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Vintage Dresses, 1950s and Earlier

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Shipping: Based on weight and destination; calculated at checkout.

Vintage Dresses, 1950s and Earlier

Designer & upscale special-occasion apparel along with high-quality pieces designed and priced for everyday wear. Timeless classics for today & tomorrow! NOTE: We’re working as fast as we can to bring you more of our extensive inventory! Check frequently for new additions! If you don’t see what  you’re looking for, drop us an e-mail—we may very well have what you need. And we’ll be glad to check our inventory for you!

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Vintage 50s Designer Rayon Crepe Cocktail Party Dress, Larry Aldrich, Sz Sm

Condition: Excellent to near mint; I see no flaws in outer shell. There’s a small hole in the attached petticoat, which, of course, doesn't show. I would guess this has been worn just once or twice.

Size: About a modern 4 to 6. But go by the dimensions below! Remember to leave room for your body! Bodice fit is somewhat flexible--can be worn loosely for a blousy look or more fitted.

* Measurements

Bust: 35 1/2"

Waist: 27" (can be made smaller by moving hooks & eyes over)

Hip: 38" (plus more from ease in pleats)

Bodice length, from top of shoulder to waist: 17" (this is a fairly long dimension, but remember that the dress has a slight blouson bodice, so the waist seam will sit at your waist, and the extra fabric gives the bodice its blouse! If you're long-waisted, the bodice will be more fitted on you.)

Dress length, down center back: 47 1/2" down center back

Item Number: ALD-8031

Price: $195


Shipping: Free within U.S., discounted internationally; contact us prior to ordering.

† Larry Aldrich began making clothing in 1927 but his own name didn’t appear on labels until the 1940s. His clothing was stylish, with Paris fashions being adapted for a more conservative sensibility in the U.S. He was a collector of modern art, and in 1957 became very involved in art collecting. At that point he made Marie McCarthy his head designer. In 1972, Aldrich retired from the clothing business to concentrate on developing his art museum, the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. He sold his business to Lew Prince, and the label became simply “Aldrich.”

Information courtesy, in part, of the Vintage Fashion Guild Label Resource

Vintage 40s 50s Abby Kent Taffeta Foulard Print Full Skirted Dress, Size Small SOLD

Here’s a very smart late 1940s/early 1950s dress by long-lived design house Abby Kent. Very versatile–wear almost anywhere. This is a lightweight taffeta, and, though there’s no place to take a snip for a burn test, I’m almost positive this is silk. It has a finer hand than acetate and a luster that is normally found only in silk. (Could be an acetate, but if so, it’s far nicer than most acetates of that era.) The skirt and the neckline insets have a polished or glazed finish for crispness, giving that wonderful “swish” when you walk, while the bodice is soft and fluid.

Offers deep scooped neckline with shaped insets and bow, gathers at side/front both sides. Shown in photos with crinolines (not included) of differing fullness, but dress does not require that one be worn with it. The skirt has some natural fullness due to its cut and the crispness of the fabric. Dress still has its original belt!

Condition: Excellent, with a pin-head sized mend in the lower half of the skirt, at the back. Due to its tiny size and the fullness of the skirt, this isn’t noticeable; priced to account. Otherwise, dress is near mint.

Size: Not labeled; about a modern “small” (4/6). The kimono-style sleeves have no seams, so the armpit-to-armpit dimension of the bust is approximate, but the fit of this dress has some play in it. Shown on an approx. 6/8 dress form, but would leave little to no room for movement on a size 8.

* Measurements

Bust: 36″ (accounting for ease)

Waist: 27” (fitted & seamed at natural waistline)

Hip: Full

Bodice length: 14 1/2″ (shoulder to waist)

Shoulder to shoulder, across back: 16 1/4″

Dress length, from shoulder at sleeve seam down side: 44 1/2"

Item Number: KENT-5062

Price: $115 SOLD

Vintage 40s 50s Cay Artley Rayon Paisley Shirtwaist Dress, Lg, XL, Fabulous Condition

Post WW II (late 40s/early 50s) paisley shirtwaist dress is very versatile, in fabulous condition, in a terrific size!

From maker Cay Artley, a moderately priced house that advertised its garments' flattering fit and "superb tailoring." This dress includes these features, among them pinked seams, extra reinforcing at stress points, neatly finished self-covered shoulder pads, and more. Made of soft, drapey rayon, buttons to the waist, has metal side zipper, and on-seam pockets on either side. Bodice features bust darts, waist pleats, seamed back yoke. Sleeves have buttoned cuffs, which are turned up and tacked to stay that way. Skirt has center inverted box pleat with wide pleats either side.

Condition: Near mint, no flaws. Shows almost no wear other than on the label. Original belt is present, in wonderful condition. Hem has been let down about 3", easy to hem back up if needed.

* Size: About a modern large (12/14) to possibly a 16. But go by the dimensions below! We suggest you compare to a dress you have of similar style or fit. Remember to leave room for your body! Bodice fit is somewhat flexible--can be worn loosely for a more blousy look, or more fitted. The waist dimension on this is a good guide to the maximum fit.

Bust: 44"

Waist: 34"

Hip: 46" (plus more from ease in pleats)

Sleeve length: 20 1/2" from shoulder seam on outside

Shoulder to shoulder: 15 1/2"

Bodice length, from shoulder seam to waist: 16"

Dress length, down center back: 46" (about 43" at original length)


Designer information in part courtesy of Vintage Fashion Guild's Label Resource.


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Shipping: Based on weight and destination, calculated at checkout.

Vintage 50s Full Skirt Dress & Bolero, Cotton Voile, Medium 8 10, Near Mint SOLD

This 1950s' dress with bolero jacket is the quintessential go-everywhere outfit--from desk to cocktails to dinner. And dress it up for a party on the weekend! A "Classic Lady by Constantine,"  it's of semi-sheer crisp cotton voile in a black & off-white modernist abstract print. The 3/4-length-sleeved bolero is trimmed in velvet. Dress has box-pleated, semi-full skirt that can be worn without or with a crinoline (shown in photos with medium-full crinni, not included). You don’t want a crinni that’s so full it “erases” the pleats, though! Shapely, darted bustline; metal side zipper, original belt. Bolero closes at top with hook and thread eye. Semi-sheer fabric would look great with either a black, nude, or white slip underneath. Nice size, too--about a modern 10 or full-busted 8.

Condition: Near mint. Appears unworn, but I can't guarantee that. I see no signs of wear at all, but there is a bit of tarnish on the metal portion of the belt buckle, due to age and/or storage.

* Size: Tagged vintage 14 1/2; a pretty solid 10, I'd guess, or large 8. But go by the dimensions! We suggest you compare to a dress you have of similar style or fit.

Bust: 38" to 40"; (2 sets of darts gives this ease through the bust for a somewhat flexible fit--but the fabric does NOT stretch)

Waist: 31" (seamed and fitted, with belt to take up any extra room)

Hips: 40" minimum, pleats lying flat and skirt not flared out; there's quite a bit of extra room, though you don't want to totally lose the pleating through this area

Bodice Length: Approx. 15 1/4"

Dress Length: 41" down center back seam

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Item Number: CL-8152

Price: $85

Shipping: Based on weight and destination, calculated at checkout.

One of the nicest LBDs we've ever had (photos simply can't do it justice). Ca. mid-late 50s' Larry Aldrich† cocktail or party dress is made of rich black rayon in a silky feeling, fine crepe weave suitable for year-round wear. Its different design elements work beautifully together: Fabulous collar treatment--a deep scoop neck gathered in front into a bow-like trim, fastened in back with hooks & eyes, and with a wing detail that falls out over the shoulders. Slight blouson-style bodice with cummerbund waist that fastens in back with hooks & eyes. Very full, accordion-pleated skirt ends in a deep inverted back panel that's flat so you can sit without crushing your pleats! The stiffened organza petticoat stitched in to the skirt will make it swish and swirl when you walk or dance. Exceptionally well made, with inner waistband ribbon stay, neatly finished seams, hand stitching, etc. Underarm gussets, back metal zipper. Dress is a true rich black, but some photos have been lightened for detail.


This dress is reminiscent of an Edith Head design that Grace Kelly wore in "Rear Window," with its pleats, collar bow, and deep neckline.

Item Number: ART-8153

Price: $80

Vintage 50s’ Designer Silk Pleated-Skirt Day or Party Dress, A Deeds Original  

This dress, ca. mid 50s, carries a rare label, “A Deeds Original.” It’s very difficult to find pieces with this label or other information, but from what we can tell, this line was carried at upscale stores. And the few dresses we’ve seen, including this one, have been smart looking and of obvious high quality. Made of a mid-weight dyed douppioni or shantung silk with a crisp hand, it features cap sleeves, dropped waist, side zipper, and swingy pleated skirt that has a built-in tulle petticoat underneath. And, of course, that dramatic red ribbon accent! Belt loops present, but original belt is missing.

A very versatile piece, this can be dressed up with formal jewelry, shoes, and a bag and worn to a party. Or, accessorize it more casually and wear it as a day dress.

Condition: Excellent. There are two light spots on the skirt, one of which hides in the pleats and the other of which isn’t noticeable unless  you look for it. It has not been cleaned; I feel it doesn’t need it, and although my dry cleaners are good, I hesitate to let them have at a piece this nice. It is perfectly wearable as is!

Size: Extra small to small (about a 2 or 4).  Shown unpinned on a size 2/4 mannequin whose measurements are about 33″ bust, 24″ waist, 34” hips, and fit her well. Please use the garment dimensions below and see our Sizing Tips. This fabric does not stretch.

Measurements

Bust: 34 1/2″

Natural waist: 25″ (closely fitted, unseamed)

Low waist at seam: 31″

Hip: Full, to about 40″

Bodice length: Approx. 14 1/2″ (shoulder to waist)

Dress length, down center back: 44 1/2"

Note: Accessories shown with dress not included.

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Shipping: Based on weight and destination; calculated at checkout.   

Item Number: DE-8231

Price: $130

Vintage 50s Yellow Polka-Dot Washable Rayon Sun Dress, NOS NWT, Size Small, 4 6

What a fab 50s’ dress! Unworn, new-with-tags, this chic sun dress is made of yellow washable (yay!) rayon in a linen weave—but it’s softer than linen. Small embroidered polka dots adorn the dress throughout, and the lace bands through the body of the dress are woven into the textile, rather than applied. An interesting feature is that the trim around the armscyes continues from the front over the shoulders and folds over to form the back neckline. Also has long shaping darts front and back a smooth, flattering fit; back metal zipper; pinked seams. There are set-in pockets just below the waistline. Long, straight pencil skirt with back kick pleat; falls approximately below the knee to about mid calf.

Original hangtag states is a “Super Sea Spray,” which I believe refers to the washable fabric. No maker’s or Union label, but there is a paper order label.

* Size: Estimated small, approx. 4 to 6. Please use the dimensions below! We suggest you compare to a dress you have of similar style or fit, and check our Sizing Tips. You want this to look shapely, but this is not a stretch fabric, so please leave room for your body!

Bust: 36"

Waist: 26 1/2"

Hips: 36"

Dress Length: 45" down side seam from top of shoulder

Condition: New, deadstock with tags. Near mint. I found that one embroidery polka-dot in the back had come mostly unraveled (see photos), so I snipped the loose thread and tied it off so it won’t unravel more. I can sew, but my embroidery skills leave much to be desired, which is why I didn’t re-embroider it. Due to the small size of the dots and the location of this one, it’s not really noticeable unless you look for it. No other rack wear, no soil, etc. Dress is clean, ready to wear out of the package.

Item Number: SS-1091

Price: $170


Shipping: Free within U.S., discounted internationally; contact us prior to ordering.

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Vintage 50s Designer Anne Fogarty Silk Full Skirted Cocktail, Dinner, Party Dress, Size XS

Stunning silk dress from Anne Fogarty† for Margot in an Asian-inspired print of golden ribbons and a petite floral pattern of pink and grey (you must view the photo gallery for a close-up of this print!).  Circa mid 50s, possibly inspired by the popularity at that time of “The King & I.” The silk is a fine china or habotai silk, very lightweight and with a lovely luster and hand. Has narrow pleats falling from the shoulder line to the waist, kimono-style sleeves, very full skirt gathered/pleated at the waist, on-seam hidden pocket at left side, back metal zipper, and interior ribbon waist stay with hooks & eyes. Shown with a medium-full crinoline (not included); can be worn with a slightly fuller one or a narrow slip.

* Size: Estimated extra-small (about a size 0/2). But please use the dimensions below and not my estimate. We suggest you compare to a dress you have of similar style or fit, and check our Sizing Tips. There’s some play in the bodice fit, but the waist measurement is critical, as this is not a stretch fabric. Please leave room for your body!

Bust: Approx. 34/35″ (not precise due to the cut of the kimono sleeves, but is no larger than 35″)"

Waist: 24″ (Our mannequin has a 23¾″ waist, and this was too snug on her to zip up all the way–a waist cincher will help if you’re close to fitting into this!)

Hips: Free, full

Bodice: 16″

Dress Length: 42" down center back

Hem Sweep: 156" (13 feet!)

Condition: Excellent overall. Has been hemmed up; original seam allowance remains so it can be let back down if desired. There was a pinhead-sized hole in the bodice pleats, and I’ve mended it. Not noticeable unless you look for it and even then, it looks like an irregularity in the fabric rather than a repair. Dress is clean, ready to wear (with a pressing).

Anne Fogarty started her design career in the late 40s and was among a group of very well-known American designers throughout the 1950s. The fitted bodice and full skirt “paper doll” silhouette was a hallmark of her style. She designed for Youth Guild; Margot, Inc.; Saks Fifth Avenue; and her own design house, Anne Fogarty, Inc., which closed in 1974. She continued to work as a free-lance designer after her retirement.

* Designer information courtesy of Vintage Fashion Guild’s Label Resource

Item Number: AF-04041

Price: $225


Shipping: Free within U.S., discounted internationally; contact us prior to ordering.

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 * See our Sizing Tips for how we measure.

Vintage 50s/60s Lace Sheath Dinner Cocktail Party Dress & Jacket, Lg XL 14 16  SOLD

Late 50s'/early 60s' lace-over-taffeta sleeveless sheath dress with matching short jacket is new with original tags and spare matching button in its little envelope. Made from re-embroidered cotton-blend lace over taffeta. Body of the lace is light tan, while the cording on the edges is a dusky pink. The acetate taffeta lining is pale blush pink. This simple, elegant design is edged with thread beads, keeping it from the ordinary. Dress has unseamed, nipped-in waist with shaping darts front and back, bust darts, metal back zipper. Jacket features princess seaming and 3/4-length sleeves.  Labeled "Well-Made Dress Co., Inc."

Ideal for dinner out, cocktails, party, wedding reception, etc.

* Size: Est. large (14) to a snug XL (16). Please use the dimensions below as well as your own measurements to determine fit! We suggest you compare to a dress you have of similar style or fit. You want a trim fit on this, but you must leave room for your body, as the fabric does not stretch.

Dress:

Bust: 42"

Waist: 34 1/2"

Hips: 42"

Length: 42" from shoulder


Item Number: WM-9201

Price: $89

Shipping: Based on weight and destination, calculated at checkout.

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Jacket:

Bust 44"

Around hem: 39"

Shoulder to Shoulder: 17 1/4"

Sleeve Length: 15" from shoulder at seam

Length: 19 1/2" down center back

Condition: New with tags. Had been tried on, but I see no issues to report. Clean, ready to wear with a pressing.

Ordering: You can place your order and pay for it online using our shopping cart, or order via e-mail if paying by check or money order. Any questions? Just e-mail us! Or phone us  at 717-870-3522, from

9 a.m.  to 5 p.m. EST.  Refer to this page for detailed information on ordering.