January 27, 2023
This is her favorite painting:
She wants to tackle Project 333 for February, March and April! So she’s starting with her favorite outfit, and with colors that she’s drawn from her favorite painting.
Of course she can’t include ALL of the colors in the painting; that would be overwhelming!
These were her choice:
And this is her favorite outfit, right now:
She tries to think of things that she ABSOLUTELY must wear through the rest of the winter – dark pants, and a denim shirt come to mind immediately:
Jeans? Heavens yes! And she really loves sweater vests, so she wants to include the vest that matches her blue cardigan:
There’s no way she can omit her favorite outfit for outdoor activities! Especially since it’s also well-suited for lounging…
Where to go from here? Since she’s going to have 33 items, she decides that a 4 by 4 Wardrobe will be a good way to organize her clothes:
An ivory top will give her a solid column, with her ivory chinos.
A navy sweater can be worn with everything!
A sweater in shades of green will be usable with ivory or any of her green things.
And a green dress? Well, since her project will include a handful of holidays, it might be handy!
Now, her 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template looks complete, and very coherent!
As one should, before she commits to these 16 garments for 90 days, she looks through her outfit possibilities. Not doing this isn’t fatal, but it can help see any weak spots in your wardrobe before you’re too far into the project…
Monday, we will see what she chooses for accessories – always a fun part of the project!
Are any of you engaging in Project 333, or any other such thing, now or soon? I’m going to be wearing 1 sweater for 7 days, starting maybe 2nd week of February, and I’m ALSO going to wear 1 black wool tee shirt for 30 days. March?
These experiments fascinate me…
p.s. Approximately 8 years ago (okay, it’s off by ONE DAY!), we started a wardrobe with one of my favorite paintings. Subtle colors, a sober but whimsical gentleman ice skating…
I have considered building a small capsule wardrobe based on a core of jeans and black pants with white and black long sleeve tees. Or perhaps navy. One of these days I may give it a go.
What a great painting. I love those colors. I’m not working on any project in particular, just trying to pare down the wardrobe to a limited, cohesive number of core items and accents. Almost there. Happy Friday, have a good weekend everyone.
When you posted a similar post a bit ago; the possibility of doing a 4×4 wardrobe was a good project to get into for February, March and April. So after my weekend i do something in the base of black and white and another colour…maybe light pink….but I’m loving camel and black lately. I wear a great deal of black then switch to navy for summer as my base.
I am also looking to purchase a pair of winter white jeans or cords but difficult to find, living in southern Ontario Canada.
I ordered the off white cords from J Crew last winter and they are on repeat every week this year also.
Today’s colours are my happy spot and I’ve been aiming for this to be my basic palette. I was trying to add grey items but have struggled to find to right grey; it’s even a challenge when shopping for grey fabric to make an item I can’t buy ready made. I’m not whining – just explaining the situation.
I looked at the pretty dress and noticed it’s 95% viscose. Is anyone familiar with that fibre? Does it wash and wear well? I’m seeing more clothes made with it and have wondered.
It’s also known as rayon, which was considered a cheap fabric so now viscose sounds better. It drapes well and is soft, but imho is still cheap. It gets a pill-y surface after a while and tears and abrades easily.
Thank you for this, Danielle. I think I’ll steer clear of that fibre.
Second the pills from any abrasion ie jewelry, purse or even your arm rubbing against the fabric. Also rayon/viscose shrinks. It looks good until it’s washed, frays easily too. I wouldn’t waste my money.
There are sustainable versions of viscose, such as Lenzing Ecovero.
Beth T says
Wash inside out on a gentle cycle or handwash at 30C. Don’t use fabric conditioner. Don’t wring it out. Drip dry. Iron on reverse side with cool iron.
I am not a fan of viscose. Damages very easily when laundering. The pieces I have I put in a laundry bag in the washing machine and that has helped. I prefer not to purchase any items from viscose any more, sustainable or not.
Oh wow I’ve had completely the opposite experience with Viscose – I have several blouses / shirts. It takes colour and print very well without any fading over years and years (alot of the old school men’s Hawaiian print shirts are viscose). I do wash on cold wash but then I do a dark delicate wash once a fortnight and a pale delicate wash once a fortnight of underwear and tops so it’s not a burden. There is shrinkage but only once. My viscose garments are workhorses with beautiful drape. It’s a great alternative to polyester or nylon both of which I don’t touch. It also irons very well with not as much effort as cotton or linen. Viscose is a fiber / manufacturing method so you’ll often see Bamboo made into viscose which is gloriously silky soft. Traditional Viscose/rayon is made from wood pulp which is why it goes stiff as a board once wet.
I did Project 333 for a full year, so 33 pieces for 4 separate seasons and it was very revelatory as to how few things I need to get dressed. Since finishing it in 2021, and since life opened back up and I went back to work, I found that my sweet spot is probably around 45 pieces. I recommend it to anyone though because it is very eye-opening.
That’s impressive – was it 33 different pieces for each season, or was there some overlap?
I agree about 45 (x4 seasons) works better for me, about 33 for an ‘inner’ core of more everyday clothes, and then another 12 worn less often but nevertheless essential. 33 is too hard!
I have not one single thing in my wardrobe of this dusky green. Where has it been hiding? So pretty! I am drawn to color, often ignoring other basics like fit and whether it goes with anything else I have. I guess I need to grow up a bit…. I have read your blog faithfully for years, and I love what you do. Your insights make me happy, even when I don’t take your advice. But this green is so tempting….
I’m not aiming at any specific number of garments in my wardrobe, but I have been and still am working to have everything within a consistent color palette. That’s been incredibly helpful, as I replace worn garments with things that fit in better. Now I have a signature casual look: jeans/long sleeve shirt/fleece vest – and have happily added fleece pullovers for added warmth. I’m happy with how this is developing.
I can easily commit to wearing one sweater for 7 days. I like this idea so much and will commit to it through February. I start on Sunday. This will be really fun.
These posts on Project 333 are certainly making me interested in defining a small capsule of clothing going into spring. Of course, I would follow your example and start with the 4 x 4 framework. Or possibly 4 x 5 since I will include less accessories.
I love this painting so much that I made it my desktop background at work. It’s is a beautiful painting with so many directions that one could go with wardrobe colors. I’m intrigued by the idea of 333 so I’m going through previous posts to learn more about it. It is interesting to me that with 33 items, you chose 16 pieces of clothing which means 17 accessories? I’m wondering if the 33 items include every day items, like wedding band, watch, and underthings.
Sheila Harden says
I’m sure others will weigh in – I read the 333 book – ultimately I think it depends on the person and what they determine will/will not be counted as part of their 33.
Ange, you can read Courtney Carver’s original rules for Project 333 on her website. She did include shoes, jewelry, and other accessories, but did not include pajamas or workout clothes; her guideline for that was, if you wear your yoga pants just for doing yoga, you don’t have to include them; if you wear them to the grocery store, you do. But you can do it in any way that suits you; some people prefer not to include shoes or anything else outside of actual clothing; some find that they need a slightly higher number of things in colder seasons.
This painting takes me back… when I was growing up my parents had one wall of their bedroom wallpapered in something similar to this. I am doing a capsule wardrobe now for winter and last night I was just starting to plan my spring one. I don’t have a certain number of pieces, but a color palette that coordinates things. I am loving it! I will put away my berry and teal and pull out brighter pinks, turquoise and butter yellow to go with my navy and grey. I am going thrifting this weekend and wanted to see where my holes were so I knew what to look for. It was so insightful. I am waiting on my size/color in a wool& dress. I am thinking I might try the 100 day challenge in fall when I can layer again. We shall see.
Sounds great Kristi!!! I’m also putting away my red items and replacing them with softer colors (sage green, baby blue and stripes). Just by removing a color everything looks freshened up and new!
Well, I have been doing Project 333 and I am bored out of my mind! This morning, I was laying on my bed in my underwear, totally unable to get dressed. I’m sick to death of my clothes! That may be my favorite painting you’ve ever shown.
Beth T says
The problem with rules, they are restrictive and stifle creativity. The way I get round it is to create wardrobe capsules for different colours but each capsule mixes and matches with after least one other capsule. It’s a bit of a cheat but it gives me options for dressing depending on my mood, weather, whether at home or going out. If limiting your wardrobe causes such angst then find something that works for you. 🤗
Beth- that’s a pretty good workaround. I think that’s what I’ve been doing subconsciously! I have my 36 color House of Color spring palette and I’m finding that pretty much anything I buy in my colors will go with everything else. The challenge is finding my neutrals. Most navies sold today are so dark you can barely distinguish them from black. Warm browns & tans are a bit easier if they’re not too dark. Grey is hard to find.. needs to be dove grey or lighter. But Janice has been showing us some lovely ivory/ cream items! Thank you, Janice. While it’s not my very best neutral, I like it and it pairs with all my bright jackets, cardigans & scarves! ❤️
Oh the other hand, I think it’s wasteful not to wear clothes you already own, and you’d prefer to wear, based on a restrictive rule. Wear what you have and love!
Oh, Janice, IMO this is your ‘mic drop’ moment. I love everything about this selection-the colors, simplicity, everything. J Crew is getting a look from me so I can add a few of these items. I can put some of this on the bedroom door, with grey instead of cream or white. Your challenge of one item for a time is intriguing, and I will work on that. Maybe a navy sweatshirt for a week and see what happens. Regarding viscose or rayon, I think I read that the process of making the fabric is not good for the environment.
Sally in St Paul says
I HATED the grey/gold capsule but I LOVE this one! I would substitute for the turtlenecks and the white pants, but overall, it’s amazing. I am such a sucker for a mix of green colors: dark green, mint, olive, green teal, etc.
It’s interesting to see navy/denim as the dark neutral. I think my mind goes to black as the obvious choice…but I think that’s because I have a plaid shirt that has various greens + black that I wear black with.
Am I the only one who almost had a heart attack seeing that striped sweater?? How kind of the company to save me money but not offering it in a size larger than a US 14. And I don’t have to remind myself that a sweater made of 50%+ acrylic is just…well, not something I want to spend $120 on because acrylic is so hot and wears poorly in my experience. (Your mileage may vary, of course!) But it looks so great, and in a mixed-greens type capsule (sounds like I’m talking about salad), it would do a lot to tie the various shades together.
I am really looking forward to the accessories! Hopefully there will be some items (e.g., print scarves, jewelry) that tie the greens and the navy together since I noticed that none of the offered outfits today included both green and navy! (One had the green cardi + jeans, which has a very different feel from navy when combining colors IMO.)
If this were my capsule, I would definitely be looking for that 17th garment that has a high-whoppage variegated print with both navy and green. Luckily navy and green is a pretty common combination. My own proclivities would suggest a navy-based floral print with green foliage and some flowers that bring in some other accent colors to spice things up. There’s no rule that our capsules can’t have a little extra color outside the initial palette, right?
In general, I agree with you about the junkiness of acrylic. Add to that rayon/viscose, polyester+spandex, nylon, and the trend to make winter sweaters in cotton. This is a way manufacturers can use cheap materials but charge the same or more (for allegedly hi-tech fabrics). Give me silk, linen, wool, and cotton—and maybe tencel in pants. Luckily I can sew, knit, and crochet and these fabrics and fibers are still obtainable.
vicki g says
Lily, please break the guidelines, and make some new ones that work better for you :)
This is one of my favourite paintings, also. Beautiful, beautiful green!
I like the spruce hiking pants! I have happy-coloured sky blue hiking shorts, which I love, but have never found long pants in a high tech fabric other than black, sometimes grey. The spruce is a gorgeous colour.
Oh, but the navy cardigan and vest … they are splendid!
Amanda Hudson says
Love this painting!!! The colors are wonderful. I have tried a 333 project but never stick with it. I do, however, frequently wear the same pair of pants or the same shirt or sweater etc. during a week. I think that’s why I have no trouble packing in a carry-on. It’s kind of like practice makes perfect.
The colours of the painting remind me of A September Gale by Arthur Lismer, one of my Canadian favourites.
Amanda Hudson says
Oh my I just looked back and WOW that painting and the wardrobe really spoke to me! The colors and the clothes seem very currant and I would wear them all.
Beth T says
Well, this had to be pinned. A post full of my favourite green teal and grey-green! Thank you so much 😁
Lisa Willis says
Lovely. That green is one of my favorite colors.
I’ve been reading The Vivienne Files for years. I’ve now noticed that the posts basically offer the same outfits over and over, just with different colours. I’m hoping for a little more variety.
Lily, of all the comments, yours resonated with me. Like another reader, I say, Break the Rules. If you’re bored with your 33, you can 1) adjust your accessory count down and your clothing up, 2) swap out a few items each month, 3) count only 33 clothing items, or whatever rule makes you feel happy. I haven’t tried 333 because for a magpie like me, there is no way I would stick to that kind of clothing diet. I am still in a mindset of letting things go and trying to wear out. 2023’s goal is to say goodbye to 2-3 items a month and only bring in 2-3 in the year. I am following Janice’s 12 month capsules to id what I own like each and use that to sort out a more cohesive wardrobe. I know that I will always be a woman who has a large wardrobe because the variety makes me happy. I hope that you will feel like sharing what you decide to do to make 333 work for you. Even if you don’t, good luck with it!
I don’t know how many clothes I have, though more than 33 and less than 100. Most of my clothes can be worn 2-3 seasons. Most are very casual and most are some shade of blue. Everything mixes and matches. When you stick to one color palette, that happens. What I have found very useful is something Janice talked about years ago, I believe it was called “The French Five”. I have 5 articles of clothing (4 tops and a scarf) in red that I wear from December- February.
I am looking to introduce a “ French Five” in green for spring. This post is inspiring!
Feb is always a good month to review the wardrobe before the next seasonal year starts. I increased my capsule when I was part-time office, before covid closed things. Needing less with all home work, time to pass on lesser used pieces to other folks!
This is beautiful but I’m biased since it’s my exact color scheme for an upcoming trip to Japan. Some of these exact pieces are included in the 14 I’m packing. I’m considering whether to not wear the trip clothes until I leave and finding out if I will enjoy wearing the remaining 30 pieces in my closet. I’ve done 21 pieces for 21 days and it was fine; I was mostly just annoyed that I was restricted. It’s a mindset but still.
I love doing my project 333 capsule- I always use my very favourite clothes and sprinkle a liberal amount of accent colours that make my heart sing. The soft celadon green just happens to be one of my perennial favourite accents and navy, grey and crisp white are my spring neutrals.
I could happily take this capsule and wear it all season long.