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?!!



The Peep Toe Bootie Obsession

Holy fall trend alert!!!!

The peep toe bootie is THE “it-girl” for fall. These heels are not sky-high and are very wide (read: easy to walk in). Meaning these shoes take any outfit from jeans and a t-shirt to edgy street style. Being the college student that I am, I recognize that money can be the biggest obstacle to having trendy pieces. Why spend $40 on cute, new shoes if you can buy a shirt you’ll wear for years? I get it, so I’ve broken it down by budget for you guys!

Only $25 from Zulilly!

Only $25 from Zulilly!

These Kristen Cavarilli look alikes are $150 at Nordstrom and make the perfect fall neutral.

These Kristen Cavarilli look alikes are $150 at Nordstrom and make the perfect fall neutral.

Currently, these lovelies are out of stock but Steve Madden has done it again. Hopefully soon, check them out online at Nordstrom.

Currently, these lovelies are out of stock but Steve Madden has done it again. Hopefully soon, check them out online at Nordstrom.

These Chinese Laundry babies are $119 but oh so worth it!

These Chinese Laundry babies are $119 but oh so worth it! has these beauties for only $40! has these beauties for only $40!


See, these deals make it easy to bump up the glam this fall. This is one band wagon you’ll want to jump on!


Binge Shopping Versus Impulse Buying

Shopping Intro

Shopping, especially while you’re in your late teens and early twenties, is fun, but can be incredibly frustrating. Money is usually tight and therefore purchases have to be strategic. Most people go into a store with a credit card and let the clever store advertisers catch their eyes with color and not so smart sales. But that will NOT be you! Here, I’ll teach you the ways of an OCD shopping jedi.

First and foremost, let’s talk about the difference between binge shopping and impulse buying. The latter refers to falling into the trap of store designer. It’s that perfectly dressed mannequin at the store front, or the newest items placed at the back of the store so that you have to walk through the entire store to see the new collection.  It’s branding and marketing at its finest. The former sounds equally as irresponsible. After all, binge shopping is akin to binge eating and binge gambling, right? WRONG. Maybe binge shopping should be called something more edgy, but ultimately binge shopping is the smartest way to shop.

The Secrets of the Binge Method

Saving Money=More Shopping

The binge in binge shopping simply means that you bought a lot of items at one time. The method piece requires smart planning with small budgets. So, let’s break it down:

Secret Weapons


Pinterest is your best friend. If you are unfamiliar with the website, Pinterest is a social media platform on which users upload ‘pins’ (oftentimes fashion) that you can save to your own pin boards. It’s a digital scrapbook of ideas. In terms of the binge shopping method, the site acts as a mental shopping list. Personally, the Women’s Fashion category is my favorite. It helps me keep track of trends that I like or investment pieces that I need to build my wardrobe. For more on crafting a timeless wardrobe. Pre-shopping on Pinterest allows you to look at all of your options in one place, rather than deciding between the clothes in only one store. For example, if I’m in Store A, I might be tempted to buy that adorable, but expensive, romper that’s on sale (sale is such a dangerous word), but because I did some Pinterest research, I know that there is a romper that I like better at Store B for a fraction of the price. Congratulations, you just saved yourself enough money for a new accessory!

Separate Shopping Email

Business and pleasure don’t always have to be separate, unless we’re talking about inboxes. At the minimum, you should have one address for business (think college applications, school, work) and another for those pushy sales women who always want your email address. In fact, I have a third for social media. I HATE inbox clutter. I don’t care when someone liked my photo on Instagram or repinned my pins on Pinterest. I want to know what I need to do. That’s just me! Seriously, though, a shopping email account can keep all of your coupons in one place. And we all know that coupons=more money.

Good, Old-fashioned List

“Boo, Laura! We don’t want to make lists.” Trust me, you do. I have a friend who lists everything she wants to buy in an excel spreadsheet and every time she sees a different price for that item, she lists it. That, to me, is too much work. No one, but her, is ever going to be that anal about shopping. However, I do believe in keeping a running list of things you would like to purchase.

Maybe yours looks like mine (this is a very condensed version):

Top Priority: Wardrobe Pieces

  • Professional leather handbag (Note: I called it a handbag, which  makes it sounds fancy)
  • Kick ass push-up bra

Middle Priority: Seasonal Garb

  • Nude, strappy wedges

Lowest Priority: Trendy Items

  • Knuckle Rings
  • Bralettes

Good! You’ve got your weapons. Now let’s SHOP.

The Actual Shopping

Operation: Pieces that you really want AND WILL WEAR.

Here’s the thing, shopping is exciting and it’s easy to get swept up in the splurging mood.

Before you leave:

  1. Grab the list
  2. Check Pinterest one last time
  3. Refresh your shopping email and screenshot any barcodes you may need
  4. Decide how much money you have to spend (if you can get it in cash, DO IT! Once it’s gone, it’s gone. No regrets.)

In the car:

  1. If you’re going to an outlet mall, which I recommend, decide which stores you want to hit the most
  2. Tell whoever you went shopping with what is on your list
  3. Grab an unsweet tea from McDonald’s. You’ll need the hydration.

When you get there:

  1. Go to your favorite store first, but don’t buy anything! But the chance of impulse buying is the highest at this store, so resist the urge. Walk through, quickly (no digging through the racks) and then leave! You can come back, but you want to reduce the risk of blowing money as much as you can.
  2. Try things on! There is nothing worse than getting a piece home and it doesn’t fit. The chances of you actually returning it are slim and it takes up residence in the back of your closet. You’ve wasted money that you could have spent on something really cool.
  3. Make good decisions!

Of course, if you have any questions leave a comment or shoot me an email.

Happy shopping!