At the end of last year one of my favourite vintage reproduction shops, Vivien of Holloway, featured a black 1950s style slash neck top on their website. For a week or two it wasn’t available to buy and I sat there drooling over it, desperately sending them messages to release it with the power of my mind. I eagerly signed up for their ’email when in stock’ reminder and the minute it came into stock an email popped into my inbox. Of course, I didn’t waste any time in placing my order which was a good thing as it actually sold out in all sizes that same day!
When it came I was a little unsure if I’d ordered the right size for me as it seemed rather more loose than I had envisioned. However, once I tried it on with other garments I realised just how flexible it was. It was baggy enough to wear over jeans, yet tight enough to be tucked into skirts. Hurrah, the perfect black vintage style top! Just what I have been looking for.
One thing I have been trying to focus on with my wardrobe this winter is separates rather than unpractical summer dresses and my new top inspired me to see just how many outfits I could create with one simple piece. I managed five! For me, this is a miracle as I have a tendency to buy something that will only go with one other thing I own. So, here are my outfits.
The Deadly is the Female Manhattan Circle Skirt
I bought this gorgeous Manhattan circle skirt from Deadly is the Female back in the spring of last year. It’s from the Bettie Page brand which has now become Tatyana and is so comfortable to wear. It’s made from a lightweight wool which has got a little bit of stretch to it so it never feels tight around the waist, even if you’ve just indulged in a three course meal. The print is abstract and really gives the illusion of a Manhattan skyline at night.
I’ve worn it here with a red patent, snakeskin effect belt I bought years ago and, for the life of me, I cannot remember where I got it. It’s just one of those items that always just been there in my wardrobe! The shoes are from Miss Selfridge and are about 15 years old. They’re my absolute favourite pair of shoes and I’ve had them reheeled and resoled countless times. The poodle brooch is vintage and I found it at Shepton Mallet Flea Market. It’s a very simple marcasite design but it has a single red stone for its eye.
The Vivien of Holloway Pencil Skirt
This is one of my classic work outfits. The skirt is also from Vivien of Holloway and is a greeny petrol colour. When I was looking for a new pencil skirt I wanted something that was dark, but not black or navy, and this is just perfect. The fabric is a wool blend and is fully lined which is great for the winter months. It’s fits quite snuggly around the legs so you just can’t help but wiggle in it!
The belt, again, is one I’ve had forever and I cannot remember where it is from. I have one identical in red and both are real staple accessories in my wardrobe. The shoes are from Marks and Spencer and are black patent with two false buckles across the toe area. The brooch is a really sparkly one I picked up in Not Cartiers in Bath. It’s an amazing shop crammed full of antique and vintage jewellery at really low prices and is well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
The Deadly is the Female Cigarette Pants
These black cigarette pants are another very successful purchase from Deadly is the Female. I bought them back at the end of the summer last year and have worn and worn them. Initially, as with all trousers, I had to take them up so they were a good fit on me. The waist band sits perfectly on my natural waist which creates a fab authentic look. They’ve got a lot of stretch to them, so the fit is nice and snug which makes them uber sexy but incredibly comfortable.
The leopard print belt is from John Lewis and was half price in their January sale. It’s faux fur rather than printed on which gives it a luxury look. It goes with so many other outfits, especially dresses, and matches my leopard faux fur Biba bag beautifully. I’m clearly still going through my animal print phase! The shoes are from Dorothy Perkins about ten years ago and are falling to pieces. I still wear them, though, as I cannot bear to part with them until I can find a replacement. And I cannot tell you how long I have been looking!
The Vivien of Holloway Wild Rose Circle Skirt
This is another Vivien of Holloway skirt that I bought in the spring of last year. It’s a proper full circle skirt, made using two semi-circles of fabric, which is the perfect style for me. I cannot wear ones that are created using long rectangular strips of fabric gathered into a waist band due to the fact that I have high hip bones. The gathers sit on top of my hips which basically makes me look like I have a shelf sticking out either side of my waist! This one is a heavy cotton and drapes beautifully from the wide waistband. It is unlined which is great for the summer but because it is quite thick it is warm enough for the slightly colder months. I went for the purple because I don’t have anything else in that colour and I wanted to get something different.
The belt and shoes are the same as above and the brooch is from the now-defunked Past Times. It’s a cute little bow decorated with marcasite and has an amethyst stone in the middle. Several years ago I managed the Past Times website and every now and again at head office they would sell off loads of their past year’s samples. I bought so many bits and pieces, particularly jewellery, as it was often made in original moulds from the 1920s – 60s. Nothing was more than about 50p in the sample sale, so you can imagine the hoards of stuff I managed to pick up!
The Collectif Kate Rebel Jeans
Lastly, I managed to put together a more casual look, something I have vowed to do more of this coming year. The Kate Rebel jeans are from Collectif and are high waisted. They have a small zip and three exposed buttons going up the fly, and there’s stitching across the front hips which creates two downward Vs, which gives them a really interesting look. However, they have no waistband which is never a good thing for me. They fit perfectly everywhere apart from over my hips and waist and there’s a massive gap at the back which means I am constantly heaving them up (attractive!). I’m going to try and take them in when I get some time to sit down and take them apart.
The shoes are the same as above and the red poodle brooch is, again, from Vivien of Holloway. I told you they were one of my favourites! It’s plastic but perfectly moulded and just so darn cute. It was only £6 so I couldn’t really resist. The headscarf is vintage and I picked it up at Portobello Market a couple of years ago. Its got three thick white lines going around the border and the centre is covered in polka dots. It’s classic pin-up style and perfect for when I’m having a bad hair day!
I’m so glad I set myself this challenge because it has really opened my eyes to different combinations I can wear rather than just sticking to the same outfit every time, something I’m very guilty of doing. I’ve just treated myself to the same slash neck top in green and it goes really well with the Manhattan skirt and cigarette pants, as well as my navy 1930s style 20th Century Foxy trousers. I love having so many options now and I will always consider separates in a different way now whenever I’m thinking about buying something.