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Welcome to The Feminist Vegan, where I write about intersectional feminism, veganism, and everything in between.

Project 333: Adventures in Minimalism

Project 333: Adventures in Minimalism

I have long been a wardrobe minimalist. As a very young child, my anxiety around cleanliness prompted me to change clothes several times a day, but I quickly abandoned that practice for my favorite purple and green striped t-shirt. For most of my childhood years, I wore ten or so clothing items to literal threads. Aside from the aforementioned t-shirt, my favorites included velour leggings and faux angora sweaters. I looked like a chaise lounge with pigtails, but I loved the softness of the fabrics, especially when they wore thin. What can I say - even now, I'm extremely picky about textures, and nothing will send my running out of a dressing room faster than an itchy sweater.

When I discovered the online minimalist community in college, Courtney Carver's blog Be More with Less quickly skyrocketed to the top of my daily reading list. Courtney is known for many things, but her most famous work is the innovative Project 333. The rules are simple: wear only 33 items for 3 months, then switch them up according to each 3-month season. That's 33 items including accessories and jewelry. Bold, I know. So bold, in fact, that even I was intimidated at the thought of participating. I hung back on the Project 333 sidelines for years, reading the blog obsessively but never taking the plunge myself. As I said, I've never had much clothing, so it wasn't as big a leap for me as it would be for others. And yet, I found myself fearing the challenge. More specifically, fearing that I would fail at the challenge. So, in an effort to face my fears - in a safe and fun way, no less! - I finally whipped my closet into Project 333 shape. You'll notice that there aren't really any warm pieces of clothing, since it's hot and humid during DC summers, but I don't imagine this will change too much as I transition into autumn. Add a scarf, subtract a tank top or two, and voila: a fall wardrobe. Realistically, I'll probably do a mini fall wardrobe and then a final cull of items before I go traveling, but that's a post for another day. Here are my 33 items:

  1. Gray maxi skirt*
  2. Black skater skirt
  3. Gray knit skirt*
  4. Olive jogger pants*
  5. Navy cotton dress*
  6. Blue v-neck t-shirt*
  7. Navy v-neck t-shirt*
  8. Black v-neck t-shirt*
  9. Heather crew-neck t-shirt*
  10. Aqua t-shirt*
  11. Sleeveless blouse
  12. Gray camisole
  13. Black monkey-print tank*
  14. "Veganism is Magic" shirt
  15. "Animal Liberation" shirt
  16. "Dismantle White Feminism" shirt
  17. "I went vegan before Miley" crop top
  18. Iggy Pop tour t-shirt
  19. Mom's jean jacket*
  20. "Cats Against Catcalling" sweatshirt
  21. Rain jacket
  22. Moon and star earrings
  23. Carrot earrings
  24. Seaglass studs
  25. Bracelet from Burkina Faso 
  26. Rings
  27. Sunglasses
  28. Purse*
  29. Matt + Nat flats
  30. Toms* 
  31. ???
  32. ???
  33. ???

Look at me go - that's not even 33 items! Reviewing the list, I see some clear patterns, namely that I love v-neck shirts (they show off my graceful neck) and graphic tees (for obvious feminist and vegan reasons). I wear or use every item on at least a weekly basis, with the exception of weather-dependent pieces like my rain jacket. I love each and every one of them. How great is it to only ever wear your favorite clothes? What I love even more, however, is how easy getting dressed is in the morning. I don't tend to wear many bright colors, so almost everything goes together no matter the combination. I could use a pop of color or two, perhaps, but to be honest I just don't care enough to spend the time, energy, and money to add anything new to my closet. I think the only item I really miss is a pair of sandals; my Sanuks wore out and I'm waiting to find the perfect pair to take traveling. 

The starred items are all secondhand from a clothing swap, thrift store, or hand-me-down gift. Thirteen out of my thirty pieces are secondhand, which is almost fifty percent! I'm pretty proud of that ratio. I truly believe that secondhand is the way of the future; we can make all the ethical fashion we like, but it will always use more resources and produce more waste than the items that already exist. I highly recommend watching the documentary The True Cost and the videos from YouTuber Kristen Leo for more information on why fast fashion is terrible, as well as how you can build your wardrobe with ethical alternatives.

Honestly, I am absolutely loving my Project 333 experiment so far. I don't feel lacking in any way, and the streamlined simplicity of my closet has only done good things for my morning routine and my mental clarity. It turns out that even a wardrobe minimalist can benefit from simplifying! If you're not ready to simplify yet, though, check out my favorite ethical brands: BEETxBEET, Vaute Couture, Viva La Riva, Green Box Shop, and Philadelphia Printworks. You will be tempted to shop - don't say I didn't warn you!

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Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

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