Why I cheated on The Capsule Wardrobe with my other clothes.

Poncho: Dorothy Perkins circa 2012, Navy Dress: H&M circa 2014, Black Leggings: H&M, Navy suede and purple boots: Clarks

Why I cheated on winter capsule with my fall one.


Thankfully I can safely say that I didn’t cheat with a brand new item and I haven’t been shopping. Instead, I cheated with my own wardrobe, well the rest of it that is.

Capsules are great in that they allow you to explore your pieces more than say someone who never has to wear the same thing twice. With only 40 things to hand you have to get creative or you simply just get bored! The downside however is when you know that the ideal piece or the thing that you really want to wear isn’t in some far off land, on Pinterest or even in your local Topshop but is, instead, just sitting in your extended wardrobe.

This is not the first time either that the thing that I really want to wear is simply hanging across the room as in fall I spoke about wishing my plaid shirt was available but this was the first time I caved, and in this case, it was a dress.

The dress that made me . . .

An elastically cinched in waist in a light, navy jersey, it’s all this dress is and yet it is one of my ultimate pieces! On Wednesday I am hoping to address the need to find our own versions of basics as opposed to what magazines and Pinterest photos deem to be must haves! But that’s a post for another day instead for right now let’s talk about last Wednesday.

You know the days; you want something that loves you as much as you love it. Nothing tight, nothing that hurts and certainly nothing complicated! Throwing on a dress is my least difficult thing to put on. Sure I could’ve worn my black gap number but that was in the wash, the grey H&M long sleeved one was too tight for a day when you want something to waft in and finally the monsoon dress felt low cut and high maintenance. So as I threw my dress on I saw my striped poncho circa 2012 and I knew my suede boots where going to have to be worn, leggings rather than tights and I was out of the door.

A telling off?

Is it bad I couldn’t stick to my regulated 40 pieces that day? Maybe. Do I regret it? No.

The reality is this, I am not a minimalist. It would be easier if I was, but I’m not. I will never have the smallest wardrobe but I also don’t want to or expect to have the biggest.

My bigger, end goal for this project is being able to love what I have and wear everything that I own on a regular basis and to stop feeling that constant need to go shopping. I haven’t broken anything here, I have only realised holes in my capsule and adjusted my view. I know that there are things that I missed out due to familiarity and wanting to push myself but I also know that those familiar pieces are vital to my day to day dressing and really they shouldn’t be excluded just because they aren’t breaking any barriers.

The perfect balance and honesty in the challenge.

It’s the funniest thing about the capsule wardrobe challenge in that it makes you feel bad when wearing your own clothes. Maybe it’s just because we pose it as a challenge and that breaking that challenge is like somehow breaking some unmentioned code between participants. However if anything I think this is a little more interesting for you guys, the readers.

After all, this is an honest account of someone who clearly struggles with over buying but who also loves her clothes. Slip ups like this I think should be mentioned more often as it exposes our own weakness as well as potential flaws which are in the un-fancy, capsule wardrobe challenge. I think when I look back on this experience in the future when I once again have one or two wardrobes (winter/summer seasons) I will see this as an excellent time where I realised what I myself need, as Jessica in order to dress well, without over spending but still have fun with my passion and at the end of the day isn’t that we are all looking for? The Perfect balance.

It’s a tough thing to say sometimes on the internet but have you ever slipped up in your capsule? What was your overall impression on wearing things you already own but are outside of your current, designated wardrobe?

16 thoughts on “Why I cheated on The Capsule Wardrobe with my other clothes.

  1. Sara says:

    I try to remember that the capsule wardrobe that I follow most closely (Project 333) was started by a woman who is admittedly not very into fashion and clothing at all. Given that I do feel comfortable bending the rules a bit. The first one that I bend is blending my capsules into one another. Chicago weather really does call for four distinct capsules (maybe 3 if you want to wear the same things in fall and spring…I don’t) but I’ve found that blending them on either side of the three-month window works well. I started wearing Winter clothes in November and may trade out some of my heaviest sweaters for spring tops over the next few weeks.

    If grabbing something from outside of your capsule every now and then helps you stick to the concept of capsule dressing then I say go for it!


    • therealjlow says:

      Thanks Sara! I will see how this all goes! My views on dressing have changed a lot over the last few months for certain but I do also think that those changes don’t really fit in all that well with the traditional 333 project. But we will see as the year goes on 🙂 thank you for all your thoughts, Jess xo


  2. Abbie says:

    I love the idea of the capsule wardrobe, but I’ve definitely altered the rules to fit my preferences. Instead of dividing everything strictly by season, I have tons of overlap. For example, I have at least three sweaters that I count in my fall “capsule” AND my winter one. Same with shoes — most of the boots I like wearing in the fall, I… also like wearing in the winter. So I count them for both. This strategy probably means I end up with fewer clothes overall, because lots of my favorite pieces do double-duty. (Incidentally, I think a wardrobe absolutely should have some powerhouses! Like a dress that you can count on for the days when nothing else seems right!)

    The strict 4-capsule wardrobe is really good in theory, especially for people who need a lot of help reigning themselves in, but I’ve found it a lot less stressful to relax the rules a bit and let the strategy work FOR me instead of feeling constrained by it.

    P.S. I LOVE that sweater/cape/thingamajig! 🙂


    • therealjlow says:

      Hi Abbie!

      Thanks for dropping by! I completely agree and from doing this twice, you have to make your own rules! It really is the only way to make it work for you! Especially if you want it to continue in the long run!

      I love all your thoughts and I have to agree! I love your idea of having carry overs but I am actually really planning to have two main capsules (in the long run) of summer and winter and then relax the rules a little so that when something amazing comes along I can buy it I’m just not buying all the time? I think I love shopping and changing my clothes too much to be too restrictive going forward!

      Thank you I love it too! Its terrible as I have had it since 2012 and am only just wearing it! haha

      Jess xo


  3. Justine S. says:

    I just began my own capsule wardrobe this winter and for the most part, I love it! Really makes getting dressed easier. BUT I too have wanted to cheat with other items in my closet. Cheating with something you already own is a heck of a lot better than going out and buying something, though!

    Love your honesty and also really love the outfit! Comfy yet chic.


    • therealjlow says:

      Hi there! I am so so sorry that I have only just seen your comment it appears my blog has been hiding comments for a while! Ack! I am now another three capsules down and I have to say the occasional mid capsule cheat with your own clothes has so far been the best thing that I have ever done! 🙂

      Thank you for popping by the blog and reading! I promise in future to better check my inbox!

      jess xx


  4. Renee says:

    I have a feeling I’m going to cheat pretty soon because its warming up where I live quite a bit and I have several sweaters and wooly skirts in my winter wardrobe! I think I may have to reevaluate my wardrobe and make it more flexible and add more pieces to accommodate the weather. Luckily we aren’t being graded for this, right?! Lol


    • therealjlow says:

      I don’t blame you! I’m very jealous of the warming up part! We seem to only just be reaching the snow part of winter! Haha I’m very seriously thinking of combining autumn and winter and spring and summer as at the beginning of the fall capsule I struggled and as you day I probably will also struggle towards the end of this one when it’s warmer! But exactly I’m actually really enjoying the trial and error method to capsule wardrobes! 🙂 jess


  5. afrolikes says:

    I mainly have this problem with shoes and jackets/blazers especially during winter,fall and spring. The weather here mostly does what it wants and is never predictable. As for my other pieces,i mostly have ones that can be worn in almost every season with the exception of summer. Summer has a capsule of it’s own.


    • therealjlow says:

      Oh gosh I can completely relate! I have it mainly because I really focused more on colour and now realise I need a good black sweater sometimes! haha that’s a great idea on the all year round front (the chambray shirt is one of those for me!) I’m actually planning on combining Spring and Summer together as I think that that will serve me better!

      Thank you for your thoughts and dropping by!



  6. hiccupsandhounds says:

    I can seriously identify with your goal! I am not a minimalist either and I want to make better use of what’s already in my closet, too. Good luck! Love the outfit! 🙂 xo – Danielle


  7. bemyintention says:

    Oh girl. I do this all this time lol. Well maybe not ALL the time but I actually have my fall capsule in the same closet as my winter capsule… It’s just smoothed together really tightly in the back corner. But every once in awhile (usually on my casual days) I want something different. I get tired of the same tshirt and “jumper” 😉 so I’ll pull out a different throw over sweater. I see know qualms with loving your other capsules so much that you can’t keep your hands out of them! I mean, isn’t that the point really? To LOVE your clothes and feel amazing in them? To stop buying things just cuz they have some fantasy of being a perfect item even if they’re not? So if you love all the items in all of your capsules then the only harm that might be done by “cheating” might be that others will judge you or that you get bored of that specific item a little quicker. I think Janna, who’s being featured on unfancy right now, said she had about 50 items in her closet. The number doesn’t sound overly impressive but if she’s still obsessed with each of those fifty items then I say get it girl! I’d LOVE to find 50 that are totally perfect for me!
    I think continuing to reevaluate why YOU ( not everyone else) chose to switch to a capsule is a great way to keep your cheats in perspective

    Liked by 1 person

    • therealjlow says:

      Kylie! I have to say your comments just make my day! My fall closet faces my winter one in the opposing internal wardrobe and oh my gosh it is sometimes a struggle to ignore it! and the spring/summer section! (Really looking forward to trying on my summer stuff again!) that really is the point as far as I am concerned and if you already own something why shouldn’t you wear it? Stopping the endless purchasing is actually my favourite part now. I mean sure I get the itch on payday but its so nice when you do actually go and can go full out it just feels so much more special again!

      Loving your thoughts as ever!
      Jess xo


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