Hi friends, and happy Tuesday!
A little over a week ago, and a bit on a whim, I decided to jump into Style Bee’s Fall 10×10 Challenge. Are you familiar with these kinds of challenges? They exist in different forms, but the idea behind this one is you pick ten items (including shoes!) and for ten days you wear them in combination.
If I’m totally honest, I’ve always been a little intrigued, but mostly a little skeptical, about this sort of thing. While I’m on board with the slow fashion thrust of a lot of these challenges, in general, I am not hugely into clothes or fashion and so the idea of spending a lot of time trying to hone in on some personal look has always struck me as … well, something I don’t care enough to do! But my curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to see if I could do the challenge … and I was actually surprised by what I got out of it. So I thought I’d share a few reflections about it today. It’s not about knitting in the strictest sense (though it is about incorporating handknits into your wardrobe), so if this isn’t your thing, I totally get it — and I’ll be back next Thursday with my monthly sock post!
What I Chose
Here are the items I chose for the challenge (less the two pairs of shoes, which I forgot to photograph — a pair of Clarks desert boots and mustard colored sneakers). I found the process of actually choosing these pretty easy … I’d fairly recently gotten two dresses from Pyne and Smith — the dark grey shift and the long black linen dress (a present to myself when I finished my PhD). I’d also, while shopping for stockings on Thought Clothing’s website, somewhat on impulse gotten the navy blue dress, thinking I’d be able to dress it up when I need to go into my job (which is rare) but also wear it with leggings and hand knits. For trousers, I decided to use the challenge as an opportunity to incorporate some black jeans that I impulse bought back in May (I was trying on tops and needed something to go with them … they were on sale and fit well, and while I said no to the tops, I took the unneeded jeans) that I’ve felt a bit guilty about — I didn’t have any black trousers, but I had plenty of blue jeans when I bought them! The two layering tops were easy, mostly because I have scandalously few layering shirts … the red and white stripe top I bought over the summer; the black and cream was one my mom kindly passed onto me when it didn’t work for her. Maybe the hardest part of the whole choosing process was the knitwear: with only ten items to work with, I didn’t think I could choose more than two sweaters, which was hard! I went with my Incunabula Cardigan and Carbeth.
Choosing the garments was definitely made easier by the fact that I had some new clothes that I was excited to wear … I’m really aware of the fact that the lion’s share of these were purchased in the last year. On the one hand, it feels a bit like cheating. On the other, I’m glad that recent purchases are things that I (black jeans excluded) have really been enjoying wearing — in fact, it was the amount I was wearing my two P&S dresses that got me thinking I could pull one of these 10×10 challenges off!
What I Wore
Here’s 9 of my 10 outfits (because I’ve still got one day to go!). My black dress and black jeans tied for most worn (I’ve worn them four times each). Two items–the red stripe top and navy dress–only got worn once (though I’ll probably wear the navy dress tomorrow).
What I Learned
About getting dressed …
This might sound a little silly, but as someone who works almost exclusively from home, I actually found the mandate to get dressed everyday really helpful. Don’t get me wrong … I get up and shower every morning. But often, I reach for leggings, a tshirt, and my favorite oversized, but sadly hole ridden, sweater. And while I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically wrong with that, I did find that I got a certain satisfaction and boost from actually putting on clothes that I would also leave the house in each morning.
Beyond that, I also found I actually enjoyed working from a reduced number of items when putting together an outfit — it made getting dressed a lot faster! And it made me get a bit more creative with my outfit combinations and think more about using knitwear and some jewelry to change things up. This morning, for instance, I found I really was craving the loose comfiness of my black linen dress. But I’ve worn it a fair few times and was trying to think of something different to pair with it. Inspired by some of the other 10×10 posts I’ve seen on Instagram, I popped my striped top over the black dress … and was really surprised how much I liked the combination!
About neutrals and colors …
I love natural, neutral shades and have definitely been gravitating toward them when I buy clothes (they’re so versatile!) and in my knitting. I like them a lot. And also, I have limited funds that I can/want to spend on clothes (and in general, buying less is a good thing) and knitting a garment takes a certain amount of time … so best to buy or make something that will go with everything! I did find by the challenge midpoint of the challenge though, that I was beginning to feel a little drab. While I think having muted naturals at the core of what I wear, I need some color to spice that up! Whether it’s a colorful sweater (and I do have several colorwork ones planned), a fun shawl, or a bright necklace, I do really like some color !
About what I have …
The challenge reinforced something I was already pretty sure of … I am done buying storebought sweaters. I love wearing my handknits, I have a decent number of them in my wardrobe and many more planned. Of course, something might change, but at this point, I just don’t see the point in buying a sweater from a shop
It also reminded me that I don’t need anymore jeans, black or otherwise. I only had one pair in the challenge, but when I was trying to pick, I saw just how many I had — a few newish pairs in good condition that I’ve bought over the last few years and two my mom recently gave me that she doesn’t wear. So no matter how much I’m tempted to maybe try a different jean silhouette (I’ve eyed wide leg crops and also wondered about some with a bit of a higher waist for all my cropped jumpers), right now, if I’m trying to limit the new clothes I buy, jeans definitely don’t make sense.
About what I could use …
So in general, the thrust of my 10×10 was I have enough. But it helped me to identify the one or two places where I could do with something else. First, I need some long sleeve tops. Like really need. Just a couple, that can go with my sweaters, but I’m lacking the basics (like a black long sleeve shirt) that would help me get the most of the clothes, and especially handknits, I already have. Second, it’s starting to get cold, and I need some sort of under layer to wear with my linen dresses if they’re going to take me through the winter. I found a wool slip online, and I like the look of it, but it’s sold out at the moment in my size and would require international shipping. If anyone in the UK has suggestions for a warm dress slip, preferably natural fabric, I’d love to hear it. A pair of wool tights would also help me stay warm. So those are the real needs. Otherwise, I could do with a few more accessories: a necklace for jazzing up solids, maybe a pair or two of fun earrings … to pull some of my outfits together.
Right, so I think that about does it! I still feel a little self conscious about all my wardrobe chat, but I’ve found the 10×10 a cool exercise, and documenting my findings will, if nothing else, hopefully make me a bit more mindful the next time I think about buying something new. Have you ever participated in this sort of wardrobe challenge? Or considered it? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!