Last year I discovered Joanie Clothing for the first time. Since then I have picked up a few of their lovely dresses. When they offered to send me another one to try I obviously jumped at the chance. I’d had my eye on this lovely striped shirt dress for ages, so had to give it a try. I am always drawn to bright colours and I love all the clashing, contrasting shades in this one.

One of my favourite things about this dress is the arm length. If like me, you sometimes like to keep your arms hidden, then this is a great choice. I was also impressed that the arms weren’t too tight either, so the dress is really comfortable to move around in.

In general the fit and style of the dress is great, I had to add a safety pin at the bust, which I do with most shirt dresses. I’m quite busty so to get a great fit everywhere else the bust can gape a little. Having said that the dress didn’t feel at all tight across my chest, so this wasn’t a big problem for me at all.

Another thing I liked about the dress, was that the body isn’t too short and the dress’s waist sits very well on me. I love the belt that comes with it too. Its quite a strong one and should last well.

The dress is made from a light soft polyester and the skirt is lined. It’s a very comfortable dress to wear in warmer weather and I found the dress quite cool and breathable.

I went for my usual size 14, which was absolutely fine on me. They do run ever so slightly on the small side, so if you’re unsure make sure you take a look at the size guide first.

I’ve worn my dress with my favourite yellow shoes from Miss L Fire, an H&M hair flower and some vintage Avon Colour Go Round bangles from the 70s.

I’ve fallen in love with so many dresses from the Joanie website, these three are next on my wishlist. They would all be perfect for summer holidays and sunny weekends.

Mermaid Sun DressStripe Sleeveless DressFrill Sundress

Find the full range of dresses on the Joanie Clothing website.

*Thank you to Joanie Clothing for sending me this dress for the purposes of review. All opinions as always are my own. 

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A couple of weeks ago, Cath Kidston launched yet another gorgeous Disney Colab. This time classic Cath Prints were revamped with a lovely 101 Dalmations theme. Having bought dresses from the last two collections I knew I had to pick one up this time too.

Luckily for me, this is the first time they’ve done a preview launch in a few stores. So to avoid hours of online frustration trying to get the dress into my basket, I headed to the Piccadilly store and stood in a queue for an hour to get my dress.

The whole shopping experience was pretty stress free. It was a lovely sunny day and the queue was organised really well. There were friendly CK staff chatting to people in the queue and it was a really nice atmosphere. When the store re-opened at 7pm we were let in a few at a time and staff were on hand to make sure everyone got everything they wanted. I left with this dress, a bookbag and a mug. I also got a bonus canvas tote bag for spending over £40, which was a really nice touch.

Obviously I absolutely love the print of this dress, the colour and design are really cute. However I was even more in love with the Townhouse print, so I was a little disappointed that they didn’t do it as a dress, as it would have been perfect.

A few people have mentioned being a bit disappointed by the material of the dress. When I first went into the shop, I was too. The dress is 100% polyester and at first I was really sad that it wasn’t cotton or viscose. I’ve not come across another CK dress in this material before and it actually felt very cheap. However my mind completely changed when I put the dress on. When you’re wearing it the material drapes really beautifully and the lighter fabric works very well with the pleats. The dress is very comfortable to wear and not at all sweaty, so don’t be put off!

Fit wise, I always go for a 14 in Cath Kidston and this fit really well. As usual I found it a little short in the body, but I was much more pleased with the skirt length on this, than any of my other Cath dresses.

Price-wise this was not a cheap one, at £80 it is a bit of a splurge for a simple dress. But all my Cath Kidston dresses have lasted for years and always washed well, so I always treat them as an investment. I also rarely buy anything expensive, so I will treat myself to something I really want every now and then

I am really looking forward to finding out what the next Disney collaboration will be. One day I’m hoping for a Lady and the Tramp or a Mary Poppins print. That would be amazing! What Disney film would you like to see Cath Kidston work her magic on next?

Find the full 101 Dalmations range on the Cath Kidston website.

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It can be tricky to find practical shoes to go with vintage dresses. For me comfort is a huge priority. I’m a busy mum and I do a lot of walking. A lot of my job involves going from place to place and keeping my feet happy is really important to me. I’ve mentioned numerous times, how much I like Hotter shoes. I have so many pairs now, but until recently they were mostly heels.

A few weeks ago, I was sent a pair of their Flare sandals in red and yellow and they were perfect to wear with this original 1940s dress which I picked up at a car boot sale.

The sandals are one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I have ever owned. They are wide enough for my feet and have adjustable straps for a perfect fit. The shoes are contoured and have a microfibre insole for ultimate comfort. I went for my usual size 6 and the standard fit. They also come in a wider fitting. My feet are reasonably wide, but I always find the Hotter standard fit to be spot on.

I chose the red and yellow colour way, because they remind me so much of original vintage ones I’ve seen. There are so many lovely 40s sandals in bright colours like these. For a modern shoe, I think they’re a perfectly acceptable addition to a vintage inspired outfit. I think they’d work well at festivals, where comfort needs to come first. These will definitely be coming to Twinwood with me this year.

I love how well they match up to my bangles and I’ve definitely been picking out similar coloured items from my wardrobe to wear with these this summer. As well as this lovely colour, the Flare also comes in several other colourways including gold, blue and aqua, and brown. See all the colours here.

The quality is everything I’ve come to expect from Hotter – excellent. They are beautifully made from high quality materials and best of all, they are produced in the UK. These sandals cost £59.

Find the full range of sandals on the Hotter website.

*Thank you to Hotter for sending me these shoes for the purposes of review. All opinions as always are my own. 

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Sometimes with dresses I experience love at first sight. I have felt that way so many time about dresses from Palava. Their range really speaks to me, not only are the designs beautiful, but the cotton is also organically produced and they are ethically made.

I’ve been wanting to buy a Palava dress for a really long time, but have always put it off because I just couldn’t decide which one to get. I’m so glad I finally decided to get the Beatrice dress and I went for the Chelsea Flower Garden print. The dress arrived in beautiful packaging, with its own little picture book which explains the story behind the print. Everything about it is adorable and as well as appealing to my love of pretty dresses it also makes me feel all nostalgic for the books of my childhood. The border of each dress tells a story and there’s something so lovely and adorable about knowing what the illustrations mean.

Palava is a small family business with an interesting history. The family’s shop Strickland and Holt has been selling various things since 1854. In the 70s the parents of Palava owner Bryony, came in to save the business. They also formed a company which produced bedding using their own designs and those of local artists. They branched out into clothing and the company was a big success. Sadly they had to close in 2000 after a fall in the popularity of prints and the further decline of British manufacture.

10 years later their daughter Bryony restarted the business, using her own illustrations. And so the beautiful dresses with the matching story books were born. The dresses come in both women’s and girls sizes.

The company is run with ethical values at it’s core. From the organic cotton to the European and British manufacture, Bryony ensures that everyone is fairly paid and that the company leaves no negative impact on the world. This is important to me as a consumer and I am happy to pay a little bit extra for that.

Back to my lovely dress, I couldn’t be happier with it. The cotton is super soft and the print is so beautiful and vibrant. The dress has a light cotton lining and is perfect for hot weather. I haven’t put mine through the wash yet, but the dresses are designed to wash well and be hard wearing, so that they can be enjoyed for years. As someone who wears their favourite dresses year after year, this is really important to me.

I went for my usual size 14 in this. I checked the detailed size guide on the website, to make sure it would fit. I really liked the cut of this dress which allowed plenty of room in the bust, while being quite fitted at the waist. The dress fastens with a side zip, like most 50s dresses and I find that really helps to achieve the perfect fit.

I’ve worn mine with a pair of shoes from Hotter, a vintage Enid Collins bag and a flower garland.

The quality is absolutely stunning and everything you’d expect from a dress in this price range. The dress costs £145.95 and for the quality fabric, beautiful design and construction and ethical values you definitely get what you pay for. I would like to invest in more Palava dresses in the future as I know I with love and wear them forever. Here are a few more of my favourite designs from the website.

Find the full range on the Palava website.

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Today I’m continuing my mission to share all of my original vintage dresses on here. Continuing from last week when I shared one of my original 1950s dresses. Today I’m featuring another of my very favourite dresses, this time its a Swirl. I talked about Swirl wrap dresses in a post a few years ago, when I wore my black and white one. They are one of my favourite brands to collect and this particular dress is the highlight of my collection.

I spotted this dress at Twinwood Festival back in August and it was love at first sight. I had absolutely zero shopping budget while I was there. I kept coming back to it though. I absolutely love anything with a fruit print and being a big fan of Swirl dresses I knew I couldn’t let it get away.

The stallholders kindly offered to bring it to the Mid Century Market in London the following month and had it waiting for me when I got there. I’m so glad I got to make it mine! I bought it from Shazam, who are best known for their incredible vintage style hair flowers. They also sell original vintage pieces at fair and festivals. It wasn’t cheap at around £80, but this dress is one that I plan to keep forever. Although most of my clothes are bargains, I will invest in special pieces for my collection if I know I will love and wear them for a long time.

I’ve worn the dress with my yellow Miss L Fire shoes, which I can’t stop wearing at the moment. They are such summery shoes, that I pair them up with everything at this time of year. I’ve also added a hair flower and a stack of bakelite – my go to accessories for nearly every outfit! Beppe the cat also wanted to be included, this is his OOTD debut and he I think he poses like a pro.

One of the things I love about Swirl dresses is their distinctive cut and style. They fasten with a button at the neck and wrap around the back, with ties at the front. The basic design of all Swirls is the same, but the finishes and patterns vary immensely. I particularly like the 50s versions which their big patch pockets.

This fabulous advert from the 50s shows how a Swirl is worn. Image from The Vintage Traveller (used with permission)

First produced in America in 1944 and manufactured well into the 70s, the design changed very little. This makes them a great type of dress to collect. Being wrap dresses the sizing can be a little tricky and I have been caught out before buying them a bit too small, so its always worth double checking the measurements.

You can find out a lot more about the company on The Vintage Fashion Guild website and The Vintage Traveller has some really informative posts on Swirls. I decided not to write too much about the history of the brand, as these two sources have done it so much better than me.

Image from The Vintage Traveller (used with permission)

Swirl dresses are very popular and collectible today. They are more common in the States than they are over here, but they do pop up on Ebay and Etsy from time to time. They aren’t usually ridiculously priced and if I see something I really like I’ll often get it from abroad. I find Swirls are generally in pretty good condition, as they were well made from good quality cotton and were designed to be worn and washed frequently. They have definitely stood the test of time and are still a handy and comfortable addition to a wardrobe.I am completely in love with this novelty print Swirl dress on Etsy at the moment, and just wish it was my size so I could buy it!

Heyday is the only reproduction company who do a style similar to a Swirl. Their Fleur dress is inspired by Swirls and comes in a lovely selection of prints. I’m wearing one in this post from a few years ago.

This patchwork print dress from Heyday pays tribute to the Swirl wrap dresses of the past. 

This lovely duck print dress from Heyday shows how both the Swirls and Fleur dresses fasten at the back.

 Writing this post had made me want to dig out my other Swirls and get some pictures, so watch this space and I’ll be showing them very soon as well.

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