This blog post is about bringing a little colour to our lives, but I’m starting off with a take on the length of coats.

I do love a long coat.  On the other hand, I know a lot of people drive everywhere, and that’s where a shorter coat, or in this cold weather, a padded jacket is the go-to-coat for winter. But if that’s the coat for you I just want to say a couple of things.  For me, the padded jacket’s biggest fault is that it ends just around the hips, and as a result it widens the shape, and then, and this is what gets me, it leaves the rest of your legs exposed to the elements!  I use the bus a lot, and no way do I want to have my legs uncovered when I’m standing at the bus stop with the rain beating down as it was yesterday!!! Even if I’m using the car and going to my nearby city (Brighton) I reach for a long coat.

Here’s what I wore yesterday – it’s a nearly new, waterproof, warmly lined mac bought in a charity shop for precisely £8.  Note the colour.


Here’s the thing, I often go into Brighton by bus, and as it goes through a couple of smaller towns I see quite a large number of older women (actually, not that much older than me) on the streets of these towns, or getting on the bus, who dress in a kind of anti-fashion – black, wide, flappy trousers, a fleece and always the ubiquitous, almost universal, padded jacket, which is worn for warmth, of course it is.  But nearly always in a bland colour – grey or beige, or perhaps a light shade of pastel.

Is it negative to say this, possibly, and apologies, as I don’t want to offend anyone, but it’s don’t-look-at-me clothing.  But hey, women of my generation, we’re not going to fade away are we, we baby-boomers? We’re different to our mother’s generation. We want to dress, first and foremost for ourselves, I really believe in that philosophy, but also yes, we (or I certainly do) dress to be noticed.  Why ever not!  And here in the UK the weather is so often cloudy and grey – I think you just need a contrast to those heavy leaden skies, and wearing a bright coat can really lift the spirits!

I think the thing to do is to have quite a few coats: I have an old (green) parka for just rushing out to the local shops, a coat or two for London; another for Brighton. And only one has cost just over £15 (a classic camel coat) and most have been between £5-£10 bought over several years. Also charity shops cater for all sizes and shapes now.  Don’t feel that you can’t get another one because of the cost, or a charity shop won’t have my size – yes they will! There’s a coat out there in a charity shop that suits your style and pocket, and your size – you just have to look!

That’s all for now but have you got a brightly coloured coat – do let me know!

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. Sharing right now with Catherine Summers and her #iwillwearwhatilike session.  Do have a look!

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11 thoughts on “Bringing a little colour into these grey winter months!

  • 25th January 2016 at 2:20 pm

    I love a bright coat and have a red and a lilac mac…but l would love a long waterproof coat and they are very hard to find in plus sizes.

    • 27th January 2016 at 8:55 am

      You know what, Alison, when I’m out & about I’ll look for plus size long (colourful) waterproof coats & let you know 🙂

  • 25th January 2016 at 2:54 pm

    What a great coat! It ticks off all the boxes; long to keep warm, beautiful color, good price.

    • 27th January 2016 at 8:56 am

      Thanks so much, Donna! As soon as I saw it I had to have it!

  • 25th January 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Totally agree about wearing colour- the last two outer garments I have bought are an orangey-red coat and a golden-yellow jacket. This last is slightly padded, but has a defined waist and is a cosy jacket to wear when I’m out walking locally, or popping down to the shops. I don’t like wearing black or beige as neither suit me very well, and I feel that seeing too much black is depressing, especially when the weather is very dark and grey too.

    • 27th January 2016 at 8:58 am

      Yes, in this weather it feels good to wear a coat that has some brightness and contrast to the constant grey. Your colour combos sound great.

  • 25th January 2016 at 7:45 pm

    First of all, I LOVE the red coat and hat! Red is the greatest color of all time. It’s strong. It is forceful. It is vibrant and it is fiery! The color also looks beautiful on ya! But I”m so happy that you addressed the “older woman don’t look at me” issue. You worded it so eloquently. Just because women are older doesn’t mean that they need to forego fashion. Thrift shops are wonderful places for incredibly affordable clothing. I detest spending money on outerwear because I’m just not a fan of coats. They are cumbersome when driving and many fall to weird lengths. I like the blazer with a puffer vest underneath during cold weather when I’ll be driving.
    It’s actually funny that you are writing about this because I’m stressing about the outwear I will be flying in next week. I HATE traveling in heavy coats, jackets. Ugh!!!
    As far as color goes. I love my red jacket that I wear to run small errands and my biggest bargain was at the TK Maxx in Dublin some years ago. A short bright raspberry mac. It is 11 years old and still lookin’ good!

    • 27th January 2016 at 9:09 am

      Hi Catherine! Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, thrift & charity shops are the place to go for inexpensive clothes, especially coats. I hear what you say about coats. From what I read and see in the media the culture in the States is to drive so car coats/quarter-length coats are the thing to wear. But here in the UK, while a lot of people drive, the bus or train is often the way to get to the shops. You might be surprised (or not) but a good incentive for older people in the UK to use the bus is it’s FREE!!!!

      Despite austerity even this awful right-wing Tory government that we currently have (can you guess, it’s not my favourite government) doesn’t dare take it away from us older types as older people apparently vote Tory (coughs & clears throat, not me). Anyway while waiting for the bus with my FREE bus pass I need my legs to be covered!!!! We don’t get bitter dry cold we get that damp cold, and for that you need a long coat.

      All the best for the packing and picking the right coat!!! xxxxxxxxx

  • 6th February 2016 at 3:58 pm

    You do look dashing in your coat, and look lovely. Nothing beats the swish of a dramatic coat. Much as I love them, I am forced to wear 3/4 lengths a s I am 5′ 1 and a bit inches. I’m currently sporting my M&S trench coat in the usual stone colour, I do love it though, it’s a classic. Like yourself I am loathe to pay full price (mine came from eBay around £30 it was new, the original being £100+. So right ‘re the I just want to blend in clothes. We have never had access to so much cheap clothing, and have never looked worse. Bleak days bleak times….also can’t bear the current government.

    • 7th February 2016 at 9:51 am

      Hi Morag and thanks so much for your comment. Great to meet another woman who likes a bargain and I can absolutely see why you wear 3/4 length. RE: the current times and government – yes, bleak times indeed. I try not to read too much about the bleakness but on the other hand I rather hate the superficiality of the press and blaring headlines about, for example, refugees/migrants/Syria etc. Got so incensed at a recent Daily Mail headline and article that I started another blog – called My Other Blog! Actually I had been thinking about it for some time but that was the spur. Here’s a link to it

      I will be telling people on the frugalfashionshopper blog about it soon. But it is for a different audience – or maybe not. I won’t be writing on that one every week – just every now and then to order my thoughts.

  • 19th September 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Hi Penny! I like your cute pictures, especially your “about me” photo with the camera. Tres cute!

    So how much is 8 pounds in U.S. dollars?

    I live in north Alabama (USA) where it doesn’t get terribly cold and we all drive around in cars rather than taking buses or metros. We’re not big enough to have those. We do need coats around mid-November until March, when our weather delivers a damp chill and sometimes snow.

    I like going to charity shops, except here we call them “thrift stores.”

    Nice to meet you, and hope you can come visit me at!

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