Patio Dresses scream summer with their colorful fabrics, intricate trimming and free-flowing skirts, and as this beautiful season is coming to an end, I’ll be embracing each and every drop of sun in this stunning outfit from Lady K Loves.
Disclaimer: this post contains a historically derogatory term that may render readers uncomfortable. This post is not a debate as to whether this term is racially inappropriate or whether it should be used in today’s society to refer to the garment discussed below. It is simply meant to educate readers on the history of said garment and the evolution of it’s name.
Lady K Loves is a U.K. based company that specializes in ethically made rockabilly and vintage-inspired clothing. Their passion for old fashioned style made the modern way comes through in the details of each piece they create. Since all of their materials are ethically soured, each garment has a limited amount of fabric allocated to them, meaning if you like something grab it fast because once it’s gone, it’s gone for good!
Part of their mission is promoting sustainability by sourcing their denim from an environmentally responsible company. Their factories in India and Nepal uphold fair trade standards and employ women who are looking to support their families. Not only are you getting quality goods from Lady K Love, but you’re also supporting several good causes.
The Patio Dress quickly became a staple of the late 40s and 50s, particularly within the Southwest United States, but it’s original name had some rocky connotations. In it’s early days, the Patio Dress was known as a “Squaw” Dress, which in Algonquin was a common term for “woman;” however, within the English language the term squaw evolved into a derogatory word for a North American Indian woman.
Advertisers attempted to circumnavigate this controversial racial context by marketing the dress as one worn by Native American Princesses of the West. Their attempt, however successful in terms of sales and overall popularity of the garment, was in no way a reconciliation of the hurtful message behind the name of the dress.
Over time, these dresses began to be referred to as Patio Dresses or Fiesta Dresses, which are the more common names used today. There are still those who refer to them as “Squaw” Dresses, mainly for historical accuracy, but efforts are being made to educate the vintage community on the origin of this name and encourage the use of terms such as “Patio” or “Fiesta” to describe these dresses.
The Patio Dress’s defining features include an elaborately embellished top, generally consisting of ribbon, rickrack trim and sequins, and a full skirt that came in three possible shapes: a slightly gathered skirt (seen in this Patio Set from Lady K Loves), a “broomstick” or pleated skirt, or a fully gathered, three-tiered skirt. They could be found either as a full dress or a set, made of separate blouses and skirts. When purchased as a set, women generally obtained multiple blouses for one skirt, allowing them a variety of outfits and the versatility of taking one skirt from day-time attire to night.
Everything about this patio set from Lady K Loves embraces the true design of a Patio Set. The colors of the ribbons and rickrack trim on the bodice help to emphasize the influence of Southwestern culture on these pieces, while sparkly buttons at a touch of modern style. The blouse is cut in a manner that allows the wearer to tie it up and pair it with some of Lady K Loves’s stunning vintage-style jeans for a more casual look.
The top portion of a traditional patio set, or dress, should be relatively loose while the bottom portion should have a nipped in waist and flare out into a full skirt. Lady K Loves nailed the proportion of each of these pieces. I’m wearing my typical size (M) in both the Lydia Blouse and Darling Skirt and they create the perfect fiesta dress silhouette. For reference, my measurements are 36″ bust and 28″ waist. If you’re unsure of which size to order, check their size guide.
Both pieces are made from organic cotton the breathe like the wind on hot days. It sounds somewhat conflicting, but the material is both extremely sturdy, light and comfortable at the same time. Being made from organic cotton, these garments require diligent care during wash cycles, so be sure to follow the instructions.
The Lydia Blouse is priced at £42 while the Darling Skirt is £39, however they are currently on sale at £18 ($24 USD) for the Lydia and £20 ($26 USD) for the Darling, making this gorgeous patio set an absolute steal! Fortunately for us gals across the pond, Lady K Loves ships internationally for £12 ($15 USD) and parcels will arrive within 7-10 business days. For those of you within Europe, shipping costs £7.50 (about €8) and takes 3-5 business days. And for all of the lovely U.K. based ladies out there, shipping costs £4.50, which includes tracking, and arrives within 1-2 business days.
If you’re as enamored as I am with this Patio Set, head on over to Lady K Loves and snag one before it, and summer, disappears. They come in several different colors, so be sure to check out their Two Piece Sets section! As for me, I’ll be sitting on this patio in this gorgeous set until the leaves start to fall.
Lydia Blouse in Patio Coral & Darling Skirt in Coral c/o Lady K Loves | Hair Flower: Sophisticated Lady Hair Flowers | Shoes: Primark | Sunglasses: Francesca’s
Special thanks to Kessie and the team at Lady K Loves for this fantastic collaborative opportunity.