Author Archives: Lindy Shopper

Saint Savoy Riviera T-strap

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I must confess, for the past two days, since Saint Savoy posted a sneak preview of their new Riviera shoe, I have found myself going back to their Facebook page multiple times a day to go look at these shoes. THAT GREEN. That blue…and I’d definitely get some use out of that neutral pair, too. They had me at color, but I’m sold at the 3.5 cm (about 1.4 inches) heel.

Seriously, how soon will these be on the website? If you’re lucky enough to be going to Swing Castle Camp and/or Balboa Castle Camp, you can pick up a pair there!

Blushing Violet Wants To Know What You’re Wearing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Would ya like to take a survey?

Would ya like to take a survey?

Oklahoma dancers Michelle Stokes and Laurel Ryan have ideas and designs on starting a made-to-measure clothing line called Blushing Violet for swing dancers, vintage styles and cuts in modern fabrics, made for the wearer with our special dancer needs in mind. What’s great is that you will know about this before it even exists and you can influence and share what YOU like to wear dancing that may influence what they offer in their clothing line. Take a minute and fill out this brief survey about the who, what, where, when and why of dance clothing: http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s/fEiCLxdq

It will be so interesting to follow Blushing Violet’s progress, I hope to stay in the loop and share updates on this blog!

Celania Custom Clothing at ILHC 2015

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I miss Victor terribly now that he's no longer on the east coast, he's the best to go vintage shopping with because he's a digger and he's persistent!

I miss Victor terribly now that he’s no longer on the east coast, he’s the best to go vintage shopping with because he’s a digger and he’s persistent!

As we approach the end of August, no doubt you have the International Lindy Hop Championships on the brain, whether you are attending in person or watching via Yehoodi broadcast. While ILHC has not been known for its quantity of vendors, it is known for rare opportunities to interact with special custom clothiers, such as Chloe Hong. This year, one of my earliest Lindy shopping companions, Victor Celania will add his expertise to the vendor lineup through his Celania Custom Clothing.

Based in Austin, Texas, Victor has created his own line of made-to-measure custom clothing that essentially takes everything that is great about Victor and whittles it down to something that is perfect for you. What this means is that Victor uses his knowledge of Lindy Hop, vintage fashion, menswear, modern fashion, the custom garment industry, fabrics, and his listening skills, willingness to try new things skills, and his ability to be that encouraging person in your life that assures you that yes, you should try this on and, no, that color is not bad for you, and yes, this will work with your coloring, and JUST TRUST VICTOR. The gents on his Instagram feed would rival (nay, exceed) anything GQ is putting out. He can simultaneously get you out of your comfort zone, yet find something that becomes so very YOU that you didn’t quite know how stylish you really are.

Victor will be scheduling appointments through Saturday evening at ILHC. Set up an appointment now by emailing him at vcelania@yahoo.com and visit his Instagram page to see more of his work.

Victor dresses an entire band, Austin's Soul Track Mind.

Victor dresses an entire band, Austin’s Soul Track Mind.

Keds Champion Brogue

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This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

They certainly aren’t the first shoe to foray into hybrid sneaker/dress oxford territory, but our flagship Lindy Hop shoe has introduced a two tone wingtip Champion oxford in their fall collection (which is worth a gander in its entirety, some really good colors, patterns, and fabrics). Available in two tone wool and suede in brown and black and an all-leather brown with houndstooth inset.

To Seersucker, With Love

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This summer I’ve grown to appreciate seersucker fabric more and more, not just as a Southerner, but as a sartorial gift that bestows charm, ventilation, and wrinkle-resistance upon its wearer. It really is an ideal fabric for swing dancers, a respite from the heat of the air and our own bodies, that is lightweight, breathable, practical, movable, and easy to pack. I’ve decided to compile some vintage and reproduction seersucker lovelies from Etsy to celebrate this wonderful fabric today:

Floral 1930's/40's seersucker blouse

Floral 1930’s/40’s seersucker blouse

Seersucker vest by MacheteNSons

Seersucker vest by MacheteNSons

1940's summer suit with peplum

1940’s summer suit with peplum

1940's/50's gabardine blend brown and white striped trousers

1940’s/50’s gabardine blend brown and white striped trousers

Floral 1940's seersucker romper

Floral 1940’s seersucker romper

1950's seersucker shirt

1950’s seersucker shirt

Seersucker 1940's day dress

Seersucker 1940’s day dress

Lazy Bones

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This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

While I was perusing the racks at Bygones Vintage Clothing while attending The Process in Richmond, VA, I happened upon a new-to-me brand of reproduction dresses called Lazy Bones. It appears to be a sort of Australian-based Anthropologie-type shop, with vintage-inspired clothing and home goods. From the website:

“Lazybones takes a fresh and whimsical approach to designing clothing and homewares for modern, relaxed living. Inspired by vintage, Lazybones clothing has become well known for its quirky signature prints, delicate embroidery and jacquard knitwear. Our homewares including bedding, ceramics and wallpaper inspires a fresh and playful approach to creating unique spaces within our homes. Our aim is to continually evolve each season designing products that surprise and delight our customers who have grown to love our brand across the world.”

With a name like Lazy Bones, there’s a great sense of humor here, along with an ease in the clothing that suggests you could still be lazy and look fabulously lazy. A lot of the pieces do remind me of comfy vintage finds, things that I buy to lounge or dance in, because of the fabric choices, prints, and easy shapes. Here are some of my favorites from Lazy Bones:

(Edited to add that there’s a USA website with better shipping options for those of us in the states at http://lazybonesusa.com/ – thanks for the tip, Jenny!)

Alice Dress in the Port Fairy print

Alice Dress in the Port Fairy print

Allegra Dress in Sorrento print

Allegra Dress in Sorrento print

Alanna Dress in white with blue embroidery; also available in white with red embroidery

Alanna Dress in white with blue embroidery; also available in white with red embroidery

That elusive 20's day dress reproduction!  The Matilda Dress in indigo; also available in silver.

That elusive 20’s day dress reproduction! The Matilda Dress in indigo; also available in silver.

I love that they offer slips!  The Undressed Slip, also available in black, to go under everything!

I love that they offer slips! The Undressed Slip, also available in black, to go under everything!

Verity cardigan, also available in blue and green - I love a patterned cardi!

Verity cardigan, also available in blue and green – I love a patterned cardi!

Re-mix Sale on Imperfect Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Just needs a button...and someone who doesn't mind a shoe that a few other people stretched out a bit....

Just needs a button…and someone who doesn’t mind a shoe that a few other people stretched out a bit….

Go directly to the Re-mix Vintage Shoes sale page and marvel at the prices – slightly damaged goods yields great sales on many styles and sizes! The cheapest pair is going for $35, this pair of blue Cassandre pumps – the issues? Floor model used for try-ons and is missing a button – but not even the button you really need to keep it on your feet, you could sew it down or replace it with your own button. There are less-damaged goods at a range of higher prices, but all are less than you’d pay for a new, pristine pair. I mean, we’re just going to get them scratched up on the dance floor anyway, right? ;)

Chay Hawes Lindy Lyrics Prints

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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On a tip from Morgan Day, I stumbled upon the prints of Chay Hawes, a freelance illustrator from the UK, who “creates custom, retro, science and minimalism influenced designs, available as both prints and greetings cards. Chay is inspired by old music hall bills, mid-20th century travel posters, retro cartoons, scientific discoveries, music, cinema, picture books, comics, Lindy Hop, and the historic Roman city [Chester] he calls home.” Of particular interest to us are his Lindy Hop lyrics prints, which feature gems sung by the Andrews Sisters, Wynonie Harris, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, and others. Wouldn’t “Keep On Churnin’ ‘Til the Butter Comes” be clever in a kitchen? Subtle/not subtle.

Maybe you have a special lyric you’d like to frame and put on your wall? “Many of the designs can be customised with names, dates and locations to create a truly unique reminder of a special event, or as a personalised gift for a friends and family.” Do it to it!

Phineas Cole by Paul Stuart Spring 2015 Tie Collection

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

More than a nod to Art Deco, the Phineas Cole Spring tie collection is so expressly Art Deco that the word Deco is used in most of the tie names. These ties are gorgeous in their geometric simplicity, just vintage enough to be convincing, yet modern enough that they might even go by unnoticed as a throwback (but certainly noticed for their loveliness!). A sample of the goodies:

Line Deco Silk Tie

Line Deco Silk Tie

Deco Dot Silk Tie

Deco Dot Silk Tie

Deco Fans Silk Tie

Deco Fans Silk Tie

Deco Swirl Silk Tie

Deco Swirl Silk Tie

Deco Triangle Silk Tie

Deco Triangle Silk Tie

Dress Review: La Vie en Swing’s Berlin Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The Berlin dress in mint in the narrower skirt option, with pockets.

The Berlin dress in mint in the A-line skirt option, with pockets.

A few months ago I wrote about La Vie en Swing and, in particular, their Berlin dress in purple, which resembles a dress worn by Agent Carter in her TV series. The Berlin dress also comes in mint green, which caught my attention even more, because I adore green and this particular shade is not something I have in my closet. Mint can be difficult in solids and, if not carefully styled, can end up looking a bit clinical, like hospital scrubs. This dress is far from scrubs because the details are impeccable:

– The fabric has a fine lustre that gives it depth and movement

– The fabric is lightweight and flowing, making it ideal for dancing – 100% viscose, machine washable if you don’t mind tricky ironing, or dry clean as a lazy option

– A slight puffed sleeve – there are never enough modern dresses with sleeves!

– Inset waistband, which could easily accommodate a belt

– A keyhole neckline with tie, which I adore

– The most divine Art Deco seaming around the neckline on both the front and the back of this dress and on the pockets. Only a solid color could do this justice, so that these details can be seen and not lost in a print.

Love everything about this neckline!

Love everything about this neckline!

The dress on the website is an A-line skirt with pockets, but La Vie En Swing also offers this dress with a more full skirt, slightly trumpeted, and better suited to my shape for movement and desires for swishy skirt-ness. If you are interested in a fuller skirt, do contact them about this option, they have been most helpful and accommodating!

I decided to give this dress a test run at Stompology X where I was singing with Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five. The dress presented very well on stage and I received loads of compliments on the color and the cut. I wish I had been able to dance more in the dress, but I did have one dance that weekend with Jonathan on a band break and it passed with flying colors – full arm rotation, modest skirt flare, good overall for movement, nothing that moved in a way that was uncomfortable or cause for worry or annoyance. A solid, beautiful choice for a dance dress that I would highly recommend. I don’t have anything else quite like it in my closet, and that’s saying a lot!

Check out the photos on the website and the ones I’ve posted below – still waiting for more people to post photos from Stompology, I know people took photos of me, I saw you! Until then, you’ll have the selfies I snapped at my host’s home before the gig. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions:

The classic mirror selfie - the fit is so good, I'm a very happy girl. :)

The classic mirror selfie – the fit is so good, I’m a very happy girl. :)

See this happiness?  All the seams...

See this happiness? All the seams…

All Balboa Weekend 2015 – Shopping and Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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All Balboa Weekend celebrated its 15th Anniversary this year and I celebrated my 9th anniversary of attending ABW. This Balboa homecoming/family reunion is one that I look forward to every year for the friends, the amazing dancing, and the wonderful vintage shopping that is available in Cleveland. This year, my report will combine shopping inside and outside the hotel, since some brick and mortar stores set up booths at ABW and other remain in their brick edifices. All are worthy of mention and this year’s shops and vendors did not disappoint!

My partner in crime this year was Berkeley, California dancer Alisa Szatrowski – I’ll give an honorable mention to Jack Flaps, a wonderful brunchy place she discovered and where we fortified ourselves before a day of vintage shopping.

1940's rayon blouse at Sweet Lorain

1940’s rayon blouse at Sweet Lorain

Our first stop is my always first stop, Sweet Lorain, and the owner Redwin Lewis welcomed us with open arms and escorted us back to the 30’s and 40’s area, where he showed us they had pulled additional racks of 30’s and 40’s clothing out just for ABW. *squee!* Soon, Alisa and I were lost in a jungle of clothing, amongst the close and very full racks, calling out to each other as if we were playing Marco Polo to try to find each other to show off choice garments. Sweet Lorain did not disappoint and Alisa and I soon had a dressing room full of things to try on, with another helpful employee pulling additional garments based on our selections. Seriously, an A+ for customer service. We both left with some wonderful pieces and warm fuzzy feelings about everything at Sweet Lorain.

1940's dress with appliqués at Chelsea's Costumes

1940’s dress with appliqués at Chelsea’s Costumes

Next stop was Chelsea’s Vintage Clothing and Costumes, which is an impressive warehouse full of clothing, and particularly has a large selection of menswear, which I wrote about more in-depth last year. We ran into dancer and DJ Bill Speidel and we did a quick run through the menswear, as I’m always shopping for certain dudes and the hubs. I left Chelsea’s empty-handed, but Alisa had great luck with late 30’s/early 40’s dresses in velvet and faille – dreamy!

The vendor market at ABW opens at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday and we were there even a little before that, with anxious vintage lovers already hovering over the booths.

The Gabriele, Re-Mix Vintage Shoes

The Gabriele, Re-Mix Vintage Shoes

The first booth you come to is Re-Mix Vintage Shoes and this booth was abuzz all weekend, with ladies buying shoes, trying on many more, and ogling the beautiful wares. The big hit this year was a new style, Gabriele, which is a low heeled 1930’s shoe with a t-strap, an alternative to the Balboa Style, with a slightly different shape and different colors. I would love to hear some reviews from the ladies who bought them and wore them this weekend – I did see Valerie Salstrom try them on the first day and then didn’t take them off as she continued to set up for the event!

A wonderful display of hats from Flower Child

A wonderful display of hats from Flower Child

Next in the line of vendors was Flower Child, which is comprised of several individual vendors that make up part of the brick and mortar store, and which takes up most of the hallway. They are always good about bringing in new inventory every day, taking requests, and having a nice selection of clothing, accessories, and some novelty items and knickknacks from the swing era. My favorite ABW find for this year came from Flower Child’s booth, a fully functional scales brooch, perfect for me as both a Libra and a lawyer – for serious, the scales have tiny chains and you could actually put things in the bowls and the scales would tip, SO COOL.

Ready to shake it

Ready to shake it

New to the vendor list this year was Sugar Shakers, the handiwork of Joanna Kassoulides Thibault, who got her start stitching chorus girl costumes for a troupe of the same name in Toronto and decided, after accumulating a wardrobe of costumes, that she would sell some of these versatile pieces. I love a good trumpet skirt and Joanna had a nice sampler of trumpet skirts, polka dot wrap blouses, bakelite-inspired earrings, as well as sharing a table with her husband Mike Thibault‘s handmade earrings and Vintage Jazz Art prints.

Cherry blossoms abound!

Cherry blossoms abound!

Next in the vendor lineup is ChatterBlossom, aka Jamie Sturdevant, who is local to me, but for ABW everyone can see her amazing handiwork up close, with flowers and headpieces made from vintage millinery flowers and jewelry made from vintage buttons. Seeing in person is even better, as I noted people running to their rooms for garments, trying to match a bloom to a dress, and (I know I’m a broken record on this, but) the colors in the vintage flowers are just so right for vintage clothing, for obvious reasons, and they are so much more exquisitely detailed than most modern artificial flowers I have seen. Jamie does custom pieces, too, so you can find the perfect bloom for that one of a kind vintage dress.

1940's ties at The Cleveland shop

1940’s ties at The Cleveland shop

Holding down the end of the hallway was The Cleveland Shop, which had a nice selection of men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, and jewelry. The owner would also bring in new items daily, and even brought in some divine tropical rayon fabric one day, that was gone before it could hit the market (I can’t wait to see that blouse, Jamie!). Oh, to have a warehouse full of endless vintage things to sell!

Each year the vendors at ABW are one of the things I look forward to most about the event and I truly appreciate the effort the vendors put into setting up, displaying, being there to sell, breaking it all down, and sometimes traveling great distances – I think Philip Heath, the owner of Re-mix Vintage Shoes, wins this year by flying in and shipping shoes from California, though past ABWs venders have flown in from as far away as the UK and Australia. We love that you do it and we’ll keep buying all the beautiful things. :)

Here are some more photos of all the lovely things:

Who knew the Cotton Club had a soda?  At Jack Flaps.

Who knew the Cotton Club had a soda? At Jack Flaps.

1940's jumper with fringe and embroidered pockets at Sweet Lorain.

1940’s jumper with fringe and embroidered pockets at Sweet Lorain.

1940's rayon dress at Sweet Lorain.

1940’s rayon dress at Sweet Lorain.

Another 40's number in cotton from Sweet Lorain

Another 40’s number in cotton from Sweet Lorain

A cool summer jacket from Chelsea's Costumes

A cool summer jacket from Chelsea’s Costumes

Headbands in all the colors from ChatterBlossom

Headbands in all the colors from ChatterBlossom

Divine orchids from ChatterBlossom

Divine orchids from ChatterBlossom

A selection of goodies from The Cleveland Shop

A selection of goodies from The Cleveland Shop

A closeup of the detail on this 1940's dress from The Cleveland Shop

A closeup of the detail on this 1940’s dress from The Cleveland Shop

Trumpet skirt, Sugar Shaker style

Trumpet skirt, Sugar Shaker style

Vintage Jazz Art prints

Vintage Jazz Art prints

More options to grace your walls, from Vintage Jazz Art

More options to grace your walls, from Vintage Jazz Art

More of the man spread from Flower Child

More of the man spread from Flower Child

Gorgeous 1930's dress from Flower Child.

Gorgeous 1930’s dress from Flower Child.

Gold bathing suit and the biggest sun hat I've ever seen, at Flower Child.

Gold bathing suit and the biggest sun hat I’ve ever seen, at Flower Child.

Vintage Jazz and Lindy Hop Jamberry Nails

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Albuquerque swing dancer Alyx Hodges has designed several sets of Jamberry fingernails, featuring artwork from vintage jazz, swing, and jazz dance posters! You can order a set through Alyx’s Jamberry group on Facebook – essentially, you buy gift certificates through Jamberry and, because Alyx created this custom set, you have to order them through her. I’m not one to ever have my fingernails done, but the thought of having Artie Shaw or Duke Ellington on my nails is VERY tempting…

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Levi’s Historic 501

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Digging the 1933 with the cinch in the back.  Braces optional.

Digging the 1933 with the cinch in the back. Braces optional.

Continuing an exploration of vintage workwear and denim, I’ll thank David Lochner for directing me to Levi’s Vintage Clothing website, which features reproduction jeans with the fits, fabrics, and details of the past, based on Levi’s own archives. I think the greatest thing is the spread of photographs denim styles from 1890 to 1978, and you can see the differences and tweaks in the cut, proportions, and details just in the 501 style. The website also sets out the history of these changes, so you can read about each style’s history and design details. Unfortunately, you can’t order them directly from this website, but they do provide a list of retailers.

So, would you prefer a 1922, 1933, 1937, or 1944? :)

Prison Blues

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in classic workwear from the film  The Shawshank Redemption.

Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in classic workwear from the film The Shawshank Redemption.

Dressing the part for dancing doesn’t always have to be fancy dresses and a three pieces suit and, as I dig more into vintage and reproduction workwear and sportswear to supplement my wardrobe, I am finding an array of classic items in unlikely places. One such place is Prison Blues, which features classic workwear pieces such as high waisted jeans (with or without buttons for braces), striped cotton work shirts, braces, and denim jackets, all reminiscent of the clothing you’d see in the film Shawshank Redemption, which takes place between 1947 and 1966.

Here’s the kicker – these garments are made in the USA “by inmates serving time at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institute located in Pendleton [Oregon]. EOCI has created a work program that has given the inmates an opportunity to not only help out the tax payers but also, pay restitution, build a work ethic, and gain a work skill.” The workers get to keep 20% of what they earn, with bonuses, with the remainder going to the state to cover the cost of their incarceration. According to the website, this is a highly sought-after program, with a three year waiting list for inmates, where they can learn a marketable skill. The clothing the inmates make are not only sold to the public, but also clothe the inmates themselves, which was the purpose of the factory program when it was established in 1989.

I realize this may be controversial for some, so I would encourage you to read the website and decide how you feel about this particular work program. I’m still not sure how I feel about it – though I would love to see more garment industries based in the USA, the prison system in general is just a loaded topic for social issues. I do find it interesting that the garments being produced are essentially reproductions of vintage/classic garments. Here’s a selection from the website:

Work jean with braces/suspender buttons - photograph courtesy of acecafeshop.com, for my UK readers who may want to avoid international shipping.

Work jean with suspender buttons – photograph courtesy of acecafeshop.com, for my UK readers who may want to avoid international shipping.

Hickory work shirt from Prison Blues

Hickory work shirt from Prison Blues

Classic denim jacket, meant to be worn with a high rise pant.

Classic denim jacket, meant to be worn with a high rise pant.

World Lindy Hop Day Tee

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Behind the Beat Apparel has done us all a service and created a commemorative tee shirt for May 26 as World Lindy Hop Day! There’s no year on the shirt, so feel free to wear it throughout the world, in perpetuity, to celebrate Lindy Hop and the legacy and birthday of Frankie Manning.