I can’t tell if the Style Bee Spring 10×10 challenge whizzed by because I enjoyed it so much or because it made getting dressed in the mornings so much easier, or both. In any case, the fact is that it’s already over. But the good news is that I have a lot of outfits to share with you as well as my thoughts and conclusions.
What to expect in this post:
A rundown of all my 10 outfits
How did I do against my goals
What I loved and what I did not enjoy about the challenge, as a first-time participant
My favourite pics from #Sewist10x10
My spring 10×10 challenge outfits
The 10 items I chose for the challenge were a mix of handmade and a few very old and well loved RTW pieces. I built this specifically as an office-appropriate capsule, where everything worked together to create a variety of stylish, yet comfortable outfits. I only did the challenge on 5 workdays, over 2 weeks. I did not include shoes this time, but I wore mostly 3 pairs during the challenge.
If you’d like to see the outfits as I wore them each day, with pictures taken on my phone, please check out my Instagram. The following pictures were taken in a separate photo shoot, but are the same outfits, minus some accessories and shoes as I ended up mixing up a bit more for these pics.
So here we go, my first attempt at this challenge.
I wore this outfit on a cold and rainy day in London when I met the lovely Vesna (@Kelerabeus on Instagram), who was visiting from Serbia. Of course, I wore much more sensible shoes (flat winter boots), but I rediscovered these old M&S shoes in my drawer at work and now I want to wear them with everything. I love how they mix and match in my grey outfit. Also, shout out to my old cashmere scarf that until recently used to be beige, but I decided grey is a much more wearable colour and I dyed it. I just can’t get enough of it and wore it every day this winter (and this so-called spring). I also added my new favourite earrings from the V&A museum (where I buy most of my earrings anyway). I originally got them at the Balenciaga exhibition when I met my sewing buddies, but I somehow managed to lose them in Milan (I think I forgot them in the hotel room), so I popped back on Friday during my lunch break and got a new pair. Supporting the museum with twice the love!
I’m wearing: M&S (very old) lace-up shoes |DIY wool culottes | self-drafted jersey turtleneck | Cashmere scarf (dyed) | V&A red crochet earrings
Verdict: Thumbs up! I loved this outfit very much, very comfortable, warm and still put together. I think the scarf and earrings totally make it come together. Would definitely wear again.
I wore this coat (Butterick B6244) with every single outfit, as it was the only one I added to the challenge, but with some particular outfits, I feel it worked a treat. I particularly loved the volume combination between the culottes and the folds of the coat. I usually wear it closed tight with the belt, to keep the cold off.
Casual Friday in my office definitely involves jeans. But I also like to keep it a tiny bit stylish too. I usually walk to work in flats and change into heels (that’s why I end up with 8 pairs in my drawer!!), but I love these ankle boots to actually wear on a regular day. I think they go really well with skinny jeans.
I actually had this layering in mind before the challenge even started, as this crop top is just perfect for that. It’s wool, so quite warm, but because of the short sleeves, it always needs something underneath in the winter. Also, it’s a bit itchy, so I don’t want to wear it on my bare skin.
Verdict: Ok, though nothing too exciting. I love the layering, it worked out as I envisaged, but it’s a bit too dark. I think maybe layered with a red shirt next time. Love the skinnies + those ankle boots though!
Another work-ready outfit, but also a bit of a going out one. I had some leaving drinks for a colleague, and then some more drinks with friends (yes, I know, I’m a social butterfly). So I wanted to keep it formal for work, but also a bit dressed up for afterwards. A day-to-night outfit, if you like. I love this blazer, have had it for many many years and I have literally worn it with everything, from jeans to dresses to skirts.
I’m wearing: Dune London heels (old) | DIY Seamwork Ida black dress in textured jersey | RTW blazer (old) | Carla Szabo lips brooch (Carla is a Romanian independent jewellery designer that I love) | V&A earrings
Verdict: Very good option for work to play outfit. I had included this dress in my selection to see how I feel about it. It definitely looks alright, but there are serious fit issues. The fabric is a souvenir from Portugal, so I don’t want to give up on it, but it will require a lot of fixing to get the fit right. I will end up in my mending pile and goodness knows that’s almost a death conviction. I like the red/black combo, so that is telling me I need another little black dress in my wardrobe.
Bonus look: here’s the evening version, without the blazer.
I’m getting repetitive here, but yet more work outfits. The pencil skirt is the classic workwear, isn’t it? I’ve added this skirt to my 10 items because I wanted to diversify my bottoms options and for the colour pop. It’s a strange shade of red, almost tomato orange, and in every single picture, it came out a different hue. But one thing it sure isn’t, and that is black, white or grey.
I’m wearing: Dune London heels (old) |RTW pencil skirt (old) | DIY self-drafted jersey turtleneck | RTW blazer (old)
Verdict: A bit of a classic really, pencil skirt, black blazer. Can’t go too wrong with it. Comfortable too. A solid one!
Time to mix it up a bit for the Friday outfit! I was invited to a bloggers event at Fashion Capital, a wonderful factory, sewing atelier and textile industry apprenticeship school in North London. So I wanted to mix a chic DIY outfit, that was also comfortable and not too formal. As I had the morning off from work, I didn’t want people to think I was off to an interview or something (it’s a standing joke in our team that if you are too formal on a Friday, you must have had a job interview that day).
I was wearing flat shoes on the day and a different pair of earrings.
Verdict: Again, a solid option. I think I prefer that shirt with some layers on top, but it looks nice and crisp, especially with the scarf.
Bonus look: My DIY red coat (Butterick B6244) elevates the outfit again.
The return of the pencil skirt! And it brought a new friend. I was surprised how late in the challenge this top made its appearance. I thought I would reach for it right away, but I guess I got excited about the previous combinations and left it towards the end. Another mini day-to-night outfit, but I did not get to take this one out, just a work-home kinda day.
Verdict: Can’t go too wrong with this look for a work outfit. Pencil skirt, check! Black blazer, check! The top brings a bit of playfulness, once I take off the blazer.
Bonus look: check out the party at the back!
The little black dress comes out again! This was the outfit I wore out to our dateversary dinner. Again, straight from work going out kind of look. Layering is again on the cards!
I wore this with boots instead of heels and had a different pair of red earrings on the day.
Verdict: I definitely feel much more comfortable layering the dress as a pinafore on top of the shirt. The too low armholes are covered and I’m not that worried about my modesty. I liked the little red details, like the belt and brooch and the earrings. Again, a solid attempt.
By this point, I was starting to run out of ideas. So I went back to some of my favourite items from my 10: culottes, triangle blouse and the blazer. Comfy, put together, easy to wear.
Verdict: I think this outfit is missing a bit of colour! Otherwise, top marks for comfort, work appropriateness and put-togetherness.
Ouuh, the end is in sight! Another pencil skirt-based outfit. I’m trying all sorts of layering craziness, you guys! Plus, how awesome are those disco ball earrings?!?
Verdict: I think this one is a thumbs down. The crop top just does not work with the pencil skirt at all. The combination of shapes is just not doing it for me.
I made it to the end! I absolutely saved the best for last. This combination of the top and culottes has been one of my favourite me-made outfits since I finished these pieces. The Inari was made out of a fabric scrap that I had left over from making the culottes. And man, what a great idea that was! I hardly ever wear the top on its own, but they go together so nicely that I just can’t get enough of it. I wore it with all sorts of shirts and long sleeve tops and I just want more!
Verdict: both thumbs up! I think the pleather insert works so nicely to break up the stripes. And I love the white of the shirt as a canvas for the rest. And of course, a touch of red. Love!
Wow! Thanks for making it so far! Now let’s get onto the geeky analysis!
Spring 10×10 Challenge Thoughts
How did I do against my goal?
My main goal was to actually finish the challenge, which I achieved without any problems at all. In fact, I was so into it that I almost forgot I had the rest of my wardrobe back at the end, and continued to reach for my 10 items. I definitely had ideas for another few days. So a big tick!
What I loved and what I did not enjoy about the challenge, as a first-time participant?
Call me weird, but I actually loved the rules and the restrictions. I realised I like to be told what I can and can’t do. One of my biggest problems in life is too much choice. I get absolutely paralysed by endless possibilities. So when you tell me there are no endless possibilities, that’s actually great news. It really brings out the creativity in me and it forces me to make the best of what I have. I remember when I first moved to the UK and I lived out of one suitcase for two months, I was actually much happier than when all my stuff arrived and I had my 90 pairs of shoes at my disposal. So this tells me that I can absolutely do a capsule wardrobe, in fact, I should just put away half my wardrobe right now, as it clearly distracts me.
I also loved that I had a really clear theme, dressing for work, and a very well defined colour palette (black, white, grey and red). And I can’t say I missed the other colours at all. Again, I love things that go together without a lot of thought. And I love red, especially as an accent. This idea had started germinating in my mind when I did the Seamwork Design Your Wardrobe course. I put together a Pinterest board with the theme Accented Minimalism, and I’m actually super happy that I managed to build a coherent capsule with the things I already have.
I loved most of my looks (except the Inari+pencil skirt one) which was actually not a surprise at all. I think it comes out of the coherence of a capsule. I’m not sure if I was particularly brave with any of the outfits, but they were all wearable and comfortable and, even if I do say so myself, quite stylish.
What I hated was the daily documentation. It was extremely time-consuming, taking pictures and editing them. If I ever end up doing this again, I would absolutely take all my outfit pictures in advance and schedule them.
I would also have loved to engage more with this new community of sustainable style people I discovered through the challenge, I just ran out of time. I have definitely discovered some wonderful new people to follow and I can’t wait to engage with them more in the future.
What sewing lessons did I learn?
Although it was a mixed RTW and handmade capsule, I definitely picked up a few themes that I want to build in my sewing plans for the rest of the year. I want a white shirt that fits me better and that has a few more interesting details than this one. Whilst it will not jump to the top of my queue as I don’t have the fabric in my stash and this one is perfectly serviceable still, once it gives up its ghost, I can’t wait to sew one. I also want to make an oversized blazer. I have seen a few Burda ones that I have my eye on. This one, although I adore it, I might have loved a bit to death and I’m afraid it’s on its last legs. I also really need a new pair of black skinny jeans. I lost a lot of weight and they are getting a bit baggy on me. I will keep them for when my weight goes back, as I can’t possibly believe I will stay so thin much longer. And lastly, I absolutely need a new little black dress, as this one will be in mending pile purgatory for a while.
My favourite #sewist10x10 outfits
Speaking of community, I mentioned that there was a dedicated hashtag for sewists and that I will choose my favourites at the end. So here they are.
Kristi’s dress and obi belt combo:
View this post on Instagram
#spring10x10 4/10: Back home with miserable rowhouse light. 😞I’m loving this outfit, but it’s the product of some seriously wishful thinking. 🌧💨☔️ . . Wearing modified Tencel Lou Box Top, Gap Jeans, Danskos, and a black leather obi belt I made last year. . . . #es10x10 #stylebee10x10 #10x10friends #handmade10x10 #sewist10x10 #sewDIY #louboxtop #handmadewardrobe #memadeeveryday #isewmyownclothes #wearhandmade #sweetkmcloset
Caroline’s Perth blouse (in case you haven’t heard, she lauched her PDF pattern and it’s a stunner).
Ruthie’s Londres trench coat and red jumper combo:
Well, this challenge was an incredible revelation. I can actually do capsule and I can focus on making my me-mades and my RTW work well together in some really exciting ways for me. If anything, this really helped hone in my preferences even more.
I am hooked, my friends, so I am planning a massive wardrobe purge to get rid of all the things I don’t wear anymore or don’t love or are not in my newly found colour palette. Also, I am looking at my stash as well and planning some purging and make-overs (stay tuned for updates from the dye bath).
But most importantly, with Me Made May approaching, I want to challenge myself to do it again, this time for a whole month. I want to increase my percentage of hand-mades and push myself to create new outfits with what I have in my wardrobe. I am not ashamed to include RTW in my capsule, they are clothes I have had for years and would only showcase and complement my own creations. After all, a sustainable wardrobe does not have to be entirely handmade, it just needs to be thoughtful and well worn (instead of languishing in the back of the closet). I have a quick sewing project planned as I really hanker for this particular item, but the key concept will be ‘make what I have feel like new clothes via styling’.
Thank you and hats off for reading to the end!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE LOOK OUT OF THE 10? HAVE I CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT CAPSULES OR ABOUT DOING WARDROBE CHALLENGES? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!
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