Frockery Talk

  • Frocky horror, or style sensation?

    August 11, 2010

    Like Marmite, you will either love or hate this shimmery blue 1980s jumpsuit / flying suit which we have just added to the catalogue. To be frank, the jury is still out at Frockery Towers, but it can certainly be described as sensational and is not for the faint hearted fashionista.  Abba aficionadas , come on down!

    8os flying suit jumpsuit

    One which didn’t quite make the catalogue (as a Facebook fan snapped it up) was this psychedelic 60s number, which has apparently already caused a sensation in the customer’s local Asda. The George clothing line can’t quite compete with original vintage!

    Those who aren’t quite ready to embrace such 'in your face' fashion need have no fear, however, as we have something for everyone at The Frockery, where our focus is on finding new homes for all those previously ‘must have’ items that have turned into ‘has beens’  and found themselves relegated to the back of  wardrobes or abandoned in attics, sometimes for decades.

    Take a look at the fab frockery in our latest update and you will find some exceedingly wearable vintage and retro fashion, as well as a huge selection of preloved contemporary clothing and accessories at a fraction of their original cost.  Don’t be fooled  by the fickle fashion police into following the crowd when you can mix and match pre-owned items  to achieve a unique look at an affordable price.  Throw off these high street chains and be a retro trendsetter!

    One serious story that caught our eye this week was this Observer investigation which revealed that some of the best known names on the UK high street have been dealing, albeit unknowingly, with suppliers who run sweatshop operations in India in blatant contravention of local working regulations and the industry's ethical trading initiative (ETI). Another good reason to buy fair trade, hand made, local or vintage.

  • Bohemian rhapsody

    August 1, 2010

    Our latest featured Boho Festival look  is one of our own Frockery favourites and is especially popular at the height of the summer festival season.

    Boho has become an enduring trend that has managed to defy the vagaries of the fickle fashion industry for the past decade and looks set to continue.

    Although Kate Moss was  arguably first to embrace the current incarnation of boho chic,  Sienna Miller was largely responsible for reinventing this quintessentially 70s look and bringing back the bohemian to our wardrobes.

    The Monsoon  brand, which has both ethical and ethnic inspired fashion at its core and is the epitome of boho chic on the high street, continues to grow in both popularity and profitability,  replicating the success of Laura Ashley in the  original boho era, the early 70s.

    Boho is not always easy on the eye, encompassing at it does a cacophony of colours and plethora of prints, but it is an easy look to create and equally easy to wear. While money may be no object to Sienna and friends, boho budget chic is also easy to achieve for the rest of  us ordinary fashionistas.

    Here is one example look from our catalogue:  boho ethnic maxi skirt (£15); boho green linen top (£9); Moroccan leather bag (£10); wooden boho earrings (£5), ethnic leather mules (£8). And you must never forget the festival wellies (£12)!




  • Get the Look

    July 24, 2010

    We already have a Vintage Galleries section featuring  a selection of our favourite vintage frockery sorted by era from the 1940s through to the 1980s.

    Now, by popular demand, we have added a  Get the Look section to showcase frockery stock which reflects current and classic fashion trends .

    We will be adding more (all suggestions welcome!) but to start with, we are featuring that enduring classic, the nautical look

    To celebrate the sailor in you,  take a white linen skirt, a blue and white striped pussy bow blouse and accessorise with navy peep toe slingbacks and a quilted white Tula bag. All for less than £60!

    Or team a Laura Ashley sailor dress with a white linen jacket, cute navy leather court shoes and a navy leather messenger bag. Again, all for less than £60.

  • Frockery Focus on Jean Varon (John Bates)

    July 22, 2010

    John Bates, creator of the vintage Jean Varon label, was undoubtedly one of the most influential and iconic designers of the 60s and 70s.

    Born in Northumberland in 1938, Bates secured an apprenticeship at the age of 18 with the design house Herbert Sidon in London before becoming a freelance fashion illustrator and going on, in 1959, to found Jean Varon – a name he allegedly chose because it was French and sounded more sophisticated.

    Along with his contemporaries, he helped push the boundaries of 60s fashion, raising hemlines to unprecedented heights, introducing trouser suits for women and creating the mesh midriff bikini dress. He made use of futuristic shapes and fabrics, especially leather and vinyl, in his avant-garde designs and is even credited by some as having been the inventor of the mini skirt.

    Julie Christie wore one of his dresses in ‘Shampoo’ and he designed the iconic black leather catsuit worn by Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, along with a whole range of clothing for the Avengers series.  Meanwhile, one of his midriff exposing designs won Dress of the Year in 1965. This newsreel film,  Dressed to Kill, gives a flavour of his innovative work during the swinging 60s and even features designs for canines!

    By the 1970s, ultra feminine evening wear was becoming a key element of the Jean Varon label, with the famous backless evening dress making its debut in 1973 and the empire line gown consistently featuring in collections. Royalty and many of the celebrities of the day - including Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra, Julie Christie and Dusty Springfield - wore Jean Varon, assuring John Bates his well deserved place as one of the most influential designers in fashion history.

    John Bates is currently living, and painting, in Wales.

    We have been privileged to offer several Jean Varon pieces  at The Frockery over the past few years and they are invariably snapped up by discerning customers.

    We currently have this evening dress in stock, which is a beautiful example of Jean Varon and every bit as wearable today as it was in the 1970s.

    Update, July 2012: This vintage 70s Jean Varon black maxi dress has just been added to the catalogue.

    vintage 70s jean varon john bates black maxi dress

  • Time for T

    July 9, 2010

    T in the Park kicks off again at Balado today, and we have it on good authority that some of our frockery will be making an appearance at Fancy Dress Friday for this year's 'Mad Hatter's T Party' theme.

    Despite the recent heatwave, the weather is not looking at all promising so wellies will be a prerequisite for all festival goers, whatever else they choose to step out in.  Sadly we won't be joining them this year but it promises to be another fantastic weekend with an enviable line up which includes the magnificent Muse, Eminem and Kasabian.

    Boho festival frockery is one of our favourite looks and we have a good selection of maxi dresses,  skirts and tops to take  you through the summer festival season and beyond. Don't forget the woollies for when the temperature drops and the sun cream (just in case!), but above all remember to pack the tent poles, toilet paper and a supply of wet wipes. We speak from experience!

  • Meet the Frockers

    July 6, 2010

    We occasionally get telephone calls or emails from potential customers who want to reassure themselves that we are a legitimate business, run by real people in the UK, before they commit to shopping online at The Frockery. This is an entirely sensible course of action in our opinion as the internet has its fair share of opportunists as well as opportunities.

    For the record (but you can still call us!), we are a small, family run business which is based in the Angus county town of Forfar.  We do not have a bricks and mortar shop and are therefore not open to the public. We started trading online in 2007 and have built up a loyal customer base which is every bit as diverse as the items we sell. We love vintage and retro fashion, we abhor waste and we recycle almost everything, which is probably why you may receive your vintage hat in a recycled cornflakes carton!

    The Frockery team is small but perfectly formed and we thought you might like to ‘meet the Frockers’!

    Alison – chief frocker

    Alison has lived  through most (but not quite all) of the fashion eras featured on The Frockery website. As a child, she was dressed by her seamstress mother in some strange creations, often involving crimplene, but came of age in the early 70s as a student whose fashion sense was sometimes questionable but never boring. She has collected and worn vintage (formerly known as second hand) clothes for as long as she can remember, her only regret being her expanding waistline which has rendered some of her favourite pieces unwearable (although it has to be said that 1970s wrapover skirts make fine aprons).

    After spending seven long years working as a parliamentary researcher on portfolios as diverse as children, education, enterprise and waste, the Frockery was born when her last MSP boss lost her seat. Combining as it does a lifelong love of vintage and retro clothing and a deep distaste for throwaway trash fashion and waste, it seemed a natural progression and a convenient way of reducing the vast personal collection that was threatening to engulf the family home.

    Kirstin – model daughter

    Kirstin is the model daughter of the family who features prominently on our website and proffers much advice in her role as Frockery fashion guru and stylist. A graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, she derives inspiration from vintage items and fabrics and has recycled many of her late grandmother’s treasures to create unique new looks. She also regularly wears her mother’s ‘old’ clothes, often adding a contemporary twist, and has been spotted and photographed by street scouts who appreciate her quirky style. We love it too, which is why she is such a key asset to our business.

    Daniel – computer geek son

    Daniel is the family’s IT expert and can fix almost anything that goes wrong with a computer (with the possible exception of the blue screen of death).  He is a qualified Microsoft engineer and currently completing a degree in network security.  He keeps the Frockery hardware running smoothly, but frequently loses patience with those of us who don’t understand what he is on about. He doesn’t much care for vintage clothing, preferring to spend upwards of £60 on a T shirt, but we are working on him!

    Tom – web developer and adopted son

    Tom is a star in many ways. As the young owner of Clear Blue Designs, not only does he do all the incomprehensible (to Alison) technical things with the website, but he is also, literally, an all singing, all dancing talent who performs regularly at concerts, cultural events and festivals, including the Edinburgh Fringe.

    Alison met Tom on the internet some years ago and was immediately impressed by his professional expertise as well as his friendly manner and infinite patience with the technically challenged. He has now become an adopted member of the Frockery family and keeps a number of other websites running for us.

    And last but by no means least:

    Johnny Frocker– vintage husband

    John and Alison met in 1981 and started married life in Notting Hill long before it became posh. Portobello Road market was always a favourite haunt and still is on occasional visits south, although John can now be heard muttering “How much?” at regular intervals before taking welcome refuge at the Inn on the Green.

    John has an entirely sensible day job as a management consultant who specialises in legal stuff which is unfamiliar and highly tedious to most ordinary people. He is also very good at accounts. If our joint phone is answered in our shared office by someone from JWA, you’ll know you have also reached The Frockery!

    John has his own collection of original vintage clothes, including his now skin tight wedding suit and lots of other things that have ‘shrunk’ over the years. He does, however, own a fabulous vintage olive green Burberry raincoat and a vintage Crombie coat, neither of which he will part with, along with 18 suits that still fit, a vast collection of cufflinks and some seriously dodgy ties.

    He provides the brawn for moving paraphernalia when we go to vintage fairs and has once or twice been mistaken for John Otway. He has also been known to act as a ‘template’ for Frockery customers seeking 42” jackets or 34L trousers.

    That's about it!