New Year, Less Wardrobe: The 333 Challenge

In the spirit of a brand new year, I decided to watch a documentary my sister-in-law recommended. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are known as “The Minimalists”  for their crusade to teach people that less is indeed more. Their Netflix documentary “Minimalism” features incredible stories about leaving corporate America and living the real dream. I had heard this term thrown around before. There are new shows about Tiny Houses where families leave behind material goods in exchange for freedom. When you first watch the documentary, you may think this kind of lifestyle is unattainable. Could you throw all of your possessions away and live in an intentionally built camper? I don’t think many of us could. So I turned my attention to something in the documentary that seemed more feasible: The 333 Challenge.

In 2010, Courtney Carver wrote about her journey. For 3 months, she wore the same 33 articles of clothing. This is how she describes the rules of her challenge:

“When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)
How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.”

I liked the idea, but I have to agree I was nervous to give it a try. Over the month of January, I was interning and I decided to give it a try. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Getting ready in the morning is so much easier because you’ve eliminated distractions.
  2. NO ONE noticed. Never once did someone say “I thought you wore those boots Tuesday” because the truth is, people are paying way less attention than you think.
  3. I’m a total wimp and could not be successful for three months, so I stuck to one month.
  4. Every day I got to wear my favorite clothes! When choosing 33 items, I chose all of my best pieces.
  5. I only wear the same 1/3 of my closet anyway.

Want to give it a try? Here’s what I recommend (I apologize for the low-quality photos in advance. It was 5:30 am and I was trying not to wake my roommate up) 🙂

  • Balance simple pieces with statement pieces. This black and white striped dress is boring and so are my solid black boots, but a cool cardigan and belt were really easy ways to make this outfit more interesting. FullSizeRender 2.jpg
  • Well-tailored items help balance out more utilitarian pieces. These clunky boots are lined, no slip, snow boots. Not exactly high fashion, but this girl had to get to work somehow. Yet, you almost didn’t notice because the blazer has 3/4 sleeves that add more definition to your fram. The V-neck was a better pick over a higher neckline for the same reason. FullSizeRender 3.jpg
  • Pick seasonally appropriate colors. This eggplant-y color was big this winter so these pants were a good pick. Chunky booties and a neutral, swingy sweater made the bottoms more professional, while the scarf was just a statement piece. This scarf was one of the only patterned pieces I included in my 33 items and I did not regret it. FullSizeRender.jpg

What do you think? Could you do it for a full 3 months?!!

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