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

Namaste What?

An integral element of a rich spiritual practice is intention. From yoga to meditation to chakra balancing - the first step is to make a dedication, offer it up to the universe and allow the energy of your practice to manifest it into reality. 

My intention for yesterday evening was to commune with nature and enjoy a sweet Spring evening with my children and husband. As soon as I got home I went into the backyard to admire the budding trees. So peaceful. Such prana. Moments later my family returned from a nature walk to 7-11. My toddler barreled into freshly cleaned house with sticky hands and a mouth full of Tic Tacs. Poor little Ashby wasn’t wearing socks. Matt nursed a Big Gulp and wanted to know why I always “look so angry.” Om. 

My intention this morning was to wear white jeans. Last night I laundered the selected pair and laid out several top options. Striped pocket tee, navy blue blazer, poppy red cami – all contenders. After several rounds of mixy-matchy it finally came together. Now I needed to bust a move. I was intent on a swift exit but AJ chased me across the decomposing pink magnolias intent that I hold him “like a baby.” BAM! Dirty feet meet white jeans. Om Shanti.

Thankfully, the #OOTD was saved by Matt, who knows how to dab out a dirt stain. Mindfulness guru that he is, I also earned a lecture about taking things too seriously.

I was intent on an authentic Hermes Collier De Chien Cuff bracelet but this knock off from Party City will have to do
They called him Soot Foot
Sending white light for a speedy recovery

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J. Crew striped roll sleeve tee shirt (2015); J Crew yellow skinny belt (2014); Seven for all Mankind white jeans (2013); Halogen nude booties (2015); Coach Legacy purple cross body (2012); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant (2014); Hermes inspired teal cuff from Party City (2014)

Let It Go

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Perhaps the omission was a gift from the universe, easing our family’s transition through a late winter cold snap: For several months my toddler forgot to sing the theme song from Frozen. In early April, however; The Frozen Song re-emerged as a thematic element in our collaborative bedtime story. In summary: AJ hosts an egg hunt and all of his cousins are invited (”All of them, Mommy!”). There is a custom Play Doh decorated surprise egg hidden for each cousin. Anna’s egg is wrapped in a tutu and when she opens it a real ballerina dances out (these are big eggs). Caroline’s egg is decorated as an egg and when she cracks it open, baby Ashby is trapped inside and AJ rescues her. Finally, Isabelle opens her egg, emblazoned with a glittering crown, and out jumps Princess Elsa, singing “Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go...” At this point he falls asleep softly singing the only words anyone really knows from that song.

Yesterday the nurse at the doctor’s office needed to confirm my last name. “Is it Mapp or Bressan?” After a very pregnant pause I responded “Bressan.” I have been married for nearly six years but man was it hard to let that one go. We cling to things, don’t we? Maiden names, college scrapbooks, dog eared copies of Judy Blume’s Blubber, a $175 silk Joie blouse that never actually looks good on - they all tell a story about who we are, or were. But where is the line between identity and junk?

That evening I enjoyed a glass of champagne with a chic friend to celebrate her newly acquired American citizenship. Thinking back on the last name conversation I asked if the ceremony sparked any sort of identity crisis. “Not at all,” she replied. “I retain both my Swiss and Italian passports.”  Leave it to Ada to be a triple citizen of the world. After a moment she added, “It was kind of hard for my Dad, though.”

Today’s outfit wasn’t quite as inspiring as the pink magnolia letting go of her petals in the background. Looking to the indigo top and flats to elevate grey base layers and an overcast spring morning. 

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Outfit details: Salvatore Ferragamo silk twill scarf (2009); J. Crew ruffle trench (2008); South Moon Under indigo hi low t-shirt (2012); Banana Republic ruched grey jersey skirt (2015); Steve Madden Kstudd indigo studded flats (2012); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant necklace (2014)

It’s Fashion Season

Spring is outfit season. April heralds death to tights and a glorious return to bare legs and open toed shoes. Granted, these newly appropriate outfit extenders do not come without great responsibility, namely pedicures and shaving, but all in, it’s worth it. 

But uh, back to the lecture at hand. Perfection is perfected, so I'ma let ‘em understand. I have worn all but five of my 33 items. (Go back and count them, I’ll wait.) The last ladies standing are: J. Crew navy blue eyelet skirt; no name navy blue pleated dress, Gap teal and navy blue wrap dress, DVF black and white wrap dress and a teal Max Studio sundress. All have been waiting for this warm weather week to reveal themselves. That and I haven’t purchased navy blue tights since eighth grade. 

One month in and a third of the way through the first season of my capsule wardrobe. It took a month to wear 33 items. Go figure. It’s easy to wear an outfit once, but it takes some creativity to rework the same outfit into something fresh and new for the upcoming 60 days. Now comes the mixy-matchy. Now I reveal my fashion chops. I am game! It is warm! 

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); YSL Muse handbag (2008); Kiton navy double breasted blazer (ultimate clothing swap find 2011); J. Crew vintage cotton v-neck t-shirt (I may have bought this in the past two weeks); J. Crew navy blue eyelet skirt (2012); Butter teal suede sandals (2012); Ases throat chakra pendant (2012); diamond pave disk necklace (anniversary gift from Matt, 2014); teal FitBit band to count the Spring in my steps  

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

Surprise Inside

My toddler can’t read so I don’t know how he found the “Surprise Egg” YouTube network. The premise is simple: Faceless adult hands crack apart plastic eggs to reveal tiny licensed treats. With great ceremony the anonymous fingers rip open a shiny foil parcel. A wee Minecraft horse tumbles out. Sometimes the creepy hands unearth a nutritious packet of Hello Kitty sugar candies or a Lego Spiderman Mini Figurine. How delightful! I think. Another adorable plastic nightmare to clog the corners my home. After each 3 - 5 minute video its  “Another one mommy, another one!” And I oblige because I like quiet.

Yesterday I received a promising e-blast from J.Crew. Considerate gal that she is, J.Crew wrote to remind me that SPRINGSALE earns 30% off all orders. Won’t you just take a peak? Oh OK. My eager fingers scan the responsive-for-mobile product pages and land on the surprise inside: Ribbed racer back tank top. Select Color. Gray, white and black, please? Only $29.50 each (plus 30% OFF!). A steal, a deal, a downright GIFT from the tank top goddess. Another one!  Another gray, white and black tank top to clog the corners of my closet.

Reason prevailed. It would be wrong to lead you astray, dear reader, on our journey to minimalist nirvana. I defied the tank tops’ sweet siren song and instead took this picture of her would-be sisters.

Outfit Details: Hermes horse bit scarf (2007); JCrew ruffle trench (2008); Rachel Pally striped tunic (2014) on top of BCBG Layering Tank Dress (2014); DKNY tights (2014); Nine West Heartset Wedge Knee High Boots (2014); Loeffler Randall Industry Bag (2014); Stella & Dot Rebel Pendant (2014)

Project 333 - Minimalism is in

Putting outfits together and looking put together is very important to me. For 35 years shopping for clothes and accessories was my favorite pastime. Now I have a toddler and an infant, a full time job and own a small (but charming!) house. All of this translates to no time, minimal storage and considerably less discretionary income. Recently I transitioned out of my post natal wardrobe and became very frustrated. I spend too much money on too many clothes that I don’t love. 

Last week on Pinterest I unearthed this image and was flooded with emotion. How simple, how chic, how inspiring! A quick search for “minimalist wardrobe” led me to Project 333. Simply put, Project 333 is an exercise in reduction. Reduce your wardrobe to 33 items and wear only those 33 items for 3 months. 

With spring coming and finally down to a dress size that includes zippered pants, I was moved to pair down my belongings to 33 items that fit and bring me joy. I will tailor the official Project 333 rules to suit my comfort level: the 33 items I selected are business casual separates mostly worn to work. My 33 items do not include shoes and accessories because these items add flair to my mostly basic wardrobe and without access to them it would not be a plausible fashion experiment. However, I did reduce the accessories and shoes I will rotate into this capsule collection. For example, I have five Hermes scarves. Hermes scarves are my signature accessory. I will only be using two for this project. The others will be stored for the Summer collection. Thinking about Project 333 as curating a seasonal “collection” of my own clothes gets me very excited. 

Spring 2015 Capsule Collection

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Store, Consign or Donate Collection

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Outfit Day 1

Marc by Marc Jacobs dress

JCrew trench

Seychelles ballet flats