frugal fashion shopper

Is age just another number?

De-cluttering your wardrobe – it can feel great!

How good are you at throwing out clothes you never wear?  Do you keep a favourite dress, and can’t bear to part with it, even though it doesn’t fit?  Are there jackets and trousers, that you might just use for that special occasion, cluttering up your cupboards?

Contrary to some of readers’ expectations my wardrobe isn’t stuffed with skirts, tops and frocks! This is because I can go into a charity shop and get not one thing.  I know exactly what I want and if it’s not there I don’t buy.

Also I’m ruthless in getting rid of clothes.  If an outfit hasn’t been worn for 2 years, or doesn’t look quite right, out it goes.  I mean I used to keep clothes for years, because I bought good, classic skirts and jackets for work, and these were expensive – throw them out, what a waste!   But now, with about 95% of my clothes coming from charity shops, a £3.00 skirt can be taken back to said charity shop for someone else to wear and love.

Yet, sometimes, it is hard to get rid of things, including our clothes.  According to a study 85% of women have clothes in their wardrobe that either don’t fit or aren’t worn.

The way I see it is, I think clothes can be seen as a kind of a library – just like books they say a lot about you and the life you lead.  They are our reference and our identity: these are your favourites that are worn again and again; these are the clothes we bought for that special day and can’t quite fit into now; others we could, even should be wearing – one day.  And these other outfits, these have meaning and worth and cannot be thrown out because of the memories that cling to the very weft and weave of their fabric.

But too many clothes can become a burden.  They fill our wardrobes and become heavy both in the literal sense, and psychically.  If we can, it’s good to get rid of clothes we don’t wear.  It can feel great, it can be cathartic, it can free you up, and even more important, makes room for that new dress, that new outfit, and in my case, that bargain buy!

purple-cruise-dressAnd because I haven’t been buying any charity shop bargains lately, I thought I’d show you one of my cruise frocks.  It’s a Monsoon plum-coloured devoré silk dress, bought for the cruise in perfect condition at £9.99.  And see below, that’s a £3.00 Top Shop plastic bangle on my wrist.  Gosh, apropos my last post, I look a bit bleach blonde in the photo but it was taken after the summer when my hair always goes that colour.

2012-09-18  20

And by the way, if you think Mr Frugal Fashion Shopper is looking a bit glum that is because, dear reader, a cap in his front teeth fell out on our first day of the cruise and was irreparable – all smiles and speech were a bit strangled after that! But he did enjoy himself! And yes, the frock, has been sitting in my wardrobe since mid-2012 waiting for its next (cruise) outing – but it is going to be worn, I promise you, very soon!

By the way, a very big welcome to new followers, and if it’s your first visit to this blog, do go to that Follow button to receive my weekly posts.

That’s all for now

With love


The frugal fashion shopper

PS. That was a good debate we had about going grey – that blog post was my most read ever!  I shall return to that subject at a later date.  But thank you so much for the comments you made


Going grey – yes or no?

Hair, as we age, can be a worry.  There’s the style – should we have a fringe to hide those wrinkles?  There’s the condition – it does seem that hair gets dryer.

And then there’s the colour – should we let our hair go grey?  For those of you not on social media, did you know that there is a lot of support out there, at the moment, for women to go grey?  Go look at greyisok.blogspot or whitehothair, for example, and you’ll find a whole community of women who support each other as they go grey &/or white.  But I’ll state my views so you know what I think.

Once upon a time I was a strawberry blonde but in my 40s my hair faded to a dull, metallic mud colour so I began dyeing it a muted blonde.  I’m in my late 60s now but have decided not to go grey because white near my face drains my complexion to a ghastly pallor.  My hairdresser is ace, though, as it doesn’t have that bleach blonde look.  Anyway, although my hair is white at my temples I still have that mud colour at the back of my head so if I wanted to go grey or white, people I would have to dye it, so, really…..

Anyway, here are my top tips for hair as we age:

1.Get a good style I had long hair for years and it’s taken me ages to adjust to going shorter – but it does look better now I’ve done so.  I’ve also been working on my hairstyle moving from that ubiquitous ‘fringe and a straight bob’ to an off-the-face layered look.   But carry on with the long hair if you want.   Look at these two older models: Pam has long grey hair, and here is Jenni (who is over 80) and just look at her lovely white shorter hair.

2. Make sure it’s in good condition.  There are age related products like Dove but quite honestly I’ve never used any of that because I feel you should just find the best product going.  For me it’s Paul Mitchell, but you could either follow the advice of your hairdresser or read around the subject and experiment yourself.

3. Getting the right colour for you  First and foremost, it should be a personal choice, so, what do you feel about going grey?  What is your take on the silver-haired look on older women?  And I stress older women because a lot of the advice in the media on going grey is, I think, for 50-year-olds and younger, who look stunning with their manes of white hair.

Did you see the article on ageing in February’s Good Housekeeping?  There’s Jayne Mayled founder of representing 50-year-olds and looking wonderful, but turn the page and you see Bridget Sojourner, one of the Fabulous Fashionistas, representing the 70s and also looking stunning with her white hair.  So, listen (and I’m addressing myself here) you can look great with white hair whatever your age!

But it does matter, this greying business.  What if you have naturally dark hair?  Are you going to cover up the grey?  Well, unfortunately white shows through pretty quickly.  And then you’ve dyed your hair for decades but think you might go white?  That’s quite a complex process.  See this article, which goes through what needs to be done.  And note that Scott Cornwall says you won’t necessarily have a full head of grey hair when the near year-long process has ended. He also says that redheads shouldn’t go grey because of the red hairs that remain (yes, I’ve some of those) and their complexions.  Ah, so my gut feeling about my colouring was right….

One thing, it’s essential to find a hairdresser who can give you good advice.  I’ve read lots about how hairdressers want you to continue colouring so they can cash in on your vanity – but that’s not true.  A good hairdresser has the knowledge and experience, and can hold your hand through the whole procedure, whether it’s going from dyed blonde to grey or allowing your greying hair to progress to white, they know how to do it.

But I’m not going grey!

Because, above all, there are no rules as you get older, so let’s not make another one about going grey!  Because do I get the tinsyest feeling that there is a bit of pressure out there – as in it’s almost un-PC to be seen to be tinting or dyeing your greying hair.  At the very least, it’s currently on-trend to be grey whatever your age. 

So, I’m speaking up for those of us who do dye! I say have the hair colour that suits you, and if that’s pink, blue, white, orange (my very good friend, same age as me, has just that colour and looks amazing) or purple (ditto) or blonde so be it!  I plan to dye my hair until I am 80+, and that’s just how it’s going to be!

But what do you think of being or going grey?

With best wishes and love to you all



How to shop – in a charity shop!

We all know how to shop, don’t we, and heaven forefend that I be seen as teaching grandmothers to … you know, but as you walk into a charity shop what do you see – a mix of colours and a mass (or mess) of styles, and you just don’t know where to start?  Or perhaps you don’t even go in.  Maybe your pension is OK (*sighs*) so it just isn’t your thing.   Or you’re ever so slightly horrified at the thought of wearing something someone else has worn.

Me, I like a bargain and the slightly raised pulse that heralds that hunt!  I also like the idea that the clothes have been worn before.  Charity shop shopping is, in the best sense, a kind of recycling.

And there are ways to cut through that mass of garments, and get to what you want.   First of all, know your area.  There are towns that are just the best, and then there are places, like the East Coast town I went to last year, which had 9 charity shops in its High Street (maybe that was a clue!) which on closer inspection were stuffed with clothes from the cheapest end of said High Street.  I don’t know about you but I am looking for something a bit more than that!

So, once you’re in the shop look around, and you can tell.  It’s not exactly instinct, but sometimes there’s something about the layout and how the clothes are displayed.  Now ask yourself, are the prices right?  I expect a top to cost £2.50, a skirt £5.00 a coat £15, and a sequined long frock maybe £15.00-20.00.  If tops are starting at £20.00 beat a hasty retreat!

Then off to the racks and I look for colours already in my wardrobe.  And I love the feel of wool and cotton.  So I go along the rail feeling the texture and quality of the garments.  That latter bit is essential – you’re not going to lower your standards just because you’re in a charity shop, are you?   And then only when something grabs my attention, and satisfies that criteria, do I start looking at labels because, wow, have I been surprised by a couple of very fine items from George (Asda) and Florence and Fred (Tesco).

I buy hats, one of which I am wearing in the film made by my very good friend Lorna.  And if I find a pair of shoes I’ll have them.  I also try not to buy anything the slightest bit boring – there’s a certain type of mid-calf length skirt that is a no-no for me. What I’m saying is even if it’s the biggest bargain in the shop don’t buy it if it’s, at the same time, utilitarian or dowdy, whatever that is for you.  This means I prefer shorter skirts that are knee length with a bit of bling if possible.

So, my message is, as always, go ahead, treat yourself, be daring, it might give you a lift, and you can do it – in a charity shop – for very little cash.

And for my bargain of the week, well, I needed some jeans and thought, OK, this time I’ll buy new.  Went all over the place and couldn’t find anything.  Most were too short and I even tried a pair costing a cool £66, and that, would you believe, was their sale price!  The very next day went to a charity shop and found 2 pairs of jeans (both long rather than regular) for £2.99 each – wow!

coat-with-fur-collar-webBut they made boring photos so, with the money saved by buying in a charity shop, here is something I bought online at Urban Outfitters UK.  Was £145 – yikes!  But in the sale, £35.00, which is good enough to go in the blog, I thought, and yes, it’s another coat!

That’s all for now

With love


The Frugal Fashion Shopper

P.S Met up with Tricia Cusden and had a great day and got some very good advice on makeup – more about that in a future blog


New Year’s resolutions for myself, plus a fur coat story!

Now for a light hearted look at resolutions for myself in 2014.

Exercise Yes, exercise.  You know, there are times when I do more of this in my head than in reality!  I say I do yoga and the senior’s gym session once a week but last month I had a cold and hardly moved from my settee – for 3 weeks I just pottered around the house.  And there are other times when I simply don’t turn up at the gym.  This is not good – regular exercise is a must once one reaches the 65+ mark.  However, this is not a medical advice blog (!), and although there is the literature out there saying that exercise can prevent all sorts of things, do check with your doctor/GP that vigorous exercise is OK for you.   Anyway, I’m over the cold and re-started the gym and feel all the better for it.

Skin care This is not about my face and the stuff I put on it.  No, once upon a time I was a redhead (kind of blonde in the summer and auburn in the winter) which means I have a redhead’s pale skin, which is now increasingly thin and blueish particularly on/around my legs.  So I plan to research how not to let that type of skin deteriorate as i) I bruise easily and ii) I do not want to get leg ulcers.   I was a nurse once and know that is not something you want. Now, you might say, at this point, I don’t want to read about things like that in a fashion blog, but doing some groundwork on the later years, including how to look after delicate skin, is not a bad idea.  Accordingly, a future blog will tackle the thin skin situation.

Makeup But hey, I do love a bit of slap on my face – particularly eye makeup – so I’ll continue to get advice on how to look good into the late 60s and beyond without looking a complete clown.  Not that I care what people think, mind, but there is advice out there on appropriately applied makeup for older women which I shall definitely share with you. And while we’re at it I washed all my makeup brushes yesterday, which I know you all do but easy to let it slip!  Read Sali Hughes on her New Year’s resolutions – that’s one of them.

My December bargain Now, I have to tell you I was just wandering around a charity shop (not really looking for anything, you understand) when I came across a full-length (faux) fur coat.  People, I had to try it on.  Do you ever get that adrenaline rush when you find a charity shop bargain?  That was definitely one of those moments.

fur-coat-webNote that it looks vintage.  Invisible Woman has written on vintage clothes, about how their time has come, but I’m still not sure about vintage, mainly because some vintage shops seem to put astronomical prices on quite ordinary stuff.   However, vintage can be found in charity shops, like the Horrockes jacket I found last year.

And then there is this fur coat.  And what’s more it’s not going to sit in the back of my cupboard waiting for an occasion. I’ve already worn it to a night out in Hove, actually!  It felt fabulous and very much as though I was channeling Gloria Swanson, not bad for £20.00, I think!

That’s all for now

With love


The Frugal Fashion Shopper

P.S. Here’s Hadley with the last word on New Year’s resolutions – as ever, very funny.

P.P.S There are some good Vintage outlets, though.  Here’s one, called Lovely’s Vintage Emporium.   If you look at the site you’ll see there’s a yummy Missoni jumper for sale – very desirable.


A Happy New Year to you all!

For those of you reading this outside the UK the weather here is not too cold yet but it’s a grey day with lots of wind and the rain is lashing down.  So, one way not to sink into a mood that echoes the grey gloom of the English countryside is to look forward to the next few months.  I mean I like winter but this weather……

This is my 21st blog or, if you like, the 1st in the New Year – and a very Happy New Year to you, by the way!  Looking back to when I started the blog in June last year I know I felt some trepidationwho would read it – well, it’s just wonderful to know there is an audience out there.  I take you, the reader, very seriously and am content to write in response to what you want, so keep those comments coming in.  But I also like to react to current trends and issues.  I think it’s good to know what’s going on in the fashion industry, if only to say, up yours, we wear what we like!

I’d like to reaffirm that the blog’s raison d’etre is how older women (actually women of any age) can look really great without spending humungous amounts of money and I’ll continue to feature the bargains I find.

As I’ve said before never ever use, or allow anyone else to use, the term ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ – so ageist.  I’ll also continue to draw attention to the lack of older women in the high-end fashion media – there has to be another way……  so, I’ll be writing more on that topic in the future.

Blogs in the pipeline will include a piece on grey hair – there’s quite a debate out there at the moment and I have a lot to say about the subject.    I’ll also do more on ‘how to shop in charity shops’.  Several people have said to me – ‘I don’t know what to look for in a charity shop’ or ‘I never find anything’.  But there are ways of very quickly sussing out whether there is anything good/useful/outstanding on the racks, which I shall share with you soon.

And I’ll be blogging about cruise wear.   Oh, I do love a good cruise – well, actually only been on one (to Norway) but it was such a tremendous experience we’ve resolved to go on one every other year.  I’ll be explaining why I find a cruise such fun and featuring the fabulous frocks I have picked up in charity shops at seriously low prices.


Here’s a taster  – recently I found this gorgeous two-piece for only £10.00 in the town near to where I live, which really is the best place for charity shops I’ve found so far!  Not saying exactly where it is!  The photo doesn’t do justice to its glittering sequins, and the skirt is kind of see-through, so with a short petticoat (which makes that part opaque)  the see-through bit looks really on-trend.

Anyway this lovely outfit was in a Sale and it was buy-one-get-one-free, so I got another great outfit for nothing – can you beat that!

That’s all for now

With love and best wishes for 2014


The frugal fashion shopper

1 Comment »

%d bloggers like this: