frugal fashion shopper

Is age just another number?

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

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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



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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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