An Invitation to Start Small (new season of minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 starts July 1)

Start Small with Project 333

Last week on the live webinar we discussed dressing with less and Project 333. More than 400 people registered! If you missed it, you can watch the recording here.

We talked about capsule wardrobes, traveling lightly, and living well with less. One of the most important things we covered is that there is no perfect capsule collection. You can be inspired visually on Pinterest with great examples of capsule collections or on Facebook where I share other people’s experience with Project 333, but you won’t know what a great capsule collection is for you until you create and work with one. You need time to find out what you like and don’t like about what you wearing.

After 3 months, you’ll have enough information to modify and edit your collection until you come up with something that fits your body and your lifestyle. That it the process of truly defining your personal style.

We also discussed how most people think Project 333 is crazy at first. If you are still stuck at “this is crazy,” I invite you to start small until it starts to feel less crazy. Once you have a chance to experience some of the benefits, you might think your pre-333 wardrobe was crazy.

If you’ve already started small, consider this an invitation to take the next step.

5 Ways to Start Small

1. Use the course.
I designed the dress with less course to help you ease in. It’s light with some humor, fun with music to help you purge, and informative with audio recordings and great step by step instructions to get you down to 33. You can learn more here.

2. Start in the summertime.
Why not start when you don’t need heavy boots, down jackets and hats and gloves? Summer is a great season because you naturally wear less anyway.

3. Break the rules.
If including shoes is a deal breaker for you, don’t include them. If you can’t part with your jewelry, don’t. Only count clothing and accessories, or clothing or shoes, or whatever combination makes Project 333 approachable for you.

4. Try 3 weeks.
If 3 months sounds like an eternity, try 3 weeks. If you are still feeling good about things at the end of three weeks, extend your challenge.

5. Keep it super simple.
My wardrobe is mostly black, white, and grey with a few blues and greens. The simpler the better for me. Some people worry that they will have to dress all in black to make this work and that is simply not the case. Rebecca’s wardrobe is a great example – no black at all. I like to wear black, but you don’t have to.

That said, start where you are with what you have. It’s only 3 months after all.

I address many fears and concerns in the recorded webinar, and reviewed the rules of the challenge. If I missed something, please let me know how I can help.


Minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 got some great media coverage this month …

And a little more on the Dress with Less course. In addition to 11 PDFs, you’ll get …

  • An audio message: My P333 Story
  • Recorded Q&A Webinar
  • 3 Additional Audio Recordings: Remove the Fear, One in one out, Clothes that Fit
  • 2 Awesome playlists to inspire your journey
  • Optional access to the private Facebook group for questions, connection and accountability.

Learn more about the course here.

Sign up below for inbox inspiration.

The Dress with Less Microcourse

Learn to build your own capsule wardrobe with the Dress with Less microcourse. Step by step lessons, audio & video recordings, and a private Facebook group will help you end closet chaos.


  1. says

    I’m three weeks into my first attempt at P333 and I am loving it! I’ve just been looking over the sets I’ve created in Polyvore and so far it looks like I have only worn the same thing on two occasions. Bizarre really that I seem to be wearing a much wider variety of outfits even though I’ve got less items in my wardrobe! Who knew? LOL.

    I’ll extend the set of clothes I’ve got to cover the next P333 block (missed the April start but didn’t want to put off joining in so began June 2nd). That should see me nicely to the end of summer. I’m already mulling over a few pieces that will make my Autumn/Winter wardrobe awesome. The search for the perfect little black dress may well be the death of me though!

    Having so much fun with this project. Thank you! :)


  2. Monica Mandeville says

    Thank you for commenting on the base colors! I do not wear any black (I personally feel it’s too harsh for me – if that makes any sense), and have found it difficult to find inspiration in capsule wardrobes on Pinterest/Polyvore, etc. So it’s nice to hear someone else going 333 without black! I personally chose a brown base color, and I’ve built my wardrobe around that color instead, with great success. :-)

  3. Erica says

    Positively making progress on slowly tweeking my wardrobe down to the real working pieces. Not yet at the 33 item stage, but have done a better job dividing out my “around the house” clothes (for chores and running to the store) from my “professional” clothes, which has already made life/dressing easier. I have even made a category for “vacation” (read beach!) clothes, which made packing for a recent trip take about 10 minutes!! I seem to get rid of something every day or two, and am looking better and seeing results already. Some days I wear and item and it FAILS the day, or I love it more than I remembered. Both results are positive.
    I would rather not store the “unselected” items, so I am reducing my seasonal wardrobe by attrition, and making sure to remove out of season items to another closet.
    Thanks for project 333 and how it has helped me. :)

  4. Holly says

    I’m edging closer to plunging in. I’ve always changed out between spring/summer and fall/winter and I’ve never owned a whole lot of clothes, but it seems like even though I have fewer than ever, I still have things that I don’t wear! I think I’m going to adjust the defined 3-month periods to better fit how the seasons fall where I live: Dec-Feb = winter; Mar-May = spring; June-Aug = summer; Sept-Nov = fall, although in actuality there is about 2 months of winter, 1.5 months of intermediate on either side of that, and 7 months of summer!!

  5. Barbara says

    This website and Courtney has been a great inspiration to me and I am grateful for the direction and support. I have dramatically reduced my wardrobe and like others have noted, find it easier to get dressed. I recently went on vacation with the smallest suitcase I’ve ever traveled with but realize I still packed too much. I have a lot of commitments right now but I intend to streamline my wardrobe and accessories even further soon. I also purged make-up and toiletries to a bare minimum. It is a strange, counterintuitive thing but I FEEL better with fewer things. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  6. Gina says

    I am starting July 1st, and I posted my wardrobe on my blog and on my YouTube channel.

  7. says

    Absolutely endorse everything Courtney said. I did my first project 333 last summer and thought I would never survive a north of England /north of Scotland winter with only 33 items. But (a) 33 isn’t the the deal breaker. I decided not to include shoes, as it happened I wore pretty much the same shoes all summer and the same (different) shoes all winter. I llive in the back of beyond and mud is an everyday fact. But it still worked. (b) I thought I would need lots of jumpers and coats. I discovered I hate jumpers and coats. Even in three feet of snow I only wore one coat all winter. I prefer to layer up so the same clothes I wore in the summer were good for winter, I just wore more of them. And finally if you have 44 or 55 items SO WHAT. It’s heck of a lot better than 444 or 555 :)

  8. ladyloafer says

    This is my ‘second season’ of Project 333. Last time I had 40 something items – and I’m not including outerwear, shoes, accessories or work clothes! I sorted through everything I think I might want or need, and then counted them up; 34.

    So I’m getting better at it! The nice thing is I seem to wear more variety after a sort out, whereas despite cupboards of stuff, I usually just wear the same old things day in day out. So now i have t-shirts I’d forgotten about, that cardigan I couldn’t find because it was right at the bottom of the drawer, a long lost bra and a fabulous skirt I’d stopped wearing because it was too big (but I loved it) which I’ve, erm, ‘grown into’.

    Doing Project 333 really does make you stop and think about what you wear, when and why. And its fun!

  9. Anna says

    This will seem backwards to all you’ve advocated, but I have found that putting out ALL my clothes has curbed my shopping and wardrobe better than the “pack it away, out of sight” method. I tried the minimalist wardrobe /spare closet and it didn’t work with my psychology. Sure, I purged by clearing the extraneous, shabby, poor fit or style items, but the half full closet suggested room for something new. Conversely, the vision of a full clothes rod has stopped me from bringing home that new shirt or dress many times. The image of “no spare hangar or rod space” reminds me to duly consider before I indulge, or shopping at all. My closet is not so full I can’t see individual items, I am readily reminded that I do indeed have a navy sweater when I feel I need a navy sweater, instead of trotting out to score (another) one. I have gotten more creative with my dressing combos also, seeing all my options. Fell swoop change doesn’t work for me, the ‘eat an elephant one bite at a time’ does. As my wardrobe slowly grew, so shall it slowly pare.
    As you have said, each person needs to discover their own method.