10 x 10 x nope

High hopes

OK, so I set out on this, my first (and probably also my last) 10 x 10 challenge with high hopes. I would eliminate choice from my dressing routine, wear a few items in many ways and discover how to live with less. As with many things in life, although these things happened, I was surprised by how I felt during and after the challenge.

Not only did I wear a dress not part of my 10 items, I also bought 2 new pieces of fast fashion, bringing my clothing purchases during the second month of my ‘no shopping challenge’ to 3. Yep, I know, epic fail, right there. (Insert eye roll and sigh.)

Mixed feelings

Half way through the 10 days, I found myself feeling frustrated by limited choices. Perhaps part of the problem was that all my other clothes remained in the wardrobe, in plain view. (I decided moving them to another room would involve way too much effort, so they were simply pushed aside.) Whatever the reason, it was a struggle to complete the challenge, but complete it I did.

Torn by mixed feelings, I was disappointed the 10 x 10 challenge wasn’t for me. As I discover more about the fast fashion industry, I strongly feel I want to stop buying such items. This is for a variety of reasons, from environmental concerns to workers conditions and fits with my 2019 goal of living more simply and sustainably. However, the reality remains, I have a wardobe full of (mainly) fast fashion. The damage has already been done and I believe it would be wasteful to not use these items to their full potential and lifespan. Having already bought them, the least I can now do is to wear them out, surely, rather than simply discarding or donating (with a chance of them still ending up in landfill) them. For more information on the fast fashion industry and ways to avoid it, Recloseted is a great place to start. Selina has lots of information and tips, which are regularly updated. “Recloseted is an organization dedicated to righting the harmful fashion industry. Ultimately, we believe it’s important to educate, involve, and collaborate with both consumers and businesses to collectively turn things around.”

When viewed from this perspective, 10×10, Project 333 or similar concepts appear wasteful and are not for me, right now. (Of course, others love these ideas and live by them all the time. Each to their own.) Having said this, I still want to move towards a capsule type wardrobe and may well end up with a wardrobe of far fewer items, one day. But for now, I have decided to make the best use of what I already have and say no to buying new items.

But what about when my current wardrobe items inevitably wear out? Then I will carefully consider:

  • Do I really need to buy a replacement?
  • Do I already own a similar item which could be used instead?
  • Do I need this item at all?

If a replacement is deemed necessary, I will research and seek out a more sustainable and ethical one. Who knows, I might end my losing streak when it comes to op shopping and buying second hand? Clearly sustainable and ethical new items will cost considerably more than a fast fashion version. This fact will also help me not replace as much, in time resulting in a much more compact wardrobe.

Don’t despair, this challenge certainly wasn’t a waste of time for me. Far from it. Not only did I realise how I really wanted to approach simplifying my wardrobe, but I made a couple of other discoveries too, resulting in 2 of my 10 items being retired, due to me not loving them as much as I had thought.

Unexpected lessons

One day, I needed to drop off CVs, but felt embarrassed by my worn out 10×10 work shoes and used this as an excuse not to go, rather than simply wearing other shoes. Those shoes have since been placed in the bin, as I reasoned if they weren’t not good enough to wear for a job search, they also aren’t good enough to wear to work. The white skirt is now in my donate or repurpose basket, as it only works with a long, fitted top and is truly unflattering with a top tucked in, due to not being fitted enough. I discovered this on the first day of my challenge, when I asked my husband to take a photo of me in my day 1 outfit. I was horrified with how large I looked and how unflattering the skirt actually was. This horror had the positive effect of sparking a renewed desire to lose weight, enlisting help and putting a plan into action. That photo did not, nor will it in the future surface publicly, but it served its purpose as a warning sign and wake up call for me.


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