I’ve been reading more and more about capsule wardrobes recently. On one hand, it’s a fairly seductive concept; who wouldn’t want a small, cohesive wardrobe full of beautiful, luxury garments which all match and make getting dressed simple? On the other hand, its a fairly ludicrous idea for me, I love making and wearing all sorts of clothes and I can’t ever imagine paring my wardrobe back to that extent! So I thought I’d dip my toes into the capsule wardrobe world by trying a 10×10 challenge. I’d seen this idea on various fashion blogs, where you choose ten items of clothing to make up a capsule wardrobe to wear for ten days, but when I listened to the Love To Sew podcast episode on trying it with a handmade wardrobe I decided to jump in (along with Emma from Emma’s Atelier). This is the capsule I put together:
One dress: The Mito Cami dress from Papercut Patterns in teal rayon crepe (unblogged)
One Skirt: v1247 in indigo cotton
One pair of trousers: Flint Pants in viscose twill
One long sleeved top: Melilot shirt in chambray
Two tops: Willow Tank and Ogden Cami
Two tee shirts: Lark Tee (unblogged) and Plantain Tee
Two pairs of shoes: Leather sneakers and gold flats.
I decided at the beginning of my planning that what I really wanted was to shake myself out of some wardrobe ruts that I often find myself in. Obviously I could have made this really easy by picking a pair of jeans, 7 tee shirts, a Driftless cardi and some lace up shoes, which is what I wear about 70% of the time anyway, but that isn’t really the point! So I purposely didn’t pick jeans or a cardigan, and I also tried to pick items that I tend to wear as part of specific outfits to force myself to find new ways to wear them.
This is what days 1-5 looked like. Nothing terribly exciting, to be honest, but I managed to wear every item in my capsule except for the Ogden Cami, and I felt like I had enough separate pieces to put together 5 outfits that didn’t feel limited or boring or repetitive. I had a couple of small cheats, on day one I was unexpectedly invited out to a fancy restaurant for dinner that night and I decided to wear a pair of heels with my Flint Trousers and Willow tank to dress them up, and on day 2 I was at the cricket all day and I took my raincoat along (luckily, as it started to rain that evening). Even though none of these outfits are groundbreaking, even small changes like tying my tee shirt or shirt at the waist made them feel a bit different and is outside of what I would normally have done (I usually just tuck things in, easy but lazy!). I especially like how my Plantain tee looks tied over the waist of that skirt. This was also the first time I wore my Mito cami dress, which I had been feeling a bit ambivalent about, and I was pretty comfy in it!
Days 6-10 carried on in much the same way! My outfit for day 6 was basically pyjamas for lounging around the house, and day 7 annoyingly ended up being the only repeated outfit of the 10 days as it suddenly got chilly and I wanted long sleeves! Days 9 and 10 were probably the only days that I branched out, I know it sounds silly but I struggle with mixing prints and even the combination of navy and white stripes with the navy and white abstract pattern on the skirt made me think twice. I think it looks fine though, the pattern on the skirt is so minimal it barely counts! I was also glad to see that the Ogden cami works pretty well under the Mito dress, which is good because it’s a much breezier combination than a tee-shirt under the dress. the other combination I considered trying was the Willow Tank over the Mito dress, and the shirt open and tied at the waist over the dress (or over the Ogden/Flint outfit). I did try throwing the shirt on unbuttoned over the tee shirts, but I just felt a bit silly. I think the Melilot is too shaped at the side seams to look right unbuttoned, and I felt a bit swamped in fabric between that and the billowing Flint pants.
I was lucky that I picked a 10 day stretch of pretty settled, warmer than average summer weather, a capsule wardrobe for standard Wellington weather would need to be considerably bigger than this one! I also think I picked a pretty good selection of items. Keeping to a limited colour palette and choosing all separates definitely helped, and I felt like I had plenty of options. Ultimately, I don’t think a capsule wardrobe is for me, I was feeling pretty over all of those items by the end of my 10 days! I also found that it killed my urge to sew, because I knew I wouldn’t get any instant gratification by sewing and then wearing something immediately (I feel like there’s a bit to unpack in that realisation, do I do the sewing equivalent of fast fashion? I’ll have to think a bit more about that…). I am glad that I found a few new ways to wear some things, and that I took a small step outside of my comfort zone, so it wasn’t a wasted experience!
Do any of you stick to a capsule wardrobe? Have you tried anything like the 10×10 challenge? I’d love to hear what other people think about this sort of thing!
16 thoughts on “Handmade 10×10 challenge”
Really interesting to see how you got on with the challenge. I have been considering giving it a go to see if it helps me to be more intentional about what I make and wear.
To be honest, I found it less helpful for planning my future wardrobe than something like Me Made May, where I find it easy to see gaps in my current wardrobe, but it definitely made me wear combinations I might not have considered without such a limited wardrobe.
Last autumn I put together a capsule wardrobe, or at least a capsule wardrobe plan, based on The Vivienne Files’ steps. She goes through a pretty detailed process of about 20 steps, adding a garment or two at a time until you end up with about 30 pieces plus accessories.
I really liked this process because the steps are quite flexible. I was able to “shop my closet” for about half of the pieces, and the other half became my fall/winter to-sew list. That was maybe the best part because I felt like for once I was sewing things intentionally, things that I knew would fit in with my wardrobe in a good way.
I’m not sure how much I actually ended up wearing my capsule wardrobe, but the planning of it was seriously one of the most useful things I’ve ever done for my closet and for my sewing.
If you’re curious, here’s me whole plan:
That sounds really interesting, I’ll have a look! 30 items sounds like a much more reasonable number. Thanks!
It was good following along with your 10×10 on IG and to read this summary. I think you picked a very smart selection and got some great outfits out of it! I would definitely like to try this sometime but i think i’d really struggle to get down to ten garments including shoes and outerwear! That Mito dress looks ace by the way.
Thanks Katie! I was lucky that I didn’t need to put in any outerwear, it would be a lot harder to pick 10 items for winter (or for a standard Wellington summer, tbh).
Stylish! It’s a great exercise I think in alternative styling as you say, but I’d also find it limiting (actually I did as my maternity wardrobe was very small and I was well over most of it by the end). I think there’s value tho in these exercises to help refine personal style, colour palette etc.
Thanks! Yeah, I think capsule wardrobes are great for a specific purpose, it’s be a valuable thing to do for a maternity or holiday wardrobe, but not so much for every day! I think your maternity wardrobe was super chic 😊
I hadn’t seen these 10×10 challenges until recently & have enjoyed seeing yours. I love what you picked. I think I’d fine 10 quite limiting but then I also know I wear the same things over & over so it might be a good exercise in order to find new combinations as you have.
Thanks! Yes, I’d never manage 10 items for longer periods of time, but I wear the same combinations all the time too so it was nice to force myself into something different!
Really interesting, thank you. Ten isn’t many, especially if you have to include shoes in that, so it does seem pretty restrictive. That said, I’m sure I probably wear the same ten items over and over in my own wardrobe and this would be a good way to think about why I do that – and how to expand my horizons. Liesl Gibson’s done something similar on the Oliver and S blog this month – wearing one garment in seven different ways over the course of a week under the tag #thewaysiwearit. If my one item were jeans (!) I could probably manage that…
Oh cool, I’ll go and have a look at the Oliver and S blog, thanks! I think you could not include shoes in your 10 items pretty easily, I would have swapped them for a warm layer and a waterproof layer if the weather had been worse.
What an awesome idea! I sometimes think I make much better use of my clothing when I’m on holidays where I’m limited and end up pairing items I never would at home. I should try this at home
I’m always interested in wardrobe challenges but it seems that I’m easily distracted from the mission so it takes me twice as long to get through the challenge! 😂 You seem to have mastered this one rather well! 😁👍
Thanks Lynda! In some ways this one is pretty easy to complete, once you’ve picked your 10 pieces you just need to get dressed every morning!