Early in my journey of dressing in a vintage aesthetic I began to feel a pressure that to be a real pinup one had to wear true vintage clothing. Not exclusively, but certainly that owning some true vintage made you a ‘proper’ pinup, compared to buying modern made reproductions. The problem I quickly discovered, however, was that that wouldn’t be an easy feat for me; even back then, as a size 14/16 who lived in the English countryside, finding vintage pieces I liked in my size and within my budget largely meant spending a vast amount of time online searching, as I didn’t have easy access to thrift stores and vintage shops. On the rare occasion I found a dress I wanted that would fit me, it was either wildly outside of my budget or I got outbid. It didn’t take long before I accepted that the only vintage pieces I would be able to acquire with ease would be accessories, so I got comfortable in the world of vintage inspired and reproduction clothing, leaving behind any shame that my 100% modern clothing made me any lesser in any way.
Bearing all that in mind, I was super excited when I heard that iconic vintage fashion label Horrockses were teaming up with Joanie Clothing for a collaboration line that would see famous Horrockses designs and prints merged with some of Joanie’s favourite dress shapes. All are made sustainably in quality organic cotton in the hopes that these pieces will become beloved items passed down through future generations, just as vintage Horrockses has been. Joanie Clothing produce their pieces up to a UK size 22, so for a plus size pinup like moi it’s an incredible chance to own a Horrockses piece for the first time. I fell in love with Margaret and Vada the second I saw them; I have the latter sitting in my cart, tempting me dearly as payday approaches, but I’m thrilled to share the former with you today.
The monochrome print of this dress was designed by Louis Le Brocquy in 1955, revived here from the Horrockses’ archive for use on this Margaret dress. Printed on organic cotton poplin with enough stretch to provide comfort through daily wear, the Margaret dress is a sleeveless style that features a square neckline with wide shoulder straps. The lightly gathered skirt gives gentle volume in silhouette for casual daily wear, but can accommodate a slim volume petticoat to get a little extra lift away from the legs, as I have worn here in these pictures. Joanie Clothing can generally be relied upon to provide pockets in their dresses, so it is with many hurrahs and hurrays that I can confirm that the Margaret dress does indeed boast them.
As a black and white dress, I love that this piece can be worn year round without concern as to whether the pattern feels seasonally appropriate. It is a sleeveless piece, of course, but as I’ve shown here it’s easy to layer in light layers even under this dress for the milder months that don’t quite warrant bare arms. The fact that it will layer flawlessly with cardigans, jackets, coats, tights and all manner of boots through colder months seems almost to go without saying, and yet I will, just because I love to harp on about versatility in styling. It’s truly a timeless piece that doesn’t sacrifice all fun in the name of chicness, as the black lines that intersect the white slightly uneven blocks throughout the whole print remind me simultaneously of matchsticks, zebra print, and the layers caused by sedimentation in shale–I know, that last one is kind of weird, but the fine details in this print catch one’s eye differently depending upon one’s distance from it, so just accept that I took Geography through A-level and let’s move on.
I asked for this in a size 20, the size I typically take in Joanie Clothing these days. In stretchy fabrics I can definitely size down into their 18 and I likely would have fit the 18 in the Margaret just fine for a more fitted look, but I wanted the extra room of movement in the 20 so up I went. The bust flat measures 46.5 inches with stretch to almost 50 inches, while the waist flat measures roughly 40.25 with stretch to just over 42 inches. The skirt is 26 inches long. The dress closed with a hidden back zip and is machine washable. The bodice is lined.
The Margaret dress is available in UK sizes 8-22, as is the entire Horrockses x Joanie range. There are 10 designs in the line, encompassing bold novelty prints as well as more delicate floral prints. Joanie Clothing ship worldwide.
Disclaimer: The dress featured in this review was gifted to me by Joanie Clothing. Items marked with an asterix* are items I bought myself from companies that have previously gifted me other items for review. All opinions expressed are truthful and my own, with no input from any of the companies listed or any other individuals.
COVID-19 NOTE: These pictures were taken alone and safely in a secluded outdoors area with no other individuals present or passing, thus practising strict social distancing measures in an effort to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.