Project 333: dresses, button downs, accessories and wrap-up

Two years ago I had a lot of dresses in my closet. I preferred skirts and dresses for work mostly because I find pants are difficult for me to find. I’m six feet tall and wear a 12 or 14. I need a 34 – 36 inch inseam in jeans and dress pants. A size 14 off the rack fits my former rower thighs, is baggy at the waist and two to three inches too short in the legs. I know the recommendation is to buy big and then get items tailored.

The things is, if you’re going to spend the $ on tailoring you need to a) buy items of good quality and b) be a consistent size. My weight can fluctuate 5-8 pounds over a few months depending on if it is the holidays, I’m finding the time to run or doing too much baking. In the past, I’ve found that a well tailored pair of pants are not forgiving for weight fluctuations. Skirts and dresses, however, are very forgiving (I wore a lot of my regular wardrobe till the last few months of my pregnancy with the help of a belly band).

Now that my office days are on hold, I’m down to one dress but there are at least four more available to me to borrow. It can really pay to have a twin sometimes. And, maybe I will be corrected on this, there are no rules about borrowing in Project 333.

Rachel’s dresses, accessories, etc

  • Brocade Little Black Dress: I’m still a touch tentative about wearing this dress with my post baby body. Dark tights and heels help.
  • Pleat Tank: this has been my ‘going out’ top for a few years now. Another forgiving top that I wore while pregnant by cinching the belt above my belly.
  • Tea Jacket: this was an Anthropology purchase a few years back. I wore it a lot initially, it was great for dressing up jeans at work, but it doesn’t seem to have a place in my current lifestyle. Should I donate or consign?
  • Jewelery: I’ve never been into accessorizes. It’s intimidating. I have a few pieces of jewelery that I wear a lot. I’m counting the stacking rings as one piece so that’s three pieces total.
  • Hat: striped toque/winter hat that I have had for a long, long time.

Henry’s fancy clothes and a hat

  • Button Down: just the one. Usually worn with the vest below.
  • Sweater Vest: I hope this fits next winter. Love it. Another one from Grandma.
  • Toque/Winter Hat: all of his jackets have hoods but I like a hat for extra warmth.

The finally tally for clothing: 26 items for me and 27 items for Henry.

Do we need anymore clothing? No. Do I want a few things? Yes.

Henry could use one more pair of jeans to stretch out laundry days. Still on the hunt for a pair of black flats for myself that are sturdy and come in a size 11+. I’ll revisit our lists in the spring.

If you wold like to view the complete spreadsheet of our clothes click here.

I’ve loved reading the comments on these Project 333 posts and hearing from those of you that have pared down as well. Shocked to read so many others are down to two or three pairs of jeans too. And delighted to hear about other parents keeping a small wardrobe for their kids. We need to set the standard and expectation early on that more stuff does not equal a better life. Start with their closets and the toys will follow.

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  • I love this – “start with their closets and the toys will follow.” How do you handle gift-givers, though? My daughter was the first grandchild for 3 out of 4 grandparents. She has been incredibly spoiled with clothing, which I have been thankful for since I haven’t had to buy her too much, but she has a closet full of clothes that she doesn’t really wear. So, on the one hand, I’m thankful for lots of clothes since it’s less spending money on my end, but it’s an awful lot of organization to deal with. Plus, I have to decide what to keep for a possible next child and what to consign or donate. *sigh* She has a closet, and an Ikea wardrobe, but I’m starting to think she’s going to need a little dresser soon….

    • Clara,
      I’m in the same spot as you. Lots of generous relatives and possibly another child in the future. Check out the comments on Monday’s post. There are some people that are going with the gentle approach (me!) and others that have flat out told family to stop buying and returned things.
      Continue to steer well meaning generous fold in the right direction. Ask that gifts, big and small, be limited to birthdays and Christmas (if you celebrate) and let people know experience gifts – passes to museums, etc – or contributions to college funds, would be greatly appreciated.

    • My mother-in-law sends my son a $5 or $10 note every couple of months. Of course, he wants to go out and spend it straight away! I’ve tried using it as a way to teach him about money, but he’s too young to really understand. Last week she sent him $10 again, but also sent $10 for his younger brother (who is 3 months old! What is he going to do with $10!). I put the baby’s money in his money tin (also present from Grandma), and my older son did the same. I think he’s forgotten that he even had money to spend. But, more than that, I don’t think there is anything he wants to buy. He has every Bob the Builder machine, and that is his favourite set of toys, so he doesn’t play with much more than that.
      We’ve tried telling MIL not to send money – just a letter will do! But, she still hasn’t listened. DS1 has probably been given close to $300 in total; he’s only 4.

  • I’m really enjoying your blog — we’ve been inspired, and while it’s small steps here (with a 4 yr old, a 2 yr old, and me working part time from home), we managed to wrestle six bags of stuff to the Sally Anne over the past week. We were shocked!

    • Nice work on the six bags to the Sally Anne. It is shocking when you start getting rid of things and realize just how much you had. Congrats and good luck with the rest. I agree with the small steps. This week my small step was listing a few things on eBay and doing a few hours work on old photo albums.

  • Henry looks so cute in that sweater vest! These posts have been an inspiration for me too – while I’ve been pretty good in my own closet, my kids closet was overflowing. Last night I put together a couple of bags of clothing last night for donation – so great to see empty hangers in the closet!

    I used to have a ton of skirts in my closet too, but last summer I got rid of all of them and decided that skirts don’t really look that great on me so I’m just going to stick with dresses instead. That was pretty liberating. :) Now I have one awesome little black dress that fits most formal occasions and a couple of casual dresses to wear in the summertime. And one of my biggest rules when it comes to shopping is that if it needs to be repaired or altered, it’s not meant for me.

    ps. I say if the tea jacket makes you feel great when you wear it and it is a versatile piece (can be worn with jeans or on more dressy occasions), then by all means keep it. I do still have a few things in my closet that get worn infrequently, but they are still useful to have – my dressy lbd gets worn only once or twice a year, but I’m not letting it go!

    • Great thing about dresses are they they get it done – no mixing and matching required. I have very few things stocked away for summer so I’ll be do a summer/spring wardrobe review in a few months. But not today – finding this cold a bit unpleasant but loving no rain.
      My LBD is same as yours, not worn that often but great to have for those occasions.

  • I’m only 4’9″ so I understand your struggle with quality clothing and even finding it to begin with. I am also 2 years post baby and have recently had to admit that some of my pants are just never going to fit again, which leads to part of my closet struggle.
    I’m struggling with paring down my closet. My weekend/casual clothes are almost there. It’s my work wardrobe that is haunting me. I work full-time outside of the home and my job often requires that I dress up — dresses, pants with jackets, even the occasional true professional suit. I need enough outfits to mix and match, and with having to get rid of some because of my post-baby body, I need to find some replacement pieces –mostly pants and skirts, the jackets I can keep. 33 items is just too few for me and trying to put a number on what I do need is proving to be a struggle for me.
    I am definately starting to limit my son’s wardrobe and toys. I was very glad that family listened to me for his recent birthday in that I would rather have clothes to replace what he is outgrowing rather than toys!

    • The not working outside the home deal is helpful for a small wardrobe. I still think it’s possible to pare down, maybe not to 33, if you are working in a formal office. Don’t focus on a number. Instead just keep what you wear often and feel good in.
      Feel your pain at being an unusual size. Though I always say, at least if you are petite you can buy big and then get things tailored =)

  • I’ve found since my Daughter started school that she needs very little ‘play’ and ‘party’ clothes. The more clothes in the wardrobe the more she and her friends play dressing up in and it gets strewn all over the house. Also my Daughter will get changed 3 times in a day if she has variety. My wardrobe is almost bare, really need make a start on Leah’s! Also she has a flowergirl dress that really needs disposing off… Why am I hanging onto it? – we have the photos!

  • Hi Rachel–meant to comment on the previous post, and then time got away from me, as it often does….

    I’ve whittled down to 3 pairs of jeans, one regular, one skinny, and one “dress” black pair. No trousers or anything. I have one black dress, no skirts. We don’t do dressy occasions anymore and the black jeans are just fine for “cleaning up nice.” I’m in a body transition of a different kind, going into late middle age/menopause, and all the boyish styles which used to look great on me now just look dreary and mannish and are even uncomfortable. I’m actually thinking about changing from jeans to skirts, and from buttoned shirts to jersey knit tops. But I have a feeling that I’ll still feel dumpy :p

    • –and before I forget, that pic of Henry reminds me of an almost identical one of my son at that age in a striped sweater vest over a shirt and bowtie. They are so cute, those little baby boys :)

      • Thanks – we do adore him. Cried a lot in the infant stage but is now delightful and laughs at the drop of a hat. I always assumed I would have a girl (I have four sisters) but now I couldn’t imagine it.
        Bowtie: sigh. Love that. Maybe for next year… and I would have to get a lot of use out of it.

    • Interesting how we change over time. I’ve already noticed a few body changes, teen –>20’s–>30’s and now pre-baby, post-baby. Oh, and full-time athlete –> regular Jo. Fun how our bodies keep changing. Inevitable and yet still so surprising.

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