All Hail the Frumpy Frock

Our newest collection is titled “All Hail the Frumpy Frock”-  fashion’s most misunderstood piece of clothing. And let us tell you, we are so excited to unveil three gorgeous dresses that are the perfect pieces for brightening evenings.

Frolicking frumpiness, frills and frippery are vintage fashion’s best sartorial hallmarks, but with the latest collections by Alexander Mcqueen, Batsheva and The Vampire’s Wife, any over-the-top vintage gown with puffed sleeves and an empire waist could easily be mistaken as modern.

Alexander McQueen Spring Ready-To-Wear 2020, Source – Vogue

First pinpointed by major style blog Who What Wear in 2019, the frumpy look is currently very in vogue, and as we twirl our way into 2021, it doesn’t show much sign of disappearing. After the explosion of Netflix’s Bridgerton on our screens, every woman young and old wants to look like a debutante ingenué, and can we blame them? There is something so romantic, and yet also so refreshing about billowing dresses, soft and supple silks, and high pie-crust necklines; a distinct difference from the edgy minimalist aesthetic that has been dominating Pinterest boards for the last 10 years. 

Zeena Shah @heartzeena Wearing Johanna Sands, Source (Image Courtesy of) Zeena Shah

According to Who What Wear, and we completely agree BTW, the term “frumpy” is inherently gendered, and always attributed to women’s fashion and ageing. A quick google search for frumpy fashion, and you will easily find a multiplicity of articles describing how you can avoid looking frumpy your 40s, 50s and 60s and how to not dress in a way that ages you. In our opinion, this is a hugely outdated conversation. You DO NOT need to fit into a certain preconceived “type” whether that’s age, gender or body. If you love and feel confident in a piece, no matter how it looks, then that should be celebrated above all else.Which is why, if you love a bit of frump, don’t be afraid to show it off. 

John Galliano Spring 2019, Source – Pinterest

The reason as to why frumpy clothes are feared, is because they change the way that we perceive the female form. And in an ideal patriarchal world, women should always wear clothes that make them look more youthful and show some skin (but not too much skin). In a defiant gesture, frumpy clothes just does the opposite of that: a comical declaration against elegance, grace, sophistication and looking hot. But, just browsing the fast fashion sites of today, and you can easily see some element of “frumpiness” that a few years ago we wouldn’t deem fashionable at all. And, if 2020’s TikTok trends are anything to go by, you can be a bad bitch wearing just about anything. 

Not to mention, as commented on by a few of our favourite fashion Tik Tok stars, the trend cycle swings every 10 years from minimalism to maximalism. So, expect your most-cherished influencers and fashion bloggers to ditch the muted tones for over the top colour-clashing and silhouettes. The use of saturated colours and clashing prints give the frumpy frock a new lease of life, and we just can’t wait to unveil just how our three pieces do just that.

Simone Rocha Autumn Winter 2019 Ready To Wear, Source – Pinterest

Let’s be honest, 2020 has shown us lots of things, and made us realise plenty…

And for us at The Merz, we not only want to wear more vintage, but also we want to wear fun, frivolous and fancy clothing too, even if it’s to just sit on our sofa! 

The extravagant frumpy frock just does that. From winter to spring you can accessorise the frumpy frock with chunky boots, 90’s handbags and oversized jackets. AND, if you have a frumpy dress that is crafted from diaphanous lightweight fabrics, it can easily be worn with heels, chunky trainers and converses too. 

Shrimps Rosemary Dress, Source – Pinterest

The cultural explosion of “cottagecore”, The Crown and Bridgerton have hugely shaped popular culture and fashion in the last year. With the latter two series alone generating a huge revival in mid-century fashion, as well as the romantic silhouettes of the 1800 and 1900s. This will vastly change the way we see frumpiness in the new decade, giving it a new glamorous guise that we just can’t wait to see!

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