When I was newly engaged, a friend of mine spotted a lovely black and white polka dot ‘wiggle dress’ in a magazine and thought something similar would fit my vintage wedding theme.
The dress was from Vivien of Holloway. I searched on their website and found a huge array of dresses and separates in varying patterns and colours all in a 1950s style.
Perfect as my bridesmaids dresses I headed to their shop on Holloway Road (hence the name) and found that they are really well made and use high quality fabrics. The bodice part of the dresses are all fully boned and lined so they are comfortable to wear. Be warned though, they are in keeping with their vintage theme and do not stock high street sizes! Not a problem though, as they use a vintage size guide. It’s on their website and is pretty accurate. But if you are unsure I highly recommend going to the shop and getting measured properly by one of the assistants. For example, if you are normally a size 14, this translates to a vintage size 16. But remember it is only a number!!
I had 4 maids in all and needed to get styles that suited all of them while keeping the colours along a similar theme. This proved to be a little tricky as all 4 were a different size and I wanted to keep my 2 Maids of Honour in matching outfits so they would stand out from the other bridesmaids. The girls were spread far and wide over London and as they all have busy schedules it was difficult getting them together at the same time so I went to the shop with them each individually. This meant that sometimes when I went in, a few of the styles I wanted were out of stock or not the correct size!
Vivien of Holloway’s stock system is a tad strange…they have a warehouse where all the dresses are made but you cannot order a specific dress in a specific size as they are made in batches and sent to the shop. The shop also have no way of knowing what they are likely to get in the batch that arrives from the warehouse as they seem to have little or no contact with them. They informed me that it would be better for me to shop online as the warehouse control the website so therefore will have a more accurate knowledge of what is in stock.
Closer to the big day I had one dress left to get and time was running out! There is a contact section on the website so I emailed my predicament to the warehouse hoping they would be able to help me finally track down my chosen pattern in the correct size.
Unfortunately the reply was most unhelpful, they told me to buy a bigger size and get it altered. I had already done this with one of the other maid’s dresses and it had proved to be a very difficult job and with a matter of a few weeks remaining I was unwilling to take on the stress!! Considering that I had already bought 3 dresses at £79-89 each and had been in and out of the shop on numerous occasions I would have hoped that they could rush through the batch of smaller sizes. But it wasn’t to be! I settled for a different dress altogether and she looked stunning in it, it didn’t quite match the others but I’m sure the only person who noticed on the day was me!!
[Tip: It is worth asking if you can get a discount if you pay in cash!!]