Project 333, Week 10

Dec 10

I love having my picture taken.  When I'm comfortable with the photographer and feel good, I can be a real ham in front of the camera.  Self portraits are different, though.  I've felt some discomfort in doing them, although some days, when I really love my outfit and know the light is good and my hair came out looking not-a-mess, I have fun.  More often, though, I'm aware of my vanity, and I feel uncomfortable. 

I took on the daily Project 333 pictures after a colleague challenged me to stay honest and keep a visual record.  Sometimes I take thirty or more shots until I see one that, with a little cropping, will show the outfit–okay, let's be honest, me–to best advantage.  Is it insincere to not post the picture where I think my hips are too hippy or my nose looks too long?  These parts make up the whole of me, and I love them for working well, for serving me with little or no pain, pretty well over the decades.

But when the parts don't look they way I want them to in a picture, I often dismiss the picture and find one in which they do.

As I thought about what this reveals about my vanity, I realized something else.  That desire to present my image in a particular way, a way I'm overly fussy about, is exactly why I need Project 333 in my life.

I love clothes.  I love new clothes.  I love feeling that I have taken something classic and made it edgy.  I love looking like I pay attention.  Even if I no longer live a short train ride away from my beloved NYC, I love to imagine that I look like I do live there.  I enjoy being complimented on a well-styled outfit. 

All of this love, this vanity, is what packed my closet.  I have classic pieces, pieces I know flatter and will be wearable for as long as they fit me.  My vanity, though, would lead me to buy cheap trendy clothes to mix with the classics. Project 333 has made me realize that applying my core values to style moves me a little further away from the discomfort of vanity that results in spending money on cheap clothes that might have been made at a very, very high cost.  I have realized that I can be more authentically me by dressing with fewer clothes, with clothes that fit beautifully and work together.  I can share the excess that once burdened me.  I can use my vanity in a different way: I can strive to dress elegantly from a small, well-thought-out wardrobe.  The edginess comes not from the latest trend, in fact, but from my attitude.

I'll continue taking the self portraits.  I like keeping records.  I like learning to use my camera more effectively.  I like the community that is developing around the pictures taken by P333-ers.  A little vanity, harnessed for good, can, after all, be a virtue.

So I'm telling myself.

If you'd like to see all of my Project 333 outfits, visit them here.

Thanks for reading my ramblings!


  1. Christina /

    This is my favorite post of all time. I re-read it because I loved it that much. I agree with you so much I feel like you read my mind while writing this.
    You have now convinced me of 333. I think I will take the rules and meld them to what I need. But I don’t need nor really want the hundreds of items I have. The 5 pairs of badly fitting jeans could be replaced with one good pair!
    I’ll be pinging you with my plan. And you are always beautiful – not just in the flattering photos (although I do totally know what you are talking about with the images!).

  2. I don’t think it’s vain at all to want to look nice in a photo. I avoid photos of myself as much as possible, due to my weight. I wish I could be more comfortable with how I look or do something about it but I seem to be stuck.

  3. I am totally with Carole on all points.

  4. You are a beautiful woman and give pause for thought. As we grow in age and wisdom we become braver and also more humble, recognising beauty and self worth as one complete package. Sally forth and keep sharing your energy!

  5. This is so great! You have touched on something that I’ve been feeling as well since I started taking the daily photos. I’ve always hated having my picture taken, because the result never matches the way I imagine I look, if that makes sense. And like you I’ve also been thinking more about the true cost of the things I buy. If child labor or inhumane animal treatment is involved, that “must-have” item suddenly loses its luster. Good stuff, Beverly!

  6. Seriously considering daily images for phase 2. Not a promise, just a consideration.

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