Have you heard about Project 333? I’ve written about it before although I’ve never participated. The idea has always intrigued me though, and I’d been considering participating this year.
I was talking about it with Kent and it occurred to me that there’s no corresponding idea for men. I don’t think it’s that no man ever hoarded clothes or has a closet full of clothing with nothing to wear. But I do think there are a couple of reasons why this concept is primarily embraced by women.
If you think about it, we women tend to buy into the idea that we need four discrete seasons of clothing—the item change in terms of fabrics or cut and most definitely shift in terms of color. Think of how summer dresses look and feel compared to winter dresses. Or pants vs. those abominations, capris (sorry if you like them, I cannot abide them at all). Fall colors are typically warmer toned than winter colors, and likewise with spring and summer. Even if the palettes are similar, the color saturation is different (think of summer colors compared to winter colors). Summer clothing is as skimpy as can be (and then we freeze in our overly air conditioned offices) while winter sees us putting on the layers. So we buy seasonal clothing, which stuffs our closets and then we have a hard time mixing and matching what we’ve got.
I don’t see that same situation with men’s clothing. It’s not really much of an option. Sure, in a business casual environment you’ll see men wearing things like khaki pants rather than tropical wool, and some wear those wretched short sleeve “dress” shirts (dress shirts don’t have short sleeves is all I’m saying) in the summer. But overall, men can wear the same kinds of clothing year round.
So before I start the Project 333 plan, I’d rather take a look at my closet and cull the obvious outliers, the clothes that are strictly intended to be worn in one season. I don’t mean I’ll purge my bathing suit, or have no shorts or sun dresses. But I do think I don’t need three months’ worth of either item. I think if I aim for three season wearing out of all clothing items, then I will need far fewer clothing. And if I choose my colors carefully, sticking with the palette I tend to buy all the time anyway then everything will go together.
What about you, how do you approach buying clothing?