Featured Lilli Ann Cocktail Dress...Button Fixed, Now Belt...?

Discussion in 'Textiles, Needle Arts, Clothing' started by mirana, Sep 28, 2023.

  1. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    Picked up this very well made, beautiful fabric vintage cocktail dress at the thrift for $5. I was busy at the time so set it aside until I unearthed it last week. Apparently Lilli Ann has quite a following and I clearly need to find one of their fabulous coats at the thrift! :playful: I haven't found a cocktail dress matching this one yet.

    It was missing a button so I hopped on etsy and managed to find nearly the exact same Czech glass button for replacement! Now I just need to figure out the missing belt. I'm assuming it probably matched the fabric of the dress, so failing that...what would look okay? I have a couple black leather waist belts, one all black and one with a brass buckle, but maybe they are too casual or heavy? I may need to look out for, or make, a black fabric one...?

    LilliAnn1sm.jpg LilliAnn2sm.jpg
    I really love the pocket. Clearly for snacks. :playful: Forgive the anachronistic accessories, but this is the only 50s dress I've currently got. :hilarious: It also needs an ironing.


    You can see the little belt loops here. I think it looks great without, but I'm not about to remove them so they make it obvious there's something missing.


    Tag for about 1949 to 1957 apparently, though that collar gives the date away I think!


    Middle button replacement. It's clearly from the same maker, as even the back is the same, but only a slightly different facet size. Considering I lost which one it was when I was trying to photograph it, I'd say it's a success. :hilarious:

    Now I just need a 50's art opening to wear it to. :p
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2023
    pearlsnblume, Irenka, Joan and 9 others like this.
  2. johnnycb09

    johnnycb09 Well-Known Member

    You look fabulous ! I think the belt would have been discreet,so a thin one in black would look good.
  3. silverbell

    silverbell Well-Known Member

    Stiffened black satin, or velvet. And Lili Ann DID make delightful coats!
  4. Bookahtoo

    Bookahtoo Moderator Moderator

    Wow! That's a beautiful dress. And it looks great on you.
  5. antidiem

    antidiem Well-Known Member

    Love the collar style! Were it mine, I'd probably not bother to put a belt with it but would wear it to an evening event.
    pearlsnblume, Joan, stracci and 4 others like this.
  6. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Gorgeous dress, and it looks perfect on you.:)
    Ditto. A thin black textile belt.
  7. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    Someone cut a lot of length off that at some point. Confuses the vintage silhouette but does look fab on you. Agree that belt wouldn't have been the star accessory so anything black and discreet should work for you. I might stay away from velvet which adds a new texture and reads a bit "winter." Try to find something thin sans a statement buckle in peau de soie.

  8. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    I thought so too. Unusual length for the period, and the position of the pocket makes more sense when the skirt is a bit longer.
    But it works for mirana the way it is now, looks great on her.
    Ditto, no velvet.
  9. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    It would have been New Look. Well below the knee (which would balance the shawl collar a bit better.) Still -- looks smashing.

  10. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    That collar strikes a familiar chord, but I can't remember if I saw it on TV or in a movie, or if my mother had a dress like that. Does look like the sort of thing June Cleaver would have worn (probably when doing laundry).

    Sewing was a big thing for my mother and sister, and I remember a filing cabinet stuffed front to back with "Simplicity" patterns from the '50s and '60s. They were unceremoniously dumped at some point.
  11. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    A Lilli Ann turns up.. I know someone who collects who'd be jealous. That's a name to conjure with in some circles
  12. lovewrens

    lovewrens Well-Known Member

    I think a thin patent leather belt would work. It's a beautiful dress.
    pearlsnblume, ola402, Bronwen and 3 others like this.
  13. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    Seconded. Probably what it had in the first place.
  14. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    Okay I think we're in agreement that a thinner black belt would be best. I'll keep an eye out for a good fabric to utilize. This seems to be a silk satin. The button order was a set of 6 so I could put one or two on it to tie it in. I have a devil of a time finding waist belts, and all the skinny ones tend to be fast fashion materials, so fabric may be the play, but I'll keep an eye out!

    You're probably right that no one would look too closely! The collar would probably draw all the eyes. :playful:

    I had to stop looking, lest I buy yet another coat, and apparently not a cheap one at that! :hilarious:

    I drove myself nuts trying to find other examples of this collar which I have definitely seen, and which made an impression, but can't put in the right keywords for! I hope June didn't have to do much laundry in this type because it definitely doesn't sit right if you use your shoulders for any movement! :hilarious:

    So I discovered when I looked it up! :nailbiting: I was pleased to have had a good eye for quality in the store, because vintage clothing past 1980 is something I don't really own. It's really a treat to see people wear vintage and historical clothing and sharing it!

    Alright ladies, what say you? This is the underside of the hem. If it has been altered, I'm too ignorant in sewing to know what that would look like. And if so, I'm complimenting the former owner, because I'm very short and anything below the knee makes me look even closer to the ground! :p


    Thank you everyone for the compliments! I try to keep photos of myself off the internet :bag: but I don't have a dummy and it didn't read well laying flat. I appreciate y'all! :shame:
  15. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    If it was hemmed, it was done a lone time ago by a professional, maybe even at the dress shop where this was sold. That sort of hem binding has gone by the wayside unless you're buying crazy expensive clothing. Not found in a mall store.
    pearlsnblume, johnnycb09 and mirana like this.
  16. silverbell

    silverbell Well-Known Member

    BTW: It's called a "portrait collar."
  17. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    Beautiful dress, and looks perfect on you. I also like your necklace and shoes with it.

    I sell vintage clothing and often have the dilemma of what to do if a belt is missing. I often use a length of grosgrain ribbon if I can find a complementary color. However since you're a petite size, adding a solid-color belt may not look quite right if the waist seam on the dress is a little lower than your natural waistline.

    I took the liberty of drawing a black belt on one of your photos. It looks a little too low and might look best without a belt at all--just my opinion anyway. The belt loops look like crocheted thread and could be snipped off, and/or the ends removed from the inside of the dress. If they're fabric loops sewn into the seams, you'd have to remove some stitching and resew the seams.
    LilliAnnDress-2.jpg LilliAnnDress-3.jpg
  18. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    Wonderful advice.

  19. pearlsnblume

    pearlsnblume Well-Known Member

    I love the dress. Perfect on you. Thanks for sharing.

    Didn't I Love Lucy have necklines like that?
  20. Sedona

    Sedona Well-Known Member

    Beautiful dress that looks gorgeous on you!

    I wouldn’t bother with a belt.

    That is a very famous maker. Fantastic score!
    Lucille.b and mirana like this.
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