Three times. Three times in the last five years I’ve bought something that you could say was quite pricey, and I’m not including that lovely faux fur at that Brighton Vintage Fair. No, when I say pricey I mean * feels faint at the thought* each buy was a very big spend indeed.
All of the outfits are almost heirloom pieces. The first was bought when I had a difficult task. I’d published my dad’s memoir and had invited a load of people to come to the launch. The venue, which was in an iconic old fort, had also circulated the event, so I was faced with presenting to around 100 people. I felt mega terrified.
But it had to be faced, so I thought, OK let’s get a launch outfit. And with a budget of £70 (as I usually spend £7 I considered that a lot of money!) I found myself in one of those minimalist hardly-any-clothes-on-display boutiques and described my dilemma.
The saleswoman was amazing. First, she brought me an asymmetric black skirt made of linen that was so fine you’d think it was muslin. A top in similar material was found. I put both on and my submissive anxious stance began to lift, I straightened my spine. A black jacket of waxed cotton followed, then a stunning in-your-face citrus silk scarf appeared, and finally a necklace in the same searing yellow. By the time the outfit was completed I was a different person. I looked at myself in the mirror, and thought, my word, you can do it.
Note that i) the saleswoman only brought out those five items and ii) there wasn’t a price label anywhere, not in the window, not any that I could see. But I didn’t care, the whole outfit was like a suit of armour, I had to have it. And have it I did, and since then I’ve worn it whenever I give that presentation, which must be at least seven times and three of those were in London, including giving a lunchtime lecture at the National Army Museum to over 100 military types. That outfit’s done me proud and worth every penny I paid – which was a bit more than the budget I can tell you!
The second outfit was a tweed jacket bought in a sale in the same boutique – and yes, if I want to be frugal I really do have to avoid that shop. But it’s the quality that gets me every time though – it’s made from 100% certified Harris Tweed and woven in the Outer Hebrides.
And finally there’s my last most recent non-frugal buy, which was entirely down to Twitter. I’m not sure how many of you are on Twitter but it’s great fun and I’ve made some good friends through it including the delightful Masato Jones who has a bespoke fashion studio and sells entirely online. Do have a look – there’s some wonderful dresses, scarves, hats to view and he’s got a Black Friday Weekend Sale on at the moment.
I’ve re-tweeted Masato’s tweets before and been given a discount as a result. The previous time I bought a sweet up-cycled t-shirt bag. But a couple of weeks ago I re-tweeted a photo of a fantabulous satin coat (yes, another coat) and we carried on tweeting back and forth, and this time I was given a very good discount on said coat.
Here’s me getting ready to wear it up to London. Yes, already worn it!
It’s truly beautiful and note it is cut and made when you order it. Such beautiful craftsmanship and it will be worn again and again by me and one day handed on to my daughter – an heirloom piece indeed!
That’s all for now
Penny, the (not always) frugal fashion shopper