• Frockery Focus on Laura Ashley

    July 20, 2011

    Frockery founder Alison first discovered Laura Ashley back in 1974 when she was a student at Edinburgh University. She and her friends used to frequent the Lothian Road shop which was temptingly filled with covetable cotton dresses in feminine floral prints, all designed to stretch the student grant to its limit. (Yes, we had grants back then!)

    When she got married five years later, it was in a Victorian style cotton dress with a pin tucked bodice, self-designed with a strong Laura Ashley influence, and the bridesmaids wore dresses made from Laura Ashley fabric. Later she dressed her daughters, and continued to dress herself, in Laura Ashley clothes, ranging from day dresses and business suits to cocktail dresses and ballgowns. The attention to detail was always meticulous and the quality of the garments was unsurpassed on the high street during the brand’s heyday.

    By way of background, Laura Ashley (nee Mountney) was born in Wales in 1925 and educated in London. Following her marriage to Bernard Ashley in 1949, she designed scarves from her London home for John Lewis and other retail stores. Her designs proved immensely popular and Bernard soon joined her in the fast expanding business which had also started selling by mail order.

    Moving from London to Kent, then back to Laura’s native Wales, which had been the inspiration for many of her country floral designs, the brand enjoyed enormous success and in 1968 the first Laura Ashley shop opened in South Kensington, London. Increasing international interest and the addition of  several thousand overseas outlets helped  Laura Ashley grow a global following by the early 80s, although the brand sadly lost its creative force and much of its direction following the sudden tragic death of its founder after an accident in 1985.

    The Frockery sells a wide selection of Laura Ashley brand clothing, mostly from the 80s, but occasionally we have earlier pieces on offer. Here are a few of the examples we currently have in stock, all at affordable prices and in excellent condition, and all timeless in their appeal.

     80s cobalt blue Laura Ashley ballerina dress

    cobalt blue ballerina dress laura ashley

     80s Laura Ashley floral print sun dress

    80s Laura Ashley summer print dress

    Laura Ashley red dress with back bows

    red dress with back bows

    Black velvet Laura Ashley prom dress

    And coming soon!

    Navy and white polka dot 80s Laura Ashley sailor dress

    navy sailor dress laura ashley

    80s does 50s vintage Laura Ashley print dress

    50s style laura ashley dress

  • Scottish Fashion Awards

    June 16, 2011

    The fashion industry in Scotland contributes in excess of £750 million a year to the UK economy and the annual Scottish Fashion Awards attract worldwide interest.

    Congratulations to this year's winners, most especially to the talented Jonathan Saunders, who has won the top accolade of Designer of the Year  for the second year in a row.

    Clad  in a Christopher Kane green lace dress, Samantha Cameron graced the Glasgow event along with a coterie of celebrity fashionistas. However, it was Shirley Bassey, wearing a head turning tartan Graeme Black gown with a sporran for a purse, who stole the show as far as we were concerned.

    shirley bassey scottish fashion awards

    Just wow, what a lady! But (if you'll forgive the shameless self-promotion) there's no need to be a Big Spender to play up the plaid or rock the tartan.

    Meanwhile, we have been inspired to look into recycling grandad's old sporran!

  • A day at the races

    June 14, 2011

    Royal Ascot has opened today with its splendid combination of racing, royalty and fashion interest. The sun is shining and the bets are on, along with the hats and posh frocks.

    Big statement hats seem to be in back in vogue and an array of head turning outfits in a multitude of colours  is in evidence as we watch proceedings from our sofa 500 miles away. The Queen is in pale green and Beatrice seems to have learned her lesson when it comes to mad hattery, having ditched the pretzel look for something a little more becoming. Just as well it isn't raining with all these open carriages as hats can turn very soggy (we type from experience).

    Some of our own finest frockery will be making an appearance at Ascot again this year, mainly from our dress and millinery departments, as our discerning customers like to dress up without breaking the bank in the process.

    Royals and celebrities may have unlimited budgets, but the rest of us have no need to pay top designer prices, or look like also-rans, to stand out from the crowd, although you need to watch out for the strict dress codes if you have tickets for the more exclusive Royal Ascot enclosures.

    Why not check out some of our suggestions of fine, yet affordable, frockery for A Day at the Races? This sumptuous pink silk dress from Fenn Wright and Manson, which still has its shop tags attached, is just one example from our current catalogue.

    silk dress

  • Mad hattery

    May 23, 2011

    Whether it's for a wedding, a christening, a day at the races or even just to disguise a bad hair day, a hat can make a world of difference to an outfit.

    As was evident at the royal wedding, hats come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of ugliness, and probably the kindest thing that can be said of Beatrice's bizarre bonce topper is that it raised a lot of money for charity. Mad hattery indeed!

    Meanwhile, here at the Frockery we have a selection of hats in stock which are guaranteed to turn heads, none of which have a Philip Treacy price tag. Here are a few of our current favourites.

    In the pink

    pink vintage hat

    Tempting in turquoise

    turquoise 80s hat

    Seeing red

    red vintage 80s hat

    Back to black

    black 80s hat


    peach hat

    Or cream

    cream vintage hat

    For more millinery inspiration, we'd recommend dropping by Off With Her Head where you'll find some truly awesome vintage inspired creations, all hand made by the lovely Lisa.

    You've got a head, so get a hat! Or a fascinator, even. But not a pretzel, please.


  • Royal blues

    April 19, 2011

    Both bright colours and royals are pretty full-on this season and here at the frock face we have suddenly come over all royal blue.

    It all started with a pair of retro royal blue Bear Brand tights...

    royal blue bear brand tights

    ...and some bright blue beads.

    bright blue beads

    Then this cutesy royal blue beret arrived in stock.

    royal blue beret

    Along with this fabulous 80s royal blue burlesque hat with net and feather trim.

    80s royal blue burlesque hat

    We were already in love with this royal blue vintage linen coat which is reminiscent of Jackie O.

    And finally, while this Miss Selfridge frill front mini dress may not be quite royal, it is still a beautiful blue hue!

  • Colouring in

    April 15, 2011

    There’s nothing like a splash of colour to brighten up your wardrobe and your mood, is there? And the good news is that, boldly led by Prada, Louis Vuitton, Christopher Kane et al, colour blocking has made a grand entrance this season. Clashing primary colours, colourful stripes and bright accessories are definitely in and will help you stand out from the crowd.

    If you can’t afford designer prices and want an affordable, yet unique look, why not take a browse through some of the vintage and retro pieces in our catalogue for inspiration? In the 80s we all wore dresses, blouses, suits, shoes, bags and belts in very bright reds, blues, greens, pinks and oranges, typically by Jacques Vert and good old M&S. Some of us even embraced neons without a hint of embarrassment!

    Here are a few of our current colourful Frockery favourites which will hopefully inspire you to colour in your spring/summer wardrobe.

    Bright blouses

    Emerald green frill front New Romantic blouse Pink Victorian style frill collar blouse Bright blue linen sleeveless shirt Orange silk blouse

    Green new romantic style blouse Pink frill neck bouse

    orange blouse Blue linen shirt


    70s green and black striped dress

    green and black striped 80s dress


    Electric blue beaded bag Red sunglasses Red suede belt Green and white bag

    electric blue beaded bag red sunnies

    red suede belt

    green and white bag

    Be bold, have fun colouring in your wardrobe and remember to ask yourself: Why buy new when it's more fashionable, frugal and eco-friendly to go retro?