Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Mystery Dress!

I have been having fun on EBay again. My latest purchases, whilst bargains, have posed me a couple of dilemmas; namely, (a) what to do when a dress is so far out of season it would be foolhardy to try to wear it out and (b) who the bleep was Lois Young?

I discovered a clearance line from the dress agency Corina Corina and picked up a couple of items for a fraction of their usual price. That is to say, for this sheer 1960s scooter cut dress, £1.99. Yes, under £2. Considering their usual retail prices are £30-£200, I think this counts as both a sale bargain and an ebay victory. Smugness.

It seems to be good quality home-made, with no labels or factory stitching. The no-labels thing may well be why it was such a bargain, as it wasn't apparent exactly what size it would be ('small to medium') nor how, exactly, to care for it. Additionally, the photos, being a clearance line, weren't that flattering. But I whacked in a £2.50 bid and came in well under. Yay! In terms of care, I laundered it on a delicates cycle and it came out just peachy (I use peach fabric conditioner, you see).

Bust detailing: note the sheerness..!
The only delay in wearing this dress is finding a nude slip for underneath and styling it for winter. It is a little too clean-lined and mod cut for an obvious 70s-trash-look slip underneath but it is very, very sheer. A trip to trusty M&S is on the cards for a nude underdress (so, not quite a £1.99 bargain- but then again the nuddy slip will be worn with almost all dresses as it gets colder, I stock up on therms annually). Once armed with that, I will be rocking it Helga style with bright tights and heels. Advice on warm tights and jacket/cardi combos is welcome- the white background is unusual for me and I prefer bright tights to pastels.

My other purchase was (gasp) £7.99. Sold as a 1950s piece and size 14 (being American and vintage, not a current UK 14) I went with an eye on the measurements and was glad I did, because to be honest I would place it as a UK 10 with a generous bust. I don't have the tights to model it today (i.e. my tights go from black, to sheer black, to floral black right now) however it does have some fantastic detailing such as these bum-pleats, which add incredible swish without a petticoat. I wonder if this is down to the warmer climate in Dallas, where lighter foundation garments would surely have been welcome?

I made up the word bum-pleats
I was intrigued as to whether it was actually 50s; something about the collar says 'early 60s America' to me...

To t'interweb! I googled around attempting some research, but all I have been able to throw up is that there is a lot of this Lois Young Dallas around. From price and range, it seems in the same ball-park as St Michael was in the UK - good quality but affordable and everyday. Designs crop up from (some sellers claim) the late 40s to the 1970s... cynically, I saw a major glut in the 60s with some 50s styling and designs becoming more conservative towards the 70s. Perhaps brand loyal customers from their 50s youth sticking with the brand once settled into career and/or home?

Anyway, frustratingly I could find no links to biographies, a brand website or even a Wikipedia entry. The case has gone cold, for now. If anyone can find any clues, please do pop them in your comment - it has now become one of those things which will drive me mad about an otherwise delightful, wearable and, let us not deny, cheap dress.


  1. What a pair of stunning frocks! They'll look fab 'autumned up' with some coloured tights. Top bargains indeed.xxx

  2. Great bargains! I think the dress is 50s, but later 50s for sure. Ah I have found amazing labels before and wondered but never been as diligent as you!

  3. love these. I'm a bona fide ebay ADDICT but I tend to stick to high street brands. It would be great if you could do a 'guide to buying real vintage' or something like that, would be something I'd love to feature on my blog :) xxx

  4. I agree with Ivy - tights all the way! And you can layer up with some nice thermals underneath?

  5. I love both dresses but the second with orange and pinks is making me drool!!!! I think the first one would rock with lime green tights and a turquoise jacket. I would go so far as to say you could rock some combat boots with it too. I love mixing hard and soft.

    The second dress, ah girl I love it and can't wait to see you wear it! I would put a big bold belt on it and of course I'd wear my pink boots with it. I also think warm wooly jacket would look killer!

  6. What brilliant finds! I love your bum pleats technical talk! ha ha!
    I think you can wear it in winter, get some red tights on, boots, faux fur and a cardi and you're good to go! :)

  7. Scores!!! Love them both and I know you're going to rock them to the max.
    I don't do sleeves very often, as long as my feet are warm I don't really feel the cold but a lime green or turquoise vest to under the first one would look super cute peeking out and of course the loudest tights in the world are obligatory.
    The colours of the second frock, I'd sat late Fifties, too are my favourite combo ever. Yellow opaques would be perfect.
    Well done, I want to see you wearing them sooooon! xxx

  8. Great steals!
    I love them both, yes loud tights and colorful heels would totally rock these beauties. I would wear them with colored faux furs.

  9. Blimey, what bargs! Speshly the first one, which I love! Would look really cute with coloured tights, some snuggly boots and a fur collared cardi!


  10. Darling,I adore BOTH those frocks,but especially the second one!Squee!Such bargains!SO jealous!
    yay for bright tights!Y'know,I wear the same frocks all year round,and just add lightweight vests underneath,and lightweight cardigans that I can layer.I have very few winter only frocks,actually!Like 2 that I can think off straighaway!XXX

  11. I adore the second one. I'd say late 50s or very early 60s, you are going to look fab in it xx

  12. What an amazing eye you have and how clever you are a getting wonderful bargains.

    As soon as I grow rich I shall hire you to dress me! Well, not exactly dress me, but well dress me! Sadly, I've got exactly half of what you paid for the first lovely dress in my pocket.....

  13. Wow, brilliant finds! The 60s dress is incredible!x

  14. I think you should take me shopping one day as I do not have your excellent eye for frocks and bargains and could do with your help. x

  15. I'm Vintage, Too15 February 2012 at 15:43

    I have information for you about Lois Young Fashions and sent you my e-mail through the VFG messaging system. Among other bits of information, I found the 1960 copyright for Lois Young and it says:

    "Ray Stockton, d.b.a. (doing business as) Lois Young Fashions, Dallas, Tex. Filed Aug. 17, 1959. Lois Young is the maiden name of applicant's wife, whose consent is of record. For Misses' Dresses. First use March 1958."


Let me know what you think!