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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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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As an avid collector of original vintage, there are certain brands that get my heart all aflutter. One of these would have to be Horrockses. The brand made beautiful cotton dresses in the 40s and 50s and even dressed the Queen in their stunning ready to wear collection, I wrote a post on her Horrockses outfits a couple of years ago. Even back then the dresses were very desirable and were a very special addition to women’s wardrobes.

The brand have been much discussed and written about a lot in recent years and have been part of some major exhibitions. A few dresses from Horrockses have passed through my hands over the years as a dealer. I’ve even found a couple for under £5 at car boot sales in the past. Online they sell for big money these days and as most are safely stored in museums and collectors wardrobes they are now reasonably scarce.

The main problem for me, is that they don’t really come in my size. The main collection was only ever made up to a vintage 16, which is a modern size 12. So as a size 14 I just can’t fit into them. When this dress popped up on a Facebook selling page in my size, I just had to snap it up. I was especially happy to get my hands on this one, as I was quite familiar with the print, having seen it in books before. Apparently certain shops did stock Horrockses dresses in slightly larger sizes, so they are out there. One day I might find another!

I found this particular print in Christine Boydell’s book Horrockses Fashions – Off the Peg Style in the 40s and 50s. It was designed by Alastair Morton in 1947 and as far as I can tell the dress was produced in 1948. Christine recently wrote a post featuring this design on her blog, which is a really interesting read and goes into more detail than I could on here. In fact her whole blog is a fascinating read if you’re interested in vintage textile design in general.

The dress cost me £75, this is pretty cheap for a Horrockses dress and this was mainly because it has seen better days. The label is missing, the zip is broken and it has a fair few marks on it. Luckily it is still totally wearable and I just adore it. It just goes to show you shouldn’t give up on a vintage item just because it isn’t perfect. I bought the dress from Liz who’s blog Advantage in Vintage is an incredible resource, she also has a ridiculously large collection of Horrockses dresses. Her Etsy store is also a bit dreamy!

I’ve worn the dress with a cropped cardigan from Tu Clothing, which I picked up last year. I’m wearing the Mimosa shoes from Hotter which I got recently, they are a cute comfy wedge that will look great with some of my vintage summer dresses. My basket was a recent £5 bargain from Ikea and my necklace is an original vintage one. I wore the outfit for a stroll around Richmond and a pub lunch with my dad last week.

I wear a lot of modern and reproduction clothing for everyday, as a mum I find it more practical, but it is lovely to wear some of my really special original vintage pieces and now that the weather is warmer, these will be appearing a lot more on the blog. I’ve also been sharing a lot of my everyday outfits on my Instagram over the last few weeks.

As for Horrockses, after its heyday in the 40s and 50s they continued to make dresses into the 60s and 70s, but those classic cotton and full skirts were a thing of the past. The brand name was recently licenced to another company who have made a selection of dresses based on the original prints. The dresses are available on Asos, but are made with duchesse satins and have a lot less fabric than the originals. As dresses I really love them, but I’m not sure they pay a true homage to the stunning original designs. I did think they were worth a mention though, as they would look fabulous for events. Click on the images below to see them in full. (above pic via Pinterest)

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Earlier this year I went to one of my first 1940s themed events. I usually dress in 1950s style clothes, with the occasional dabble into the 60s and 70s. When it came to finding an outfit suitable for the era I found it a little tricky. In the end I wore my peony print dress from House of Foxy that I reviewed last year. But it got me thinking how nice it would be to have a few 1940s style outfits to wear to events and that I really needed to fill that decades gap in my wardrobe.

Pretty Retro Red Ditsy Tea Dress

Last year at London Edge I visited the House of Foxy stand, where they were not only displaying the amazing clothing from their range but also a selection of clothing from a new brand that they have launched in the last few months. Pretty Retro is an affordable reproduction vintage brand, which sells key pieces to create a vintage look. As a huge fan of House of Foxy I am so excited by this range. The designs are simpler and are more suitable for everyday wear, so where House of Foxy is perfect for those show stopping extra special outfits, Pretty Retro provide the kind of clothes you could wear to work or for a lunch date.

To me this brand really fills a gap in the reproduction vintage market and I’m really excited to see what else they have coming up in the future. They kindly offered me the chance to review one of their dresses. I jumped at the chance, especially because a 40s style tea dress had been exactly what I was looking for. I opted for the Pretty Tea Dress in Red Ditsy. This is a simple viscose tea dress, perfect for an everyday 40s look.

Pretty Retro Tea Dress Review

What I love about the dress is that it is simple and easy to wear while still having some really gorgeous details. It has a typical 1940s neckline and slightly puffed shoulders and has a super flattering gathered detail at the front and a little bow. The fabric is a lovely flow viscose which makes it hang beautifully. I have worn it 3 times this week already because it is the perfect dress to wear in a heatwave. The dress isn’t fitted so the light fabric skims over the body, which is so comfortable.

Red Ditsy 1940s Tea Dress Pretty Retro

Fit wise I went for a 14, as the dress has no zip or fastenings and is quite loose fitting, I think this was the right size to go for and I think it comes up pretty true to size. The bias cut of the fabric, gives it a beautifully flattering drape and I found it really easy to wear.

As usual I added a vintage Enid Collins bag to the outfit, although not era appropriate, I think they go with everything and I’m not a stickler for keeping everything authentic, I like to dress like me! I also wore my Orla Kiely for Clarks Abigail shoes, which are probably my all time favourite shoes. Although they are 70s inspired I think they work well with 40s style dresses too. I finished the look with a stack of simple vintage bakelite and plastic bangles and a vintage bead necklace. I will definitely be wearing this dress to my next 40s event, with slightly more authentic hair and accessories.

Pretty Retro Red Ditsy Tea Dress Review

The quality of the dress was really nice. The fabric is absolutely lovely and the details make it that little bit more special. The dress costs £49 which I think is just right and I think it is something I will keep for many years to come and wear a lot. The dress also comes in a blue tiki print and a black polka dot, both of which I would really like to add to my wardrobe.

The whole range is really exciting and includes a wiggle dress and a really beautiful swing dress as well as basic wardrobe staples such as capris, swing trousers and pencil skirts. If you are new to vintage or just want to expand your vintage wardrobe, this is a really great place to start. I’m really hoping this dress comes out in more prints, because I would love to have more.

See the full range on the Pretty Retro website. 

*Thank you so much to Pretty Retro for sending me the dress for review. All opinions as usual are entirely my own. 

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Shoes to Wear with Vintage OutfitsWhen it comes to vintage, I seem to have absolutely loads of dresses, handbags and jewellery. However I own very few pairs of true vintage shoes. This is partly because my feet are quite wide and I find it hard to vintage shoes to fit, I also find it hard to find affordable styles that are in good enough condition for regular wear. Therefor I like to buy modern shoes on the high street, which are comfortable and complement my vintage wardrobe.

Most of the time you’ll find me wearing either my converse or comfy ballet pumps, but I also have a few favourite pairs of shoes which I also wear quite a lot. I thought I’d share some of my favourite pairs with you. hopefully it will help if you’re stuck for shoe inspiration for your vintage outfits. I think every single one of these has been included in outfit posts over the last couple of years and I wear them all a lot.

My favourite shoe brand is definitely Hotter. This brand has always had a focus on comfort and although traditionally aimed at the older generation, their last few collections have included some wonderful vintage inspired styles.

Hotter Donna

My favourite pair from Hotter are the Donna shoes in pink, which I wear all the time. They are so comfortable, with just the right heel height to look elegant, while still being comfortable enough to wear all day. They bring these out in new colours every season and I especially like them because they go with so many different vintage styles and eras. You can see I’ve worn them loads as they’re a tiny bit battered, but still going strong! You can see me wearing them in my House of Foxy blog post.

Hotter Donna Pink

Hotter Donna OOTDHotter Sandy

My next pair from Hotter are the Sandy shoes, also in pink. These are made from a lovely soft leather and I love the slightly more detailed t-bar style. I got these earlier this year and I’ve used them in quite a few of my outfit posts. These are slightly higher than my other styles, but still really comfortable. They also come in a gorgeous mustard and grey colour, which I absolutely love too. I wore these in my Dolly and Dotty Cape Review.

Hotter Sandy Shoes

Hotter Sandy OOTDHotter Mary Janes:

My final pair from Hotter are some lovely classic navy shoes. I wore these loads in the winter and they are simple enough in design to go with loads of outfits. I very rarely wear black so I usually go for navy or Brown shoes when I want something darker. I reviewed these shoes last year.

Hotter Michelle Shoes Hotter Michelle OOTDClarks Orla Kiely:

The Clarks and Orla Kiely shoe collaboration was one of my favourite shoe collections ever. I’m so sad that they’re doing them anymore. I was lucky enough to get this lovely pair of brown platforms from the range last year. I love these seventies inspired shoes and wear them with outfits from all decades. I reviewed these shoes last year.

Clarks Orla Abigail Brown

Clarks Orla Kiely Abigail OOTDClarks Brogues:

Another pair from Clarks are my pink and cream brogues. Clarks always have a great selection of brogues in a huge variety of colours and leather finishes. These go really well with dresses and vintage trousers and to me they are an absolute must-have. They are comfortable enough to wear for a whole day on your feet, while still looking really feminine and pretty. I featured them in my Lady K Loves review.

Clarks Pink and Cream Brogues

Clarks Brogues OOTDSwedish Hasbeens:

For the summer my favourite sandals are my Swedish Hasbeens, these are the only shoes that I struggle a little to walk in as the soles are so solid. Walking in clogs is an art I’ve not quite mastered yet. They do however, look great with really summery vintage dresses and I’ll definitely be persevering with them this year. I wore these in my Collectif Flamingo dress review.

Swedish HasbeensSwedish Hasbeens OOTDMiss L Fire:

Lastly, possibly my favourite pair of shoes ever, are my Miss L Fire mustard collared 40s style ones. When it comes to clothes and shoes this is definitely my favourite colour. Miss L Fires are quite expensive, but I bought these with some birthday money, so there was not a shred of buyers remorse after picking these up! I wore these in my vintage favourites post in January.

Miss L Fire Shoes

Miss L Fire Mustard ShoesI have lots of other shoes which I wear occasionally, but these are my go-to styles to wear with vintage outfits. I might do a future post on my original vintage ones, if anyone would like to see?

Check out more fashion post in my Outfits section.

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