Fall 10x10 challenge, part 1

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve kind of been in a style funk lately. I’m also more and more conscious of the way I want to consume fashion - buying quality over quantity, choosing more natural materials, making sure my clothes last for years instead of weeks, and ultimately trying to pare down my closet to less. I will perhaps never embrace full minimalism or a 15-item capsule wardrobe, but I want to curate it to something I truly love, while avoiding the style rut of only wearing jeans and sweaters. Or cardigans.

So while I was catching up on happenings in the blogosphere last week, I stumbled across something called the 10x10 Challenge by the lovely Lee over at StyleBee. You choose 10 items from your current closet, and wear them 10 different ways over 10 days. Perfect! Just what I needed to shop my closet instead of running out to get new clothes - and maybe dip my toes into testing out the idea of a capsule wardrobe.

Lee suggests thinking about your lifestyle and what you may need to dress for during the 10 days, as well as weather. And, of course, a complementary color palette to make mixing and matching a breeze. For instance, I do not have to dress for work, so I can get away with a much more casual vibe. I also didn’t have any big parties or other special events coming up during these 10 days.
I am currently on day 6 of the challenge, as I jumped on board a few days late, and didn’t count Sunday as a challenge day, since I basically spent it in my workout gear.

I’ve been posting my outfits over on Instagram, so click on through to check them out! Before I get into how I feel about the whole thing now that I’m halfway there, let’s look at the items I picked from my wardrobe, shall we?

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I picked 3 tops, 2 bottoms, 2 cardigans, two pairs of shoes (flats and heels), and a dress. Obviously, underwear, coats, workout clothes and accessories are not included in my 10. Most days, I threw on either a brown or black leather jacket when I ventured out.

1) A blouse I picked up on sale at H&M at the beginning of last summer. I went up a size because I wanted something that would work tucked in or untucked, over dresses or tank tops as a cover up, and with enough length in the back to cover the butt area if I wanted to pair this with my leather pants, for example. It’s still available!

2) I knew I needed some warm pieces to layer with, so I went with a cashmere sweater from Filippa K. I kept thinking it was Zara, and that’s what I wrote on my Instagram posts, but I was wrong! Oopsie. Filippa K does some amazing knitwear, but they are an investment item.

3) Black skinny jeans are a must. Can’t live without them. This high-waisted pair is from Selected Femme.

4) Cardigans are my jam. Not only in fall and winter, but pretty much year round they are a layering piece I can’t live without. One, because I am always cold, but two, also because they can easily change the look of an outfit and transition it between seasons or from day to night. I picked up this gorgeous Benetton Merino wool one from an outlet in Italy last summer. Benetton does some amazing knitwear as well.

5) These leather boots are old. I’ve had them re-heeled and re-soled, and they go with everything. They are from Mango. The heel is high enough to make an impact, but they are still comfortable to wear and walk in. I don’t know what I’ll do when they fall apart. Maybe go for something like these?

6) The dark blue skinny jeans from Gap used to be my favourite ones. I’ve somehow managed to lose enough weight that they don’t really fit anymore. I used to wear these with the hems rolled up, but they are now too baggy for that, so I rolled the unfinished hem out and have tried to wear them that way but honestly I’m not feeling it. I need new jeans. These were also an outlet purchase and I feel maybe outlet quality.

7) A lightweight cream cotton sweater from Zara is a staple. However, I noticed during this week that it’s showing its age and that’s why I’ve only worn it once so far. I think it’s time for this one to go into recycling.

8) These are the Target dupes of these Steve Madden’s sneakers that I picked up last spring in LA. An excellent find, they go with skirts, dresses, jeans… anything, really.

9) My COS blushed cardigan is one of those items that is like a security blanket. It is warm, thick, and feels like a hug.

10) Finally, the item I picked out from my wardrobe because I felt it hadn’t been worn enough lately. This is a dress I picked up in London over 10 years ago. It was cheap as chips (and probably made by a 3-year old orphan in sweatshop in Bangladesh) but it holds special memories. I’ve worn it to dates with my BF, to birthday parties… but haven’t really thought to wear it as an everyday item. Surprisingly, this is the item I felt was the easiest to style in different ways.

Now, let’s see how I’ve mixed and matched so far:

Fall10x10_outfits.jpg

Here’s the thing. I loved the first half of the challenge. I didn’t really have any problems coming up with new ways to wear my items. But suddenly today I find myself bored. I can probably easily put together another couple of outfits to take me through days 8 and 9 - but I feel like maybe I included too similar items into my 10. I mean, there are only so many jeans +cardigan/sweater combos a girl can do, right? I took on this challenge to get me out of my style rut and I feel like I’m still there with some of these outfits.

Also, I miss my other clothes. I miss wearing different shoes with the same outfit and completely changing the vibe. Now, this wasn't to be taken too seriously, and there are no serious rules - you should totally pull in other items during the challenge, if that’s how you feel. And I’ll be honest - doing the challenge has helped me get excited about choosing my outfits again, instead of just going for what’s comfy and unexciting. So I may post another couple of outfits on my Instagram for those of you following along, but there’s a chance I may not finish the entire 10 days.

I’m also leaving town for a few days on Thursday, so I’m going to be packing other items than my 10 to take with me (since I’m bored with them!). So there’s that.

Now, has the challenge changed how I consume fashion or made me think about the sustainability of my choices? Yes and no. I’ve already been on a low-buy when it comes to clothes for a couple of years. And bouncing back and forth between two continents has forced me to curate my closet anyway. But it has given me back some excitement about putting outfits together again. I’m excited for the challenge to be over, because I have so many other great pieces in my wardrobe ready to be styled and worn! Would I recommend it? Absolutely! It’s been so great seeing how others are taking on the challenge. And interestingly, as someone pointed out in their Instagram post today, there have been a few drop outs this time around, and a general tiredness about putting outfits together. I’m glad I’m not the only one! Because this is my first time, I’m not sure if that happens every time, but I do know this is not supposed to be tiring and cumbersome. So I’m just going to see how I feel tomorrow and decide on my outfit then.

But please let me know in the comments: are you taking part in the challenge and if so, how are you finding it? Also, I would love to know if outfit posts are something that you would like to see me do more on my Instagram (if you follow along over there)? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Xo,

Jo