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Vintage Midi Dresses

Of all the skirted items in our wardrobes, a midi dress is probably the most worn and enjoyed.  It is a great choice for night and day, work and play and its length makes it the most versatile of all gowns as designers throughout the 20th century have proved.  In shape, fabric, colour and style the choices to be found in vintage midi dresses is boundless.  We defy any woman to find a dress in the shops today without seeing the ghost of its vintage dress grandmother still present. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, as skirts lifted off the ground, women realised what they’d been missing. During the First World War, while the men were away, women entered roles never previously considered, and this new workforce needed their everyday clothes to become practical to suit their new working lives.  Today, this remains too true with midi dresses often worn as a great option for work when you want to wear one.  Once the skirts had lifted, there was really no bringing them back down to the ground, unless to a ball, and the 1920's and designers such as Coco Chanel and Jean Patou created a new athletic aesthetic of young athletic bodies in columnar simple dresses.  The below the knee and mid-calf length dresses of the 1920’s and the following 1930’s and 1940’s demonstrated how truly elegant this length of dress can be with shift dresses, layered dresses, tea dresses, coat dresses and shirt dresses in beautiful fabrics from sheer layered chiffons to shining lamé and printed cottons to shimmering satins.

In contrast, midi dresses of the 1950’s offer an entirely different aesthetic.  Christian Dior and his ‘New Look’ of 1947 took full effect in the 1950’s with expanding skirts and nipped in waists. Dior had wanted to emulate the femininity of the 1930’s before War put practicality first.  Now, ration books went out the window as yards of fabric were cut to create this new fabulous silhouette.  Yet, as the decade progressed and moved into the 1960’s femininity could be expressed in an entirely opposing way with skirts with hemlines narrower than the hips, creating the iconic ‘wiggle’ effect on curvaceous figure like Marilyn Monroe as they walked.  For those without the prefect hip to bottom ratio, the 1970’s offered a new and refreshing alternative with Diane von Furstenburg’s wrap dresses in bold simple prints. Introduced in 1974, this is a style of dress which has proved such a hit that its popularity is really yet to fade.  Whatever your favourite midi dress shape or style, find a perfect example from every decade on the Open for Vintage rails.

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Temperley London Pink & Black Silk Dress

Temperley London Silk Intarsia Knitted Pink & Black Short Sleeve Dress

Vintage 1950s Nautical Theme Vintage Cotton Dress

Vintage 1950s Novelty Print Nautical Theme Brown & Green Cotton Shirtdress

Gai Mattiolo Couture 1990s Jersey Dress with Mesh Panel

Gai Mattiolo Couture Black Jersey Evening Dress with Mesh Insert Panel, 1990s

John Selby 1950s Red & Gold Panelled Dress

John Selby 1950s Vintage Red & Gold Brocade Jacquard Panelled Dress

J Tiktiner for Harrods 1970s Ruffle Silk Jersey Dress

J Tiktiner for Harrods French Couture Vintage Silk Ruffle & Black Jersey Dress

Marni 2010 Textured Short Sleeve Evening Dress

Marni Fuzzy Textured Gathered Silk Short Sleeve Party Dress, A/W 2010

Yohji Yamamoto 1990s Charcoal Grey Coated Silk Dress With Draped Capelet Collar

A striking 1990s vintage Yohji Yamamoto avant garde coated silk dress

Louis Feraud 1970s Red Long Sleeve Party Dress

Louis Féraud for Rembrandt Vintage Red Lurex Long Sleeve Knit Dress, 1970s

Rembrandt 1950s Dark Green Brocade Party Dress

Vintage 1950s Rembrandt Dark Green Brocade Evening Party Dress

Bellville Sassoon 1980s Crepe Necklace Dress

Bellville Sassoon Lorcan Mullany Vintage Wool Crepe Necklace Detail Dress, 1980s

Bob Mackie 1980s Beaded & Sequinned Evening Dress

Bob Mackie Glam Vintage Long Sleeve Beaded Silk Evening Gown, 1980s

Christian Lacroix 1990s Lace & Satin Crepe Dress

Christian Lacroix Vintage Black Lace & Satin Back Crepe Dress, 1990s

Anne Valore 1960s Black Floral Embroidery Dress

A 1960s black sleeveless couture dress

Valentino 1980s Floral Print Silk Vintage Dress

Valentino Vintage Botanical Floral Print Dark Navy Blue Silk Dress, 1980s

Valentino 1980s Vintage Wool Dress with Velvet Collar

Valentino Vintage Blue Wool Dress with Black Velvet Shawl Collar, 1980s

Naeem Khan 1980s Beaded Party Vintage Dress

Naeem Khan Vintage Heavily Beaded & Sequinned Silk Party Dress, 1980s

Thierry Mugler 1990s Black Velvet Corset Style Vintage Dress

Thierry Mugler Vintage Black Velvet & Striped Wool Corset Style Dress, 1990s

Stefney 1940s Novelty Ribbon Print Vintage Dress

Stefney Vintage 1940s Novelty Ribbon Print White Rayon Dress

Missoni Gold Tone & Black Metallic Knit Long Sleeve Dress

Missoni Gold Tone & Black Metallic Light Weight Knit Long Sleeve Dress

Marni Silky Sleeveless Ruffle Trim purple vintage dress

Marni Purple Silky Sleeveless Dress with Ruffle Trim

Marni Silk Sleeveless Gray White Black vintage Sheath Dress

Marni Gray White Black Silk Sleeveless Sheath Dress

Diane Von Furstenberg Sleeveless Black Vintage Wool Wrap Dress

Vintage Diane Von Furstenberg sleeveless wrap dress in black wool.

Andrea Odicini 1970s Pink and Black Abstract Houndstooth Print Top and Skirt Vintage Ensemble

Andrea Odicini pink and black silk drop waist ensemble with pleated skirt and batwing sleeves

Max Mara Black Textured Cotton A Line Vintage Dress

Black quilted texture cotton dress with A line skirt falling from a high waist with grosgrain ribbon and rhinestone embellishment

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