As we head into the summer 10×10 wardrobe challenge, I figured it would be helpful to do a quick recap of my experience with the spring 10×10 challenge. That was my first time trying the challenge, and I’m excited to share my takeaways. Below is my honest evaluation of what I learned, emotions that came up, and whether I recommend that you try it.
Remind Me Again, What is the 10×10 Wardrobe Challenge?
I know you already read my post all about the challenge: why I was trying it, what I hoped to learn, and all the nitty gritty details. But as a quick recap, the challenge is a way to take a fresh look at the clothes you already own. You select 10 articles of clothing from your closet, mix and match to make 10 outfits, and wear only those pieces for 10 days.
The challenge has been going on for a few years now, every spring and fall. A pretty big community has built up around the challenge, with thousands of women sharing their outfits and cheering each other on. If you’re on Instagram, check out these hashtags for inspiration: #10x10challenge #spring10x10 #10x10friends #stylebee10x10.
Expectations Versus Reality
It’s so funny that only a few months ago, I was writing a post about what I hoped to learn, and sharing my hesitations. Now, I feel like a 10×10 OG. Most of my worries going into the challenge proved to be quite false, and I’m so glad I worked through them.
My Version of the 10×10
As reminder, I strayed a bit from the traditional model of 10×10. Most folks do 10 days straight, including weekends. I did 10 business days, and only included work attire. Most folks include shoes in their 10 items, but I did not. I’m really glad I only did work attire, because my work clothes differ drastically with my “normal” clothes, and there’s no way I could’ve combined the two. The shoe thing is kinda funny, because it made me realize how few shoes I actually wear. I thought I’d need at least 4 pairs, since I had several fancy work events and galas, but I’d never wear fancy heels to work the rest of the week. In reality, I think I could’ve gotten away with including shoes. I’m glad I eased myself into this first challenge though. It’s all about doing what works for you and keeping it fun.
One of my big hesitations was that since I see the same people every day at work, everyone would notice my repeated outfits. Because I mean hey, everyone is always looking at me right? Joking aside, it can be a little weird wearing the same article of clothing 3 times in 10 days. I work in an office and literally see the same people every day. I don’t need them thinking I’m doing a walk of shame or something haha.
This fear was completely unfounded. There are only a handful of people who are really into fashion and may notice something like this anyway, and none of them noticed. I did tell a handful of ladies about it at work, and they were all loving it and super supportive. My work bestie even did the challenge with me! Why was I even worried anyone would judge me anyway?! Everyone was supportive, excited, and encouraging (or they didn’t know or notice my repeats). Sounds like maybe I’m the only one who was potentially critical and everyone else deserves a lot more credit!
No Neutrals: Working with Patterns and Brights
This was an interesting facet for me: my entire wardrobe is mostly brights and memorable patterns. I’m not really a neutral kinda gal. I love rich colors and luxe patterns. “Pops” of color doesn’t really exist for me: my entire outfit is a pop of color. My life is a pop of color.
Almost everyone else in the challenge was only wearing a color palette of white, beige, tan, greige, and tan. Oh, and did I mention beige? Seriously though, almost every ethical style blogger or instagrammer seems to only wear neutrals. To them, wearing navy blue is getting cray.
So this left me conflicted. I know the reason they wear neutrals is to maintain a minimalist wardrobe. The more neutral the items, the more versatile they are. The more you can mix and match. I definitely realized the value of this as I was trying to mix and match my rainbow silk romper with my electric purple paisley kimono. Doesn’t exactly work.
So I get it, neutrals are great for versatility. And I definitely learned I might want to add a few more versatile pieces to my wardrobe. But I’m not down to completely neuter my color palette. Muted just doesn’t do it for me. I’m not a plain person. I’m passionate and colorful and expressive, and I want my clothes to match that vibration.
Work Clothes Can Still Be an Expression
Another big hangup for me was that I had to do the challenge in business attire. This doesn’t seem nearly as fun as mixing casual, cute every day outfits. Professional clothes are stuffy and lame and not fun. But the reality is that most of my waking hours are spent in professional attire. I work at a law firm. I’m not exactly wearing Levi’s and Birkenstocks.
Since almost every other person in this challenge does it in casual clothing, I considered following suit and doing it with my post-work outfits. But that just wouldn’t be an accurate depiction of reality. My reality is that I’m either in full-blown work mode, or I’m wearing glorified pajamas.
So work clothes it is. After getting over my initial resistance, I started to have fun with it. I actually do have some cute work clothes, I just don’t wear them that often because I’m lazy. I always reach for the same basic outfits: black pants with silky blouse, green pants with silky blouse, other black pants with other silky blouse.
If my clothing style is passionate and expressive, how come my usual work style is drab, lame, and uninspired? This challenge forced me to get over that and to have fun with work clothes again. If I’m spending the majority of my waking life in professional attire, why doesn’t that wardrobe align with my style and perspective?
Here We Go Again!
So now that I’m a 10×10 OG, it’s time to dive into the summer 10×10! The summer edition starts July 27, 2018. So grab 10 pieces, get creative, and try your hand at the challenge. No pressure, no strict rules, just fun and learning. Feel free to hit me up if you have any questions or need support. One of my favorite things in the world is encouraging peeps, so I’d love to walk through this with you all.