What is a 10×10?
Pick 10 items from your closet (just “core outfit” items – this excludes underwear, loungewear, activewear and optionally also outerwear and / or shoes, depending on how hardcore you wanna be) and wear 10 outfits from just those items over the course of ~2 weeks. The concept was popularized by Lee Vosburgh of stylebee. It runs on Instagram with the hashtags #10x10challenge, #fall10x10 (winter, spring, summer), and #10x10friends. r/femalefashionadvice on reddit also usually has participation threads.
You can get all sorts of things out of this wardrobe challenge, ranging from coming up with new outfits, practicing planning travel capsules, try new silhouettes, focus on accessorizing, or figuring out whether you should keep or purge some items you’re on the fence about. The goal is more to learn something rather than militantly completing the 10 days of outfits or paring down to the most minimal wardrobe possible afterwards. Hopefully it is also a fun exercise!
Generally, I wanted to make a 10×10 capsule where I enjoy wearing all ten outfits. (Wow, so exciting and creative.) In my first and second 10x10s, I would have at least one outfit in each set that I felt iffy about wearing or straight-up did not like. Previously I had gotten tired of the limited “base outfits” I had as well as too much black in my color combinations. I don’t travel much, but I have noticed that typically I end up being fairly disappointed with the outcomes of my travel capsules for similar reasons, so I wanted to use this as a way to practice creating a varied capsule for medium length trips (and maybe have a pre-determined packing list if I travel somewhere with milder weather).
More specifically in the color palette direction, I also wanted to take advantage of all my beautiful new clothes that I’ve gotten in the past four months and wear the most aggressively autumnal colors possible.
Accessorizing is not my strength, so I also wanted to try and work in a scarf, fancy tights or socks, and a hat into my outfits.
u/l80l80 on reddit commented “you have found a way to cosplay as a Vermont hillside on a crisp day in early October and it’s so chic I could just explode in a puff of apple cider steam and leaf burning smoke” on my item collage, which is probably one of the greatest fashion compliments I’ve ever received. Fall color palette goal, achieved!
In the past, I had included multiple layering options (blazers, cardigans, jackets) in my capsules, but this time I wanted to try and maximize my base outfits, so I limited myself to one layering item and decided not to include outerwear (weather forecast was low of mid 50s to high of mid 70s for most of the 10×10 period anyway, so I didn’t expect to Need any outerwear for the most part).
I could have included three tops and four bottoms or vice versa instead of including the dress to really maximize core outfit options, but I think all the tops and all the bottoms truly went together (as opposed to merely didn’t look bad together) so I was okay having to do most of the permutations from 3 and 3. Including the dress even if I just wear it once can still be valuable psychologically, as it will feel a lot fresher than wearing a new top with previously worn bottoms, especially if it’s a different color than the rest of your capsule items.
To prevent outfit boredom, I chose tops and bottoms with different silhouettes, lengths, and textures. I also chose two different colors of shoes. I noticed in previous 10x10s that even if I have different styles of shoes, if they’re both close toed and the same color, it ends up feeling really repetitive.
An asterisk indicates an item I’ve acquired within the past few months. That was most of the capsule! Trying to get em all off to a good start.
Links provided for items that are still available. They are just plain old non-affiliate links.
- *Green texture-striped boxy t-shirt // Banana Republic (secondhand)
- *Ochre blouson sleeve sweater, M // Madewell
- *Yellow square-neck top, S // Anthropologie
- *Tan wide-leg pants, L // Forever 21
- Black straight-leg jeans // ASOS petites (“Farleigh slim mom jean” in washed black)
- *Orange corduroy button-front skirt // Ines de la Fressange x Uniqlo
- *Tan blouson sleeve cashmere cardigan, S/M petite // Halogen (a Nordstrom brand)
- *Black patent leather lace-up boots // Marc Fisher (via Nordstrom)
- Brown oxford heels // Børn (secondhand)
- Green sweater dress // Loft petites
I have enough variety in my wardrobe now that I actually had some waffling to do over which sweater, midi skirt, etc to include. I found that I kept rejecting some items that were previously heavy hitting fall / winter pieces because they simply didn’t go as well with the bulk of my current favorite items that were up for consideration. This made me realize that this would likely be carried over into the rest of the fall/winter season, and if after the fairly drastic color palette change of my wardrobe this year, I would almost always choose another sweater or top over a particular one, even if the existing wear count is really high, then it’s probably time to move it out.
I am too lazy to make a proper collage for an overview, so here is a screenshot of the grid view of some imgur thumbnails.
Starting off with a basic t-shirt and jeans. I always like to wear a belt, watch, and sharper shoes with tee + jeans looks.
Felt A+ in this one. I know some people on WAYWT didn’t think the cardigan was the best color match since it’s more cool-toned, but I still like it nonetheless (also – what is a 10×10 besides trying to make the best of what you have instead of just wishing everything was just slightly different). I liked the sharper lines from the square neck and the wide-leg pants, which are a stiffer material than the culottes I usually wear.
The ultimate fall color palette! I liked how the sleeves mirror the shape of the skirt.
Cheater trench coat makes an appearance here
A fancy outfit for not doing much besides running some errands. I liked the texture provided by the tights and I think it was a nice bridge from the all-sweaters top to the pointy boots.
I think I had the most fun wearing this outfit. I liked how the monochrome palette allowed the textures to stand out a little more. I don’t have any tweaks I want to make to this and I’d def wear it again.
Another basic outfit but it was really comfy that I wholeheartedly liked. I ended up changing into flat oxfords later in the day to do more walking. These are very comfy as heels go, but there’s still no substitute for flat shoes.
I think the beret looks cute in photos but IRL I always still waffle between “I feel cute” and “I feel like a twat”. This outfit was a bit heavier on the skirt proportion than I’d have liked esp without the hat. Might try not hitching the skirt up as high next time.
On Halloween I wore these pants + belt + shoes but a black sweater instead to go with my costume. I wore this outfit a week before I officially started my 10×10 so I’m going to cheat and just count the earlier one.
Even though this yellow top has a lower neckline, I feel like the longer sleeves + the higher shaft on these shoes balances out the skirt better. Ft another cheater item with the sweater.
By the Numbers
- 6 lace-up boots
- 4 oxford heels
- 4 blouson sleeve cardigan
- 3 jeans
- 3 wide-leg pants
- 3 midi skirt
- 3 blouson sleeve sweater
- 3 square-neck top
- 2 sweater dress
- 2 texture-stripe t-shirt
It was pretty even!
Possible outfit permutations (everything goes with everything, this time, hooray):
- Core outfits: 9 top/bottom combos + 1 dress under skirt + 1 solo dress = 11
Cheat items: 3 (trench coat, white cable-knit sweater, flat oxfords)
777 followers, morning of first day of 10×10.
930 followers end of day of my 10th outfit (lol probably 2/3 of these are automated accounts).
Outfit likes, November 2 (day after I finished):
Note I didn’t post these at the same time each day, and there are a zillion variables that go into Instagram likes and that’s not a great measure of success. It was just interesting to see. Note that I use a bunch of generic fashion hashtags as well as the 10×10 ones.
- 206 sweater dress + textured tights + boots
- This was my fanciest outfit! Very conventionally flattering silhouette, too. Decked out with a necklace, interesting tights, and a purse. Saturday outfit.
- 151 cardigan + yellow top + jeans + oxfords
- I had a more fun / active pose than usual here where I was cozying up in the cardigan.
- 148 cardigan + green top + jeans + boots
- I liked this outfit but felt it was the plainest of the ones I picked. However, the 10×10 instagram community style tends to skew pretty simple. This was also the first day. All aboard the 10×10 hype train.
- 137 dress as top + midi skirt + oxfords
- Of note, the only outfit with a hat
- 132 cardigan + yellow top + wide-leg pants + boots
- 121 sweater + skirt + oxfords
- I would have guessed this would get more likes than any of the jeans outfits
- 120 monochrome sweater + pants + oxfords
- I dunno, this whole middle section is pretty much the same when you consider that I have less than a thousand followers
- 108 yellow top + skirt + boots
- This was the final outfit
- 103 trench + green top + wide-leg pants + boots
- 4th outfit
- Not included: 112 for sweater + jeans + boots because I posted that one technically before the 10×10 started.
This was by far my most successful 10×10. Even though I had nitpicks on many of the outfits, overall I enjoyed wearing all of them. While I certainly wouldn’t want to only wear those 10 items for the rest of fall, I enjoyed every single outfit and am looking forward to wearing all the items with the rest of my wardrobe for the rest of the season. Hurrah! Looks like I found some 10×10 capsule creating guidelines (and a wardrobe to chose the items from) that works well for me.
Takeways and Follow Up
- This colors and textures thing is the greatest. Really felt like I could get a lot more looks out of the 10 items (even not counting my cheat pieces like the trench and white sweater) when I had more colors.
- I noticed when I was planning that I had a harder time mixing neutrals with the colors. I felt like it always came off as trying too hard to do the ~pop of color~ thing. I should figure out what makes that work.
- I was finally spurred by this to donate a bunch of my old fall/winter staples that I no longer ever reached for. Even if something is perfectly fine, if I have items with the same function that are excellent, then I will never reach for that perfectly fine black sweater.
- When I get dressed stuff goes everywhere. This emphasized that more as the piles of stuff that usually get moved around a bit every morning languished. Going to put more thought into culling some more pieces, especially since my ingress rate has been pretty high this past few months and I want to leave my boyfriend some breathing space in the 425 square feet that we’re sharing.
- Since I enjoyed the non-grayscale monochrome look so much, I want to try wearing it and other monochrome / tone-on-tone outfits more often.
- Including only relatively substantial shoes was a key part for me not hating some of the simpler outfits. I should continue erring towards the statement side of things rather than nondescript when buying footwear.
- The corduroy midi skirt is a visually heavy item and I realized that it looks best with tops that can hold their own. E.g. I liked it better with the yellow top and balloon sleeve sweater more than the thin 3/4 sleeve “top”.
- I wasn’t sure before whether I was universally meh on the top+jeans+boots combos but I really enjoyed the two that I had here. Wearing a belt and my most fun shoes made them feel more like ~outfits~, so I will keep that in mind as an easy way to dress things up even when I’m feeling lazy.
- I will probably always be too lazy to accessorize and do my hair if I couldn’t manage it even with almost two weeks of pre planned outfits
- Generally I’ve been inspired to go bigger and bolder with my silhouettes, colors, and textures. It’s just more fun. I am definitely not anywhere near maxing out on aesthetic maximalism, but I’ve come such a long way from the first 10×10 I tried when I was still wearing largely untextured dark neutrals.
- I love that cashmere cardigan. I just feel like such a luxurious person while wearing it 😍
I still love clothes and trying new items, but I think this time rather than seeing some dire holes in my wardrobe, I think I have confirmed that I definitely have a solid fall/winter base. Seeing my wardrobe whiplash itself over the past year has been pretty fascinating. I’m not going to force myself to settle into a single style for the sole sake of paring down my closet, but I noticed of the past three 10x10s, this set was definitely the one I was the most confident with. I’m going to try and really milk all the outfits from my current batch of fresh fall colored things while I’m into this aesthetic.
I enjoyed wearing the outfits along the 10 days this time, but I think I may be at a point in my wardrobe and development of my critical eye for styling that for future 10×10, I might get the most value out of it by just planning and photographing all the outfits in a single day and not actually bothering to wear them all immediately. 10x10s have been a great learning experience for me, and I hope that while my wardrobe continues to evolve, I can continue to find ways to use 10x10s to thoughtfully curate it.