Those Were The Days

  • Rain-mates

    October 10, 2014

    rain mate

    Image via Pinterest

    Who remembers the rain-mate, that handy little head topping accessory that the 1950s housewife could whip out of her handbag at the hint of a shower? Apparently more than a few of us harbour fond memories of these concertina-folding pieces of transparent plastic with attached ties, which seem to have been reinvented for the modern Miss/Mrs/Ms and are readily available on ebay and elsewhere. A casual online search even revealed a blogger called Jonathan with a penchant for posting about rain-mates, which, he noted, had brought him a whole lot of new visitors and comments courtesy of Google. We thought we'd try it, too...

    The last sighting of an authentic 50s rain-mate we had was in a vintage shopping bag bought at Dens Road Market in Dundee some years ago by the chief frocker's friend Fiona. It sparked a conversation with K Frocker - at the time an art student - about a rain-mate revival as we felt they could once again become popular, especially in our disproportionately damp climate. We even mused about possible customised designs for festivals and outdoor events, but it appears they never actually disappeared and have just been skulking around the internet waiting for customers who want to keep their heads dry as cheaply as possible. And people obviously do still buy them. But would you wear one (even for a dare)?

    rain-mate bad postcards

    Image credit: Bad Postcards

    Anyway, the rainy season is upon us again and it's always a challenge to stay stylish at the same time as getting drookit. Despite its vintage pedigree, we would have to draw the line at describing the rain-mate as stylish.

    When the heavens open, the chief frocker invariably reaches for her green waxed Barbour jacket and matching hat which manages to frustrate even the stair-rod sort of rain that is native to north east Scotland. If rather more stylish attire is called for, she usually opts for one of her collection of Burberry raincoats and a trusty brolly.

    If you are in need of some storm proof, watertight wear without a thunder and lightningly frightening price tag, then look no further as the Frockery is packed with macs, trenches and anoraks that won't damp anyone's style. Unlike the rain-mate...

    oprions austin reed trench coat

    Options at Austin Reed classic trench coat

    Barbour quilted jacket

    Men's Barbour sportsquilt casual jacket 

    aqua retro raincoat

     Aqua retro raincoat

    burberrys beige raincoat mac

    Classic Burberrys beige raincoat

    Vintage red mod mac

    Vintage red mod mac

    men's burberry beige casual jacket

    Men's Burberry beige casual zip front jacket

  • Raspberry festival,1959

    November 20, 2012

    We just had to share this British Pathé video link depicting the Raspberry Festival in Montrose, Angus, in 1959.


    The chef frocker spent her early childhood in a small village five miles outside the north east Scotland town and was once left in her pushchair outside Woolworths while her mum and aunt got the bus home without her.  How could they when she looked this cute?


    Although slightly too young to have appeared in the very vintage footage above, Alison's mum may possibly have made the costumes for the tutu-clad tots on the ballet school float around 2.45m in. The original and unique principal of the Esk Academy of Dancing, Miss Beryl Couper, is still going strong after 58 years in the ballet business and putting the latest generation of young dancers through their paces. Alison has treasured memories of her 1960s cygnet role in Swan Lake and not so fond memories of pointe shoe blistered feet!

    Berry picking in the summer and tattie howking in the autumn (for which local schools closed for a fortnight  - and still do every October) not only kept all of us local youngsters gainfully occupied and healthy in the great outdoors, but also supplemented the pocket money nicely.

    Here's another wonderful British Pathé video (no sound) from the following year which brings back happy memories of a carefree childhood and we're all still loving that 50s and 60s fashion!


  • Get ready for the festival, Josephine

    April 17, 2011

    "Get ready for the festival", John Otway wrote in one of his best loved 70s songs, Josephine.

    Well, if you are planning on taking in a festival or two this year, how about one of these fab vintage frocks which have just arrived in stock and will transport you right back to the 70s? We love them, but alas they don't fit any of us frockers and so they are seeking new appreciative homes.

    First up, this stunning 70s vintage maxi dress in an amazing multicoloured psychedelic print, which has an unusual racer / halter neck with back button fastening. It's a size UK10 and priced at £22.

    70s festival maxi dress

    Next we have this equally eye catching 70s vintage maxi dress in a bold multicoloured floral print with a self-tying halter neck. This one is a smaller size UK6/8 and also priced at £22.

    70s festival maxi dress

    We always have a good selection of 70s frockery in the catalogue and even have a dedicated boho festival section in our Get the Look department. Do have a browse and see what takes your fancy.

    Meanwhile, if you are in the vicinity of Oxford on May Day morning (very early) you will find Otway singing Josephine with members of his band. If, like us, you prefer to keep to more civilised hours, do keep an eye on his gig list for performances throughout the country, including the Edinburgh Fringe in August. Once seen, never forgotten!

    Get ready for the festival, for the festival is only once a year.

    Raise your glasses in the air and fill the barrels full of beer.

    Mother Nature wave a wand over this lady's hand

    May her reign mean a good year on the land.

    And the legend Josephine,

    the blond blue-eyes May Queen

    Spent the night in the arms of her lover the day before the crown,

    Gifts and flowers by her bed

    Tired eyes and sleepy head.

    Stay warm till the morning calls you in.

    And the crowd scream Josephine our Mayday eyes are on you.

    And the people sing and drown in wine

    To crown the Queen of Springtime.

  • Bridging the generation gap, vintage style

    March 31, 2011

    Alison and Kirstin recently experienced a touch of déjà vu while looking through some old family photos, which we thought might be fun to share. Never mind the picture quality, look at the frocks!

    We may post more later as Kirstin still regularly wears pieces from Alison's vintage wardrobe, but here are a couple of examples of how vintage fashion has bridged the generation gap between mother and daughter at The Frockery.

    This is Alison in 1979. Just look at that hideous orange vinyl chair!

    1979 dress

    Here is Kirstin rocking the same frock in 2011.

    kirstin 79 dress

    This is Alison (well half of her) wearing a glam velvet frock for a party back in 1984. Note how orange still prominently features in the background!

    Alison in 1984 dress
    And here's Kirstin (all of her!) looking stunning in the same dress in 2011.

    K 1984 dress

    Mother and daughter today - different generations, same love of vintage.

  • Time for tea

    January 31, 2011

    Afternoon tea has its origins in the mid 19th century when etiquette and dress codes were always strictly observed. Although the 'rules' have become more relaxed these days, expectations remain high in the finer establishments, such as the Ritz and Claridges, where ladies dress demurely and gentlemen wear a jacket and tie.

    The tea dress has never gone out of fashion and is one of our favourite and feminine pieces of  frockery, which has the added benefit of being flattering to most body shapes. Whether you favour delicate florals or bolder prints, silks or cottons, it is the perfect frock for sipping your Earl Grey and nibbling on your cucumber sandwiches.

    brown silk tea dresssilk dress

    To achieve a retro look, wear a pretty hat, carry a small handbag and accessorise with gloves and a pretty brooch or corsage pinned on the bodice or at the waist. For some old fashioned feminine frockery and classic accessories, check out our  Get the Look: Tea at the Ritz section. We can also highly recommend the work of vintage inspired milliner Lisa from Off With Her Head, who creates the most beautiful hats and fascinators.

    brown suede bagcream gloves

    Afternoon tea also demands fine table linen, silverware and china, and we especially like the vintage sandwich plates and tiered cake stands which are enjoying a long ovedue revival. Keep an eye on our Homeware department for charming examples of old fashioned cake plates, china and linen to help you host your traditional vintage tea party. And for vintage themed cupcakes and other delectables, take a look at what our friends at The Scarlet Bakery have to offer.

    cake stand