Saturday, 31 May 2014

Project 333: The Final Cut

So, who knew choosing 33 items for your wardrobe would be such an epic task?!

I've definitely learnt a couple of things doing this:

1) Unsurprisingly, I have too many clothes.
2) I sometimes often buy things because they are a bargain, not because I will wear them, or they suit me, or they go with anything I own.
3) I like cardigans. A lot.
4) Despite emphatically telling my DH I am not a "shoe person" I own too many pairs of shoes.
5) I don't like to wear shoes that are uncomfortable, regardless of how well they match my outfit or how good they look.
6) Sometime you have to accept the fact that some things just don't suit you. I really want  a pair of chinos. I tried about 8 different pairs on yesterday and every pair made me look like I had massive saddle bags. I have one pair of "slim fit" ones I've seen left to try and if they don't fit I am giving them up as a lost cause.

Without further ado, here's the 33 items that made the final cut:

Starting at the top (left to right):

1) Grey tailored trousers
2) Navy side fasten wide leg trousers
3) Slim fit chinos/beige jeans
4) Ruby Jeggings
5) Navy Jeggings
6) Black spotted Scuba Pencil Skirt
7) Black and White Maxi Skirt
8) Pale wash boot cut jeans
9) Dark wash straight leg jeans
10) Black and White faux wrap dress
11) Black Floral summer dress
12) Ivory Bird Print Blouse
13) White and Grey Oriental Print Blouse
14) Blue/Pink Small Print Floral Blouse
15) Blue/Pink Large Print Floral Tunic Top
16) White Fitted Shirt
17) Long Line Navy V-neck cardigan
18) Black Crew neck cardigan
19) Pink Shrug Cardigan
20) Black Jersey Cardigan
21) Navy Long Line Jersey Cardigan
22) Grey Lacy knit Jumper
23) Grey striped 3/4 sleeve T Shirt
24) Navy Striped 50s style T Shirt
25) Plain Black Short sleeved Tee
26) Plain White Short Sleeved Tee
27) Plain Black Vest
28) Plain White Vest
29) Grey Blazer
30) Black Riding Boots* 
31) Black Chelsea Boots
32) Black Ballet Pumps
33) Black Mary Janes

*May swap these out for Black sandals if the weather ever improves!

I have done a little bit of "rule tweaking" to make me a bit more comfortable with the whole process. I have a couple of items on the side lines to swap out if the weather improves. If you've ever wondered why British people talk so much about the weather its because the weather here is messed up. Big time. We can literally go from glorious sunshine (colloquially known as "cracking the flags") in the morning, to torrential rain or even hailstone by the afternoon (colloquially known as "pissing it down"). This can be the same be it summer or winter. There is no rhyme or reason to the UK weather. I've allowed a little wriggle room to accommodate this but mostly I'm going to tackle it with layers.

There are several things which aren't supposed to be included in your 33 items. These include underwear, sleepwear, gym wear (which you only wear to work out), loungewear (if you have stuff you only wear at home), jewelry with sentimental value which you wear all the time. This is mine:

My watch, which is painfully utilitarian but has a clear face, good leather strap, date window, and glows in the dark if need be. My wedding ring, white gold sleeper earrings and a stud (I have one ear pierced twice) and a necklace that belonged to my mum.

I've included a couple of things in this like my running shoes (which I will only wear for working out or walking to dog if its warm), my dog walking boots (literally only wear these for dog walking, they are covered in mud and have a chunk missing out of the leather on the toe!), a big sloppy jumper for when I'm chilly in the house. I've also included a couple of stretch camisoles which I tend to wear as underwear and a pair of black leggings which I wear in lieu of tights (so I'm counting that as hosiery ;)).

I haven't counted outwear in this but I usually only wear a large chucky cardie in lieu of a coat or a rain coat (again for dog walking). 

I have one handbag most of the time so I haven't counted that.

I do have quite a big collection of scarves and costume jewelry which I like to wear sometimes to add some colour. I haven't counted this but have whittled it down to two scarves and a small selection of jewelry.

Who knows if I will even wear all the items or if I'll be bemoaning the loss of the rest of my wardrobe. Could go either way at this point. I am looking forward to getting started though (officially Monday will be the first day but I have kind of made a start). If nothing else is though at least my laundry chores should be less. I reckon with some judicious use of a colour-catcher sheet I would wash my entire wardrobe in 3 loads!

I am going to try to upload some daily outfit pictures but can't guarantee how well that will go. Hopefully it will encourage more blogging and some reflections on the process. I need to shift a pile of toys from in front of the full length mirror and give it a good clean though! Yikes.


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Turning 38, and a New Project.

So, today I'm an turning the ripe old age of thirty-eight*. Wow.

*FYI - if you google image the number 38 you mostly get pictures of guns. Freaky, and a sad  commentary on our times.

I've had a couple of people enquire about what I'm doing for the big day. The answer? Not much to be fair. I don't generally go in for big birthday celebrations. We'll probably go out to eat as a family later so I don't have to cook, but other than that I don't have any epic plans. Whatever I'm doing you can pretty much guarantee it will be better than last year when I spent my birthday camped out by the side of an ICU bed. Not fun.

For once I did manage to think of a gift that I would like for my birthday (in time for it to arrive on time). Kendo and the kids have kindly bought me one of these babies:

Which is a Bluetooth speaker so I can connect my smart phone to play music. We don't currently have a stereo so we haven't really had the option of having music at home for a while other than through the laptop which quite frankly has the world's most rubbish speakers. This means we can get some mileage out of that spotify account and continue educating the small people in some quality musical history :)

For the rest of my presents I was mostly given money to spend (which is great, and leads nicely onto the new project mentioned in the title). Gotta love a smooth segue.

Part of this whole "getting older" melarky has had me thinking about looking my age of late. Mostly what I've discovered is that I'm sick of feeling drab and scruffy most of the time. At my heart I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of a girl but when you get the point where you realise that your Mother-in-Law (I nearly say XX year old Mother-in-Law then, probably best not go there! LOL) is always dressed infinitely better than you then it's probably time to make some changes.

I do have occasional days when people will say "you look nice today". Whilst the compliment is great the underlying (and hopefully unintentional) implication is that the other 364 days a year I look like the back end of a tram smash!

I know I'm not one of these women who is going to look like I've just stepped out of Vogue (and to be fair I wouldn't want to) but I would like to look like I didn't get dressed in the dark most mornings (even those mornings when I did, actually, get dressed in the dark!).

I some recently blog-trawling expeditions I've come across this little gem quite a lot. It's called Project 333 and was started by Courtney Carver of the Be More With Less blog. Courtney began her Project 333 journey in 2010 (yes, I know, I am disgustingly, not even fashionably, late to this party but hey, I've been busy, plus people keep dying around here. Pesky deceased family members*) and has continued to live with this streamlined fashion life style since.

The basic premise behind the project is that you whittle down your wardrobe to 33 items (including shoes and accessories but not including underwear, PJs, loungewear/gardening clothes etc or gym wear). From those 33 items you should be able to make enough outfits to easily see you through a three month period (the project originally ran October through December I think). The rules and outline of the project can be found here for anyone who (Iike me) has been living under a project333 free rock for the last 4 years.

I took the advice from the blog and started with a Pinterest board about the kinds of outfits/looks that I like. Having taken a trawl through the board when I'd finished pinning a couple of things have stuck out. A lot of navy and grey. Some brown and beige. Nowhere near as much black as I was expecting! The splashes of colour are predominantly green and a little red.

I had a huge closet purge earlier in the week (leaving me with a small stash of stuff to put away that I couldn't bare to part with just yet and 3 large bags full of stuff that I either a) don't like, b) doesn't fit me or c) I haven't worn in the last year). That's left a lot of freed up space in my wardrobe, but also highlighted a couple of gaps to be filled:

1) I've been thinking about a new pair of grey work trousers for a while now, and also investigating a pair of chino/camel/beige trousers.

2) I need some new basic tees (a black and a white) as the ones I have are a bit shabby.

3) I'd really like a navy and white boat neck tee. I have my beady eye on one.

4) I need a pair of super comfy black work shoes (I've been looking at a pair of clarks ones that will fit the bill just nicely).

5) I need to get my black Chelsea boots reheeled (picking those up in a little while from the cobbler)

6) I want a pair of black ballet flats

7) My one white shirt that I own is beyond redemption. I need to source a new one. The idea utterly depresses me as I have a broad back and reasonably sized boobs so to get a shirt that fits me around the top but doesn't flap around my middle like a sail clothe is nigh on impossible!

I've also realised that realistically I am not ever likely to wear the two navy pin striped "power suits" that I have in my wardrobe. They do fit (even though they were the last pieces of clothing I bought pre-pregnancy) but I don't work in the kind of environment that warrants them any more. I might reserve the jacket from one to wear as a blazer but I doubt the suits will make the cut.

So. Plenty to think about on the start of my project 333 adventure.  I'm going shopping tomorrow or Saturday to procure the few pieces I want with my birthday pennies.  Over the weekend I'm hoping to get a polyvore set of my June -August wardrobe made up and start to put some outfits together.  I'm pretty certain I will shirk the accessory rule and not count my jewelry in my 33 pieces but I'll see how things go.

Back soon with the items that made the short list.


*please don't look aghast! If I can't laugh with gallows humour about the whole damn farce then I might as well curl up in the corner in a ball of snot tears!