Hi everyone

Sometimes it does seem that the world around us is going to hell in a handcart: our political system is riven with dissent (talking about the UK here), our politicians don’t seem to match up to the standards of the past (ditto) and our environment is ruined by our profligate ways. But, I’d say don’t look at the past as being perfect either as we haven’t got to the stage of riots, yet, (remember Toxteth and Brixton) or massacres (Peterloo) and as for politicians, there’s aways been someone…. Actually, watching some of the debates live on the tv, you realise that not all politicians shout at each other in the House (or their own home #facepalm) instead there are many in Parliament who think deeply about our country and do the best they can. Personally, I think it important not to ‘diss’ politicians all the time as out of this ‘populism rises, and worse.

While this is not one of My Other Blog pieces I’ll say here that I believe that everything has to be regulated including and especially, fashion, because this is the industry that has a larger carbon foot print than international aviation and shipping combined. And here in the UK we apparently buy more new clothes than any other country in Europe.

Here’s something beyond exasperating. In February of this year, MPs sitting on the Environmental Audit Committee published a report Fixing Fashion (that’s MPs doing good work) that recommended, amongst other things, there should be a charge of 1p for each garment sold to better collect and sort discarded clothes rather than have the 300,000 tonnes of clothing that are currently buried or burnt here every year. But Ministers have rejected this. The report also said there should be environmental targets for large fashion retailers. No, said the government, the industry should only be encouraged to take part in a voluntary action plan. Encourage! How? Voluntary! Oh really? This is the industry that is selling clothes in the hundreds of thousands, instantly, online.  Yes, it’s not the Primarks and Peacocks that we should be worrying about – at least we can see them on the High Street – it is the instant selling of £1 bikinis by the likes of Missguided, Boohoo and PrettyLittleThings that is the way of the world now, and something to worry about, and regulate.  And this is why some of the High Street shops that were at the cutting edge of instant fashion are now struggling. It’s all about, you see on Instagram, you click, you buy.

However, you have to not get too down-hearted at all this consumerism. And you have to start somewhere by making decisions that do make a difference. For example, there are also some lovely young women on Instagram who are dedicated to #notbuyingnew  Let’s embrace this.  And I can tell you that I really have now, because before I always used to sneak in a few buys that were new and from the High Street. It was mainly T-shirts, both long and short-sleeved, but not anymore, and anyway what fun you can have searching for pre-loved and 2nd-hand, and, as for the bargains…..

When I was at the opening night of the gorgeous Emmaus vintage and 2nd-hand clothing store, someone said that they had a designer coat for sale.

Reader, I thought about this a lot, and last Saturday I went back and….

Look at the cut.

Yes, I am wearing it with white plimsols.  I have terrible taste in shoes but they’re comfy! And why do I look so pleased?

Yup, it’s a Vivienne Westwood.

Deep breath, and I did pay that much, but googling it, it could have cost up to 10 times that amount, and at the very least, 5 times that sum, which I can’t really afford, but hey, you cannot take it with you.

But the cut and the detail.

It’s amazing and I shall treasure it for ever.

I kept to the one-in-one-out rule and into the charity shop bag went a coat, and another skirt because I also purchased this beauty.

There’s a green swathe of material at the centre of the back, and it swishes as you walk.

So, I wasn’t particularly frugal but my word, what a great place to shop.

That’s all for now 🙂

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

P.S. One of the ideas put forward in the article by Laville (see below) to help the environment is to wash your clothes less often.  Actually I bought a pair of jeans in mid-March and haven’t washed them yet – they’re fine!

Further reading:

Gaby Hinsliff, Fast fashion is eating up the planet – and this feeble government enables it. Guardian 18 Jun 2019

Damian Carrington, Ministers reject plans for 1p per garment level to tackle fast fashion. Guardian 18 June 2019

Sandra Laville, The story of a £4 Boohoo dress: cheap clothes at a high cost. The Guardian 22 June 2019

Zoe Wood, How a £1 bikini revealed the changing shape of fast fashion. The Observer 23 June 2019


Tagged on:                                 

44 thoughts on “I’m not buying new and this time I mean it

  • 25th June 2019 at 8:26 am

    Lovely posting! And what a great shop. That coat’s an investment and I’m sure it’ll give you years of pleasure – particularly since you’re into coats, and the skirt is great – can take you anywhere, as mother in law would say. Impulse buying is a huge problem – to the planet and as a distraction to other problems, and causes other problems like debt, guilt and anxiety. Many thanks for the links. Seen some, but not all.

    • 26th June 2019 at 9:46 am

      Agree with everything you say about excessive consumerism. And it is a great shop which is reachable from the centre of Brighton on the no1 bus – hope you can go there one day 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 9:09 am

    Lucky you! Of course I’m jealous! You get some wonderfully stylish garments. We are not so lucky in Herefordshire – unless anyone knows where the more stylish “cast offs” go? Though I have recently found a lovely pair of modern glass candle sticks, sort of minimalist which suits out house – and they cost me £1.00!! Thanks Penny for highlighting the issues around fashion/waste. You have made me more aware of some of these issues – thank you.

    • 26th June 2019 at 9:48 am

      Hi Pauline There might be a couple of towns in Hereford that have the quality bargains – I do agree that not all towns have good charity shops. Great that you got the bargain candle sticks though 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 9:51 am

    Great coat that fits you so well. I love flared coats and have had one for about 15 years that I’ve thought about replacing but can’t find anything like it. I have a hankering for a cobalt blue coat but if I find one it needs to be either used or greatly reduced. I would wear it for many years though.
    I buy almost everything second-hand but one thing I find difficult is cardigans which are often too worn although I’ve had some successes. I still buy too much because things are so cheap and I like variety. I don’t resell but send to charity shops, maybe after less than 10 wearings – oh dear!
    It is astonishing that a government which has just announced a climate emergency will not take the smallest action to help solve the problem. We must all play our part but it’s too big a problem to be solved without robust challenge to manufacturers and the government plays a big part in this too.
    I went into a high street pharmacy recently and really noticed that all the shelves were crammed with plastic containers; I felt overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the problem. I buy household cleaners and hand wash from a company that employs disabled and blind people. Of course the bottles are plastic – what to do? It lasts a very long time and is very high quality so I’m sticking with it but buying refills and having another go at using soap in the bath. Apparently the better quality ones do not create the awful scum in our hard water htat put me off at my last attempt!

    • 26th June 2019 at 9:55 am

      Yes, I do agree with you Lynda that while we can all do our bit (yesterday I took off some plastic packaging in Sainsbury’s and left it there) but really it is the government’s job to regulate and rein in the tendency of business to look for profit rather than care for the environment. Their loss when it all goes very wrong in say approx 10-20 years when I could be still be just about alive but my grandson’s life……

      Mind you because business is based on profit if the customer stops buying as much plastic as they can and becomes more demanding, just maybe they might change.

      And I use soap in the shower but like you encountered loads of scum when I tried to put soap on a soap dish in the bathroom – will try again.

  • 25th June 2019 at 10:08 am

    Like you I have bought a new winter coat from Oxfam. It cost £100, but would’ve cost 10 times that if I had bought it direct from the Cotswold woollen weavers. Right now in 2019 the majority of shoppers have not woken up to the fact that beautiful clothes can be bought for a fraction of the price in charity shops. My neighbour was looking really funky , All Oxfam. Toast culottes, Ecco leather sneakers, just £10.
    Charity shops in affluent areas are usually better, but I have bought Nicole Farhi linen trousers and Rohan walking trousers in my local charity shop.

    • 26th June 2019 at 9:57 am

      It’s so gratifying buying an item of great quality that’s 2nd hand and those are brilliant labels – well done you and your local charity shop 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 10:30 am

    Nailed it again on fashion waste Penny! One of the (few) downsides of living in the sticks is that we don’t have access to such great quality charity shops, so I do buy my clothes new, look after them and keep them for a long time. The great thing about getting older is I know my own style now and so I do invest in my clothes and I have fewer fashion faux pas which result in buying something that languishes in the wardrobe unworn. I don’t wash clothes to death either. I never wear Cashmere next to my skin, always a teeshirt under it and it is kept in protective bags to keep the moths out. Since the smoking ban, you no longer come home smelling like an ashtray which is why I used to wash everything after one wear. I was completely unaware of all the plastic particles that are released into every wash. I turn my jeans inside out now and give them an airing and think twice before chucking something in the wash because I can’t be bothered to put it away properly! Little things yes, but the more we know, the more each of us can do.

    • 26th June 2019 at 10:03 am

      I agree with you, more and more in my hunt for the 2nd hand I look for the quality item.

      Yes, if you hang things up to air, it really cuts down the need to wash. And I believe that certain very good quality wools should never be washed instead it’s put them on the line on a damp and misty day (which we usually have plenty of!) and that’s sufficient.

      The more we do, the more the government and big business might hear us 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 10:45 am

    I volunteer in a charity shop and I’m amazed at what a throw away society we are. The amount of clothes that come in some with their tags on never worn,ceases to amaze me! My way of going forward is not to buy anything for myself or the home unless it’s broken and can not be mended. The only thing I won’t buy secondhand is underwear and shoes.

    • 26th June 2019 at 10:05 am

      Underwear absolutely, but there are some good 2nd hand shoes out there – they’re rare but I have bought shoes and boots and they’ve really worked.

      Ah well at least the hardly worn and unworn clothes you see will be bought by someone who appreciates them – and your charity benefits 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Oh yes, that coat is worth that and more and as you say you will wear it forever. The skirt is also a great find , good thing we don’t live in the same place as we both have similar taste . I came across a post through facebook that someone I know has posted from an extract of a BBC One Programme – Years and Years – Its our fault speech that really resonated- not sure if you know it. One point it touched on was the 1 pound TShirt . My thoughts are that many of the problems are created by the desire of buying lots and so cheaply instead of buying less but better quality made to last. Hopefully , a change of mindset will happen soon.

    • 26th June 2019 at 10:19 am

      I did see Years and Years (which was very good) and should have mentioned the rant about the £1 T-shirt. Hope it gets to you on Netflix or wherever at some point.

      When I saw the skirt I pounced (I knew about the coat) and it’s definitely your sort of skirt 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Penny, WOW for both of your purchases, I wouldn’t have been able to resist them either! I want to say how much your blog helps to strengthen my resolve not to buy things I don’t need and can’t afford. Most blogs seem to trying to persuade us to buy new stuff. This summer I did buy a skirt and a couple of tshirts (from companies with good eco-credentials), and a much-needed pair of sandals.
    I just put away my jeans for the summer, after washing them, but I hadn’t washed them for months. And they were fine ! Airing is a good idea, especially for woolens, they don’t need washing that often, just as long as you wash before putting away for the summer, otherwise you’ll get moth infestation.

    • 26th June 2019 at 10:22 am

      Oh yes, see my comment above about woollens – they really don’t need washing until you put them away. Both purchases were amazing and I shall treasure them and wear them often, in the winter, although maybe the skirt could be worn in the evening through any season. I’m looking forward to wearing it!

  • 25th June 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Wonderful post Penny. Great mix of thoughtfulness and style, which is why I love your blog. I was interested in the comment by the woman who said one of the great things about getting older is she knows her style-I wish I knew MY style! After 60 years you would think anyone could recognize what works for them. But unfortunately, as you get older your body size changes and styles that once looked good no longer do. I like your confidence in knowing who you truly are Penny, and it shows in the great picks you’ve found in charity shops. That coat is a perfect look, and the skirt is so “you” that, were we shopping together, I would have grabbed it for you!

    • 26th June 2019 at 10:27 am

      Hello Lorraine – and thank you so much for that feedback and yes, we do change over the years both in body shape and attitude, I think. The thing is you could experiment with clothes found in charity shops. I would imagine you hate making expensive mistakes – it’s so annoying and I certainly chastise myself for wasting my money if something doesn’t suit which was bought in High Street. But now, if an item doesn’t work that cost £5 instead of £50 then I feel fine about donating it back. Best of luck with this 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 1:29 pm

    This is right up my alley. Now don’t get me wrong…I still love to get a couple of new things here and there (I know..I’m terrible) but wearing what we have is just as wonderful. We loved it when we bought it, so why not still wear it??
    And buying quality like this coat is always a good idea. You’re going to wear it a ton, so why not have something that looks great on you??
    I’m telling you Penny, you ought to join our #thriftedchicstylechallenge on Instagram. You’re a natural!!

    • 26th June 2019 at 10:37 am

      Thank you Jodie – oh gosh I will look out for #thriftedchicstylechallenge 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Thank you for your ever thoughtful posts and pics, Penny. You have encouraged me also to continue to bypass the cheap wardrobe upgrades and shop pre-used stores. It’s more of an adventure to shop there than a “shopping spree”. I agree that it’s fun to search for just the right thing my wardrobe needs. (Sadly I often find 10 other things as my so-called search continues. HA!) I’m still unsuccessfully searching for a tulle skirt but enjoying the hunt. I went to Wal-Mart yesterday (which I seldom do) and became overwhelmed by the volume of pretty things – clothing, housewares, shoes, cosmetics – that were all completely affordable. At first, I thought, “I should come here more often” but when I finally left, I thought “I’m not coming back here. It’s all too tantalizing and I don’t even need anything. ” In retrospect, I didn’t like the “what should I buy?” rush. Thanks for sharing your life and finds with us. You are an inspiring and influential woman.

    • 26th June 2019 at 10:39 am

      Oh yes, Walmart is called Asda in the UK and it is just full of everything including masses of cheap and sometimes quite good fashion. I avoid!!!!

      Thank you so much for your feedback which is very much appreciated – thank you again 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 2:09 pm

    It’s a wonderful designer coat. I like the cut of the front, very interesting. Also you can comfort yourself that the cost per wear (remember Cheap Chic?) will be low as you are obviously going to wear this one a lot! I love the skirt too. The green swish pleat at the back is very elegant. The thing about charity shop buying is that the money is going to a good cause too. Will the current splurge slow up your buying…..the weather is heating up! Time for some summer dresses now!

    • 26th June 2019 at 10:42 am

      The skirt is gorgeous and as for the coat…. worth it +++++ I shall be keeping both for ever. But now it’s summer dress time although if you’re based in the UK you’ll know it’s warm but very humid and quite cloudy and windy at the same time – weird.

      But yes, the summer dresses are out and ready 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 3:04 pm

    What a fabulous coat! It really suits you, Penny. I have definitely cut back on my clothes purchases and have operated a ‘one in, one out’ policy for some time. I know that I can do more, as exemplified in your post.
    Plastic and packaging, especially with regards to the beauty industry, is another big issue.
    Will read the articles you have linked and thank you, too, for introducing me to the Age-Well Project, in your last post. A great read!

    • 26th June 2019 at 7:42 am

      Thank you June, it was an amazing find, but it must look so warm now, but on that day it was still fairly cool. Hope it’s not going to get too hot where you are.

      Btw, I’ve commented on your latest post on Vienna. Just checking that the comment was whisked away to be moderated as I’m having quite a few problems with WordPress disappearing comments I make. I have a WordPress self-hosted blog but now WordPress blogs are asking for my password then the comment rather than appearing seems to disappear – IT!!!!!! I need to contact WordPress myself as well.

      Have a good rest of the week 🙂

      • 26th June 2019 at 9:01 am

        Thanks for letting me know about the commenting issue. I’m afraid I haven’t seen your comment on Vienna. I also have a self-hosted WP blog and I am having problems commenting on some blogs. I’ll check out my settings and also contact WP. It’s very frustrating.
        We’re actually in the UK at the moment but back to France next week. We usually spend July and August here to avoid the very high temperatures but we’ve had to organise things differently this year for all sorts of reasons.
        Let’s hope we can get the commenting problem sorted!

        • 26th June 2019 at 9:30 am

          June! I have solved it. It’s Safari that seems to be blocking my comments, on several blogs actually, which I’ve solved by using Firefox. Will try your blog now and put a comment on – via Firefox. Now I know……. 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Hello Penny,

    I’m currently in rural USA and so can sympathise with Karen about the ‘wealth’ (ahem) of products in Walmart. Overkill, yes, but, judicious searching can turn up some worthwhile stuff, it being new notwithstanding. Only yesterday I found a pair of summer sandals to replace those I bought in store at least eight years ago (same make) that are still going strong, touch wood, but which I dread giving up on me unexpectedly.Yes, a new buy but like Margaret, I’m not a fan of others’ shoes and anyway, like a lot of other ladies, I keep my clothes (and shoes) for years. As Jodie said, we bought things in the first place because we liked them, so we wear them! A lot! I still remember a relation by marriage telling me years ago that she only wore a garment a few times before casting round for something new. So sad, in several ways.

    But it does bring me to something we’ve maybe forgotten amongst the thrill of finding a pre-owned bargain. Good for us in shopping this way as often as possible, but… perhaps we sometimes overlook the fact that someone bought that garment new in the first place! Without that initial outlay, members of the Thrifty Ladies Club wouldn’t be so fortunate and neither would many good causes. That said, it still leaves the sticky question of the rag trade’s production methods and so all power to you, Penny, and everyone else putting pressure on manufacturers to change their ways. As for Government’s failure to support the cause, I daresay it had other things on its collective mind!

    As for your recent finds: a-mazing! Both typically you and both keepers. Lovely.

    Have a great week. Z. x

    • 26th June 2019 at 10:51 am

      Is it hot where you are, Zepherine? Europe is currently having a very high temp heatwave – bit cloudy and humid and quite windy here in the UK though.

      Wearing things for a long time whether they’re 2nd hand or new is so important. We have to change our ways and I really do think a large chunk of consumers are ready for that change. I mean not all by any means but a lot of us are trying but it really is up to governments to regulate industries and big corporations. Let’s not only hope they do but rather like the young who are striking at school we all should become eco warriors. I think I’m ready for that 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Oh my God! I can’t believe it! What a fantastic amazing fabulous gorgeous treasure! And the skirt too! Next time I’m in Brighton I want to go there too!

    • 26th June 2019 at 10:45 am

      It’s very easy to get to by car – just go along the A27 to Portslade and then use the SatNav and it’s reasonably accessible as you can walk through on the flat through the cafe. Closed on Sunday and Monday btw. Maybe see you there!!!

  • 25th June 2019 at 5:12 pm

    I’ve joined the #slowfashion campaign that pledges not to buy new clothing for 3 months from 21st June to 21st September. It was a no-brainer for me as I rarely buy new anyway!

    I think your coat is gorgeous (and that skirt – oh my!) and although 100.00 is a lot of money to pay for a coat you can pay as much as that for High Street winter coats; and yours is a designer coat and may even become a family heirloom!!

    As you are a regular commenter on my blog, Penny, I’m wondering why you haven’t commented on my last two posts…please let me know if you’d had any problems accessing the blog at all.

    Have a great week

    • 26th June 2019 at 11:01 am

      Hello Vronni
      The skirt is absolutely just gorgeous and that kind of money is definitely payable for a winter coat on the High Street. But for a Vivienne Westwood – it is such a bargain but the charity benefits so all round it’s a win-win 🙂

      You have a lovely rest of the week xxx

  • 25th June 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Hello Penny,
    Your coat and skirt are walking works of art. Wow!
    As my father in law would say, “Moderation in all things.”
    My wardrobe is a blend of retail and thrift.
    Carefully chosen online new shoes,
    “babied” for longivity is where my big bucks go.
    As a self expressing seamstress, repurposing thrifty second hand is a passion.
    “Waste not, want not, as the old folks would say, still rings true! @fancified.ca

    • 26th June 2019 at 11:03 am

      Your repurposed clothes are a joy to see – and you’re such a role model Judy as I’d love to be just little bit more wacky than I am.

      Have a good rest of the week 🙂

  • 25th June 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Fast fashion really is something for us all to think about. I’m sure I read something at the weekend that said we should try to make sure we wear something at least 30 times before we get rid of it. I am sure that a lot of the Boohoo clothes wouldn’t last 30 washes! It is scary how much water is involved in processing fabrics, we need to be more aware of such things.
    That coat is an absolutely amazing find – lucky girl! You are going to enjoy wearing that so much, it will be worth every single penny you paid for it. I love that skirt too. So versatile.

    • 26th June 2019 at 11:05 am

      Yes, it’s commit to wearing items at least 30 times – it’s mentioned I think in the Zoe Wood article. I shall wear the coat on trips to London and can’t wait to wear the skirt. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  • 26th June 2019 at 1:33 pm

    One more thought from me…. I love sewing and have three beautiful granddaughters, one who is 8 and twins who are 3. I thought I would be sewing darling little dresses for them but find it not so. They get these totally adorable little dresses from H&M that cost $5 and to sew anything would be a waste of time, energy, creativity and cash. And maybe not even as pretty. I would’ve loved it to be different and be able to say, “Grammy made this just for you”.

    • 26th June 2019 at 2:09 pm

      I made dresses for my granddaughters- one each per year – until it became obvious that they weren’t wanted anymore. I used 3 coordinating fabrics in each one to make them a bit different but as you say you can buy such lovely things for children now that it certainly doesn’t make financial sense.
      You soon realise that children are brought up so differently now that some of what might have been the pleasures of being a Granny are no longer available. However,I understand they are not there for me to indulge my fantasies on!

  • 26th June 2019 at 2:46 pm

    What an absolutely fabulous coat – it’s quirky enough not to date; there is always a place for a bit of ‘quirk’! I hate waste and often tweak some garment or other to make it wearable again if I haven’t worn it for a while. I’m notoriously bad at getting rid of clothes. I might come back to something several years after the first phase of wearing.
    I thought the 1p surcharge on new items was a good idea so long as the money was used to properly manage discarded clothing. There is so much that can be done with it – reuse, remodel, remake.
    And just to go back to the start of your post – I shake my head in disbelief at the political mess in which we find ourselves.

  • 26th June 2019 at 6:13 pm

    I didn’t know about those fashion findings and how it was decided everything should be “voluntary.” I expect some of our much loved and beleaguered brands like John Lewis will sign up, but not the likes of Boohoo, Primark etc.
    Love your coat, superb investment. I have a pre loved VW skirt – it used to belong to Carol Vorderman! I wear it when I want to feel confident.

  • 4th July 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Fantastic coat and worth every penny!.Just think of all the years of pleasure you will get from wearing it.Ive got lots of coats…far too many,lol..but I love each and every one of them.All colours from plain black wool,pink tartan with a fur collar,blue,red with black velvet collar,purple velvet maxi,from Snoopers Paradise..you know the place!.Brown velvet with Carnaby Street label,from the market where I recognised you once!.Infact,just about every colour under the rainbow!.The only colour Ive not managed to get,is a mustard one like you have!!.All second hand quality items that I will love for many years to come.Ive also got a VW suit that Ive had for getting on for 30 years.I think it was bought at a jumble sale.I had forgotten that I still had it,so Im going to sort it out,see if it still fits,lol,and start wearing it again!,xx

Comments are closed.