I had a chance to see Courtney Carver speak in Vancouver a few weeks back and wanted to share some of my take aways from the event.
First, if you haven’t heard of Courtney and her minimalist fashion project, Project 333, I’ll get you acquainted. Courtney has been writing and speaking about simplicity through her blog BeMoreWithLess.com for many years. I’ve linked to her blog posts and writing often. Her minimalist fashion challenge called Project 333 began almost seven years ago and continues to have a large and dedicated following. Below are the rules for Project 333.
- 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.
Courtney was in Vancouver speaking and I was lucky to score tickets to her second night after the first night quickly sold out (Vancouver loves her!).
Takeaways from Courtney Carver’s Tiny Wardrobe Tour
I didn’t know what I liked. This statement from Courtney really stuck with me over the evening and into the days that followed. While Courtney’s speaking engagement was under the “The Tiny Wardrobe Tour” banner, her talk gave us so much more as she delved into her personal life and journey towards simplifying.
One thing Courtney talked about was that her idea of herself was of someone that loved shopping. As she went further along in her minimalist wardrobe experiment she saw that she actually didn’t love shopping. She loved the pick me up from buying something new. She loved the temporary high of a purchase, the distraction from any worries in her life. She didn’t love shopping but she also didn’t know what she really liked. It was a slow process for Courtney to get back to things that had fed her soul as a teen: photography and hiking. Finding out what she liked, becoming curious again, was a big part of her simplifying journey.
There is no perfect capsule wardrobe. I think Courtney kind of blew a few minds with this statement. There is no item of clothing that will make you feel your wardrobe is complete. This idea of perfection, this idea that theres is something out there that we can buy that will make things perfect and complete, is what keeps us shopping and consuming. We’re never satisfied. As Courtney shared she used to buy clothes for her clothes. It was never enough. It will never be enough. You need to let go of the idea of perfection.
Make your rules for your life. There were a lot of questions about wardrobe choices and counting for people’s different lifestyle needs. Courtney kept coming back to the same answer: create rules for what works for you. If you are just starting out and you have a lot of jewellery, count it as one item. Same for if you have a strict formal dress code for work: count work clothing as one item.
I wanted to share with you that Courtney has a new book coming out in December called Soulful Simplicity. One reviewer basically called it next level Marie Kondo and after hearing Courtney speak I’m excited to read it myself (pre-ordered and coming to me end of December!). Courtney has some great extras for anyone that pre-orders that you can find here . *I’ve ordered and paid for the book with my own money – this is not a sponsored post.
Have any of you tried Project 333 or any other minimalist fashion experiments? What was your experience like? I naturally gravitate to a small wardrobe but I’m thinking of being a bit more deliberate and using the Project 333 guidelines.
Also, shout out to the lovely Minimalist Mom readers that came over for a chat after Courtney’s talk. Always fun to meet other people trying to navigate parenthood with less stuff. Stay strong on the kid’s clothes ladies (it does get easier).