Finding vintage duplicates

Today I am going to share with you one of my absolute strangest obsessions. Finding vintage duplicates. Now I know this may seem mad, and slightly odd, but honestly it never ceases to bring me pleasure to see that actually a vintage item I own isn’t the only one out there! I know other people that HATE the idea that their vintage item isn’t unique, but i just like the fact that it reminds you that clothes were mass produced in the past!

First off I’ll share one of my vintage purchases from this week. It is by one of my favourite 50’s brands Alice Edwards. (I’ve bought a few Alice Edwards lately so i think i am going to need to update this post soon!)
Also a little note on this dress. On the front of the dress you can see a little half sash section. This is a real typical feature of Alice Edwards dresses and is always something to keep a look out for.
I recently bought this from ebay, but currently for sale is the EXACT same dress. See it here (I paid less than half the price asked for this one though. Ho ho ho)
Then I can get onto Horrockses.
I have a sizeable collection of Horrockses (23 on my last count) and I have seen dresses I own appear on a number of occasions. What is interesting with Horrockses is that they often used the same print fabric on different dress designs. Sometimes you may even see a day time shirtwaister Horrockses and a full length evening gown Horrockses with the same print.
This is one of my all time favourite Horrockses. The print is by Pat Albeck. Currently for sale on ebay is this stunner in the same print, but a bit more of a formal style.
I reckon this must have been a pretty popular print as I have seen another 3 examples of this print (2 in a blue and green colourway and one in a just blue colourway).
What interests me even more is that these dresses have different labels. Mine has the typical label seen up to 1958. Whereas this dress has the label often associated with the later (though still collectible) Horrockses. Maybe this print was so popular it was used for more than one season?
I’m getting to a point now that I am loosing count of how many times I have seen this Horrokcses print. I think this was the fourth Horrockses I bought, and is probably the one I wear most. I’ve seen this colourway design at least 6 times, and I have seen it in a paler pink version a few times too. There was a lovely one for sale at Vintage@Southbank. There is a wonderful pic of it here.  A dress in this print was one of the highest priced Horrockses ever to go on ebay (June 2011) sold by the seller brewery-house who has in recent months sold some of the most stunning Horrockses imaginable.
And then I have these two wonderful examples of my own Horrockses which appear in other colourways with Hampshire Museums service. The one was my second ever Horrockses purchases and is my oldest one too (distinguished by its yellow and white rather than grey and white label which is almost papery). AND my example has set in sleeves. In all the Horrockses i have come across that i have been able to get close enough to study properly this is the ONLY one i have seen with set in sleeves.

These  Horrockses features the label normally associated with the late 50’s (as seen in the pink floral number above). Mine is the blue one and the yellow one is from Hampshire Museums service)  Both of these dresses have absolutely wonderful colour combinations. What intrigued me most  is that both my one and the one held by Hampshire Museum service are in amazing condition (both to me look unworn!) My example is particularly confusing as it has had its hem let down, yet there are no puncture marks in the fabric whatsoever to suggest it was hemmed in the first place.  

These aren’t actually all of my examples of duplicates i have come across but they are a few of the best!

Not just a Horrockses but a NOVELTY PRINT Horrockses

I’m so wildly in love with my new Horrockses dress it gets a whole post to itself (and i had a better more informative post planned too). Its got the pretty standard Horrockses label that dates it to pre 1958. I’m reckoning with the side zip and the fact is is a size 14 but equating to around an 8 i would say it is probably 1952-55. After Horrockses introduced their size 10 it seems their sizes got considerably bigger. Hence why i believe this is pre their introduction of a size 10. The print on this is completely fabulous it defies all belief. I’m wondering who the print might be by… Something makes me feel it might be a Pat Albeck as i know she designed some pretty fabulous novelty prints whilst at Horrockses. I’m going to do my research on this one! See what else i can dig up.

Utility and CC41



This is a bit of a rambling blog post about Rationing, one of my many (odd) passions and obsessions.
During World war two many basic goods had to be rationed so that there was enough of everyday goods to go around, this included clothing. Rationing of clothing began in 1942 and lasted until 1952.
For many rationing meant doing what they did anyway. Repairing garments, cutting them down to fit children or relatives or giving them new uses such as  using them for household textiles.
Although, for those who had a larger budget pre-war the rationing limited the meant of clothing they could buy. An important point to note here is that a more expensive garment did not necessarily cost more coupons. At the begging of the war one could have 66 coupons per year which cold buy only a limited number of garments. By 1945 the number of coupons per person had fallen to 36, for a year this would have probably only allowed you to buy one or two outfits!
Of course despite rationing some people still found a way to buy new clothes, this included a black market (around 70,00 books were stolen in the early part of the scheme), or purchasing second hand garments which were coupon free.
This is the only example of utility I own, a pair of shoes featuring the typical utility stamp.
Some clothing during the 1940s contained a CC41 label. This label Rather than demonstrating a rationed product CC41 was a guarantee of quality. It allowed poorer people to buy decent clothing. The scheme was designed so that all clothes met a certain high standard set out by the government, which included austerity, profit, distribution and tax regulations. This included dresses made of rayon that wouldn’t shrink, dyes that wouldn’t run and high percentage woollen blends.
Two types of utility label are seen in clothing. One label features  a stylised double c followed by the number 41.  This denotes a standard cc41 garment. Reginald Shipp, a commercial designer for the company Hargreaves, designed this label.
The two black dresses in the picture above are both from the Hampshire Museums service collection and are both Utility dresses (the little printed one is not) both feature the typical double c label, and the label for the long sleeved dress is also pictured.
The other label found in cc41 garments features two lines either side of a circle which denotes the more luxury cc41 products. This label is known as the double elevens label, or colloquially the “dinner plate” label. It is thought this label was bought in post 1945 due to the negative connotations associated with the double cc logo. After the new look, which came into fashion in 1947, began to take over fashion the cc41 label suffered and came to represent the dull and detail free wartime restricted fashion.
Unfortunately I don’t have any photographs of dresses with the luxury label in it. Here is a small picture of one of the labels take from the Vintage Fashion Guild website. I know there are some wonderful examples in Jonathan Wolford’s book Forties fashion.  Reading this book was one of my main reasons for writing this blog post in the first place! (I can not recommend this book HIGHLY enough, it is one of my all time favourite fashion history publications, I really do urge anyone interested in the 40’s to purchase a copy)
Visit his website here:
It is important to note that all new clothing wether marked cc41 or not had to adhere to austerity restrictions applied by the government. Austerity measures included thing such as the number of buttons used, the size of the hem allowed and the use of embroidery. After the war finished , rationing continued, but many of the austerity measures were loosened. This is why post 1945 you see garments with more detailing
Rationing had to continue after the war finished in order to keep the economy steady. If rationing had not continued it is likely that there would have been high rates of inflation, like those in America. It is interesting to note that post war Britain had a large enough stock pile of wool to last 2 years, even though rationing of clothing continued.
CC41 was of benefit to manufacturers as well as consumers. The companies who were producing CC41 items could have a larger workforce than those not adhering to CC41, and attain a larger amount of cloth, meaning they could make a larger profit overall. This is why around 80% of clothing produced between 1942 and 1945 were CC41.
So there you go, only a very very brief overview of Utility and austerity. It is one of my absolute favourite topics and something I could literally go on and on about!







The three examples above are all again from Hampshire Museum service