Happy Monday friends! Today’s post is a little off the usual beaten path ’round here. I wanted to give you a recap of how I felt my Summer 10X10 challenge from last week went and share outcomes, lessons, thoughts and a few highlight outfits. Let’s dive right in!
What is a 10X10 challenge? 10X10 challenges were created by minimalist blogger babes Lee from Style Bee and Caroline of Un-fancy. It’s a challenge in which you pick 10 items (not including accessories, lounge/gym clothes, pajamas, and undergarments) and you wear just those 10 items for 10 days. Pretty straightforward right?
Why do it? A pretty valid question and one that I have received quite a lot over the last 10 days along with some quizzical expressions and skepticism. I get it, I really do, I love clothes and style but I am trying to dive a little deeper and be more mindful. As a self diagnosed shopaholic I have been working hard to remedy my ways and find ways to build a balanced wardrobe full of pieces I really, truly love and not just a full closet with nothing to wear. This challenge really helped me find new styles for the same old pieces and get a little creative mixing and matching in ways I would not normally put together. It also taught me a little more about what works for me vs. what looks cute on others. Plus, an additional take away is how much this challenge helps when it comes to packing. Hello 10 day vacation solution! I think my days of overstuffed, big suitcases are gone.
What did I pick? After much deliberation and laundry I went mostly with recent favorites and neutrals save for one wild card item (a fitted lbd). I picked 3 tops: my cream Madewell crop tee, silk rust Elizabeth Suzann Ella tank, and Rails short sleeve linen top. Then 3 bottoms: white button fly AG skinny jeans, a pair of denim cutoff shorts for hot days, and of course my favorite nude Vetta Capsule pant. I then added 2 dresses: a soft floral print Cupcakes and Cashmere dress and a fitted black midi dress. I only added 2 pairs of shoes: flat ankle wrap Kanna espadrilles and my favorite brown suede Splendid mules. And finally on a whim I threw in an oatmeal duster cardi because I freeze just about everywhere I go and off I went.
Thoughts after completing 10 days? So this is a two-fold question. First of all let’s focus on the good stuff: this was pretty fun and somehow freeing. I can’t exactly explain it, but the notion of only having 10 items to choose from took a lot less time in the morning to get dressed. After all, I only could make so many combos happen and the weather often ruled out half while the activity of that day made the rest of the decision. My laundry load was also a lot lighter that week. Yes, I still had plenty of workout and lounge clothes filling my basket but my overall load was smaller – definitely a plus. I also picked mostly favorites, a lot of these are pieces I wear almost every week in some rotation or other so I really did love most of my outfits. And I got pretty darn creative. I mean, I wore outfits I would normally never put together and I kind of dug a lot of them. For example, I’ve always been a fan of an all white outfit but for some odd reason I didn’t feel I could pull one off (Would I look weird? Would it be boring? Did it only look good in editorials and on someone else’s insta feed?) but over these 10 days I wore 2 all white-ish outfits and they were 2 of my standout favorites. I even plan to repeat them again this week. I also was able to mostly ignore the rest of my wardrobe which in a way made it a lot easier to really love the pieces I was using. Plus, it gave me so many ideas about how to handle packing for my next trip!
The bad? Ok, so there really wasn’t much bad stuff. I mean, it was a challenge just for fun. I guess it’s more of a lessons learned than bad stuff. I learned that I need more than 2 shoe options, especially when chasing a toddler is involved (definitely going to include some casual sneakers next round). I also learned that tops over dresses (well really tops over fitted dresses) is not my thing. I’ve seen so many bloggers pull it off and I really thought I would love the look on myself but I just felt a little off and not quite like myself in that outfit. I did however find that I enjoyed the fitted dress overall. I tend to go for more loose and bohemian silhouettes with dresses but I really liked the fit of the black midi dress. I also wish I had a more comfortable pair of denim shorts. I really am not a fan of the fit of mine ( they ride up, up, up all day long) and so wearing them for many days out of 10 was a little much. I think the hardest part for me really was just the last few days. I had sort of run out of speed and excitement and really could not wait to end the challenge to start wearing the rest of my wardrobe, I missed it. Badly enough that by Saturday night (night 9) I ended up cheating a little and wearing an outfit totally not from my 10×10. Luckily it was towards the end and I’d been too lazy that day to do laundry so I was more or less out of options for date night.
Clothing to me is a huge form of self expression. Each day is a new day to be a new version of yourself. When I open my closet and ask myself: who am I today? what challenges am I going to face (and conquer)? and then dress accordingly is a favorite moment of mine. And I love how certain clothing and combinations can create different feelings: confidence when I like my outfit, comfort in a cozy sweater and leggings, strength in some exercise clothes and Nikes, and so forth. And so this challenge made it a little hard to do that since I was limited to just the 10 pieces. But, it did help me in my ongoing personal mission to buy items for my current life and roles instead of the dream one I often get suckered into. For instance, I am a pants girl. I love pants and a good top any day. Dresses are nice but mixing and matching outfits for me is so much more fun with tops and bottoms. I also love shoes. I don’t think I realized how deep that love went until I was limited to just the 2 pairs. Next time around I may not include them in the 10 item count. 😉
Overall it was a really fun little experiment. It helped me dive a little deeper and really think about what outfits I loved and why. Did I love the shape of the outfit? The comfort? Did I really love the way the white crop tee and nude pants were so summery and neutral? Or did I love an individual piece because it mixed and remixed so well with everything? (Looking at you AG white skinny jean). It also really showed me how much I value my comfort. Wearing those shorts for 10 days was really rough. Sure they are super cute, but boy did I feel a lot of discomfort while wearing them. Time to find a perfect pair instead of settling and forcing myself into this one because they are so “in”.
Will I do another 10×10 challenge? Yes! It was a lot of fun to part take in and since fall is my favorite season of all, I’m hoping to take the lessons I learned during the summer challenge and apply it to fall!
Have you ever done a style challenge like this? Would you want to? Drop me a line and let me know, I’m so curious how many are willing to get a little extra creative with their wardrobes. 😉 I’m linking the items I wore (or some very similar dupes) for you below.