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How to Plan for the 10x10 Challenge

This year I was a newcomer to the 10x10 challenge, and I have to say, it was definitely a little daunting, but you get into the groove of things by Day 5. Now that I'm done with the challenge I thought I'd put together a quick guide for anyone interested in trying it out this Spring. I've outlined a few tips and tricks to make the most out of your 10x10, and take some of the stress out of those first few days of the challenge!

1.    Check the Weather Forecast:
I checked for the week and a half to come before even looking at my wardrobe. I didn’t want any surprises. This applies more to those in areas that get very rainy, snowy, or have capricious weather. Of course the challenge isn’t binding law, but it’s irritating to have to break from the challenge and veer from your 10 pieces, for something as seemingly simple and mundane as the weather (if you’re Type A like me).

2.    Plan your Looks in Advance
Anyone with a busy schedule can imagine that spending fifteen minutes in front of your wardrobe hemming and hawing about styling is not an option in the morning (breakfast>fashion anyday).

In anticipation of this, I planned my looks on an app, called Finery. The app allows you to upload (from the net via a web extension, or from your computer) pictures of your clothing, accessories…basically all wearables and create and save looks with them. It’s great for someone who prefers a visual reference, over writing out clothing combinations.  More about the app later as a review is coming up! For those of you who prefer the written word, Style Bee has a great downloadable PDF for planning and rating your looks.

3.    Maintain a Color Palette (I’d suggest no more than 2 non neutral colors), and physically check to see if the shades of your pieces play well together.
This is particularly important, though it seems like a no brainer, but shades are not really something you think about.
What you think is a blush pink may in reality lean more mauve and result in unexpected color clashing. Not all shades of normally complimentary colors mix well, so keep that in mind.

4.    Silhouettes
This challenge will definitely require you to layer, so make sure your first layer (be it a dress, or a cami, or a shirt) is streamlined so it doesn’t add bulk, or look lumpy.
Mixing short and long hemlines is always a good idea. Think crop tops with midis and maxis, or hip length tops with just above the knee dresses (so just a thick strip of the dress peeks out from under). It makes layering easier, and gives you options to adjust coverage depending on where you’re going.

5.    Stay True to Your style:
Don’t layer a loose crop over a loose dress when you prefer streamlined looks, just for the sake of the challenge.

The point of this challenge is to refine YOUR personal style, and discover new looks you’re genuinely excited to wear. If you check out the Fall 10x10 hashtag, there is plenty of inspiration from bloggers with a gamut of styles. Having some visual inspiration that reflects who you are makes it easier to make practical decisions.

6.    Think about textures
Again, seemingly obvious but not. This won’t matter as much in pictures as it will in real life.
I encountered this problem with one of my looks when I paired a slinky pima tank with more hefty silk culottes. The look looked great in pictures, but there was a disconnect in real life. The top was way too casual in silhouette and texture to really go with the bottom. If I’d chosen a thicker cotton tank the look may have worked better, though I think a silk tank would be optimal.

7.    Accessorize like an Olsen twin:
I can’t emphasize how important this is when it comes to the challenge. There were often times I depended on bags and jewelry to take me from day to night. Having picked all of these items out
beforehand made this a lot easier.
This is one of the main reasons I allowed myself to rotate shoes. I lean on my shoes to change the tone of my look more than any other part of my wardrobe. If you have a trusty lean-on that you depend on (eg some people love using coats to spice up a look) change the rules to suit your styling habits!

8.    Check your calendar and have buffer looks:
Of course, ensuring that the looks you have chosen are occasion appropriate is important, and not many of us normally plan our outfits ten days in advance. Add one extra “fancy” look, and one "everyday" look to the 10 looks you already have to be on the safe side.
Giving yourself a special occasion pass is completely acceptable. In fact a lot of people pause the challenge on weekends. It all really depends on your goals for the challenge.

9.    Have Fun!
It’s counterintuitive, but this challenge is only as worthwhile as it is fun! Be creative, pick colors or silhouettes you wouldn’t have before. This is a chance to step out of your comfort zone, learn more about yourself, and personalize and truly inhabit your style!

ADAPTABLE STYLE FORMULA for the Fall 10x10 challenge

2 Tops:
>1 basic shirt
>1 fancier shirt (**button downs can double as light outerwear).

3 bottoms: 
Any combination of Jeans + Slacks/Leggings + Skirts

*If you depend on your tops more than bottoms to add variety to your wardrobe, make it 3 tops and 2 bottoms.

1 Dress:
A basic dress that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Preferably a classic silhouette (that layers well) and a neutral color or print you’re confident is versatile.

2 pieces of outerwear:
>1 casual, cropped piece: denim/suede/leather/cotton or wool for bombers.
>1 Longline heavier duty piece: this can be either a longline coat/cardigan/trench depending on your weather.

Shoes (if you include them):
>1 pair of flats: choose something comfortable, that goes with all your looks. Many people chose slip ons.
> 1 pair of heels: I saw people wearing everything from strappy sandals, to boots, to smaller heels (eg the Everlane day heel).


I outlined the goals with which I entered this challenge in a previous post. This was integral for me to truly retrospect on what I had learned from the challenge. With this as a guide it was a lot easier to retrospect on the challenge and learn from it. Lee Vosburgh has a great worksheet on her 10x10 guidelines post with room to jot down thoughts about and rate each look. Questions to ask yourself when setting your objectives are:

1.    What about your style do you want to change or learn more about?
This challenge can help you decide whether you gravitate towards a certain look (classic/boho/manrepeller), a certain era, towards certain fabrics, and even what style best fits your life, body, and vision. Use this as a compass for your style direction.

2.    What pieces are you unsure of, and what pieces do you want to make work?
This challenge is a great way to heavily rotate pieces you don’t normally reach for, but aren’t sure why. You’ll quickly realize whether they work or don’t.

3.    What pieces/looks are you curious to try?

This is a great way to test out new styles as you’ll quickly see whether they work for you or not.
I did this with my new Zara boots (yes, they aren’t leather but I needed a heavy use boot impervious to rain, but still stylish), and I went from being meh to kinda loving them.

That’s it for suggestions. I hope this makes the challenge a little less daunting and more doable for anyone new to the 10x10 challenge. I highly recommend trying it out, for anyone in a style rut. Hope to see you guys in the next Spring10x10!
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