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Don’t Know What’s in Your Closet? Try the 10×10 Challenge

When was the last time you took a good look at everything in your closet? I mean a really good, in-depth, finding-hidden-treasure look at your clothes.

Let’s face it. Most of us don’t know what is taking up all that space in our dressers, closets, or under-bed storage containers. Taking apart that carefully organized chaos to even find out is daunting and can feel like a waste of a weekend. We have classes, we have homework. We don’t have time to take inventory or simplify.

So, I propose a challenge. Specifically, the 10×10 Challenge (also called the “ten-by-ten”). This is the capsule wardrobe’s much tougher baby sister. It is deceptively easy, but perfect for anyone who wants to play creative dress-up for a week or two. Ten pieces of clothing that you turn into ten outfits for ten days.

The 10×10 is the brain-child of Canadian blogger, Lee Vosburgh – a.k.a Style Bee – as an exercise to rekindle creativity with her clothes. Starting in 2015, Vosburgh’s blog documents her seasonal 10x10s from what pieces she chose to how she wore them. At the end, she puts together a round-up of her favorite outfits from the challenge and encourages followers to share their own discoveries.

Yes, there are hashtags for you to join in the fun across social media, and maybe flip through for some seriously fashionable ideas.

Sound interesting? Here’s how to do it yourself:

Step One: Set a timer for 30 minutes and pick out ten items of clothing. This includes pants, skirts, sweaters, blouses, tee shirts, coats, jackets, and (if you want to be really hard on yourself) shoes. For beginners, a good “equation” to start out with is two pairs of shoes, four tops, two bottoms, one dress, and one piece of outerwear. Accessories – hats, gloves, jewelry, bags, and scarves – don’t count.

Step Two: Turn those ten pieces into ten full outfits. This means you will wear a piece of clothing for more than one day. Be sure to take pictures of each outfit for reference later on, and don’t forget to check the weather!

Step Three: Every day for ten days, wear one outfit. Keep track of what you like and don’t like about each one. Try to mix it up with jewelry and shoes to keep things fresh.

I love the 10×10. I try to do one once a month, especially if I have new purchases or a pile of things I’m not sure I want to keep any more. It’s my go-to plan if I’m feeling down about the way I look or if I find myself wearing the same uniform to classes. Life is too short to not have fun and be fabulous having fun. Seriously, you will never feel more brilliant than when you land on a perfect outfit combination from thing’s you’ve never put on together!


Still on the fence? Maybe some pro-tips will help you feel more comfortable casting all doubt to the wind:

1.Try to go for an easy color palette the first time around. You know, the classic looks. A slick black tee shirt and jeans, a crisp white blouse, a flowy black skirt, or maybe a trusty pair of Keds. Having things that don’t “argue” will make it so much easier for you to make solid outfits that you can accessorize to oblivion.

2. Pick your favorites first, then throw in something new or unexpected.

3. Avoid anything labeled “Dry Clean Only”. You’re going to be wearing these items more than once over the ten days, and if something absolutely has to be washed, you don’t want it to be a pain in the butt.

4. “Costumer’s Cleaner” (aka “refresher spray”) is your best friend. It’s cheap to make, easy to use, and perfect for refreshing clothes that aren’t quite ready for the washer. All you need is a spray bottle, one tablespoon of baking soda, two cups of water, and ten drops of your favorite essential oil.

5. A pair of jeans can be worn up to four times before you need to wash them. A bra can be worn three times. Sweaters can be worn up to five times with the refresher spray.

Photo credit: 1, 2, 3

A senior English Writing major at Pitt, one of the senior editors here at HC Pitt. The resident maker, news junkie, and history nerd, I can hem your pants and tutor you in the American Civil War, no problem!
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