Vivien of Holloway 1940s Swing Trousers – A Wardrobe Staple

Lately, especially as the weather starts to turn decidedly autumnal, I have been wearing trousers more frequently. Some pairs of trousers I have made, some are by reproduction fashion labels such as Collectif, Emmy Design and Vivien of Holloway. Today, I am going to talk about the 1940s Swing Trousers by the latter brand – Vivien of Holloway.

I first discovered how fantastic these trousers are around three years ago, when I visited the Holloway Road boutique for the first time. I left with two pairs, and followed-up my visit by promptly ordering a subsequent pair barely weeks later. So, to date (excluding the pair in this review) I should have three pairs.. only I have two and a half. My absolute favourite pair were a brown tweed, which seemed to go with everything. Hence, why I probably wore them all the time. Anyway, one day I hopped-onto my 1965 Mobylette, zipped around town, then zipped back home. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to forego my usual boots, instead choosing bicycle clips to control the trousers fullness in the calf. What. A. Mistake.

When I got home and was putting Polly away (that’s my Mobylette’s name, read more about her here), I caught one of the trouser legs in the chain – and became completely stuck. After fiddling about and panicking for a while, I realised the only way to detach myself was to effectively yank the fabric, causing a whooping great, oil stained hole. Oh joy. So, that pair are in a sorry pile waiting for me to potentially turn them into culottes.

My other two pairs are ruby red, and a grey tweed wool. A few weeks ago, when I saw that Vivien of Holloway were releasing a range of swing trousers made from super soft fabrics, I couldn’t wait! I love my grey tweed trousers, but my skin is so so sensitive, that my legs often become hot and irritated when I wear them.

I seem to be going through a ‘pink phase’ at the moment, so of course I immediately knew I was going to order the soft pink. The colour is beautiful, a very subtle, pale warm pink. I really think this colour would look amazing on blondes (although that is not enough yet to persuade me to reach for the hair dye!)

The length surprised me by being around two inches longer than my previous two pairs. I assumed that the trousers would be exactly the same as my previous pairs, but I guess maybe the brand have made them longer to accommodate a broader customer base. The inside leg of these when they arrived was 31inches, whereas my older pairs have an inside leg of around 29inches. So I altered the length, which luckily for me, was no problem. I also changed the buttons, as when the trousers arrived they had cream buttons. I just preferred a matching soft pink, so I swapped them out for these pink ones.

I cannot express how much I LOVE THESE TROUSERS. Well, maybe the fact that technically these are my forth pair may be a clue to how much I adore them! They fit nicely on the waist, and have a low rise – skimming the derriere. I have a bit of complex about my backside, so the one thing I cannot stand is any item of clothing clinging to my behind! But the 1940s swing trousers are an authentic 40s cut – in that they gently skim the hips and have a nice low rise. The legs are wide, but not super-wide. They are just wide enough for daily wear, with a nice level of practicality.

I teamed the trousers with a blouse which I kindly received from GANT, see my report and review on both mine & Kieren’s shirts over on Vintage News here.

Outfit Details

  • 1940s Swing Trousers in Pink Soft – Vivien of Hollway
  • Oxford Bow Shirt – c/o GANT
  • Stephanie Shoes – c/o Hotter (Style Series post coming soon)
  • Belt & Headscarves – Vintage

As Kieren and I were taking pictures together for our GANT piece on the Vintage News, we decided to horse around a little – and this goofy picture is the result! Haa ha, I was worried I would be too heavy and Kieren would drop me, but we survived. We even got a round of applause from bemused onlookers!

Until next time dears!


Costume In Film: Populaire

Sometimes there is nothing better than settling down to watch a good movie, especially if the movie features beautiful costumes and sets. I had seen Populaire a few times, and with the handy assistance of screen-shots, I decided to put a little post together here.


Populaire – set in the years 1958-1959

Directed by Regis Roinsard, the film was made in 2012. The movie stars Romain Duris, Deborah Francois and Berenice Bejo. The plot follows Rose (Deborah Francois), as she becomes Louis’ secretary, set in the years 1958-1959. Impressed by Rose’s typing abilities, Louis decides to enter Rose into speed typing competitions, first regionally, nationally, and eventually globally.


Rose reading ‘Le Petit Echo de la Mode’

Upon watching this movie a few times, the character of Louis strikes me as extremely controlling, to the point where I actually feel uncomfortable looking at him. The movie does has chauvinistic undertones, however this unfortunately probably reflects the realities of what life may have been like as a woman in the late 1950s. (Although Louis’ utter control over Rose is exaggerated to facilitate the plot).

LOVE this girl - the tie, the hair - attitude!

LOVE this girl – the tie, the hair – attitude!


Hands up!

Whilst the film may highlight the inequalities between the sexes during the late 1950s, it also draws attention to the excitement and opportunities the workplace offered women. When Rose is offered a position as a secretary in the city, she dreams of a new life – away from the small village she knows. This is a scene that many of us can relate to, and I love the fact that Rose collects fashion magazines, dreaming of a new, exciting life.


Rose jazzes up her typewriter with the use of some teeny tiny pots of paint


Then decides to co-ordinate her nails to match. (It’s actually to help her learn to touch-type, but it looks fabulous too!)


Matching your nails to your typewriter – the very latest trend..

The film also resonated with me, as when I was 16, my mother encouraged me to learn to touch-type (back then, like Rose, I dreamt of becoming a secretary. But my creative side overruled, and I decided to enter higher education – not looking back since!) When I was learning to touch-type, I found it extremely difficult. I tried to give-up a few times, but my mother always persuaded me to persevere. Happily, nowadays, I can touch-type – and it has definitely helped me with my writing work and assignments!


It’s a bra Louis, I’m sure you have seen one before


‘You will eat this toast, even if you don’t actually want it’


Rose’s top here has me hankering to buy Jennifer Lauren’s Gable slash neck top pattern now!

(PS – buy/view Jennifer Lauren’s Gable top sewing pattern here.) Visually, the film is stunning. Many of Rose’s costumes are typical of the earlier 1950s, reflecting her provincial upbringing. As she progresses with her typing accomplishment’s, her costumes and styling become more sophisticated. Also – for fans of vintage spectacle frames – this film is a wonderful resource! During the typing competitions, many of the competitors sport glasses, allowing a great opportunity to glean inspiration.


‘Let me just display our engagement ring as prominently as I can to the press darling’


Ready, set, type!

The movie is French, with subtitles (so it is not a movie you can put on then do other things to – ie sewing. You have to actually sit and watch the screen!) As the movie is French, I particularly enjoyed the utilisation of the fashion magazine Le Petit Echo de la Mode – as I have a sizeable collection of issues!


The movies namesake – the ‘Populaire’ typewriter!


Rose is now gracing the covers of magazines she previously would have pinned to her wall. Complete with multi-coloured nails of course.


Rose is obviously jealous of those a-maa-zing cat eyes (I know I am)

For a colourful sojourn into late 1950s styling, Populaire is the perfect movie. Particularly if you ignore/thrown popcorn at the screen whenever Louis is being a complete idiot (although – don’t throw popcorn, you won’t have any left to actually eat! Ha ha!)


A movie showing a woman with ROLLERS STILL IN HER HAIR! Yes!

I purchased Populaire on DVD a few years ago, but it is probably still available on Amazon and such-like.


And that’s all folks.

All images are from screen-shots of the movie that I took myself, then cropped/edited for the purpose of this review.

Have you seen Populaire? What did you think?

Until next time dears!