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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I keep saying that I should share more of my original vintage dresses on here as well as all my lovely repro pieces, and now I am finally getting round to it! I have been collecting vintage dresses for a few years now and I’m hoping to get pictures of all of them. I’m quite good at clearing out my wardrobe and will often sell or donate my dresses after a few wears, otherwise I would run out of room pretty quickly! So even when things leave my possession it’s nice to have photographs and visual records of them.

Today’s dress has actually been with me for some time. The main reason is because I managed to damage it the very first time I wore it, so its been at the bottom of my repair pile for ages. Last week I gave it some much needed tlc and now I can wear and enjoy it through the summer.

The dress is made from lovely light cotton, making it perfect for the summer. I bought this one on eBay for about £35 I think. If you’re building a vintage wardrobe yourself, cotton 50s dresses are a great place to start. Larger sizes can be harder to come by, but if you persevere they are out there.

I’ve worn my dress with a flower garland, which I picked up from New Look a couple of years ago. I’ve teamed it up with my yellow Miss L Fire shoes, which I adore. My bangles are all vintage bakelite, I’ve been slowly building up my bakelite collection over some time. I love mixing and matching them to go with different outfits.

It’s been lovely to have a bit of sunshine over the last few weeks and to be able to finally wear some of my prettiest dresses!

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been adding lots of new stock to my Etsy store, including loads of lovely summer dresses. Everything dates from the 50s to 70s and there’s a selection of sizes. I’ll be adding new stuff every week so watch this space for updates.

I’m looking forward to sharing more of the vintage treasures from my wardrobe over the next few weeks, as well as tips on building your own vintage wardrobe. If you have any vintage related questions please let me know.

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Being a bit of a dress addict, I don’t often wear trousers or separates other than my jeans on casual days. I’ve been wanting a pair of 40s style trousers for ages. I’m quite fussy and having a long body, I prefer trousers that are very high waisted. I recently tried the 40s Style Swing Trousers from Pretty Retro in the Denim Blue colour way. These are a great start to building a staple wardrobe of vintage style separates and they are definitely a very useful addition to my wardrobe.

I love the simplicity of these trousers, which also come in navy and red. They simply fasten at the side with a row of three buttons and this really helps to create a great fit. They are light enough to hang well and are cool enough to wear in the summer. They are made from a poly, viscose and elastane blend, giving them just enough stretch to fit comfortably.

I opted for my usual size 14, having checked the size guide on the Pretty Retro website. I was really impressed that they were spot on fit wise and the stretch really helped to get that perfect fit. The trousers are quite long at 31″, which is why I opted for heels, I have also worn them with my flat brogues and they worked pretty well too.

The trousers are just one part of the fabulous selection of separates from Pretty Retro, who are the sister company of well known repro brand House of Foxy. In addition to the pair I tried they also have a great selection of simple trousers, capris and skirts alongside some lovely tops and blouses to go with them. Most things come in black, navy, cream and red, so you can mix and match the looks. The range is perfect for both wearing to vintage events and for everyday things like work and casual days. They are also perfect to mix in with a wardrobe of original vintage items.

I’ve had quite a few things from Pretty Retro now and I’ve always been so happy with the quality. My favourite thing about their clothing is the attention to detail that goes into the designs. Although their styles are quite simple, things like gathers and tucks and good quality materials really make them stand out from other mid-priced reproduction brands. Although I still, need to get used to wearing trousers, as they’re a little out of my comfort zone, I’m really looking forward to trying different tops and shoes with these and mixing and matching my looks. I’d also really like to get them in a darker shade as well. The trousers I tried are priced at £42 and can be bought online from the Pretty Retro website.

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

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I love it when a reproduction or vintage style item, looks like it could be an original. I really feel that way about the Lindy Bop Maybelle jacket and dress sets. They really do pay homage to that early 60s Mad Men era style. When I went out last week with my mum and dad they were genuinely amazed that this wasn’t a real vintage find.

The set was hugely popular when it first launched in a couple of different colours and I was delighted to see lots of new additions this season. I’m not usually a big wiggle or pencil dress wearer, because I prefer to hide my tummy and hips, which definitely show the signs of having had two babies, but I really like the slightly heavier fabric and lining on this dress, which definitely help smoothen things out a bit.

When Lindy Bop contacted me, to see if I wanted to review one of their new items, I chose this straight away. I love anything in a mustard colour and I thought this would be a great addition to my wardrobe. It makes a nice change from my usual dresses and it’s useful to own something a bit smarter and more formal.

The jacquard fabric definitely reminds me of real vintage pieces I’ve come across in the past and I really like that it had a little bit of stretch. The combination of fitted dress and slightly more boxy jacket works really well too and gives it a very authentic feel.

Quality wise I’m pretty impressed. I like the little details like the concealed zip, fabric covered buttons and the bow on the dress. The lining is a great addition, which I think makes the dress fit and hang better. The set is also finished very well, giving it a more expensive feel. At just £55 I think its great value for money.

Fit wise I went for my usual size 14 and it was absolutely fine. With Lindy Bop it is always worth looking at the size guide, as they really do vary a lot.

I’ve worn the outfit with a pair of Hotter Viviene heels. I think it works well to keep the outfit simple and not go overboard with accessories, so something simple and cream is perfect.

The outfit comes in a selection of colours. If a fitted dress isn’t your thing, then there is also a very similar style in the same fabric with a fuller skirt, which is also absolutely gorgeous.

Top Row – Maybelle Dresses Bottom Row – Marianne Dresses (more colours available)

Which is your favourite colour and style?

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

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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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