What is it? How did I like it? Would I do it again?
I’ve been a huge Project 333 fan for years now, so I definitely keep tabs on what’s trending with minimalist influencers. So when this #10×10 thing started going viral, I was curious. The 10×10 challenge was created by Lee Vosburgh at StyleBee. The gist is you pick 10 items of clothing (not including jewelry, accessories, athleisure wear or pjs) and mix and match them into at least 10 different outfits that you can wear for at least 10 days, if not a few months. I have to say, my first impression was “this is genius” and then my second thought was “could someone really dress this way long term?” The concept really reminded me of this TedTalk I saw on the 10 item French wardrobe. As a huge francophile I was even more interested in checking this out. So, since I’ve been re-minimizing lately, I figured now was the perfect time to give this 10×10 thing a go.
My 10×10 Challenge
My ten items consisted of:
- Gray Long Sleeve Tee (Gap Factory Tall)
- Black Long Sleeve Tee (Gap Factory Tall)
- B/W Flannel (Gap Tall)
- Burgundy Cardigan (Gap, from ThredUp)
- Teal Cardigan (Thrifted)
- Skinny Black Jeans (Gap Tall)
- Skinny Blue Jeans (Gap Tall)
- Black Knit Dress (Thrifted)
- Brown Heeled Boots (Merrell’s, Thrifted!)
- Black Short Boots (Unisa, DSW)
P.S. Can you tell I like Gap?! haha
I decided not to include outerwear like most people are doing, mainly because I live in Minnesota, and in December outerwear is not a fashion statement, it’s necessary for survival (and ya know, making sure your snot doesn’t totally freeze).
I also decided to pair down my athleisure and pajama options, as well as take the opportunity to minimize my underwear. So I basically got to clean out my entire closet. It felt incredible. I boxed up anything that wasn’t included in my 10×10+ and got a giant polkadot bag for some things that I knew I could part with.
Here’s the rest of my closet:
|Short Key Necklace||Sleep Tee||Knit Joggers||Blue Puffer Coat||Racerback Bra|
|Long Key Necklace||Flannel Pants||Athletic Tank||Red Wool Coat||Nude Bra|
|Key Earrings||T Shirt||Sports Bra||Mary Kay Jacket||Black Bra|
|Gold KS Earrings||Sweatshirt||Underwear|
|Ring Set||Track pants||Black Full Slip|
|Silver Bar Necklace||Cozy Long Sleeve||Black Socks|
|Pearl Earrings||Tennis Shoes||Cozy Socks (2)|
|Plaid Scarf||Black Tights|
|White Infinity Scarf|
Next, I planned out ten days of outfits from the 10×10 portion of my closet. I made a strict rule for myself that the athleisure portion of my wardrobe was not to be worn outside the house. Period.
Day 1: Black Jeans, B/W Flannel, Teal Sweater, Black Boots
Day 2: Dress, White Scarf, Teal Sweater, Black tights, Black boots
Day 3: Blue Jeans, Gray Long Sleeve, Plaid Scarf, Burgundy Cardigan, Brown Boots
Day 4: Black Jeans, Black Long Sleeve, Burgundy Cardigan, Black Boots
Day 5: Blue Jeans, Flannel Shirt, Black Long Sleeve, Black boots
Day 6: Blue Jeans, Gray long sleeve, Teal Cardigan, Brown Boots
Day 7: Blue Jeans, Black long sleeve, Burgundy Cardigan, Brown Boots
Day 8: Dress, Tights, Plaid scarf, Burgundy Cardigan
Day 9: Black Jeans, Flannel Shirt, Burgundy Cardigan, Black Boots
Day 10: Black Jeans, Gray long sleeve, Teal Cardigan, Black boots
As you can see, I didn’t repeat a single outfit, and as I progressed through the days I realized there were even more outfit possibilities that I could wear. I began to think about all the other possibilities with the other clothes that I had packed away. Could I plan a whole year of 10×10 capsules? Could I live like this forever?! Oh my god, my closet is so clean! It takes me 5 minutes to get dressed everyday! How can I make sure this feeling never goes away?! Yup… addicted.
The experiments begin
I started playing with my wardrobe spreadsheets (yes… I love spreadsheets, I use them for everything. Be quiet.) and experimenting with how many outfits I could make with only ten items at a time. The maximum I came up with was 48 outfits with a super versatile 10 item set. The average was about 25-30 unique outfits.
Now here’s the really interesting part… I figured out why Project 333 has been losing appeal for me lately. I played around with some of the key pieces from my Winter 333 set and realized very quickly that I couldn’t create more than 20 unique outfits. My set wasn’t as versatile as I thought. This was a major epiphany for me, because I thought I had been picking pretty versatile pieces, but turns out, a few of them were majorly holding me back in terms of number of unique outfit combinations. Hence, my perpetual boredom long before 3 months was up.
When planning my capsule I neglected to plan actual outfits. Instead I had only been focusing on X number of tops and X number of bottoms plus layering pieces and sort of half-assing it by saying “yeah that will go with lots of things”. Maybe it will, but how much will I like it? How unique is each look? Will I get bored???
How different is this challenge from Project 333?
In all honesty, not that different. When you add up all the items that Project 333 would normally count, I am at 23 items, not counting athleisure. So it’s not significantly different in my opinion. However, the increased emphasis on versatility and the challenge of planning out actual unqiue outfit combinations I found extremely helpful.
Will I do this again?
That question “will I get bored?” is a tough one. As someone who struggles with a shopping addiction and likes freedom, flexibility, and variety – strict capsule wardrobes can be tough. But this one has really caught my attention by challenging me to be more creative and really plan out how many unique outfit combinations I can come up with. The 10×10 Challenge is fantastic for seeing just how far you can stretch your wardrobe options. I will definitely be using the outfit planning principles to further simplify my closet. For now, I have extended this current 10×10 challenge for another 10 days, at which point, I’ll be switching to a travel capsule!
Have you tried the 10×10 challenge? What did you think?
New to Capsule Wardrobes?
Books & Resources: