Fashion Shopping | Basics and must haves

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Green Cardi, Blue & White stripped cardi, White Cardi

The little cardigan that could.

I don’t think I push too many purchases on the blog but if you can get to a Gap store these adorable cardigans are £9.99 – £7.99 each! Which let me tell you for a basic is unbeatable! I love these little cardigans and lets be honest I have them in the blue and white (and totally tempted by the lilac).

Better still if you are currently looking at a cotton jumper hole in your spring Capsule Wardrobe this could just fill the void.

In reality these are really soft, wear well and are so easy and comfortable to throw on. When I first bought the blue one I think I wore it solidly between washes for about three weeks, outfit colours be damned and that, is an awful lot of wears!

Therealjlow Shops | Christmas Fashion Buys

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Zara, Black Velvet Bag, George Asda, Jumping Stags jumper, Next, Red Dress, Zara, dancing shoes.

So I always have these ideas about a Christmas outfit, that I will buy one, photograph it on the blog, that it will look fabulous! The truth however is I never find anything I really love for the price I’d like it at.

This year however, things are going to be different.

We have decided to have a ‘friends Christmas’ this year where our nearby friends get together, with each person making a different dish and of course that will be all done in a Christmas jumper.

Now this will be held at my own house so I don’t really need a bag and shoes and probably not a floor length dress but who said you have to need something to want it? No one at all.

Christmas Beauty buys for under £30

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Neals Yard, Normal Skincare Kit, Benefit, Most Glamorous Nudes, Clinique, Whole lotta chubby, Laura Mercier, In The Glow Trio, Yves Saint Laurent, Touche Eclat (01) Mini Mascara Duo Gift Set,

It might seem a little unlike me to post about beauty buys but Christmas is my ultimate favourite time to indulge in skincare and make up. Over the years my tastes and choices have changed but the feeling of excitement when unwrapping a new beauty gift set of products has never lost its shine.

This year I have certainly upped my game in the products I use and the above reflects this but even though they are high quality products every kit above comes in under, £3o! Which in the grand scheme of things is really nothing.

The Clinique Chubby Sticks are what I would suggest for anyone whose a little lazy with beauty or who wants something simple but effective. I swear by the Chubby Stick baby tint for everyday lips and I am really interested to see how the cheek tint works next!

Neal’s Yard products are just winter musts. They smell amazing and moisturise like no ones business and even better they look amazing on your nightstand when your not using them! I love this collection for giving your skin that much needed boost!

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Benefit glamorous eyes. Benefit are just a solid for anytime you want to find yourself a healthy blush! I have been on the lookout for a great nudes pack and I love the sheen that benefit products usually have.

I have wanted to try Laura Mercier for the longest time. Its a product line which so many people have been speaking about and singing their praises about this whole year that I just feel that this would make a wonderful starter kit. I’m all about natural healthy glow as I said before so anything to help lift my spirits this winter is a go with me!

Finally, YSL are one of my ultimate favourite make up brands. I swear by their lipsticks (they don’t budge and are crazy flattering) whilst the Touche Eclat range is just so light and flawless how could you go wrong? This set includes the original Touche Eclat in 01 and also a mascara so for £20 you cannot afford to miss this!

(Yes I have linked all these products to John Lewis but this was just because it was easier to look through. I am in no way affiliated with this brand and I make no money from your clicks anywhere on this post.)

How to wear a classic “Rock Chick” look

Black Blazer: Zara, Scarf: Zara, T: H&M (2010), Bag: Primark, Leggings: H&M, Boots: New Look

I love finding new styles to try and one that I haven’t revisited in a while? The classic rock chick. Once upon a time I was all about leather jackets, skinny jeans and black blazers but in all honesty its been a while!

Something about these new on sale boots called to me however and said, hey you! Lets get back out there and try a classic rock chick look and this is what I arrived at.

When you have a smaller wardrobe I implore you all to figure out a look like this. Perfect for your more edgy days its relatively easy to accomplish and equally, easy to alter and include various items from your capsule.

For this look I wore leggings but I also know that it would wear well with my black, Zara jeans. While switching up my top a black top which hangs slightly longer would look equally awesome and more sophisticated for casual Fridays at work! If blacks not your colour why not try the same look with navy and dark blue jeans or even a dark forest green!

Rock boots and leather. These are a pair of my replacement boots for those wintery, rainy days and with the added buckle detailing it enters instant rock chick status which I completely love. Its funny because a look I would wear an awful lot back in my late teens felt really different for me when I wore this last week and yet I think once winter hits next year this might once again become a go to look for me.

The key I think to any rock-chick look is keep it simple and classic so its more timeless and appropriate for any age and then add in some stronger, edgier details. What pulls this look together is the sharper lines of the blazer, the silver of the boots buckles and the hardware on the bag. If you want a more refined look however  try minimising these accents or make your bag choice softer or even wear a softer shaped jacket perhaps switching it up to leather! A personal favourite from last year was a suede waterfall jacket from next in Navy so fingers crossed this style might return this year!

Making The Winter Capsule Wardrobe Easy| Using Colour

As the New Year hits so does a new Capsule Wardrobe! This capsule came far easier than the last and for the last 5 days at least its been working pretty perfectly. This capsule is a little more colourful, a little more adventurous and a lot more personalized. In this post I’m gonna give you your first peek into all the pieces (or as many as I had washed) and give you a few of my thoughts on the Capsule going forward . . . as well as some tricks for choosing the perfect colour palette from into-mind for making a capsule wardrobe the easiest thing in the world.

T-Shirts & Tops

Black T-shirt: Zara, Navy T-shirt: Zara, Grey T-shirt: H&M, White T-shirt: Zara, Green Dress: Gap, Stripes and Chambray T: Primark, Acid Yellow T-shirt: Zara, Black Dress: Zara

The Sweaters & Cardigans

Paris Jumper: c/o Long Tall Sally (2014) Sale!, Deep Purple Triangle Jumper: George, Asda (2014), Long wrap Burgundy cardigan: Next PLC (2014) Same in a beautiful Pink!

Lime Green Jumper: Primark, Mustard Cardigan: Next PLC (2012) Similar, White and Grey Waterfall jumper: George, Asda (2013) Similar

Shirts

Plaid: Gap (2013) Similar, Cobalt Shirt: Marks and Spencers

Chambray: H&M (Mens, 2012) Similar, White shirt: H&M (Mens) Similar Boyfriend shirt from ASOS

Jackets and Dresses

Black Blazer: Zara, Pale Pink Jersey Blazer: H&M Very Similar, Patterned Blazer: H&M

Blue patterned Dress: Monsoon, Grey “Sexy” Dress: H&M, In store, Purple Tea Dress: H&M, Now in store more than likely, On sale.

Skirts and Trousers!

Navy embellished scuba skirt: H&M (2014) In Sale, Navy Pinstripe Trousers: Zara (2014) In Sale, in Store, Black and White houndstooth Trousers: Zara (2014) on Sale, In Store.

Distressed skinny jeans: Zara (2014/15), Black Skinny Jeans: Zara (2014), Purple Fuzzy Skirt: Marks and Spencers (2014)

Heels and Boots

“Workmen” boots: George, Asda (2014) no longer avail but I love these!, Red Heels: Clarks (2013) This style is no longer available but Kendra is just as comfy and cute! (this is a matching red!), Black and White heels: New Look (2014), Blue Suede Booties: Clarks (2014/15)- No longer available in this colour way however Lolly Dolly is available in Taupe! Knee High Boots: c/o Long Tall Sally (2014) No longer available L Similar in black!

Brown “suede”: New Look (2012/13) Pony Skin flat trainers: Next PLC, Leopard Print Flats: New Look 2013

Shoes & Accessories

Red Flats: New Look, 2013, White Furry Box: Zara, Purple Gloves: Marks and Spencer, Lilac fur Stole: Monsoon, Brown Ankle Boots: New Look, Grey Knitted Gloves, by Joshes Grandmother & Yellow Knitted Headband: therealjlow | Shop

Making a Capsule Wardrobe Easy | Using Colour

If you want to start somewhere when creating your capsule wardrobe and its not with me than like me you will go to into-mind. The blogs writer Anuschka has created into-mind as a one stop shop for all your minimalist and more importantly, dressing needs. From developing your own personal style to creating a colour scheme, Anuschka’s got you covered.

What I love most about into-mind above all over minimalist and dressing blogs is that she knows the most important part of dressing yourself is this, you. There’s been an awful lot of greyscale going on in the blogging world and although I love it for the most part I also know that for me, greyscale was never going to work. Unlike many minimalists who go straight for the black, white and grey, often to make things even simpler I found a wardrobe bereft of colour to be a very sad place indeed.

Therefore it was my mission to make my winter wardrobe a place of perfectly balanced colour and greyscale because Anuschka’s post on this is almost too perfect I’m not going to ruin it with my own interpretation but instead lead you to it here+

So here’s the Into-mind colour basics;

  • Main Colours
  • Accent Colours
  • Neutrals

Main Colours

 3 shades that represent the essence of your style concept . . .

  • Navy
  • Burgundy
  • Pink

Accent Shades

4 colours to add variety. . .

  • Acid Yellow
  • Mustard
  • Cobalt
  • Red

Neutrals

2 colours to support and balance out the other shades . . .

  • Black
  • Grey
  • & White

Into-Mind speaks about starting by choosing colours you naturally gravitate towards. Instead of what I gravitate towards I instead went for colours, which were speaking to me this fall/winter. If you are going the traditional minimalist route you’ll need to focus less on fashion. For instance, I choose the limey yellows because yes I like them, but, as I have never bought them before I also wondered if I was somewhat encouraged by fashion and what’s been seen in stores. It also helps that it went excellently with my fall colours already in my wardrobe. That being said I would have to confirm that this colour palette feels like me and my personal style as far as the colder months go I always love the warmer colours and as well as this I also suit them better as well!

The next major part? Do they all go together easily?

At the end of the Fall Capsule I hit the style jackpot, purple, blue and red. A somewhat unexpected concept I finally felt like my wardrobe was finally working for me so moving into this capsule my first stop was colour. I wanted to keep the same basics from my Fall capsule but also add a few alterations to keep my wardrobe moving and not feeling as stale as when I started with a load of basics and no idea how to make them exciting.

The yellow was by accident, it almost fell in my lap one Saturday afternoon in December this jumper literally yelled at me in Primark and it began me thinking about colour and pattern. Pattern is difficult in its limiting power, sure by spring I won’t be able to escape florals and stripes in my capsule but for now colour seemed the better option especially when having to layer pieces to keep warm. On top of the yellow, I choose a pale pink to offset the purple and give another dimention to my outfits as well as expanding my burgundy’s to bright red accents and pinker tones as well as keeping a flash of cobalt and some leopard print and plaid of course!

The colours for Winter were really easy in the grand scheme of things. Mainly due to having had most of them ready from Fall, but that’s not to say that they will stay the same year round. Unlike others undertaking this challenge I want to be able to really switch my wardrobes from winter to summer. This means come spring I am looking to have a serious overhall and although I can’t promise I won’t be including my trusty Navy I also feel like some pastels are going to be coming our way and some outrageous florals!

Put your sale face on.

How well do you shop in the sales?

Clothing sales can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand you can buy pieces that were out of reach when they were full price while on the other you can accidently stock up on those “great idea” items which once home get stuffed in the back of a drawer never to be spoken of again.

It’s a delicate balance of being able to spot a bargain and not being gullible.

In response to the upcoming post-holiday sales, today’s post is about being sensible in the sales and how a little bit of planning can save you from defaulting on your mortgage payments and instead allowing you to bring home the ultimate bargain.

found via Etsy! Buy the print here+

So where do you go wrong in the sales?

The first step in working the sales to your advantage is knowing how they have you at a disadvantage. Because every person is different I have taken a hard look at myself during previous sales and made a bullet point list of what I have bought which hasn’t benefited me in the long run.

  • Buying something just because it was cheap
  • Buying it because I want to buy something
  • Buying an item as a ‘project’ that I will ‘fix up’
  • Buying doubles of previous/existing purchases and bulk buying basics
  • Buying in a hurry and not trying it on or buying things that don’t fit quite right but feel good enough
  • Using the phrase, “I’ll shrink down into it . . . “

The biggest lesson that I can immediately take away from this list is this, impulse buys don’t work for me but they do work for the retail industry. I am sure that I am not the only one to fall prey to impromptu sales or feeling as if just because its cheap means that I should buy it! Sale time can make even the best of us a little crazy!

So as I sat at home the other day with yet another online shopping basket I began formulating a plan! If my downfall is spur of the moment buying then I am going to make a plan for the sales which will hopefully ensure me a successful sale time!

Make a plan.

  • What do you want to get from the sales? a specific piece or are you filling a gap in your closet?
  • Where are you going to shop? Online or in Store?
  • Whats your realistic budget?

What do you want to get from the sales?

A specific piece.

I think this is the easiest thing to do to make sure you only make sensible purchases. For me it is Monsoon’s Alexa Cocoon Dress+ I have been courting this dress for a while now and decided that in order to have it in my winter capsule I would have to buy it in the sale. The greatest thing about having already scooped out your purchases is that you have the ability to have already tried it on. (I haven’t but thats mainly because I worried if I did I would feel the need to buy it before its been reduced.) Secondly you know its previous price so you won’t be conned by any poor tricks and you can also better judge if its still a worthy investment.

Filling a gap in your closet.

Tougher but not impossible when you are shopping for something like new white T-shirts I think its always important to shop in only the shops that you know work great for you! For me that means, Gap, Zara Basics and on occasion Next. My problem in sales comes when I deviate into stores I wouldn’t normally shop in. For instance I only ever go into River Island in the sale. Why? Because their sizing is quite small and I am more than often too tall for their styles so why do I think it will be any different at sale time? It isn’t and so to avoid temptation its far easier to simply avoid the stores that aren’t suitable.

  • Therefore make a list of stores that you usually shop in and stick to it!

Online v.s in Store

Most stores make both their physical and online prices match but there are on occasion there are deals to be had! However if you have never shopped online before this can sometimes not be the greatest time to try it out or maybe the best! This would just be dependant on what you are looking for.

Remember to also look out for delivery charges, return guidelines and also returns charges!

What is your realistic budget!

If nothing else giving yourself a realistic budget is of vital importance! You can go into any store with no idea of what you want but if you at least have a budget in mind then you may find that you are still more sensible when shopping. On occasion I even give individual stores their own budgets so that I spend less in stores which don’t offer as great quality as another! Further resist temptation by only shopping with cash!

and finally . . .

Listen to your inner mother!

After all is said and done its still easy to be bowled over by something incredible but I always find the greatest thing to have is your inner mother. By taking a moment to assess the garment in your hands you may save yourself, last minute from a bad purchase so always remember these simple thoughts;

  • Would I have bought this full price?
  • What’s the quality like? and is it reflective of the price
  • Where will I wear it and how often (for pro’s pair it with five other things in your wardrobe)
  • If I walked away would I miss it?

So thats it! My tips for surviving sales season with your bank balance in check!

To everyone who reads here regularly or who have just popped by today thank you for all your likes, thoughts and love this year you’ve all been incredible and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas with your families and loved ones!

Enjoy Sale season and therealjlow will be back on the 31st with a quick 2014 recap before regular posting resumes on the 5th of January 2015!

In the meantime keep up with me on Twitter & Instagram.