My 10 × 10 Winter Capsule Wardrobe Challenge
Drawing a winter capsule wardrobe #winter10x10
It’s one of these occasions where professional projects and personal life collide. When I began to practise drawing portraits and self-portraits, I discovered that I took an immense pleasure in drawing not only faces that would be recognizable, but also clothes. It began with my iconic breton shirt, then my two checked shirts and then my dotted dress …
At the same time, I have been, for several years now, personally drawn to both minimalist fashion style and sustainable ethical fashion. I recently realised that I probably already have a curated minimalist wardrobe, similar to those I read about in various blogs that I like. It probably helped that I have moved houses a lot in the past few years. and each move has provided me with the opportunity and, really, the incentive, to declutter – you really don’t want to pack unnecessary clutter. And the more you declutter and edit, the more ruthless you get in further decluttering and editing. My grandmother, who experienced the privations of the Second World War, belongs to a generation for whom possessions often equal comfort and success. In her view, you almost never got rid of your clothes – you just took great care of them and always added things to your wardrobe. She was hence a bit horrified when I first talked to her about my decluttering habits and how picky and careful I have become in choosing any new addition to my wardrobe (the magic formula: comfortable + durable + ethical + environment-friendly + functional + beautiful + easy to wash + reasonably priced – not much to ask, right?). But then she remembered older times, when she was little, and how, as a young girl, she was allowed to choose a few new pieces of clothing each season, sewn by a seamstress (which was a luxury but much more common then than it is for someone like me today), and waited for weeks with excitement and hopeful anticipation before getting to wear them on special occasions. Those garments were locally made and very durable, and some of them lasted decades. She gave me a black jacket years ago, which you will see more of below, that had belonged to her own mother. It was probably made in the 1940s (hence the large shoulder pads!) and is still beautiful 70 years later (I just replaced the buttons when I lost one). Talk about durability!
I also love to organize and tidy, and always have. I remember, 10 years ago, when it was not a trend, taking pictures of my clothes and ordering them in a database. I should add that I was doing the same with pictures of works of art I was studying as a hobby!
So it’s quite natural that I feel very in sync with a community of bloggers who document their journey to sustainable fashion and a minimalist and decluttered lifestyle and aesthetic. I have only lately discovered the work that Lee Vosburgh, from Style Bee, is doing. It is very inspiring, and when I read about her 10 × 10 challenge I just wanted to be part of it. The challenge is seasonal (spring, summer, fall, winter) and consists of picking 10 pieces of your wardrobe, and arranging them into 10 different outfits in 10 days. Lee first devised the challenge in 2015 to motivate herself to be creative with her clothes during a 30-day shopping fast. She’s now joined, every season, by a community of people who find it fun and motivational, while also being very doable, for 10 days.
What would you say if I tried to join the challenge this winter? So here it is, with two twists:
I am not going to photograph my clothes and outfits – I am going to draw them.
I have decided to quit social media, so no hashtags for me (#winter10x10), but I might send Lee a traditional email!
I shall release one new outfit every day over the next 10 days in this post and in the Behind the Scenes of my website. Enjoy!
For this drawing, you don’t need a lot, just:
a pencil (I use 2B)
white paper (I draw on 250 gsm/90lb grained A4 paper).
10 pieces of clothing
Seasalt, past collection, wool
Everlane, Authentic Stretch High-Rise Cigarette, size 31
Everlane, Black Cashmere Rib Boatneck, size M
Veja, White Esplar Leather 3-Lock
Vintage, it was probably made in the 1940s
Everlane, Grey Cashmere Ballerina Raglan, size XL
Everlane, The Cheeky Straight Jean, size 31
Seasalt, Sailor Shirt, organic cotton, size 12
Black Roll Neck top
People Tree, Laila Roll Neck Top in Black, size 12
Everlane, The Boss Boot
You may notice a few things about the clothes I really wear:
Colours? What colours? I love colours, but I don’t wear them a lot, except in tiny details.
Heels? Thanks, but no thanks. I have to come to terms with the fact that I don’t wear heels. I have a few pairs of absolutely gorgeous heels that I admire and love as long as they stay in my wardrobe. There are two reasons for that. First, walking with heels is obviously harder than walking with flat shoes. Do I want to take the time and effort to learn the coveted skill of walking in them every day? I am not sure the incentive is great enough that I’d want to sacrifice my comfort for it (because there are also beautifully designed flat shoes), and I find it a bit unfair that such an effort is not required of men (again, who invented heels?). Secondly, it does not reflect my lifestyle. I walk at least 2 hours every day, in town and in a (beautiful) park. And I often walk very fast because I’m late. Heels? Forget it. So I will wear heels when I go out and don’t have to walk. For now, that is basically never.
Dresses? Not at the moment. From time to time I want to wear dresses again (when I was pregnant, for example!), but I realise that my comfort is paramount in my choice of outfits and most of the time I find trousers (pants) more comfortable and carefree.
A recurring word seems to be comfort. Also, I choose gloriously soft materials like cashmere, because my skin does not react very well to more scratchy materials like wool (oh well …).
I’ll post them here one by one in the coming days.
If you want a step-by-step guide to how I draw a self-portrait, with even more detail, check out this course, a simple guide to creating an elegant portrait or self-portrait, which will be ready to frame or gift in only 7 days.
If you liked this post, you will almost certainly like some of these other self-portraits. Enjoy!