Ever since I read the first thirty or so Destroyer books back in the ’80s (what can I say? Sapir and Murphy ain’t Tolstoy, but Remo Williams kicked ass) I’ve toyed from time to time with idea of an incredibly simple wardrobe. For those of you who haven’t read the books, Remo is a master of the fictional martial art known as Sinanju, and has a closet containing just 5 pairs of khakis and 5 black t-shirts.
Remo kicked me in the head again yesterday when I stumbled on the Wikipedia article on capsule wardrobing. I was further inspired when I followed the link over to the Project 333 website (this young lady has made it over 3 months on a wardrobe containing only 33 items). All of this fell completely into place with my Some Kind of Green project and my desire to embody the 3rd Vital Grace of Cabal Fang — frugality. I knew it would be harder for me that it is for the fictional Remo. When you’re a globe-trotting assassin tracking down supervillains there’s no dress code, but I work in an office.
I went forward anyway. Monday night I started by bagging everything that didn’t fit, moved on to things that hadn’t been worn in over 1 year, and finally, with the help of my 13-year-old daughter, I pitched everything that was out of style and/or made me look like Dana Carvey from The Master of Disguise. The 35-gallon green trashbag full of clothing was almost too heavy to haul down to the truck. Yesterday I donated everything to Diversity Thrift.
I did not set my goal for 33 items. Let’s face it, I don’t live in Southern California (it gets very cold and very hot here in VA) and I want to make it forever at this level, not just 3 months. Plus, I don’t want to get rid of stuff that’s timeless and that fits (that would just be wasteful and silly). But I got rid of 2/3 of my stuff. Here’s what’s left in the closet (just like Project 333, this doesn’t include underwear, workout clothes, and any jewelry that is never removed and/or heirlooms):
Belts 3, Hats 5, Shoes 4, Ties 8, Watches 2, Coats 3, Sportcoats 4, Jeans 1, Khakis 4, Slacks 2, Shorts 3, Shirts (LS) 10, Shirts (SS) 8, T-shirts 10, Suits 2, Sweaters 4. Total: 73
This list will get smaller as some things wear out and aren’t replaced. Those things I do replace will be more multi-purpose.
Maybe this doesn’t make any sense to anybody else, but it makes perfect sense to Remo and I. And it makes sense to a world that’s being destroyed by consumerism, fashion, and excess.
My closet looks great, and I feel like I’m walking on air.