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What makes a great Frocker? It’s much more than Clothes – It’s the Journey. By Ellie Smithson

What makes a great Frocker? It’s much more than Clothes – It’s the Journey.

One of the strengths of Frock Up Friday is the sense of journey. People go on journeys, in this group.

They can be life changing journeys of discovery and affirmation.

They can be challenging journeys, overcoming huge and sometimes horrible odds.

They can be emotional journeys of happiness, loss, recovery, darkness and light.

Hell, the group itself is a journey, from a small bunch of women dressing up to relieve lockdown tension on a Friday, to the diverse, multi-dimensional, living and breathing entity it is now.

Probably the biggest problem with Frock Up Friday is that the name doesn’t begin to cover the meaning of this place, to myself and a lot of others.

I think some people would look at Frock Up Friday, either from the outside or from the perspective of a new joiner, and see needless frivolity, possibly self-congratulation, or a sense of having to be ‘fashionable’ to join or be successful within our walls. I guess having or holding these preconceptions is the first obstacle to overcome. If, that is, you want to be a great Frocker.

The concept of frocking, in this community (I’m going to stop calling it ‘a group’ because community is more what it feels like to me) has evolved beyond ‘this dress, that suit, these earrings and that scarf’ and into a state of mind. To be a great Frocker is to embrace that state of mind.

So what do I mean by ‘state of mind’?

Well, frocking is about seeing with soft eyes. Looking at the person, their post, their choice of fashion, and then looking beyond – seeing the context of who that person is and what they might be trying to say. It’s the opposite of judging someone based on how fashionable, how good looking, how wealthy, age appropriate, gender appropriate or successful,they appear to be.

Frocking is about lyricism and creativity – and the positive affirmation of these things in people. Some people are great with words, some are great with pictures, some are great with both. But almost everyone, via words, pictures, whatever, is telling a story of some kind, a story about their own journey.And that story is rooted in the creativity of that person, the creativity inherent in how they’re expressing themselves.

Now of course, this thought can be applied to all social mediagroups. But is it applied with positive affirmation, without hateful, myopic, wantonly biased or hurtful commentary? I don’t think so. This is the spine of what makes FUF and frocking unique in social media.

Frocking is about chinks of colour and light, even in the dark moments. It’s not about blind or shallow creation of happiness. People sometimes post their darkest moments and generally, somewhere in the comments, the loves and likesand hugs and the other forms of contact, chinks of colour and light seep through, like water through packed stones. I like to visualise that colour and light gently cascading on to the upturned face of the person who posted, as if their screen has become a stained glass window.  

Frocking is about relativity. People who would never have related to others, through discrepancies in age, gender, race, religion, background, location, social position, find common ground with each other, and from this, we all grow.

This is what I see, in countless interactions with otherfrockers. And I think it’s also worth pointing out that while these definitions appear overly altruistic, it doesn’t make us soft. We aren’t patsies. We don’t tolerate rudeness, hate, the overt breaking of community rules, or inappropriate behaviour of any kind. We are inclusive, but protective, of our community and of each other. The greatest frockers I’ve seen are some of the strongest people I’ve ever encountered.

There are other places for other things. And that’s OK. But soft eyes, lyricism, creativity, affirmation, chinks of colour and light and relativity is where we’re at. That’s what Frocking is. These things make up our individual journeys, as well as building the journey we’re all on in this community.

I’d love for you to be a part of it.

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