We must confess to having missed the first episode of Gok’s Style Secrets as we were otherwise engaged and therefore had to use Channel 4′s catchup service (which was immensely frustrating as it kept crashing on us). Having already subscribed to the #goksstylesecrets Twitter hashtag, we knew we were either going to love it or hate it.
Indeed we have blogged about Gok Wan and his various programmes before. We freely admit we used to love him unconditionally, but found ourselves turning decidedly lukewarm as he served up supermarket and fast fashion ‘chic’ rather than taking the opportunity to showcase products from the small and struggling independent retail sector – not to mention largely ignoring the eco-benefits, growing popularity and ready availability of quality preloved and vintage pieces. We’ve said it before and will keep saying it: why buy new, mass produced, fast-lane-to-landfill tat from giant multinationals when there are so many quality items still in circulation and good to go for another decade or more? Just saying, Gok.
Returning to the programme, Gok dressed his first style seeker up in a couple of pin-up outfits, including leopard print and polka dots, before sending her off on a talent spotting mission in a random bar. As one tweeter, er, tweeted, a tad uncharitably, it was a bit of a prostitute moment, but there’s no doubt as to how good (and confident) the young woman looked (and let’s face it, over-the-top under-dressing seems to have caught on big time since we were young back in the 70s).
Coincidentally (and you knew there had to be a point/plug to this post!) one of the recent photoshoots we were involved in also took inspiration from leopard and combo prints, but our lovely model looked absolutely fabulous in a mixture of vintage, preloved and hand made pieces. Just saying, Gok.
Photography: Oliver Schneider Hair, make up and styling: Sandra Cormack Clothing: The Frockery Model: Nicole McCubbin (Superior Elect)
Photography: Oliver Schneider Hair, make up and styling: Sandra Cormack Clothing: The Frockery Hat: Pea Cooper Millinery Model: Nicole McCubbin (Superior Elect)
Gok’s Clothes Roadshow is currently showing on Channel 4 with a variation called Get the Look for Less and we must say we are disappointed. With his unashamed promotion of mass produced cheap tat, he has gone right off the boil, as far as we are concerned, having headed down the frozen fish finger aisle for an instantly gratifying, but ultimately unsatisfying, fast fashion fix. Yes, there may be a recession on, but dressing for less doesn’t have to involve scraping the bottom end of the fashion barrel. We should know! As frugal frockers, we have been banging on about it for years and started our Fifty Quid Fashion Challenge back in 2007.
Not so long ago, Gok’s affordable high street looks regularly used to trounce the overpriced designer outfits salivated over by his blonde sidekick (you know, the one with the dogs) in his famous fashion ‘face-offs’. Yet fast forward to the current series and the high street is being dissed in favour of what we can only describe as fish finger fashion. So it’s Brix no more, high end no more, independent designers no more; mid-price high street is no longer hip, and cheap supermarket ‘chic’ is where it’s at. That’s really going to help the retail sector, struggling as it is to pay the bills, with many more well known high street names looking vulnerable as quarterly rents fall due.
Regardless of Gok’s seeming enthusiasm for low budget clone wear, we doubt he’d be seen dead in a pair of George jeans or a Primark T-shirt himself. What’s more, buying cheap means that producers and suppliers down the fast fashion food chain are being shafted. Ethical policies developed in corporate board rooms and PR’d ad nauseam by faux-caring, designer-wearing, profit-loving professionals don’t mean much to exploited child labourers on the other side of the world who are hand sewing sequins on to your landfill leggings.
There are perfectly acceptable alternatives to fast fashion, which are every bit as affordable to those on tight budgets, such as charity shops, second hand stores, affordable vintage outlets, even the back of your own wardrobe (we found a Marcel Fenez 60s dress in ours last week that we hadn’t seen for years!) While you’re at it, why not dust off that old sewing machine, look out some knitting needles or crochet hooks and create something original as well as ethical? Students are past masters at dressing for less and can probably teach the rest of us a thing or two about saving money and slowing down to achieve style without sacrificing sustainability.
Please remember you don’t have to abandon principle and become a fish finger fashionista or Tesco trolley dolly just because some stylist said it was cool on the telly. Despite being big fans in the past, we reckon Gok’s latest menu is lacking in greens and more cheek than chic. The acronym BOGOF springs to mind.
Readers of our blog will know we have a soft spot for the lovable stylist Gok Wan and we are enjoying the return of his Clothes Roadshow (Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4). Knowing what suits your body shape is a lesson well learned if you want to avoid becoming a fashion victim and Gok excels in educating ladies of all shapes and sizes on what they should wear and, equally importantly, what they should avoid in the wardrobe department.
We especially love the weekly fashion face-offs, in which Gok goes head to head with designer label lover Brix Smith-Start in showcasing key trends and inviting the audience to vote for high street or high end. This week’s show, from Nottingham, featured four fabulous fashion themes: tartan, metallics, bold florals and fringing. Now while we would expect the designer looks to be expensive (and they were!), Gok’s ‘humble’ high street outfits still averaged a whopping £465, which is way beyond many fashionistas’ budgets, especially in these austere times. There are plenty of key pieces which will set you back far less than £100 on the high street, or even less than £50 if you are a creative eco-fashionista, so we thought we’d show off some of our own frockery as a far less expensive, yet stylish, alternative for each of these four featured looks.
When it comes to tartan, we always have a good selection in our Scots Frockery department, often for a lot less than Gok’s (admittedly stunning) picnic blankets look! And despite the designer price tag, we also wholeheartedlyapproved of Brix’s choice, as there is simply no beating traditional tartan and the skill of an expert kilt maker. However, there are plenty of preloved and vintage pieces available at a fraction of the cost of new designer or high street, and tartan is consistently one of our own best sellers which can be worn season after season for traditional occasions or everyday attire .
We think we can also compete pretty well in the metallics stakes. Metallic dresses and jackets are enduringly popular, as are shoes, shawls and accessories. Our current favourites include this silver metallic dress (reduced to £15) and this glam retro metallic jacket (£10).
We always have lots of florals in stock for boldly mixing and matching or playing somewhat safer with classic floral frocks. Take, for example, this bright bold floral dress (£15) or this 70s bold floral print dress (£20).
Hey, we even have some bright floral shorts (think Brix’s floral designer choice) in stock!
When we saw the £845 (gulp!) designer dress for this look, we had a sense of déjà vu as Alison owns a similar fringed frock bought in south London in 1982 which she remembers patiently waiting to be reduced in a sale. At above knee length, it is longer than the Brix dress and is not designer, but it is every bit as wearable today as it was then.Sadly, Alison’s size 10 shape has long since timed out, but the dress is still occasionally worn by her svelte daughter.
In stock at the moment we have this cute black fringed dress for £20 which still has its shop tags attached and fits the fashion trend perfectly. And for only £10 we have this sheer net fringed poncho with sparkly dots, which can be belted in at the waist (slightly reminiscent of Gok’s £300+ customised crystal encrusted number?)
We hope you’ll agree that, while Gok undoubtedly rocks, the Frockery both rocks and rolls back the cost! We stand firmly by our Frockery mantra, which applies to designer and high street labels alike:
Why buy new when it’s more fashionable, frugal and eco-friendly to go retro?
We must admit that the findings of a recent survey of consumers’ clothes hoarding habits, as reported in the Daily Mail, came as little surprise to us. We have, after all, been banging on about unworn wardrobe contents for years.
Having founded our business to help give these hidden, hitherto unworn gems a new lease of life, we can honestly say there is nothing more satisfying than rehoming one woman’s (or man’s) expensive mistake with a new, appreciative owner who will love it and actually wear it.
We all know the clothes shopping routine and, if we are honest, can identify with the all too familar result. What may once have seemed like a dress/coat/top/skirt to die for ends up languishing at the back of the wardrobe for one reason or another, and now we wouldn’t be seen dead in it!
The latest research, conducted by the shopping channel QVC, just serves as a reminder of the extent of the ‘problem’ and highlights some scarily stark statistics.
British women have wasted an astonishing £1.6 billion on clothes they never wear but refuse to throw out.
If placed on a single rail, the 500million unworn items of clothing would stretch over 15,500 miles – that’s four-and-a-half times the distance from London to New York.
The average woman hoards 22 items that she will never wear, worth a total of £285.
Over half have six or more tops that they would not be seen dead in, and a third have six or more unworn pairs of shoes.
There is a geographical divide, with London ladies topping the wasters’ league with £302.29 worth of unworn clothes, followed closely by the Scots (£301.90) and the Northern Irish (£290.28). The Welsh are by far the canniest women with only £223.96 of unworn items lurking in each of their wardrobes.
Men behave almost as badly, collectively wasting a staggering £1.2 billion on clothes they never wear. The average UK Joe has 19 unworn items of clothing, worth around £248, in the dark recesses of his closet.
Excuses range from guilt at wasting money and “waiting” (not wanting?) to lose weight, to hoping the faux pas might actually come back into fashion “one day”. Oh dear!
Sue Leeson from QVC says: “Finding out what you have already means that you can become a smart shopper and focus your wardrobe, buying key pieces that coordinate with each other properly.” Good advice, undoubtedly, but we also need to bear in mind which styles best flatter our body shape and which colours best suit us, all without breaking the bank.
Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of Gok Wan, who has just returned to Channel 4 with his clothes roadshow, promising to get us all shopping, swapping and dressing smarter, and proving you don’t need to spend a fortune to look fabulous. So no more excuses!
Whatever will we do on a Friday night now that Ashes to Ashes has ended? The finale was so good we had to watch it twice! Shame about the Quattro, but oh what a poignant episode as all the loose ends from Life on Mars and the previous two Ashes series were tied up (sort of).
These two popular BBC series have undoubtedly helped fuel a 70s and 80s retro revival as cast members flaunted the fashions of the decades that good taste forgot without a hint of embarrassment. We have some fab retro leather jacket in stock and a selection of 70s dresses for which sunglasses may be required! And while Alex Drake tottered about in high heels like these and donned highly impractical white leather gear and some distinctly dodgy off the shoulder numbers for work as a DI at Fenchurch East, Ray seemed almost surgically attached to his leather bomber jacket. Those were the days…
As a consolation, Gok’s Fashion Fix is back and got off to a flying start last night on Channel 4 with the “buy less, wear more” message. He is a savvy stylist who, we are pleased to say, recognises the potential of vintage pieces to personalise an ordinary high street outfit. Brix Smith-Start, the designer junkie he vies with every week to win over an audience with his high street chic, may have her work cut out this series as we are all having our belts forcibly tightened to reduce the domestic deficit and won’t have the budget for many (or even any) £800 dresses. The solution is to shop smart at stores like The Frockery – but we would say that, wouldn’t we?