On the cruise (which I think I’ve mentioned before) I shall turn 70.   How did that happen?  Well, the years pass and no way can you stop the clock.

Would I want to though?  Stop and reverse the clock?  Sometimes I look back and think, perhaps that could have been done differently, but hindsight, eh?  When I think of the insecure teenager, the anxious mother and the nervous worker I was I actually don’t want to go back to those years.

So, no, with age comes a new-found confidence and a devil-may-care attitude.  Remember Helen Mirren’s attitude on turning 70 – yup, that’s me.

But how does society see a 70-year-old woman I wonder?  Ok, things have improved with the likes of Helen Mirren and Debbie Harry being 70 – because they’re my go-to role models.  But think again.  Have you seen those surveys where at the end you put in a few details and the age groups finish at 65+?  Or what about articles in the fashion and beauty media where they go through stuff (could be anything; moisturisers, evening gear, the latest casual wear) for 20+, 30+, 40+, 50+, and 60+ and then nothing.  Hello there, I’m 70!!!  Over here, notice me!  It’s me, I’m a 70-year-old and no, I don’t want sports-wear or those dreaded wide trousers or anything remotely safe and flowery.

The point I’m making is that we are all going to be very different as we age.  Some people will want sports-wear and comfortable trousers, that’s absolutely fine and no worries, but do not think that absolutely everyone over 70 does.  Cater for us all, please.

Just recently three blogs have hit the spot for me – two good and one I spat tacks at.

Tricia Cusden (Look Fabulous Forever) wrote about her views on approaching 70 (still 2 years to go) and how some 70+ women almost give up on their looks.  She gives some excellent tips including ‘don’t wear beige’ and ‘be spotless and well-groomed’ (more about that grooming thing in my next post).  But the one piece of advice I like is ‘keep up with what is fashionable’.  Yes, yes, yes.  And I know, I know, I’m always saying: You. Wear. What. You. Want. Yet, actually, you shouldn’t ignore ‘the look of the day’.  Instead, you need to know what that ‘look’ is, so you can then take it, shake it around and then adapt to your style. Because you do want to be both stylish, well-dressed and not looking as though you’re wearing something your mother would have worn.  Sorry mother!

Anyway in my 70s I am so not going to fade away and be ignored by society.  Instead, I embrace the wonderful Judith Boyd now in her early 70s, who is such a beauty, and is my role model.  I admire the wonderful trend-setting Ari Seth Cohen and his photos of older, mainly American women.  Indeed, have you seen a certain amount in the media about the publication of his latest book?

Catherine of Atypical60 posted some thoughts on these (mainly New York) fashionistas, as she has some issues around how out-there they look.  And yes, these women are curating a style that verges on the extreme.  Ari Seth Cohen replied to Catherine’s post (wow) and said that he is simply celebrating and show-casing their exuberance, verve and sheer life force that they exhibit as they walk the New York streets.  I’d go with that, but they do have a style that is quite hard to emulate, and if you got it wrong you’d be near enough looking a bit of a clown.  It’s not an easy look to pull off. Here in the UK I could wear clothes like that in Brighton but elsewhere – you’d have to have enormous confidence. I’d advise never say never, and experiment with this look, for sure, but go easy.

Where we don’t go is listen to younger journos and bloggers telling us what not to wear.  One such blogger (who will be nameless) recently had some man on her blog telling over 40-year-olds how to dress, which started off don’t wear frayed jeans.  Oh, give me a break, sister (and brother).  I have a pair of frayed jeans and I’ll wear those jeans when and where I damn well please.  Do NOT tell me what to wear you middle-aged people!

Here’s what a nearly 70-year-old wore on Saturday out-and-about on a quite chilly day in the county town of Sussex.  First, the shoes, hey what about these?


I love them and am taking them on the cruise as they’ll be great walking around the three large towns we’re going to as they’re waterproof so will cope with any rain that comes our way. But this is what I mean about being stylish.  These shoes are very comfortable, yet look at them, aren’t they fun?  I admit I bought them new, but they weren’t expensive.

Then, because it was cold I wore tights and leggings!


We’re talking about frost in May, yup, that’s our weather.  It warmed up later that day but it was so cold at the beginning of the day.

Then a £4.99 charity shop skirt (Gudrun Sjoden) and a cheap Peacocks top.


The skirt is linen and it’s quite thin and crumples quickly, but it’ll be great in the heat of the summer. And the logo on the top is, ‘live in the moment’, something I try to do but don’t always achieve.

And did I say it was cold?  I also wore a warm woolly coat (bought in a Somerset charity shop for £12.99).


It was that chilly I also wore my purple hat (bought new).


Out and about in Lewes (yes, that’s where I was, and not a particularly cheap area) I found this hat in a charity shop for £1.99


And then in an antique shop there was this necklace for £1, which I thought gave a hint of an Ari Seth Cohen fashionista, so people, I bought it!


Actually I was showing Masato and Mike around the town.  Masato is making me a delicious bespoke dress, which I’ll wear on my 70th birthday – more about that in June!!

See, you can be a cheapskate like me and spend nothing much at all on a great, slightly funky outfit. What do you think?  Is this the way for a 70-year-old to dress?  Well, yes it is. So take note you fashion media peeps, and watch how we baby-boomers dress into our 70s and 80s.

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. Sharing with Catherine Summers and her #iwillwearwhatilike session.

P.P.S And can you see I’m wearing a fitbit – more about that in my next post.


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9 thoughts on “Reflections on Ageing Part 1 – Clothes and all that

  • 17th May 2016 at 8:14 am

    I enjoy reading your blog and looking at what you’re wearing – which looks fab. However I notice everything is Black! I am 66, a yoga teacher and a tiny bit alternative……and I refuse to wear black. I wear colour…..whatever chakra colour suits my mood for the day- today its blue cos’ its raining! Black is so invisible…..black (like grey (and beige)) is to hide behind. Come out from behind that black you fun and clever woman and embrace colour…..xx

    • 17th May 2016 at 1:49 pm

      Hi, lovely to meet you and pleased to hear you’re a bit alternative! Gosh, yes, this black thing, it must appear so, although note that in this post I have a purple hat, skirt and bracelet with a daft pair of shoes coloured blue and red as well as black! But today I’m wearing green, a colour I love. You will see more of that colour, I’m sure as summer approaches. Actually with a change of hair colour (going lighter and whiter) I even bought a navy skirt today, a colour I would never have worn before.


  • 17th May 2016 at 9:31 am

    I so wish I knew you. Firstly because my great fried Jo Paine lived in Newhaven, and she would think you’re great too. But secondly because we share the same ideas about dress and ageing. I have to tell you that no sooner do you get used to being 70, and it takes a while, you find you are 72! I too shop almost exclusively I charity shops but I don’t have your ability to get into a size 12. 14s and 16s get snapped up quickly and are often not so interesting as the smaller sizes. I just love your blog.

    • 17th May 2016 at 1:56 pm

      Oh, thank you, Mary. And nice to meet you and hear you also go to charity shops. It seems in this area, anyway, that there are larger sizes in charity shops now, which is such a good thing. I love Newhaven – it has some really interesting people living in it. And this ageing business – yes 70 sounds and also feels different from 60 – looking back I did not have the stiffness and the aches and pains I have now – back to the exercises!!!

  • 17th May 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Hi Penny!! I’m so happy to read your feelings on this subject that has gotten so much debate lately! First of all, 70 is just a number as are all those other numbers that are higher than 50 or 60! And you, my friend, are the best 70 that 70 will ever have! I’m freakin’ celebrating you!!!!
    I will also continue to say that I LOVE your style. Those legging tights with the linen skirt looks so hip but not in an inappropriate way! It’s great! (I think you need to write a book about your fashion finds and how to shop thrift. It would be a big help to all of us on a budget!)

    But right now, I’m seething about your “nameless blog” and the man who said that any woman over 40 should not wear frayed jeans! WTF?? Is this the same daft moron who stated a few years back that women over 40 shouldn’t wear bikini bathing suits –um..has anyone ever seen Helen Mirren in that red bikini?? I rest my case. This is why I have issues with young “fashun” bloggers. They haven’t been around. They all either love fast fashion or they extol the fabulousness of big designers in hopes of free shit from them. AND, as usual, the fashion industry feeds into the youth bubble and forgets about us older women….
    And then we have the Advanced Style which completely goes to the extreme with the costuming.
    We need to find a middle ground!!
    I want to have tea with you and discuss this together. We would have a blast!!!!

    • 18th May 2016 at 6:27 am

      We would so have a blast!! We’re thinking we might come to the States when my other half hits 70 in 2 years time!!! (I was such a cradle snatcher!) No plans really as to where although we do have friends who live near Zion National Park who we will definitely see. And yes, there has to be a middle ground – like wearing that fab pink necklace I bought with a conventional top. Personally I think we should never say never ‘cos that’s when you start to shrivel up – so I would always experiment with style. Like at the moment my hair is a bit of an experiment as I’m chopping it about and lightening it one shade to go for the Debbie Harry look – you’ll hear more about that in another post!

      As for the blogger who had some man telling us what to wear – I never mind suggestions, it’s the ‘don’t wear this’ that gets me. xxxxxxx

    • 18th May 2016 at 6:30 am

      Hi and thank you so much for your comment. Do you mean the colour of the necklace – yes, it just stood out in a jumble of jewellery! I had to get it and at £1 it was also such a bargain!

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