frugal fashion shopper

Is age just another number?

I’m not sure about Vintage

Once inside a charity shop, I’ll look at the rack marked ‘Vintage’. But what I see there makes me wonder what people mean by ‘Vintage’, as often there’s a lot of Next and Monsoon from the 90s or if you’re lucky (!) some C&A Clockhouse items.

If you Google the word there’s no end of online outlets including, ASOS, where there are some good examples of 80s and 90s fashion buys worn, I have to say, by some very young models.  Or should a Vintage piece be something older?  Personally, I think of Vintage as being a 50s frock or a 40s jacket.

What’s more, Vintage seems to me to be expensive in comparison to an ordinary charity shop buy. My philosophy is that I want to look as up-to-date and fashionable as possible, for as little outlay as possible, and that’s not likely if you buy Vintage.

I also wonder whether Vintage is right for me, particularly after I had this experience.

One of my favourite shops is Urban Outfitters Europe.   There’s a large store in Brighton and I love the buzz and ambiance of the shop.  To me, it doesn’t feel like a store for the young like H&M does and it stocks Vivienne Westwood – oh yum.  I often try her frocks on and they’re frequently ‘to die for’, but at £300 a pop, they’re not for me!  The store has a Vintage section and one day I bought, what I thought was, a beautiful retro jacquard-weave cardigan in browns and blacks.  I brought it home and there, away from the razzmatazz of the shop, the cardigan looked, pretty much, as though it had been in the back of my wardrobe for the last 30 years.  Moreover, it seemed boring, probably because I wasn’t wearing it with torn jeans or tiny shorts.  I learnt my lesson that day as that cardi cost me £40.

red top & dress reduced

But I have found the occasional, wonderful, Vintage buy.  Here is a Horrockses plum jacket bought from the Vintage rack in a Brighton charity shop for just £19.99 which I managed to match up (in the same shop, no less) with a Florence & Fred faux shot-silk skirt for £5.99.

Horrockses was a famous fashion label that was at its peak of popularity in the 40s and 50s.  I think the jacket looks reasonably up-to-date on me, yet, every time I put it on, I look at the label and can picture my mother, in the 50s, in her shirt-waister frocks, permed hair and Betty Davis eyes.

That’s all for now. With love, Penny

The frugal fashion shopper



Skirts – a style statement for very little cash!

I have a lot of skirts – far more than dresses: mainly green and yellow for summer; brown, grey and black for winter.  They’re usually a bit frou-frou and flouncy, and on-the-knee.  My heart sank when I read somewhere that skirts were going down to mid-calf length – that seems a bit matronly to me.

Jess Cartner-Morley, no less, argues that to be fashionable we should be buying a ‘statement’ skirt.  At the bottom of her column, are four skirts: one for £47.00, Ok, that is about the price I found acceptable when I was working; one for £68, well, maybe; the third is for £128, er…..; and the fourth is £495, good grief!

My spend on a skirt is somewhat less.  In my home-town a skirt from a charity shop costs around £1.75, in a neighbouring town about £5.00 and in a nearby more prosperous (and quite fashionable) market town skirts come in at just under £10.

brown skirtLast Saturday I bought a brown double-layered Per Una skirt in tulle & rayon for only £3.80, which I will team up in the Autumn with a brown tweed jacket bought in March for just £8.99 – you can just get a glimpse of the back of the jacket at the end of Lorna’s film – and yes, the hemline of the skirt is mid-calf!

I’ve decided to customize the jacket with beads and bits of material, and there’s a brilliant article in this September’s Country Living* featuring Sarah Moore, who shows you how to do this, on practically an identical jacket!  My hair and skin suits the Autumnal colours of this combo, and I can’t wait for the weather and season to wear it.

With love


The frugal fashion shopper

 * Couldn’t find the link to the actual article but have given you the link to Sarah Moore’s website



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