Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why do we do this...?!

Righto, so in the interest of competitive spirit and a last-ditch attempt to avoid more broken ankles/fingernails, we have possibly stupidly called for a one day only 30% off sale tomorrow, Monday 29th June...oh everyone else is doing it, we thought we better as well! Yes folks, peer pressure is alive and well in the cyber-world.

Now, you'll find the code on the front page of the website in bold red letters, and most importantly the t&c's here and also in the newsletter. If you buy something with the 30% off code, you can't send it back for a refund, but you can exchange it at your own cost or return it for a store credit. This is because we get a sickly pleasure in emptying our shelves and seeing a truckload of pink parcels leave Frock HQ, hopefully never to return. It's particularly pleasing at this time of year because on Tuesday, even though we'll be utterfly stuffed from the sale on Monday, we have to count whatever is left; which is more boring than a new series of Big Brother, heaven forbid.

There's new bits from Effigy49, Birds of a Feather, Mermaid Sister, and Nude, for a start...your wardrobe will thank you!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Things That Piss Me Off vol 47

I've lost count. I could look it up, but I don't have time as I have to spend most of my day keeping up with everyone's Tweets. Which brings me to Exhibit A:

1). Twitter is nifty, handy and one of those typically new milennium things we could have quite happily carried on without, but now that we have it we don't know what to do without it. It's great for keeping up to date with news, sales, current events, fashion and whatever else floats your boat, but I always thought people who update their Facebook status more than once a day were a bit sad. Now you can update everyone hourly and get away with it, depsite the fact that you twitter 'followers' don't have to be able to recognise you from a goat's bollock. Some people's updates are fantastic - useful, informative and provide the type of content for which you are following them. Other people...O.M.G. We do not need to know what type of cheese you are eating for lunch, or that you are standing in line waiting for your quarter-strength decaf vanilla latte with cream (seriously, heard this the other day), or indeed what type of cheese you are eating now as opposed to 5 minutes ago when you last updated your status. I'm pretty sure most of the good content gets lost in amongst all this crap, or drowns under other's people's conversations to which you have the privelige of being party to, despite never quite being able to follow exactly what they are on about. There are people on there with 50,000 followers and 50,000 they are following - how in the bloody hell can you actually be 'following' them genuinely?!

On a more positive note, I found Kevin Spacey on there this morning. And he confirmed that Jeff Goldblum isn't dead. Double plus!

2). From what I can gather, most sane people are offended by leggings-as-pants. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. But there is something that pisses me off much more, and that is people who simply don't wear pants.

I'm not sure these even count as knickers. I read recently that Lady Gaga is the 'biggest pop star in the world'. Celeb paycheques must be feeling the Recession-crunch if the poor dear couldn't even afford a mini skirt and obviously had to auction off parts of her panties to pay for her corset. Tough times. So tough, that even Sienna has gotten into the home-made look, creating a smashing jacket and matching top from a gorilla generously donated by Jane Goodall. Unfortuantely she has not yet learnt the fine art of creating trousers but she'll get there, she will:

Quite frankly, I hope this trend stays in the celebosphere. My eyes and my stomach could not handle groups of chubby bogans strutting around local malls in high waisted bloomers they stole from old people in their suburb. But if it does catch on in a way nobody really thought MC Hammer pants would, I'm sure I have a shiny green pair of sportpants leftover from primary school that would be awesome for S/S 09/10. Bring it on.
3). Channel 9 shows. Aside from the fact the best they can muster at the moment is Bert's 20 to 1 (bring back Ladette to Lady!) last night I saw this: 'Coming up, annoyingly exuberant presenters stay in uber expensive hotels on Getaway (cut to ad) they thought it was their dream holiday...until they found themselves in HELL...holidays gone wrong in TROUBLE IN PARADISE..." Counter-productive programming, no?
4). Drunk people. Drunk people are highly amusing, but not when they are thinking that a mixture of blurred eyes and nipples makes them sexy. My partner plays in a band so every now and then I trot along to watch, but usually not drinking. Much. Not enough to not be annoyed by people stomping on you in their heels, hiking up their dresses in your face, and 'dancing' in such a way that they systematically and obliviously knock out the people behind them, anyway. But without them, I would not have nearly as enjoyable a time. I adore people who have drinks at home before going out, and get completely plastered before attempting an outfit. I might start a new version of The Sartorialist, purely for people who have consumed a bottle or two of red before stumbling to their wardrobe. At least most of them remembered pants of some description (except one girl, but I was temporarily blinded from shock).
TFIF is all I can say. And TF the new issue of Frankie came out this week, because if I one more celeb mag tweets about next week's tribute issue to MJ, I am going to do more than just blog my anger out. Why don't they do a tribute to all the snarky stories they published over the last few years? Princess Di all over again...disgusting.
Time for a nice hot cuppa and a calm down!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Playing Barbie

I'm one of those annoying people who always arrives places late, breathless and full of excuses as to why it took so long to get there. Or, if you ask how I am, I always say "busy!" though evidently I am not as I have found a few hours mid week for a leisurely coffee and chat. And, although I gave up on ever getting enough sleep quicksmart after my daughter was born, I love to complain about being tired. Which is why I have just wasted half of what could've been a very productive hour of shut-eye playing Barbie, 21st century style, on Looklet, a website full of the latest pieces from popular labels which you can click on to create, um, looks. It's oddly addictive and I was having far too much fun with a plastic strawberry hat (I think it's a showercap) from Urban Outfitters, an Odd Molly dress and some pink heels from Coast to bother researching the purpose of the website in any thorough way.

I still can't get over that hat. I'm not sure how I managed to miss an apparent trend which is so time-saving you can get dressed before you have a shower in the morning. I am rather smitten with that dress though. Conveniently and obviously, each item comes with a link so you can keep on a-clickin' right through to buy. If your Barbies were ripped out of your pre-pubescent hands before you were ready to let go, sites like these do a wonderful job at healing old wounds. And keeping one's credit card looking fullup and healthy (it's all about perspective!).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bring on the chill - hot new stuff!

I do like winter. My birthday is in winter, winter fashions are so much more forgiving, and you don't see people walking around fake tanned up to - and possibly including - their eyeballs. We continually get surprises every morning from our lovely labels, who just keep on sending us gorgeous new knits and bits despite the fact we are all convinced we have received all the winter stock. I bought it all, you'd think I'd know, but buying is done 6 months in advance so it's easy to forget! (and also time consuming to open files and look it up. sheesh.) Speaking of which, we'll give you a summer sneaky peaky next week...

But for now, you are probably sitting toasty in your ugg boots (please remain indoors), feeling bittersweet about the crappy weather/gorgeous clothes conundrum that winter presents us with. So, here's a little rundown on our newest pieces that get the Frock tick of approval (well, they all do, otherwise we wouldn't sell them, but let's call these extra special ticks of approval).

Most recently uploaded (as in, today), are these pieces from Mermaid Sister. They know how to do casual cool better than most, and the price points are fantastic. The Crazy Love Sweater ($59.95) started selling literally two minutes after they were uploaded, so get a-clickin' quick smart if you want one! Mermaid's sweaters have that daggy-cool retro feel, perfect for throwing on with jeans. I'm also a fan of the Glitter Girl Slouchy Jumper ($69.95), which puzzlingly enough has no glitter in it; however this is a good thing if 'casual chic' is what you're after - it's a looser fitting jumper that would look amazing with denim, boots and some layered necklaces. No suprises that the Glitter Girl Slouchy Cardi ($89.95) is also sparkle-free, but it is the most beautiful blue colour, which is such a nice change from the usual winter palette. Plus, this shade is definitely coming in again for summer! And if checks are your thing (we know they are, checked things sell ridiculously fast) you can unleash your inner grungy-snow-bunny with the Check Baby Hooded Jacket ($119.95).

Birds of a Feather is another fave labels with Frockers around the world (yep, we even sent some to Estonia) and this season the delivery was so late I'd forgotten what was going to be in it. But it was like Christmas in, um, winter, when we unpacked it all last week - very ladylike and so very very pretty, it's hard to pick favourites but the No Place Like Home Dress ($89.95) looks as gorgeous in person as it does on Jess our gorgeous model; and the Clicking Heels sweater ($89.95) quickly found it's way to my wardrobe. Actually it dodn't even make it that far cos I am wearing it today - it's simple but has cute hot pink stitching around the neckline, a little detail that made it a standout piece! The City Lights Top ($89.95) also has hot pink detailing, in the form of a waist sash, and is covered in little white polka dots - SO CUTE!!

GRAB has a legion of fans, not only in love with their denim but their fashion-conscious pieces that are, thankfully, not ripped off the catwalk (unlike most high-street labels). They have a team of in-house designers which keep their ranges fresh and unique. AND their knitwear is AWESOME! In a recent wardrobe survey, I discovered I really have quite alot of it, so you know it must be good. I jest, I jest! It is though. So good, in fact, that you'd be hard pressed and possibly senile to go past the Peter Pan Jacquard Cardi ($99.95) which we featured in our catalogue and which can be worn as a dress or oversize cardi. The sample here swims on poor little Jess, but in person it is absolutely gorgeous. The Zipper Knit Dress ($69.95) is another winter no-brainer - just throw it on with tights! My other weekend fave is the Collared Long Cardi ($89.95) which is perfect for that casual-chic look and it's also toasty warm without being heavy. Score! (Rosie wears it here with the One Teaspoon Eagle Eye Silk top [$99.95]).

That's probably enough waffling from me, for now *muhahaha*. Yeah, definitely time for a cuppa...

PS - if you're a Frocker, til Friday you can get 20% off everything! If you're not, sign up now to get the code!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Taste - no need to be a Masterchef

I am far too cynical to enjoy most reality TV, but Masterchef holds a scintillating charm - you have to admire people that can take a zucchini and an anchovy and turn it into a 3-course gastronomical delight. The judges aren't ridiculously critical and watching people cook delicious concotions makes entertaining telly without the need to resort to stories about perverts with erections (yes I'm talkin' about you, All Saints**). My brother in law would've been a serious contender for MC but he lives in Canada - a few Christmases ago, he put together the tastiest lunch in our little Edinburgh flat (yeah, he gets around) which was no mean feat considering all we had in the cupboard was rice, tinned peaches and Strepsils. Anyway, whether you are into cooking or not, you've probably seen or visited , an online recipe resource combining recipes from several good food publications (including my current economic-hardship/domestic goddess mag of choice, Super Food Ideas . It's less than $3 and just makes you want to buy a pretty apron and bake all weekend!).

So, thanks to my new arsenal of cookery instruction, the past few weeks have seen truckloads of gourmet dishes gracing our dinner table. Some, like the roasted lemon chicken (above)have been a massive hit; others, like tonight's Cous Cous Tabouli Salad, almost got me voted out. Actually the salad was tasty, I just mucked up the cous cous (yes it is possible!) and it ended up, erm, mushy. Ew.

When you're cooking for a fussy 28 year old and a 3 year old who's favourite foods are broccoli and peanut butter (not together, as far as I know), many of the recipes here are fantastic for finding healthy, fast, affordable meals that get vegies/protein/other healthy things into them and have little waste. The recipe below is another winner courtesy of Taste and you can make enough for leftovers the night after, which quite frankly is of high importance to most of us - as much as cooking and nutrition are important, who wants to do it at the end of every day?! Enjoy...!

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 x Basic roast chicken ingredients (see related recipe)
400g dried tortiglioni or rigatoni pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small red onion, finely chopped
500g jar tomato pasta sauce
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
100g baby spinach leaves


Follow steps 1 to 3 of Basic roast chicken recipe. Remove skin and meat from chicken. Discard skin and bones. Roughly chop flesh.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions, until just tender. Drain. Return to saucepan.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until tender. Add onion mixture, pasta sauce, chicken, 3/4 cup cheese and spinach to hot pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Toss gently until well combined.

Spoon pasta mixture into a 7cm deep, 24cm x 19cm (base) baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and heated through. Serve.
**Not to put you off your dinner or anything, but apparently the guy in All Saints with his willy stuck in a chair after a vigourous sans-human partner humping sesh, got out safely. Phew.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Average Sized People Are Boring

British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, who has better hair and is significantly less scary looking than her US counterpart, is also ballsy enough to write a letter to major fashion houses (read: advertisers) accusing them of forcing stick-thin models into the pages of magazines, by only providing teeny tiny samples to shoot with.

Alternately hailed as a positive step/PR gimmick, you gotta hand it to her for finally speaking up. Hopefully, people listen. She may have helped launch Kate Moss' 'heroin chic' look, but times change and it's about time breasts and curves took priority. When you think of 'supermodel', what do you think of? Is it the interchangeable eastern European lasses, who all are stunning but are basically the same version of pouts on legs, or the sporty 80's supers? The new breed might win more points with their names in Scrabble but I'd be willing to bet 'Supermodel' still means Claudia, Cindy, Elle, Naomi, Christy to most people. Not that Elle's figure is attainable, but at least she looked and looks healthy. I'd rather look like I was dragged off the beach than out of the gutter.

At the oppsite end of the scale, LOVE magazine (which I finally managed to order a copy of, thanks magnation!) put a nude Beth Ditto on the cover of their inaugral issue. Now, she is a big lady, and appears totally at ease with her looks, so good on her. But while everyone went "oooh, yay" and clapped when the mag was released, it didn't take long for sensible people to point out that Ditto isn't really a healthy role model either. She is, frankly, too fat to be healthy; and even though her confidence should inspire women and girls everywhere, is it right to say that being that big is ok? Is it not as bad as being grossly underweight?

Apparently, nobody has thought about average sized people. They are far too boring and mediocre to care about. Shulman says that magazines can't use it-girls such as Daisy Lowe and Alexa Chung because they wouldn't fit into the samples either, and they're not exactly porkers. They're not the "right kind of thin" to feature in shoots - so it's not so much that thin is (or should be) 'out', it's just too-thin which is simply inappropriate. Average sizes, with the usual bumps and curves and all, are not aspirational enough. People don't want to see others who look like them, 'cos otherwise they could save $8 and just look in the mirror. Shulman wrote that readers and the public don't want to see "such thin girls" anymore. But it will be a long time - perhaps it will take a Depression or World War for us to realise that the 'starved' look isn't so pretty when it's not optional - before anything changes dramatically. Shulman has, I think, taken a bold first step, and whether it's for PR or for a genuine purpose, giving fashion houses a swift kick with a stiletto is refreshingly positive.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Seedling - a NZ-made Bag of Awesomeness

Those folk across the ditch do alot of things better than us. Phar Lap, for one. Strange fruit and even weirder birdlife for another. But on recent trip to the land of the long white cloud, I discovered Seedling (which is available in Aus I believe, I just hadn't seen it anywhere before). I was enamoured with their brown paper bags stuffed with educational, hands-on and downright fun goodies designed to inspire kids to engage in and experience "simple, home-grown skills" to encourage thinking, imagination and allowing parents to join in. From tots to teens and even a few activities for Mum, they are a brilliant gift (we bought the Doctor kit for my daughter's birthday, which includes a real stethescope, surgery masks, tongue sticks and a stretchy pen and notebook, and it was an instant hit!) and, thankfully, don't require batteries/aren't made of plastic/have a novelty value of 5 mins.

(by the way, this is not a paid endorsement. I went, I bought, I liked!)

Anything to encourage environmental awareness and nutirtional understanding gets my vote, so I almost also picked up a Junior Gardener set (with tools, kids gloves, and presented in a terracotta pot); but you could also go for a Worm Farm, Outdoor Adventure Kit, or Grow Your Own Vege Patch.

Budding artistes? make a Collage, create your own Russian Dolls, make a mosaic butterfly or rocket, paint a Character Mask; or go crafty with Card Making sets, a Seashell Mirror or Stick Puppets. Fashionistas can sew their own Tote, create Bejewelled Keyrings, design a Streetwear Tee, or simply go all out with the Fashion Designer Kit. Encourage mini masterchefs (without a hankering for reality tv) with Cupcake Kits, or a Sushi Shefu set, while little scientists can make a Kaleidoscope or Erupting Volcano!

Nesting? (Or, feeling huge and over it while waiting for Bub to be born?) Create your own Mobile or Baby Blanket, or even a Designer Tee (without the need to start your own label). The Baby kits, or products of, also make wonderful, thoughtful and personal gifts.

I'm not sure if it's a sad sign of the times that something so simple seems so innovative - Charlotte's Doctor Kit gets so much more use then any battery operated toy in her arsenal (and we're talkin' 'bout a big arsenal). The last issue of Wondertime has a great article of a mum, who conveniently is a child psychologist, who gives her kids 'art kits' - blank journals, pencils, glue, stickers, paddle pop sticks and such, each in their own portable box (sewing boxes or fishing boxes with compartments) which encourages them to draw, write, create and express themselves in their own time and in their own way. I loved this idea and once I can find an appropriate box I'll be giving my daughter one too (man, I hate Spotlight. I can't muster up the energy to wade through it in search of a plastic box, lest I am engulfed in a sea of scrapbooking accessories and terrible fabrics).

If getting back to basics is a result of trying economic times, then I'm all for it...!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Clothing Sizing Issues Part II: Comparing the High Street

It seems Choice's recent article on the inconsistencies in sizing within the Australian fashion industry struck a chord with many of you. The more people that speak up, the more chance there is of something being done about it! Kelly at Nevershoppedout has just posted her thoughts on the issue, noting that Kate Browne's experimental shopping trip is simply a normal experience for many of us. From chain stores to designers, those in control have been avoiding the issue, it seems, for far too long.....

Today I received a package from Sportsgirl. As you probably know, I shop far too much online but as I fit into the 'average' body shape designers tailor to, I have not really had any issues with sizing. This article made me stop for a second as I ripped the tags off my new peach top (yes, peach. Just like my mum's bridesmaid dresses 25 years ago. But for some reason, it's cool again. Promise.) - nowhere in any of my ventures around the Sportsgirl site do I recall seeing a sizing chart. But, thankfully they do have one - you have to go into "shop" and then it's a little link along the bottom - and it is quite thorough. Success!

So I navigated over to Witchery, another regular on my click-list. Again, a decent sizing chart is available along the bottom. Just Jeans offers a 'Denim Fit Guide' which doesn't offer measurements, just a few words in a teen-friendly font on what each cut entails. Once you're in the shop part of their site, you can access a sizing chart for fashion items and all their denim except, not suprisingly, their own Just Jeans brand. Denim brands are notorious for guarding their measurements, which are usually the result of months of research, fitting and testing.

I just got scared witless when the Supre website opened in another window. It seems pounding your eardrums instore doesn't satiate their desire to penetrate every one of your pores with repetitive candy pop. The front page is an ocular atrocity of leggings-as-pants, but thankfully each product has a size chart...even if 3XS looks like some absurd mathematical formula. I couldn't find a size chart for ValleyGirl, but shipping is the same price as the average worth of their items ($10) so I'm not totally sure it's worth bothering with their online shop. (ooh, snarky!) French Connection have an easily accessible size chart, as do Bardot, Barkins and Sass & Bide (standard fashion items only).

The crucial question is not if they are readily available, but how do they compare? Check out this nifty chart I made up comparing size 12's (I'll fix that and make it bigger):

Basically, you can see a 9cm variation in hips, 6cm around the bust and a whopping 14cm at the waist! You'd expect Supre, for example, to be smaller than Barkins, given their target markets. But according to these size charts, and assuming it's reasonable for the same customer to shop at French Connection and Witchery, you wouldn't expect to encounter a 6cm minimum difference in waist measurements. No wonder women everywhere are throwing their arms up in despair and going home empty-handed. Sure, we're meant to be cutting back on our spending, but that should be a feel-good choice rather than a forced neccessity! Will anything be done about it? Watch this space...