10x10 Challenge STYLE Winter Fashion

Winter 10×10 Challenge

Winter 10x10 Challenge | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Hi, friends! I’m so so excited to be taking part in another 10×10 Challenge, this time a winter edition! This will be my 4th 10×10 Challenge–can you believe it?! (I can’t!) If you are tallying up what you’ve seen here on the blog, you might be wondering where I got the number 4 from! I actually partook in one this fall during all the craziness that ensued after my prelim exams. But I didn’t post about it on the blog or Instagram. Would any of you be interested in me sharing those outfits? (I kept my notes on each day’s outfit and my overall thoughts on them.) I’d be happy to write up a quick summary of all my outfits and lessons I learned! (The perfectionist in me is going crazy that I haven’t shared it on the blog yet!) Let me know if you’d like to see something like that in the comments below!

At any rate, let’s get back to the Winter 10×10 Challenge because that’s what is coming to the blog over the next 10 days! Don’t know what I’m talking about? That’s ok! I’m going to go over all the basics again in today’s post and some of the reasons you might want to join me this time around! So let’s get right into it!

The 10×10 Challenge is essentially a micro-capsule experiment (created by Lee of Style Bee) whereby you pick out 10 pieces of clothing from your current closet and style them 10 different ways over 10 days.  Sounds easy, no? It’s actually just the perfect amount of challenge in my opinion. It pushes you just enough to get creative and try something new (without going fully into capsule wardrobe mode and ditching half your closet). No need to buy anything or get rid of anything in your closet! It’s time to appreciate and be content with the pieces you have in your closet, to push outside your comfort zone in styling them in new ways, and to have fun while learning about your personal style!

Winter 10x10 Challenge | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

For me, I started doing this challenge as a means to uncover more of my personal style (the one I wear on a daily basis vs the one I post about on the blog) and to feel more content with what I have. I’ve mentioned this before, but as a fashion blogger it can be very easy to get pulled into buying new clothes every month so that you have fresh content to share with your readers. But in reality, that isn’t practical. Firstly, I was tired of waking up in the morning with a closet full of fun, fashionable clothes and yet feeling like I had nothing to wear. Secondly, ain’t nobody got that much money to spend on a closet that doesn’t even get used. Am I right?! And thirdly, as a scientist and inhabitant of this Earth, I don’t want to be wasteful with how much I’m consuming (clothing consumerism, that is) and dumping into landfills each year when donations don’t make it to people who really need/can use them. And these reasons still ring true to me today, four 10×10’s later.

This time around, in addition to these core motivations, I’ll be adding in a few new styles for my asthetic (like overalls!) to challenge myself to style them in new ways. Sometimes it takes a bit of a push (and a limited wardrobe) to innovate with the pieces you own. That’s ok! In fact, it’s just what I’m hoping for this time around! It will also be so refreshing to go on a bit of a shopping break while I’m styling these pieces. My soul needs to rest for a while and unplug from the pressures of buying new things.

In my last 10×10 Challenge on the blog, I styled 10 pieces for a business casual environment over the summer (see Summer 10×10 posts here). This time around I’m back at grad school, so my wardrobe will be a bit more casual and laid back (but still pulled together and “grown up” enough for an office). But before we get into my 10 picks, let’s go over the 10×10 Challenge basics again. I hope you’ll join in! If you do and decide to post your outfits on Instagram, be sure to use and follow the hashtags #winter10x10 and #10x10friends. The 10×10 community on Instagram is incredible and unbelievably supportive. We’d love to have you join along and learn with us!

Ok, now for the guidelines! If you have done a 10×10 Challenge before and remember what it’s all about, feel free to skim the next few sections and go straight to my 10 picks at the bottom. If you are new to the 10×10 Challenge, let’s dive right into how you can take part!

Basic Guidelines

  1. Pick 10 pieces from your current closet.
  2. Style those pieces for 10 different looks.
  3. Use 10 days to do it.
  4. Have fun and don’t take it too seriously!

This wardrobe challenge is supposed to be a fun, exploratory opportunity! Don’t take things too seriously and stress out about sticking to the guidelines if it doesn’t feel right. Try something new and you love it? Great! Try something different and you hate it? How fascinating! This challenge is all about getting outside your comfort zone and trying new things, whether they work out the first time or not. Change things up if you need to! Learn something you didn’t know before and have FUN! This is all about having fun!

So what all exactly is included in the 10 pieces of the challenge? And how in the world do you begin to chose just 10 pieces?!

What’s included?

Count these pieces toward the 10 items you choose!

  • Tees, Tops, Sweaters
  • Skirts, Shorts, Pants
  • Dresses
  • Shoes
  • Cardigans, Jackets

What’s not included?

These pieces can flow into and out of your daily outfits freely! I personally, don’t include winter coats or rain jackets into my 10 picks and instead focus on what my “indoor outfits” would look like. I also don’t include snow boots or rain boots and just let those flow into my outfit choices as needed. The weather here in Boulder is so unpredictable that if I were to include those, it would likely not snow/rain when I planned for it. So I just keep them on the sidelines until I need them and don’t feel guilty whatsoever about not including them! (Remember, this is for fun!)

  • Jewelry
  • Purses
  • Hats, Scarves
  • Athletic Clothes
  • Heavy Outerwear

Beginner’s Formula:

This formula is what I used for my first 10×10 Challenge in the Spring! It’s a great place to start!

  • 4 tops
  • 2 bottoms
  • 1 dress
  • 1 top layer
  • 2 shoes

When choosing pieces…

Consider the weather. Choose pieces that fit the forecast but also allow for some room if it’s a little cooler/warmer than you planned. Like I mentioned above, I don’t worry too much about my heavy outerwear or footwear. If I need to bring out the big snow boots or down coat, I do it. But I don’t include it in my 10 picks. Instead here I would just recommend what types of material you are including in your 10 pieces and the respective amount of coverage they provide you! So for winter, I’m including lots of warm knits and pieces that I can wear to cover my legs from the cold.

Consider your lifestyle and the activities you will be partaking in. For example, are you taking the challenge during the work week where you need to look more professional? Or are you trying this out on the weekends when things are a bit more causal? Do you have any special events happening during the challenge that you need to accommodate? I’ve got a friend’s baby shower to attend and a few other fun meet-ups, so in addition to the work week, I need pieces that are comfy and cute for social gatherings.

Choose pieces that are easy to launder (i.e. do not require dry cleaning). You can also freshen up clothes between washes by using a steamer that not only de-wrinkles fabrics but also sanitizes them! Note: Business professional clothes tend to be dry clean only. So do what you can, but don’t limit yourself to only machine wash items. You would be surprised how many wears you can get out of a piece by just being mindful/taking care of it throughout the week! (i.e. I try to wear all my tops once before re-wearing any of them again, and always hang up my clothes immediately when I get home to air out/de-wrinkle.) I also try to add paper thin base layers or cami’s under all of my tops and sweaters so that they last longer before needing a wash!

Choose colors that work well together. When in doubt, go with more neutral colors like white, gray, black, tan and only add in 1-2 additional pops of color. But feel free to go color crazy if you’re up for it! Just be sure the colors can be paired well with each other and in multiple ways (think about layering to get more bang for your picks!). I can’t wait to share my color choices for this winter with you!

Pick mostly pieces you love and wear time and time again (and are comfortable styling). That way if you add in any newer pieces outside your comfort zone, they will be easier to style with pieces you are already an expert at wearing! However, you could also use the challenge as a way to try out a new style or vibe (like Caroline trying out the vintage/boho feel here or me trying out overalls this time around!). Since the challenge is only 10 days, it’s the perfect amount of time (not too short, not too long) to get you trying out new things and evaluating how you like/don’t like them!

Why should you try this?

Like I mentioned above, I love doing these challenges because it forces me to be more creative with my wardrobe and to more fully appreciate the items I already own.

But there are so many other reasons you may want to try this…

  • Take a break from shopping!
  • Reinvest in your existing closet.
  • Test out your creativity.
  • Find a better sense of personal style.
  • Try out a capsule closet.
  • Practice for traveling lighter on vacation. (a great way to test out the ‘re-wearability’ of pieces!)

Alright! Are you ready?! Here are my 10 picks for the Winter 10×10 Challenge. I’ll be sharing my first outfit tomorrow, so get ready to see which pieces I style first!

As a part of the 10×10 Challenge here on the blog, I’ll be posting a new outfit each night (to the best of my ability) and discussing pros/cons about how I styled the pieces. These posts will likely be less in-depth than other outfit posts, but by posting each night, I hope to inspire and motivate you to join in on the challenge with me! Ok, so without further ado, here are my 10 winter picks!

My Winter 10×10 Picks:

Winter 10x10 Challenge | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

1. Rust Red Sweater Tee | Since the weather is so unpredictable here in Boulder (think 60s one day and snow blizzard the next), I wanted to include something that could be easily layered for warmer or colder temperatures, depending on the day! This ligth-weight sweater tee was the perfect solution and I LOVE the rust red color. It’s also got a bit of sparkly metallic thread running through it, so you know it’s got to be a good one!

2. Black Striped Turtleneck | A classic that I’ve had for years. You all know how much I love the J.Crew tissue turtlenecks (styled here, here, here, here). I love that this one is in a fun black and white striped pattern that is neutral enough to style with other pieces but has enough of a statement to style on its own as well.

3. Cobalt Blue Sweater | I recently went through all the sweaters I owned and got rid of any that weren’t comfortable and easy to wear. (I’ve been on quite the de-cluttering kick lately!) This cobalt blue sweater is actually a new one for the fall/winter, but it is crazy soft and comfortable and incredibly simple to style. And the color is even more gorgeous in person–somewhere between a deep purple and a bold blue. I’ve included it here for its heavier weight (hello upcoming snow days!) and because I love the pop of color!

4. Gray Wrap Sweater | I’ve had this sweater for a year or so now and love the wrap detail around the front. It’s a great piece to have for colder days since it’s made of a heavier material, but I also love that it can look completely different depending on what you layer underneath it. A pop of color in the front is so fun! I’m even thinking about wearing it backwards to give a playful cut-out in the back on the weekends.

5. Star Print Dress | Star prints are my jam! This was a favorite purchase from this past fall and I can’t wait to experiment with how to style it in the winter! It’s one of the more breathable pieces in my 10×10 picks, so I will have to be careful to layer strategically on colder days. But I have a feeling I’ll especially enjoy having this piece on warmer days too! Plus, I always try to incorporate a dress or skirt into my picks to give me other alternatives to jeans or pants. I tend to get stir crazy in my picks if I don’t!

6. High-Rise Girlfriend Jeans | If I were to pick one outfit that defines my personal style on any given day, it would be skinny jeans with a vneck tee and a cardigan over top. When in doubt, I always pick skinny jeans. So for something different (and to give my post-holiday body a break), I chose to include high-rise girlfriend jeans in this challenge. Yes, they are high-rise, but they are super stretchy and comfortable and exactly what I want to be in this winter.

7. Black Velvet Overalls | Something completely new to me! I have been loving the jumpsuit trend going around and I’ve been tempted to try the overall trend next. But I’m just not the type of girl to wear denim overalls in their traditional style. Enter in these amazingly soft and cozy velvet overalls from Madewell that are surprisingly chic to style! I waited until they were on sale, but want to make sure I get the most out of my purchase. So by including them here in my 10×10 picks, I’m hoping to discover lots of new ways to style them using the pieces in my wardrobe I already own!

8. Beige Faux Leather Jacket | I’ve recently started to fully embrace the leather jacket in my everyday wear. I thought they were much to “cool girl” for me at first, but found the color choice to make a huge difference in how comfortable I felt in them. And after trying them out on a more regular basis, I quickly found how easily they fit into my aesthetic. (You can see how I wore a leather jacket in Victoria, B.C. last spring here.) At any rate, I’m keeping the momentum up and including this beautiful beige jacket in my 10 picks here! I love that even in a neutral color, it can add a brighter pop of color to my darker black looks and make it feel ever so slightly like spring might be on the way.

9. Beige Ankle Boots | While sneakers are the comfiest shoes around, I feel way more confident and put together when I’m in heeled boots. So these beige ankle boots were a no-brainer to include here. And their color will pair nicely with just about anything, making them a super versatile piece to have on hand!

10. Black OTK Boots | I have had these black OTK (over the knee) boots for a couple years now and love them to pieces! I’ve styled them multiple ways on the blog (they are my go-to way to style skirts and dresses in the winter), but I’ve found that I don’t wear them as much on a daily basis. So by including them here, I’m not only hoping they will come in handy for cold days when I’m trying to style my dress, but also in forcing me to style them more in my everyday life. Because clothing and shoes are meant to be worn!!

And those are my 10 pieces for the Winter 10×10 Challenge! I’m so excited to start styling away! If you’re looking for more information on 10×10 Challenges, be sure to check out Lee’s Winter 10×10 picks and all the #winter10x10 outfits on Instagram. They are so inspiring to follow along with! And in case I get behind on posting outfits here on the blog, you can always check in with me on my Instagram page!

What about you? Want to join in on the fun!? Let me know in the comments below and we can keep each other motivated!

You might also like…My Past 10×10 Challenges and How To Style A Dress in Winter.

Photos by Noah Berg


Get the Look…

1. Rust Red Sweater Tee: Madewell (similar) | 2. Black Striped Turtleneck: J.Crew, last seen here | 3. Cobalt Blue Sweater: J.Crew | 4. Gray Wrap Sweater: Alice & Wonder (similar)

5. Star Print Dress: Madewell (similar) | 6. High-Rise Girlfriend Jeans: 7 For All Mankind | 7. Black Velvet Overalls: Madewell | 8. Beige Faux Leather Jacket: Express (similar)

9. Beige Ankle Boots: Old Navy (similar) | 10. Black OTK Boots: Target (similar)

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