10×10 Challenge Summer 2018

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Last season, I attempted the Spring 10×10 challenge and I failed. By failed, I mean I didn’t finish (I gave up after outfit no. 6)…mostly because I learned that if it wasn’t black, I wouldn’t wear it. This “failure” is what prompted me to take a good hard look at my wardrobe and take the plunge to transition to a monochromatic wardrobe. I decluttered my wardrobe until all that was left was my favorite black pieces–sprinkled with a few white tees, and grey and navy knits. After being on this journey towards minimalism for a whole year, I felt more confident this time around even though Summer is my least favorite season to dress for.

This challenge also came at a unique time for me. I am currently house- and dog-sitting for a month in a lovely home in LA. This means I’ll be living out of a suitcase for a month (more on that in a later post). For my first week here, I only brought a few things–some dresses and a pair of sneakers– knowing that I didn’t really have any plans. The guest room I’m in does not have a closet, so my “closet” has been this basket bag that I scored at the PCC Flea Market months ago. My strategy for choosing my ten items therefore was pretty practical. I chose items that 1) I had missed in my first week here and would later pick up from my apartment not too far from my temporary home; 2) I couldn’t live without (aka my closet favorites); and 3) were new and exciting to me. Being away from my closet has been refreshing (and honestly makes me think that I can live with a whole lot less), and it made it easier to plan for this challenge since I wasn’t overwhelmed by all the possible choices.

Here are the 10 items that I chose:
3rd Season Riviera Silk Midi Wrap Dress (black)
–Urban Outfitters Floral Midi Babydoll Dress (old, black)
Muji Cotton Wide Leg Pants (black)
Jenny Strange Hands Off Tee (white)
Everlane Box Cut Tee Dress (black)
Sotela Lyla Crop 2.0 (beige)
–Basic T-Shirt (black, any)
–Basic Sneakers (white, any)
–Basic Sandals (black, any)
–Wildcard / Open Slot

Initial Thoughts: I didn’t want to restrict myself too much, especially with the basics. Instead of naming specific items, I went broad with 3 of my closet essentials: basic black t-shirt, white sneakers, and black sandals. I could pick from any of my collection of these items. I hoped that having a little bit of flexibility here will allow to me see this challenge through. I stuck with a pretty monochromatic color palette (no surprises there) and was excited to come up with some new ways to maximize my wardrobe. I also picked some closet favorites that have become a part of my uniforms, but I wanted to try to find new ways to wear them to breathe some new life into them.

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Here are the 10 outfits I came up with:
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– OUTFIT NO. 1 –
3rd season riviera wrap dress (available in navy), apc half moon bagdolce vita espadrille mulesceline rounded cat eye sunglasses

You might recognize this outfit from this post. I didn’t feel like taking pictures of the same outfit again, but I definitely kicked off this challenge with a tried and true outfit. This dress was a happy purchase from The Renegade Craft Fair back in April. The silk, made from deadstock fabric, makes me feel so fancy and like I’m floating wherever I go. It is one of the dresses that I packed in my initial week here. It’s also reversible so I knew I wanted to experiment wearing it in different ways.

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– OUTFIT NO. 2 –
free people it’s yours hi-lo tee, kimchi bleu fleur babydoll floral midi dress (old), gola classics coaster velcro sneakers via lou & greyceline rounded cat eye sunglasses, mansur gavriel mini bucket bag (thrifted via ebay) 

I’ve had this dress in my closet for a while now (first seen on the blog here) and even though I’ve let go of 70% of my wardrobe in the past year, it has passed every declutter test. It took me so long to find a floral print that I loved as much as this one so I just can’t seem to let it go. The straps broke last summer and I took it to a tailor to mend it–that’s just how much I love this dress. Even so, I don’t wear it as often as I should so I wanted to include it in as part of my 10 items to see what I can do with it. I love it layered over a tee (and a sweater like I wore back in November). This will definitely become a go-to outfit once the school year begins. I love how layering a dress over a tee instantly makes it more conservative, and more wearable for everyday life. (Also how cute is Jayla?! I’m so lucky to be dog-sitting this cutie!)

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– OUTFIT NO. 3 –
 jenny strange hands off teemuji  modal cotton wide pantsveja x madewell fruit embroidered espar low sneakersceline rounded cat eye sunglasses

I’ve been favoring wide leg pants over my skinny jeans all summer. They’re so much more comfortable and breathable on those hot Summer days that LA has been having. This makes me want to get some high-waisted wide leg jeans for the Fall/Winter. Who knew that I wouldn’t want to wear skinny jeans anymore? This cut of pants was definitely one that I didn’t think I was enough for (I was wide so why would I want to emphasize that with wide pants?), but that quickly changed when I found this pair from Muji. I love it paired with this tee from Jenny Strange. I feel like these two go together like pb&j. I do need to find different ways to wear these pants though because I feel like all I ever pair them with are graphic tees.

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– OUTFIT NO. 4 –
everlane box cut tee dress (sold out in black but other colors are available!), veja x madewell fruit embroidered espar low sneakersceline rounded cat eye sunglassesmansur gavriel mini bucket bag (thrifted via ebay) 

This Everlane dress is without a doubt my most worn item in my closet. It has definitely surpassed the 30 wears test. This is also the dress that I got criticized for wearing too often. I chose this item to try to wear it in different ways because this way with sneakers is my favorite way. I’m so glad that I bought an extra of this dress since it’s now sold out in black, but priced at $25, I think I’m counting pennies now for the cost per wear. This is my go-to outfit for when I’m running late, for when I don’t know what to wear, and for when it’s too hot to think.

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– OUTFIT NO. 5 –
kimchi bleu fleur babydoll floral midi dress (old), everlane silk short-sleeve square shirt (currently on sale!),  dolce vita espadrille mulesceline rounded cat eye sunglassesmansur gavriel mini bucket bag (thrifted via ebay)  

At the halfway point of the challenge, I decided to use my wildcard / open slot. The single best part of this challenge is the community that it builds. I was so inspired by all the other babes participating. When I felt discouraged or was in need of some inspiration, I would just look at the #summer10x10 feed on Instagram. One closet essential that every minimalist or slow-fashion enthusiast seemed to pick as one of their 10 items was a button down shirt. I decided that I wanted (my only) one to fill my open spot so I can see what all the fuss was about (and you know FOMO).

Growing up playing classical instruments like the piano and violin, I was accustomed to wearing white button downs for recitals and concerts; and when I quit, I vowed to never buy one again. And I haven’t. Despite how many people say it’s a wardrobe staple of theirs, I just couldn’t get on board…so of course, I thought to try it in black. To be honest, this was the first time I wore it even though I’ve had it for months, and I’m starting to come around to it. Jayla seemed to approve too. I was inspired by so many babes layering theirs over dresses to make it look like like they’re wearing a top and a skirt.

It was after this outfit that I really wanted to push myself and try to wear each item at least twice.

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– OUTFIT NO. 6 –
everlane silk short-sleeve square shirt (currently on sale!), muji  modal cotton wide pants,
dolce vita espadrille mulesceline rounded cat eye sunglassesmansur gavriel mini bucket bag (thrifted via ebay)  

I loved tying this button down so much that I wore it again the next day, but this time with pants. Despite being in all black outfit, this silk top and wide leg pants kept me cool for a date night out grabbing drinks to celebrate Brandon finishing his Summer class. Now we have 3 weeks of Summer to enjoy together before the school year begins for the both of us.

This outfit was a huge milestone for me. You can read all about it where I talk about body positivity in this post.

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– OUTFIT NO. 7 –
sotela lyla crop 2.0muji  modal cotton wide pants,
dolce vita espadrille mulesceline rounded cat eye sunglassesmansur gavriel mini bucket bag (thrifted via ebay)  

There’s a definite flax obsession among the ethical fashion community. Similarly to the button down, I wanted to see what all the fuss about flax was about. Weeks before the challenge started, I ordered the Lyla Crop 2.0 from Sotela and I knew it would go great with my wide leg pants. I was so excited that it came on the 5th day of the challenge so that it could be a part of the challenge. I think this crop top will be perfect with all things high-waisted. I also love that it’s reversible if you wanted a more conservative neckline. I can’t wait to see how this new color plays out in my wardrobe. I’m already envisioning it underneath all my outerwear and knits for Fall/Winter with all my high-waisted bottoms.

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– OUTFIT NO. 8 –
muji linen top (old), muji  modal cotton wide pants,
dolce vita espadrille mulesceline rounded cat eye sunglassesmansur gavriel mini bucket bag (thrifted via ebay)  

The obsession with these pants is real you guys, and I’m so glad that I found different ways to wear them other than with a graphic tee. By terming this muji linen top as a basic black tee, I may have cheated a bit, but to me this top is an elevated black t-shirt. I was again inspired by the many babes participating in this challenge to wear a linen top with their wide leg pants, and so I wanted to try it. I initially bought this linen top from Muji to wear it with these pants (mostly because I bought them the same day and tried them on together), but just haven’t gotten around to wearing it out. This challenge was the perfect time to wear test this look out. And I have to say: I am in love with this silhouette. It makes me feel like an artist.

At $30, this top was a great dupe for the Elizabeth Suzann Georgia Tee as I wasn’t sure how I felt about linen and didn’t want to drop too much money on something I was unsure about. I think I’m starting to see why so many people are crazy for linen–it looks great wrinkled; it keeps you cool on a summer day; and it’s so easy to clean. I’ll definitely be looking to add some more linen pieces next summer.

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– OUTFIT NO. 9 –
 jenny strange hands off tee, 3rd season riviera wrap dress (available in navy), gola classics coaster velcro sneakers via lou & greyceline rounded cat eye sunglassesmansur gavriel mini bucket bag (thrifted via ebay)  

I hadn’t tried the 3rd Season Riviera dress worn with the v in the back yet, so I thought this challenge would be a good time as any to try it out. I didn’t just want to wear this dress by itself again, so I tried layering it over my white tee that I wore in outfit no. 3. I was skeptical because up until this point, I had only layered t-shirts underneath dresses that had thin straps. I loved how this turned out and makes this dress a bit more casual than just pairing it with a pair of white sneakers. This was the perfect look to run errands around town in: I was comfortable but wouldn’t be embarrassed if I ran into someone that I knew.

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– OUTFIT NO. 10 –
everlane box cut tee dress (sold out in black but other colors are available!), dolce vita espadrille mulesceline rounded cat eye sunglasses, basket bag from pcc flea market tied with an old madewell neck scarf (similar)

For my last outfit, I looked back on outfit no. 4’s Instagram post where I had asked others for their favorite ways to style a t-shirt dress. A lot of suggestions had something to do with adding a scarf to add a bit of color and flair. On this particular Summer morning, it was boiling hot and I knew I didn’t want anything around my neck so I tied it to my basket bag. I’m so glad that I found a new way to wear this dress. It really goes to show just how powerful small accessories can be to change the look and feel of an item. I definitely need to keep this in mind since most days, my accessories don’t get a whole lot of love since I constantly wear the same jewelry everyday and don’t love changing out my handbag. I definitely felt like I ended this challenge on a high note with one of my favorite closet pieces.

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Final Thoughts: I’m SO happy that I finished this challenge! That already makes this challenge a success (clearly, I have high expectations of myself ha!). I have so many outfits that I can now add to my rotation now for when the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet and/or I’m running late. There’s something I like about each of these outfits that it’s hard for me to choose a favorite. I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone this challenge to try looks that I never thought I could (aka looks that I thought would only look good on thinner girls) like outfits no. 5, 6, and 8. I’m so glad that I found ways to wear the floral dress and that I finally got to wear some pieces that hadn’t seen the LA sunshine yet (my Everlane silk short-sleeve square shirt and my Muji linen top).

Just like with the last 10×10 challenge, I learned something about my wardrobe that will serve as a catalyst for another decluttering round. I’ve realized that while I love that my wardrobe is heavily anchored in black pieces, I really loved playing with the contrast between white/beige and black like in outfits no. 7 and 9. I also really enjoyed adding a print in this challenge to add a bit of interest and flair. I’m thinking that adding a bit more whites and creams, and maybe a bit of print, will give my wardrobe some room to breathe (and that I won’t constantly look like I’m going to a funeral). I don’t think I’ll ever be in head to toe flax or white, but I want to experiment a little more with lighter tones and see where this goes.

While I don’t regret any of the items that I chose, I think I could’ve been smarter and made more use of my black t-shirt dress and used it as a top. It could’ve worked layered in outfit no. 2, but I don’t think I would’ve achieved the same look in outfit no. 8. I think next time, I will want to choose one less dress, and one more bottom so that I could have more options (because I basically just wore all my tops with the same bottom). However, I do love how many new combinations I have now to pair with these cotton wide leg pants! The possibilities seem endless now, and not restricted to just my small collection of graphic tees.

I was so surprised that I found this round to be easier than other failed attempts, especially with Summer being my least favorite season to dress for. I think this is partially because I was away from my wardrobe and living out of a suitcase; and also because I finally feel settled in what my “look” is and confident in the direction it’s heading. I managed to wear everything at least twice, except for my Sotela Lyla Crop 2.0, but I know that this little linen top will get tons of wear with my other high-waisted pieces in my wardrobe.

All in all, I had so much fun these last 10 days! I can’t wait for the next one! Fall is definitely my favorite season to dress for so I think I can’t wait for the Fall 10×10 to roll around.

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