40s Whirlaway Skirts are a much-loved staple of vintage enthusiasts’ wardrobes for their classic silhouette, wide range of authentic solid colours and the occasional dreamy nostalgic print. They are one of The House of Foxy’s recurring designs, brought back in new season prints, and restocked in the versatile solid colours fairly regularly. Every now and then, they’ll even release a limited edition piece – like this brown herringbone wool Whirlaway with matching made-to-order vest from Winter 2021.
The Whirlaway skirt was quite a find when I first stumbled across The House of Foxy – I’d been searching for an A-line skirt with the clean lines and elegant drape of true vintage 40s pieces I’d seen, and till then had only been able to find 50s designs. So many 50s designs. Unlike other skirts I used to own from pinup / rockabilly brands with their full circle cuts reflecting the styles of the 1950s, the design of the Whirlaway uses less fabric and creates a more authentic 40s post-war silhouette. While the Whirlaway isn’t quite as lean on fabric as those wartime skirts, it drapes beautifully over the hips and sure made a difference to the overall look of my outfits.
If you’re worried about a loss of swing-out swoosh factor, don’t be – it still flares out nicely when I twirl and shall be beautiful to swing dance in. The weight of the fabric means it isn’t swishing up around my shoulders at the slightest breeze though, which is nice…
The majority of the Whirlaways I own are a poly/viscose crepe fabric, with slight stretch from a little spandex. The fabric has a thickness and weight to it that is perfect for me all year round. In winter I wear it with a slip and wool tights, and in the warmer months with seamed stockings or bare legs. The skirt consists of four panels of fabric flowing from the waistband – that’s why there is that centre seam at the front. The skirt is closed with four ivory buttons down one side, and there’s a front pocket on the opposite side which is a nice touch aesthetically, but I don’t use it.
The newer Whirlaways have a small tag with the House of Foxy logo at the side of the pocket (I’m guessing maybe due to the rise in counterfeit products targeting the more reputable reproduction vintage designers?) which I know has caused some frustration among their customers. I have been told it is possible to very carefully cut the visible section of tag off but I’ve been far too scared to try! I’m not a huge fan of the tag, but it’s certainly not a deal-breaker for me. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking at the newer skirts to compliment a true vintage wardrobe.
In terms of sizing and fit, this skirt is a little big in the waist (size 8 is designed for 26″ waist) but it’s nothing a belt doesn’t fix. While there’s no size down currently available, my coral Whirlaway pictured above is preloved and has been professionally altered to feature a thick elasticated waist at the back, making the waist closer to a 24″. This was perfect for me after my stay in hospital in 2019, but is getting a little tight now, so I’d say size 8 – which is my usual House of Foxy size – is my ideal size in this skirt given the available options. To the best of my knowledge, the Whirlaways are not currently available in House of Foxy’s size UK6. Most colours are available in sizes UK8 to 24.
I sourced my rust, brown, wool herringbone and khaki skirts through Australia’s House of Foxy stockist Call Me Valerie. Valerie currently stocks them in a wide range of colours, and you can find them here. The brown wool herringbone Whirlaway skirt is limited edition, and can be found in remaining sizes on Call Me Valerie here. Happy twirling!
Explore my 40s Whirlaway Skirt Style Gallery:
I am wearing a Size 8 with the following body measurements:
Bust: 33″ / Waist: 25″ / Hips: 36″ / Height: 5’8″
Any questions? Leave me a comment below and I will get back to you!