33/100 (Wardrobe Update)

I have been playing around with my wardrobe since late spring, and I’m onto something that works well for me! Thought I’d update here about my general goals and my fall capsule.

First, I have decided that my goal is to have a year-round (fairly) complete daily-wear wardrobe (yes to coats; no to pajamas and lounge and jewelry) of about 100 items. Maybe someday I’ll even get to 100 items all-in. But since I was at around 350 still in January, I’m feeling really good about being at around 125 right now (less than a year later).

So first, I decided to play around with what would be in my 100-item wardrobe if I did have to chose just 100 things. This was back in March 2021, and I landed on just my favorites and while I loved everything and felt it could work, I struggled with a nagging sense of lack of cohesion with the overall collection, and I was trying to incorporate EVERYTHING, which required me to treat some things categorically (socks, underwear, etc) so 1/3 of my 100 wouldn’t be underpinnings, and yeah. It was so close. It was driven by beige, black, gray, white, camel, cognac, and a few special pieces. Which was great… but not quiiiiiiite right.

Old Neutrals

So in April, the universe kept putting the same wardrobe system in my path and I decided to give it a chance for a year and took the test and ordered the wardrobe colors kit and an annual membership for about the cost of a good pair of leather shoes. While I initially struggled with the idea of removing pretty much all of my default wardrobe colors (at least I was able to keep denim and cognac?), I was really attracted to the idea of someone removing entire subsets of neutrals that were ubiquitous and lovely, but weren’t really exciting me (black, gray, white, and muted tones). Suddenly, I found myself looking to expand the “special” (add flavor) colors to become wardrobe staples: warm dark greens and olives, mustard yellows and golds, rust and brick reds, peacock blues and dark teals.

A rainbow of coats. I’ve added one more (a thrifted red vest to replace a black one).

Oh, and then I cut off my hair.

See ya, 10″ of waves. (TTFN anyway)

And then I cut a bit more.

I committed to it, and put all of my muted tones and “should do” neutrals into quarantine (save a few base layers that basically just live under things, like the sneak peek of gray camisole, above). And I stuck with it.

This August, I reconfigured my Top 100 based on the “new (to me) wardrobe rules” and found I was a lot closer. I included coats and shoes, but just excluded accessories and intimates. I ended up setting aside a stack of about 10-15 items that didn’t make the obvious cut, with the idea that I could pull the back in if I thought of them. And then I committed to doing a Project 333 this fall, winter, and spring to round out the yearlong commitment to the style system. (Over the summer, I expanded my wardrobe through budget purchases, mostly from Old Navy, secondhand purchases from Poshmark for targeted finds, and tried new shapes and colors through thrifting. I’d wager I was dressing with about 60 items in theory, though the weather meant that most of my sweaters and cool-weather shoes just looked pretty along with the rest of the cohesive palette.)

Clean lined dress-up

And so today was the day (fall starts in two days, y’all!) to figure out my Autumn Project 333.

I started by laying out everything I thought I’d want (not intimates, lounge/PJ, coats, or accessories) and had about 45 things. I knew I wanted my final number to be 35, because that would account for the 33 items for the project, plus a formal dress and heels I plan to wear to a family wedding next month. So I looked carefully at what was laid out on my bed and started pulling things I thought I could live without for 3-6 months (until winter or spring), or that just didn’t lend itself to the overall cohesiveness I was going for. (Which is to say, I don’t need EVERYTHING to go with EVERYTHING ELSE, but want most things to go with most things.)

The final 35 items (33+2)

I chose five short-sleeved tees (three plain, two souvenir)

And four long-sleeved tees (so cozy)

And for times when I need to be a touch dressier (very part-time work or church), I threw in three nicer tops/blouses that would play nicely under cardigans and jackets once it’s well and truly chilly

So then I needed some pullover sweaters (4) for those chilly days

And three cardigans as alternatives (the combination possibilities are extensive)

And, of course, a couple of jacket/coatigan options for the office or extra (green, clearly) variety.

Well on my way, I thought of December and possible cold spells and added two turtlenecks (tissue and sweater)

A couple of nice options for church/work

And four really basic bottoms that could run the gamut from very casual to work-casual or church as needed

Which left me with four pairs of shoes

And those “bonus” items (I can’t imagine truly wearing either outside of the wedding, unless I pair the heels with the brown turtleneck and jeans for date night…)

(The wedding is outside. Please know for sure that I will be tucking my Chucks into my bag for the reception.)

And that’s the starting point. And I have to say, this is the most fun I’ve had putting a capsule together in a long time. I’m really excited! I did have a few things (mostly the stuff I pulled from the 45 but also a few that I knew wouldn’t “go” as well with some of the more autumnal colors I’d chosen) that were appropriate but not picked, and I’m excited to try to build around those for my winter capsule from December 21-March 19.

I’ll post some outfits here soon, and keep you all posted about overall numbers as I am able to evaluate them (and YES, I am tracking wears again – I am going simpler this time with no dates – I wrote down the list of 35 and will hang it up and use hashes to signify each wear so I can eval and tally in late December or early January).

Are you doing a capsule wardrobe this season? Project 333 runs October 1-December 31, even though I run mine true to season dates (September 22-December 21). Please let me know in the comments if you’re doing this with me and if you’re sharing anywhere so I can follow along with you!

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