Four reasons to take the 10 x 10 capsule wardrobe challenge
Picture yourself getting ready to leave the house on any given day. Maybe you’re starting the morning before work or perhaps your changing to go out for the night. Whatever the occasion, you’re standing in front of a jam-packed closet thinking, “I have nothing to wear.” So, you grab an old tried-and-true favorite, allowing the rest of your wardrobe to continue collecting dust.
If this scenario doesn’t sound familiar, congratulations, perhaps you’re a style maven or minimalist extraordinaire. But I’d wager you’re neither, since on average 30% of the clothes in our closets haven’t seen the light of day in the past year. Plus, I’m pretty sure the only people reading this blog are close friends and family.
In a bid to make the most of my closet and avoid the aforementioned scene, I've decided to begin a 10 x 10 capsule wardrobe challenge. Lee Vosburgh, Founder of Sustainable Fashion blog Style Bee, started the 10 x 10 as a way to get more creative with her clothes. Creating a mini-capsule wardrobe is a great way to learn more about what I actually like. Plus, it’ll make my wardrobe work harder; reinventing my favorite pieces so I don’t get sick of them so easily.
How does it work?
Vosburgh sets out some pretty simple and flexible guidelines:
- Choose 10 items from your current closet
- Go 10 days only wearing these items (undergarments don’t count, phew!)
- Mix-and-match – have fun and create lots of new looks you might not have otherwise
- Core closet items like tops, sweaters, trousers and shoes count. Accessories like hats and bags don’t.
So why take the 10 x 10 challenge?
Reason 1: Get to know your personal style better than ever
As French designer Yves Saint Laurent famously once said,
"fashions fade, style is eternal."
Style is about knowing yourself – not the latest trends. Think about your own style icons or friends and family members with a great sense of style. Do you admire their every article of clothing or rather how it all comes together with strong self-confidence?
I don’t necessarily want to wear everything my favorite icon posts on Instagram. And, the most stylish people I know certainly don’t follow all the latest trends. Instead, they observe what’s going on in the fashion world and selectively incorporate what works for them over time.
By taking the capsule wardrobe 10 x 10 challenge, you’ll get a chance to examine your own personal style more closely. The challenge forces you to revisit your closet with fresh eyes – for both style and practicality. In choosing ten items, the pieces you truly love will quickly come to light. Then small items – like that hat collecting dust or the belt you haven’t worn in years – will spruce it all up, reminding you of the styles you covet, not the trends you crave.
Reason 2: You’ll save money
Take a quick inventory of what you’ve bought over the past year. If you’re like me, it’s probably not an insignificant amount. Don’t worry though we’re in good company – the average UK household has over £1,000 worth of clothes collecting dust in it. Plus, things are only getting worse. According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, “the average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used – has decreased by 36% compared to 15 years ago.”
Take the 10 x 10 and take a shopping hiatus. In doing so, you’ll save money and hopefully start to focus on buying less and buying better in the future.
Reason 3: Create a more sustainable wardrobe
The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. From pesticides to grow cotton to chemicals for dying our fabrics – the whole supply chain is riddled with unsustainable practices. In fact, further research by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation estimates, more than half of fast fashion produced is disposed of in under a year.
By challenging ourselves to use what we have, rather than continually buying, we’re contributing less to this toxic chain.
Reason 4: Get out of your styling rut
The capsule wardrobe 10 x 10 challenge is a great way to hone your styling skills by getting back to basics. We all have our go-to pieces, the classics we wear again and again. I’m all about the cropped trouser, tee-shirt and white sneaker at the moment. Of course these staples will shift over time, but it should be gradual – over years rather than seasons.
Sadly, in the last 15 years, clothing production has approximately doubled, driven by a growing global middle-class and increased per capita sales in mature economies. The latter rise is mainly due to the ‘fast fashion’ phenomenon, with quicker turnaround of new styles, increased number of collections offered per year, and – often – lower prices. By getting to know our wardrobe staples in-and-out though, we can style them accordingly without getting sick of them and running to the next sale. The challenge will make your wardrobe work harder for you. Wearing the same things over and over – while pairing them with old jewelry and accessories you haven’t worn in a while.
So, in pursuit of a more stylish, sustainable wardrobe that'll save me money, I’ll be embarking on my own 10 x 10 capsule wardrobe challenge. Follow along on Instagram @trashtalkerworldwide and stay tuned to the blog for a recap on how it all goes!