I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions. If I did, they would probably involve things like “floss more” and “eat more veggies” which would undoubtedly make me feel virtuous for the entire five minutes it would take for me to either forget and/or break them. Resolutions, like broccoli, are all fine and good in principle; in practice, they’re things that somehow always end up at the bottom of your to-do list, or your plate at the end of a meal. [I make an exception for stir-fried broccoli, because, well, a bit of fat makes anything taste better.]
So, while this year as in the past, I haven’t made any resolutions, had I done so, they would be, generally speaking, something along the lines of “floss more”, “exercise restraint in the ice cream aisle”, and “simplify your life”. In the spirit of the latter, I have been working on de-cluttering my closet – a not insignificant endeavour. Life as a stay-at-home mom is fairly conducive to the task, since I currently need far fewer clothes than I did in my working life. I have been able to be quite ruthless with my metaphorical axe so far. The true test will come in about six months’ time, when I’ll be heading back to the office. In the meantime, I have been inspired by the on-going quest (and a friend’s suggestion) to try a little experiment.
The key to streamlining a wardrobe is versatility. When you cut down on the number of pieces you have, everything has to work together. This is actually a good test for deciding what stays and what goes: can you make the piece work with the staples in your closet, or is it “high maintenance” – does it need a very specific list of accessories to make it work? Sometimes, an item will have sentimental value that transcends such practical concerns; more often, though, it’s just a piece you rarely wear because, well, it’s just not versatile enough.
The 10/10 challenge is simple: 10 pieces, 10 different outfits. Because my friends Robyn and Laura decided to join me in the challenge, I put together a list of general categories of items, so that we could work from the same “script” as it were, personalizing it based on our respective closets and styles. I picked the categories with a view to giving us the most options for mixing and matching, although they could easily be tweaked depending on personal preferences. Here is the list:
1 cardigan or sweater
1 solid colour top
2 print tops
1 pair of pants (or leggings)
1 pair of jeans
1 fun item
(shoes and accessories are extra)
The first thing I did, in selecting my 10 pieces, was to pick a colour theme – black, blue, purple and grey. Given my still-extensive wardrobe, this made it easier for me to zero in on pieces for my list; the same approach would also be helpful when shopping for new pieces. What I ended up with included: a boiled wool jacket (Anthropologie); grey cashmere sweater (swapped); print blouse (Tommy Hilfiger); striped t-shirt (Anthropologie); turtleneck (Winners); black cropped pants (Banana Republic); jeans (Abecrombie & Fitch); dress (Costa Blanca); wrap skirt (Club Monaco); and my fun item, a sequin tank (Winners).
Here are the outfits I put together from my 10 pieces – nothing earth-shattering, for sure, but definitely wearable and practical.
Stay tuned this month for Robyn and Laura’s takes on the 10/10 challenge.