Viyella Shirts are a world-famous brand with a reputation for making classic men’s shirts in luxury fabrics. A favourite of countrymen, Viyella Shirts have a rich history in British manufacturing.
Where it all began
The brand’s heritage began with the formation of Hollins and Company in 1784; a spinner and hosiery company started by a group of businessmen and fronted by Henry Hollins. Based in Pleasley, a small village in Derbyshire, England, Hollins and Company later grew to become a large employer in the area.
When Henry Hollins grandson, William Hollins took charge of the business in the 1840’s he turned it into a major producer in the textile industry. Surviving two serious fires, the firm continued to build on its reputation for top quality textiles.
Discovering the Viyella name
William Hollins nephew, Henry Ernest Hollins became Managing Director of Hollins and Company in 1890. He purchased a new mill around 20 miles away in Derbyshire, leading to the business doubling its output and coining the famous Viyella brand name.
The new mill was situated on the Via Gellia road near Matlock and it is thought that the name Viyella was coined after this road.
The world’s first trademarked fabric
At the new mill, employees James and Robert Sissons researched and developed the first Viyella-own fabric. First woven in 1893, Viyella fabric was a twill weave made from 55% Merino wool and 45% cotton. The cotton-wool combination was more resistant to shrinkage and lighter weight than pure wool alternatives, while still being warm and practical.
Viyella became the first branded fabric in the world and the first to be trademark registered in 1894. It was registered again for the United States in 1907 and the trademark also included clothing made from the fabric.
The Company manufactured a variety of clothes using their Viyella fabric, covering everything from men’s shirts to ladies blouses and nightgowns. They quickly developed different weights, widths, colours and patterns in the fabric and exported around the world.
Big business and buyouts
In the 1960’s Viyella Shirts grew into one of the largest textile businesses in the UK and moved their operating base to central London, with 40 factories across the country. During this time, the brand also gained popularity within the Mod culture due to their classic button down shirts. In the 1970’s Viyella Shirts was awarded The Queen’s Award for Export Achievement and British designer Mary Quant launched the Viyella ‘London Pride’ range to popular acclaim.
The Company underwent a series of mergers and buyouts that began in the 1960s and continued until recent years. Despite a series of buyouts, Viyella Shirts has always had a loyal following from countrymen as their garments are practical and durable for all day wear.
Back to its Derbyshire roots
Viyella Shirts has come home to Derbyshire. Today, the European licensee of the Viyella Shirts brand is Morrison McConnell, otherwise known as M2C2 Group Limited which is a subsidiary of Coats Plc. The Group is based in Riddings in Derbyshire, the same county that gave birth to the brand.
The original Viyella trademarked fabric is no longer offered for sale. Now Viyella Shirts are made with 100% cotton or an 80/20 cotton and merino wool mix, combining the softness of cotton with the warmth and durability of wool. Viyella Shirts have been famous for fabric innovation for over 200 years and continue to offer quality made shirts, designed to last.
The hallmarks of quality
Each new shirt is designed in-house at M2C2’s Derbyshire headquarters and takes 18 months of investment. In contrast to throwaway fashion, a Viyella shirt displays quality construction and attention to detail.
Buy a Viyella shirt and you will see that every button is engraved with the Viyella name and date of 1784, and all buttons face the right way. In the manufacturing process each button is positioned by hand to make sure it is facing correctly and is not upside down.
The vivid colour of Viyella shirts is also a hallmark of their quality. Before dyeing begins, fine long-staple cotton is interwoven with merino wool to create a soft durable yarn which improves with age. The unique technique of combining the fibres before dyeing was first used by Hollins and Company as dye takes better to wool. It allows Viyella Shirts to achieve a greater depth of colour than anyone else. Take a look at the Tartan Check Shirt for a fine example.
Another sign of a luxury garment is that each shirt’s pattern continues seamlessly across the chest pocket, with no break in the check pattern. These quality details make Viyella Shirts worthy of a place in every man’s wardrobe. A Hume is proud to offer a wide selection of their check and plain shirts.
Viyella shirts are made from either a blend of the finest cotton and Merino wool, or pure cotton. For both types of shirt, their quality means they will only improve with age if looked after well. Follow our care guidance below to get maximum wear from your Viyella shirt.
Wool and cotton shirts
The specially spun 20% Merino wool and 80% cotton blend creates a warm and durable shirt that will last you for many years with care.
To clean your shirt:
Pure cotton shirts
Enjoy the comfort of a 100% cotton Viyella shirt which will soften further with washing. The finest cotton threads make up Viyella shirts, so you should wash them on a low temperature.
To clean your cotton shirt:
What to avoid when washing Viyella shirts
Your shirt size
Viyella shirts are available in collar sizes 15" to 18", with a few styles available up to a 20" collar. They are true to size and offer a standard, classic fit.
All shirts are individually measured by our A Hume Size and Fit Team to give you accurate size measurements. Before purchasing your Viyella shirt, we recommend viewing our Size Guides on each product page.
Viyella shirts are only made from natural fibres and this is a mark of a quality shirt. Natural fibres like cotton and wool will allow your skin to breathe, feel better against your skin and last longer than synthetic fibres.
You have already chosen a quality shirt that will drape and wear well, now you just need to find the right fit.
How to find the best shirt fit?
The shirt collar should fit evenly around your neck without pinching and you should be able to slip a finger easily between the neck and collar.
The fit is too tight if the collar is pressing against your neck or your finger does not fit easily inside the collar. If the collar gapes and does not touch your neck at all, the size is too big.
Viyella shirts include small fixed collar stays which help to keep your collar in place and in the correct shape.
Shoulder and sleeve
A good fitting shirt will allow free arm movement and sit evenly across the top of your shoulders. Look for the shoulder seams to sit on your shoulder points. On a long sleeve shirt there will also be an even tapering of material from the shoulder to the cuff, with enough room for elbow movement.
If a shirt is too small you may find that the shoulder seam sits above your shoulder points, your sleeve twists and movement is restricted. If you see the shoulder seam dropping below your shoulder points, or the sleeves bag a lot or sag, the shirt is too big.
Make sure the buttons fasten easily and the front panels sit flat on your chest. The material should drape evenly, with no pulling or puckering and follow the silhouette of your body. Also check that the fabric does not billow at the lower back when tucked in.
If the shirt ripples or gapes at the buttons, the fit may be too small. A shirt is too big if you see excess fabric billowing around your torso. The cut of a shirt can also affect the fit. Viyella Shirts are cut to a standard fit and allow generous movement around the shoulder, ideal for country pursuits.
Viyella checked shirts are so synonymous with country life that they are almost a uniform for the country man. Their tattersall checks and heathery, country colours epitomise country style.
During the Second World War, Officers in the British and Commonwealth armies favoured Viyella Shirts when they had to purchase their own uniforms. Viyella wool/cotton mix shirts are well known for practicality and warmth. Their durability and classic style suit men of all ages.
Our Viyella shirt collection includes everything from plain shirts to fine or bold checks, with either long or short sleeves. Viyella shirts have distinctive style features as well as a high-quality finish.
Style features of Viyella shirts
Long back length
Viyella shirts have a longer shirt tail to allow for ease of tucking in. The generous back length gives room to manoeuvre without the shirt tail coming untucked. The exact length at the back depends on the size of the shirt, but generally there is a length of at least 32 inches from the base of the collar to the bottom of the shirt.
Generous shoulder width
Designed for an active lifestyle, Viyella shirts allow for excellent movement in the shoulders and arms, allowing you to easily adjust your stance during country sports.
Viyella shirts have a single front breast pocket, positioned on the left which gives a traditional look.
Standard or button down collar
Most Viyella shirts have a standard collar for casual style. Only a few styles have a button down collar such as the Melange Club Check Shirt.
Adjustable cuff fastening
A number of the shirt styles feature a 2 button adjustable cuff such as the Edged Tattersall Shirt. This allows you to easily roll up your sleeves and fasten the cuff at the higher button fastening. The cuff opening and extra button means you can keep your sleeves from falling down – without spending time rolling them back up all the time!
Tattersall shirts are all checked and are a country man’s style essential. It is a traditional checked shirt with complementary or contrasting coloured checks, generally woven on a lighter background. The check pattern is created by combining thin, even vertical stripes with a horizontal stripe, resulting in a square pattern.
The name ‘tattersall’ was inspired by the checked blankets worn on horses at Richard Tattersall’s Suffolk horse market in the 18th century. These shirts are still closely linked to equestrian life and look great for shooting and country pursuits. It is a casual rather than formal shirt but can be worn with a sporting tie.
Tattersall shirts from Viyella come in large, medium or small checks.
Viyella shirts also come in plain or other patterned styles such as tartan, gingham check or Oxford check.
Choosing the shirt material
Your Viyella shirt can be worn throughout the seasons. It is a trusted garment and a perfect under-layer for country life.
Viyella pure 100% cotton shirts are ideal for wearing on their own in summer or layering underneath other clothes in cooler weather. The soft handle of the shirts makes them extremely comfortable to wear and soft against the skin.
For a heavier weight and cosier feel, choose a Viyella shirt with a 20% Merino wool and 80% cotton mix. The combination of wool and cotton gives warmth and breathability to the shirt, perfect for inclement weather.
How to style your Viyella shirt
Viyella shirts are designed as functional sport shirts that can withstand regular wear. They are finished with twin needle seams for strength, giving you a shirt you can depend on. You could wear them every day at work, for relaxed weekend style, or for country sports such as shooting or fishing.
Their quality and wearable appeal is everlasting through the generations – from grandfathers to sons, they are a luxurious and practical shirt for all.
Wearing a patterned shirt
If your Viyella shirt has a tattersall check or pattern, avoid wearing extra pattern in your other clothes as your outfit would look too busy. Pair your tattersall shirt with something plain or in a neutral colour.
If you have a busy patterned sports or shooting jacket, wear a Viyella Plain Shirt or Herringbone Plain Shirt.
A Viyella tattersall checked shirt can be worn with a pair of shorts and loafers for relaxed style. Try the Viyella Block Check Shirt for a short-sleeve design – great attire for summer barbecues. To keep this look stylish, add a belt and do not wear socks.
For a less traditional look, style your tattersall checked shirt untucked with a plain t-shirt underneath. This is a contemporary country look worn by Outlander star Sam Heughan.
A classic look
Wear a tattersall or traditional Viyella shirt with other country inspired fabrics for classic style. Tweed or moleskin goes well with a checked shirt. Tattersall shirts lend themselves to casual weekend style, but they can also be worn for traditional and smart country events like race days or shoots.
For a smart look at a race day, wear a woven wool tie and a tailored tweed jacket in a colour to complement your shirt. Finish off your outfit with a pair of smart Chelsea boots.
Warm and comfortable, Viyella tattersall wool/cotton mix shirts are popular for shooting and country pursuits. The way you wear your shirt will depend on the dress code for the type of shoot you are attending.
Before you attend a shoot, check the dress code with your host and the weather forecast to make sure you are wearing the right layers to keep comfortable and dry.
A good shooting shirt will keep you warm (or cool), look good and feel comfortable for all day wear. Viyella tattersall shirts are ideal for shooting as they are all made from natural fibres, allowing your skin to breathe as well as feeling light. Choose either a pure cotton shirt or their famous wool/cotton blend shirts, depending on the time of year.
For traditional shooting attire, green or brown checked shirts are most popular.
Driven game shoots
If you are attending a driven shoot at a large estate, smart shooting attire is likely to be expected and you may be standing for many hours. So it is vital to wear layers. Wear a traditional Viyella tattersall shirt as your mid layer for comfort and functionality.
Viyella tattersall shirts have a long back length, allowing you to securely tuck your shirt in without it riding up as you move. For severe winter conditions, we recommend wearing a fine merino wool T-shirt underneath a Viyella cotton/wool mix shirt for an additional layer of warmth.
Grouse are very wary birds and they fly at lower heights towards the guns. So wear a dark coloured check or plain shirt to blend into the grouse moor, so you are not seen by the birds. Both the Viyella Melange Ground Check Shirt in Green Mix or the Viyella Plain Shirt in Green Melange are good options - the dark, muted green background to these shirts will give you good cover in the landscape. Always wear long sleeves as you do not want to frighten your quarry away with a pair of white arms.
Even at the start of the grouse shooting season in August, it can be cold, wet and very windy, so we suggest wearing your Viyella shirt with a woollen slipover or waistcoat over the top.
Formal or informal
For formal shoots, it is still common to wear a full three-piece tweed shooting suit, with a shirt and tie. Ties are optional if the shoot is more informal, but not for formal events where full shooting attire is expected. Wearing a woven silk tie with your Viyella tattersall shirt can also prevent heat loss and rain dripping down your collar.
Clay pigeon shooting
Long or short sleeves can be worn for a day at the shooting range, as clay shooting happens all year round. However, long sleeves can act as a barrier between your arms and the hot brass or lead particles. There is also less physical exercise than in game shooting and you do not need to carry your clothing with you. So you may wear several lighter layers.
We recommend wearing a shirt that covers your chest area and is buttoned-up to the top, because when the brass is ejected it can go in any direction and has been known to go down the front of people’s shirts.
You could wear a long sleeve shirt buttoned to the top, over a short-sleeve shirt. When you have finished shooting, simply take off your long sleeve shirt if it has shot residue on it.