ARCHIVE: 1950s Navy Cotton Swiss-Dot Lace Dress with Matching Shawl

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This is an unusual 1950s dress ensemble made from navy sheer cotton organza with a Swiss-dot print. It is trimmed with cream eyelet lace and red velvet ribbon work that is reminiscent of embellishment from the 1920s and 30s. This trim makes up the double strap that sits on the top of the shoulders in the shallow square neckline and is also used on the gathered tiered skirt. The dress has a shaped bodice and fastens to the rear with the original zip that is stamped ‘Lightning’ so this is most likely American made.

There are four pieces to this set; the dress, a fabric belt with an oval buckle and a long rectangular shawl with the Swiss-dot fabric that is backed in an acetate. There is also what appears to be a spare piece of lace and ribbon work which could be further modelled as a choker.

It's been very well-made despite not having any labels save for a small catalogue number from a private collection or a museum archive. All pieces are in fabulous vintage condition, there are no issues of any note, and it presents beautifully. A best fit for size UK 8-10 or US 4-6.

Bust - 34 in. (86.4 cm)
Waist - 27 in. (68.6 cm)
Hip - 35 in. (88.9 cm)
Length - 42 in. (106.7 cm)
Shoulders - 13.5 in. (34.3 cm)

Width - 18.5 in. (47 cm)
Length - 77 in. (195.6 cm)


Will you set anything aside for me before I come?

We are happy to find anything you may be interested in from our website - please let us know a week in advance. 

We also have an extensive offline collection. If you let us know your size, style, favourite colour to wear and perhaps your budget, we can browse through our archive in advance of your appointment. 

Do I need to bring anything with me?

Clients may wish to bring modern shapewear when trying on garments from certain eras, especially the 1950s. Vintage clothing was often worn with undergarments that shaped the waist and as such is tailored for them.

We have a huge variety of slip dresses and petticoats to complete your look; many of which are also for sale.

You may also wish to bring your favourite footwear. We often find a classic pair of nude shoes work well when trying on, or a pair in gold or silver.

Do you have a price range?

Many of our lower-priced pieces (under £150) are not available to buy online. Our prices range from £80 - £600 for separates. Dresses start at around £150 and go up to £2,500 for the very best antique pieces and designer vintage. Our bridalwear ranges from £300 - £3,000.

Can I bring anyone with me?

Yes but please do let us know the size of your party in advance.

Where can I get alterations?

We offer some alterations in house. Should you need alterations we cannot provide, we can refer you to one of our tried and trusted tailors.

Do you have an after-care service?

We will advise you on the best way to clean and preserve your vintage pieces and can also recommend trusted local dry cleaners.

Can I cancel my appointment?

You are free to cancel but please do give us as much notice as possible. If you cancel less than 24 hours before your appointment, you will be invoiced a late cancellation fee of £25.

Where's the showroom?

Our address is Circa Vintage, 87A Lansdowne Way London SW8 2PB

Upon arrival, buzz the 87A button on the gate or call us 020 7736 5038 to let you in.

Do you have parking?

We offer free, secure, off-street parking but it is a tight squeeze – so do let us know in advance if you will be needing this and we can make sure that there is space available.

How do I get there by public transport?


Stockwell (7 min walk) - Northern and Victoria Lines

Nine Elms (9 min walk) – Northern Line


Wandsworth Road (13 min walk) – Westbound to Clapham Junction / Eastbound to Dalston Junction

What payment methods do you accept?

Cash, credit/debit card, bank transfer, contactless, Paypal