frugal fashion shopper

Is age just another number?

Film night outfit – February 2015

Hi everyone

Here’s a new theme for the blog.  I always dress up for our monthly film nights.  I help to run a great little film society in our town that shows films once a month, and that evening always seems to me to be a good opportunity to wear my charity shop finds. So here’s what I wore last Saturday.


The skirt is my latest buy.  It has a Next label and cost £5.50.


I’m wearing my usual M&S top bought years ago and a charity shop Per Una M&S tuxedo jacket that was bought last year unworn/new at £20 from the Shelter charity shop in Seaford – it was reduced from £129.  I’m also wearing the Peacocks boots, which I wear with absolutely everything!

Btw, the pics are fuzzy again.  Mr Frugalfashionshopper informs me that’s because I got the light in the wrong position (you can see it in the first pic) and somehow the ISO setting is also wrong – I’m on a big learning curve still!  But film night is always a bit fraught so hopefully I’m excused this time!

That’s all for now

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


It’s that magazine again!

Stop reading at once if you don’t like my occasional rants about Vogue. But it’s one of those months when a large thump on the mat means it’s Vogue’s International Collections Special – in other words, there are a few articles, a couple of fashion shoots and whole lot of ads.

I open it and here’s an article on body hair, which apparently is back in ‘vogue,’ so should one go au naturel, the author asks? As the article always talks about a bit of down on the shin (yes, that’s shin) I say, please give those who really do have body hair (me for one) a break.

Then there are the fashion shoots, some with lovely, quite exquisite clothes, which makes me feel I must get something like that (from a charity shop, natch) which would be exactly what the editor is aiming at; the shoots are there to inspire. Yet some clothes are just odd; and all, unsurprisingly, at extortionate prices. But this time even denim gets the designer treatment. How about a shredded denim jacket at £999, or an embellished denim dress at £3,170? Actually I’d be interested how that dress gets to be priced.  I’ve started watching the Great British Sewing Bee and one week the participants’ task was to revamp a denim jacket or skirt. One or two were truly original and equal to anything in the Vogue denim section. Did any of you see that programme? The best made article from that particular week was a lovely pink spotted dress with cut-outs made by a lieutenant-colonel from the British Army, who, I kid you not, took his sewing machine to Bosnia.

And what’s this?  An article on porn for women?  And I mean proper porn (is that an oxymoron) or New Porn as they like to call it, and I’m not talking about just a few pics of Jamie Dorman’s pecs. So I read it and suffice to say I felt slightly tacky afterwards. And although I was aiming to not say all that much about it, as I could get into deep trouble writing about such a personal thing, really, the article is trying to say that this apparently liberal and feminine porn is different. Well, however much you talk this porn for women up you cannot say that. Because, no matter how liberated the actors and/or participants are in this feminised porn they are still the objects of the gaze of the observer. And even if the majority of the observers are women (and I don’t have the viewing figures so I wouldn’t know but I dare say a few men are watching as well) who is profiting from this? And no, I didn’t try any of the sites mentioned so I could be completely wrong but I’m near to spitting tacks about this article. Admittedly the author confesses to finding the New Porn a total turn off (only in the last paragraph, btw) but you do wonder why the article was written. Has a kind of ‘getting down with the kidz’ feel to it.

Then my gaze takes in the models both in the ads and the photo shoots and I sigh with exasperation yet again, because it’s not the thinness of some of the models that strikes you it’s their extreme youth (one in particular) often set in a kind of noir, sexualised landscape.

Julia Twigg* in her book Fashion and Age argues that fashion shoots over the last two decades have increasingly used highly sexualised edgy imagery to suit and reflect the visual values of the young, male spectator’s gaze.  But Vogue – do you think extreme youth attracts women to buy clothes?

I know Vogue wants to be aspirational but extreme youth must be unattainable for most readers. Therefore, as we cannot attain this youth we readers might say, ‘because I cannot look like that I won’t be buying those clothes’. Or maybe I’ve got it wrong and a model’s age is immaterial?

Nevertheless, I do feel that there should be some recognition that over the next ten years two-thirds of all retail spending growth will come from those aged 55 and over**. Think about that, Vogue!  Cater for us, why don’t you?

Despite my irritation with Vogue, I shall continue to buy it, as it does give you the most up-to-date news about trends and style. We may say we don’t follow fashion but actually we do more than we think. As I’ve said before, just go into any vintage outlet and try on an 80s dress – not a good look! And Vogue also alerts you to current trends in popular culture – books, art, films and especially exhibitions such as the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition opening at the V&A in March through to August – am I going, oh yes, can’t wait!

That’s all for now

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

*Julia Twigg (2013) Fashion and Age. Dress, the Body and Later Life. P109



Like Mother like Daughter? What do you wear to relax around the house?

Do you tend to wear the same clothes over and over again? You may think I wouldn’t do that.   But I do. So where do I get that from?

When my mother moved into sheltered accommodation the ornaments and knick-knacks she’d collected over the years were arranged around her apartment, and into her wardrobe went a vast number of clothes, which included numerous skirts and blouses, and not exactly countless dresses, but, nevertheless, a large quantity. There were no trousers. I never saw her in a pair of slacks, ever.

Yet most of the time she wore only two dresses, a pink Crimplene dress and a blue Crimplene dress topped with a white nylon cardigan.

When I asked her why she wouldn’t wear any of her lovely clothes, she replied, ‘they’re for best’.

You know my views on that notion. But have I turned into my mother? Mr Frugalfashionshopper says I’m nothing like her in habits and outlook. But I’m not sure. Not only do I look in the mirror and see my mother looking back at me, I also, once home, find myself taking off the clothes I’ve worn to Brighton or Lewes or London, and putting on more ‘comfortable’ clothes.

jacket-&-skirt-20smDo you do that? I should imagine that’s what a lot of people do. But on thinking about it, when I know I’m not meeting anyone I’m wearing the same skirt over and over again – ooops – that is a bit like my mother. It’s this one, minus the jacket, btw.

And also, apart, perhaps, from a day when I do the household chores or some gardening, just like my mother I never wear trousers or jeans, always skirts.

We shouldn’t be surprised if we daughters are like our mothers, but here’s an outfit that perhaps I should wear more often when I’m at home relaxing.  It’s a loose cotton pair of trousers from Peacocks bought for £10 and my M&S top bought years ago.  I usually wear this on the first night of a cruise, a supposedly ‘casual’ dress evening, but I don’t do casual and I team it up with a jacket.


Or I perhaps I could wear this.


I’m wearing Per Una M&S brown cord trousers bought from a charity shop for £6.99 with a charity shop top bought years ago.

That’s all for now

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper




Hat walk – 1

Funnily enough that beautiful fur hat (that featured in my last post and goes with the leopard skin fur coat) is not particularly warm if worn straight on the head, because it leaves the back of my head bare.  Lots of hats I try on don’t fit all that well, because I’ve got a big head so they just sit on the top of my head. The fur hat isn’t small, but I’ll have to wear it at an angle if I want to keep my head warm.

Anyway, here’s a hat that is warm. It’s wonderful as it covers my head completely.


The hat is made of boiled wool. I bought it in Norway in a little village called Skjolden which is at the far end of a beautiful fjord. And I was told that the hat maker not only made the hat, she owned the sheep and spun their wool that she boiled to make the hat.  Actually, I’m not quite sure of the exact procedure, so if you know do tell me.


I’m linking this blog post to Style Crone’s February Hat Attack and in reading this you have joined a huge community of hat lovers of this world! Thank you Judith for creating Hat Attack – I hope to join in every time from now onwards!


That’s all for now

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

 P.S. Thought about what this bit of the blog should be called and Hat Walk is both a play on catwalk and also my belief that hats should be worn and walked about, and not kept in the closet.



My vintage outfit of the month – February 2015

Here’s that fabulous vintage faux fur coat with matching hat I bought at the Brighton Vintage Fair last summer. Btw, there’s another Vintage Fair (at the Corn Exchange, Brighton) on Sunday 15 February.

I wore the coat and hat last Friday, not for any special occasion you understand, but just to visit a friend, who is, of course, special!


Underneath the coat I’m wearing the skirt I bought in the Emmaus charity shop in Stockholm for around £10, worn with an old M&S top bought new over 10 years ago.


Shoes, btw, are the old Peacocks boots bought for £25 and now into their 4th winter, and all jewellery pieces are charity shop finds, including the watch.

That’s all for now, but if you’ve come across this post by chance, welcome and hello!  I’m a frugal fashion shopper.  And if you’ve enjoyed reading this, why not sign up for regular posts, by filling in your email address on the side-bar.

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. Pics still a bit blurry – am working on it!


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