This is a bit of a milestone for me, as I am taking part in the now famous 10×10 Challenge for the first time this year. You might have heard Helen and Caroline talking about it on the Love to Sew podcast a while ago. Or you might even have done it yourself.
As someone who has tried and failed repeatedly to a) build a capsule wardrobe and b) complete any styling exercise ever, I am curious how this is going to go for me. I am definitely a minimalist at heart, and getting even more so as I progress through my style journey. So being limited to 10 items over 10 days does not seem daunting at all. I’m actually enjoying the idea of not having to make too many choices when dressing in the morning.
Or I might get ultra fed up and give up half-way through.
Shall I tell you about my choices?
What is the 10×10 Challenge?
It’s a styling challenge, created by Lee Vosburgh from StyleBee, which aims to push ourselves to get creative within the confines of a curated, minimal wardrobe.
The rules are simple:
- Choose 10 items from your wardrobe
- Style them in 10 different outfits
- Wear them (and only them) for 10 days
You can include shoes and coats or not, but you can use any accessories you want, they don’t count against your 10 items.
You can also tailor the challenge to your lifestyle, for example, only doing it for weekdays, just for work or just for after work.
Lee recommends thinking carefully about the 10 days ahead and choosing your items to account for what you will be doing, the weather and what you also enjoy wearing.
What’s my plan?
You might be shocked, but my 10 items are NOT 100% me-made! I chose a mix of best-loved shop-bought items that I’ve had in my wardrobe for years (you might remember I haven’t bought any RTW since 2015, with one exception, see below) and some suitable handmade items as well. I wanted to ensure they are wearable items that I know I will enjoy reaching for every morning and I could style into looks that would cover me for most eventualities.
I decided to go for a week-day approach and do my ten days over 2 weeks of workdays. I will be on holiday in the highlands of Scotland for much of the period so I will be spilling into a third week as well. I have a few socials after work and a blogging event next week as well, so I do hope I’m covered for all these eventualities.
The weather looks like it’s going to be cold in London next week, so watch-out for creative layering.
My challenge goal
See if I can do it!
As I said, I have tried and failed in the past to join in community challenges and also to put together capsules.
On one hand, I love the community and everyone posting and encouraging each other to keep up, not to mention the inspiration. On the other hand, daily IG posts are a bit much for me and I end up frustrated with the quality of my pictures and how it long it takes to take the good pics I want to grace my feed with.
And on capsules, I just get distracted. I mean, even when I’m carrying everything on my back on holidays, I still go by the principle ‘better to carry than to go without’. And yet, I often get overwhelmed with the amount of clothes I have to choose from every morning.
Well, I can’t wait to share the answer at the end of the 10ish days of the challenge!
So here’s what I’ll be rocking for the next 10 business days:
- 4 tops (3 me-made, 1 RTW)
- 3 bottoms (1 me-made, 2 RTW)
- 1 dress (me-made)
- 1 coat (me-made)
- 1 blazer (RTW)
60% Me-made to 40% RTW, so here’s to small victories! I will make sure to include a me-made item in every single daily outfit.
I left the shoes out this time, just to give myself a bit of a leeway (Lee says it’s not cheating!!). Also, the weather is very unpredictable at the moment, so I want to make sure I won’t get caught out.
My 10 items
1| TRIANGLE BACK CHIFFON BLOUSE – Burda Style Pattern in upcycled sari poly chiffon fabric
A much worn top last year, which took me easily from summer through autumn and even into winter. It’s a super simple shape, but it’s so easy to wear and to dress up and down. Plus it’s fairly crinkle resistant, so that’s always a plus in my books.
2| BLACK DRESS – Seamwork Ida dress in textured knit (this was never blogged, but you check out pattern details for another version of Ida).
This dress was meant to iron out the issues I identified with the first Ida (link above), namely the continuous annoying flip-up of the sleeve caps. However, the fabric is much less stretchy than the embossed scuba of the red Ida. So a host of other problems ensued. Not to mention the fact that I lost a lot of weight since making it a year ago. So I put it on my 10×10 list to see if it’s a goner or a fixer and if I could get enough use out of it to make it worth taking my time to take it in and correct the things that annoy me. Also, well, a black dress is always a good idea in a capsule wardrobe, right?
3| RED UNSTRUCTURED COAT – Lisette for Butterick B6244 in red wool
Well, my pride and joy coat does not need much introduction. The only coat I have made to date, not for lack of trying, mind. After this interminable winter, I almost dared spring to come so I can get out of the puffy winter jacket which I have been wearing non-stop since November. It’s still a bit thin, but I don’t care, I will wear it for the challenge. I also wanted to add a bit of colour to brighten up any and all of my potential outfits.
4| SKINNY BLACK JEANS – RTW
These are my absolute go-to bottoms, and I have been wearing relentlessly since I had to emergency-buy them in September 2016. I knew they would get a lot of wear, so I feel that my guilt at breaking the fast was ultimately assuaged. They were fitting me very well when I got them, but again, having lost a lot of weight, I might have to replace them with a me-made version that fits better at some point, as there is no way whatsoever I will spend the time to take them in (that of the most hated sewing jobs – trouser adjusting!).
5| CROPPED WOOL TOP – Inari T-shirt in stripped grey wool with pleather detail
This top was a scrap-busting job after finishing the culottes (see below), with the pleather added in to preserve my modesty. I don’t wear it very often on its own, but it makes a super cute combo with the bottoms. So it’s been included because I want to see if there are other options for it in its own right.
6| WATERFALL FRONT BLAZER – RTW
Again, one of my go-to pieces that has been in my wardrobe for donkey’s years. It was a gift from a friend who thought it was a bit too formal for her, but I’d actually one of my go-to smart-casual pieces. I have worn it in various combinations and it felt like it would be a good workhorse for this capsule.
7| WHITE SHIRT – RTW
This is the only white shirt I have in my wardrobe. I know, unbelievable! It actually gets very little wear because I don’t like it very much. It’s a bit too big, again, a remnant from my size 12-14 phase, and I don’t like that it doesn’t have actual buttoned cuffs. A classic white shirt is high on my to sew list, so I wanted to see if I could end up being a massive wardrobe workhorse.
8| RED PENCIL SKIRT – RTW
I really wanted another colourful item in this capsule so this skirt fit the bill perfectly. I also liked that it came with its own belt, which could be used in other combinations. I love a nice classic pencil skirt.
9| PINSTRIPE WOOL CULOTTES – Vintage Simplicity 3135 in pinstripe grey wool
One of my all-time favourite handmade items, it was impossible not to include them in a winter (or spring-ish) selection. They always make me feel so put-together and yet comfortable, especially when paired with the matching top.
10| TURTLENECK – Self-drafted in viscose knit
I have a black RTW woolly knit turtleneck that I wore to death in the past few winters. So I felt the need to make myself a thinner version to carry me into spring and cool summers. It’s too basic to post on the blog, yet it’s been on heavy rotation since last autumn when I finished it.
What happens next?
I will post my outfits every day on my Instagram and I’ll do a roundup of the first 5 outfits at the end next week and a final review post after the end of the challenge. Remember that I’m only doing weekdays so I will finish on 13th April.
If you would like to take part or follow along, check out Lee’s account on Instagram (she has an awesome quick explanation in her stories). The challenge hashtags are:
If you are a sewer, I will also use a dedicated hashtag. If you are joining in, it would be great if you can use them as well. I will do a round-up of all the hand-made (or partially handmade) outfits in my review posts.
SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SUCH CAPSULE WARDROBE CHALLENGES? HAVE YOU EVER TAKEN PART? WOULD YOU CONSIDER TAKING PART? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS BELOW OR TWEET ME @SEWRENDIPITY.
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