A Sophisticated Summer – Elegant 1930s Dresses and vintage inspired clothing

In the anticipation of British Summertime ever I dream of long afternoons spent in the beautiful country gardens of old stately houses. I transport myself back to a 1930s English Summer. An era with so many rich narratives and inspiration to choose from I easily recreate my very own novel or period drama.

I like to daydream about that big old house and beautiful garden in Atonement in those early but not quite innocent years of the story. Keira Knightly’s character trying to stay cool in the dark interior of the house, entertaining guests and promenading on the lawn. .

The Faye Dress is an ankle length green dress that is refined and elegant. We wanted a light 1930s summer dress that would easily cross over from day to night. With the addition of some silver jewellery, perhaps an ivory faux fur stole, and some heels, you can easily channel your inner Ginger Rogers and bring some transatlantic glamour and glitz to this outfit.

The Faye Dress in Sage Green (ankle length) £145
The Ritz Shoe in Silver £189
Add some Vintage Jewellery
Add a Faux Fur Stole

There has been much anticipation leading up to the release of Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby: I was inspired by the idea of a 1920s afternoon dress; the perfect summer choice for admirers of Daisy Buchanan’s wardrobe. However, I didn’t want the dress to be too specifically period twenties that it seemed like fancy dress, I wanted to offer a vintage inspired day dress that would have timeless appeal.

A beautiful day dress for this summer’s collection is The Marguerite Dress, also in sage green. We selected this dress because of it’s vintage aesthetic and it’s special details; the gorgeous lace jacket overlay and beautiful cowl neck.

The Marguerite Dress in Sage Green £160
Vintage Style 1930s Handbag Nude £95

The Lula Dress is an elegant evening dress. It’s rich deep aubergine colour is a great alternative when black is not appropriate. We have dressed it down for a summer afternoon with a soft, vintage dyed, cashmere shrug. The Lula Dress has a beautiful sweetheart neckline which deserves an appropriate piece of jewellery to adorn the décolletage, the Lula necklace is perfect and also has a matching drop earring.

The Lula Dress in Aubergine £179
The Cashmere Shrug £169
The Lula Necklace £35 and The Lula Earrings £20

Below is another view of The Marguerite Dress in sage green. This timeless vintage inspired dress has a beautiful cowl neck so we decided to show you a close up of the front. We think the Art Deco Turquoise drop earrings are the perfect accompaniment.

1920s Earrings Art Deco Turquoise Drop £45
See other 1920s Jewellery and Art Deco Earrings

At Revival Retro we are always keen to share our vintage inspiration and you will hopefully sense from our look book that we offer not only beautiful clothing but a friendly and accessible service. We welcome you to contact us, no question is too small, we will be happy to help. Dressing up should be a pleasure not a chore. Whatever the occasion or just a special treat for yourself we welcome you at our shop in central London. You can also purchase online by following the links provided. This look book is from our Summer 2013 collection but some of the styles endure and over time we may offer different colours to suit the season.

Though the lighter colours and materials seen so far are stunning choices for our 1930s dresses, bias cut crepe won’t work for everyone so we wanted to offer a fabulous vintage style dress that we knew would work on almost every shape and size. For our inspiration we turned to a 1940s dress design.

The Isabella Dress is a sophisticated, lace, 1940s dress that has a shawl like lace collar and scallop lace ege hem. With no zips or buttons and just the right amount of stretch to the fabric it is soft, comfortable and easy to wear.  All of our Summer collection can be easily layered to thwart the unpredictable British weather and by calling the store you order a lightweight shrug in a matching colour for £49.

Modelled previously was The Lula Dress in Aubergine, now you can see how this flattering and form fitting dress can make the most of your feminine curves.

The Isabella Dress pictured in Thistle (green) also in Royale (amethyst) £165
The beautiful vintage floral headpieces can be ordered.
The Lula Dress in Purple £179


Some summer reading on holiday? Though the Great Gatsby has recently been turned into a 3D visual extravaganza of a movie by far my favourite F. Scott Fitzgerald novel is Tender is the Night. I can picture myself in the South of France wearing the lovely teal Freya Dress, a nice straw hat and a beautiful shawl. Flitting in and out of wonderful cafes and bars. For those on a staycation, no need to pack, but a smart pair of wide leg trousers in the wardrobe may be getting more use than usual this summer. We also carry a range of knitwear and outerwear for which there seems to be a fair amount of demand this summer.

Earlier you saw the ankle length Faye Dress in sage green, now you see a variation; The Freya Dress pictured below in Teal, Freya is a calf length version of The Faye Dress. It’s not all dresses at Revival Retro though, we offer some fantastic separates. The Agatha Blouse comes in three wonderful fabrics that you could really believe are vintage. These are a limited availability and will go fast. We also offer several choices of trouser all inspired by vintage designs.

The Freya Dress in Teal £139

The Agatha Blouse in Vintage Black with Floral Bouquet £95
The Sweet Georgia Trouser in Brown Tweed £185


Revival Retro carries a fantastic range of accessories in store. Not all of it makes it to the website as we often sell out in the shop before we get a chance to photograph the item. It’s always worth popping in to see us if you are in the area. We just had to show you these fantastic tights though, an Art Deco Design we call Peacock. The Peacock Tights come in white or black. They are a high quality mesh that can be worn alone (as pictured) or in tandem with a coloured tight beneath. We like the white over baby blue for instance. These tights are a fantastic accessory to bring added vintage style to your outfit.

Have we told you yet about our fabulous range of vintage style shoes? Reproductions of classic styles. New. Never worn. Sold in UK sizes 4 – 8 (and some 3′s and 9′s!) Our shoes are to die for.  We import them specially from the USA. These shoes are so amazing this company is regularly used by the Hollywood production companies and have been sourced for movies such as Saving Private Ryan, The Changeling, Cider House Rules and more.

These feminine brogues are a classic, we stock them in different colours at different times of year but the Ivory and Tan are sure to sell out all summer long no matter how often we restock them!

The Art Deco Peacock Tights (available in white or black) £28
The Gramercy Shoe pictured here in ivory and tan £175

Revival Retro is well known for it’s choice of high quality materials and workmanship. Good fabrics do cost more but when we see something stunning that really stands out we think it’s worth the money to have something well made and remarkable. These little hair flowers are hand made in the UK and a far cry from the polyester flowers that are made in China. Similarly the floral print tea dress she wears comes from another British supplier, who offers simply gorgeous vintage prints in fine fabrics.

The Daisy Hair Slides (pair) £12.50

Time for tea? A great British tradition that needs no excuse and we have a Tea House right next door to our shop. If your visiting the Revival Retro Boutique in Kingly Court then allow yourself an hour post shopping trip to enjoy High Tea at Camellia Tea House next door. There is no dress code for tea which is perfect as Revival Retro offers some wonderful run around town dresses as well as special occasion wear.

We think The Flora Dress is the perfect 1940s Tea Dress. It comes in two different beautiful floral prints, blue or pale green. The fabric is gorgeous to the touch, an authentic vintage look print and lovely to find a well made dress that is fully lined.

The Flora 1940s Tea Dress in blue floral £225
The Backlash Shoe in navy £85
The Freya Dress in teal £139
The Lillie Shoe in black and ivory £189
Hats and fascinators also for sale

Earlier we mentioned our fantastic vintage style shoes and this gold 1930s style has been another really popular style this season. The low fluted heel makes  them stylish but also comfortable. The high quality leathers make these shoes a pleasure to wear. The gold goes really well with the teal Freya Dress.

Lace and Roses Tights in cream £28
The Balboa Shoe in gold £175

The ever changing weather is always giving us Brits something to grumble about. So apart from a couple of pairs of shorts, really our summer wardrobe consists of a number of lightweight garments that wil do for Spring/Summer/Autumn and can be layered where necessary. Here we show you a classic black 1930s dress and how to layer it with something beautiful that will garner you compliments galore!

This chiffon Kimono style Jacket is beautiful. Effortlessly chic. It’s based on a 1930s Japanese floral print and is the perfect thing to cover the arms with a strappy top or keep on hand for when the sun disappears behind the clouds.  We also have a beautiful ivory embroidered lace version of this Kimono Jacket.

Kimono Style Shrug in green fleur £125
The Constance 1930s Dress in black £149

Last but not least in our 2013 Spring/Summer look book of vintage inspired clothing is another stunning bias cut 1930s dress. This satin print dress is a green and cream hydrangea floral. This dress is devastatingly beautiful. We adore the drape, the ruffles around the neckline, the perfect summer dress imbued with 30s inspiration.

My recent holiday reading was Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. The book was a fascinating insight into small details of life in the 1930s but also a thrilling page turner of course. Rebecca is put upon a pedestal as a ravishing beauty, a trendsetter and a modern woman , the woman you might aspire to be! (lets not give too much away for anyone unfamiliar with the story) but I’d at least like her wardrobe!

The 1930s has to be one of my favourite era’s for inspiration and for a special occasion I would look no further for a dress with elegant sophistication and class.

The Geraldine Dress in green and cream hydrangea print £240
The Lillie Shoe in ivory £189

Thankyou for reading. It’s been a pleasure sharing. I hope you like the summer 2013 collection of 1930s dresses and vintage inspired clothing, shoes and accessories.

A limited run print magazine of the lookbook has been produced, if you would like a copy please send you name and postal address to boutique@revival-retro.com (UK only I’m afraid).

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