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.

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 OOTDMy 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 OOTDMy 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 OOTDThe 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 OOTDAnother 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 OOTDFor 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 OOTDLastly, 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?

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I find choosing outfits during winter so much harder than I do when the weather is warmer. In the summer you can throw on a cotton sun dress in any colour and it looks fabulous. As someone who doesn’t usually go for dark colours I struggle to find things I feel happy wearing. So naturally when I come across a black dress which fits beautifully, feels comfortable and I feel good wearing, I know I’m on to a winner.

The lovely House of Foxy recently rejoined me as a blog advertiser and offered me a dress to try from their beautiful range. I chose the lovely Grable dress in black and peony print and I absolutely love it. The Grable is a 1940s inspired dress which pays homage to the beautiful war time pin-up Betty Grable.

20th Century Foxy Grable Peony Dress
The dress has a light flowing chiffon top which gathers beautifully under the bust and features a tie detail at the neck. I found this part super flattering and easy to wear. I particularly liked the loose fitting short sleaves which lightly skim over the tops of the arms. If like me, you feel a little self conscious about your upper arms, then this a really good choice.

The skirt is made from a poly-rayon blend and is really light, I loved the way it skimmed over my least favourite places and I found it really flattering. The dress nips in at the waist and hides my tummy which I absolutely love. Because the dress is so light you can see the line of my girdle underneath it, so next time I’ll probably wear lighter underwear or a full slip underneath to smoothen it out a bit.

House of Foxy Grable Dress Review
I opted for a size 14 and was a little concerned that it would be too small on the bust, but it was actually just right. There was no gaping or stretching at all, because of the cut of the dress I think this could suit most bust sizes, so it’s not just one for the curvy girls.

Hotter Donna Pink
I am so happy with the dress and it’s definitely going to become one of my winter staples. I teamed the dress up with a few vintage bangles, an original 40s handbag, nude seamed stockings and my favourite shoes from Hotter. The dress also comes in navy polka dot finish which I’m very tempted by.

I’d also like to mention that all of House of Foxy’s products are made in the UK, using absolutely beautiful fabrics to a very high standard. Supporting small British businesses is really important to me. They are at the higher end price-wise but you get what you pay for in quality. I see dresses like this as investment pieces which will see me through a few years and will last.

House of Foxy Grable Dress In Retrospect Magazine

Outfit Details

Dress – 40s Grable Tea Dress – £99 – House of Foxy

Handbag – Original 1940s Cordé

Shoes – Donna in Pink – Hotter

If you’re looking for the very best in reproduction vintage, then be sure to check out the House of Foxy website. They have lots of beautiful dresses and separates which are very authentic in appearance and are inspired by the 1920s to 60s.

I get to do some really fun things because of this blog. A couple of weeks ago I went to an event that was areal highlight for me. I’d been wanting to visit Cahoots, a vintage London underground themed bar for ages. It’s just the perfect place for me, I love the past and have a very geeky obsession with London’s transport history. I’d also wanted to watch A Royal Night Out since it first appeared at the cinema, but just didn’t get round to it, so was waiting for the DVD. When I was invited to celebrate the launch of the film on DVD at Cahoots I jumped at the chance!

Cahoots Royal Night Out Tickets
Cahoots Royal Night OutThe venue was the perfect place for a 1940s themed event, as the film is about the queen and her sister celebrating VE day back in 1945, the cocktails for event were named after the two sisters. I tried both the Princess Elizabeth and the Princess Margaret and they were both delicious.

Cahoots Royal Night Out Cocktail IngredientsAs well as the 40s venue and themed cocktails we were also provided with a 40s style dress and were given a little vintage makeover, I never do 40s hair, but actually really liked the faux bangs and victory rolls combination.

Cahoots Royal Night Out 1940s Hair

The film came out on DVD earlier this month, it’s the perfect film to watch this year as it is the 70th anniversary of VE day and the queen recently celebrated being the longest reining monarch. Never has there been a better time to snuggle down with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and feel all patriotic! The film is based loosely on true events with a lot of poetic licence and I found it absolutely adorable. I won’t give too much away but I will say if you love the 1940s you will adore the costumes! The film also really captures the amazing events and celebrations which took place in London at the end of the war.

Cahoots Royal Night Out DVD

I loved everything about the interior at Cahoots, it’s like stepping into a time-warp from the moment you enter. So much effort has gone into making the interior as authentic as possible from the tiled entrance to the advertisements on the walls. The bar even has it’s own train carriage to enjoy a drink or two in. It makes for the perfect night out for vintage fans.

Cahoots Royal Night Out Entrance
Cahoots Royal Night Out Decoration
Cahoots Royal Night Out Table
Cahoots Royal Night Out Train Carriage

Here’s the trailer for the film…

A Royal Night out can be bought on DVD from Amazon.

Find out more about the bar on the Cahoots website.