Project 333: 2 pairs of jeans

A friend emailed me last week that she has gone minimalish (love this word!) and is working on her wardrobe. It was a heavy dose of inspiration from moi and Katy that sent her on a closet purge. This friend won’t be living with 100 things, or a 1000, but she likes the concept of less stuff and more time. I love that she is so open minded to embrace some change.

Said friend just took a load of items to consignment. Among her cast offs were 8 pairs of jeans and that left her with 12 pairs in her closet. No judging! This is what I love about getting minimalish. Take things to the level that you are comfortable with. For some that is 12 pairs of jeans, for me that’s just two pairs. And right now, for young Henry, that’s just one pair of jeans.

Henry and his one pair of jeans have taught me a few things in my relatively brief tenure in motherhood.

1. If you can spot clean it, it can be worn again.

2. Size adjustable toddler clothing is worth the higher price tag.

Henry’s adjustable chords in 2-6 month size were worn for 10 months and they still look great. I favor H&M for jeans and pants with pull through elastic and buttons (GAP has them too but I find they are of the same quality as the H&M versions but cost more). We have less clothing but it last longer. The adjustable items are also very well made with real pockets and the pants are made from a four panel pattern instead two.

Here’s a run down of what we’re wearing through winter.

Rachel’s Jeans, Sweaters, etc

  • bootcut blue jeans: Mavi brand Molly style.
  • black skinny jeans: from Banana Republic. Require a lot of spot cleaning at knee/toddler height.
  • striped open neck sweater: I had to check the designers website to see if I was wearing this sweater correctly. Fashion maven I am not.
  • purple sweater: gift from my mother-in-law at Christmas. It’s long enough to wear with tights as a tunic if I am feeling leg confident.
  • short sleeve sweater: like the sweetheart neckline of this sweater.
  • cream cardigan: this was a post-baby purchase and I’d like to replace it.
  • purple long cardigan: has finally stopped shedding!
  • three t-shirts and a tank: v-neck black tee, long sleeve black tee, gray tee and a black tank that I wear as basics or layers.
  • black flower shirt: Banana Republic flower shirt. Yes, I wear a lot of black. Need to work on getting into colours more.

Henry’s Jeans, Sweaters, etc

  • overalls: lined for warmth.
  • adjustable jeans: I’m a bit shy about skinny jeans for myself but not for Henry.
  • houndstooth pants: adjustable waist on these as well.
  • Deux-par-deux pants: almost out of these but they are very nice quality. Henry wears cloth diapers that put him up a size or two in bottoms from the extra bulk. I’m holding onto a lot of bottoms just in case he potty trains early and can wear them again next winter.
  • red sweater: love this on him. Ralph Lauren from my mother-in-law.
  • blue ski sweater: Hanna Andersson brand and will hopefully be wearable next winter as well.
  • hockey sweater: another gift, adorable!
  • six tees and long sleeves: mix and match of brands and lengths used for layering.
  • two Halo onesies: these are dri-fit for when Henry goes to Crossfit. Kidding!

Next week: accessories and dress clothes.

The complete list of our wardrobes is here. Note: we both have less than 33 things. I’m working on a list of things I’d like to add which I’ll list when I wrap things up.

So tell me, how many pairs of jeans do you own? And how many of them do you wear regularly?

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  • 2 pairs for me, Both skinny jeans, I wash and wear, wash and wear, wash and wear….you get the picture. Then they go into holes and I buy a new pair and start the cycle all over again. They do for everyday, going out and today I even wore them for work (non-paid voluntary work)! What would we do without denim? 😉

  • I have two pairs, both boot-cut. I also live in my GAP cords. But I’m thinking of making a switch to jeans with a higher rise (getting older…), in which case I’d pass on my well-worn lower-rise (aforementioned boot-cut) indigos.

  • 3 pairs of jeans……
    + 2 pairs with ripped out knees for gardening/painting/dirty work
    (my ‘overstock’ is mostly the ripped, worn, work-out, stinky, paint smeared, stained stuff- still good for some purpose?…. can’t seem to rid myself of it. )

  • I have two pair of jeans, but only one pair actually fits – boo. I am working towards losing a few pounds, so am hoping they will fit in a month or two. I tend to wear leggings with longer tops (leggings work better with my rain boots :) ), but I wear my jeans once or twice a week. I wear tons of black too, because I find I don’t get sick of it as quickly as when I buy colours – when I do buy colours, I tend to stick to jewel tones. My mom tells me black is minimalist colour – it goes with everything and can look good on most everyone. :)

      • Last year I splurged and bought American Apparel leggings and after a few months they got all sad and faded – so this winter, I tried the black leggings from Costco in the ‘hood and love them! They are a little thicker than the AA ones, and they don’t fade and they are holding up great. And at $12.99 for a pack of two, you can’t really go wrong.

      • Just edited my thin black leggings with a black jegging. Thicker, comfy and I don’t feel overexposed. love it

        • Tried some jeggings on a while back – eek! Post baby body at the time was not comfortable in them. I’ve got six months of Crossfit under my belt now so maybe it is time to try again.

      • Rachel, I got some amazing black leggings at Zara before P333 this winter…they’re thick and don’t fade or stretch out or rip at the seams (did you hear that, American Apparel?).
        I did the Big Jeans Cull in fall 2010: 8 pairs out, 3 pairs kept (black, dark blue, medium blue) – and I love all of them. (Not counting the house-painting/gardening pair.) I must say, I feel like 5 or 6 pairs of pants (jeans plus all others) is the perfect amount.

        • You and Erin both have no love for American Apparel leggings. Good to know. I haven’t been a fan of AA for a few years. I like that they are North American made but their stuff doesn’t wash well. They also don’t carry larger sizes in leggings and tights (I’m a 14 and 6ft tall).

  • I have 4 pair, 2 Old Navy pair for work (i’m a geologist) and 2 pair of Levi’s for nice/general/other wear. wash and wear until they drop is a common theme for me =)

  • I have one pair of jeans! And they are not pretty, frayed at the bottom and stuff. I will be replacing them by the end of the summer, after starting my running program and hopefully losing a few pounds. I have always been minimalish with my wardrobe and especially my 2 year old’s clothes as well. She has 2 pairs of socks, a pair of sneakers, a pair of boots or sandals for the season, 5 pairs of Hanna leggings that are indestructable, 5 Hanna or Lands End tops, and one pair of jeans! So simple, easy, and comfortable for her! I don’t get why people fill their daughter’s closet with tons of overpriced dresses, etc.

    • If I had a girl it would be leggings too.
      I know it is made in China but that Hanna stuff is great quality. They don’t sell it in Canada. Probably a good thing or I would be tempted to buy more of it.

  • 3 pairs. 1 for messy chores, cleaning etc, 1 pair that fits well with heels, and 1 pair that fits well with flats. Although, right now, none fit because I’m preggers so I’m living in my 1 pair of maternity jeans… can’t wait to get back to my real clothes!

    • So neat to read that others get by with just a few pairs of jeans. Flats vs. heels jeans: I’ve heard that you can buy little pegs to transform your jeans for this exact purpose. Must look into that.
      I had to buy an in-between pair of jeans post baby. Ate a few too many cookies while pregnant so had to get rid of my baby butt and thighs before I could get back into my old wardrobe.

  • Minimalish – luv it!

    I have two pair of jeans, and I don’t really wear anything else except my yoga pants. It’s amazing in the winter how long you can go without washing… this changes for the shorts of summer though!

  • 2 pairs that I wear (one skinny, one straight) and 1 pair that is for fancy dress up.
    I just threw 3 pairs away that I had wore holes through.

    • Fancy dress up jeans – nice! I have a little black dress for going out but, really, I am most comfortable in jeans. Still debating on a third pair, probably a skinny blue jean. Will think about it again in spring.

      • fancy dress up jeans are the best – I can wear them with boots / heels and a sexy top, and aside from going to a wedding (which never really happens) they are good enough for all fancy events that I go to!

  • I’m going to claim minimalish with my 4 pairs of jeans. I have two nice pairs and two older pairs. The older pairs will eventually get donated or tossed, and I might pick up another nice pair. I think I could do quite well with three pairs.

    • Like that we have a man weighing in here. I remember when I told me brother that I had 9 pairs of jeans (this was long ago) and he couldn’t believe I needed/wore that many. He was right!

  • I have 2 pairs, one blue and one black. I hate shopping for jeans… but they are handy and sturdy. I can’t seem to ever find ones that fit well. :(

    If I could find well fitting black jeans, I think it would be my only pair!

  • I used to own like 50 pairs of jeans…pairs that dated like 10 years ago! When I started going Minimalish I gave a ton of them away. I think I may own about 15 now…but on the cusp of moving (and downsizing living space) I am going to go through them one more time…not sure if I will end up with only 2 pairs but I will decrease for sure. Loving minimalism!!

      • Sadly no I didn’t! And yes really 50! I had jeans in there from when I was 16 no joke…and I am 32 now! I totally love your blog…we began embracing the minimalist lifestyle a few months ago and tumbling on your blog was a blessing. We get flak from people all the time who just don’t get it!

        Lemme tell you it sure does make like easier to live…on so many fronts! My next challenge is your 33 one! YIKES…that is a big one for me but I think I can do it!

    • Once a week for me. I do a lot of spot cleaning because my son tends to wipe his face on my knees (yeah, gross!). My black jeans are fading a bit quick because of this. I’ve heard of people that NEVER wash jeans. There is actually a brand, can’t remember the name, that recommends this. Washing is hard on your clothes.
      Beyond my workout clothes and underwear, I try to wash things as little as possible.

  • 3 pairs! I’m a barista so I keep one not so nice pair to get coffee stains on during the day, and 2 that I keep to wear on my own time.

  • I currently own one pair. I also long ago got into the habit of wearing them for a couple of weeks between washing. To some people that sounds kind of gross, but I don’t see the point in washing them if they’re not dirty. I also wear non-jeans things like skirts frequently.

  • Here’s one for you – after a little research I have established an approximate resale value of a pair of jeans in a charity shop (goodwill store?) in the UK. If everyone were to donate all their jeans and kept just two pairs think of how much could be donated to charity at an average £5 per pair? Donate your Denim!

  • Another two pairs of jeans girl weighing in. I suppose if you want to get technical, there IS one more pair of jeans that has wandered back from the Goodwill pile a couple times when I wasn’t up on the laundry…but I discovered yesterday that there is now a nice quarter sized hole in the butt…so they are gone for good now!!

    Both pairs are used jeans. One pair of not-stretch American Eagle jeans from several years back (a consignment shop find)…that has to air-dry or I’d never fit into them again!! One pair of some random brand (Paris Blues, I think?) that I got at Goodwill but fits decently. I am hoping that once a few more urgent things get replaced in my wardrobe to find replacements with a higher rise though!!

  • I have several pairs…all that I wear and love…got at a rummage sale…and have worn for at least the last 5 years…some longer. Most of them are getting to their last leg (I was leading youth group last week and the crotched ripped…ruh-roh!) After reading this I won’t worry so much about replacing them all.

    I recently packed up most of our house as we were set to close on the sale of it on March 1…it is now April 28 and we haven’t moved (the sale fell through as the gal ‘changed her mind’)…having about 1/2 of our stuff in storage has been SO freeing…and has opened my eyes to the idea that we really CAN live with less and how much EASIER life is when we do. Thanks for a GREAT blog that encourages and shows a real-life example of how to do it.

    One question…do you have summer clothes? Is that a different list? I assume that the spreadsheet is for your cold weather clothes only? Do you pack up your summer clothes and put them away for the future? Just curious….


    • My summer clothes, about 10 pieces, are packed away for the summer. I had to get rid of a lot during the great purge. My wardrobe was a lot of stretched out and beat up tank tops for nursing. And the post-baby pants that I wore to death until they were too big.

      We had a storage locker in our old home and I always forgot what we kept there. We, of course, brought all of it along with us when we moved. And then got rid of it during the great purge.

      Good on you with the jeans. I’ve just added a pair of chords to my wardrobe so that takes me up to three pairs of pants/jeans.

  • Just stumbles across your blog and love it! It is also my first blog. I am loving it so much I am going to have to source a few others.

    I have worked overseas for the last year in a location where there were no shopping faciliites (or anything else) and was pleasantly surprised how little I needed to get by. Laundry gets done twice a week and I basically live with three work tops and 2 pairs of pants, with a third thrown in if I get dirty. I only have one day of a week so the dress casual clothes requirement is almost non existant. My continue problem is with workout clothes, I work out everyday and just can’t put the same sweatstained clothes back on.

    I have two pair or jeans, I functioned perfectly fine with one but inherited a nice pair of Levis from a lady that was leaving.

    I was wondering if I would be able to carry the minimalist wardrobe off when I get back to civilization and your blog has inspired me that I can. It is so easy to fall into bad habits, everytime I am out on vacation I add a few more peices to my wardrobe until I now have a closet full of clothes and shoes that will be donated to the local girls orphanage before I leave.

    My next job is moving me out of the trenches into a more corporate managerial role and I am curious if it is worth going to a wardrobe specialist to minimize my purchases.

    • Hi Tanya,

      So neat to here from someone living with a small wardrobe and making it work.

      Workout clothes: I understand. I’ve struggled to pair down in that department too. To be honest, I let my dri fit items air out and wear them twice. And I recently got rid of a lot of my older spandex/dri-fit (like 10+ years old from when I was an athlete and worked out 3 x day) and invested in some new things that do not have the lingering odour of hundreds of workouts. :)

      Wardrobe specialist: this is on my list to do some day. An acquaintance invested in a stylist to help her cut her wardrobe and buy new pieces that worked together. She said it was well worth the money. All of her clothing worked together and the actual shopping experience was pleasant because the stylist had set aside pieces ahead of time. I’ve made so many bad purchases, ill fitting, not suited to anything I normally wear, that I think investing in services from a stylist can be worth it.

  • 4 pairs here, all from Gap. I’m a hair under 5’10 and leggy, so I feel the pain of finding pants long enough.
    2 pairs Gap 12L-these are long enough to wear with flats on weekends. Get washed when spilled on or when they start to get a little ripe.
    2 pairs Gap 12 XTall trouser jeans for work. I can wear these with heels or cuffed with dressy flats. Get washed once a week.

    I too am a 12/ small 14 on bottom, 14/16 on top. I wish we knew each other so we could share clothes! I don’t think we have the same coloring, though. :(

    For tall girls with big feet, check out the blog. There’s resources for tall ladies and shoes size 10 and up.

  • Hi Rachel.

    Congrats with your new baby! Hope you are having a lovely time with everything and just enjoying the soringtime.
    I am looking for inspiration on the Project 333. What about you? Update on this one;-)?
    Thanks for great inspiration on your blog.
    From Dorte in Denmark.

    • Hi Dorte, Wardrobe update coming in a few months. I am just getting my mojo back from being in maternity and postpartum clothing. Have plans to build my ultimate capsule wardrobe and I will certainly write about the process. Cheers, Rachel

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