Hi everyone

And here’s hoping all of you are enjoying a great Easter weekend.  Personally, I need the time for a bit of a rest as we went up to London on Wednesday.  Wow!  Did we make up for not visiting London for six months?!  Oh, we did.   We saw two exhibitions and had a walk round Fortnum & Mason, and Burlington Arcade and New Bond Street.   I’m doing more street photography and will share some of the pics I took, including some simply amazing hats at astonishing prices – or maybe I’m naive and that’s what they’re worth?  Not sure, about that one, tbh.

The two exhibitions, both at the Royal Academy, were totally different and yet not entirely.  The first, ‘America After the Fall. Painting in the 1930s’ showed a nation responding to economic devastation and change, with truly great paintings including that iconic one of the farmer standing next to a woman – American Gothic by Grant Wood.  I loved that painting, and the whole exhibition.  The second exhibition, ‘Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932’ was an outstanding once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of great painting, with artists depicting a momentous period and time in history, sometimes with devastating consequences for them.  We had a guided tour and the history and context gave added insight into the courage of these brave artists.  But despite the different histories and circumstances of these two countries both exhibitions gave you a greater insight into the lives of ordinary men and women living through hard times.

The Royal Academy is, like many buildings in London, a delightful place to be.

Squinting into the watery sun (actually, it was a bit cold) with my old but very comfortable boots.  And that was essential (the comfort) as I did over 11,000 steps that day.  I was wearing that Missoni-like skirt again, topped with my very old faux leather jacket and a pink beret and scarf – all charity shop pieces.

That’s the view of the RA forecourt facing the other way.

As you know I like doors.

After seeing the first exhibition (America after the Fall) we went for a walk and found ourselves in Fortnum & Mason’s, which is a shop for a certain kind of clientele.  It has food and teas aplenty, rather like Harrod’s.  But upstairs they had an area full of hats.  What about some of these, then?

Yes, that is a hat!

And this?

And this?

And this was a fragile beauty.

All totally outside my budget!  Note the price tag below.

Yes, that is £795.00!  Would you pay that amount for a hat?  I suppose you would if you could.  Why not go to Fortnum & Mason’s next time you’re in London and see for yourself?  (And I’ve been told that the packets of tea on sale there are excellent!)  But I had to stop the pic-taking as a beautifully dressed, frock-coated young man came up to me and asked if I wanted to make an appointment with one of these hat-makers.  I smiled nicely, made my apologies and retreated!

We walked up Burlington Arcade where, I have to say, the shops blur into one homogenous mass of trinkets, things and stuff for rich people.  And as you know, I’m getting rid of my stuff.

However, once out of the Arcade and in New Bond Street my slight ennui changed.  Reader, I was seduced by some divine frocks. And here’s one outfit I totally want.


This is Alexander McQueen.  With no price.  And if you have to ask, you can’t afford it, which would definitely be the case here.  But while I cannot buy I will try and find items that are similar and wear those.  Because, why wouldn’t you?

The thing with looking at shops with dresses like that, is that it trains the eye.  Just as looking at exhibitions trains the eye for what is good and not-so-good art, likewise, you see what can be worn and you adapt it.  It was lightbulb moment when I saw that McQueen outfit.  Yesssss!  That’s the way I want to look, those are the clothes I want: a biker jacket; studded boots and a diaphanous skirt or dress.  When I go up to see the Balenciaga exhibition at the V&A (starts end of May) I’ll wear something like that. The black studded boots that I seek out won’t have heels and will probably come from Doc Martens or Debenhams rather than McQueen, but even so you can aspire, you can aim for the stars, you can attempt the look.

And I’m saying this and writing this for the over, or near to 70-year-old woman.  Don’t ever look at those fashion articles with items of clothing for the 40, 50, 60 and 70+ woman.  Because you can bet that those 70+ clothes will be grandma type clothes.  NO!  Please, young journalist, try and see us over 60s, 70s and 80s as individuals with many different tastes, shapes and sizes.  And excuse me, some of us prefer the biker/goth look rather than the nana look!

The walk took us back to the RA and the second exhibition (Revolution: Russian art) which was simply outstanding and, especially so with the guided tour.  Afterwards and on our way to the tea-room (gosh, was I in need of refreshment) I spotted this woman, and I just want to apologise for the awful photo I took, which I’ve made small as it doesn’t do justice to her stunning co-ordinated outfit of a lovely tweedy, orange and grey plaid skirt and matching orange top.  She had such style and I told her so.

And then we had tea which included a totally essential simnel cake with a strong cup of English Breakfast tea – yum!

I think my final message to you all is that window-shopping is not just a fanciful waste of time.

Depending on how you look at it, it can educate, it can inspire, it can be fun!

Have a lovely weekend.

Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

P.S Sharing this Friday with:

Nicole of High Latitude Style and her weekly Top of the World style linkup party

Judith Boyd of Stylecrone and her #hat attack session (for my pink beret)

Another new one:

Bernadette at Haddon Musings and her Senior Salon 2017

And Catherine of Not Dressed as Lamb and her Saturday/weekend linkup  🙂





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20 thoughts on “Out and about in London!

  • 14th April 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Love your posts, wish we Americans wore more hats!

    • 15th April 2017 at 7:19 am

      Hi Adebra. Well the thing is, because of our weather most British women wear woolly bobble hats and that includes me. In the cities women can and do wear more of the hat type that has a brim – but these need to be kind of edgy. The colourful dainty, feathered, out-of-the-ordinary hats featured above (and there were many more in that department) would be worn only at racecourses, and at very posh garden parties, especially the ones that the Queen invited you to!!!

  • 14th April 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I think a beret is the perfect spring hat. And that Alexander McQueen is definitely your style Penny. That look should be easy to duplicate-Can’t wait to see what you come up with! I enjoyed your review of the exhibitions too, I’ll have to google and see if they are traveling…

    • 15th April 2017 at 7:21 am

      Oh gosh, I should have said the Russian one is ending this Easter Monday. It was excellent.

      I have 3 berets as they are so easy to wear but a step up from the usual wooly hat. Oh and Alexander McQueen – sighs and swoons. Will definitely attempt that look!

  • 14th April 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Great photos! I love the embroidered biker jacket! So cool!

    • 15th April 2017 at 7:22 am

      That jacket – I wonder how many dollars that costs – I didn’t ask!

  • 14th April 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Great inspiration. You will rock in a biker jacket and diaphinous skirt…

    • 15th April 2017 at 7:31 am

      Thanks so much Brigid! I think when you reach my age it’s great to have something to aspire to re: clothes – and for me, it’s always going to be edgy rather than what is expected of a 70-year-old. But the thing is, designers, journalists, managers, and anyone dealing with the older person, I believe they all have an image of people, 60, 70 and 80+. And this is what we have to fight against because we are all so different. Comfortable, sporty, goth, biker, classic, stylish – it’s all up for grabs. It’s the stereotyping I don’t like – thanks again for the comment x

  • 14th April 2017 at 7:58 pm

    I was in London on Tuesday this week, but not as much time available as I would have liked, but did walk past St. Paul’s and turned right at the Millennium Bridge and walked along the embankment, a lovely day to be there. I had never seen so many runners speeding along the path, could only think they were training for the London Marathon later this month, and it was lunch time….
    I have been busy charity spotting and shopping ready for when we go on the cruise in May, to the Baltic.

    • 15th April 2017 at 7:37 am

      It’s been a great few days weather-wise, and London is lovely in the sun. We’ve just had the Brighton marathon, btw, which has become huge. I just happened to get caught up going back to Newhaven by train from Brighton and the crowds were astonishing.

      Have a great time in May – you’ll love it. I went end of May and it was very hot in Stockholm, Helsinki and St. Petersburg, and freezing in the Baltic states. Take layers to accommodate extremes of weather.

  • 15th April 2017 at 4:18 am

    Thanks for linking up to our party. Great look. Great photos as well. These hats are stunning!

    • 15th April 2017 at 7:38 am

      It’s so good to link-up with you, I don’t know why I took so long! Thanks about the photos – all taken with my phone. And those hats – they were amazing!

  • 15th April 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Really good hat photos , Penny but I the one I liked best is the reflection of you and Bill with the stunning window dress and orchids .

    • 18th April 2017 at 8:16 am

      Thanks Yok! All photos were taken on my phone which has a great camera – really pleased with it. Thanks again for your comment x

  • 17th April 2017 at 11:59 am

    Superb post those hats are silly prices aren’t they? I have a cute embroidered biker jacket that only cost £60 !! you may like it? I wrote about it on my blog about a week ago! Glad to have found you…x
    best Ashley

    • 18th April 2017 at 8:15 am

      Hi Ashley and great to meet you too! Wow, I bet that embroidered biker jacket looks great. I’ve also got a biker jacket and think I might wear it to that exhibition in June decorated with something – will think about it. Thanks for the comment x

  • 18th April 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to post this very interesting post at the Salon.

    • 20th April 2017 at 6:46 am

      No problem, Bernadette – pleased to do so x

  • 18th April 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Penny,

    I want to see both those exhibitions and am aiming to get up to London (on my own) to do so very soon.

    I so agree with you about getting inspiration from shops etc and trying to recreate the look. Pinterest is also very good for this.

    I loved the hats you pictured and I just couldn’t bring myself to pay £795.00 for a hat. Even if I won the lottery in the morning and could afford it I wouldn’t. I could give it to a charity or a few charities instead and feel even better!

    I like your outfit very much – stylish and comfortable – you looked fab in it.


    • 20th April 2017 at 6:50 am

      If you’ve looked sadly (and I should have said) the Russian exhibition ended on Easter Monday. But London is so full of wonderful exhibitions at the moment – can’t wait to go again.

      I haven’t got into Pinterest at all although I have an account and think I have some pins!!! Not looked for a couple of years, to be honest. But I have just started Instagram – that’s also taken me about 2 years to get going. Thanks so much for commenting x

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