Friday, April 1, 2011

Slow Fashion: Doing Project 333

I've mentioned previously that I was simplifying my wardrobe and planning to do the Project 333 fashion diet. Here's Project 333 in a nutshell:

  • 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) 
I tested out my 33 clothing and accessory choices for the month of March, and I'm doing the April-to-June sessionSince the weather will be changing from mild late-winter to early summer temperatures during the 3 months, and I'll also be travelling, I'll be using three bonus rules:

Bonus Rule #1: I'm allowing myself to rotate in three warm-weather items and rotate out three cold-weather items (which will be stored away, not donated as some other participants have done - I'll need them again next winter). I'll be otherwise dressing in layers, so careful selection of my three switchable items should be sufficient to cover the -25C to +25C temperature range of 'spring' in Edmonton.

Bonus Rule #2: I'll also call time-out on my 33-item wardrobe and use a different, even more limited wardrobe for my 15-day trip to Japan in May (which will mean dressing for much higher humidity than Edmonton ever experiences, and temperatures comparable to early July where I live). What's coming to Japan with me will be the subject of a separate post, and I foresee my Japan trip wardrobe as the basis of a summertime Project 333 list. I do know that my main neutral for the summer will be navy instead of black.

Bonus Rule #3: Putting my basic list together was actually pretty easy once I had cleared out my wardrobe, and really wasn't that different from figuring out what to pack for a long trip. The key was in making it so a lot of the items can be dressed up or down, and keeping all the basics black or dark grey. So I decided to make it a bit more challenging for myself and really bring the slow fashion cred:
  • 8 items were bought at local (from my city) independently-owned retailers
  • 3 items are made by me, from supplies bought at local indie retailers
  • 1 item was handmade by an artisan in my city
  • 5 items were second-hand or vintage (thrifted or swapped or eBay or Etsy)
  • 7 items are made of sustainable materials or upcycled materials
  • 3 imported items were handmade using techniques traditional to the region where they originated
All these items are marked with an asterisk (*) in the list below, for a total of 18 out of 36 items - some of them fall into more than one category. Most of the remaining items, while not local or sustainable or handmade, are timeless in their design and durably made of good-quality fabrics.

Here are my 33 + 3 items: 
(OR denotes the items I'm allowing myself to swap as the weather warms)

1. black knee-high winter boots* OR black knee-high unlined boots
2. purple woolen peacoat OR white trench coat
3. black rainboots OR black leather sandals
4. (skinny) black organic cotton leggings from Cotton Ginny Ricki's
5. red-violet cotton-modal waterfall cardigan by Kersh (from The Bay)
6. red-violet/black/cream paisley-print faux-wrap blouse from Rickis, thrifted*
7. red-violet soy-cotton skirt by Nomads Hempwear*
8. black stretch-polyester dress pants from Ricki's
9. dark-indigo-rinse bootcut cotton denim jeans from Gap
10. black denim trouser-cut cotton denim jeans from Gap
11. black-grey-checked stretch-cotton pants from Gap
12. green velvet blazer by Lady Hathaway, thrifted (needs rip repaired)*
13. dark grey recycled-cotton-blend fleece double-breasted jacket by EchoRain*
14. vintage cream handknit popcorn-stitch cardigan, gift from my mother in 1990, from Cape Isle Knitters in Maine (similar to one currently being sold by Anthropologie)*
15. black cotton seersucker skirt, thrifted*
16. reversible black/grey bamboo-cotton blend skirt by EchoRain*
17. black dress, to be sewn (by me or a local seamstress) from Uniform Project pattern and locally purchased eco-fabric*
18. green bamboo-cotton long-sleeve dress by Movement*
19. moss-green cropped hemp-cotton blend pants by Nomads Hempwear*
20. black V-neck cap-sleeve cotton tshirt from Gap
21. teal cotton torn-ruffle-hem long-sleeve tshirt from Anthropologie
22. black scoop-neck ruffle-detail cotton tshirt from Old Navy
23. black snap-pocket spring jacket, swapped*
24. hat made from old menswear by local designer and Etsy artisan SugarSoul*
25. statement necklace I made, amethyst and moonstone beads*
26. statement necklace I made, mix of thrifted and new sterling silver chains*
27. vintage handwoven silk ikat scarf from Uzbekistan, via eBay*
28. black leather-and-suede faux-buttoned pumps*
29. black leather everyday shoes (need polishing)
30. vintage mirror-embroidered-and-beaded hip belt, via Etsy*
31. mod-style polyester-blend little black minidress, made in Canada, thrifted*
32. black fleece gloves
33. black leather crossbody purse for everyday use underwear, socks and hosiery, pajamas and workout clothes (which can both double as loungewear), and everyday jewelry that I practically never take off (my eyeglasses, and 3 rings, 3 hoop earrings, and a necklace that were gifts from my husband).

I have been wearing my 33 items as a test since Sunday March 6th. Since the temps were still dipping to -31C with the windchill, I cheated a little during my trial run and wore my down coat instead. I also spent a chunk of the month sick or caring for sick children, or recovering from a car accident (I'm OK, it's just a mild case of whiplash), and so spent more time in my lounge clothes than really would make a fair trial.

My observations from my trial run: 
- Items 5, 6, 7, 14, 18, 19, 31 need to be handwashed and hung or laid flat to dry, which may pose a challenge.
- I changed item 4 because the original version's wide legs read as yoga pants instead of leggings and needed folding to go inside my knee-high boots
- I probably have too many (6) jackets & cardis and not enough (1) dressy blouses. I probably need a classic white blouse. I rely heavily on black t-shirts as blouse substitutes.

I'm looking forward to exploring my observations of my challenges and feelings about Project 333 over the next three months! 

1 comment:

  1. Today is Day 17, and I can definitely confirm that keeping on top of the laundry has been my biggest challenge. With two kids under the age of eight in my household, we do a lot of laundry, and remembering to prioritize the handwashing has been more difficult than I expected. =D

    I also have already cheated three times, on days when I was going out to meet with friends and my dressy clothes were awaiting cleaning. On one of those days, I wore loungewear; on the other two I subbed in pieces that are similar to the ones in my 33, that were clean, in place of the ones that were dirty.

    I think I'm going to give myself to the end of the month, then scratch off any pieces I have not worn and replace them on my list of 33 with the pieces I subbed in.

    The temperature has been hovering close to freezing, and we've had all of snow, slush, and giant puddles on the ground. My outerwear choices have been bang on. My rubber boots, purple coat, and blue jeans get the most-worn awards.