As Newmarket Ladies' Day approaches, Velvet proclaims: Say Yes to the Dress!
We should have a box of Kleenex by all our mirrors: we have a Kleenex moment every single day. Ladies look at their reflection and just burst into tears, blown away by what they see.
That’s what Pocket Watch & Petticoats is really about: making ladies feel fabulous. What we offer isn’t just a dress - it’s an experience. That’s why we don’t sell online. What you get when you walk into our shop is something you can’t get from clicking to buy; you can’t get it behind a keyboard.
I loved the 1940s from a really young age; probably about 10. I felt like I couldn’t express myself in that way at the time, because it wasn’t the in thing. Then we moved to Canada and I felt a lot more free, so I started to wear my petticoats and victory rolls. By the time we came back to the UK, that’s just who I was.
I went to Ipswich for the day with my mum and we were having a cup of tea in this vintage tearoom. I said: ‘Imagine if this time next year I had my own shop?’ We then went into what used to be a vintage store and the guy said: ‘Upstairs is free…’ 17 hours later, my mum and I had sorted everything and Pocket Watch & Petticoats had begun! A year later I met Adrian, now my husband, and we opened Bury.
People have said we’re crazy, with the retail environment so tough, but we know we’re offering something special. Clothes on the High Street are made for a man’s shape these days: if you’ve got curves, it can be so hard to find things that actually fit. The fit of our dresses is amazing, they honestly take a dress size off you.
Just by looking at a customer we know what will suit them and what they’ll feel gorgeous in. Generally the first dress we give them to try is the one they go home with. Whether you’re a Pocket Rocket or a Curvaceous Goddess, we’ve got the dress for you.
It breaks my heart to hear so many ladies say they can’t bear to look in changing room mirrors when they’re High Street shopping. To see them leaving our shop with that renewed confidence is brilliant - that’s the reward for us.
Pocket Watch & Petticoats is so much more than a shop. It’s a family.
Get the Look - Sophia shares her top five tips for race-day dressing
Come into Pocket Watch & Petticoats, of course!
Keep an open mind. Leave your preconceptions about what will and won’t suit you at the door.
Don’t be scared to try a petticoat. Honestly: once you’ve got one on, you’ll love it.
Once you’ve found The Dress, let it do the talking. For the races, you’ll need a fascinator or flower for your hair, but don’t overdo the jewellery.
Trust us. Within five minutes of getting on that racecourse you’ll have had so many compliments you’ll want our names tattooed somewhere.
Trying on a Pocket Watch & Petticoats dress changed Sarah Watling’s wardrobe - and her life. She now dresses in retro style every day, petticoats and all
“I dress like this full-time. Even at work: I work for the NHS in a mental health unit. These dresses make you feel so fabulous. Why would you not want to feel like that every day?
“I’ve tried lots of different looks over the years - I used to be a Goth. But then I came in here, tried that first dress on and just thought ‘Yes: I’ve found it. This is me’.
“Sophia was so lovely - this is her passion and it really, really shows - and I just felt really comfortable, both in the shop and in the dress. Now I pop into the shop most weeks, to see what’s new. One question I’m often asked is ‘How big is your wardrobe, exactly?’...
“It doesn’t matter what your size: whether you’re an 8 or a 26, these clothes will make you feel amazing. They accentuate all your best features. If you’re hung up about your hips, petticoats are perfect; if you’re very slim and want to bring out your curves, a wiggle skirt is for you.
“I’m going to Newmarket Ladies’ Day with a group of five friends and we’re all wearing Pocket Watch dresses. I’ve converted several people now - including one who never wore dresses before!”
Pocket Watch & Petticoats is at 10 St John's Street, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1SQ. To find out more, visit pocketwatchandpetticoats.com
Pictures by Mecha Morton