Fashion | The little peplum tank that could

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Bomber Jacket: Next, Peplum tank: New Look, Jeans: New Look, Red Lace up flats: New Look

I have to keep reminding myself when I buy something new that it needs to be a little more different than just another basic. A black tank is cool, but a peplum tank is better.

I always find myself admiring other women rocking trends and having their wardrobe change. Its not in fact that they have an unlimited budget but that they allow space for more statements and trends then basics. I’m addicted to buy a great basic T but I know i need to invest more in things to be excited by after all jeans and a T shirt are simply just Jeans and a T Shirt but adding a peplum makes it even better.

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Fashion & The Capsule Wardrobe | Saving your money by shopping ahead

Saving your budget and shopping the sales

ASOS Orange Sandals+

Why spend your next capsule wardrobe budget on basics? Why not instead make your basics cheap and allow your statements to take centre stage.

Scan your mind back to around this time last year. Back then I shared that I had bought myself three pairs of shoes for (almost) pennies. For example, I bought my tan suede ankle boots for £8 ($11.40) rather than the £69.99 ($99.69) retail! In the end all three pairs became firm favourites this AW. It also allowed me to budget for other pieces that were to be on trend or which would lift my wardrobe overall in 2015/2016.

This year I have once again approached the next season early. This time however, rather than buying AW* in Spring I am buying some spring pieces in winter. Almost all of these purchases are from the Gap sale (which I love) but I believe that these will and have already started setting the tone for SS16.

Summer Dresses Gap Sale

The Basic Dresses

I am a huge lover of dresses come the warmer months. They are simple to put on and keep you effortlessly cool. Especially when you can’t wear shorts! These two summer dresses cost roughly, £7.99 each with a 20% in store discount on top. They are simple made of a good fabric and lighten my wardrobe in a cool grey and peppy orange. Gap is also my favourite place for dresses and dresses that last with minimal stress.

Leggings Snood Gloves Gap Sale and Marks and Spencers

The casual at home leggings, Snood and Gloves

Lets be honest spring in the UK is not all that warm and fabulous. Instead be prepared for cold snaps aplenty! These gloves only cost £3.99 + 20% discount so even if they get pulled over to next year that’s at least saved me some of next years budget!

Grey leggings meanwhile feel a little controversial. Black leggings are at least uber flattering but grey? Its touch and go. Regardless I love the idea of lifting my colour scheme as we approach the warmer months. I would pair these with long T shirts (maybe in white?) and I have already warn these with the softest grey sweater (also with Gap) for Sundays chilling at home.

Finally the snood? Can I say no to warm things for snuggling? Never. This was a sweet, unexpected gift from Joshey at Christmas and it’s the warmest thing I own. Honestly.


The Kimono come Jacket

Zara’s sale is the ultimate time for bargain hunters. Rather than focus on basics here I always wait it out to the end and focus on statements. In this case this highly patterned green kimono was in my shopping basket at a snap. £12.99 from £45.99 I’m looking forward to cooler Spring and Summer days to throw this over grey tees with Jeans and with thin grey sweaters and black leggings on the weekend.


The full price Orange sandals from ASOS

I admit these were not bought in the sale. However at only £16.99 It feels more like I stole these than purchased them! Orange is playing a big part in my SS thoughts for this year. With my hair now its natural brown I have been focusing more heavily on colours which suit my natural colouring and so warm tones like these I plan on letting play an integral part to my wardrobe designing. More on that to come in another post however!

What is your verdict however? Do you think you could save money by buying a season(s) ahead? Or are you more happy buying at full price within season? Link your articles on your capsule budgeting and sales thoughts below I’d love to read your thoughts.

*I have picked up a new pair of boots on sale in George @ Asda however which will probably get more wear next year than this but for £10 with great, grippy soles, small heel and faux fur I couldn’t say no.

(Lets also send major thanks to the blogging gods who have also allowed me to share these photos. I am the crazy girl who accidently put her memory card into her CD drive the day before writing this! Thank heavens for Josh also.)

Altering your capsule to fit your saving dreams.

Altering your capsule to fit your saving dreams.

Whether you are paying off debt or saving up for a big purchase like a house or a car or even a big event like a wedding or having a baby, saving or just spending less and saving more can be incredibly difficult.

When I was younger I vividly remember watching Alvin Hall’s “Your money or your life” and I remember being transfixed as he showed all types of people from different walks of life as to how if they continue the way they are that this could potentially ruin their lives. He was clearly a subscriber to tough love and shock tactics but that coupled with my parents strong beliefs on avoiding debt and I have always been a little bit petrified of over spending. That’s not to say I don’t have debt like most I have student loans but the moment I left university and got a job I paid off my overdraft and I don’t have any credit cards and that makes me the happiest.

So why discuss money and capsules? Well here’s the thing, when you make a capsule you are spending within our means because you are setting yourself a budget and then you are walking away giving yourself several months free of clothing purchases. That can potentially save you money.

When we decided to save for a house and a wedding I found managing my money difficult. I never ran over my means but I never really saved anything either. Of course in order to save you have to stop spending and I am writing this to tell you that a capsule can help you with that.

Divide and conquer

To divide and conquer the great saving issue I like to split my money up almost like naughty children. Money comes in and then before you can spend it (this is key) organise for your money to go into different untouchable accounts (I love a great ISA as some’s interest rates can be effected by dropping in and out of it which is always a great deterrent) and this same mentality also applies for my capsule wardrobe.

Break it down

So here’s how to save your capsule money in easy to manage chunks;

How much do you need to save?

Biggie number one how much do you want to spend? I say start here but if you are unrealistic when you get further down you might find that how much you want to spend is not how much you could spend! For example if I budgeted that I wanted to spend £500 on Autumn (which let’s be honest wouldn’t be hard!) this is how it could look;

Budget: £500

Months to save it in: 6

500 / 6 = £83 per month.

Which yes ok now I look at it really isn’t so bad over six months but most of you would only be saving for three months which is, £166 per month now for me that is unrealistic and in fact over six months it would still make a major alteration in our quality of life so then it’s one of two cases, drop it down until your happy or work on how much you could happily put away a month.

Now personally for autumn 2015 because I think I will need another coat since my last is so bobbled the ideal would be £250 the downside? We are saving ultra-hard for our wedding right now so the likely hood of saving it is small coupled with the fact I wasn’t so on it from the beginning of the summer capsule! So counting from this month to a mid-October capsule shop (3.5 Months) would mean I would need to put away £71 a month. This again is not going to happen so instead I have to approach my capsule separately. This is where it got interesting to me since last time this approach worked great for me however this time I have had to readjust my viewpoint and with it readjust my capsule.

5 Piece capsules

As was the prior plan I had seriously considered dropping the capsule in favour of the 5 piece wardrobe and I have to be honest it’s looking more and more likely. If I were to save like last time I would more reasonably only want to save £40 a month (this is because of everything else I’m saving for) this would come in at £140 and although that amount worked great for SS15 buying a coat would pretty much wipe this out. Instead I think I will be switching up the capsule to the 5 piece wardrobe rule which is as follows;

  • Refers to Statement pieces between September/October 2015 and December 2015
  • Basics, Accessories and shoes don’t count below £50

Therealjlow small print for this is as follows;

  • Maintain your capsule wardrobe by splitting up your full wardrobe and living in season appropriate items up to 60 pieces (incl. shoes/coats etc) for every 3 months.
  • Basics don’t count but only update items no doubling up, you don’t need that second pair of black jeans put them back.
  • A basic no longer counts as a basic once it goes over £50 so those shoes I love from Clarks which cost, £60 count as a 5 piece item.

I think this will be an incredible opportunity to see how a different shopping approach alters the way I view my closet. The Capsule Wardrobe is an incredible start. It allows you a good amount of movement and time to realise, holy shocks, I spent so much last year and didn’t feel any better for it or why do I have no space for anything? Why can’t I afford dinner? Its a real eye opener but I think if you stuck to it the challenge would be lost and would you really continue to develop your personal style?

So these are my current thoughts for everything clothes-wise, what would you guys do? Do you think mixing in the five piece challenge will alter my style? Do you think its sensible? doable drop me an message or email I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Capsule Wardrobe | Avoiding Sales.

p.s. I bought this dress on sale from Gap in early spring! best tent dress ever! Also the necklace is from Accessorize’s new Z collection which is gold plated I am 100% in love!

Sales resistance

I don’t know if I am doing it well, or if I am just being restrained by my budget but so far (touch all the wood) I haven’t bought anything in a sale. I can’t tell you what’s come over me or what this means but somethings going on and it might just be a capsule wardrobe success.

Previously I had thought that the Zara sale would happen and I would be in straight in there buying up a storm, but in reality I went online early put a thousand things in a basket, forgot about it and then came back and took it all out again. See here’s the thing, when you stop shopping for your most recent capsule it’s like you’ve had an arm cut off, you want to keep going. I forgot denim shorts! A denim jacket! I really need that twelfth white T-shirt and believe me for me it’s a struggle. Those first few weeks and I am a train wreck.

Now give me a month and a bit behind me and that has worn of substantially and its only really then (now) that I feel as if I can safely say that I don’t feel the urge to buy. Sure I love the idea of shopping I love the idea of new clothes but once I get in there and you’ve tried something on (I still do this during my capsule really just for fun – I don’t know what that says about me) I just want to put it back.

I just currently have no desire to buy things, if anything I don’t want to buy anything at all! So maybe it’s just the sale cycle, maybe I don’t have much disposable income right now but whatever it is I am actually quite enjoying it!

I think that when you come to the capsule from having somewhat of a problem, you do get to find relief in the capsules constraints. Reality is spending a lot and shopping a lot (especially if you go out of budget) can be a really stressful sport. I have felt beyond stress when I have spent unnecessarily and do I miss that? Not at all.

I know that these shopping bans haven’t solved the problem and maybe they won’t but they at least help. Which is at least the start of being more responsible with fashion.


Capsule Wardrobe Shopping: Before, During and After thoughts.

Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters, Dress: Gap, Boyfriend Jeans: Zara, Sandals: Clarks

Thoughts on the last shop of Spring/Summer 2015

For this post I wanted to share my thoughts on the shopping process both before and after to see how I feel following my final shop so here goes a little, therealjlow goes shopping!

Before the shopping

I have been incredibly lazy with this shopping adventure. Most of my capsule is chosen it’s all hanging in all its glory and I could have photographed most of it, but have I? Of course not. That would be asking too much right?

I have however been leaving a lot of shopping baskets all over the internet in preparation and for all my excitement about colours and patterns so far I have been fixated on denim. Denim shorts, white jeans and even a jacket.

It will be interesting to see what actually happens tomorrow but as of right now I’m actually still stuck on the incredible world of denim!!


Holy moly, what a rush! Honestly I haven’t been shopping like that in years! Probably not since I lived with my mum and dad! And that is actually a surprisingly long time ago (for me) now.

I had completely forgotten how freeing a shopping trip could be without guilt. How did I rid myself of guilt? Well quite simply, I planned it. I knew I was going to spend money and buy multiple items and because I had saved a month a bit in advance so now I don’t have to freak out over how I will survive the rest of the month.

Pre capsule wardrobe I would shop as and when and that type of shopping really adds up over the month and I would have found myself spending far more than I did in one day!

Because I had bought my sandals my budget was £150 I actually over spent by about £10 but I think that was acceptable as I ended up buying a photography book from Urban Outfitters as well!

Shopping wise I bought unexpected things that weren’t as I expected. Confused yet? Well I planned to buy nothing like I already owned but I had put an emphasis on colour, did colour happen? No, but great different pieces did. I even bought a hat!

As long as I keep these shopping trips to a minimum and don’t shop in between I see this as a really great compromise. As exciting as shopping whenever (or more so) is I’m really pleased that this was such a successful trip!


It’s the morning after and I am so pleased to report that I have zero buyers remorse in fact I’m even slightly happy that its raining as it means I can continue to stare at my new purchases all day!!

I ended up ordering a couple of missing pieces afterwards since they didn’t have my size yesterday. I’m keeping every single finger crossed until they get here that they fit great and are keepers because yesterday I feel like I made some really good choices and these would really bind everything together. Although the pieces I picked up yesterday were trend led to a degree I don’t feel like I won’t be able to bring them forward again for next year, or the year after or the next and that’s really been the key.

Yesterday as well I had had a few moments of I love what I have but I wish I also had some colour but looking at my closet now I sort of see why actually these are even better. I really bought needs rather than wants and subconsciously! I also picked up really versatile pieces and that can be really important for a wardrobe overall and so that guilt is gone and it really makes me pleased that I started this wild ride last autumn!

Tough Love and Cut Backs

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I’m having to be careful because I can feel myself slipping again. Slipping back into those bad buying habit shoes. So for the rest of the month it has been re-decided that I need to teach myself some tough love and clamp down on spending again and maybe into next month as well. It happens gradually and I have begun to see where the problems lie in momentary purchases . . .

As a perpetual shopper I have learnt increasingly bad habits over the years since leaving the little town of Hitchin (where clothes shops were short on numbers) going from that to London full time meant that having hundreds of shops at my disposal more than nine hours a day meant that my shopping went up, my cash went down and my style with it! But you knew that!

What perhaps you didn’t know is that I do still feel pressure to bring out new items here on the therealjlow, which is silly really when I set out with the idea that this would be “the real jlow” not the girl who constantly shops because for most people that just isn’t a viable options and really I don’t think it should be. After a year of this blog I decided to try focusing more on quality over quantity and doing more with less so as I caught myself this morning I realised I need to look more in my closet rather than online and in other peoples so from here on out this month (and maybe next) no more new and far more remixed! I’ve also realised that if I have ten minutes I buy more and buy with less thought yet when I go out with several hours a whole afternoon I am far more sensible and hold on to more of my cash. So I’m cutting the spending and upping the time when I do go!

So here goes . . . it’s those blasted pink jeans again!