frugal fashion shopper

Is age just another number?

I’ve moved!

Hi, sometimes WordPress sends people to this blog BUT I don’t blog here any more!

I’ve moved to

suitcases-webIf you come across this post – it’s part of an old blog I started some time ago. I’ve moved to the address you can see below and write there every week.

 Click below to join me on

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. I can see I need a transfer widget, which means that most people googling frugalfashionshopper will go automatically to the new platform.

This message is for anyone who stumbles across this. I’m over at

See you there!


Dressing for a typical English holiday – the necessity of covering the ears!

I had written something for the blog to post while away on a week’s holiday in Suffolk, but some of the photos we’ve taken are so reminiscent of the holidays I experienced as a child I felt I had to share them with you.

Southwold Suffolk-1

Yes, who remembers the 50s and the British tradition of no matter what the weather you went to the beach?

I have 3 distinct memories of those holidays. One is of my parents sitting in the rain on their deck chairs in their plastic macs. And in my mother’s case, with the addition of the plastic head covering tied over her head that she’d pulled out of her handbag, which had been folded concertina style to a small oblong. We would be playing alongside them building sand castles wearing the ubiquitous hand-knitted cardi (which scratched the skin) over our cossies and under our child-sized plastic macs.

Southwold Suffolk-2

The second memory is that when it rains and you run into the sea, it feels warm in contrast to the colder drops of the rain. Or was it the other way round? All I remember is that there was a contrast between the two mediums of wetness.

The third thing I remember is a noise. The now iconic and gaudily painted beach implements – the bucket and spade – bought every year (because no matter how you said you loved them they were never brought home) were made of metal. And there was a noise you made, when going back to the hotel tired after being outside for so many hours, as you pulled the spade along the pavement. If I close my eyes I can hear that gravelly scraping noise now, plus the usual refrain from my mother, ‘Pick it up of the pavement, dear’.

This week in Suffolk has coincided with a ‘low’ over England, so it’s been grey, wet and very, very windy. And did I bring a hat with me from the many I possess? No, I didn’t!

Southwold Suffolk-4So here I am with a scarf tied round my head in what might be seen as retro fashion. No, seriously it was so windy on this pier that the scarf is essential to both stop me feeling that my ears are being blasted off the side of my head, and getting that particular numb/cold pain you get in your ears in the wind. But, do you know, I love holidays like this!

Southwold Suffolk-3Apart from the Primark skinny jeans everything else is from charity shops, natch!

Here’s hoping the weather is better where you are!

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Autumn trends – do we heed the fashion journos or do we dress as we please?

I’m always saying we should dress as we please. Because I believe that as we age we should wear what we want, and not what some young fashionista puts in an article as the thing to wear, or what the current fashion mags are saying is on trend for the coming colder months.

At the moment there are a lot of lists on autumn fashion trends. But my favourite fashion writer, Hadley Freeman, nails it as usual. (Favourite because her style of writing is top-notch, and reminiscent of Nora Ephron. And she repeatedly berates the fashion industry in an ironic tongue-in-cheek manner!) This time she looks at Vanity Fair’s best-dressed list and calls it hilarious and deranged. You could say the same about a recent list in the Guardian on ‘20 autumn fashion trends you need to know about’. Let me see, Gucci on the High Street? With pussybow blouses or floral dresses that look like 1970s upholstery – nope. The 70s and 80s – nope, and school-bully hair, I don’t think so. As for black tights and maxi coats, all I can say is I’m wearing them already, darling. Yes, that list is just as deranged as they get.

Yet, fashion matters. Because nobody wants to wear clothes that look odd or desperately out-of-date. The point is to note what the fashion of the day is, adapt it, and then wear our clothes with the confidence and knowledge that we look good.

And most of you do have preferences; you know you have to wear formal suits or skirts for work, or now that you’re retired, or moved to the country, you prefer to be comfortable and ready for that session of gardening.

But perhaps as you age, you’ve become unsure – and you’re saying to yourself what should I wear now I’m retired? As I’ve said before I wore nothing but jeans for three years after my retirement. So here’s a list of some dress styles: What type are you?

  • Sporty                                            trousers & wool jacket
  • Country casual                                  Ditto
  • Comfortable in jeans                  jeans with a variety of tops
  • Urban formal superwoman      skirt or trouser suit
  • Glamorous and fabulous           skirts & frocks
  • Ageing rocker                              jeans & leather jackets
  • Old, bold and edgy                     anything goes

There have to be more ways to dress. Do look, btw, at Alyson Walsh’s book, which really gets at this business of different styles, and is a brilliant guide to looking good as we age.

Personally, I think, after a lot of fun and experimentation (through buying in charity shops) I wear a mix of the last three styles.

Remember that little blue tartan skirt – here it is worn over my charity shop Gap jeans and Peacocks top.


I’ve worn it several times now. But that was a look that I saw in Edinburgh and adapted for myself. Blue-kilt-4-web

Anyway, if I have any message it is while we shouldn’t heed the nonsense in the fashion trade, we can always reflect on the image we want to portray, and then experiment and have fun while we try out our style. Because we should wear what we want!

That’s all for now

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Hatwalk 8 – September 2015

Hi everyone

It’s the beginning of September and time to celebrate the wearing of hats with the lovely Judith Boyd of the Hat Attack blog posts.  The hat for this month is not the grey waterproof hat that I took to Scotland and the Faroe Islands, as I never wore it once.  Actually it’s on ’probation’, which is something I will be writing about soon in a post on de-cluttering your clothes, as there’s definitely a category of clothes (and hats) that you keep in your wardrobe and never wear, but can’t quite get rid of because, you know, you just might wear it!

Instead I’m featuring a beret, which I think is a shape that suits so many people.


I’ve been wearing this blue beret (I have 4 berets, all different colours) a lot recently, as our weather is so strange; it’s hot one minute with a blue sky and sun, then it’s that dull leaden grey that we often get in our English summers, but then it’s still hot, which feels weird.

Leopard-coat-3-webBut with this grey weather comes rain, in buckets. It’s the sort of weather where I begin to think what can I wear on my head? So out comes a beret – such a useful, all-weather hat.  And the blue beret (bought in a charity shop about three years ago for £3) comes with a renewed love for that colour. You’ll be pleased to know I’ve worn the little blue tartan kilt twice now – that item is definitely not staying in the back of my wardrobe. I wear it over my navy jeans, which is a great look whatever your age!

I wore the kilt and the beret a couple of days ago when visiting an amazing garden  – do have a look at the link, as it’s a typical English-size garden with an atypical eclectic mix of plants.

Anyway the blue beret plus a leopard skin mac brightened the spirits as it was a very grey day, and matched my scarf, navy jeans and boots to perfection.  And all bought from charity shops for next to nothing.

Leopard-coat-1-webThat’s all for now

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. I state where these clothes come from to prove the point that you really don’t have to spend money to feel good about your look.

P.P.S And somebody has pointed out to me that the cushions are upside down – oops, so they are!


On packing a capsule wardrobe and a bargain buy from the Orkneys!

Someone asked me what was in my capsule wardrobe. It started with the fact that I took far too many clothes to last year’s cruise to the Baltics; it was for 14 days and I packed loads of casual clothes, plus a different dress for practically every one of those 14 nights! I was forever thinking what should I wear, which was quite angsty, and not very relaxing. Next holiday, I said to myself, would be different.

Here’s what I did:

  1. For day-wear I kept to blue & green. So it was one pair of (charity shop) navy jeans and one (new) green pair of jeans, each with two co-ordinating tops.  Here’s one of the blue ensemble. The trousers are Gap and bought from a charity shop last year for £4.00, plus my charity shop Per Una blouse, which I bought in 2012 and only wear on cruises!blue-blouse-web
  1. I took a black pair of trousers (new) for Edinburgh, along with one long-sleeved and one short-sleeved black top. That worked well as it was hot when we arrived and I wore the short-sleeved top plus my red sandals.  The next day it rained and was chillier, so I wore the long-sleeved top plus cagoule, plus boots, plus umbrella, as the rain was heavy and continuous. Poor Royal Mile Fringe performers they carried on regardless!
  1. I thought we had to cater for all weathers: so I took my warm weather (charity shop) parka for the Scottish Isles, plus two warm cardigans.  That was too much, and I should have thought, ‘yes, this is the north, but it is August.’  What I needed was rain-wear plus thinner layers.
  1. For evening I took 4 dresses (all from charity shops); 2 formal and 2 informal, and as we were out all evening in Edinburgh for two nights, and another night I had a headache (rather prone to those) I didn’t repeat wear any of my evening gear.
  1. I took 4 pairs of shoes and a pair of boots (that I wore onto the ship, so not in my suitcase): 2 were for evening, including my scarlet sandals, 2 were for day, and the boots for rain. I think I could have left one pair of day shoes behind.

On-cruise-webAll that and don’t forget the wash gear and make-up, plus 14 pairs of knickers, as you don’t want to spend time washing your smalls on a shorter holiday! But it was the last minute, ‘ah, perhaps I need an extra top and an extra cardi?’ No I didn’t, I never wore them!

Here is my blue cruise blouse worn as we sweep past the idyllic landscape of the Thames! As you can see it was a bit windy.

green-top-webAnd in this pic is a Per Una top bought in the Orkney Islands for £3.00 in one of their local charity shops, plus skinny jeans bought new from Primark at £11.00, worn with my charity shop boots. Yes, wherever I go I look for a charity shop!

That’s all for now

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. Hello and a very big welcome to new followers; thank you so much for signing up.  And if you’re just dropping by why not pop your email into the side-bar widget and get my weekly blog post on a regular basis – thank you again!


On cruises and wearing what you want no matter what your age is!

Hi everyone

I’m back from our cruise to the Faroe Islands, which was great although I’d forgotten how noisy these ships can be (in the cabin, that is) so it was lovely to get back to dry land and some silence!

Anyway, here are some pics and, at the end, some thoughts on wearing whatever you damn well please!


Let’s start with the safety drill – here I am with my life jacket. I’m glad to say that this cruise line makes you find your lifeboat and stay there until the captain inspected us. We had a bossy member of crew who told us to behave and got us all standing in line!  Some grumbled at this – no, people, it’s good to have someone firmly in charge and know where to go, if ever…..


Our first formal night and here is a selfie to see whether I’d put my makeup on OK.  Tricia, I was wearing my Lookfabulousforever base!  And below is a pic of the dress, which is only taken out and worn on cruises; it’s a glorious Monsoon dress made of silk devore that I bought three years ago for around £12 .

Cruise-05-webOur ports of call were Torshaven, which was a lovely, very Danish, little town where I went straight to Gudren & Gudren (where the sweater worn by Sara Lund was knitted). I tried on lots of jumpers but none of them were quite right, although I nearly bought one until I found out it was knitted in Peru. Not what I wanted so in the end bought an amazing scarf and hat, which I’ll feature later in the year. We also went to the Shetlands and Orkneys but both days were grey as were the surroundings.

The best of the cruise days was spent in Edinburgh where we experienced the Edinburgh Festival in all its glory. Very buzzy and whacky – walked up the Royal Mile with dozens and dozens of acts all going at once, and people handing you flyers saying ‘please, please come to my gig, for free’. We went to one in a dive – umm, edgy! Then paid to go to two acts – one was Henning Wehn, a very funny German comedian who has some brilliant observations on us Brits,  He’s been on the panel game QI.  And then we saw John Lloyd who invented QI – my word, what a mind that man has!

OK, while walking round the streets of Edinburgh I noticed that there was a kind of a ‘look’. It was a very short, frothy kilt worn by lots of the lovely students who were obviously aged anything between, say, 19 and 21.

Right, I thought – I’m 69. But, hey, I want one of those! So reader, I bought one.Cruise-09-web I bought one, in a charity shop, of course, for £3. And here it is.

And I’m linking up with a campaign #iwillwearwhatilike run by Catherine Summers who writes the blog Not Dressed As Lamb. I like a list or two but Catherine found a list of things we shouldn’t be wearing after 30! Thirty! Ye gods! Yes, seriously, whatever your age You. Wear. What. You. Want. And that includes wearing short skirts – go on, I dare you!


Thanks Catherine (and Judith Boyd btw) for drawing our attention to this ageist nonsense.

That’s all for now

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


I’ve managed to pack a tiny capsule wardrobe!

Regarding the tiny capsule wardrobe I mention in my last post. The one that I’m taking with me to the Faroe Islands. I found it really difficult to pack fewer clothes, but I think I’ve managed it.

I’ve a smaller suitcase than last time, and in it are far fewer clothes than last year – good. But yesterday I was 2 inches from the top and still had 4 dresses to pack – not so good. Maybe, I said to myself, I could take even less with me!!!

But I am taking this one, which I bought months ago.


You may hear from me while I’m away, as I’ll try to put a few pics on the blog, but wifi can be difficult to find. Yes, I know we should take a break from social media and everything else that goes with it, but me, I admit that I am online throughout the day, and I love it!

Btw, the four dresses went in to the suitcase, and I’ve not even had to strain to shut the suitcase.

Anyway, see ya later!

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Who made your clothes?

I haven’t bought any charity shop clothes for some time. I’ve looked but kept to two of my golden rules: i) don’t drop your standards, and ii) only buy exactly what you need. And I succeeded in not saying, ‘oooh I must have that’, which is something I admit I do at times! But I do confess to buying two pairs of jeans from Primark at £11 each, and three T-shirts from Peacocks at £4 each. So I was going to write about my frugal and quite tiny wardrobe that I’m taking on holiday this year.

But a few days ago, I watched, the documentary The True Cost, which was a sobering experience. Cheap fast fashion has revolutionised the fashion industry, and while I don’t turn my nose up at people who shop in Primark (because I say check your privilege before you condemn the people who buy cheap clothes. For many, yes it’s cheap fashion but the clue is in the word cheap, a large number can’t afford anything else) I do think we should ask questions about who made our clothes.

It was clear from the documentary that if brands and major chain stores (like the documentary no names) weren’t actually using sweat shops (an image of which usually conjures up dangerous buildings as well as poor conditions) the profit margins they chase lead to even the better manufacturers having to push their workers so hard working conditions are bordering on the poor.

And unless a label states ‘Made in Britain’ or Made in (whatever country you live in) you can guarantee that the clothes have been manufactured elsewhere in China or Bangladesh or …., the list goes on and on.  And it’s a hard life making clothes.

So what to do? OK, there are some good campaigns out there including fashion revolution which asks that every time you buy you ask #whomademyclothes

Of course, you could buy clothes that are only made in your own country – think of the small carbon footprint. Or you could buy ethically sourced clothes from brands like People Tree. Or consider a bespoke tailor. How I wish, for instance, I could afford to buy more from Masato – do you remember that amazing coat I bought from him, he made it for me!


Most of us probably do have too much stuff, including clothes, and I know the mantra is buy less and wear more exclusive, expensive clothes but seriously I would have only about three things in my wardrobe if I did that. So 99% of my clothes come from charity shops. And this way you’re not only recycling clothes and saving them from being thrown into the incinerator you’re supporting a charity. It has to be a win-win situation.

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper



1 Comment »

A sunny day in the UK!

Hi there

I just thought I’d put these two photos up to show you we do have some good weather in the UK (!) and that I do wear the hats featured in Hat Attack!


It was quite a breezy day as you can see from the brim, which is up and away from my face.

And here is the beach – a quiet Sunday by the sea!


I wonder whether I’ll get sun like this when I travel north to the Shetland, Orkney and Faroe Islands?

I’ll let you know!

With love, Penny

P.S. Apart from the Peacocks hat everything else came from a charity shop including the sunglasses, sandals and watch – it’s such a frugal outfit!

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Hatwalk 7 – August 2015

Hello again

It’s August 1st and time for another Hat Attack run by the hat loving Judith Boyd, so I thought I’d show you a hat I wear during the warm weather – yes,  a sun hat!


Here in the UK we had some really warm weather in July, but lately it’s been a bit mixed; we’ve had some sun but also had a lot of cloudy, rainy days.  And today I went out into my garden quite early, sniffed the air, and said to myself, ‘I can smell Autumn’, as there was quite a chilly feel to the morning.


But I did wear this hat out and about during the hot July weather.  It’s not a charity shop hat, but one bought from Peacocks over four years ago for the huge sum of £3.99, and still going strong. I love it as it has a big floppy brim that suits my face.


Mind you, perhaps I should show you a hat I will be wearing soon.  I’m going to the Faroe Islands on a cruise and have been looking at the long-range weather forecasts.  I’m sure you all know that the Faroes are above the Shetland and Orkney Islands (where I shall also be going) and below Iceland.  And the weather!  Apparently you can get all four seasons in one day.  Temperatures on the day we visit may be anything from 9-13C (that’s 48-55F) and rain is expected so I’m taking a stylish and waterproof rain hat! I’ll feature it next month.

In the meantime, I’m off into the garden today as the sun is shining.

That’s all for now

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper



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