Product Review by Alex C – Frugi Customer & Crusader
Now, I want you to understand, I am not a fashionista. My idea of fashion is something that doesn’t smell too bad, can drip dry and where sick stains can be hidden with careful accessorising. In fact, I dithered for a long time about whether to become a Frugi Crusader – would it mean that I’d be expected to understand words like ‘bias cut’ and ‘demi-saison’, or (even worse) use them in reviews?
Thankfully, my 16-month-old son’s childminder IS a fashionista – or at least, she used to work for Dorothy Perkins, which is close enough for me.
So when this rather snazzy stripey top arrived in the post, I cheated – I handed it to Mrs Childminder and asked for her opinion.
I wasn’t disappointed. She tugged at the seams, held it up to the light and declared appreciatively that it was well-made, from good quality cotton, and had ‘beatnik influences’.
Hmmm. I was already in over my head, so in an effort not to appear a fashion outcast, I emailed Lauren, one of the two lovely designer people at Frugi. Does this top, I asked, have beatnik influences, and if so, what does that mean?
I received a swift reply. The top was inspired by the swashbuckling pirates who sailed the seven seas. Not beatniks, who she said were ‘travelling bums’.
Now my son, Oliver, is 16 months old, and when I see his cloth-covered rump waddling away from me the phrase ‘travelling bum’ is wonderfully appropriate. Keen to lean more, I turned to the internet.
Wikipedia kindly informed me that beatnik is “a media stereotype that borrowed the most superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s to present a distorted (and sometimes violent), cartoon-like misrepresentation of the real-life people”. Which didn’t help me a lot.
The accompanying picture did, though. Ned Flanders from The Simpsons, with his beatnik parents.
Anyway, beatnik or pirate, this is a great top. The super-soft cotton washes beautifully and, unusually for organic cloth, with minimal shrinkage. It’s also one of those magical pieces of clothing which looks better on than off – why does that never seem to be the case with my stuff?!
The sizing is generous – Oliver is spot-on average weight and height for his age, but this was still quite large on him. The wide neck means it’s easy to put on a young wriggler, and I think the vibrant colours – brick-red with contrasting turquoise trim – would look equally good on girls and boys.
A little niggle about the two large labels sewn in the back. Okay, they are made of soft cotton, but might they still irritate Oliver’s neck? In practice, he didn’t seem bothered at all, but more sensitive souls might be.
My other wee gripe is a very personal one. This top is part of a co-ordinated range – matching shorties, hats and a hoodie are all available. If you’re the type of parent who likes to see their child in proper ‘outfits’ this is great, but I’m not. And, lovely though this top is, it isn’t the type of thing you can just throw on with any old pair of trews, safe in the knowledge that your beloved offspring won’t look as if you dressed them in the dark. The bold design and colours of this top demand you put some effort into picking out the right bottoms if it’s to attract the admiring comments it deserves.