Vivien of Holloway are well known for their many signature style dresses, from their Halter Neck Circle Dress to their Bolero and Sarong sets, but come winter their beloved tartan circle skirts take centre stage. There’s always a flurry of excitement and desperate flashing of bank cards when the winter skirts are restocked each year, and each year they sell out in a frenzy in their most popular tartans. Now, much-anticipated releases of new colours or prints of their Slash Neck Tops often sell out with the same kind of speed and fervor, so I’m sure I’ll be preaching to the choir for many of you today when we look at this Vivien of Holloway outfit that’s got me feeling all kinds of festive.
I remember Vivien of Holloway’s Heather tartan skirt being one of the first items I ever coveted as a new pinup finding her style. These days, I can’t wait to bring out all my tartans and plaids as soon as we see the first hint of Autumn in September, but there’s something special about a classic red tartan this time of year. Whether wearing this skirt casually shopping or dressed up for Christmas day itself with the family, it makes winter feel a little bit happier, brighter, and warmer–although maybe the latter is more down to the Jenny cardigan, which seems to have developed somewhat of a cult following amongst lovers of the brand. I see Jennys of all colours featured in outfit photos on my social media feeds all the time in winter and after giving this red version a try I can see why.
Cropped to pair well with separates as well sitting nicely over dresses, the Jenny cardigan has a flattering hug to the body. It has a shawl collar, a lovely vintage feature, and it’s just thick enough to help keep you truly warm without adding any extra bulk to your silhouette like a chunkier knit does. The waist and cuffs are ribbed, as well as the centre button panel. Worn fully buttoned like a sweater or partially unbuttoned to display your top or dress underneath, I see why ladies are snapping them up in multiple colours to round out their wardrobe–easy to do, given it’s available in 16 shades.
Similarly, the Slash Neck Tops are just as beloved and colour-hoarded by many, a wardrobe staple that is both work appropriate and easily styled for casual and social outfits too. I love this kind of neckline on a top but this version far outstrips the cheaper, low quality versions I’ve picked up over the years from assorted budget stores or modern fashion websites. The quality of this piece is sturdy and beautiful, especially in this gorgeous sparkly gold lurex version that will be perfect for many a Christmas or New Year celebration. The stretch in the fabric makes it comfortable for a full day’s wear, even for someone like me who has broad shoulders and large upper arms. I love it so much that I’m eyeing up the mustard-toned Piccalilly and burgundy-esque Rosewood versions now, although it comes in 37 different colours and prints so stopping at those two might be difficult.
The red tartan circle skirt does everything a circle skirt is made to do, which is give incredible volume when layered over a petticoat and twirl like a beauty. This particular skirt closes with a button atop the back zip and has a hidden pocket on the right hip. It’s 30 inches long so it gives reasonable leg coverage for the colder months, and there’s room to fit a nice, fluffy voluminous petticoat to keep yourself even warmer. Since the skirt is a full circle, you can get as poofy as you want in the petticoat department without that awkward strained fabric look ruining your style. Then there’s the fact that these circle skirts come in 68 different prints, fabrics and colours, so they’re practically guaranteed to have what you’re looking for.
In regards to sizing, Vivien of Holloway’s stretch tops comes in a familiar lettered S-XL format, but their dresses, skirts, trousers and boned tops all follow vintage numbered sizing which can be a little confusing to ladies new to the brand. The best thing to do is always to measure yourself and check the size guide on the website to select the correct size if you’re unsure.
I found the Jenny cardigan and Slash Neck Top both size generously, as my measurements put me in the XL range but the L in both items fit me perfectly, so sizing down is possible for a skintight fit. (For reference, the slash neck top flat measures 37 inches in the waist with stretch to at least 42 inches.) The red tartan circle skirt is made of a non-stretch fabric and measures exactly true to the size chart. Vivien of Holloway have a shop in North London and the ladies are always happy to measure you up and fit you to your correct size, so lovelies local to the area or visiting on a London trip will be able get assistance in store if you feel uncertain of sizing.
The Jenny cardigan comes in sizes S-XL (£45,) the Slash Neck Top also comes in S-XL (£35) and the 1950s Tartan Circle Skirts come in waist sizes 24-38 inches (45.) Vivien of Holloway ship internationally.