If I'm being totally honest, I have very few reasons to wear dresses right now. I spend my 9-to-5 working at a desk in my house and often wear loose-fitting trousers and a jumper, and then I'll change into a Bella Freud T-shirt that's so worn it's like a second skin, a pair of joggers and my favourite Weekday knit that has leg-of-mutton sleeves (because, fashion). While the pandemic has given me an arguably comfier wardrobe, I absolutely miss getting dressed up for work.
Usually, my office attire would consist of pretty dresses and smart tailored pieces, which I'd then wear out during the weekend when I've gone to meet friends for brunches or the occasional night out with my husband. (We have a toddler, so it's a rare occurrence anyway.) When I recently discovered new dress brand Queens of Archive, I remembered exactly why I love getting dressed up and how much joy really dolling yourself up can bring.
The label was started by two women—Nicola Orme and Sarah Plunkett—last year just as the first lockdown was introduced (the brand shot its collection just before), but despite the initial challenges, they've managed to create a small collection of dresses that are super gorgeous. The frocks in question are a mix of '70s bohemian and rock 'n' roll—think maxi dresses with bell sleeves and flounced details in postbox red and minis with leg-of-mutton sleeves in a disco gold and black or a vintage floral print.
Now, a few collections on, they're still turning out super-cool pieces. The icing on the cake here is that the collections are small and limited in a bid to create zero waste. Keep scrolling to see who's already worn the dresses, and then stay for the full collection.