• You know it makes eco-sense

    March 5, 2011

    We are pleased that our first ever February eco-fashion challenge has helped raise awareness, albeit in a small way, of the benefits of wearing vintage, second hand and hand made clothing and accessories. Each and every participant demonstrated how great  looks can be achieved by mixing charity shop purchases, vintage finds and hand made or recycled fashion, and everyone had fun doing so.

    As well as attracting dedicated eco-fashionistas who needed no persuasion that it's the way to go, we also made a few new converts to the cause, including young people who had never previously considered eco-frocking. We also made some lovely new friends along the way. Result!

    We have previously blogged about the Preloved Reloved project which is the brainchild of Kim Sklinar, one of the new friends we met as a result of our challenge. She is raising money for charity by dressing exclusively in second hand clothes  for a year and is on our exact wavelength as far as eco-fashion goes. Being waste aware sorts ourselves, we especially enjoyed this recent post, Frugality vs Waste, and we wholeheartedly share her antipathy towards rampant consumerism and our wasteful throwaway society.

    Although eco-frockers like ourselves are rarely to be found in high street fashion outlets, just occasionally we take a stroll round a few of them when we are in town. So last week, with some time to while away before a dental appointment, we visited two such stores to see what is currently on offer in the world of fast fashion. First off, the sheer volume of identical garments in a factory sized space felt like an assault on the senses. Rails and rails of mass produced soulless sameness! On closer inspection, the quality of some of the pieces ranged from poor to appalling, but equally shocking was the price of some of them.

    Indeed the experience was almost as painful as the subsequent root canal treatment and we naturally left with nothing (without feeling remotely like the weakest link). Fortunately, we found welcome solace in the charity shop next to the dental surgery which offered up a fabulous military style coat dress, originally from Principles and in good as new condition. It will be having its first second hand outing with its new owner this weekend.

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  • Final week of the eco-fashion challenge

    February 22, 2011

    A big thank you to all of our fabulous February eco-fashion challengers who have taken part so far.

    We are now in the final week of the challenge so you'd better get your eco-skates on if you want to be in with a chance of winning Frockery vouchers or yummy cupcakes from the Scarlet Bakery.

    scarlet bakery cupcakes

    Winners will be announced in early March after the lovely Amber has completed her deliberations.


  • High street Gok or eco frock?

    February 16, 2011

    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.


    tartan frockery

    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 .

    Plaid pieces from our current stock include this vintage tartan wool jacket with cute fringed pockets (a snip at £25) and this vintage tartan maxi skirt with metallic embossed buckle (only £18).

    tartan jacket tartan maxi skirt


    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).

    metallic dressmetallic jacket

    We also love these metallic peep toe shoes (£12) and gold metallic heels (£14), both by Roland Cartier.

    pewter metallic shoesgold metallic heels

    Bold florals

    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).

    bright floral dress70s floral print dress

    Or how about a  red floral silk top (£9) and/or a vintage floral skirt (£12), all suitably accessorised of course.

    red solk floral topvintage floral skirt

    Hey, we even have some bright floral shorts (think Brix's floral designer choice) in stock!

    pink floral shorts


    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?)

    black fringed dresssheer black fringed poncho

    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?

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  • What a waste

    January 25, 2011

    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!

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  • Dressember challenge

    December 3, 2010

    We meant to post before now about the Dressember challenge, and even take part in it ourselves, but we got rather preoccupied with our own snow focused challenges and had to wimp out. Next  year we will do it!

    Dressember is capturing the imagination of dress lovers everywhere and raising funds for the charity Refuge at the same time. You can visit their justgiving page to donate and also like their Facebook page.

    Here is the lowdown on the challenge:

    December 1st marks the beginning of 'Dressember' - the challenge for women (or the adventurous male) everywhere to shake up their wardrobe and try ditching the jeans and t-shirts.

    We're aiming to wear dresses as often as possible - don't worry if it's not practical in the day, you can go for a skirt/top combo if needed, or have fun and dress up in the evening in that cocktail dress you never get to wear!

    As well as having fun we are hoping to raise a bit of cash for Refuge and have a just giving page for this purpose here:

    Feel free to share your photos in the group or on your own wall if you're shy, just have fun with it, and try something different for the month - plus it'a party season, so use the wall to ask if you need help deciding!

    There are no rules, it's all about stretching your wardrobe boundaries, trying something different, and having fun, so just jump on in.

    Given our snowbound status, which came upon us so suddenly and prevented our own participation this year, we thought we would feature a couple of dynamic dresser-uppers who we know will do Dressember proud.

    Firstly, we have  the lovely Julia, who blogs over at Imperfect Mother and  who chose a Frockery frock for her first Dressember outing. That 60s dress could have been made for her as it bright, bold, vibrant, sunshiny and oh so tiny,  but perfectly formed - just like the model. Who could guess Julia has recently given birth to a beautiful new baby!


    Amber, meanwhile, is undeterred by a bit of the white stuff and is embracing the challenge in her own inimitable style, complete with snow shovel, on her Forever Amber blog. She is putting us fellow Scots to wimpish shame, but our excuse is that we are further north and have had more feet of snow!

    two feet of snow

    Kudos to everyone who is dressing up this December. Maybe we could do jumpers in July?

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  • Cape crusaders

    September 28, 2010

    Here at The Frockery we are big fans of the cape – long or short, plain or plaid, tweed, mohair, whatever – and are pleased to see it being resurrected this season by a new generation of fashionistas who have rediscovered its appeal as a stylish, versatile, practical and fun garment.

    Frocker-in-chief Alison’s predilection for cape wearing was first captured on camera at a wedding in the late 60s where she modelled a browny green tweed number her mother had made, complete with brass lion and chain fastenings, over a somewhat sickly yellow shift dress.  Later in her teens,  she would wear and wear (to fraying point) a long hooded cloak over the maxi and midi dresses that were in vogue at the time, before going on to experiment with an avant-garde creation cleverly crafted from a couple of camel blankets. She was already a confirmed caperer.

    Alison also recalls that, back in the winter of 1974, Laura Ashley was selling a full length, hooded, heavy black velvet cape, which was truly stunning and featured high on the wish list of many of her student friends for whom Afghan coats had begun to lose their appeal (mainly on grounds of smell). Only one of the impecunious group could afford to buy the said cape and, for some unfathomable reason, chose to team it with a stripy Edinburgh University law faculty scarf, which was not a great combo even in the fashion faux pas forgiving 70s. To this day, the friend wishes she’d ditched the scarf and kept the cape!

    Fast forward to 2010 and Alison remains a committed cape crusader who endeavours to keep a selection of capes and cloaks in stock at The Frockery.

    If you favour an easy wear, casual style, take a look at this  natural coloured acrylic wool mix cape by Amari with fringing detail, ribbed collar and toggle fastening at the neck.

    natural cape

    To make more of a statement, and to keep warm this winter, try this longer length black and tan check wool cape with arm slits and button fastenings.

    plaid wool cape

    If mohair is more your thing, we have two short and cute vintage beauties, one in rose pink by Andrew Stewart and the other in fuchsia, purple and navy plaid from the Scotch House.

    rose pink cape

    fuchsia plaid cape

    Also for the vintage lovers, this blue wool three piece incorporates another of the season’s trends, the kilt  (complete with metal kilt pin), along with matching sleeveless jacket and cute capelet. Very Miss Marple!

    blue wool cape suit

    We recently sold this lovely 60s tweed cape with faux fur trimmed  hood,

    60s tweed cape

    but we have just taken delivery of a vintage black wool nurse’s cape with bright red lining and crossover straps. Perfect for re-enactment and themed events, but warm and wearable whatever the occasion.

    If the cape fits - and it will, whatever your size - wear it with pride and panache!