A while back, a friend totally nailed it when she said this: “Amy, you are someone who is comforted by boundaries."
I had never thought of it that way, but she was right. I like boundaries. I am helped by boundaries. And, I am comforted by boundaries.
So when I also read that boundaries can cause creativity to flourish, I got it! Yes, that made sense to me! Limitations help me think creatively. This applies in areas related to home design, but I also think it applies to wardrobes, too. I have been a longtime reader of the Unfancy blog, where Caroline talks a lot about capsule wardrobes and intentional closets.
After having our third baby, I pared down my closet extensively, and I really wanted to try one of the 10 x 10 challenges Caroline cohosts: 10 clothing items styled into 10 different outfits over 10 days. Because of my already slim wardrobe (with a limited color palette) I was able to choose my pieces pretty easily, but I needed the help of this worksheet over at Style Bee (another cohost of the challenge). I wanted to make sure that I could make 10 different outfits!
Here are the choices from my closet. I went with 2 pairs of shoes, 1 dress, 2 pants, 4 tops, and 1 cardigan. I linked below where I could.
Graphic tee: H&M // Crepe dress: H&M // Slouchy booties: Birkenstock // Navy cords: LOFT // Chambray button-up: J.Crew Factory // Gray cardigan: Target // Floral blouse: LOFT // Cognac booties: Sam Edelman // Pink linen tee: H&M // High-rise skinny jeans: Madewell (similar)
Technically, this is a spring challenge, but the forecast here in Minnesota is still wintry—it looks like the highs will be in the 30s. No shorts and sandals here! Easter Sunday also falls during the challenge, so I included the simple dress I had already planned to wear for Easter. I wrote each entry below day by day, like a journal. My girls were troopers and took most of the photos with a tripod, so please excuse some blurriness.
Honestly, I was cold in just a tee. I added the gray cardigan partway through the day!
This is a comfortable outfit—a button up always makes me feel somewhat put together, even though I rarely iron. I totally cheat and use my hair flatiron to straighten the collar and the bottom hem if it rolls up. But the shirt is still a little rumply and I'm ok with that.
Easter! It was probably 20 degrees as we were heading for church this morning, so I was glad to have something substantial to wear.
This outfit is a sweet spot for me. Simple, understated. Neutral color with minimal accessories and jewelry. Most days I just wear my wedding ring, gray pearl studs, and the plainest Timex watch. And this color combo of navy and warm leather is a happy one for me.
This floral blouse is my little nod to spring, because as I write this, snow flurries are coming down. Brrr!
And can we talk Birkenstocks for a second? I know they are not the most delicate-looking shoes around, but I've entered that stage of life where I have to prioritize comfortable footwear. When I was pregnant with our third, I had all kinds of aches and pains and I could hardly stand to be barefoot. On a girls' trip to San Diego, my mom, sister, and SIL gently convinced me to buy a pair a Birkenstock sandals. I'm not kidding when I say they were life changing. The break-in period was tough but oh! So comfortable in the end. I bought a pair of inexpensive Birk clogs that I wear inside the house daily. And I was happy to add two pairs of winter-appropriate Birkenstock boots to my wardrobe last year.
We did a grocery run this morning, but we'll be home the rest of the day. There's an April snowstorm out there and I'm glad to cozy up in this sweater! I most definitely did not wear these booties to the store—these are my everyday winter Birkenstocks (I found them at Nordstrom Rack). I cheated today because...practicality!
Today marks halfway through the challenge, and things are going to get harder, I think. So far it has been so fun! But now that I've worn everything once in the way I'd usually wear it, it's time to get more creative to wear things the second time in new ways.
"Let's get campy!" Anyone else remember that commercial?
This outfit feels like camp somehow? It's a bit outside the box for me, but I don't dislike it. I was stuck on how else to wear this chambray and thankfully this post from Caroline got my brain going.
I don't usually wear dresses on a day at home with the kids, but why not! This morning after breakfast I was in the mood to purge toys, so I didn't get dressed until mid-morning. It felt good to put on something nice when I did get dressed!
Haircut! Truly, so necessary.
Do you have a favorite brand of jeans? I've been really happy with the two pairs of Madewell jeans I own. I found that other brands tend to bag out at the knee, but Madewells keep their shape so I don't have to wash after each wear. They are expensive, though, so to try out the brand I bought both my pairs slightly used on Poshmark. I've also used Poshmark to sell a few items, which offset the cost even more. So the moral of the story is Madewell jeans are pretty great, and even greater when you don't have to pay full price. :)
Today I just wasn't feeling it. It's a Saturday at home, and if I didn't have to wear this for the challenge, I would have reached for something else for sure.
This outfit pushed me the most. To get three different looks from this dress I had to wear it unconventionally. I put on my chambray over the dress and tied it up with an elastic in front to make the dress look like a skirt (another idea from Caroline).
When I look at this picture, I feel like it looks ok, but I felt so uncomfortable in this that I took off the chambray partway through the day. I guess that's the point of this challenge, though—to push yourself to try new things. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't!
This was seriously fun. The last two days were the hardest, but it was partly because I was tired of taking the photos. I enjoyed the simplicity of getting dressed each morning knowing that my choices were limited. It definitely made getting dressed a quicker thing! I am helped by limited choices. It's fun to try new things, but it's also okay if it doesn't turn out like I expect.
Thanks to the ladies who hosted the challenge! And if you are considering trying something like this in your closet, what's holding you back?! Go for it!