How & Why You Should Curate a 33-Item Capsule Wardrobe

Sophie | Malama Life
by Sophie | Malama Life

They say that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. So then, the question follows why do we hold on to the clothes that we don't wear? On top of that, why do we keep buying even more clothes?


I don't know if there'll ever be a clear answer to these questions, but I know that there are ways that we can attempt to stop the cycle and reset our habits, with one of those ways being a 33-item capsule wardrobe.


Over the years, I've experimented with different capsule wardrobe ideas. I've gotten rid of more than half of my clothes. I tried doing a low-buy challenge. And I recently lived out of a suitcase for a couple of months. And now, I'm experimenting with a 33-item capsule wardrobe challenge for the next three months.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

What is a capsule wardrobe?

In essence, a capsule wardrobe is a curated collection of clothing and accessories that can be mixed and matched to create a variety of different outfits, allowing you to simplify your wardrobe and your life.

Project 333

Project 333

Project 333 is a minimalist fashion challenge where you dress with only 33 items for three months. The main purpose of this project is to reinforce the idea that we are so much more than our clothes and that what we have is so much more than enough.


I remember reading this book a long time ago but recently decided to reread it. And this time, it got me thinking. How many of my clothes do I actually wear? How will I feel about my closet at the end of three months? And how do you go about learning how to build a capsule wardrobe in the first place?


If you feel overwhelmed with getting dressed in the morning, constantly feel the urge to hunt for new pieces, feel unsatisfied with your purchases, or just want to reset your shopping habits, I really hope that doing this challenge with me will make you truly appreciate the clothes that you already own. So let’s get started.

How to build a capsule wardrobe

How to build a capsule wardrobe

Take everything out of your closet and lay it on your bed. You can store your non-chosen pieces and other seasonal items in a separate closet, box storage, or in a suitcase for the next three months.


It's really important to create a separation between your capsule and the rest of your clothes because we really want to feel the benefits of freeing up more space.


Since everything is out, I think it's a good idea to declutter first. The trick is not to think about it too much and just lead with your instinct. Did you wear it in the last six months? Does it still fit you? Does this piece make you feel good? Does it still align with who you are?


Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect, and you can always edit it later. I actually recommend not getting rid of pieces right away because the last thing we want to do is regret our decisions and buy similar pieces a few months later.

Writing down items for the capsule wardrobe

Now the fun part begins with choosing our 33 pieces. There are many ways of doing this, but for me, I decided to first choose my favorite pieces from three different categories: tops, bottoms, and dresses. And I tried to create multiple different outfits with them, and this instantly brought up my count to 20.


From there, I thought about my day-to-day activities. I made sure to have outfits to walk the dogs for day and night, to run my errands, and to go out on date nights.


The only thing that will be out of the norm is a trip coming up in August, so I made sure to account for that as well. But your life might be more eventful than mine. You might have to think about work outfits, meetings, friend outings, events, and even seasonal changes in the next three months.


In the book, the author Courtney Carver has her list of things that she doesn't count towards the 33 pieces, like wedding rings and loungewear. I added my own twist to these rules.


I included my activewear as a part of my 33 because, surprisingly, 33 felt like a lot. Maybe I'll regret this later. I'm expecting a pair of replacement shoes, so I'm leaving room for that.


Last but not least, I'm doing this challenge for my makeup as well. I’m not buying any new items for three months unless I need to replace something.


Do you love wearing jewelry? Make an exception for it. Is three months too long for you? Try one month. Is 33 too little? Add however many more pieces.

33-item capsule wardrobe

A 33-item capsule wardrobe

Project 333 is a catchy title, but I think it's more important not to get caught up in these arbitrary rules. I love that the author says no one is going to come and check on you. You have to do it for yourself.


So in my capsule wardrobe, I have five basic tops: one shirt, two tanks, two crop tops, and one crochet top. For bottoms, I have three shorts: linen, denim, and printed shorts that are also a swimsuit cover-up. I can't wear jeans right now because of the heat, so I chose two long linen pants.


When it does get a little bit chilly at night, I have my favorite white linen shirt that I wear over everything and a light sweater for going out. I usually wear dresses, so I chose three. The hardest thing to choose was my bags. I decided on the rattan bag for when I go filming or to the farmer’s market, my woven boho bag for everyday stuff, and my fanny pack for walking the dogs.


33-item capsule wardrobe

So what do you think? Are you in? It’s time to start your own 33-item capsule wardrobe and simplify your life. Let me know what you’re most excited about in the comments section below.

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