We’ve recently reviewed the Vivien of Holloway Amber Tartan Kitty Dress so today I thought we’d really connect to the current summer vibes and review the Vivien of Holloway Chrysanthemum Lilac Halterneck Pencil dress. With the heat being so unbearable lately, I am being drawn towards summer prints, cotton fabrics and outfits that are as comfortable as possible. When I first tried on this pencil dress I knew she would be perfect for summer drinks and date night. I was kindly gifted this dress and I cannot be grateful enough that she is now hanging in my wardrobe because she is absolutely stunning.
I normally shy away from pencil dresses and skirts as my endo belly can be pretty unpredictable and I’m really not bothered explaining to everyone that it’s just an endo flare up and they won’t be meeting a mini version of myself in 9 months time. That aside, sometimes a dress comes along that just grabs me and I fall in love regardless of the pencil style. This is one such dress. Let’s start with the print because I have to talk about it; it is absolutely stunning. This is one from Vivien’s Pink Label range. These luxurious dresses are made with their own Bespoke prints. Made by Vivien of Holloway exclusively with a heavy influence from Vintage fabrics. With a soft purple background and adorned with purple, white and yellow chrysanthemums the pattern has large flowers to allow proper details but not too large that it looks disproportionate. The little pops of green from the flowers leaves also gives the print a little bit of a darker tone making pairing it with accessories easy. Chrysanthemums are really beautiful flowers and depending on where you are in the world, generally are believed to represent happiness, love, longevity and joy. Perfect for a summer dress.
The dress is made up of 97% Cotton and 3% Spandex so she is lightweight with just the right amount of stretch. I have worn her out for a full day where it reached 38 degrees (100.4 F) and I was pretty comfortable all day long, well, as much as one can be on a 38 degree day. The dress is cut in Vivien’s signature boned bodice shape a very flattering bullet bust. Due to the boning, you really don’t need to worry about shape-wear as the dress holds you in and hold you up in all the right places. I find that you get a very subtle bullet bra look whilst wearing this dress which is flattering and helps proportion you a little where needed. The halterneck is absolutely lovely; it doesn’t cut into your armpits, it doesn’t squish your underarm fat and it doesn’t pull at the back of your neck. The halter straps can be folded to suit you and I find they always look super flattering.
The skirt is of course a pencil skirt with darts to give you a figure hugging look. The skirt is 28 inches in length so it hits me just below the knee which I find to be the perfect length. I feel a little bit like Jayne Mansfield in this dress as she was quite famous for her pencil dresses and always had a perfect hourglass figure. This style dress gives me the same vibes but the cute floral print makes it a little more MonMon and than Mansfield. The back of the skirt has a small slit which makes walking very comfortable. I never felt like my legs were restricted and I could easy move about, sit down and get up as well as run across the road to get into the air conditioned book shop just a little bit faster.
This dress is so easy to style due to all the colours you can pull from. Personally I pulled from the yellow tones as purple and yellow is such an under-rated colour combination. I paired my dress with a vintage yellow belt, yellow heels from honiara vintage, a vintage yellow hat and some vintage yellow gloves. If you’re styling this dress, you can easily add accessories of white, purple, green and a darker fuschia. I think she looks great paired with a belt to bring in the waist and of course heels to match but you can always just wear cute flats to match. This dress makes me tempted to dive into the world of bangles as white, purple, lilac and green or yellow bangles would look incredible with this dress.
I have a 28 inch waist so I receive the 28 inch waisted dress/size 14 and it fits perfectly. Over the years I have purchased a size up and a size down from this and found that in fact this is the most comfortable and flattering size for me. The Chrysanthemum lilac pencil dress retails for 159 pounds ($304 AUD). This price is a little steep but once you break down the fact that it’s made and designed in the UK, she’s really high quality and will last you a lifetime, she’s made from bespoke fabric you can’t find anywhere else and the fact she’s super flattering makes her really worth it. There are so many ways to style this dress that you really can wear it loads of different ways and have her appear different. One way I like to style pencil skirts is by putting a circle skirt over the top in a matching colour; she looks like a top and you have a brand new outfit.
This dress is a dream and I’m so glad to finally own a halter neck pencil dress from Vivien of Holloway. I do have one of their halter neck flared dresses which I actually wore for my first ever pinup pageants many many moons ago so it’s nice to see the difference between the two. This dress is stay with me for a very long time and I’m already excited to wear her again. If you’ve been thinking about treating yourself or have been eyeing off this fabric; just do it! Even if you don’t go for the pencil dress, the kitty and the runaround sue are two of my favourite cuts and both are available in this print. This print also comes with a matching bolero incase you want to cover up a little more.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit from any link clicks or purchases made.