scratch worksheet that I bought, and I just realized that I'll end up with 32 garments, if I count the winter coat. So any one who needs help getting started with Project 333 should consider re-reading the Starting from Scratch series. Especially if you want more color-you work with 2 neutrals, 2 accents & white or cream.

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  18. When I saw your assortment of clothes, I was kind of stunned at the amount of clothes. But then I realized you must be doing a modified/liberal version of 333 and not including accessories, shoes, outerwear, etc., as laid out in the original guidelines. That's totally up to you, but I would love it if you could do a version following the project's main rule of "33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes." I think that's a tough challenge (I know I struggle with it) and wonder if it could be done and not feel like you're wearing the same thing all the time. Maybe down the road you can take up that challenge? Anyway, love your blog!!

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  19. I'm in. I follow the same rules as yours. Shoes and scarves are not included in my 33, and I'm trying to keep track of what I wear and how I wear it.

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  20. I have another question. I have reda your post from May 2013 (i am not a movie character) and think it now is timme for me to "make hard but necessary wardrobe decisions". I would like to know fr.o.m. where you find inspiration to dress instead of from garden parties, safaris, movies etc. Where should I look for inspiration?

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    1. Oohhh, the hardest question of all. You have to look inside yourself, and figure out what makes you truly happy. We're never encouraged to do this, and as a result, many of us struggle to ever discover where our real happiness is (in personal style terms). So look at art, nature, the world around you, and find things that make your heart sing. It's a long and challenging process, but well worth the effort, I think.

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    2. Reading this I realise that I take my inspiration from nature. I am English and we have a such a beautiful country that the inspiration is endless..........like sunrise this morning. Nature puts colours together that we would think of.....and it works!!!!

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  21. I'm in. Still refining the actual pieces. Thought I would have plenty of time, since the temps have been around 90, but it's starting to get cool. Autumn in New England can be tricky, so layers will be key for me.

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  22. Love your choices here. Could you please do a post about how to choose a cashmere sweater that will last? I can't believe yours is 15 years old and shows no signs of wear! Do you have to go to Italy for one like that? ; )

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  23. I have been doing Project 333 for about a year now and really find that it's too many clothes. The last couple of months I have been working with only 10 items for the month, then switching them over the next month. I just have to make sure that everything really does go with everything. My 10 items are 3 bottoms, 4 tops, 3 cardis/jumpers (I live in England!). I don't include jackets, footwear or accessories in the 10.

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  24. I'm in too. After 3 rounds, I thinking I'll even manage to include shoes in this 33 and still feel like I have enough. Accessories are still bonuses to me though. I know I could live with less but I actually like clothes and accessories and styling so a true Project 333 feels a bit too restrictive to me.

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  25. Hi.....I am relatively new to the Vivienne Files and have decided to give the Project 333 a go .....well at least my version - 35 items. But I am confused as to where the 4 x 4 wardrobes sit with this. Do other people do 2 x 4 x 4.....that is a 4 x 4 casual and a 4 x 4 work?

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