Introducing Vintage 101 and a house dress

Many of the emails I receive are about the care of vintage clothing – topics I’ve posted about at various times. You can find the posts by selecting “How To” in the drop down Category menu on the right hand side, but now I’ve made it easier by adding a page called “Vintage 101” which will grow to be a place where you can find the answers to many of your questions – plus it helps me see the topics that I need to cover.

Of course much of this information can also be found in my beautiful and award-winning book “Love Vintage” – speaking of which, there aren’t many copies left now before it goes out of print. You can pick up yours at Circa or the webshop, for the bargain price of $50 plus postage if applicable.

You can see the link in the menu below the banner and also by clicking on this pretty ’40s floral housedress. You can also see her over on the right if you scroll down a bit.

This dress is by “Wrapsody” for the Myer Emporium – love the pun – and was worn by a glamourous local lady who took it with her on cruises, where I like to imagine she slipped it on for visits to the bathroom down the hall, in case she bumped into that nice young steward from the Dining Room.

A house dress is one of those garments that has been lost to time: it’s basically a glamourous dressing gown or informal dress she would wear around the house to cook breakfast for the family and flirt with the milkman. They were presentable but practical garments that were comfortable to wear and machine washable.

I love house dresses and many of the frocks in my personal vintage wardrobe are house dresses – you can see another here, a ’30s one I wore at the Miss PinUp Tasmania finals (that’s the fabulous Miss Pixie on the left). Photo courtesy CezB Photography.

I was also wearing ’30s-’40s house dresses in two of the four times The Age has photographed me and for the ABC’s Collectors programme, so you can see it’s a long standing love affair.

If you’d like me to cover a topic for Vintage 101, please leave a comment below or let me know through one of the usual ways. I can see by my list that there are many things to discuss!


  1. I am HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE WITH YOUR HAIR!!! Such a gorgeous colour and style. Looking gorgeous! congrats on the coverage!

    Kate Jean xx

  2. I’d like some advice on cleaning a Brussels Lace wedding veil. The veil was worn by my mother in her 1940’s wedding and has a few marks on it. Mum thinks the marks might be rust?

  3. “Rust” is the word commonly used for fabric oxidisation and yes, if the marks are orangey brown, that could be it. Getting them out will depend on what the fabric is: silk lace will be hard. You’re welcome to bring it into the shop for me to advise on some time?

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