Frock&Roll (aka My Happy Place)


I’ve not always been into vintage clothing but I have always loved dressing up – even to my lectures during my gruelling PGCE. A fellow student noted this fact and recommended visiting Frock&Roll Vintage in Reading; a dangerous wonderful suggestion.


Roughly a ten minute walk from Reading town centre, Frock&Roll Vintage is located on Watlington Street (near the old part of the Royal Berkshire Hospital). It can be a real jaunt to have travel further afield for quality vintage; the shop’s location is so convenient. I have regularly visited Frock&Roll Vintage since my PGCE in 2011 – it’s my go-to for a good mooch.


These are the reasons why I keep on running back for more:
. Quality clothing (clean, pressed and in good condition)
. Real vintage
. A wide range of eras (from the 20s to the 90s)
. Sizing (a label gives me a rough idea of what I can get into)
. Affordable prices (sale rail items can be as low as £5; evening dresses can go up to £60)
. Weekly picks on Facebook (this can also cause me to buy much more than I need!)
. Great customer service

Ali – the amazing owner!

The shop is run by Ali, who I managed to get a quick interview with:
Papow: Where do you source your clothing?
Ali: We source from all over: wholesale, house clearances, auctions and anywhere else.
P: What make Frock&Roll different from other vintage shops?
A: We try to keep our stock varied at reasonable prices – without compromising quality.
P: What are your most popular items?
A: Younger customers tend to go for casual styles – denim or nineties style items. Other customers go for a mixture, depending on their personal style. Classic fifties and sixties dresses are always popular; they just evoke nostalgia.
P: What would you recommend for a first-time customer?
A: Look for something that catches your eye and try it on. Don’t close your mind and don’t be daunted.

Er…why is this not my size?



These are some of the pieces from my, now quite extensive, Frock&Roll Vintage collection:



Being a terrible lovely wife, I suggested my husband should try a vintage-inspired look over his usual uniform of black. Here are the results:


What do you think? My favourite is the brown, though it’s odd seeing him out of black clothing.

As you can tell, I am a huge fan of this place. If you are new to vintage or a retro expert, pop into Frock&Roll Vintage – I love it!

Fashion on the Ration (or the very tight budget!)

20150817-IMG_0575.jpgVintage fashion, whether actual vintage or reproduction, can be quite expensive. For newcomers to the pin-up look or those who’d like to dip their toes into retro waters, more affordable options are needed. In honour of the fantastic Imperial War Museum exhibition – Fashion on the Ration, we chose outfits that you can put together on tight budgets.

Both of our dresses are from the vintage reproduction clothing company, Lindy Bop. In terms of their pricing, dresses usually range between twenty five and thirty five pounds – quite reasonable. We own more than one Lindy Bop dress each, which probably has something to do with the lower cost. Generally, the dresses are made of a thick material; they hang well and don’t feel like a budget option.

20150817-IMG_0576.jpgCacao Papow
Lindy Bop: size 14


I chose the ‘Belina’ posies and polka dot dress for our trip. As I was scrolling through the ridiculous number of dresses on the Lindy Bop website, this dress instantly stood out for me. The colour, embellishment, pattern and cut were the perfect mix!

Lindy Bop says:
• Made from a good quality floral/polka cotton fabric
• Wide flared box pleat skirt
• Flattering slight V-shape neckline
• Ruched detailing to sleeves
• Decorative bows along neckline
• Matching removable belt
• Short sleeves
• Fully lined
• Hidden side zip
• Material composition: 97% Cotton, 3% Elastane

I love that the skirt is lined (no need for an underskirt). The bows along the neckline are sewn on securely so they don’t flop or bend. Matching belts are always a great accessory and I am so glad that this belt picks up on the less dominant pink colour in the dress. It also helps to break up the pattern and highlight my waist. As much as I love a circle skirt, I enjoy the more subtle box pleat skirt and I can still twirl around in it!

Now I like to get as much wear out of my dresses as possible; this dress lends itself to being an all-season piece. Here I’ve given it a more summery twist with sandals and a light cardigan. In winter, I’ll be pairing it with my overcoat, thick purple tights and brown boots. If the ‘Fashion on the Ration’ exhibit has taught me anything, it’s to get the most from your wardrobe – this dress is no exception.

Florence Flounce
Lindy Bop: size 10


I chose the ‘Ophelia’ Sky Blue Floral Swing Dress for the day.

Lindy Bop says:
Made from a good quality medium weight stretch cotton fabric
• Flared skirt section
• Flattering sweetheart neckline
• Fitted bodice
• Contrasting crossover ruched bust panel
• Hidden side pockets
• Sleeveless
• Hidden side zip
• A 26″ petticoat will be required to get the look in the picture
• Material Composition: 97% Cotton, 3% Elastane
• Garment Care: Machine Washable (cold)

I was lucky enough to wear the ‘Audrey’ Vintage Style Sky Blue Floral Dress in this same floral design at a photo shoot at Le Keux Vintage Salon in Birmingham last year. I loved the design so much, when I saw this Ophelia dress on eBay I just had to put in a bid. I managed to get my hands on this beautiful dress for a bargain price…as if £34.99 on the Lindy Bop website isn’t already amazing value! What a brilliant find!

I love this dress because the pale blue colour really emphasises my eyes. Its colourful floral design also allows you to wear it with a combination of different accessories. I chose a cream belt and sandals, however you could change the look entirely by teaming it with blue or pink accessories. For our trip to The Fashion on the Ration exhibition at the Imperial War Museum I decided against pairing this dress with a petticoat, in the spirit of all things 1940s. To change up this look the addition of a petticoat will also give you some additional flounce! This dress is also available in a variety of other patterns and designs…so why not peruse the Lindy Bop website to find the perfect one (or two or three) for you?!