Wardrobe challenge simplifies question of what to wear
Deciding what to wear doesn't have to be overwhelming. If you pare down the choices to 33 items, the decision will be much, much easier.
That's what Courtney Carver will be challenging guests who attend fashion designer Kiya Tomlin's studio at 7 p.m. Oct. 17.
Carver created Project 333 which invites people to choose 33 items to wear for the next three months. Her appearance is one of 33 (of course) on The Tiny Wardrobe Tour.
When deciding, there are a few exceptions that aren't counted as part of the 33 – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleepwear, in-home lounge wear and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout).
“A lot of people at first say they could never do this, but once they do they say, ‘Why did I wait so long?'” says Carver of Salt Lake City, whose blog is Be More With Less.
The idea to streamline her closet came after Carver was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006. She wanted less stress and just less of lots of things. One of the biggest challenges was her closet. An avid shopper, she would buy items she might not ever wear or duplicates.
“This project is about defining what you want and need,” Carver says. “And it's about setting boundaries. Ask yourself if it fits you and your lifestyle.”
In 2010, she began blogging about the project and found thousands of followers in 80 countries.
Carver says the number of items doesn't have to be exactly 33. It can be 45 or a number that works for you. Each person's choices will be different because they need to consider body type, lifestyle and color in their wardrobe.
“My wardrobe is not their wardrobe,” says Carver, who has been featured in a number of national publications and television shows. “The idea is catching on and the conversations we are having are great. Think about what you need. It's about fear more than anything else, but it will make your mornings that much easier. I know people are overwhelmed with the thought of this, but opening up your closet everyday deciding what to wear can be overwhelming.”
It can be, agrees Tomlin who invited Carver to Pittsburgh.
“It was fascinating to me – especially in the age of waste and fast fashion,” Tomlin says. “I love to shop and try new pieces, but something about the purity of thought and simplicity of it grabbed me. I thought about how much time I waste getting dressed sometimes and all the great minds that have ‘uniforms.' ”
By uniforms she means people such as Mark Zuckerberg and his gray hoodie; Karl Lagerfeld's black blazer, black tie, black jeans, white shirt; Steve Jobs' black turtleneck; Vera Wang's tunic and leggings and even her husband Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin's black long-sleeve shirt and wide leg sweatpants.
“This was actually the reason I created my first sweatshirt dress in the first place — to give me a versatile, yet effortless, uniform that I could go anywhere in, do anything in and always look fabulous,” says Tomlin, whose line is Uptown by Kiya Tomlin, a collection of comfortable, yet fashionable, lifestyle clothing.
Beyond closets and pared-down wardrobes, Tomlin says guests to this event can learn ways to streamline small parts of their lives to better focus on giving and receiving joy and what truly matters. “This wardrobe exercise will serve as a small example on how to live with purpose that is relevant to many areas of a person's life,” Tomlin says. “Plus, it will make room for all the fabulous new stuff that will fit into the newly emptied closet.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.