A Brief History of Crimplene

Ah crimplene, I just love the stuff. Not a lot of people do though, for my mum and Aunt crimplene conjures up memories of horrible sweaty school uniforms and fashions they would rather forget. 

Crimplene was developed by ICI Fibres Laboratory (now defunct) in the early 50s and was named after Crimple Valley where the company was based. It's a thick yarn that produces heavy, wrinkle-resistant cloth which retains its shape and colour well and dries quickly. Clothes that were made from crimplene in the 1960s and 1970s still look as good now as the day they were made.

Sadly, crimplene fell out of favour in the 1970s as other, lighter weight polyester fabrics began to replace it.

St Michael made some great crimplene dresses back in the day. They are quite easy to find, a quick search on ebay will usually throw up some lovely pieces, and I've picked up quite a few dresses recently from vintage fairs and markets. 

Crimplene may not be popular with everyone but I just love it, I wore the dress below on Friday when I went to the Bowie exhibition at the V&A. It might not be to everyones taste as it's very bright and very orange, but I'm not one to shy away from colour. 



  1. Ah yes, Crimplene. I've heard many mixed views on it, but like you I love it too and have a couple of vintage Crimplene dresses in my collection. And I must, must say...that dress is absolutely incredible and I cannot place a limit on my envy! Very bright and very orange are always big ticks in my book!

  2. I think it's adorable! The fact that my school uniform had nothing to do with it might help. I must say that among the dresses you posted the one you're wearing is my favourite! xxx

  3. I love your dress Sarah, (and I love those pink walls). I had a crimpelene dress once and I must admit, it was just a tad too much on the granny side for me. Yours however looks gorgeous xxx

  4. I love Crimplene, its a dream to launder and the shape and colours stay as pristine as they did 40 years ago.
    I've heard tell that ICI had to stop production as women weren't buying as many clothes due to its longevity.
    That dress is an absolute beauty and so are you. x

  5. Screeeechhhhhhhhhhh!!! I want that dress! I'm a huge fan - love that the colour never moves. If the patterns are right it hides so much wear and tear.

    Join our $150 dress giveaway!

  6. What an amazing dress! I really wish I didn't mind wearing Crimplene (and polyester), because so many fantastic garments from the 60s were made with it. I love the look, but cannot sport it as often as I wish as cotton or wool dresses in the same style are more difficult to find. I'll admire the coolness of Crimplene from afar, it looks great on you!

  7. Love that gorgeous floral dress! Welcome to my blog. Hope we can follow each other.
    Ask Erena

  8. I love this dress !! It looks very good on you :-)

  9. What a fun dress - you look so gorgeous in orange! It's my husband's favourite colour, and I've always liked it, too, but I find I need to stick to either the super light or super dark ends of the spectrum (otherwise it brings out the pink in my skin too much).

    ♥ Jessica

  10. Pretty dress. I hated crimplene. It made me itch. Fortunately my school uniforms were not made of it. Living in Africa we got to wear cotton, mostly. Our winters are relatively short so there was never a requirement to wear anything heavier than a jersey or possibly a coat. Just pile more clothes on for winter and wear the barest minimum in Summer.


Thank you for taking the time to comment, I read and appreciate every one. Please do not comment anonymously - use the Name/URL option instead.

Spam comments will be deleted.