New Year, New Challenge – the 10×10 Clothing Challenge

Earlier this month, this blog quietly reached the first anniversary, quietly sneaking past like someone who doesn’t want anyone to know it’s their birthday. Believe me, this was quite accidental and I really did want to celebrate the first year of Ordinarily Extraordinary Anna. I’ve loved writing again and posting regularly in this space and am grateful for each and every reader. This is post 78 since I started this little blog back in early February last year, with a bit about me. 

My second post, on February 13th, was about my Wearing ‘Clothes’ Every Day Challenge and it would appear I’ve come full circle, ending up once again, almost exactly where I started a year ago.

“I decided I wouldn’t make any clothing or accessory purchases during the challenge month. For me, this is about using what I already have and looking at my existing wardrobe through new eyes.”

Hmmm, sound familiar? In January 2019, my number one SIMPLIFY goal was, once again, a shopping ban. At the end of my Wearing ‘Clothes’ Every Day Challenge, in March 2018, I came to this conclusion,

“I don’t need to buy new clothes to make me feel good. . . I really do have all I need and most of what I want already in my wardrobe.”

Clearly I’m a slow learner and need to keep revisiting this before it can fully sink in. Although I reduced clothing purchases during 2018, I continued to make them and still had more than one binge-shopping experience. Fast forward to mid February 2019 and I find myself again embarking upon a clothing challenge. I have embarked upon an indefinite no shopping challenge (and already broken the rules several times.) This February, I am again trying a limited-time challenge, one which you could say is ‘same, same, but different.’

Same – it’s a clothing challenge and I have again decided not to purchase clothing.

Same – both challenges aim to use what I already have to the best advantage, thus demonstrating I really don’t need more clothes.

Different – motivation. Last year, my motivation was to go to more effort with my appearance, with the ultimate goal of getting out of my comfort rut and increasing my confidence. (For the record, it worked.) This time round, I am working towards a more simple and sustainable lifestyle, part of which for me is eventually developing a capsule-style wardrobe. My goal this time is to open my eyes to the possibilities a very few pieces of clothing can provide.

Too scary for now

Seeking to work towards a more capsule-style wardrobe, I’ve come across several online challenges designed to introduce and ease novitiates like myself into the concept.

Project 333, started by Courtney Carver, involves selecting 33 items of clothing (or less) to dress in for 3 months. Underwear and exercise clothing don’t count, but everything else does – clothes, shoes, jewellery, accessories, the lot. This seasonal wardrobe can be swapped out for a different 33 items each season if the challenge is continued. Assuming all items can be mixed and matched, according to The Minimalists’ Joshua Becker, over 25 000 combinations are mathematically possible, providing 69 years worth of different outfits with minor changes and differences! Nevertheless, the idea of this is somehow a step too far and too scary for me right now.

More manageable right now

Further searches revealed a smaller and (to my mind, at least) more manageable clothing challenge project. The 10×10 Challenge, started by Style Bee, is at the same time both more and less restrictive than Project 333. By creating a mini capsule of just 10 items (yep, you read that right) which are worn for 10 days, you learn to mix, match and combine wardrobe items in new ways. To further this, each outfit can be worn only once, ensuring 10 different looks for the 10 days of the challenge. Whilst shoes are included, all other accessories are not. This could be game changing for holidays if nothing else, as I am a chronic over-packer.

I figured I could handle 10 days and set about choosing my first 10 items. Style Bee Lee Vosburg suggests checking your calendar and weather forecast before selecting clothing items to ensure suitability. With work uncertain for me at the moment (the joy of relief work), I chose a single work oufit with the option to swap out a couple of items for work ones if necessary.

My 10×10 mini capsule

My capsule is not as glamorous as most you’ll find online. It contains no designer brands and also no sustainable brands for now (baby steps). It is practical and suitable for my current lifestyle, utilising clothing I already have and wear regularly. Nothing here is new and items range from 6 months to several years old. The white skirt is the most sustainable, a hand-me-down from my sister. My wedges, at four years old and worn often for work, are looking very worn out and continue to be worn only because I have been unable to find a suitable replacement for my hard-to-fit feet. You may even recognise items from my “Wearing ‘Clothes’ Everyday Challenge” last year.

3 tops – navy singlet top, plain mid-blue t-shirt, light blue butterfly print blouse (as mentioned in Sizing Sagas Strike Again)

3 bottoms – denim shorts, knee length white skirt, ankle length black skirt

1 dress – black maxi dress (as mentioned in Look Good, Feel Good)

1 jacket – blue print kimono top (also mentioned in Look Good, Feel Good)

2 shoes – black Birkenstocks, beige/ cream wedge sandals.

It is suggested to pre-plan outfits to make each day easier. I quickly came up with 15 outfits. With accessories added, I could easily reach 30+ combinations with just my 10 basic items. Accessories are not listed and will be chosen each day to suit my mood.

  1. work – long black skirt, blouse, wedges
  2. maxi, kimono, birkies
  3. maxi, birkies
  4. shorts, blouse, birkies
  5. shorts, tshirt, birkies
  6. white skirt, singlet, kimono, birkies
  7. shorts, singlet, kimono, birkies
  8. white skirt, singlet, birkies
  9. white skirt, tshirt, birkies
  10. shorts, singlet, birkies

My 10 items and 10 outfits do not include exercise clothing or loungewear.

Stay tuned to discover how my 10 x 10 Challenge pans out.

Want to give it a go?

Perhaps you’d like to join me and give it a go yourself? To find out more, follow the links in the body of the text or search #10x10challenge, #10x10friends, #stylebee10x10 on Instagram for inspiration.

Anna xo


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