10 piece wardrobe

Getting Started With the Perfect 10 Piece Wardrobe

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If you’re a regular on fashion blogs (especially this one) and Pinterest, you’ve probably heard all about capsule wardrobes. These curated, seasonal collections allow you to create an assortment of clothing items that can easily be mixed and matched into dozens of different outfits. This allows you to have a versatile wardrobe that supplies you with endless outfit ideas all the time! So what is a 10 piece wardrobe?

Much of the inspiration for the 10 piece wardrobe comes from the lifestyle and look of the French woman. Where many Americans tend to value quantity over quality, the French woman shops firmly in the opposite direction. Wardrobes are much smaller and comprised of only the most loved, most worn, and best quality pieces. 

The 10 piece wardrobe is just what it sounds like; a seasonal selection of 10 core pieces that can be worn in countless ways. By taking extra consideration when shopping, you avoid impulse purchases and only buy what you absolutely love.

Every item is versatile, well-made, represents your style, and goes together flawlessly. This makes getting dressed easy and fun and inspires you to always look and feel your best without extra hassle. Because who needs extra hassle in their lives and especially in the mornings? 

In order to build the best possible 10 piece wardrobe, it’s important to emphasize the difference between quality and quantity and we can best see that illustrated in something called “price per wear”.

Price per Wear

One of the key things to think about when crafting your perfect 10 piece wardrobe is the price per wear. The idea of purchasing something more expensive than you’re used to may seem excessive, especially if you compare the prices to those at Forever 21 or Shein. But in the long run, taking the price per wear into consideration can save you money. Big time! 

Let’s say we have two sweaters, a $20 acrylic one from Forever 21 and a $100 cashmere one from a more mid-range brand (say Everlane). The cheaper sweater is likely poorly constructed and made from cheap materials, meaning it can only be worn a handful of times before beginning to show wear.

On the other hand, the more expensive sweater is made from a higher quality material and is likely a more well-made product. This piece can probably be worn dozens of times before it shows any signs of wear, which means you’re getting a far greater bang for your buck. 

Even though the $100 sweater is considerably more expensive, the price per wear shows that it will likely be a better investment in the long run. Not to mention the added benefits a cashmere sweater adds as far as comfort, warmth, and luxe factor. 

In the end, the 10-piece wardrobe is about choosing high-quality pieces that can be worn in heavy rotation instead of poorly-made, disposable clothing.

Preparing Your Wardrobe

Before you begin building your 10 piece wardrobe, it’s important to get a few things in order. The first is finding and developing your sense of style.

A great way to do this is through Pinterest. Start a Pinterest board and fill it with outfits, colors, and details you love. Once you’re done, take a look and see what recurring themes you can find. Are you seeing lots of edgy details like black, studs, and leather? Or maybe softer colors, lace, and florals? This will help you zero-in on what your taste is and create a wardrobe full of things that you will love and constantly wear.

I have a whole other post that goes over finding your personal style, so make sure you check that one out!

Now here comes the not-as-fun part: getting your closet ready for your new wardrobe. Even though this step can be tedious, this is a great opportunity to finally purge your closet of all those unworn, worn-out, and ill-fitting clothes you’ve been hanging on to.

When going through each article of clothing, there are a few questions to ask yourself: 

  1. Does this fit me?
  2. Do I wear this?
  3. Is this my style?
  4. Do I love this?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, it may be time to donate those items. If you find items that are threadbare or have holes, go ahead and toss them. If an ill-fitting item is worth keeping in your wardrobe, make sure to have it tailored to fit correctly before adding it to your 10 piece wardrobe.

Once you’ve cleared out your closet, go ahead and store any seasonal items you won’t wear for a while using space bags or storage totes. There’s no sense in taking up space in your closet with shorts and sundresses during winter, after all.

If you want a super deep dive into everything personal style, cleaning out your wardrobe, and building a new one, make sure you check out my eBook- How to Build a Wardrobe From Scratch!

Building your 10-Piece Wardrobe

This is the fun part! There are many ways you can choose to tackle the 10 piece wardrobe, depending on your personal style, career, climate, and more. But in general, your wardrobe should be composed of 10 seasonal core pieces that will be the building blocks of your look, such as dresses, tops, and bottoms. You’ll want to take a look at the styles of clothing you most often wear and plan accordingly. For example, one possible layout for the professional might be:

1 Pair of slacks

1 Skirt

1 Pair of jeans

3 Dresses

4 Blouses

For the work-from-home mom or jet setter, these items will probably look a lot different. But assessing your personal style needs will allow you to build a wardrobe that works for you and your lifestyle.

Of course, these 10 items don’t have to be the only items in your arsenal. Extra items like t-shirts, outerwear, shoes, and accessories are all great ways to put a twist on these key items and create even more unique outfits.

Just make sure to apply the same thoughtful shopping mindset to your extras and make sure the items still fall into the same criteria as your main 10 pieces as far as quality, versatility, and style.

The 10-piece wardrobe is extreme for many people, of course. But this mindset of smart shopping and living minimally is about more than just clothes; it’s a lifestyle.

Why fill your life with disposable items you don’t love when you could have a curated selection of favorites that make you happy?

If the whole “10 items” thing is a little intimidating, feel free to try a 15 or even 20-piece wardrobe using these tricks as well. It will still put you on the path of creating a wardrobe that makes you happy and even eager to get dressed in the morning. 

To dive even more into this subject, take a look at the blog posts below that will help you continue your capsule wardrobe journey!
Capsule Outfits That Build a Timeless Wardrobe
How to Create a French Capsule Wardrobe for Spring & Summer
Classic Fall Capsule Wardrobe (Shopping List, Outfit Ideas, & More!)
Minimalist French Capsule Wardrobe for Fall/Winter
Spring Capsule Wardrobe + Outfit Ideas

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how to get started with the 10 piece wardrobe
Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.