frugal fashion shopper

Is age just another number?

I’ve moved!

Hi, sometimes WordPress sends people to this blog BUT I don’t blog here any more!

I’ve moved to

suitcases-webIf you come across this post – it’s part of an old blog I started some time ago. I’ve moved to the address you can see below and write there every week.

 Click below to join me on

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. I can see I need a transfer widget, which means that most people googling frugalfashionshopper will go automatically to the new platform.

This message is for anyone who stumbles across this. I’m over at

See you there!


Have you heard of this thing called a ‘gran bod’?

Geez. I nearly spat tacks when I read Alyson Walsh’s blog post highlighting (and arguing against) this ghastly term. This ‘gran bod’ phrase seems to have originated from a recent Daily Mail article (well, quelle surprise) based on a not exactly new research report (a 2014 YouGov poll) of 2000 women polled on their views on body confidence, style and the fashion industry for retailer JD Williams.

The article, which is full of pics of older women in their bikinis (mainly celebs) says it’s time to celebrate the ‘gran bod’. That’s us women who are fit, fabulous and over fifty. Well, how awfully decent of them, and nothing wrong with that is there? But wait a minute, first of all, you have to be fit and fabulous, and second, you have to be a grandmother? Read that sentence with an up-talk Edith Evans sigh of exasperation in your voice.

The point is the demographic of over 50s is a large one that will only increase in time. And the danger is that we get lumped together by journalists, media and policy types as one homogenous group of older people. And stereotypes abound, as we’re all either frail and fragile and in need of help from the NHS or social services, or we’re fit grandmothers – voice is going up again.

But just as there is no one type of 20, 30 or 40-year-old, neither is there one category of older women.   My point is emphatically (and I wrote this as part of a response on Alyson’s blog) that we are all going to be different as we age: some will be grandmothers, some not, some will be large, some small, some will be tall, some short, some will be frail and some will be athletic and active until they die.

So my message to the media/marketers of this world is think before you write and pin labels on us, OK!

With steam coming out of my ears, that’s all for now

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Ageless Style? Um, no thanks, what about being stylish whatever your age?!

Vogue (yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m having another rant) has just published its annual Ageless Style issue. Deep breath, oh my!

Actually, it’s not a totally bad read, but my beef with Vogue is that they don’t have any gumption, nerve, courage or conviction about ageing per se. Because, this so-called ‘ageless style’ is not about ageing at all, oh no. As my very good friend, Tricia Cusden of Look Fabulous Forever, has said in one of her tweets ‘ageless is the new euphemism for ’never grow old whatever you do’!

So to what purpose do we have on the cover of Vogue the 44-year-old model Stella Tennant? Does she represent agelessness? Nope, not in my eyes, she doesn’t. In her fashion shots her velvety, smooth wrinkle-free face is the personification of air-brushed vacuity. Why not use, instead, the amazing 84-year-old American model Carmen Dell’Orefice or our very own Fabulous Fashionista, 86-year-old Daphne Selfe? At least let’s see someone with a lived-in face. Why not, Vogue, what do you fear?

And if you think that I’m as usual shouting in the wind about Vogue to no avail I’ve decided to join Vogue insiders and hope that my responses to their surveys will contribute to a maybe (here’s hoping) different perspective of what my demographic thinks of their Ageless Style issues.

And OK, let me try to be positive. For instance, there is a fairly useful, albeit small, section on ‘Fashion prescription’ with ideas to cover up troublesome thighs, ageing elbows, problem middles and sun-damaged décolletage. But on turning the page I nearly screamed with rage at the paragraph that asked us to reconsider pearls, lurex and chain belts as obviously we must be seeing these as age-inappropriate.

Because never, ever use the term age-inappropriate (or age-appropriate for that matter) to me in relation to older women and their attire. It’s as bad as that awful phrase ‘mutton dressed as lamb’. We are not to be dictated to or advised about clothing because as I’ve said before we should wear what we want.

Of course, I am guilty of saying ‘we wear what…etc, then offering advice. But my aim is to give older women the confidence to branch out and be stylish in whatever way they think appropriate for their life, and I’m saying this from the point of view of someone who i) hasn’t a lot of cash and ii) is approaching 70. In other words I am not a young fashion journalist on a good salary telling older women what is and isn’t age-appropriate – how b…..y dare they!!!!

And in response to Vogue I leave you with my five style tips for positive ageing:

  1. Never ever see yourself having to wear age-appropriate clothes – we are all so different as we age. What we wear should be appropriate only to our size and taste – that’s all.
  2. Do experiment with your style – you may surprise yourself and others!
  3. As for troublesome areas like flabby arms I cannot recommend this enough – go to the gym. Join a seniors’ class and do weight training – seriously it will sort those upper arms.
  4. Wear comfortable but stylish shoes. Schuh stock some wonderful styles – the shop is    definitely not just for the young.
  5. And never, say never, instead embrace the new. Next challenge after the new-look blog (still a work in progress) will be an Instagram account (yes, I know, to some it’s easy, but for me it’s the next thing to learn). Then after that I have a long-term plan to start vlogging.

That’s all for now but what’s your latest challenge?

With love, Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Film night outfit – May 2015

Did you notice that the “What I wore on film night” slot missed a month? We had a bit of a disaster in April. The projector failed just before the film was due to start – believe me, every film society’s nightmare scenario! All good now as the projector is sorted and we now have back-up equipment, plus we’re probably be in the larger Main Hall by the new season starting October. So despite that unfortunate breakdown (which was a bit devastating for us organisers, and must have been a tad annoying for our audience) I’m feeling really positive about it.

Because the Hillcrest Film Society is such a little gem. In May we showed The 110 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared.’ Very funny, everyone loved it, and apparently quite true to the book, which I haven’t read yet. And in June we’re back to showing the postponed film ‘Cycling with Moliere’. One of the joys of our film society is that the foreign films are, pretty nearly always, sell-outs, and even more wonderful, people are beginning to travel quite a distance (for the UK, that is) to come to film night.

Here’s what I wore for the May film.


It’s a beautifully embroidered Monsoon skirt bought for the slightly more expensive price of £10.50, with a matching top from the same charity shop (£5) put together with a bolero cardi that I’ve had for years.

We’re working on the new look blog, and there’ll be a Film Night page as well as the others I mentioned last time. I may even write the occasional film review – have been thinking about that for some time.

That’s all for now but take care, and if you’re just dropping by why not sign up to get my regular weekly posts? I value and appreciate every one of my readers – thank you so much for following me.

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper



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A London trip

I was in London last week. It’s 50 years since I started nursing (yes, I am that old) and I was meeting up with around 30 of the April 1965 set. Gosh, I was young then in more ways than one. But it was great fun living in a nurses’ home in Chelsea.  Yes, we did have accommodation laid on for us in those days. And yes, I did walk down the King’s Road in a mini-skirt, but as I had a somewhat old-fashioned 50s childhood, I hadn’t the faintest idea what the 60s actually meant – until later that is, when I said, oh yes, I was there!

It was good to meet and share memories of a very significant time in our lives. And apart from a few we seemed quite a healthy lot except for the usual aches and pains and a fair amount of arthritis – all that physical work we did takes its toll on the body. Indeed some, unlike me, nursed throughout their career. Respect, is all I can say, as I didn’t continue.

The conversations we had touched on the changes that have occurred in the UK nursing profession.   And with one nursing friend, I had an interesting conversation on the pressures on our much-loved National Health Service.

I’m going to keep that discussion for my new look blog.  Because, I am actually going to change the platform.  I have talked about this before, but this time it is going to happen and yes, it is called a platform!  Instead of using where everything is done for you I’ll be using and through that I’ll be more in control, including having my own advertising.  There’ll be a page for the charity shop fashion, a page for health & wellbeing and, I think, a page for the hats. You don’t have to do anything, btw, but it is time to change.

And here’s what I wore up to the reunion.


It has a matching jacket.


I bought this 3-piece outfit from a charity shop (of course!).  It cost £12.99, which was a bit more than I like to pay, but justified, I think, as it was new and had an Italian label.

That’s all for now.

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Hatwalk 4 – May 2015

Hello again to the hat loving community across the world!  I’m joining in with another of Judith Boyd’s wonderful Hat Attack sessions – hi everyone!  Anyway, here’s a beauty I picked up in my local charity shop for a fiver – that’s £5 or just over 7 US dollars.


I love this hat but will have to think where I can wear it as it is rather dressy.


It’s possibly too dressy even for wearing in Brighton or London.


What do you think?  Should I wear it?  I think I’ll wait for a hot sunny day and see if I’ve got the courage to wear it out and about.


Because I really do believe that we shouldn’t keep lovely things in our wardrobe for best.

Until next month’s Hat Attack that’s all for now.

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


Hatwalk 3 – April 2015

Greetings to everyone in the hat loving community. Here’s a hat with attitude to join Judith Boyd’s monthly Hat Attack!  And while it’s not exactly an Easter bonnet – the colour is near enough to that daffodil yellow that signifies the coming of Spring.


I bought the hat in Brighton earlier this year at a great little shop called Mad Hatter in the North Laines.  And I’ve worn it several times already!


I simply adore the colour as it’s has a hint of that bright canary yellow that goes with my other in-your-face yellow clothes!



Isn’t it great to see the sun these days and to feel that Spring really is on it’s way.  Mind you, I’ve been away (to Wales) and it was beautiful but quite cold.  And it’s still a bit cold where I live – we had a frost last night and I’m wearing some thick socks while I post this blog.

Hope you’re all keeping well.  It’s good to be back, see you later.

That’s all for now.

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper





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



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