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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Red Gingham Horrockses

All my recent outfit posts have featured my favourite vintage style highstreet finds and reproduction dresses, and I thought it was high time my original vintage dresses got a bit more of a look in. So I’ve decided to do a new series on the blog featuring some of my favourite authentic vintage outfits.

1960s Gingham Horrockses Dress

Todays dress was an eBay buy and I don’t wear it very often as it’s a little too small. I usually sell dresses which aren’t the perfect fit, as I really don’t believe in keeping stuff you don’t use. This dress is an exception to my rule however, because I love it so much. I have a huge love of all things gingham, especially if it’s red. For everyday wear I have been wearing my red gingham dress from Sainsburys a lot, but it has not replaced this dress in my favourites.

Red Gingham Horrockses Dress

I’d always wanted an original 1950s Horrockses dress, one of the really collectible expensive ones, but I’m yet to find the perfect dress in just the right size and for such a big investment it would have to be perfect. When I spotted this 1960s one for just £40 I had to have it. Hopefully when I finally get round to losing my baby weight it will be a better fit. To get it on today I had to wear the most ridiculous vintage girdle to take an inch off my waist!

Red Horrockses Gingham Dress

The dress is made from a lovely soft cotton and has a cute lace trim on the body. It’s not full enough for a petticoat like a 1950s style would be, but still full enough for a mid-century look.

I’ve teamed the dress up with my favourite pair of wedges from New Look a couple of years ago and an original 1950s bag which I bought at Wimbledon Car Boot Sale for £2.

I’m looking forward to sharing a few more of my favourite vintage dresses with you in the future and hopefully getting some new ones soon too!

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One of the things that made me start writing this blog was my love of fashion history, I absolutely adore looking back at the past and seeing what people were wearing, what they wore it for and the social reasons behind fashions. One of my favourite things to do is to look through vintage magazines and admire the beautiful clothes. I definitely with I could just pop to a shop and buy some of the dresses I see advertised.

One of my favourite style icons of the 1950s is the Queen. We see her as an old lady now, but when she became Queen she was a woman in her early twenties with a young family. She must have been someone that young women of the time looked up to and admired, definitely a style icon of her time.

Picture Post 1954

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I recently acquired a whole stack of Picture Post magazines from the late 40s and early 50s. Having started to read through them I’ve noticed so many issues have features on the Queen and her choices of outfits. I thought it would be great to share some of her beautiful dresses on here as a little fashion inspiration for glamorous 1950s loving ladies.

The Queens Sunshine Wardrobe 1954

I found this particular article from an issue from February 1954, which features some of the dresses worn by the queen on her Royal Tour. I particularly like the yellow Horrockses dress, as this was also available off the peg, so anyone could have bought it.

The Queens Royal Tour 1954

The Queen 1950s dresses

How beautiful is the yellow and floral print on the Horrockses dress, I’d love to own one like this!

The Queen's Horrockses Dress Print

The Queen Yellow Horrockses Dress 1954

And something a little more glamorous for the evening…

The Queen Evening fashion 1954

The Hardie Amies and Norman Hartnell dresses about are simply beautiful! I also have another issue of the magazine which features some of the dresses which Norman Hartnell designed for the Coronation in 1953 which I will try and share with you soon.

What is your favourite dress from the ones above?

Click on the images to enlarge.