Capsule wardrobe experiments – 10 x 10 challenge

I’ve been feeling for a while the need to reassess my wardrobe, and what I wear.

My clothing needs have changed so much over the past few years. I’ve got that thing where I’ve lots of pretty clothes, but actually making outfits with them doesn’t work. So I just end up wearing the things I know work together, pretty much all the time.

And I’m bored!

I want to make my wardrobe work harder for me.

Thinking of my clothing like employees… Currently I have about 25% hard working, feel good, look good types and the other 75%? Well, they only want to work when the weather is fine or when, that coat is also working or those shoes… Basically 75% of my wardrobe is lazy.

capsule wardrobe winter less but better dressing

I love clothes, I want to fall back in love with my clothes. Want to be excited about what I’m putting on that day. I previously thought that meant, buying all the colourful and patterned (and vintage) things. Things that caught my eye.

But what if I can only wear that blouse with that skirt, what if those boots only work with one pair of jeans? What if that cape only works with one handbag (and not a practical one).

Well, this is where I’ve found myself. Most days I dress without thinking, grabbing things I know work together.

I’m reading The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees after being a fan of her blog. And around the same time as I started the book (just after Christmas) I discovered Style Bee and her capsule wardrobe challenges (see below for the link). In fact, she was a couple of days away from starting her #winter10x10 challenge so I thought- why not! I probably wear that anyway- how hard can it be?

Well readers, it was harder than I thought. The idea is that you are making the most of the 10 items by mixing them together in ways you hadn’t considered before. Making the most of every item in your chosen 10, making them work hard- like they deserve to be in this exclusive 10 item capsule wardrobe.

winter capsule wardrobe vintage and denim

So my 10 items were;

  1. Tu black ankle boots
  2. New Look Tall denim shirt
  3. Vintage wool black pencil midi skirt
  4. Joanie lipstick jumper
  5. Primark black polo neck
  6. La Redoute rust metallic jumper
  7. M&S Tall jeans slim leg
  8. Gap jeans straight leg
  9. Tu rust cotton turtle neck
  10. Boden Square tee (navy with pattern)

**I didn’t include accessories/jewellery, underwear (obvs), vests (its winter), coats (again, its winter) and tights (hello winter).**

four winter looks from a capsule wardrobe

These are four looks I quickly snapped, and below are some of my favourite details and colours.

My takeaways from doing this are;

  • Denim is great- hard-wearing, looks good without needing to be washed all the time
  • I can wear boots with a skirt and not look like a witch (go me!)
  • Thermal tights actually work
  • Layering is the way forward esp in Winter
  • These colours really suit me
  • I rediscovered this skirt.

capsule wardrobe colours colors

Toward the end of the challenge, I was bored again.

What happened?

  • I didn’t choose enough variety of pieces? So I was wearing virtually the same silhouette every day
  • I think I should’ve substituted a pair of my jeans for a pattern dress maybe, or skirt, something more to layer
  • More shirts, less jumpers- again about the layering and ease of mixing stuff

capsule wardrobe problems

The two biggest things I’ve learnt- which seem obvious, but are easier said than done are;

  • I shouldn’t put up with things being to short- either in the leg or the arm. A couple of the jumpers are 3/4 sleeved and just not warm enough for this time of year. Also the M&S jeans (despite being their longest) are too short. They slide down my hips so look long enough but then my crotch looks really low (!!)
  • Items that don’t fit properly, aren’t comfortable or aren’t working for the actual season shouldn’t be in my current wardrobe- so I need to be stricter about this when buying clothing in the future.

I feel like this challenge has made me much more discerning about my clothes. I’m working through The Curated Closet again too, and I cant wait to have a big wardrobe sort out.

Have you ever done anything like this? Or do you already dress from a capsule wardrobe?

Here’s the original 10×10 challenge

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32 Comments

  1. January 26, 2017 / 10:41 am

    I was so inspired by this when I watched you on IG, hoenstly I thought you did an amazing job of making every outfit quite individual.

    I think Denim will always be a staple in most peoples wardrobes, it has really got em thinking, if I buy new clothes it is always on a whim and I never consider if I have a way of turning it into an outfit. That is my plan this year to get rid of all the clothes in my wardrobe that I don’t work as an outfit or are just frankly not comfy (eek that is most) and then go with some good staples, especially jeans xx

    • January 26, 2017 / 10:46 am

      Thanks so much Kara! Completely agree, needs to be done!

  2. January 26, 2017 / 12:39 pm

    Ooo I love the idea of this! I’m forever having huge clear-outs, so I think a capsule wardrobe would be the ideal thing for me. I think you did really well with the challenge – every outfit looked unique! x

    • January 26, 2017 / 1:33 pm

      Ah thanks Sarah!

  3. Karen barlow
    January 26, 2017 / 2:03 pm

    I like the idea of the book to get me thinking about how my wardrobe could work harder as you like I have regular go to pieces & lots of items get left unnoticed as I haven’t thought hard enough about how to rework them? I love travelling light on holiday with just a carry on case, I find it really liberating not to have to think too hard about what to wear so I’d really like to carry this idea forward into the rest of my life.? Thanks for lighting the way Sus

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:15 pm

      Ah Karen I think you always look really chic

  4. Julia
    January 26, 2017 / 6:24 pm

    The only thing I am not in love with is the cinnamon and vanilla sweater. It really needs to be hip length. Otherwise you have some great choices.

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:13 pm

      Yeah that isnt the best shot of it tbh. I had limit time. It perhaps is a bit too short for me in the body, it is short on the sleeves.

  5. katya willems
    January 26, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    I love this article – it’s so interesting. I did see a few people doing this challenge on instagram and was tempted, but then thought I couldn’t hack it and would get stressed! It sounds a bit like going on a diet to me. But I love that the outcome was that it made you more focussed and discerning about your wardrobe.

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:12 pm

      Yeah it kind of is like a diet, maybe join next time

  6. January 27, 2017 / 7:50 am

    Thermal tights really do work!!!!

    This is such a great challenge! I’m tempted to get involved myself, although mostly I find myself wearing joggers!!!

    http://Www.fashionforlunch.net

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:14 pm

      I was so surprised they worked! Thanks for stopping by xx

  7. January 27, 2017 / 9:03 am

    Well done, you did so well! Love all your outfits. I have a minimalist wardrobe and I enjoy living with less. x

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:10 pm

      I think its just finding the right amount of variety for me- but defo less!

  8. January 27, 2017 / 9:36 am

    I think this is such a great idea. Not only can it take the stress out of what to wear , it will make you think about the items you really like. More please Susie!

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:11 pm

      Aw thanks Ashanti! Might do it again in the Spring- hopefully pictures of myself will have improved by then!

  9. January 27, 2017 / 10:43 am

    You did do well! I want to read that book now too just about to order it on amazon ! Ta mrs! Xx

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:09 pm

      Ah fab- we can compares notes when I see you x

  10. January 27, 2017 / 1:35 pm

    It’s such a brilliant idea Sus! I’m in a similar pickle – I have lots of colourful or patterned clothes, but I always tend to wear them with a very specific item. So I’ve got loads of items but not necessarily much flexibility.

    Love the idea of choosing a “current wardrobe” – makes it easier to store away the rest and makes it quicker in the mornings too!

    Do another one over summer 🙂

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:14 pm

      Thanks so much Karen! I think I will, you should join in!

  11. January 27, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    You really suit denim. You wear it so well! X

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      Thanks Lucy- I think its becoming more of a staple than ever before for me

  12. January 27, 2017 / 6:06 pm

    What a great idea Sus! Loving all your outfits – totally need to give this a go 🙂

    p.s. loving your, ‘hello WINTER’ commentary – hehe x

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:07 pm

      Haha! Needed to be done right!?

  13. January 27, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    I’ve often admired that rust jumper! I have a similar with my wardrobe actually as I have so many items that only go with one or two things! X

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      It went down to £14 in the sale- there might be some left!

  14. January 28, 2017 / 9:58 am

    That is something I really need to do. Just think of how light my travel luggage will be. Now to pick those pieces….x

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:06 pm

      Yep thats the tricky part!

  15. January 28, 2017 / 10:56 pm

    I think every outfit looked great on you but I totally agree about making sure you go through your wardrobe and pick out stuff that fits well. I really need to go through mine and rethink how I pick my outfits day to day. I think mine are so stuffed in that it’s a struggle to see what I have! Well done for managing 10 days x

    • January 29, 2017 / 1:05 pm

      Yes its hard to carve the time out with kiddos around!

  16. January 30, 2017 / 10:37 am

    I’ve definitely found it easier to create outfits since I cut down the amount of colour and print I have in my wardrobe. I mean I still like prints but they have to be in a similar colour palette: black, grey, blue (lots of blue), brown, nudes. Although I did just buy a red skirt because I needed some colour…. it’s so hard isn’t it? I think you did brilliantly. Dressing in winter is so tricky as you just want to be warm and comfy but it can get so drab/tedious too xx

    • January 30, 2017 / 7:35 pm

      Thanks so much Kat and you are so right. Winter is hard in so many ways