10×10 closet challenge

Ten items of clothing for ten days. It’s one of those challenges that flourish over on Instagram, although the credit for initiating it goes to two style blogs, Style Bee and Unfancy. Since I had been following some of the women who did it several times in the past and derived a lot of pleasure for watching them mix and match those few items of clothing, I felt an impulse to join in and play along.

I am not a capsule wardrober or much of a minimalist when it comes to the number of clothes I own. I like options, get bored quickly and enjoy my thrifting adventures that contribute to my about-to-burst closets. But this challenge might be interesting, I though to myself one morning, and in ten minutes I had a pile of ten items to wear for the next two weeks (I didn’t include the weekends in the challenge).

My thoughts after the challenge: I like options and I get bored quickly. Still it was fun, because I didn’t take it all too seriously and I switched my items around later in the day when I felt a need for it.

All my items came from the thrift shop:

  1. wide-leg, cropped denim (Allen Allen USA, thrifted)
  2. straight-leg black denim (THVM, thrifted)
  3. oversized cotton black sweatshirt-dress (J.Jill, thrifted)
  4. black, knit linen, long-sleeve top (Madewell, thrifted, )
  5. grey, knit linen, boxy top (made by me from a dress of my daughter’s)
  6. white cotton boxy top (made by me from thrifted cotton bedsheets)
  7. white silk&angora cardigan (Moda International, thrifted)
  8. grey cashmere long cardigan (Cynthia Rowley, thrifted)
  9. Birkenstock London, black leather (thrifted)
  10. Black suede oxfords, (G.H. Bass, thrifted)

I did include outwear (the two cardigans) and shoes in my initial ten, but at some point during the challenge I decided to switch the shoes for two more items of clothing. I ended up only adding one pair of leggings.

It was a frustrating exercise. The fun part was the companionship and camaraderie I felt with the women who participated on Instagram, but the getting dressed itself was annoying. My enjoyment of my clothes was somewhat diminished by the limitations of the exercise. My clothes are not useful and functional, they are playthings. I kind of feel like the minimalist and utilitarian approach to clothing can only suit those who don’t really care about clothes, but I know it is not true—many women who do capsule wardrobes and reduce their options love their clothes. So I don’t know where we differ, but this is not for me.

Which doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it again as an exercise. It is good practice for vacation packing, for example, although I have been known to take ten items of clothing for merely an overnight trip.

My favorite outfits to wear were probably 4 and 5. 1 is a good contender also. I don’t know if I could name a least favorite—they were all pretty good. Maybe outfit 10 was out of my comfort zone a bit, with too much going on, and outfit 7, where the scarf annoyed me with its bulkiness.

That’s about it. I had a good time and I plan to do it again, given a chance. Nothing earth-shattering.


  1. No, not on Instagram. I like to see glimpses into the lives of other though.
    Too shy or maybe not much of a documentarian or …?

    • Putting out personal pictures on the Internet is not a comfortable thing to do. I am surprised by my Instagram addiction of late, as I am usually very private online. But I think the community there is special, kind of how I remember it to have been years ago in blogging. Anyway, think about it! ?

  2. I like these looks. Lots of cozy ease, especially 4 & 8. Oh all of them are great.
    I like variety too. However, I find myself doing this capsule thing out of laziness. It is easy to rewear something after airing it out. I can’t bring myself to put back into the closet worn and can’t put it in the hamper as it is not dirty. So a small number of items are on repeat and a large number languish.
    I wore variations of 10 most of the winter–layers galore.

    • I know! I have that thing about worn clothes too, although I try to suppress it because it makes life too difficult: like how to separate clothes that are not exactly clean, but not exactly dirty either. Now that I think about it, wearing the same thing two days in a row can solve this problem. I could do that, usually. I’m often very tempted, but resist it. Or I could do even five outfits for two weeks (not counting weekends) and then switch to other five outfits. But that requires too much planning. And some clothes always get used more than others. For me it is often not the favorites, because those I “save” for special occasions when I need to help myself feel especially good.
      Are you on Instagram, Tess?

  3. Lori, this is awesome! I am tempted to try this. I love outfits 4 and 10! That crocodile pendant is nice, edgy touch without trying too much!

    I think you exactly nailed it when you said it is a good practice for vacation packing. I don’t mind repeating clothes at all on a weekly basis.

    I have a feeling this will be nice to figure out what clothes I love so much that I will pick them if I had live only with them! 🙂

    • It is a nice exercise. I actually had a short trip where I used knowledge gained from this and I was super happy with my packing!
      You have to try it!

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