Friday, September 30, 2011

Project 333, Phase 2: Status Update

The next phase of Project 333 is set to start October 1, which is tomorrow. I think it's safe to say that I will be a bit off schedule, yet again. I haven't quite gotten my act together. . .although lists have been made and planning is in full force. Realistically, I am shooting for a start date of October 15.

As I posted earlier, one of my goals in this phase is to create a completely "No-Iron" wardrobe. What a dream, this would be! While this has posed quite a challenge, I am happy to say I am very close to meeting this criteria. There is, however, one particular article, that I am on the fence about. It will require ironing, lest it’ll appear frumpy and disheveled, but I still think I want to include it. Needless to say, I've done my math, and if I do decide to include it, then I will have created a wardrobe that is "99.97% No-Iron". I think I can live with that. (Although, maybe someone should check my math.)

Also new to my sophomore round of P333, is a completely revamped mentality. One that is more forgiving, and less regimented. Basically, I am going easier on myself. I have come to understand that this is an experiment in minimizing and simplifying your life, through the implementation of boundaries. It is not intended to make you suffer.

And so, to reduce any and all potential suffering and stress, I am making a few changes to my ground rules. First off, I am planning a pre-meditated coat switch. I will use my wool Paddington coat, until winter really bears down on us. At that time I will break out my North Face Triple C full length down coat (or the "horse blanket", as I affectionately refer to it).

Secondly, I have decided to add some pep to my dressing experience. So I will also give myself a little extra wiggle room, allowing for one belt and one pair of earrings. . items I did not carry in my last phase. While I will count my shoes, sunglasses, bag, scarves, mittens and hats in true P333 fashion, I will not count these two "free" items. I mean really, how much complication can one little belt, and two dangly earrings really cause?

Over the next week or so, I will be refining and finalizing my items. Be on the look-out. In the very near future I will be posting my final Phase 2 list (a.k.a. Phase 2: 33+2, the Rule-Breaker edition)!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tacky Tacking! ! !!!

I have had my heart set on the J.Crew Hacking Herringbone Jacket since I first laid eyes on it a little over a month ago. It took me awhile to find out about this beauty (due to my P333 moratorium on shopping as of late), but when I did finally crack open a catalog, I was in love. Oh how I adored the vibrant flame colour! But it cost a month's allowance, so I tucked it to the back of my mind, and moved on.

Truth be told, the following week I found myself inside my local J.Crew store, trying on the sucker! And let me just say, I couldn't have been more satisfied with the fit. The saleswoman and I had such a nice chat about this piece. She owned it in the vibrant flame, but agreed that if this was an investment piece, I should opt for a more versatile colour. So my mind settled on the classic charcoal, and I walked out of the store empty handed. This jacket does cost a month's allowance, after all.

But this blog entry is not entirely about my beloved Hacking Jacket. It is about something I have witnessed across the breadth of the internet recently; something I have seen for myself in real life, too many times. It is about a pet peeve.

You see, I tend to over-research everything. Everything. And so, in my pursuit to find out all I could about the Hacking Jacket, I began to peruse blogs for reviews and tidbits from those that own it. Here is what I found: besides the fact that everyone who owns it absolutely loves it, in every single blog I came across with a photo of the blogger donning this jacket, the tacking stitch is still in tact on the back vent!

Epic Fail! (for obvious reasons,
this bloggers identity shall remain
Oh the horror! This has always been a pet peeve of mine, and I had been accustomed to seeing unknowing men walking around in such a fashion. But to see just as many unknowing women making the same mistake, has taken me aback. People, please! Remove your tacking stitch prior to wearing a garment. This little "X" stitch will pop up on the vents and pleats at the back of jackets and skirts. It is a temporary stitch, intended to keep the fabric flat and laying nicely, until ready to be worn.

In a week or two, when I finally drive myself down to J.Crew with my months' allowance in hand, I can assure you this: before I slip that lovely jacket over my SmartWool Dazzle Dot Hoody, maybe even before I snip the store tags from the sleeve, I will dutifully remove that tacky little tacking stitch from the back vent!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Project 333, Phase 2: The Plan

It's been awhile since the conclusion of my Project 333, Phase 1. Since then, I have been basically dressing with what is in my closet. Admittedly, I've loosened the reins and reintroduced a few extra items here and there. But for the most part, I haven't even had time to unpack my other clothes. There's a lot going on in our household right now, and clothes are the last thing on my mind. And I'm fine with that.

But as Fall approaches, I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming phase, and what items I might want to work with next. I have a few ideas milling around in my head, but I think I might want to introduce a few more rules:

Rule #1: No Iron
I  would *LOVE* a wardrobe of 33 items that require no ironing or drycleaning, whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, by limiting the pieces in my wardrobe, I have drastically cut down my need to iron. However, I'm afraid it's not good enough. I find myself dreading the 15 or so minutes I spend ironing on a Sunday afternoon. There are many low-maintenance clothing options. I just need to put my hands on those that will be low-maintenance without being frumpy. But I know this can be done. My ultimate goal is to not have to even think about my clothing. To achieve this, I will definitely need to apply the no-iron criteria in determining my next 33.

Rule #2: More Personality, Please!
I am not a conservative person. I am not a conservative dresser. However, during my Phase 1, I was told on many occasions that my style seemed to have become much more conservative. I forged through Phase 1 with what was mainly a navy blue, beige and black wardrobe, with my head held high. But deep down. . .this bothered me. I used to be a snappy dresser. I mixed patterns with patterns, layers with layers and created unique colour combinations, like nobody's business. I am afraid that my Phase 1 choices focused so much on function, that I forgot how much I really enjoy expressing my individuality through my mode of dress. My next 33 will definitely have more zip and more "Linda Attitude".

Rule #3: Utilize Everything
In retrospect, I realize how few of my pieces I really worked during Phase 1. I would say, I only used about 70% of my wardrobe to it's full potential. There are a few items that I wore only once or twice! This tells me a few things. ..I could definitely live with even fewer than 33 items. And also, I need to select more carefully. I've thought a bit about why I did not wear some of my pieces. I have figured out why, and for the most part, I put the blame on an ill fit or a fabric flaw. The bottom line is, I need to let who I am and how I live, determine the pieces I choose.

I have not selected a start date for my Phase 2. I am hoping to have the weather guide me, and once the temps turn cooler, I will set the Phase 2 wheels in motion. But Fall turns to Winter awfully quickly in New England. Generally speaking, I'm having a hard time getting my head around how to handle the seasonal transitions. But really, when it comes to this project, I'm starting to feel like that's the name of the game!

Stay tuned. . .

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy High School, Emma!

Emma started her first day of high school yesterday. Instead of taking the traditional high school route, she has opted for one of Hartford’s magnet schools. For Emma, it shall be the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts! I was a bit apprehensive about the prospect of Emma attending a school over an hour away from home. . .and for good reason. The transportation is a nightmare, and this decision ultimately affects our whole family, in varying degrees. But between you and me, I am slightly envious. When we visited the school for orientation last year, I was instantly hooked! What a great facility and what great programs. I would have loved to have attended this school at her age. And so the decision was made.

With my little Emma starting high school, I can’t help but be sentimental. I, myself, am sick of hearing how quickly it all goes by, in regards to watching your children grow. But it really and truly does!  As if it was only yesterday, I can remember sneaking into Allgrove School, just to catch a glimpse of my little curly-haired munchkin on her very first day of kindergarten. There she was sitting in her little person-sized chair, with her big bright eyes fixed intently on the teacher. I broke the rules that day, but in return I received a priceless image, that I will hold with me always. Besides, Emma's kindergarten classroom was in fact the very same room I sat in as a new kindergartner, twenty two years earlier! Really, how could I resist?

With this new chapter in Emma's life just beginning, I have found myself waxing nostalgic about her younger years in general these days. And with baby Otto on the scene, I can't help but think that the nostalgia is only further fueled, dare I say "inevitable", given the physical likeness between Otto and the Emma of her youth. To those that have teenagers who will rarely hold hands, or give a giant bear hug, or splurge in a flurry of kisses, perhaps what I am about to say will sound a bit less odd. 

A bit.. . 

It has happened, on occasion, that when cuddling Otto, I look down to see my baby Emma! The unthinkable has happened and time has unwound itself 14 whole years, to reunite me with my baby girl. There she lays, snuggled up in my arms, as if it were 1997 all over again. I am able to hold her tiny hands once more, give her little body a full-on bear hug and splurge in a flurry of kisses right on her neck, until she breaks out in an unstoppable giggle. What a treat!

Well, the reality is, it truly does all go by so very fast. But sometimes, the spirit of a memory really can live forever. If you just know where to look.