Living Minimalist | The small things

they call me the blur in H&M (jacket), Zara (T, jeans and Scarf) and Clarks (shoes).

How often do we speak about the small things and taking moments when it comes to minimalism? I feel like it’s all the time but its what makes the movement so fabulous that it allows you to focus on what actually matters. Lately myself and Josh have been rushed off our feet and in this time the small things have become so incredibly important to us.

In fact I would say we are actually spending more quality time together as of a result. Rather than a whole weekend in and out of our laptops or side projects we’ve been so busy that it’s been more snuggles on the couch and going out for lunch, breakfast or coffee in the moments that we have free.

These times have actually made the last month or so pretty magical. It’s so funny how life works sometimes that when you feel your most out of control is actually when the most magic happens and you feel most fulfilled and I think that’s what a minimalist approach to life and our closet offers you. The chance to stop putting emphasis on the many things and key back to the world before computers and social media ruled the waves!

We have however decided that we do need to give ourselves a little more of break which we will on the 10th and in light of this I think that for the next few weeks I’m going to lighten the blog a little, make it less of a full on idea every post but instead give you guys some breathing room and share photos and little titbits which make up the everyday!

What do we think? Since after all isn’t a capsule all about lightening the load?

I wore this outfit a couple of Saturdays back where we had a day or errands and what you don’t see? It rained horrendously for an hour in which time we had gone to the supermarket (i’m a classy food shopper in heels) and gotten soaked repeatedly.

on a side note, just washed jeans? What a struggle!

blur you later! for up to dates thoughts check out Instagram and Snapchat!

therealjlow | Spring Summer Capsule Wardrobe Reveal!

Sit yourself somewhere nice and comfortable and get ready for this, because this post is a big one! What you are about to see is 52 items which will be with me over the next five to six months on therealjlow. So thats roughly 72 outfit combinations! So lets see how creative I can keep it. Now first the pictures and more links than I have ever or will ever put on a post! Then of course a couple of thoughts! To first read about what in heavens a capsule wardrobe is check out this post Capsule Wardrobes 101.

T-shirts/Tops/sweaters

White eyelit Tank –Next, White V-Neck T-shirt – Zara 2014, White and Grey Butterfly T (Striped butterfly T in pictures)Grey T-shirt with White Shirt detailing – Zara, Grey V-neck T – H&M, Orange V Neck T – Zara, Pale Blue Chambray short sleeved shirt – F21, Chambray Shirt -H&M Mens

Jumpers/Cardigans

 White Jumper – H&M 2014, Yellow Jumper – Primark 2014, Grey Cardigan – Topshop 2012, Burgundy longline cardigan –Next 2014, Colbalt blue and white striped jumper – Gap 2014

Dresses

Kimono: H&M, Black Ballet Dress: Gap 2014, Navy and Grey striped swing dress Gap, Khaki Dress: H&M

Black Maxi Dress: 2014, Red and white striped dress: Lidl, Red dress: H&M 2014, Cobalt and white striped tunic: Long Tall Sally, Cobalt dress: H&M, Black and white patterned fit and flare dress: H&M

Trousers and Jeans

Traditional Denim with split knees: Zara, Navy Chinos: Next, Navy patterned harem trousers: Next 2013 similar, Boyfriend Jeans: Zara 2013, Houndstooth skinny trousers: Zara, White Skinny Jeans: Zara

Jackets and loungewear. 

Pink jersey blazer: H&M 2014, Black Blazer: Zara, White Blazer: Topshop, Patterned pink blazer: H&M 2013, Grey T-shirt: H&M, Tailored sweat pants: Primark 2013

Shoes

Black Sandals: Clarks, Leopard print flats: New Look 2013/14, Suede boots: New Look, Taupe suede brogues: Clarks, Coral leather sliders: Next, Red suede heels: Clarks, Black and white heels: New Look, Acid lemon flats: Clarks, taupe suede wedges: Clarks

Although there is a massive amount in the capsule world I am missing a pair of denim shorts, perhaps a jersey pair and I am also looking into a pair of casual everyday trainers since injuries have left me wearing my walking boots far more often than I should! My favourites include these Vans, These Nikes or these from New Balance. I think i’m leaning towards the nikes but obviously they are sold out online! which is always typical!

Capsule highs

Before we jump in a capsule I think its uber interesting to look at what I think might be my favourite pieces since its always a shock come the end when there not! This capsule I had huge fun going out on a big outing with the girls. On this outing I kept in my budget only bought great fitting clothes and ones which were different enough to what I already owned whilst working excellently together and fitting into the overall theme.

I love the high use of white, grey and denim this is so practical for summer I especially love the freshness of it all and I think this will work excellently for those hot summer months.

Capsule Lows

When I put all these beautiful clothes together I was shocked where was my beautiful cohesive wardrobe? Gone my friends, the way this is looks messy but I reminded myself that although when I separate out my clothes by item type that I matched my colours and themes by outfits this time not items which in the long run should mean more exciting capsule combinations.

What happened to all the shorts? Most women will agree that Zara’s sizing is all over the shop! Whilst there Z collection jeans fit fantastically well other items are pretty touch and go. This was a shame since I found the dream boyfriend short wash, but ultimately they were far too snug to move forward with.

Sandals. I love the look of this seasons sandals and I rejoiced with the emergence of the ugly sandal but where is the support and comfy inners? I wince at every single flat, leather slipper which is out there this year. Girls look after your feet. You only get one pair and believe me, it sucks when they hurt.

Overall

Overall, I have a great feeling about this capsule, theres more movement in it and more flexibility so I think it will stretch a lot further than my previous versions. Currently I feel uber relieved that shopping is all over and I have these months of saving and just enjoying the sun ahead of me but I know that soon, maybe in a month or so that shopping urge may kick in again so lets all pray that I can keep myself together! After all this is all part of the challenge!

The Capsule Wardrobe | therealgirlbasics

If the capsule wardrobe only teaches you one thing its this;

What do you wear?

Magazines regularly tell us what basics we need to form a successful wardrobe but reality is actually this, you already know what your personal basics are its all that extra noise and static that makes us start reaching for things that in hindsight were probably never going to work out.

Pushing the boat out and having fun with fashion is one of my favourite things to do however with the capsule you are limited to what you can wear so what was fun yesterday might not fit your lifestyle today. It’s during the capsule wardrobe that I start having those morning thoughts of “I really want to wear this . . .” moments and often this item, well its usually in my other wardrobe stashed away for three months time.

Today I wanted to give you a quick run down of what I think are my actual, personal basics;

  • Grey v-neck T-shirt
  • White v-neck T-shirt
  • Skinny blue jeans
  • Jersey H&M gathered dress
  • Black leggings
  • Longline cardigan in black!
  • Jersey pencil skirt black or striped
  • Black Blazer
  • Boots
  • Running shoes

What I think is also interesting is none of these actual basics cost very much. When I started the capsule my aim was to have great, better priced items and that they would somehow make dressing better. Reality however? Most of these items are from H&M. I know I am a high street kind of girl (bar a pair of Miu Miu sunglasses which I am seriously thinking about saving for.) but I never imagined how items I really love and wear effortlessly are less about how much I spent on them and more about their fit and how they effect me on a deeper level. So if you are just beginning your capsule journey know your basics don’t have to be what magazines tell you or have to be really expensive they are just simply what you want to wear, everyday.

The Capsule Wardrobe | Embellished.

Blazer: H&M, Scarf: Accessorize, T-shirt: Zara, Skirt: H&M, Heels: New Look, Bag: Zara, Watch: Michael Kors, Gold band on right hand: Accessorize, Z Collection,

Scuba skirts. At first I was apprehensive, I mean the material doesn’t exactly scream sexy but somehow this material works wonders. This embellished skirt is a scuba skirt and quite honestly, I’m in love.

I never made a plan to buy an embellished fancy skirt but when, during the christmas holidays myself and Joshes family went to Bluewater on a sale excursion this skirt literally, (true story) jumped up of off the racks and into my arms.

Why it works wonders is because it holds its shape wonderfully and is excellent for anyone like me who is missing their washboard abs. (They are there obviously, I just like to hide them, I would hate to make any of you jealous . . .) So I plan to wear this skirt now as often as possible. It may be a little over fancy for the day to day but who said that would stop me?

Outfit Ten | How to wear a Maxi Dress in Autumn

Infinity Scarf: Accessorize Similar, Jacket: H&M, Dress: Gap, Boots: Next, Bag: Accessorize

Back in August/July time my life was all about this maxi dress. The lower waist, the scope neck and of course the thigh high slit. It mixed summer cool with sexy and I wore it, a lot.

It went with me to an awards dinner, dinners with Josh and even summer strolls.  So here comes Autumn and with it a little voice which says “I guess no more maxi dresses for you then!” Right? Wrong. There is always time for maxi dress. Like Harem trousers and jumpsuits, there is always the possibility in Winter for being worn. Multitasking as it were.

My first stop of course was to add an infinity scarf, I bought this one in the Accessorize summer sale for the bargain bucket price of £6! It was early August but the air had a surprising chill as I helped out in my mums store, no joke I undid the buttons and used it as a blanket so this is another multifuctional piece which I think will be great if my office is ever cold! the boots are an interesting one. I’ll be honest, I was completely stumped staring at this outfit at first. In an ideal world I would have worn black shoes or moccasins but these of course were not in the capsule and my second choice were my leopard print flats which I seem to have lost one of the shoes (typical!) so in walked the knee high boots.

I had first seen this on Kendi forever ago where she paired a black maxi, infinity scarf and brown knee high Steve Madden boots and I think I have harbored a love of them ever since! There is just something so darn comfy about a maxi anything so to add knitwear seems only logical!

I’m not here on Wednesday but my final Guest Writer, Rebecca Fiedler is with an incredible Florentines recipe which is sure to leave your drooling over your computer screens!!

India Holiday Capsule

How to create an out of season holiday capsule wardrobe.

The problem about going away to a hot country when your own is cold is choosing your clothes. There is nothing in this world that I love more than packing, except, not packing. I always start out excited and eagerly awaiting the chance to pack only to find myself at midnight the night before waist deep in clothes and no idea what should come with me.

Last year I made huge mistakes when packing for India and this time around I am determined not go through that again. At Christmas I went out the week before with no idea and only the thought that a trip to H&M would solve all my problems, did it? No, but it sure did make a pretty sizeable dent in my wallet. In the cheaper stores its almost too easy to throw a pile of ‘this might work . . .’ options which ultimately never work in practice this was the case, last year.

I filled my suitcase with every single option that I could think of, from shirts that I had no trousers to work with them, tee shirts that never left my suitcase or that christmas day dress which still has never been worn.

With the Fall Capsule in the back of my mind I desperately want to avoid making these mistakes again. So rather than shopping with no idea of what is actually needed this time I started with a list and preliminary shop. Below outlines what I wore last time, what I have available now and what I felt I needed to buy to complete my holiday capsule.

Of course with the Autumn capsule in mind I put a similar restriction on myself and that was to keep my pieces as minimal as possible. With holidays that going away excitement can make me go a little over the top and rather than letting myself get carried away or a whim I am going to try and make my purchases minimal, multi purpose and as in keeping in my new aesthetic as possible.

When we went last time I spent the majority of my time in a small amount of clothes, I loved my harem trousers, my Saudi scarf and my white tee shirt particularly. It is funny because that week I allowed myself to just wear my favourite things over and over and over again without feeling shame or that it wasn’t allowed and now with the capsule in full swing I find myself doing that now and feeling far more relaxed with my clothes, more stylish and almost . . . happier.

So what did I wear and what can I bring forward this time and whats in the Autumn capsule that could work? (AC)

What did I wear mainly last time?

Harem trousers (AC)

White quarter length sleeved tee

black quarter length sleeved tee

Black Leggings (AC)

White ballet slippers

White Sandals

Blue Sandals

Red Saudi Scarf

Bracelets

Sunglasses

Fatboy (thief proof) cross body

What of this can I carry forward?

The harem trousers (AC)

Black quarter length sleeved tee

black leggings (AC)

Saudi scarf, bracelets and the fatboy bag.

Then comes the fun bit, looking at what I wore last time, at what I would like to wear this time, what I own and what small updates can bring it all together! Planning I believe solves many ills and in particular I think help stops daft, spur of the moment clothing purchases.

Below are three lists, the musts, the wants and the cheeky extras that may be considered. To help keep myself in check I also put a budget on myself which is £50-£70, this may sound daft for just say holiday clothes but I am aiming to ensure that any purchases made are useable year round and more importantly useable in the UK as well as abroad.

What do I need to re buy that I would have worn last time?

Sandals 

A light long sleeved tee shirt (H&M?)

Light ballet slippers for house/hotel

New Items that may be beneficial this time

A second pair of Harem Trousers

A white shirt?

Denim look leggings

a light, flattering cover up

Fun extras which could be bought if desired

A blue and white striped tee shirt

A lot of these are just replacement pieces for whats now too gross to be acceptable (white sandals in a place with lots of sand was never going to end well, especially when you spend a lot of time taking them on and off – don’t be precious with your shoes here!). This was the same thing with my little slippers, I loved these and they looked great for the week but as with all white things by the end of winter they had had their day. With that in mind I am looking to purchase a grey pair that will hopefully hold up better this time round.

For new items and doubles, I know I spoke a lot about trying not to buy doubles but its quite hard in this case. I loved my harem trousers in India last time, they weren’t too hot and they had stretch which was great for the two weeks of unavoidable IBS so paying £18 for a second pair to wear the two on repeat doesn’t seem like a bad idea. I intend to purchase the exact shape but in black which I believe will be great for my winter capsule wardrobe, especially for nights out around christmas with piles of gold jewellery and a pair of high heels.

Things that I may of not considered before that I felt may work were things that I actually found in H&M or have been thinking about for a while which are modest in style (India is a modest country and it is important to me that I am respectful in my dressing of this fact). Those are, denim look leggings as it is far too hot for actual jeans! A white shirt with a collar, in a light fabric which is both cool but covers everything. This works at home with pencil skirts or even actual jeans with a pair of heels. A light cover up. I am looking at a £6 cardigan from divided which is light and thin but would protect me from bites and stings, or maybe even a kimono to be pulled over other items. The last is a possible or a if I feel its needed and thats a brighter blue striped white tee shirt. This may lighten up an otherwise dark palette and would work with denim leggings, tucked in harem trousers or left loose or even over a swim costume, perfect.

next week, what I bought and what I put together!! 🙂

Outfit 6: In between.

Jacket: H&M Similar, Tee Shirt: H&M Divided, Jeans: Lidl, Shoes: New Look (Old)

In between seasons, in between sizes and in between my decisions. Thats about where I would tell you I am right now. On one hand I want to keep summer around and at the same time, scarves, hats, layers? Its all so tempting to just wish it was fall already! Then in between sizes, its funny with jeans how one store can tell you that you are one size and then another can tell you you are something completely different! For instance these jeans are a size bigger than I normally get and yet they are smaller than my regular size! How does that happen? anyone know?

Then there’s the capsule wardrobe challenge. I asked on Instagram whether or not I could in fact swap these booties in. Last week I realised that the Autumn gods must have spoken and I saw rows of women were now touting the latest autumn trends or as they really were, perhaps wearing last years clothes. I saw hats, dark denim and awash of light brown suede booties. Seeing all of this I felt one thing and one thing only, jealousy.

Without thinking I began creating new outfits in my mind. My own brown suede booties, skinny jeans and a plaid shirt and hat or maybe even a faux fur gilet or black blazer with a faux fur stole. Firstly bar the skinny jeans, hat and blazer none of this was in my capsule wardrobe but I did still own these items. I found myself literally shopping my extended closet.

I am pretty sure that this is the first time this has happened to me. That rather than fixating on a new style that I haven’t purchased yet I instead took to my extended wardrobe instead. I think this says two things, one is having less and choosing more wearable items means that you do have less needs because what you really want and need is right there at your fingertips, but it does say something else and that is that for those of us who love fashion and the ever changing styles this can also be limiting.

It makes me wonder how successful the capsule closet will be in practice. If three weeks in I am already standing in front of my extended wardrobe dreaming about additional outfits that I can make have I really made a successful closet? Or do I still need to leave my options open to what I already own and let myself wear what I do have and love and maybe only restrict what I’m buying now? I don’t know when this challenge became all philosophical but its interesting to see how its affected a ‘real girl’ in the real working world. I never knew how much clothes and my love of them was influential in my day to day but there you have it, week three thoughts flying at you!

and lastly, photographic proof that sometimes silliness gets the best of us . . .