23 September 2019

Attempting a 10x10 Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Attempting a 10x10 Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Over my past few holidays, I've managed to do something I never thought possible: I've managed to travel with just a carry-on. 

If you told me that I would be achieving this three or four years ago, I would have laughed in your face and walked off with my overstuffed hold luggage in tow. But over the past few years, I've been able to cram everything I need into a wheely carry-on case. 

I think my road to minimal packing started when I went backpacking in 2017, as I had to carry everything with me on my back in a 60l backpack. I just couldn't afford to overpack, as everything in that bag had to earn its keep. 

Also, my last few trips haven't been long ones. They've all been under a week, meaning I've only had to bring the necessities for that time period. In the past, this wouldn't have stopped me filling a big suitcase to the brim with things I knew I wouldn't need but added in any way, but somehow I've managed to convert to the carry-on only life. 

On my trip to Barcelona a few weeks ago, I also wanted to set myself another challenge: I wanted to try the 10x10 capsule challenge. 

If you don't know what the 10x10 is, it's when you stick to a capsule wardrobe consisting of only 10 pieces of clothing to create 10 looks. Sounds horrific right? However, as I knew I had limited space in my bag, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to test myself and see if I could actually stick to 10 items. You normally do this over 10 days, but as I would need an outfit change for the evenings, I thought I'd change the rules a bit to suit my trip.

Here's how I got on...


When I first started putting my outfits together, I had a mini panic. My normal routine for planning my outfits for a holiday consists of me laying out each individual outfit and then removing any items I've duplicated on so I don't end up taking lots of the same item. I then make sure that each item can be worn in at least two different outfit combos and then try every outfit on to make sure it looks okay. 

In the past, this has worked a treat, but I found myself left being a couple of items over my 10 I had allowed myself. This wouldn't normally bother me, but I'm a stubborn thing and I was determined to get it down to 10. 

The problem I had was I had realised I didn't have a pair of trousers to wear on the plane that would go with the other items I had packed. The trousers I had picked out could only be worn in one combination and that bothered me. I didn't want to take out anything else I'd put in, so I was left sitting on the floor just staring at the clothing surrounding me and my case. 

However, after doing a little research, I realised some people didn't count their travel outfit in their 10x10 so I settled for taking the following:

2 t-shirts
2 pairs of shorts
3 dresses 
2 jumpsuits
1 shirt

Extras + travel outfit:

Denim Jacket
Flat sandals
Heeled sandals

Attempting a 10x10 Travel Capsule Wardrobe


I'm actually pretty pleased with how I got on with the things I brought, as I wore most of the items! I had brought a good variety of things with me that could be dressed down or up for going out in the evenings. 

I wore all of the separates I brought with me at least twice, especially the shirt which at first I'd been doubtful I get as much wear out of it as I did. I ended up wearing it during the day, the evenings, and as a coverup going into the churches and cathedrals we visited. 

The jumpsuits also got a huge amount of wear, more than the dresses. I had brought a casual day dress, a more floaty evening dress and one that could be worn anytime. But I found I just wore the latter so much for both day and evening! It's a fab dress which I can wear during these transitional months, and I just found myself reaching for it time and time again. In the end, I didn't wear either of the other dresses. The dress I'd brought as my 'evening dress' looked too much like a day dress while we were in the city. If we had been on a beach holiday, I don't think it would have been an issue! 

Originally, Barcelona had been forecast some cooler days while we were there, hence why I brought the denim jacket, but in the end, even the evenings didn't drop lower than 22 degrees, so I only wore it at the airport. 

Attempting a 10x10 Travel Capsule Wardrobe


Compared to what I used to be like, I think I did really well! I think I'd really doubted that I could live off 10 pieces of clothing over the 6 days we were there, but after seeing what I actually wore, I definitely think next time I could survive on 10 pieces, including what I wear as my travel outfit! I'd still bring a cover-up like the denim jacket if the weather is forecast to cool down in the evenings, but it's definitely not a biggy if I don't wear it as an extra layer is always appreciated at the airport and on air-conditioned planes.

Now I've got the confidence that I can actually pack light (shock horror), I'll definitely be doing this more, and maybe even try this on a longer holiday...


Have you ever tried the 10x10 capsule challenge! Let me know how you got on!



  1. Love this idea! I am such a light packer when it comes to clothes as I pack so many cameras!!!

    Squibb Vicious

    1. Always a good reason to pack light so you can fit your cameras in ;)