Saturday, 10 November 2018

Attempting the 10x10 challenge

One of my favourite blogs that I've discovered over the past few years is Caroline Rector's blog, Un-fancy, which delves into the world of capsule wardrobes and minimalism when it comes to fashion and style. Caroline has, over the years, embarked on a collaborative challenge with another blogger, Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee, who, in 2015, created the 10x10 challenge.

The 10x10 challenge allows you to pick out 10 clothing items from your wardrobe to style up in 10 different ways over 10 days. Each time that Caroline and Lee have undertaken this challenge (which is usually once a season) I've thought that it's something in which I would like to take part, but never really had the enthusiasm to dive into it. So, when they announced that they were running it again in October, I decided that this was as good a time as any to try it.

My 10 pieces 

To be honest, I didn't put a lot of thought into the items I chose, which did make coming up with new outfits a little more challenging. I decided not to include shoes in my 10 pieces (especially because I work from home, so ugg slippers are more often than not on my feet) but I did include outerwear, in the form of a chunky cardigan and a leather jacket. I also didn't include any workout gear or accessories (such as bags or jewellery) in the mix.

The 10 pieces I chose were:

One - a purple midi wrap dress (Realisation Par)

 Two - a blue and white striped sleeveless dress (Loft)

Three - a black leather jacket (Reiss)

Four - a black chunky cardigan (Asos)

Five - a white t-shirt (Portmans)

Six - a red, white and blue striped t-shirt (Seed Heritage)

Seven - a light grey t-shirt (Everlane)

Eight - a khaki green tie-front cami top (Tigani Lux)

Nine and Ten - a pair of black skinny jeans (River Island) and a pair of denim cut-off shorts (Zara) 

Outfit combinations

This is a summary of what I pulled together on each day of the challenge, and what I was doing on each of those days:
  • Day 1 (working from home): khaki green tie-front top, denim shorts, black cardigan
  • Day 2 (working from home): red/white/blue striped tee, denim shorts, cardigan
  • Day 3 (working from home): grey tee, black jeans, cardigan 
  • Day 4 (morning catch up with friends, working from home, drinks in the city in the evening): white tee, black jeans (with belt), cardigan (during day) and leather jacket (in the evening)
  • Day 5 (flying to Melbourne, going to a concert): purple wrap dress, leather jacket
  • Day 6 (brunch in Melbourne, flying home): blue and white dress, leather jacket
  • Day 7 (church in the morning, dinner in the city in the evening): grey tee, black jeans (with belt), leather jacket (during the day); purple wrap dress (in the evening)
  • Day 8 (working from home): khaki green top, black jeans, cardigan
  • Day 9 (working from home, morning walk/coffee with a friend, Bible study at night): red/white/blue striped tee, denim shorts (with belt), cardigan
  • Day 10 (working from home): white tee, denim shorts

What I learned from the challenge

Before starting the challenge, I wasn't too sure what to expect, or what I would get out of it. I knew that the purpose of it was to get you to appreciate the items you have in your wardrobe and to come up with new, creative ways to style the pieces you already own, so as to resist the urge to buy new pieces on a whim. I think that because I didn't put a huge amount of thought into which pieces to include, I did find myself getting a bit stuck creatively, and over-wearing some pieces (like the denim shorts and black cardigan) while wearing others only once (like the blue and white striped dress).

If I were to choose the pieces again, I think I would swap out some of the black items for a bit more colour variety, and possibly switch out one of the t-shirts for a different top (maybe a shirt or cami) for a slightly more formal option.

The challenge definitely forced me to think about some different ways to wear items. For example, I added a belt to my jeans and shorts on some days and did a bit of a front tuck with my tops, to add a different look from my standard untucked t-shirt and shorts/jeans look. I also learned that pairing my khaki tie-front top with jeans (as opposed to shorts, which was what I had previously done) was a combination that I really enjoyed, so this is something that I'll be experimenting with my other pairs of jeans in the future. The challenge also confirmed to me how just much I love the casual t-shirt and shorts look on warmer days, and the t-shirt and jeans/cardigan look on cooler days, as this was a combination to which I kept returning.

I think the fact that I undertook the challenge during 10 days that involved a bit of variety with working from home, travelling interstate, going to a concert, attending church, going out for a couple of meals and drinks events, and catching up with friends on a more casual basis, meant that I was able to experiment with a range of combinations for a variety of situations, which in turn made the challenge a bit more fun than if I was staying at home for the majority of the time.

Towards the end of the challenge, I have to admit that I was looking forward to it coming to an end so that I could reach back into the rest of my wardrobe and add in some more variety, however I am glad that I gave it a go, as it has helped me get out of my comfort zone slightly with some of the combinations I wouldn't ordinarily choose. I would definitely recommend giving this challenge a go if you feel like you're in a bit of a rut with your wardrobe and want to spend a few days experimenting with some new options based on the items you already own.

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