Whether you’re travelling or want to push your capsule to the limit…
A 10×10 capsule wardrobe? You’ve heard this schtick from me before. 10 items freshly picked from your wardrobe that you fashion into 10 different outfits. A concept originally started by Style Bee, that I’ve really got into over the past year. Fancy giving it go? Here’s my guide on when to do it, how to create your own in just five simple steps and some examples if you need a helping hand…
The obvious use here is for travel. It’s perfect for a long-weekend city break or a hot weather holiday where you’re going to melt in your bikini half the time anyway (it’s not so fab for longer breaks in colder weather where you need ALL THE LAYERS – 10 items just ain’t going to cut it). I’ve used it to pack for my last few trips and it’s worked really, really well. It’s practically impossible to overpack and it means that you end up wearing every single thing that you take with you. It doesn’t always have to be for a holiday though, it’s also a great method to whack out when you’re feeling uninspired with your wardrobe. Why not create yourself two week’s worth of a working day wardrobe? Or use a free afternoon to put some ideas together for party outfits so you’re not stumped next time you get an invite to leave the house post 8pm? Overall it’s just a good skill to hone to strengthen your styling capabilities and expand your outfit repertoire.
Your 10 items can include whatever you want. There ain’t no rules here! However I tend to stick to shoes, trousers, skirts, shorts, jeans, dresses, jumpsuits, tops, shirts, jumpers and cardigans, all being part of my core 10 items. Anything else I class as an additional add-on; a non necessary item if you will, that just serves a more functional purpose to the whole thing like bags, jewellery and hosiery. If I’m creating a winter capsule I tend to include a coat or jacket as part of my 10 items, but if it’s a summer capsule I’ll just throw a denim jacket in as an additional item because it’s there purely incase the A.C in somewhere is too high and therefore really isn’t the focus of the whole thing. You see – no rules. Feel free to adapt the idea to you and your needs, but incase you need a starting point here’s how I usually set mine up…
10×10 CAPSULE WARDROBE WINTER STARTER LIST
2 x Shoes
2 x Jeans
1 x Dress
1 x Cardigan
3 x Jumpers
1 x Coat
10×10 CAPSULE WARDROBE SUMMER STARTER LIST
2 x Shoes
1 x Shorts
1 x Lightweight Trouser
1 x Skirt
1 x Dress
3 x Tops
1 x Lightweight Shirt
FIVE STEPS TO CREATING A 10×10 CAPSULE WARDROBE
ONE. Set yourself up. There are two ways you can set yourself up. Either you can go down the physical route, clearing yourself a spot in your wardrobe to create your own rail where you can swap in and out ideas as you find your perfect mix. Or you can go down the digital route, which is what I prefer. I like to write my 10 items down in a word document, so that I can easily move around items and create outfit formulas without also creating a clothing tornado in our bedroom. It depends if you’re more of a visual person, or a wordy person, but either way you need to have some kind of organisation method in place so you can record and keep track of your outfits as you go.
TWO. Start from the bottom up. Ok, so where the hell do you start? I always like to start with shoes. Sometimes just the one option will feel like enough. A black flat Chelsea boot for example is a boot that I feel goes with everything and is nice and flat and comfy, so a good option for daytime outfits where I might be walking around a lot, but then also dressy enough for a meal out. Or you might want a bit of choice – say a strappy sandal for the evenings and a slip-on flat for the daytime. Whatever you decide I’d suggest maxing out the shoe options at two, so you still have plenty of other variables to play with. But starting with shoes and working from the bottom up is the best way I’ve found when it comes to curating your mini capsule.
THREE. Find multi-functioning pieces. Here’s where the magic happens. Multi-functional pieces are where you can really flex your styling muscle here and get completely different looks from just 10 items of clothing. Things like midi shirts and dresses work really well for this. For example I’ve worn this Realisation Par Iggy Dress in three different ways. Firstly just as the midi dress that it is (and pairing with with different shoes to get different vibes from the whole outfit). But then I’ve also worn it with a shirt tied over the top of it to make it look like a skirt, then I’ve tucked it into jeans so it looks like a top. Brilliant – a great three in one.
FOUR. Select your outfits. I like to get my 10 pieces together and out of the wardrobe just so I can see how it all looks; the colours, the textures and to see if any outfits immediately spring to mind. However you’ve been organising it, it’s always good to get a visual. Then it’s time to work out the 10 outfits you’d like to create from your 10 items. To help me with this I always like to start with trousers or bottom half options. Say my bottom half options consist of two pairs of jeans and a skirt. In my word document I’ll lay out 10 headings for each outfit and under each one add a bottom half option; say three outfits that include one of the pairs of trousers, three outfits that include the other pair and then four outfits with the skirt – just to make sure that I’m getting a fair spread of the items. From there I built in elements, again making sure that I’m using up all my items. If I’m feeling *really* stuck I head over to my Instagram saved section to see if there are any outfits that I’ve loved recently that I could recreate similar versions of from the 10 items I’ve picked. It sounds tricky, but this part is the best bit of the whole process.
FIVE. Get accessorising. Here’s where you can add some real jazz to the whole thing. There’s only so far that 10 pieces can get you, but add some chunky gold jewellery, a statement bag, a red lip, a low pony and the sky is your limit. Of course accessorising isn’t just limited to the aforementioned, but they are my fallbacks when it comes to this kind of thing and they can really change a whole outfit. If you find that two of your outfit picks are looking a little similar then use what you’ve already got to flip the vibe a little. I love me a sleek low pony, bold lip and some big gold hoops to make the whole thing feel a little evening-y. So play dress up and enjoy. See? A 10×10? Easy peasy.
10×10 CAPSULE WARDROBE EXAMPLES
I’ve filmed a fair amount of 10×10 capsule wardrobes this year and they have come in so handy, whether it be just for gathering inspiration from my wardrobe when I’m having a ‘I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!’ moment to check myself that I do in fact have plenty of outfits to wear, or for travelling and stopping the need to overpack dead in it’s tracks. So I’ve popped them all here for you in case you need a few more ideas before tackling your own. And *leans in* there will be another 10×10 to add to the collection very soon…
The Winter Wardrobe 10×10 – perfect for getting inspiration for the chilly months when you need to bundle up.
The Amsterdam 10×10 – how to pack and dress for a long-weekend away on a city break, when it’s kinda cold.
The Hot Weather 10×10 – what I packed with me when I went to Bali; perfect for if you’re heading anywhere hot anytime soon.
The Evening & Event 10×10 – a collation of fancy schmansy outfit ideas perfect for evenings or any big events you have coming up.
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Photos by Mark Newton