As much as I love vintage clothing, there are times when wearing an entirely synthetic fabric is a little uncomfortable – on a 35 degree day, when standing near an open flame, basically every summer day in Sydney (and some winter ones too). Granted, not all vintage is made of synthetic, completely flammable fabrics but when I looked into my wardrobe this summer it seemed that most of my summer clothes were. Then recently I caught up with a good friend who was wearing the most beautiful 1940s house dress. After openly drooling over it, she mentioned that in summer it is her go to look as they are usually made from cotton and are super comfortable. Cut to me searching the internet looking at house dresses. I came across this lovely 1930s / 1940s one on Etsy and I love it. I feel the start of an obsession coming on and I have no doubt that this will be the first of many to grace my summer wardrobe.
Traditionally, a house dress was a simple dress worn informally in the mornings at home for household chores or for quick errands. The term originated in the late nineteenth century to describe at-home garments designed for maximum practicality and usually made from washable fabrics. Although created for practicality, the concept of attractive house dresses was popularised in the late 1910s and reached its peak of popularity in the 1950s. House dresses often adopted a wrap around style or a long zip up the front to make it incredibly easy to pop on and off as needed.
All photos by Will Taylor.