This girl cleaned out her closet, and what happened next was epic.

I spent last weekend peddling my fashion baggage all over Northern Virginia. It took three consignment stores (who does Current Boutique think she is, anyway?), one for-the-sisters pile and several trash bags earmarked Goodwill to shed my worn wears. So how does it feel? Simply put, it feels really good.

The creator of Project 333 suggests that clearing the physical and mental space previously occupied with shopping and storing purchases allows for richer, more meaningful experiences to enter your life. So far, its biggest impact on my life is the emotions I’ve left behind. You know that feeling when it’s 8:35 7:35 and you are frantically looking for a work outfit but you can’t even slide garments down the rack to select anything because your clothes are packed so tightly? I do not miss that feeling. Or the one when you try on a dress that you bought online for the fifteenth time and it still looks weird but it’s been over 30 days and now you can’t return it. Don’t miss that one, either.

Before I curtailed impulse shopping and minimized my wardrobe I routinely felt guilt, annoyance and disdain towards my closet. Now I feel proud, creative, savvy and mindful about pretty much everything. Three months ago I could produce any number of excuses to buy something new. Now I can’t find an excuse to buy anything at all! In fact, I missed the boat on these Loeffler Randal sandals and these J.Crew flats in gold, both planned purchases for my summer capsule, because I delayed the purchase and now they are sold out. On the bright side, I saved myself $568.

How’s this for a rich and meaningful experience? On Sunday night Matt and I attended the annual Blue Jeans Ball to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Impulsively, we bid $700 on a three night stay in Paris – and won! That opportunity was made possible by Project 333 – for once, an extra $700 was actually sitting in my bank account. Plus it was for a good cause. ‘Cause we’re going to Paris!

The round up of outfits in today’s post all share simple foundations highlighted by joyful pops of color. What a way to live.

Top Outfit Details: DVF wrap dress (2012); Joie military jacket (2014); Tangerine cashmere scarf, origins unknown (2012); Loeffler Randal Tasmin ponyhair pumps (2014); Loeffler Randall Industry Bag (2014); Stella & Dot Norah Chandelier earrings (2014); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant (2014)
Outfit Details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J.Crew necklace (2013); LA Made dress via Stitch Fix (2015); Coach purple Legacy tassel cross body bag (2012); Loeffler Randal gold gladiator sandals (2009)
Outfit Details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); Stitch Fix top (2015); Hermes scarf as belt (2009); J.Crew Minnie pants (2013); Elie Tahari teal peep toe flats (2013) Coach Legacy purple tassel cross body bag

The Day Before Tomorrow

Feeling good today, friends! Because: vacation. I am a big fan of anticipation. My favorite day of the week is Thursday, so wrought with possibility.  When we were little, my sister and I would spend a week each summer in New York City with our Aunt Catherine. NYC is epic, always has been, always will be, but this was the ‘80s and NYC was authentically cool. Break dancers on street corners cool. Hot pink dollar sign earrings cool. DJ Magic Mike mix tape cool. Understandably, our annual trip was a BIG DEAL. And while the week’s festivities never disappointed (Aunt Cat ran that city) my favorite part was the plane ride there. I can still feel the giddy belly butterflies. Once you were actually in the city the trip was destined to end and with that the return of another sweltering summer in Norfolk, VA.

Tell the truth day! I bought some stuff from J.Crew. Also I forgot to cancel Stitch Fix. Both packages arrived yesterday. As soon as I spotted them at the door my minimalist rationale went out the window. Matt asked if I loved our baby anymore, because she needed to eat and I straight sprinted to her nursery to rip open boxes.

In the light of day I could see that the braided rope belt wasn’t leather and the statement necklace was one that I didn’t need to make. This is when I had what my therapists call a “breakthrough.” Online shopping feeds my anticipation addiction. Until it arrives, anything is possible. The belt could be the link that connects my wardrobe; the vintage cotton v-neck tee might be the last that I’d ever need to buy. Unlike memories of late night cannolis and my first cappuccino in Little Italy or the fourth time we saw Cats!, these unnecessary online purchases left me feeling empty inside. I sent everything back. OK! I kept a pair of denim shorts. One day at a time, people.

Feeling the vacay vibes! Even the rain can’t get me down, or touch my new highlights and spray tan under this jaunty beach hat. 

Outfit details: Original Penguin hat (belongs to Matt, 2013); trusty Joie Military Fatigue Jacket (2014); Gap Women 1969 Destructed Western Denim Shirt (2015); Tinley Road Maya Vegan Grey Leather Shoulder Mini Dress (2013); Salvatore Ferragamo Louisa Silk Scarf as belt (2009); Hunter Boots (gift from sister Emily 2013); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant (2014); Stella & Dot Norah Chandelier earrings (2014); Pave diamond disk necklace (anniversary gift from Matt, 2014)

We Need Space

Yesterday my husband and I were sitting on the couch, I nursing a baby, he nursing a beer, when the toddler crammed his little behind in the middle of us. “Give me space!” He ordered. “I need space!” Dutifully we scooted aside to give the boss a seat.  I started to explain that if he needs space he should go sit on the empty side of the couch and maybe not cram his butt in between two people who are clearly comfortable - but really? Who’s listening?

With tropical travel on the horizon, I am faced with the ultimate wardrobe edit – vacation packing. Determined not to purchase anything new, I set out to cull through my existing warm weather clothes. But where are they? Skinny (ish) casual items are boxed in storage loft, occasion and dry clean selections hang in AJ’s closet and a mix of maternity and summer casual dresses (including nine several Tart Collections frocks that aren’t actually “maternity“ and thereby viable for vacation) are crammed against the wall in the baby’s wardrobe. I am left wondering where anyone else in my family stores clothes. Do they even own clothes? Are my children naked at this very moment? 

It took all weekend to edit my selections. Dozens of additional items were routed to the “donate, consign or give to Pamela” pile and I am reminded of how this whole excess reckoning experiment began – pawing through Pinterest for creative solutions to manage my massive clothing collection. Instead, I will soon live in a world where I can store clothes in the space available to me. Imagine that.

If you like today’s outfit, I will grant you three wishes. Mine are for sleep, a tan and 45 minutes to get a pedicure before Saturday.

Playing it cool with the boss

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); Joie Hooded Military Jacket (2014); White + Warren cashmere scarf (2012); South Moon Under indigo hi-lo t-shirt (2012); Joe’s Jeans “Genie” or Slim Jogger Pant (2013); Schutz Lace Cutout Bootie; Stella & Dot Rebel Pendant (2014); Pave diamond disk necklace (Anniversary gift from Matt, 2014) - On AJ: GapKids + JunkFood Spiderman sweater (2014); Seven for all Mankind Brett Jeans (Gilt.com - only $35, don’t judge - 2014); Carter’s socks

On the Wagon

Project 333 has helped me curb the urge to shop compulsively. Proudly, I am 14 days clean. I still peruse the 9 PM Gilt.com sales while waiting for my toddler to fall the eff asleep; the difference is that I choose not to indulge. It’s an empty high, anyway. Almost never does an impulse purchase emerge as the link that connects my entire wardrobe. Little things trip me up, though. It’s easy to delay the purchase of $495 Loeffler Randall tassel sandals; but damn you indigo Ikat print scarf, with your $45 allure of outfit completion and on-trend pop of color. Just a nip, she says. A sweet little sip of accessorize.

In the face of an upcoming tropical vacation, I rationalized my summer clothes hoping to find an excuse to shop. What I found, however; was three pairs of white jeans, four barely used and extremely versatile beach wraps; a floppy straw hat and a straw fedora; two pairs of J. Crew chino shorts that fit and FIVE pairs of J.Crew leather thong sandals. Truth be told, I did purchase two new bathing suits. Give me a break! I just had a baby and itty bitty string bikini season is over.

A rainy day is so suitable for draping gray layers. Comfort clothes, if you will. Also an example of an outfit I own in 24 variations. 

Outfit details: Design History gray open front cardigan (2014); Gap Body black t-shirt (2014); Banana Republic gray ruched skirt (2015); DKNY tights (2014); Nine West Heartset Wedge Knee High Boots (2014); Striped scarf from Posh, Charlottesville, VA (2010); Red tassel pendant from a boutique in Charleston, SC.

Kid Stuff

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This morning my toddler found his dog eared Oriental Trading catalog in the trash can. Full meltdown: “My stuff Mommy! Daddy threw away my stuff!” (Full disclosure: it was Mommy who threw away his “stuff” but I am not going to argue semantics with a 3 YO.) We removed his stuff from the trash, he stopped crying and ran outside to play in the ashes of his charred Christmas tree. I threw the catalog away again. 

Earlier this year we listed our home for rent. For four tedious weeks I kept it Pintrest perfect. Accessorized the coffee table with art and fashion books, even. Everyone who came through commented on how lovely it was, unique and so well decorated. “What a great yard!” they said. The toddler in me repelled – these bozos are picturing themselves in MY HOME, MY KITCHEN, MY GARDEN. My possessive emotions were so palatable I entertained staying. Moments later the actual toddler returned, trashed 1200 SF in 12 minutes and I was emotionally mature again. My kingdom for a playroom. 

I did an admirable job of narrowing my closet down to practically nothing but there are still several items to reconcile. What am I afraid of? If I truly need the J.Crew graphic tee that says “Cheers!” in 11 languages, I can grab it from the storage box. 

Letting go of our stuff is scary. What if there is nothing left? 

As AJ would say: “That’s silly, Mommy!”

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Details: Stella & Dot Nora Chandelier Earrings (2014); TJ Maxx No Name black knit turtleneck (2013); Gap denim jacket (2002 - no seriously); tangerine cashmere scarf, origins unknown (2012)
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Details: Coach purple tassel cross-body (2012); Steve Madden cheetah flats (2011); J.Crew Minnie pants (2013)
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For 12 easy payments of $2650, all of this could be yours.
Top photo in front of our new home, which is right next door