What started out as a men’s line of hand screen printed woolen vests in 1960 called The Vested Gentry by husband and wife team Bud and Naomi Jackson; the line crossed over into womens apparel in 1961 and was duly named The Vested Gentress. The label started with a man dressed in equestrian theme as part of the logo which also coincided with the womens label with an equestrian female of same style but using a female silhouette.
After some research I have found that the animal characters like the one shown here was most likely drawn by Bud himself as he enjoyed that element and purchased or hired other artists to design most of the floral prints. Resembling closely to the bold and colorful Lilly Pulitzer prints of the day. They also have a signed VG in the fabric to distinguish the maker if the label has fallen off and you can confirm who the piece was made by seeing their mark on the fabric.
Screen printing was done in the Pennsylvania factory and one would think the process did not produce many of each print. I have not been able to find this particular piece being offered by Divine Finds on the internet. It does have the older label from the 60s when according to interview article with Naomi this was copyrighted in 1966 and does not have the crop in hand. Later the crop was added to the label dating these pieces as later, possibly in the 1970s and beyond but unconfirmed when logo changed.
The business closed soon after owner Bud passed in 1985 as the family run business was not complete without their co-founders passion at the helm.
For a over 25 years, this line was made in the USA and was hand screen printed on fabrics in house and in the world of vintage, some of these pieces will be highly collectible and sought after especially the older ones and non floral prints with animal characters. My guess is this piece is from the late 60s after copyright was established in 1966 and no later than 1970/71 because of style. And confirmed when you use the RN dating formula – dates this as 1967 or the oldest this piece could be.
Dating vintage clothing to a precise date can only be truly determined truly with a receipt. As any good vintage clothing dealer will tell you , we are researching the content, the style, fabric type etc. to narrow down a era hopefully within a few years.
This colorful shirtdress with the cats in love in the grass is in excellent condition. Long pinch pleated maxi length front with large graphics on front and back along with faux pink pearl button up at top. The dress has two front pockets and matching wide belt of same fabric. The belt may have been cut from fabrics that were not well printed as you can see some area where dye could have taken better. Cinched cuff bishop style sleeves. Because this is possibly likely to be drawn by Bud himself and that makes this dress quite collectible. Easily machine washed and dried. View more pictures of this dress on our shop site to purchase or find link to auction site for sale.
Reference: Interview with Noami and Dan Jackson (son of Bud) by Vintage Traveler, Vintage Fashion Guild Forums, FTC