My blog seems to be evolving from being about (frugal) fashion to more of a critique of ageism, alongside some tales of how I’m managing my ageing (or not).  However, from time to time I’ll be including my best charity shop bargains and, this is important, what I don’t want to do is whinge about things.

The wonderful politician Tony Benn died last week and many of his thoughts have been quoted in the British media.  This struck a chord with me.  He apparently said, “…what do you do when you are old?  You don’t whinge, you don’t talk all the time about the past,… you try and encourage people…”

So, although this blog post has some serious concerns about society’s (or the media’s) perception of ageing, I’m ending on a note of encouragement.

OK.  I read Vogue, as *Invisible Woman says, so you don’t have to.  What an odd magazine.  It gives you the most up-to-date idea of what fashion is on-trend but who wants to be fashionable, as they depict it, at such a price?  Very little takes my fancy, although in the April edition I did see a silver sequined Breton top from Browns at £300 with a matching silver embroidered tulle skirt from Erdem at £785.  Both rather lovely – so something similar will be sought in my local charity shops.

But I get do quite flummoxed, annoyed even, by the lifestyle served up in the articles and fashion shoots. (I’ll return to my views on the fashion shoots in another blog post.)  For instance, one article on facelifts, and the merits of surgical intervention as opposed to non-invasive procedures, was filled to the brim with ageist assumptions about the need to do at the very least, something, as we women age. The journalist, btw, admitted to being 45.  Sighs, and feels exasperated!

What’s more, we get some seriously unassertive views from a few women (very much not a representative sample – my research hackles going up here).   And I say unassertive because they are all obviously wealthy women yet they are, as depicted in this article, breathlessly keen to do this ‘something’.   Which I find worrying, and almost sad, as when I was that age, I sat around the kitchen table with other women trying to raise my consciousness and all – remember that – was that the first wave of feminism? Has nothing changed?   Well, yes, things are different from when I had to resign from my job when I got pregnant, but it seems there is still much to fight for.

The article ends with the journalist saying she believes it’s easier to change ourselves than society’s view of ageing, and quotes the king of botox (?) as saying that women over 50, who would have been finished 30 years ago, have been taken “out of the cupboard” by having fillers, peels and botox.  And now, bizarrely, as a result of their procedures,  “are powerful, intelligent, funny…”

Well, if all you need to do to be a powerful and intelligent and funny is fill in the wrinkles and laughter lines we’ve earned over our years wouldn’t we all do this?  No! Although hang on, would I do a surgical something if I had the cash?  Probably not, because with a nursing background I know that, with all interventions, there is risk.   Although perhaps I am being simplistic here, as there are complex reasons why people choose to go down the surgical route.  But, even the non-surgical interventions, like the peel, sound horrific, with skin left so reddened you have to stay at home for days – oof, no way!

And there are many things one can do without spending mega bucks.  For instance:

Updating your makeup – by just keeping an eye on what is on-trend and then adapting it to your style.

Having the occasional facial – this can be really good for your skin.

Defining your eyebrows – no kidding, this lifts the face.  I get mine dyed every 6 weeks or so, but just an eyebrow pencil will do.

Looking after your hair  – a slightly new style can (with the right cut) lift the features.  But making your hair shine using the right kind of conditioner is a winner.  For those of you with grey/white hair have a look at White Hot Hair’s website.  Let me know what you think if you’re using these products

And finally, throwing out the old unworn clothes and bringing in the new.  You’re not necessarily being a fashionista – but being a woman of style!  And you know that you don’t need to spend much money either if you go to a charity shop for these new outfits – ‘nuff said! 😉

That’s all for now

With love, Penny

The Frugal Fashion Shopper

* Invisible Woman is no longer invisible.   Do go to this link to see why she revealed her name and came out of the shadows. Very nice to see her, btw.

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