Would you try the 10x10 fashion challenge?

clothing on hangers
Public Domain Unsplash

Ten items of clothing for ten days...

"Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. Quality, not quantity. Everybody's buying far too many clothes." These words, spoken by British fashion icon Vivienne Westwood, are resonating with more and more people these days. As we grow tired of pawing through packed wardrobes and spending money on 'cute' outfits with a less-than-perfect fit and shoddy construction, there is renewed interest in buying better, buying less, and striving for true style over trendiness.

This shift is embodied in the recent popularity of the capsule wardrobe. This is a carefully paired-down collection of classic, neutral clothing that changes from season to season and can be mixed to create multiple outfits. It's a good way to wean oneself off trendy pieces and focus on the basic building blocks of a good look.

The transition from regular to capsule wardrobe can be daunting, which is why it's helpful to embark on a guided challenge. Project 333 is one such example. Developed by Courtney Carver, it encourages people to keep only 33 items in their closet at any given time. You can read more about it here.

I recently learned about a similar project called the 10x10 challenge. It started as a personal experiment by Canadian stylist Lee Vosburgh, a.k.a. Style Bee, in 2015. Vosburgh was doing a 30-day shopping fast and wanted to get more creative with her existing wardrobe. She came up with the idea for the 10x10 challenge when she restricted herself to wearing different combinations of the same 10 items for 10 consecutive days.

She says the experiment increased her own "closet contentment" and helped her to discover new looks that she wouldn't have thought of otherwise. The 10x10 challenge has caught on and thousands of other people have tried it since, posting their progress on social media. Based on feedback from others, Vosburgh reveals the three most common takeaways from the experiment (edited for clarity):

1. I gained a better sense of my personal style.
2. I had a style breakthrough and found a new silhouette or look I would have never tried, but now love.
3. I really don’t need a huge closet (or frequent shopping trips) to satisfy my style.

All of these sound like worthwhile goals for any person trying to build a more sustainable and stylish wardrobe. So, how does one begin such a challenge? Vosburgh offers a basic template, but only if you're having trouble deciding what to pick:

  • 2 pairs of shoes (1 heel + 1 flat)
  • 4 tops (consider pieces that layer well like a fitted long-sleeve, a button-down, and a cardigan)
  • 1 dress
  • 2 bottoms
  • 1 top layer
Consider the season and the weather forecast, and go for easy neutral colors. Avoid items that require special cleaning, as you may need a quick refresh during your ten days. And don't overthink your selections; give yourself a 30-minute time limit. Accessories and jewelry are not included in the count.

Sometimes, by placing limits on our options, we open new doors. Try the challenge – it's only ten days – and see what you discover about your wardrobe, your inventiveness, and your shopping habits.

Would you try the 10x10 fashion challenge?
Ten items of clothing for ten days...

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