When I started this site I wasn’t going to have a blog it was going to be all about Rock Up Frock Up as a business venture and how to get involved and be part of the Rock Up Frock Up community. Then the more people I spoke to, the more it seemed like a good idea to be able to have guest posts on fashion; how to wear it, how to enjoy it and how to express yourself though it. So that is hopefully partly what this will be and of course a continual ramble of my foray into launching a fashion venture and the people I meet along the way.
But for the first post this is a little about me and my story, I’m a north London girl who from the word go loved clothes and shoes and bags…and music but that’s another story altogether. I now live on the outskirts of north London in a small town called Hertford with two small children and a record collecting marathon running husband. This is of note mainly because of the children, I stupidly thought that children wouldn’t change me or my previous lifestyle of yoga, shopping, music, spending time deciding what to wear and mooching round shops on my lunchbreak but it did. I wasn’t and am still not super cool, I don’t wear high fashion and I very rarely spend much on an item, I used to have time to stalk the shops for sales, but no more. In fact the most expensive item I own is a Mulberry bag, purchased the day I became MD of the music company I work for and encouraged by my mum. My mum loves clothes too, and her mum and the family of seamstresses that seem to stretch back generations. In so much that I am sure that my sister and I never had a shop brought Item of clothes until very late into the 80’s when they were all too old to sew anymore. I have a vivid memory of a jumper from Tammy girl in wood green with bears on that my nanny purchased for me during a school holiday and thinking wow look at this machine sewn brilliance. A hand knitted jumper, although coveted now was not the same with wool from Woolworths in the era of Madonna and Wham. Anyway I digress as I think this was just the start of my passion for fashion and why wouldn’t any girl growing up in the 80’s and 90’s have this. It was the beginning of girl power and a shift in how women can and should be able to express themselves through clothes and music. MTV made clothing more than pictures in magazines and the growth of cheaper clothes made it possible to have something new and shop brought more than a few times a year. But also this has made it harder to take that step into the land of being a mum this is after all an age where everyone has information overload and with the birth of my first child I lost my way a little, with lots of things, but especially with clothes. I had a wardrobe of things I didn’t fit into anymore; my body shape had changed a lot and my weight had increased – eating for two was thoroughly enjoyable. I now had a different life. I still worked in London and needed to be fairly smart but I thought in terms of what can I wash when the baby is sick on me (she had very bad reflux) and what doesn’t need ironing . Looking back I think subconsciously I was thinking what can I wear to blend in and hide behind? If I don’t wear the same as everyone else will the other mums think I’m showing off and really I didn’t want anyone to notice me, I didn’t think I was doing too well at the mum thing. Nearly 7 years ago there was no Hurrah for Gin, no Mother Pukka and no Dress Like a Mum I had a Annabel Karmel, The Baby Whisperer and an endless round of groups with mums who seemed to have taken to mumming like a duck to water. I was tired (she had proper sleep issues, not just not sleeping but really NOT sleeping) I suffered from anxiety at every level. I couldn’t cope with being a mum and having a job, which I love and was my normal and my safe place, let alone figuring out what to wear. So I made shopping mistakes, I brought clothes people told me to as they were nice, even if they were ones that I would never have worn before but then 3 years later I was pregnant again – maternity clothing had come on leaps and bounds and I found things I liked and enjoyed wearing. Then when baby number 2 came along, he wasn’t sicky, he sort of slept and he seemed to say to me ‘ya got this’, ‘do what you want to do’ and with that ‘wear what you want to wea’r. ‘ I don’t care, if you want to wear sparkly shoes to the park, the light reflects and makes me smile’. (he probably wasn’t thinking that really) But also I was older, wiser and it seemed so much simpler that second time round, probably as I slept for more than in 20 minute cycles. Plus I had a daughter who was getting older and likes clothes and would wear whatever she wanted as she could. Party dress to the park, let’s do it! So I thought right I’m getting back in this fashion saddle and going to buy clothes which I like and I want to wear and I don’t care…even if it always seems to be jeans and trainers. But what to do with the wardrobe heaving with the post baby, then the not me sleep deprived baby years clothing? Ahhh Rock Up Frock Up……..
It started small I tested the waters with friends, and a friend helping me label and price all the things I collected– confidence takes a big knock after children and then gradually tried asking more people, people I didn’t know and then I had a pop up shop at a coffee shop in town and suddenly it was so much fun and I knew I wanted to do more, bigger and better. I had so much positive feedback, so many ladies who told me of fashion mistakes, pressured sales, and buying things for one occasion never to see the light of day again. Then so many who after the last Pop Up shop, found items they loved, that they didn’t feel guilty about buying as it needed a new home, they could experiment with different styles as it was affordable and they had a really good time meeting other people. What was most lovely for me was the sense that actually women do like to support each other, I watched ladies passing things round that they thought may suit someone else and I watched them think about themselves for a short period of time.
Who knows where this adventure will take me, but it is an adventure and a challenge and I get to play clothes shop, which is another childhood dream ticked off!