May 21, 2009

Ten summery vintage dresses to inspire you right now

The eternally beautiful dress, in my mind there is no more wonderful garment in existence. In fact to this extent, when I was a grade school student, I tried to rally my female friends and peers into forming a group devoted to the act of wearing dresses to school every day. On a jungle-gym and rope swing bedecked playground though, my dress loving movement didn’t gain the momentum I’d been hoping for, and I, for a time at least, carried on the act of donning a dress each day by myself. While I do wear pants – and absolutely adore skirts – dresses will forever hold a sweet and special spot in my heart.

Come the smouldering heat of summer there is no other item of clothing I’d rather put on morning, noon or night than a light weight, vintage (or vintage inspired) dress. It can be dressed up or down to your hearts’ content and instantly makes you feel a little glamorous in the midst of a sweltering heat wave (which as many of us know firsthand, is a time when you tend to feel more like a melted pool of crayon wax than the gorgeous bombshell you are).

With June – the month that heralds the arrival of summer – just days away I’ve gathered up ten absolutely fantastic vintage dresses that I hope will leave you as excited for summer frocks as I am (keep in mind that many of these pieces are sold by vintage sellers who are likely to only have one dress in a particular size in stock, so be sure to check the links for detailed sizing and availability information). Who knows, maybe they’ll even inspire you to start your own dress lovers club!

{Equal parts sweet and sexy, this red and white gingham print sundress from Pinup Girl Clothing would become an instant staple in my wardrobe if I owned it. I’d pair it with a cut little black, red or white cardigan at night to keep warm, and nothing but cat’s eye shades when the sun was out in full force. This dress is available in sizes XS through to 2X and is priced at $72US.}

{What would summer be without trips to the beach or at least the wearing of clothes that invoke a nautical vibe? This charming blue and white, 1950s, sailor inspired dress with two rows of lovely white buttons seems positively made for a day at beach or a backyard poolside party. It’s currently available from Viva Vintage Clothing for $85US.}

{One look at this gorgeous accordion pleat, cotton blend dress and I instantly want to slip on a pair of vintage wrist-length gloves and take a stroll around a beautiful summer garden. Something about the swaying movement of the full skirt’s pleats invokes the feeling of petals swaying happily in the breeze. If you can also see yourself in this dress, it can be yours for the very reasonable price of $32US from etsy seller Retro Renegade Vintage.}

{Sporting a breezy, almost peasant inspired white top and full, delightfully fun navy blue polka dot skirt, this short sleeved dress would be the perfect look in which to dance any summer night away. This reproduction frock from Unique Vintage can currently be pre-ordered in sized XS to 2X for $98US, to be shipped out to you in early June.}

{This sophisticated multicoloured, notched neckline silk dress from the 1950s seems right on trend with the current revival of soft, watercolour like floral prints that were all over the spring and summer runways. It’s available from Viva Vintage Clothing for $70US, and I think it would work wonderfully well for an evening cocktail party, dinner party or other event where you want to dress up a little.}

{I love grey, it’s a wonderful neutral and fantastic alternative to black during the dog days of summer. If you also dig this hue, why not check out this lovely hater dress with pink polka dots from Dandelion Vintage, where it’s selling for $65.00US}

{Celebrate Independence Day, Canada Day, Labour Day or any other day of the summer you please in this fun, red trimmed frock complete with full circle skirt. This vintage dress can be yours for $85 from etsy seller Allen Company Inc.}

{With its full skirt, short sleeves, soft ivory colours and incredibly cute stitched strawberry print, don’t you just want to eat this gorgeous summer dress right up? If like me, you do, you can help yourself to a vintage serving for $80US from clothing seller Vintageous.}

{Selling for the bargain price of $26US, this bright, joyfully floral print dress from etsy seller Turquoise Heaven is from the 1980s, but the cut definitely has a distinct fifties feel that could made even more vintage looking with the right summer shoes and hairstyle.}

{While the final dress on our list comes in with the highest price tag ($155US), it is also one of the most striking and whimsically lovely vintage frocks you could hope to encounter. Graced with a lovely rose poking up beyond the neckline, this gem of a summery frock, from Planet Claire Vintage on etsy, would be perfect the perfect thing to wear to a garden party!}

Both stunning and functional (who wants to wear pants and long sleeves in August?), all these elegant dresses have a positively timeless quality to them that will see you through summer after happy summer in vintage style.


  1. While we often of necessity in today's world have to wear pants/ a pant suit for work purposes, I couldn't agree more that nothing beats a gorgeous dress for sheer elegance. And the one above, Jessica, that does it for me is the slim-line silk dress ( and so forgiving on the hips!)

    All beautiful pics!
    Take care
    xNora :)

  2. I adore the sailor dress though all of these are stunning finds.

  3. The dress with the yellow and purple roses is absolutely unbelievably gorgeous!!!!

    Thank you for your comments!

    Have a wonderful day as well!

  4. What a pretty selection! I've been wanting some new summer frocks - time to go shopping!

  5. I'm inspired!! Now those are some fabulous dresses, especially the rose sundress. Lovely!
    ♥ Teresa

  6. yes i love love summer dresses i dont love the summer heat but at least i get to wear pretty dresses!

  7. Good morning, lovely ladies, thank you each very much for your wonderful comments. I had a blast putting this article together and definitely plan to do more along the same line in the future.

    Wishing you all a stunning weekend!
    ♥ Jessica

  8. I would love a wiggle dress, but my body is not the shape of a 1950's woman. They had tiny waists :) Great post!

  9. Hi Sher, I'm sure that you could pull wearing one off! Extra curves (or perhaps more aptly the illusion of extra curves) can sometimes be achieved thanks to a waist cinching belt and/or some body slimming/reshaping under garments. Breaking up the line of the dress by pairing a cropped cardigan, bolero jacket or shrug over it that hits around the narrowest part of your natural waist could also help give the illusion of having more curves.

    Thank you for commenting on this post, and have yourself a beautiful week!
    ♥ Jessica