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Challenge Accepted: Look At Your Wardrobe From A Different Perspective

Have you ever considered how much of an emotional impact our wardrobes have on us? All these items hanging in our wardrobes are destined for all sorts of occasions: customized sweatshirts reminding us of happy moments, beach clothes waiting for the summer season to come, special occasion items kept for the most promising events of our lives. There are also “items-burdens” that take up space for years waiting for their turn to come which never do as they get replaced by new clothes that promise a fresh start and a new chapter to move on from anything that hurt us in the past.

Nowadays, we rarely go shopping when in need of a specific item. Instead, our mindsets towards fashion and style have switched to a new level: we consider shopping as a form of stress relief, creating new memories, pleasing, and treating ourselves. That tendency has reached such a high level that in society, we consider it normal, referring to it as “retail therapy” (shopping with the primary purpose of improving buyers' mood or disposition) or “impulse-buying behavior".

In these moments one can barely think about sustainability, fast fashion issues, or the fact that such actions only lead to over-complicating our lives. While looking for a quick fix, we tend to create only more instability. Stress at a new job can't be fixed by purchasing a new blazer as well as the hard work for a thesis deadline won’t be softened with a purchase of a new bag. It’s a quick fix, it won’t last.

I love fashion with all my heart, and it affects most parts of my life – from daily conversations with friends to my career, while looking at it from customers' and marketers' perspectives. In addition, I faced stress and uncertainty with the way I dress and the clothes I choose to wear for a long time. That issue made me realize I needed to start looking at my wardrobe from a different perspective – that’s when I found the book titled “Project 333” that changed my life and my dressing attitude forever.

So, what’s project 333?

Project 333 is a fashion challenge where, for 3 months, you choose to wear only 33 items - these include clothing, accessories, jewelry, and shoes. In other words, it’s a challenge for cleansing your wardrobe and your life! It was brought to life by a talented author and blogger, Courtney Carver, who invented it for multiple purposes such as saving time, money and building up self-confidence.

However, Project 333 isn’t directly connected to fashion or style. It’s dedicated to realizing how much easier life can be with a changed mindset from desiring more clothes to letting go of burdens and embracing a new, lighter life. “Less is so much more” - this message is spread throughout the whole book and I find its meaning very touching. Like the jeans you could fit in if you’d start going to the gym, gifts that don’t match our taste, and clothes that bring up old memories. Keeping half of your wardrobe unworn and feeling guilty about not wearing it. Holding onto clothes because of sentimental value. All that is holding us back from the people we want to be.

The beauty of the challenge is that you are able to wear your favorite clothes and there is no necessity to change your style. Some people created their capsules existing entirely out of black items. It also is certainly not a competition and there are no winners, there's just the opportunity of obtaining a new way of looking at fashion.

Why take on this challenge?

- To reduce physical and emotional clutter that comes with your wardrobe

- Have my life transformed by adjusting my perception of the wardrobe

- Uncover a major source of stress in my life

- Become more sustainable and contribute to helping the planet from your side (The world consumes 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year)

- Get rid of unnecessary burdens that have weighed you down for in the past and distracted you from what really matters

My experience

I discovered this challenge last summer and tried being part of it right away, counting on the fact that clothing-wise it’s going to be easier than during winter. However, I miscalculated that summer was also a season of traveling, which along with the beauty of new emotions entails wardrobe changes. Here’s what happened in my case: Each of the 3 months I spent in a different country with opposite weather conditions, ranging from 15 degrees and rain to the hottest temperatures. However, every season brings its challenges.

All in all, I kept the challenge alive for 44 days and completely gave up while having to face the rainiest month of my life in the Netherlands. Nonetheless, I did not stop after the failure and went on to plan my future autumn capsule. That challenge has eventually grown into a habit that simplifies my life as a self-care routine.

What has Project 333 changed in me?

I could talk forever about the new vision I got of what I wear however, these are the most significant changes I noticed:

  • A relief from running late every morning after trying on several outfits

  • Release from the feeling that I didn’t have enough or wasn’t enough

  • A transformation, not only of the inside of the closet but also the way i view my clothes and shopping habits

  • My wardrobe now reflects my style and my sustainable values, and the habit of buying less gives me the opportunity to invest more in responsible brands

My favorite part is that while being connected to fashion, the base of the challenge can be applied to any other area of our lives. “We all must start somewhere” – no matter what the challenge or the goal is, take a step forward, and it will get easier. Or the fact that cleaning up the space around you and in your mind is the first step for better results.

Some more wisdom from the book:

- There will never be an item of clothing that will make people see you as someone who you’re not

- Shopping won’t fix any problems

- Having an emotional relationship with clothing doesn’t lead to any good

- There’s an Instagram account of Project 333 where you can always find support and get inspired by the beauty and impact of that idea:

I started writing this article as a book review which made me realize how much power something that simple can have over us, like getting dressed one or multiple times a day. How many other areas in life could have the same impact on our daily routine and keep us away from our dreams, better results, and our true selves?

The experience and the insights I gained from this fashion challenge make me hold my breath in anticipation of more projects like this one that could change millions of lives of those ready to take risks and dive right into it.

By Anastasia Iarovaia


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