Capsule Wardrobing

Summer 10X10

Less Choice = Less Stress

Happy day, reader dear!

Whew. If you read last week’s post, you know that it was a bit bananas Chez Closet Play. And still is. (Hmmm. Maybe Closet Play Atelier is better? Do let me know which you prefer!) When life gets (extra) stressful, one of my coping mechanisms is to clear the decks of anything non-essential. That means the cleaning schedule slides a bit, meals get super basic, and I will pull a 10X10. Why? Well, fewer choices mean less bananas. Even when I can’t control the circus or the monkeys…

What’s a 10X10? A 10X10 is a Mini-Capsule, like the kind you might pull together for a vacation. It’s 10 pieces of clothing to wear for 10 days. So, although this past week and a half have been no vacation, it was time to grab a 4-3-2-1. You might think that picking your 10 would be stressful. It could, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve…

One: I am pulling from my Summer Capsule Wardrobe, so everything is already season appropriate. I don’t need to waste my time looking through things that won’t work or don’t fit.

Two: Everything in my capsule is in my color palette and share the same color properties, so even if I dress in the dark, it will most likely work. That’s because everything shares the same color DNA. If that sounds like a wardrobe dream, let’s talk about getting you a color consultation!

Three: I have the 4-3-2-1 formula which means picking my 10 is plug-and-play! I’ll choose 4 Tops, 3 Bottoms, 2 Toppers and 1 Dress. You can play with these numbers. You might prefer 2 Dresses and 1 Topper. You choose what works for your life and style!

4 Tops

White is my super simple default with jeans. The soft blush makes me look healthy, especially when I’m lacking sleep. The print makes me happy and it’s silk which feels both businesslike and luxurious at the same time. I need a little luxury right now. And the blue and white stripe? It feels crisp and cool, also feelings I think I’ll be needing. If that’s not enough? It plays into my current Blue and White Obsession.

3 Bottoms

I can’t build a 10X10 without my jeans. Since any work events I have right now will be virtual, dress trousers aren’t needed. White jeans provide a change, and the snazzy black stripes feel a little fancy. I’m throwing in my cutoff shorts for hot days or weekends. (Don’t wear shorts? Try a skirt, a loose pair of linen trousers, or some lightweight joggers.)

2 Toppers

A wool sweater? Yes. I expect a few days at the hospital, and it’s always freezing cold there. If this pack was for vacation, I’d still pack a sweater (or a light sweatshirt) for cool nights or sunburn recovery. The jacket is also for sitting around in the chilly hospital. It is stretchy, SO comfortable AND has crisp lines that feel pulled together or in charge. I need some of that. Mood dressing isn’t always about how you feel in the moment, but how you need to feel! Clothes are a tool that should support you, not sabotage you. For vacation, I’d swap out the blazer for my jean jacket.

1 Dress

This dress was one of my Spring/Summer French 5 picks, and I love it! No, it’s not a fabulous quality piece. If it makes it through this summer, fall, and next summer, I’ll have gotten my wear from it. It’s floaty, fun, and perfect colors for me. (Cool animal prints are hard to find.) For vacation, I throw in a casual dress that will work for nice dinners or church. I chose this one because it’s long enough to wear alone, or can be a tunic over my jeans. It will work for church and is casual enough to wear as a day dress.

Why Try a 10X10?

I’ve written before about different Style Challenges as great way to grow your style, but that’s not the only reason for a 10X10. The most common? I referenced it above. A 10X10 makes for dead easy trip packing. And for me, stress relief! For some other tips to choose for packing, watch this.

The OOTD’s

What outfits did I build with the 10? Well, if you pop on over to Instagram and follow me there, you’ll always know what I am sporting… If you missed it, here’s the sartorial skinny of the past 10 days:

How About You?

What do you think? Chez Closet Play? Or Closet Play Atelier? What steps do you take when life gets (extra) crazy? Do you feel the need to simplify? Or do you pull things in around you and nest? Neither is right or wrong, they’re just different ways of handling it! Do you have a packing formula you use? What is it? I’m always looking for new ideas… If you were to choose a 10, on what colors would you base your 10? Would you shift the numbers? Do tell… There’s plenty of room in the comments for your thoughts!

Stylishly yours,



    Great pieces and each of the combinations looks completely different, new and fresh. Love the blouse. I rarely travel anywhere that requires a dress or even dressy pants or trousers. Last trip that I did wear better-than-jeans, I did pack pieces that were interchangeable and it was so easy. You always inspire me with your genius!!

    • Liz K

      Thank you, Leslie! I find my life skews WAY more casual than it did a year and a half ago… I don’t think I’m the only one! Interchangeable is the key. Give me mix and match anyday for travel!

  • Sally in St Paul

    I feel anxious at the idea of not having a fresh top everyday, so a 10×10 for me would turn into an 11×10 with 10 tops and 1 pair of pants, haha! My general approach is basically to plan outfits when I’m in the mood and have the time/energy, so that in the moment of getting dressed, I can reduce my decision-making to almost nothing. (I usually leave earrings to pick in the moment since my choice is dependent on how I’m wearing my hair, but when I have an especially stressful period ahead, I will even pick those out in advance or default to one of my go-to pairs that are always appropriate.) This works well for my day-to-day life and especially well under pressure. I think picking an outfit in the moment from even 10 items would be more than I want to deal with when stressed. But I’m really not much of a mood dresser, which is a trait that would make my pre-planning strategy a little harder to implement. Packing is a whole other thing…that I HATE to have to do!

    • Liz K

      I can see that, Sally! I think it would be interesting to dig more into why you hate packing, especially if you are a planner and not much of a mood dresser as you say. I’m careful to keep the color palette of my 10 tight and minimize pattern, so that any pieces I grab can make a pleasing outfit! I understand the fresh top anxiety; some people just feel that way. In summer, I wear tops fewer times before washing, sometimes only once. The rest of the year? I prefer to rewear an item that isn’t dirty or smelly. Washing is MUCH harder on clothes than the wearing. (I’m a mess when I cook and eat, so aprons are a MUST.)

  • Sarah

    Lovely choices! Good inspiration for vacation packing. I just stumbled on a site called Vetta Capsule, where one can buy several pieces that will make 30 outfits. Clearly shopping one’s closet can also work.

    I hope your mom is improving. Sending good thoughts your way.

    Have a happy 4th!

    • Liz K

      Thank you, Sarah! The mending is slow and steady. We’ll take that. Finding out the next steps at the follow-up is the coming hurdle. Vetta has gorgeous pieces. I’ve never purchased from them, so I can’t speak for their quality, but if they sent me some pieces to try, I’d be more than happy to let you know… HINT! #vettacapsule


    Liz, Closet Play Atelier!! hen life becomes super stressful my husband simplifies meals and cleaning and tend to pull into our home and nest for sure!! I bring more than you when traveling. I pack a casual top, dressier top, one topper and a skirt for every day. I bring my everyday gold jewelry and several choices of dressier jewelry. To handbags, everyday and one dressier and four pairs of shoes to for daily ear and to dressier pairs. Of course. P.J.’s and undergarments. I realize this is probably too much but I must say there have been many times I am very grateful to have this much ith me!!!

    • Liz K

      That is a LOT to carry with you, Natalie! I assume you travel by car or check bags at the airport… You don’t sound like a carry-on only traveler! Enjoy your 4th!

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