Spring 2018 10x10 ReCap

And like that, the #spring10x10 has come to a close. I can't believe I stuck with it. Honestly, I tried to join in the fall, but dropped out within a day. I can't even remember why. Probably poor planning. 

But this time, I made it 10 whole days. I created 10 different outfits. And I even stuck with my original 10 clothing choices.

Yes, I'd like a cookie please. 

This challenge wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. And with thousands of posts to see on Instagram, there was an endless supply of inspiration. 

#spring10x10.jpg

My Goals

The reason I decided to participate in the #spring10x10 was because my wardrobe had devolved into way too casual work attire that left me bored and unmotivated. Working on a college campus, most offices sport business casual or casual every day of the week. 

When I first started, I only wore jeans on Fridays. As time went on, I began wearing jeans every day, but with dressy tops and sweaters. As more time went on, I found myself reaching for jeans and hoodies most days of the week.

While this style is great for the weekend and evenings, it ultimately left me feeling lazy and unprofessional. But I didn't know where to start. I felt like I had lost my style mojo. 

I hoped that the 10x10 could help me get it back.

I also hoped that I would begin to enjoy the clothes in my closet more. In the winter of 2016-2107, I attempted to create a capsule wardrobe. I planned out the pieces thoughtfully and was mindful of my purchases. Or at least I thought I was. This past year, I discovered I wasn't wearing what I had bought. And I wanted to know why.

My 10 items

1. Calvin Klein blazer 2. Athleta black cowl-neck sweater 3. BP Long-sleeved tunic tee 4. Old Navy long-sleeved stripped tunic tee 5. Old Navy black plaid button-up 6. Apt. 9 straight-leg light-wash jeans 7. Calvin Klein straight-leg black trouser 8. Apt. 9 straight-leg gray trouser 9. Teva flats 10. Abella Lindy flat in black

I choose these 10 items because I thought they were the most versatile of all my clothes. Several of the pieces are worn almost weekly already, so I know I am comfortable in them. However, I've gotten bored with those same pieces, so this would challenge me to find new ways to style them.

My 10 outfits

Outfit 1: 6/10 |  Outfit 2: 6/10 | Outfit 3: 7/10 | Outfit 4: 4/10 | Outfit 5: 7/10

Style Findings

My favorite pieces this week were my jeans (of course) and my black Calvin Klein blazer. I especially love combining the two. But the blazer's sleeves are a bit long. I'll be taking it into the tailor's as soon as this challenge is over.

It didn't surprise me, but I didn't feel comfortable in Outfit 4. I have very wide shoulders and a small chest. Button-ups tend to emphasize my more masculine upper body, and this outfit was no exception. It doesn't matter what accessories I wear, this shirt, when buttoned up, does a number on my self-confidence.

My Old Navy striped top is always a winner because it's so comfortable. My Athleta top, once a staple, is now a bit too small, and hugs parts of my body I don't want hugged. 

Outfit 6: 6/10 | Outfit 7: 5/10 | Outfit 8: 7/10 | Outfit 9: 9/10 | Outfit 10: ?/10

Style Findings

If button-ups make me feel too masculine, I'm not sure why I paired it with a blazer. Even doing a tie front and wearing a chunky statement necklace didn't help. While I felt more confident in this than Outfit 4, I definitely will not be repeating this look.

Somehow my gray trousers didn't make it into rotation this week. I was planning for the rising temps, and somehow couldn't find a new outfit that worked with those pants. Turns out they weren't as versatile as I had thought. Or I just wanted to revert back to jeans most days. Both are likely reasons.

Outfit 10 had me reminiscing about high school, when I wore plaid flannels and construction-style boots most days of the week. I guess you could call this look grown-up modern grunge?

By far, my favorite outfit of the entire challenge was #9. My striped shirts is always a go-to and I loved how it looked with the blazer. It only lost points because of the shoes (see below).

Key Takeaways

I really hate selfies. I wanted to include more photos of myself in outfits, but I just could not get over the awkwardness of it all. It didn't help that I really don't have a good place in my home for photos - good natural light with a blank wall. And it was freezing for most of the challenge, so outdoor photos didn't work. Plus, there's the fact that I just don't like looking at photos of myself, which flows right into my next takeaway.

It's my body, not the clothes. I know they say you should dress for the body you have, not the one you wish for. And I am doing just that. But when your body feels like it belongs to someone else, it doesn't matter what the clothes look like, you won't feel comfortable or confident.

Six years ago, I lost about 15 pounds. Fifteen pounds that had shown up in the course of two years. Three years ago, I started gaining that weight back and then an additional 10 pounds. This all happened while maintaining a regular fitness routine and eating healthy.

My body looks absolutely nothing like it has for most of my adult life. I am closer to my pregnancy weight than to the weight I maintained since my sophomore year in high school. This body is foreign to me, and honestly, I hate it. 

Over the last three years, every time I try on a piece of clothing, I end up in tears. I walk out of the dressing room with that sting behind my eyes that signals that I have to keep it together until I reach my car. Dozens of different styles and sizes of jeans, shirt after shirt, nothing helps me accept the body I am currently living in. They all just emphasize how alien my body feels.

If there is anything this challenge has helped me understand, it's not that I hate the clothes in my closet. It's that I desperately need to 1) care for my body like it deserves to be cared for 2) create a new relationship with her that is based on love, respect, and compassion. Or some woo woo shit like that. I don't know.

I don't need many clothes. Thank the goddess since shopping is such an ordeal right now. Honestly, no one mentioned that they saw me in the same shirt twice in the same week. I had 10 different outfits to wear over 10 days. Nothing got stinky. I didn't get bored.

I need new jeans. One, because I only have one pair of jeans that fit and make me feel comfortable and attractive, and I wear them ALL.THE.TIME. Two, I noticed a hole forming in the outside seam. I don't sew. I could get my mom to repair them, but the fabric is growing thin and it won't be long before I end up with more holes.

My dress shoes don't fit properly. My Abella's rub my Achilles heel and don't breathe well. Plus, I only sorta, kinda, like them. I love my slip-on Tevas. LOVE. THEM. But they are a half-size too small. In the mornings this doesn't seem to matter. But by the end of the day it's a problem. So I'm putting some money aside to find a pair of black flats I love and fit well.

What's Next

Planning for the eventual arrival of warm weather. It will happen one day, maybe not until May, but Iowa will see temps above 50 on a daily basis. Cross my fingers.

While I despise winter, I do love winter clothes. Actually, I love sweaters. And hoodies. And jeans. 

But I also hate shoes. The day I can break out my sandals is one of the best days of the year. But sandals are about the only thing in my closet that I love, or even like, for late spring and summer.

Unless you count the numerous graphic t-shirts. Which just don't scream business casual. Or spout sayings that are definitely not appropriate for the workplace.

Over the next few weeks, my plan is to get serious about warm weather clothing.

This means...

  • Purge clothes that I won't wear, for whatever reason
  • Take an inventory of what is left
  • Determine what items of clothing I need in order to fill any gaps
  • Create a mood board of the styles, colors, and looks that I want in my warm weather wardrobe
  • Create a budget and start putting money aside
  • Start sourcing pieces of clothing from ethical clothing brands
  • Shop!

Did you participate in the #spring10x10? What lessons did you learn?