10 x 10 Wardrobe Challenge Cultivated Wardrobe

10 x 10 Spring Challenge Recap: Pros and Cons of a Mini Capsule

Last week I shared with you the looks I put together for the 10 x 10 challenge I participated in (extended by Lee from Stylebee).  I wrapped up utilizing these 10 looks this past Friday and thought it would be appropriate if I too share some of my reflections from this challenge — perhaps to inspire you to partake in a similar challenge yourself! :) My goals for this blog post are to share with you: why I chose the pieces and/or combination of pieces I did for this mini capsule challenge, what worked for me and, of course, what didn’t.

Also, don’t forget to check out these lovely ladies and their take on this challenge: Lee, Paige, Andrea and well, Andrea.


1 | Striped short sleeve tee | H&M

2 | Chambray (old + thrifted) | J Crew, similar

3 | Cream blouse (old + thrifted) | AB Studio, similar

4 | Light grey pencil skirt (old + thrifted) | Banana Republic, similar

5 | Light wash denim | American Eagle (distressed by me)

6 | Dark wash denim | American Eagle

7 | Wrap trench coat (old) | Mango, similar

8 | Patterned flat ( fabric painting diy), similar

9 | Peep toe bootie | Steve Madden

10 | White sneaker | Converse

Similar in the way that I put together my spring capsule, when I set out to choose the 10 pieces for this mini capsule challenge I started by opening up my Stylebook app.  I have, over the course of time, captured all of my wardrobe in this little app and I am continually amazed at how it allows me make better use of all the clothes I already have + help better identify future additions.  I actually utilized the ‘packing list’ feature and used it to organize the individual pieces I would use as well as each of the looks I created using those pieces.

Note* I realize Stylebook is for iOS users only [blah] and that this explanation is specific to that, but I’ve heard decent things about Stylicious as well — although I’ve never used it myself. You could also check out these tools. Overall I would recommend using some sort of tool to organize and manage your wardrobe, the benefits have been significant for me!

The pieces I chose for this capsule were mostly the pieces that I reach for over and over again in my closet. I know those are the pieces that I love the most and feel most like me, so I decided to stick with that this challenge. I kept to a neutral color palette full of creams, tans, blues, light grey, and just a little black.  I kept the mix varied with lots of different textures (denim, chambray, silk, cotton, leather, suede, canvas, etc.) and some pattern play (stripes, abstract dots and herringbone) for increased visual interest.

I broke my selection up into 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 3 pairs of shoes and 1 jacket.  I did this simply because I ran the numbers and if I did this it gave me the highest possible scenario of highly unique looks — almost one for everyday of the challenge.


Overall I feel like I chose great pieces and that the challenge was a huge success for me. I was specifically glad that I included 3 completely different shoe options and consider it a key to not feeling burnt out by the end of the challenge.

I never implored any layering options (the chambray over the striped tee, knotted around the waist, under/over the cream silk blouse, etc.) which could have easily extended the timeframe that this mini capsule could have lasted me. Utilizing a defined color palette most definitely ensured that any once piece could be paired with another in some way — and then making use of accessories or layers to finish it all off.


Although I wouldn’t say I felt burnt out of wearing the same pieces over and over at the end of this challenge, I was terribly burnt out of doing laundry! Unfortunately, 10 pieces is an extremely low number when you’re around a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old all day… To top it off our washer and dryer crapped out only a couple days into this mini capsule (eek!) so laundry became even more of an obstacle.

Similar to Paige’s experience, I ended up having to sub the cream collared blouse on the very first day — due to an early morning run in with my 1 year old — for another cream blouse in my closet that was not included in my 10 x 10 selections. And on day 6 my chambray shirt ripped a huge hole in the shoulder! Blah!  I wore my gingham button down for the remainder of that day and then just made due with the other 9 pieces in my mini capsule for the rest of the challenge. ;)

A mini capsule challenge [10x10 challenge] - 10 pieces, 10 outfits

Overall I think this challenged pushed me to create some different looks that I might not have otherwise chosen to wear — to work or to the playground.  It forced me to experiment with those different looks and provided for new opportunities for me to assess and reflect on what works for my lifestyle + what doesn’t.  Ideally I’d like to take part in a similar experiment every season and come away with new information and better assessments every time. :)

I would love to use this ‘packing list’ for an actual trip sometime in the future (maybe to Europe in the fall…?)!  It’s highly likely I’ll do something similar when putting together a packing list for a family vacation we’ll be taking this summer. :)

And recs on pieces/number of pieces or other items to pack for a two week trip to the beach? I already have this handheld travel steamer on my Amazon wish list! ;)


This is not a sponsored post. This post does contain affiliate links.

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  • Reply
    Lee the Bee
    May 9, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Thanks so much for taking the challenge and for encouraging others to join in Laura! You did such a great job! I really enjoyed reading about everyone’s experiences and takeaways. I guess it’s good that we’ve all struggled with different elements of it, otherwise it wouldn’t really be a ‘challenge’ right? I’m planning a summer one for the start of July so if you’re up for it, I’d love to have you join in!

    Have a great time at at the beach, I love my HandLoom shawl/cover-up so much! (https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/201465756/boho-kimono-jacket-fringe-kimono?ref=shop_home_active_6)

    • Reply
      May 9, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Thanks Lee! And I most definitely will! Also, I LOVE the cover up you linked to. Perfection!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2016 at 5:05 am

    I’m on day two, so far so good though walking in weather from sunny 74 to rainy 57 is throwing up a definite challenge! I think this will help me with packing for a ten day trip this summer. Those it’ll be semi easy; swimsuits and flip flops!

    I love reading about your capsule and how it’s helping you determine your style and what works. I think that’s the biggest motivator for me choosing a capsule.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I love this 10×10 idea for a travel wardrobe! I am heading to San Diego for a graduation next weekend and intend to fully use this for the five days we’ll be gone since I pretty much wear the same three things over and over. I love even more than you shared your pros and cons. I think I will pack less bottoms, just because I noticed that I rarely swap those out. Plus, postpartum mom body does not want to fit into my prepregnancy jeans yet! I also love the idea of different textures. I didn’t even think about that. Thank you!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      Oh that’s an awesome idea! And yes, I think this concept is absolutely perfect for a travel wardrobe. I would love to know how this works out for you! And yep, textures are my jam ;)

  • Reply
    May 10, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Hey Laura, I’ve enjoyed watching the 10 X 10 challenge that you, Lee, Paige and Andrea have done. I use the packing list on Stylebook and it is brilliant to keep my suitcase lighter and more effective. My trips are Usually smaller ones to visit family but I imagine it would be incredible for a big overseas trip too. Just wondering how you use the app to help identify future purchases?

    • Reply
      May 10, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks Tania! Such a great app. I first used the packing list feature when we went to California for 5 days at the end of last year — first time ever that I haven’t over packed! And felt like I had plenty of options to wear.

      So I’ve used the app to help identify future purchases merely by being able to see a complete visual of everything in my closet at once. I’ve organized my folders in such a way that I have one folder dedicated to an entire capsule and then subfolders segmenting tops, bottoms, jackets and shoes. You can choose to see all items in a main folder “All items in Summer ’16” (for example) and from there I can attempt to identify any gaps I think I might have or redundancies just by doing a visual survey. For example, I just wrapped up my Summer shopping (done early AND quickly this time around, yay!) and In the beginning I had it in my head that I needed a pair of dark blue pull on shorts — but all I kept finding were black in my price point, etc. When I finally consulted my overall closet (via this view in the app) I realized that the blue version that I wanted really wouldn’t be as valuable of an addition to my closet as a pair of black ones would — when comparing versatility and coordinating with, as well as balancing, pieces I already have and love.

      Anywho, I hope I answered your question! And seriously thanks so much for asking it– I love the chance to hash over specifics like this with people who are actually using the app! :)

      • Reply
        May 11, 2016 at 4:31 am

        Laura, I did not know about that ‘View all’ option!! It took me a good 5 minutes looking around to see that those words were actually THE option, doh. Thanks for that tip. I order my clothes the same way as you so that option is so helpful! After browsing a bit while looking for the view all, I also remembered about the option to see what other outfits I have worn which is so handy.

        How do you deal with clothing you no longer have in your wardrobe? I have a removed folder cos it seems if I delete them, I have to also delete them from all outfits. Keen to hear if you have a different strategy!

        • Reply
          May 11, 2016 at 7:02 am

          Score! Happy to be the one to share it with you! I feel like this app just has all kind of tucked away goodies :) Have you tried out the “shuffle” button while within the Looks section? If you navigate to “Looks” and then choose a specific folder, at the top next to the plus sign you will see two squiggle arrows that overlap. It’s kind of like magic and definitely helps one to see outfits you might not otherwise create!

          I have my closet organized (in the Stylebook app) by the following folders: Current capsule, accessories, special occasions, swimwear, in storage and farm + camp. If I am donating, selling or otherwise getting rid of a piece then I take the time to delete not only the piece, but also the outfit that was created using it. (Or I just edit the look to replace the piece I’m deleting…) I do this because this best reflects the wardrobe I’m actually working with. If I’m simply stowing it away for the season then I place it in the “In Storage” folder in my app, just as I have done in my physical closet — that way I don’t have to delete any associated looks or go through the trouble of re-adding it to the app when I pull it out of storage again. (So I’m thinking our strategies are similar if not the same!) :)

          • Tania
            May 13, 2016 at 4:35 am

            I didn’t know about the shuffle either! You are a wealth of Stylebook knowledge.
            Yes it does sound like we run a similar system. My categories are: Main wardrobe; Accessories; Summer capsule; Winter capsule; Formal; Not in rotation.
            Do you log your outfits in the calendar? I do and find it interesting to use the style stats for outfit wear, cost per wear, etc. Thanks again for your tips!

  • Reply
    May 12, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Loved your 10 x 10! I just packed this for a trip to the beach, and it worked out pretty great and ended up being more than enough. Maybe with a few more breezy tops, it could work for 10 days! http://capsulecloset.tumblr.com/post/143746763630/packing-list-cabo-im-off-to-mexico-for-a-long

  • Reply
    Style Challenge: Summer 10x10 - Style This Life
    July 15, 2016 at 11:34 am

    […] Go check out what Andrea has chosen for her 10 items this go around. For more inspiration, here are some other bloggers who did the spring 10×10 challenge:Lee, Andrea, Laura […]

  • Leave a Reply to Style Challenge: Summer 10x10 - Style This Life Cancel Reply