Frugal Gentlemen and French Pastry

50% off gentlemen's accessories

WHAT on earth has French pastry cooking got to do with being a frugal gentleman? Actually nothing....and everything.

This weekend one of the family picked up a French pastry cook book for just $5 at a local secondhand shop. This type of cook book is reasonably rare and had been on the wish list for two years.  What a find for such an excellent book!

This brings me to the art of second hand shopping and by extension, being a frugal gentleman.

Bought second hand for $5 - a classic.

You see, I just love the 1940's fashions for men and whilst I certainly would not have liked to live through the horrors of that era, I do appreciate the ability of that generation to make do out of anything they had at hand to ensure they looked and lived the best they could.  To dress well in this general style requires me to be on the look-out for unused or lightly used pieces of clothing and accessories that match the 1940's period.  However, the art to second hand shopping requires patience.

When it comes to secondhand shopping, have a very clear idea of what it is you are looking for and do not make any purchase (no matter how cheap) unless it is what you are wanting or needing.....otherwise you will certainly end out buying lots and lots of junk.  Buy the best quality you can honestly afford. Also, be on the look-out for sales of new clothing....and by sales I mean a minimum of 50% marked down.  This weekend I bought a woollen 1940's style overcoat at 50% off and some men's leather gloves and hat for the same special.  The gloves; I have been waiting 4 years for such a special to appear - this is the level of patience required.

A rack of silk ties and braces
collected over the years and worn

I have colleagues who spend $1000's  on fancy designer suits for the office, yet the last suit I purchased was brand new with the tags still on (well over $500) a dark blue wool Fletcher Jones for $45 at the local second hand shop in my exact size. People always comment on my dress style despite me being rather (very) tubby and not the easiest on the eye otherwise!  My wardrobe is built up over the years with classics made from good quality materials and brands and has cost me very little.

Someone in my family is also an avid pastry chef (amateur) and would like nothing more than to go out and buy all the best books on the subject, but no, she has been fortunate and patient and is slowly but surely collecting a great little library of quality pastry books. The book bought this weekend is an example of such.

Paris Brest is a double hollow ring of choux pastry
filled with baker's custard, cream and strawberries.
It is meant to represent a bicycle wheel in honour
of the Tour de France

So this frugal gentleman just might be enjoying a French Paris Brest next weekend cooked by a frugal daughter. It will be delightful served in the garden with a china pot of percolated coffee me thinks.

Take care folks - stay nice now!



  1. The joy of finding a much wanted item after a long search makes the item much more special. I have a wish list which I could get things from, but the joy of waiting and getting the right item at a great price, I am often heard saying it was ment to be.

    1. "It was meant to be..." Yes, a saying I use regularly too Mel.

  2. Great post, Phil. I have always marvelled at how people of that era managed to look so "put together" despite limited funds and global turmoil. I suppose most all clothing then was of good quality and made to last, but expensive, so most folk had no choice but to purchase just a few pieces and take scrupulous care of them.

    1. My mother remembers taking clothing apart and remodelling or turning them inside out and remaking them...or even using two garments to make a harlequin suit.

  3. Isn't so exciting when you make a find like your "Mastering the Art of French Pastry". When I first read Longfellow's poem "A psalm of life" I decided on the spot I wanted a book of his poems. That next weekend I was in an antique store and chanced upon a book of his poems for $5. The most memorable thing was though, when I opened this rather thick book in the shop it fell open to "A Psalm of Life". Serendipity.

  4. I just picked up a formal dress that my daughter needs for a function for $20 from an op shop, I had plenty of warning to buy something for the occasion and that's how I got so lucky, I just kept my eye out. It will need a minor adjustment, but even if it costs me say $50 to adjust, it's still a very cheap gown. I feel like I've won the lottery when these things happen.

    1. Too true Cheryl - and these gowns usually come at a premium and are ever only worn once.

  5. Yes it is important to be sure of what you are looking for before entering an OpShop. I picked up a shopping bag trolley for the market for $5 and it was brand new. As you say you can end up buying lots of 'stuff' if you are not careful.

    1. Yes Nanna Chel - i saw that on your blog - it looks like a ripper to me. I know you would have preferred a plain one but that pattern is very nice and classy


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