When my dear friend, Andrea from Seasons and Salt, posted her Winter 10×10 Kickoff, she also shared some of her takeaways from previous challenges. I was so inspired by revisiting her entire journey, that I knew I absolutely had to go back and look at my own. As I was searching through old blog posts on this trip down 10×10 memory lane, it was so interesting (and cringe-worthy) to see how far I’ve come. I found a lot to celebrate here. And some good laughs too.
I thought I would follow Andrea’s lead and share not only the lessons I’ve learned from my past 10×10’s, but also the outfits. It was so interesting to read some of the common threads in my post-10×10 reflections and see how my thoughts have evolved. I also noticed that time and practice has greatly changed my contentment with my wardrobe and the challenge.
I will definitely continue challenging myself and my wardrobe to push myself out of my comfort zone and develop my personal style. I like being forced to create new looks from what I already have rather than relying on a trip to the store for a new outfit. I also love the continuous reminder that for me less really is more and I’m so content with my smaller wardrobe. It makes me excited to expand that thinking into other areas of my life.
A cohesive, mini capsule like this is ideal for travel or a transitional time or season, but I think for me a few more options would have gone a long way in making the sustainable for longer in “real life”.
My biggest challenge was feeling like it was going to be obvious that I was repeatedly wearing items. Though, the more I consider that, why is that a bad thing? I do feel a bit “on stage” at work since I stand up in front of the same groups of kids each day. And some of my students have found my IG account, so I know they’re checking out what I’m wearing! 🙂
Instead of feeling like I need different pieces to create different outfits, I need to shift my thinking to take pride in my ability to mix-and-match. I do think Instagram and blog outfit posting contributes to that because I want to try to show how many looks a capsule an create, but I think it’s also time to embrace the repeat. Repeating items and heck, repeating entire outfits. That is a line of thought I’d like to explore more as I continue my capsule wardrobes. I wonder if I’ve been including too much for fear of having to repeat? And since when is there something wrong with being a repeater?!
My ultimate goal is that my wardrobe leaves me feeling confident, stylish, and at-ease with my outfit choices. In the coming week or two I plan to go back through my ‘un-capsuled’ core wardrobe to see if there is further purging I can do so that I am left with a closet full of items I love. I am working to build a wardrobe that feels great, looks great, and that I love wearing on repeat.
I will continue sharing daily outfits on Instagram to push myself to put together more creative combinations, especially as temperatures drop and I head back to work. As I navigated a year of capsule wardrobes I played it pretty safe with my clothing choices since I was working with so few items. I look forward to pushing myself outside that style ‘safe zone’ by remixing what I already own and looking for new ways to up-style my current wardrobe. The 10×10 always reminds me how much is possible with a small wardrobe!
The challenge was (and always is) a great reminder of how much is possible with a small wardrobe. Since I un-capsuled my wardrobe I have around 70 items in my closet. The past few weeks has been a great reminder that I don’t even need that much, so I was able to identify a few more pieces that don’t fit my style goals and I don’t love wearing. Spending 10 days picking outfits from clothes that I feel great in made it a lot easier to see those unloved items much more clearly. My hope is to soon do a post to share my core wardrobe (un-capsuled closet).
Smaller is better.
Shortly after the New Year a picture of a small, neat closet showed up in my Pinterest feed and it really caught my eye (much like the capsule wardrobes did a few years ago). Since I haven’t kept a strict count on the number of items in my closet and I’m trying to keep more of clothing available year round I have definitely noticed my closet feels more cluttered.
I think I’m really craving a smaller wardrobe. I have purged a ton and my closet feels very well thought out, but there’s definitely room for improvement. I did a random purge a couple of weeks ago and easily got rid of 20 items that I just didn’t love.
This round of the 10×10 has really showed me how much easier it is to work with less. It was easier to get dressed, I was more organized in planning my outfits, and I felt the relief of not having decisions fatigue (it’s a thing…for real).
The difference between LOVE and really, really like.
I have a few new pieces in here that I’ve patiently been saving up and waiting for. And I love them. Truly adore them. As in, I want to wear them every day. Slow fashion at its best. I really cannot think of a piece of clothing I’ve wanted to wear more than this Jamie + the Jones Tee Sweater (it’s sold out, but keep an eye out for restock). Same with these Brass Ponte Pants, I don’t know if I’ve felt more confident wearing something. They fit perfectly and hold everything in. These items have set the standard high and really made me feel the difference between LOVE and really, really like.
The power of detail.
I think one of the biggest successes of this 10×10 is breaking out of my simple pants and sweater slump I was in. I wasn’t putting much effort or creativity into my outfits recently, which is not possible when the option of just picking a different item to make a new outfit is removed. Moving forward, I plan to put more effort into a Sunday evening outfit planning session, complete with creative layering combinations, the small style details (think socks, pant length, cuffs, texture, etc.), and well thought out accessorizing.
- A brainstorming session with a small group of items in your wardrobe can go a long way.
I think the most valuable part of the challenge is sitting down with a small group of items and creating outfits with them. I always start the 10×10 off this way and create a quick list of ideas on my phone. It never ceases to amaze me how many outfit s I can create using just a small stack of clothes. Having a limited number of items is where I start to get creative with new combinations and ways to wear things. Even if I didn’t wear the items for 10 consecutive days, realizing how much I can do with what I already own is very powerful (especially when I’m getting the itch to shop).
2. No ones is actually paying that much attention to what you’re wearing. Or at least how often you’re wearing it.
I have always chosen very simple, neutral items for these challenges because I didn’t want people to notice I was wearing the same thing over and over. Why that is even an issue, who knows? This round I tried to not worry about that so much and I chose items that are a little more ‘noticeable’ either in shape or color. And you know what? No one noticed.
It got me thinking about if I could remember what my coworkers wore recently. And while I always notice when someone is dressed in an outfit I like, I really never remember it day to day. It may seem silly, but this is a huge revelation. For as long as I can remember I’ve always been concerned about wearing items too often. Starting my capsule and investing in higher quality items that I wanted to wear all the time helped some, but it was always a voice in the back of my head when I was planning outfits. I honestly don’t think it needs to be anymore.
3. Set aside time to practice with items you’re not as comfortable wearing/styling.
Prior to this challenge I did take some time to try on a few outfits that I was unsure of. I took photos and sent them to my friend, Andrea, who helped me see what was/wasn’t working. It was much easier to take that time on a Sunday afternoon rather than trying to figure it out at 6 a.m. on a Wednesday.
4. Embrace your ‘theme’.
I clearly had a color scheme going on here and I loved it! So, if you find you are drawn to certain colors, patterns, or shapes and your wardrobe reflects that. Own it. Embrace it. Love that you have found what you love.
5. Less is more.
I know I’ve said it a million times, but it’s SO true. My mornings were so much easier with fewer options to chose from. I’m going to take this opportunity to look back through my entire wardrobe and see if there’s anything I don’t love as much as everything else. It’s a constant process to keep my wardrobe small and full of what I love. I was so happy with all of my outfits in this challenge it is a great time to go back in and find, by comparison, clothing I don’t want to wear as much.
6. Maybe a shopping break is in order?
I noticed that during the challenge I took a break from online browsing and it was very refreshing. While I currently shop and buy just a fraction of what I used to, it still is good to keep myself in check sometimes. Over the past couple of years my wardrobe has really evolved and it’s in a great place. I think I need to take some time to appreciate that rather than always searching for the next thing. Plus, any time away from my screen can’t be bad right?
And last but not least, here is what I’ve taken away from my most recent 10×10.
- When I’m wearing what I love, it doesn’t get boring.
During the past few 10×10’s I have worn the items longer than 10 days. These were also my most enjoyable 10×10’s. Looking back, I recognize that this happened when I really shifted my shopping habits. I started purchasing ‘fewer, better’ and if I didn’t love it, I didn’t keep it. Yes, I spent more on individual items, but I bought fewer items, so my clothing expense was very similar.
I am often asked if I get bored with such a small wardrobe and the answer is rarely. Very rarely. I LOVE my clothes and love wearing them, so I don’t get bored with them. Sure, I got through phases when I’m not all that inspired or motivated to put together new combinations, but then I just repeat outfits I’m still excited about.
2. Being redundant is probably a good sign.
My fall and winter 10×10’s are almost identical. And I think that’s pretty cool. To me, that signifies that after all this time I have really settled into my personal style. I know what I like and I just keep wearing it.
I did like my fall outfits better than my winter outfits. There was a little too much black in this 10×10. I think had I included my gray sweater or repeated the bone wide leg pants that would have made a big difference.
3. A layering piece can go a long way.
I didn’t include a cardigan during this round and that was a piece I really missed. A layering piece is a quick and easy way to change an outfit and can be worn so many ways. My favorite it still the umber colored one that I included for fall. I left it out for this round so that I wasn’t wearing the exact same outfits I did during that challenge.
4. Simple is my style language.
I said this in an Instagram post one day when I was worried that my 10×10 outfits were too boring and I think it will become my new style motto. Simple combinations are what I tend to feel most comfortable in. For years I over-complicated outfits in an effort to be more styled. As I’ve paid closer attention to how I feel wearing my outfits, I have found that I hate when an outfit feels or looks too ‘fussy’. Instead, I’d rather focus on texture, detail, and shape to upstyle an outfit.
What was your biggest takeaway from the style challenge?