The 333 Method is Proof You Only Need 9 Items in Your Capsule Wardrobe

I have to be honest: Despite trying my absolute hardest to be a minimalist, I’m a maximalist by nature. I dream of having closets that aren’t constantly overstuffed and drawers that slide shut without me needing to push down their contents first, but like clockwork, I find myself needing to pare down my belongings every few months for my sanity. Part of it is the nature of my job—I test both fashion and beauty products constantly, so I have new pieces arriving at my doorstep pretty frequently—but much of it is within my control. One of my resolutions for 2024 was to ditch this cycle and keep my closet curated with investment pieces throughout the year, sans quarterly bags of donations delivered to my little sister. And one TikTok trend caught my eye as the perfect means to put it into practice. Enter: The 333 Method.

The 333 method is essentially a bite-sized version of a capsule wardrobe. You choose three tops, three bottoms, and three shoes, and challenge yourself to create as many outfit combinations as possible with your selections. The concept began with TikTok creator Rachel Spencer, whose nine-item fall wardrobe went viral last year.

Since then, Rachel’s done a series of videos proving how many outfits you can create out of nine items—27 to be exact, if you dust off the factor tree math you learned in grade school. The entire concept makes minimalism feel attainable, chic, and anything but boring. If you can create that quantity of looks from such few pieces, there’s no need for UPS drop-offs at your door or overconsumption, and the idea of overpacking almost seems silly. The looks created from the 333 method are so intentionally and well-styled that it nixes the need to rotate through new items every day of the week; all you really need is a few versatile investment pieces.

My 333 Capsule Wardrobe

How I’m Styling My 333 Capsule Wardrobe

I’m practicing the 333 method in my daily life, and the most surprising thing it’s shown me is what I actually like to wear. I often feel a need to deny my instincts and style something out-of-the-box when I’m getting dressed, but that thinking overcomplicates a task that should be simple. When I think “I don’t know what to wear,” I often know exactly what I want to wear—it just feels boring and repetitive. With an added layer or the swap of a belt, an outfit I wear on repeat instantly feels new and exciting. I’ve yet to take a trip since discovering the styling hack, but the next time I pack a bag, I’ll finally be the woman without the suitcase bursting at the seams that I’ve always dreamed of being.

While the 333 method doesn’t technically include accessories, in my opinion, they make all the difference when styling an outfit. I’ve been using this method on a week-by-week basis, swapping shoes and accessories as I feel the need to to keep things feeling fresh.

The best part of this method to me is that it’s made my desire for adding new pieces to my wardrobe vanish. The pieces I own truly feel brand-new, and my personal style gets to be on display every day without the influence of TikTok aesthetics or trending -cores. The next time I do add something new to my wardrobe, I’ll be making sure it can fit seamlessly into a 333 capsule like this (no more pieces that require additional new pieces for them to be styled well—I want everything to fit into my existing wardrobe.) Personal style is in in 2024, and the 333 method is the way to truly find yours.

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