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Womens printed vintage skirts

March 17, 2015

Prints are a summer perennial and womens printed vintage skirts are the perfect way to get something inexpensive and cute that no-one else has.


This season, Stella Jean showed African printed skirts in a traditional flared Fifties shape in Milan, and you’ll find that you can replicate that riot of colour and elegant shape very well when you’re hunting in vintage stores.

Printed vintage skirts for Women

Prada is doing beautiful brocade skirts in pencil and A-line shapes, last seen on Alexa Chung by the way, so look to the Sixties for these.


Dolce and Gabanna always do something with romantic roses and/or leopard print, and Mary Kantrantzou is our go to designer for crazy digital prints on skirts, tops, dresses and everything else. Basso and Brooke love prints too.


So the upshot is, whether you’re looking for elegant and ladylike, girlish or graphic, you’ll find a contemporary designer who’ll inspire you; and once you’re inspired, go shopping for some womens printed vintage skirts for the perfect answer!

A little history of Womens printed vintage skirts

Intricate Serbian peasant embroidery, 19th Century

Intricate Serbian peasant embroidery, 19th Century


Traditionally, decoration on women’s garments was achieved through embroidery in most cultures, and there are some amazing examples of intricate and beautiful work created by peasants, often in an extra special version for their wedding outfit.

Queen Elizabeth I attributed to George Gower NPG

Queen Elizabeth I in rich patterns. Attributed to George Gower NPG


18th Century Womens printed vintage skirts

People from a more leisured class would pay someone to embroider their outfits for them, and in the 18th Century in Europe, dresses were stiff with embroidery of flowers and emblems – think of portraits of Queen Elizabeth for examples.

18th Century Indian Chintz design

18th Century Indian Chintz design


Importing brightly coloured printed or painted fabrics from India, Persia and China became a cheaper option than laborious hand embroidery, and became so popular that the industry in the UK was threatened. So an Act of Parliament was passed in 1700 to forbid finished, printed goods from coming into the country.


London factories began to import the plain woven fabric and block printing it with wooden blocks in popular patterns, using techniques that they learned from their former trading partners.


In 1783 printing via copper rollers was invented, making the process faster and the fabric cheaper again.

20th Century

Womens printed vintage skirts - 50s print skirt

50s print skirt


Silk printed tea dresses from the 30s can still be found, often with charming floral motifs. But cotton dresses and Womens printed vintage skirts are more widely available.


Although printed cottons never lost popularity, particularly as informal daywear or beachwear, it was in the 40s and especially the 50s that cheerful, feminine sundresses and flared Womens printed vintage skirts really caught on for many women.

Womens printed vintage skirts - A novelty 50s printed skirt

A novelty 50s printed skirt


By the late 50s and the sixties polycotton began to be popular as an even more practical and easy to take care of option, and you’ll find womens printed vintage skirts in ever brighter colours, some with the addition of gold thread or lurex.


These womens printed vintage skirts are huge fun, recalling over the top outfits for girl groups like the Supremes. If you don’t want to wear them in high Sixties fashion with a beehive, you can dress these down with a cute woolly jumper or simple vest for hot days.




Alexa Chung in Prada brocade

A gorgeous floral D&G skirt.

Glorious prints from Mary Katrantzou

Basso and Brooke printed skirt

Indian printed dress, 1770-1780 (image via V&A)