June 24, 2009

Ten fantastic summer party dresses

Today just happens to be my brother’s birthday (Happiest 22nd, little bro!), and though we live on opposite sides of the country and won’t get to spend it together, I can’t help but feel in a festive mood as I woke up this morning. Which got me to thinking about birthday parties – and for that matter, parties in general – and of the sorts of sophisticated, feminine dresses that women so often wore to celebrations, dinner parties, and fêtes of all kinds during the 30s, 40s and 50s.

For as long as I can recall being able to dress myself, I’ve adored wearing frocks, and I must confess, the more elegant, structured and eye catching they are, the better! Though I don’t have a fancy party to attend today, that doesn’t stop me from daydreaming that I do, and in turn scouring the web for some of the prettiest vintage (and vintage inspired) party dresses out there.

The following ten frocks are presented in a rainbow-like fashion to help highlight the diverse array of hues in which one can find a lovely vintage party dress. While the fabric they’re constructed from varies, each one is in a cut that I think is well suited to summer soirees, be they indoor or outdoor celebrations.

♥ ♥ ♥

{Glamorous enough to have graced a 1930s red carpet, this deeply gorgeous vintage inspired cream and mocha hued lace dress would be sure to turn heads anywhere you wore it! $198.00US from Unique Vintage.}

{Sweet as a cotton candy and just as yummy, this pink cotton swing dress (with its adorable bow on the back of the neck) would make anyone feel like a princess! $88.00US from Unique Vintage.}

{My heart fluttered the moment I saw this immensely stunning pink floral print vintage dress. While the price tag is a little steep, if you had a special occasion to go to and were looking to splash out on your outfit, you’d hard pressed to find a more incredible dress anywhere! $275.00US from etsy seller Timeless Vixen Vintage.}

{To say this burgundy silk wrap dress is staggeringly beautiful, would be a gross understatement. It’s powers go beyond beauty into a realm as timeless as silver screen starlets, great jazz music and the act of falling in love. Though a pricey piece, I feel it would be worth every penny. $385.00 from etsy seller Timeless Vixen Vintage.}

{Sweetly lovely like a bouquet of spring flowers, this 1950s dress features a cute bow and Lucite buttons down the front. $79.00US from esty seller Flashbax.}

{Shimmering like an emerald in the sun, this beautiful sweet-heart neck dress instantly made me of something Marilyn would have loved to have worn. £55.00 (UK pounds) from Oli.}

{Charming as a bouquet of freshly picked blooms, this vintage dress (which the seller lists as being from the 1950s or 60s) would look amazing on. I love the rouched lilac hued sash and full skirt, and could easily imagine myself wearing this to an garden party. $75.00US from etsy seller Goodeye.}

{The colour of this halter neck dress reminds me of a summer sky as it teeters between dusk and night, inky blue and sweetly mysterious. £59.00 (UK pounds) from Vivien Holloway.}

{Though somewhat understated compared to the other dresses on this list, this navy blue silk-satin brocade sheath frock (featuring an adorable white butterfly print) strikes me as the type of dress that would look like a million dollars when paired with some d’orsay heels and a sleek little clutch. $65.00US from etsy seller Pintuck Style.}

{Resplendently timeless, this short sleeved black silk dress would be perfect for any party, from cocktails with friends to New Year’s Eve! $138.00US from etsy seller Thirteen Bees Vintage.}

I think that just as every gal should have a LBD in her closet, so too should she have at least one amazing party dress that can carry her through a myriad of special occasions. From weddings (just be sure your gown doesn’t upstage the bride’s ;D) to formal dinner parties, getting onto the guest list of a charity gala event or just deciding that you really want to look drop-dead gorgeous for a loved one’s – or your own! – birthday party, it never hurts to have a stunning dress like the examples above on hand!


  1. I think I have the butterfly brocade on my favorites list ;-). Good stuff. Love that pink one from Unique vintage!

    1. Yes! The Pink one is my ABSOLUTE favorite, though it is closly followed by the others.

  2. oh my goodness i love you for this post! i will no doubt come back to it over and over cause i just love these dresses *sigh*
    i too enjoy a good dress but have only recently been able to wear them with full confidence! and boy am i ever making up for lost time :)
    yay for dresses!
    that first dress from unique vintage is like a dream! i love all eras but dude seriously that dress is just amazingly gorgeous! *sigh*

  3. Love that red number! And the blue butterfly one would fit me perfect ;)

  4. Beautifull dress's....but don't you just hate people who own lovelie's like these then say they have nothing to wear...I'd wear them where ever if they were mine!

  5. If it is possible to fall in love with a dress I wont ever own I have just done it. I am in love with the burgundy silk wrap dress such an amazing find. Jessica I think I have said it before and I will say it a million more times you have a great eye and great style. Have a great week hun!

  6. There's nothing like a 1950's cocktail dress! Happy birthday to your brother!

  7. adorable, I covert the first one :-)

  8. Hi Honey!!! WOW now my heart must be still as I literally feel like I'm going to have a heart attack looking at these diamond for dresses!!! wow wow!!! UGH..I want them all! :) thanks for your ever-sweet comments, have a wonderful day

  9. @ RocketJNYC, I really like the butterfly one as well, I think it has the potential to be dressed up or down as much as you'd want for any occasion.

    @ Elena, thank you, sweetie! Could you imagine what it would feel like to wear that cream number? My stars, I think I'd be waiting for the paparazzi to pop out :D

    I'm so happy for you that you're more at peace with wearing dresses these days, that's wonderful, hon!

    @ Sher, I love the red one so, so much, too! If it's your size, you should pick up the butterfly dress, I know it would stunning on you and that you'd add the perfect accessories and shoes.

    @ Gingeygine, I could only imagine! I know, sometimes when I hear celebs say that they never have anything to wear, I roll my eyes and feel like saying that's because they've lost track of how much clothing they own! I know us vintage loving gals would treasure any one of these dresses to no end, and would never tire of turning to it often.

    @ Darla, you are so sweet! Heartfelt thanks, kind soul! I am madly in love with that burgundy dress too. Love the pink floral number as I do, the burgundy one is my favourite on the list. The fact that it would probably fit me makes it all the more rough! Usually when I list vintage dresses they're the wrong size, but this baby isn't. I keep having to push "well, you don't really need to pay bills or eat this month" thoughts from my head ;D Thank you again, my lovely friend. I think you and I are so much alike when it comes to the vintage styles we like.

    Thank you very much, wonderful ladies, for your terrific comments. I wish we could all get together, dress up in our favourite party gowns and throw a vintage soirée.

    ♥ Jessica

  10. @ Maggi, thank you very much for the b-day wishes, hon, that's so sweet of you. (I agree, there few garments that can even begin to rival a beautiful 50s cocktail dress.)

    Big hugs, my sweet friend!
    ♥ Jessica

  11. Oh I am SUCH a sucker for a whittled waist and a big, full skirt!

  12. These are all fantastic. I think any of them would look great. Cheers!

  13. thank you very much for your visit ! i love your blog, i didn't know it!

  14. Different dress for different feelings. The beautiful pink floral print for a summer garden party. The very sexy maroon one,,a cocktail party, Navy blue silk, the yacht club. I love to dream... the dresses are beautiful and full of wonderful dreams. Thank you.

  15. My favorite is #1 - absolutely stunning!!
    Lovely pics as always!
    xNora & Lola:)

  16. Okay I desperately want 3 and 4! xxx

  17. Love them all! Wish I had a nest egg to splurge, or a lottery ticket.

  18. These are so beautiful, i almost can't look at them because i want them all!!!

  19. The first one is definitely no.1!
    Thanks for visiting me! Come back soon ;)

  20. I absolutely love each of the vintage and floral gowns! Particularly the swing ones. You truly are a treasure finder! ;)


  21. ........ok.....I don´t necessarily have to have them all....

    But I definately WANT numbers 2 and 5. ;)
    I really like your blog, congratulations!

    Thank for stopping by in mine. As for your comments on my curls...I guess the secret is to have a sort of wavy/nearly curly (also known as shapeless heheheh) and deeply dry hair..... :D

    I am not complaining...but believe me, any conditioner that works on my hair is a miracle one!

    Have a great day.

  22. @ Cammila, so am I! It's a shape I constantly strive for with my outfits. So timelessly pretty and feminine.

    @ Keith, thank you. I think they're all amazing too!

    @ Miss Muller, you're very welcome, my dear. Thank you in turn for visiting here and for your lovely words.

    @ Tracey, Wonderfully said, I really like your take on what situations these dresses would work for.

    @ Nora, thank you, hon! I wonder if there make tiny pet sized evening gowns that would work for Lola ;D

    @ Moonspinner, they're amazing aren't they? 3 and 4 are my faves of the list as well.

    @ Amanda, oooohhhh, I hear you there, sweetie! It's dangerous to put a list like this together - dangerous for one's wallet, I mean ;D

    @ Pretty Little Pictures, so do, I! I wish it was easier to readily find dresses like this (in the right size) nowadays. Ladies were so lucky to have the fashions they did in the 40s and 50s!

    @ Alice, my pleasure, you're blog is a delight! Thank you for visiting here, sweetie.

    @ in company with sparkles, thank you so much, dear friend!

    @ M, 2 and 5 are so fresh and lovely! The perfect hued dresses for a garden party or sunny Easter weekend. Thank you for your kind words about CV and your further hair tips :) I absolutely adore your blog too!

    Many thanks everyone, for your fantastic comments! I always love hearing from you so much!
    ♥ Jessica

  23. The first is absolutley gorgeous. I love the colour too. Thanks for following my blog by the way, much appreciated :)

  24. Hi Chelsea Ann, thank you very much for your comment, sweetie. I adore that dress too, I think it would be breath-taking as a wedding or red carpet dress.

    You're welcome, I really like the soulful, creative, lovely energy the flows through your blog.

    Wishing you a beautiful day,
    ♥ Jessica