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Fashion designer learns to live with less

In a bid to approach the clothes she wears differently, Fashion designer Charlene Figueras has embraced a minimalist wardrobe in a bid to changer her mindset and find a different approach to clothing.

This month she has started Project 333, setting a goal that appears simple at first blush, but will prove a challenge: to wear only 33 items of clothing – essentials aside - for three months.

“I am just going to try this out.

I have been wanting to do it for a while. I even tried to start it last year,” she said.

“I can’t remember how I came across it but it is this person Courtney Carver who has written a book on how to be more with less and this book introduced Project three thirty-three.”

Not included in the 33 wardrobe capsule are items such as underwear, masks, sleep wear and work out gear.

Included are all items of footwear (except trainers if you use them only for training), coats, jackets and all accessories aside from sentimental pieces such as a wedding ring or jewellery you are never without.

“I am going to use it as a template and I will adjust it and I will see how I go,” she said.

“I want to try it for many reasons.

I have a very big wardrobe and I do enjoy clothes. I like dressing up, I like presenting myself nicely for different occasions and I have developed a large number of unique pieces because I like doing fashion photography so I like the element of styling as well.”

“And, I do have a lot of involvement in coaching young girls with the Miss Gibraltar pageant so they often borrow a lot of my clothes to go represent Gibraltar because that can be quite a pricey thing to invest in.”

She aims to keep all of those elegant pieces because she likes the aspect of people using the clothes and the clothes having a lot of use.

“I am going to learn to live with less. I suppose to reduce that anxiety of ‘what to wear today’ and trawling through your wardrobe and wasting that time. You can go to your small closet where most of the things go with each other and the process of deciding is done away with because that is what you have.”

She likens it to packing for a holiday and even then we often don’t wear everything we pack, she notes.

In addition, she has noticed that even though she has a large wardrobe she always goes for the same items.

The editing process of what items to keep is not an easy process, especially when you think of the season coming up, Christmas. However, she has set two dresses including wardrobe stable the LBD (little black dress) for such occasions and if need be she can borrow items from others, or even from her own wardrobe if the occasion needs it.

“I am going to give it my best shot,” she said.

“I don’t know what the outcome will be. It might really change the way I feel about the size of my wardrobe.”

“I look forward to the process, I don’t want to pre-empt the end result.

I want to do the journey and see how I feel.”

For the past year Ms Figueras has been buying less and buying more wisely and, giving a slightly exaggerated example to illustrate her point, instead of buying five pairs of jeans she spends a little bit more money on the one pair.

“I was also really thinking about ‘would I wear it enough, how much use is it going to have’. Sometimes in the past I would have purchased it in various colours, now I really think about what matches most of my clothes or which is the colour I would really use,” she said.

She also noticed that with fast fashion she would go shopping and end up buying pieces of clothing that were already similar to what she had in her wardrobe. She is aiming to avoid buying those items now.

While she does enjoy the process of picking out clothes to wear for special occasions with a small family saving time thinking about clothes would be a benefit of the process she said.

“I want to slow down. I want more time to appreciate. More time to be. More time to enjoy,” she said.

The aim of the project is to not make you suffer Ms Figueras explains but to make you think about the clothes you wear.

“I might bend the rules or adjust them to myself but the principal is there,” she said.

“The book does mention it is not a project in suffering, adapt it to yourself. If living with less means 40 or 50 items for you then do that.”

“It is a start. If your t-shirt or jumper is spoilt for whatever reason you replace it. It is not a project in suffering. It should bring more joy into your life.”

She is not the only one taking on the challenge and there is a Facebook group to help support everyone taking part. This can be found at Project 333 Gibraltar, groups/3596910247008855

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