frugal fashion shopper

Is age just another number?

Film night outfit – March 2015

Hi everyone

The Hillcrest Film Society hosted another film last Saturday (Nebraska) and this is what I wore; a lovely double layered Per Una M&S skirt, bought recently for £4.50, which I wore with a short sleeved top I’ve had for years, plus a silver Per Una cardi I’ve had for some time, that cost all of £5.00.


I’ve just been reading Style Forever by Alyson Walsh.   It’s such an interesting read and has real substance to it, she certainly knows her fashion.  In it, amongst other things, she talks about style tribes and their looks, and scatters tips and lists of must-do’s throughout.  Do have a look, as they’re all sensible and worth thinking about.  But I don’t follow her maxim buy good quality more expensive clothes and less cheaper clothes.  Nope, I buy cheap because I don’t buy as much as you think and no way can I afford high street prices.  And I do wear black (see both cheap and black above!) and in another blog post I’ll go further into the whole subject of style versus fashion, but I guess my tribe and consequent look is a mix of casual glamour (I do like a bit of bling) and the older and bolder brigade (oh, yes) which, for me, is a look that has evolved only in the last five years.

That’s so very much what I want to encourage people, particularly older women, to do: to experiment and to try clothes that are different and not quite in the comfort zone.  Anything rather than buying and wearing the same old, same old.  And how do you do that without breaking the bank?  By buying in charity shops, of course!

By the way, at the film night, someone gave me a hat which was so lovely and so matched my outfit I carried on wearing it and even welcomed the audience and introduced the film in it.  Afterwards I thought perhaps I should’ve explained why I was wearing a hat – I must have looked a bit unconventional, to say the least!  But thank you so much for the hat, you know who you are!  Anyway, it’s such a great hat it’ll feature in one of Judith Boyd’s Hat Attack sessions, not the next one, but soon.

That’s all for now

With love to you all

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


My ethos which is, amongst other things, as you age you can dress well on less!

I’ve just written a guest blog (not published yet – you’ll hear more about it when it’s posted). I wrote about some of my ideas and it seemed to me that it would be good to revisit some of the reasons and rationale for this blog.

I write from the point of view of someone who saw the Rolling Stones live in concert before they were famous.  Previous to that I’d saved up my pocket money and bought a hipster outfit of a black polo neck jumper, a tan shift dress and black stockings, shocking my parents, ‘what are you wearing, dear?’ Then I moved on to a Mary Quant outfit, when she first came on to the market, and read Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch and went on the pill as soon as I could. We were rebels weren’t we? So, we’re not going to be grateful and accepting as the pre-war generation as we continue to age and need support, well I’m not.   I’m going to be a very demanding, cantankerous old lady, I can tell you.

In the meantime, I think that older women are exceedingly short-changed in the fashion media and by older women I don’t mean the 50+ age group, I mean the 65+ and well over that age. The way I see it, there’s a great deal in the media these days for women of 50+ who are just beginning to feel that age is creeping up. For instance, the blogger and journalist, Alyson Walsh, has written a really great book, Style Forever, which has just landed on my mat this morning. I can’t wait to read it! But I write from the point of view of someone whose age is not that far away from 70 (I’ll be 69 in June). And I don’t subscribe to the mantra 60 is the new 40 because when I reach 70 I’ll acknowledge my age and say this is the new 70!

But most of the time I ignore my age. It is just another number.

And it is possible to find your style at a late stage in life because that’s what happened to me. I retired from work, and formal suits, sighed with relief and wore nothing but jeans for three years. But jeans got boring.  So, slowly but surely I moved away from the casual and the comfortable and found that those frilly, frou-frou, slightly retro skirts were fun and, what’s more, they suited me. And then I found that charity shops have every kind of clothing you could imagine, and all within my very small budget. The hunt for the bargain began because you can dress well, and very stylishly, on less. And this is what I want to share with all of you.

But I do take ageism seriously and underlying all my frivolity is my view that older women should break every rule there is on fashion and style. We. Wear. What. We. Want. And what’s more we should buy it now and wear our best clothes all the time (apart, that is, when gardening and cleaning our abode) because life is short, sisters, and we should do it, as they say, for ourselves – and to have fun!

To all new readers and followers hello and a big thank you for reading this post.

That’s all for now

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper




Fashion genius Alexander McQueen

The twittersphere is alive with cries of ecstasy over the Alexander McQueen exhibition Savage Beauty starting today, this Saturday (14th March) at the Victoria & Albert, which I’ll be going to in April. Who, you might ask? I would have said that once. But having gone to the exhibition on the style icon Isabella Blow last year I know he was an extraordinary designer whose clothes were nearer to art rather than utility and wearability – not that I’ve ever tried one of his designs on (won’t ever, of course, *deep sigh*) but they could be as lovely to wear as they are to look at, who knows.

Anyway why the excitement? And does it matter? Well, there certainly is some excitement, as before the exhibition even opens over 70,000 tickets have been sold. And does it matter? Well, in the overall scheme of things, of course not. But Alexander McQueen was beyond the ordinary and commonplace, and you just have to acknowledge those extraordinary people who inspire and enthuse future generations.

I shall say a lot more when I visit but, for the moment, I’ve been thinking about what I should wear on the day I visit the exhibition. Sorry to be so vacuous and shallow but any excuse to dress up, and if ever there was a good excuse to do that, this is one.

Here below is one outfit I might wear. The hat was bought at Urban Outfitters and featured earlier this year, other clothes are all charity shop buys.


And here’s another outfit, which might be the one.


But note what was worn at the preview.  I might have to think again about what I wear.  Maybe I’ll add some netting and feathers to my hat – what do you think!

That’s all for now

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


My sale outfit of the (new) year

Although you might think I’m always buying clothes in reality I haven’t bought anything from a charity shop for weeks now (apart from the sparkly Next skirt in February).  But I do admit to a bit of spending spree in January.  If you remember I was feeling a bit down from that ghastly cold.   You know, I never eat food (like chocolate) for comfort or to improve my mood – but I confess I do shop!  And you know what it did cheer me up!!  Ok, here’s a bit more of a confession, because, I admit I went shopping for new clothes, but only, take note, at the January sales.

And I was quite focused about it.  I went to just one shop, Toast, which has an outlet in Brighton. I’ve never bought articles there at full price, and if you go in you’ll probably realise why. But don’t let me put you off, as it’s a lovely shop with high quality, beautifully made clothes.

Here’s what I bought.


A skirt in a subtly dull metallic gold and brown, styled in the way I like skirts to look (that full skirted, slightly puffed out look). This was bought for £47 down from £159 – not a bad bargain.  A week later I went online and got the jacket, which together with the skirt is a bit samey, but just about OK, I think.


This was £45 down from £195.  Or why not team the jacket with black trousers? Here’s the jacket again with me wearing my skinny Primark trousers bought new for £12.


This was the most money I’ve spent on clothes for several months. And I’m in a very frugal frame of mind now, for sure!

That’s all for now

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Hat walk – 2

This is another lovely big black hat, which I’m wearing for Judith Boyd’s March Hat Attack.  The hat’s similar to the one I bought in January at Urban Outfitters. But this one is more opulent with a lovely trim.


Sadly I’ve only worn it at funerals. But now I’m being a bit bolder with my hats maybe I’ll wear it more often.



Speaking of funerals you have written a letter and attached it to your will on how you want your funeral conducted, haven’t you? (Hopefully you’re not saying I haven’t even thought about a will – you must.  More about that maybe in another post).


My letter will contain the instruction that I want everyone attending to wear a hat. And I mean any hat: mad, big, small, sweet, funky, elegant, even a beanie would do.


That’s all for now, but do tell me more about your hats!  Btw, I’ve a very different hat for next month’s Hat Attack!

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. The nail varnish is called Pink Explosion.  I love that in-your-face colour.


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