If you follow me on Instagram, you'll probably know that I slopped my way into 2017's Fall 10x10 Challenge like two days late and missed the first outfit day and everything else. But that's ok!
Because today I'm here to catch everyone up on what I've been exploring with my wardrobe for the past ten days, what I learned from my first ever 10x10 challenge, and how grateful I am for this conversation and those who weighed in with their experience.
But first... what is the 10x10 Challenge?
Simply put, the 10x10 Challenge is a fun seasonal effort hosted by Caroline Rector and Lee Vosburgh to simplify your choices for ten days and see what creative solutions happen. You choose ten clothing pieces - including shoes, but excluding accessories, sleepwear, activewear, etc. - and only dress with those pieces for ten days total. Some folks include a cheat day, some break the ten days up to allow for life, but it all counts and it's all creative fun.
My goals for this challenge were to:
1. See if I was any good at this
2. Put my fancy branch hanger to work
3. (Truthfully) Test out some pieces I was considering letting go of to see if they were as unwearable as I thought
I had a couple of pieces which I found myself reaching for very infrequently, and I was considering selling them online. This challenge fell at just the right time, and I decided to take advantage of this reduction-based creative test to see if I could revitalize my interest in them after all.
I also had a new pair of linen trousers which I was having trouble styling just right, and I was hoping the challenge would help me figure those out as well.
The pieces I chose for the challenge are the following:
Cropped Sweater (Thrifted. Similar.)
Silky Button-down (Old. Similar.)
Olive T-shirt Dress (Old. Similar in Grey.)
Burnt Orange Cardigan (Old.)
Dark Skinnies (Thrifted. Similar.) (Swapped out for thrifted boyfriends. Similar.)
Taupe Booties (From our China trip. Similar in black.)
Taupe Flats (From our China trip. Similar.)
10 Days, 10 Items, 10 Outfits
What did I learn?
Wow. Well, my first lesson was in being honest. After Day Three, I swapped out those dark wash skinnies for my trusty boyfriends... and put the skinnies in the donate stack. Turns out, I despise those jeans, but I didn’t realize it until I started trying to put outfits together that involved them and found myself dreading those days.
One of my goals in this challenge was to pay attention to how I felt about the outfits before, during, and after wearing them, and I found out that I super hated the way those jeans make me feel. My brain knew it, but because I didn’t want to spend any time or money replacing them properly, I was tolerating them every once in a while. As a staple, though, they were just torture. Geez, and I thought I was supposed to be good at this whole curated wardrobe thing!
Ironically, the pieces that I thought when starting this challenge were no longer useful to me turned out to be my very best go-to’s. The sweater and the cardigan proved themselves to me, especially the sweater, while those horrid jeans have now been removed from my closet altogether. So, I proved my own point from a post I made a while back called The Turnaround, allowing them to stay in my closet a little longer and challenge myself to think about them in a new way.
Weather. Walking. Wearability.
You’ll notice if you look at the outfits that I only wore the silk top one time, I never wore the dress as an actual dress, and I repeated two outfits on the last two days. Needless to say, I had a little trouble making some of the pieces that I chose work for the weather we encountered while traveling through Baltimore and Washington D.C.
The dress was the most surprising to me, since I got so much use out of my black dress while traveling in China. But this time it was simply too cold or too wet for me to be really comfortable in a dress. It has to be the perfect dress on the perfect day for me to even wear a dress around on campus. It’s just my preference. We have to do what works for us.
Also, I learned that, despite what I may idealize, when it comes down to it, comfort is my number one priority. If it’s not comfortable, I will not wear it. Period. I ended up repeating two outfits because, well, a couple of my items weren’t pulling their weight. I thought about doing a couple cheat days, but my husband (!) encouraged me to count the failures, repeats, and mess-ups as part of the process, and be honest about them on this lil blog. He’s the bomb that way.
Also, I got blisters, though I do think those boots are fully broken in now. Worth it?
Enough about what didn’t work... here’s what totally did! My favorite outfits from the challenge were probably Day Six/Nine, Day Four, and Day Eight. The comfort, the confidence, those damn good linen pants from Linenfox... it just worked. I especially loved Eight’s faux-romper vibe, and I even got complimented for my “romper” while walking around. Win.
Honestly, I’ve been considering a revisit to the capsule life since completing this challenge. I had gotten a little burned out after my first year, but the 10x10 really reminded me how much utility you can get out of your items, how much you can learn, and how creatively revitalizing capsules and reduction-style wardrobe practices are. Thanks a billion to Caroline and Lee, and to all my inspiring #10x10friends for this experience! I’ve got a lot to think about!
Stay tuned for a Baltimore / D.C. Travelogue... once I finish this paper.