Category Archives: Events

Jazz Age Lawn Party Vendors 2014

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Squat Charleston FTW!

Squat Charleston FTW!

This year’s Jazz Age Lawn Party in August was one of my favorites for several reasons – 1) I have the routine down for this event in terms of logistics and getting around NYC, 2) I know a lot of the regular attendees after attending for several years and some new friends made an appearance at the lawn party, making for a very lovely social event, and 3) I freakin’ won the Charleston contest! Always a favorite are the vendors who set up their wares on Governor’s Island – this year, the lawn party vendors really outdid themselves. There were old favorites, as well as some new vendors – here we go!

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I was excited to see a booth for Gretchen Fenston, Milliner, because Gretchen is one of the stars of the Jazz Age Lawn Party – as long as I’ve been attending the lawn party, Gretchen has taught the beginner Charleston and Peabody lessons with Roddy Caravella and, aside from that, she herself is a main attraction of style, elegance, and superbly coordinated and whimsically crafted millinery. Seriously, her hats are just impeccable, matching her ensemble with period aplomb and her own take on the Art Deco era. Her booth had several hats and headpieces for sale, along with a lookbook of her designs. *drool* If you are interested in a custom piece, I hear she takes orders…

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Just down the line the Goorin Bros. had their impeccable line of hats, for ladies and gents, set up, with even more lids for sale. I have always been impressed with their hats and friends who own said hats speak highly of this company. They had a fantastic selection of summer hats, perfect for the lawn party, from straw fedoras to linen caps to summer cloches. Goorin Bros. has a great retail website, so if you missed the lawn party you can always place your order online!

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Next up was Wildfell Hall Vintage, which had an exquisite collection of Art Deco era clothing and accessories, and some other choice vintage pieces. My partner in lawn party crime, Raleigh dancer Elizabeth Tietgen found an amazing purple floral early 30’s dress that had already been restored, seam by seam, and new snaps put in the side with reinforcement. It looked incredible and she’ll save at least what she paid for the dress having it repaired or reinforced – what a find! I saw at least 3 things I couldn’t live without, but were not in my size…*sigh* Gorgeous, gorgeous things.

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One difficult thing to come by for the lawn party are vintage sunglasses, because you can’t always dance with your parasol and maybe your cloche brim just isn’t deep enough – Belle Pagaille came to the rescue with some of the most kick-ass sunglasses I have ever seen, all with a vintage bent, though some of them verged on ultra-modern, or even steam punk. The company designs the glasses themselves, which I thought was great, so you are getting these lenses from the design source, not a reseller.

Needless to say, excellent shades were acquired by both myself and Elizabeth. :)

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Outfitter of Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, the Prohibition Clothing Company is certainly a staple of the lawn party, offering some of the best looking reproduction menswear I have seen. I was particularly excited this year because they have launched their women’s line of clothing, which includes a trumpet skirt with killer seaming and a pair of tweed knickers that were whispering to me to bring them home. The tailoring on everything was killing me, just impeccable. After seeing this display, I’m ready for OcTieBer!

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Next to the general admission tent is, perhaps, the largest lawn party vendor, Dora Marra, which had so many blooming and feathered headpieces in every imaginable color and configuration it was almost overwhelming. This was definitely the go-to place for a bit of whimsy to stick on your head to augment your lawn party outfit. They were simply swamped, so I didn’t get a really good look at everything, but thankfully they have an Etsy store where you can take your time and browse the vast collection.

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Noble Savage Vintage had another lovely display and some real Art Deco era garments that were selling like hot cakes. I glanced at some black 1920’s Mary Janes and a lovely bejeweled Art Deco pin, but then my eyes met a pair of woven mesh 1930’s heels and it was all over. “What size are these?” “7.” MY SIZE. I tried not to hyperventilate while I tried them on, but I held it together for the most part and squee’d a little bit during the check out. As you can tell, Noble Savage was my favorite of the day, LOL.

Check out more of the lawn party vendor goodies below! Ciao!

A page out of Gretchen's look book and a lovely hand mirror.

A page out of Gretchen’s look book and a lovely hand mirror.

A lovely flapper headpieces on sale at Gretchen Fenston's booth.

A lovely flapper headpieces on sale at Gretchen Fenston’s booth.

Looking into the Goorin Bros. booth

Looking into the Goorin Bros. booth

Goorin Bros. cloches

Goorin Bros. cloches

Goorin Bros. caps

Goorin Bros. caps

Elizabeth holds up a gorgeous specimen

Elizabeth holds up a gorgeous specimen at Wildfell Hall Vintage

THE purple dress

THE purple dress

A lovely array of accessories at Wildfelll Hall Vintage

A lovely array of accessories at Wildfelll Hall Vintage

Elizabeth's sweet shades from Belle Pagaille

Elizabeth’s sweet shades from Belle Pagaille

A selection of the Belle Pagaille offerings

A selection of the Belle Pagaille offerings

Hers and his, at the Prohibition Clothing Company

Hers and his, at the Prohibition Clothing Company

Ladies' knickers, ready to wear!

Ladies’ knickers, ready to wear!

If you've ever wanted to put a bird's nest on your head....don't lie!  At Dora Marra

If you’ve ever wanted to put a bird’s nest on your head….don’t lie!

Flapper basics at Dora Marra

Flapper basics at Dora Marra

Elizabeth shows off a cute 30's cotton dress from Noble Savage Vintage

Elizabeth shows off a cute 30’s cotton dress from Noble Savage Vintage

More floral loveliness at Noble Savage Vintage

More floral loveliness at Noble Savage Vintage

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Field Trip: Hip Wa Zee and Gentleman’s Closet, Columbia, SC

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I attended the first ever Southeast Summer Brawl two weekends ago, a weekend of competitions for the Southeast held in Columbia, SC.  Having never been to Columbia, I was curious to know about vintage shopping there, as the South is notoriously bad for having vintage clothing (poor, rural us, right?), but then Columbia is the capital and just maybe there was something – organizer Nathan Clinebelle tipped me off to two places, a vintage clothing and costume shop called Hip Wa Zee and the Gentleman’s Closet, a store that sells consignment menswear and some new items.  My companions for this outing were Winston-Salem dancer Anna Bryant and my ABW shopping companion and newly outfitted Skyler Hinkel.

Hip Wa Zee proved to be a successful outing – the front of the store is a mix of vintage clothing and reproduction clothing and the back of the store is entirely rental clothing and costumes.  The store was cheery and organized and, while it lacked a large section of swing-era vintage clothing, the offerings it did have were swell.  Definitely a good place to stop in if you are going through or stopping in to visit Columbia!  I particularly enjoyed the selection of beautiful slips in an array of colors, as well as a gorgeous rayon print suit with a floating overskirt/long peplum and puffed sleeves.  Anna left with two gorgeous slips, Skyler with two ties, and I with a 50’s sundress and matching bolero, as well as a late 30’s tie.  We also ran into Clemson, SC dancer Ben White, who left with a sweet vintage sweater vest.

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Gentleman’s Closet was a consignment store full of menswear basics – shirts, suits, slacks, socks (new, not used), braces, belts, ties, shoes, just about everything you’d need to put together a wardrobe.  They also had the largest selection of seersucker suit colors I had ever seen (all new suits, pristine, in plastic dry cleaning bags), which I understand were in stock for Carolina Cup, a horse race held in Camden, SC – purple, yellow, orange, colors I have never seen made into a suit and I LIVE IN THE SOUTH.  We found Skyler a pair of brown oxford street shoes to go with his ABW clothes and newly acquired three piece navy pinstripe suit – can’t wear those Remix oxfords out in the street!

Enjoy the photos and be sure to stop in Columbia if you are in the South – these two stores are also in a very hip area of town, with fun restaurants and delicious coffee!

Seriously, THIS - but seriously, it was tiny.  We so wished it fit Anna, but sometimes we leave things on the rack when they are snug...

Seriously, THIS – but seriously, it was tiny.

Ben White: another Adam Speen achievement unlocked - one dancer at a time!

Another Adam Speen achievement unlocked – one dancer at a time!

Skyler's finds for the day at Hip Wa Zee

Skyler’s finds for the day at Hip Wa Zee

My sweet bolero and sundress...

My sweet bolero and sundress…

A viable suit option

A viable suit option

This is part of the costume section - I kind of like the idea of pairing these fluffy animal heads with vintage prom dresses, hehehehe

This is part of the costume section – I kind of like the idea of pairing these fluffy animal heads with vintage prom dresses, hehehehe

Men's accessories overflowing from the racks at the Gentleman's Closet.

Men’s accessories overflowing from the racks at the Gentleman’s Closet.

Skyler's shoe acquisition for the day

Skyler’s shoe acquisition for the day

So much seersucker, I couldn't fit it all in the frame!

So much seersucker, I couldn’t fit it all in the frame!

All Balboa Weekend 2014 Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Lots of new merch at ABW this year, including this comfy dress.

Lots of new merch at ABW this year, including this comfy dress.

I think it’s safe to say that All Balboa Weekend has the best vendor setup for any event in the United States. With veteran vendors and a few new ones, this year was a good year to bring a little extra to spend at ABW.

The crown jewel at ABW is always Remix Vintage Shoes, who makes their only swing dance event stop here – you can try on that new style you spotted on the website, get that pair of Balboas you’ve been eyeing on any number of Bal follows, and this year they even took pre-orders so that you could be sure to get the style, color, and size of your choice and have them held for you at the booth until you pick them up. Owner Philip Heath was always helping someone with a pair, either giving advice or giving an opinion after they try them on, and he was at the booth until the wee hours of the morning. The demand is so high for these shoes that he pays to ship them from California and flys himself to Cleveland, hundreds of pairs just waiting for the right foot to take them home. Philip also told me that Remix was also working on revamping the website, so that’s good news for everyone!

The accessories display from The Cleveland Shop.

The accessories display from The Cleveland Shop.

Making their return to ABW were the ladies of Flower Child, a vintage store in Cleveland that has many contributors, and The Cleveland Shop, which had a nice selection of 20’s through 40’s. The ladies set up an impressive display of menswear, womenswear, accessories, shoes, jewelry, sewing notions, and Flower Child even had a large display of hats that would be appropriate for the Saturday night theme “A Night at the Races.” It was a race to get down there at get the goods at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday when the vendors opened, before it got picked over. Thankfully, the Flower Child and Cleveland shop ladies would replenish some of the supplies throughout the weekend, which I love about them – you never know what they are going to bring back the next day, and don’t be afraid to tell them what you are looking for because they may bring back that very thing!

ChatterBlossom's colorful display - vintage millinery to the left

Chatterblossom’s colorful display

On the new vendor front is a vendor who is near and dear to me here in North Carolina, ChatterBlossom (aka Jamie Sturdevant) who runs a fantastic Etsy shop for her handmade blooms and jewelry, as well as vintage accessories. What sets Chatterblossom apart are the vintage millinery blooms she uses to make some of her hair pieces – the colors are so RIGHT, especially when you see the color wave across the hall on the Flower Child clothing racks, you just KNOW that these blooms are vintage. I know she did well because her supplies of vintage flowers were dwindling by the end of the event.

Chloe and her team at the samples table.

Chloe and her team at the samples table.

Finally, we have FROMChloehong, who has taken the swing fashion world by storm, first with her trumpet skirts (MY storm), then with reproduction Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers jackets that she produced and took orders for especially for Frankie 100, then with her stellar showing of tailored menswear at the Frankie 100 fashion show. Chloe was on hand with sample skirts and menswear for people to try on for custom orders – there were so many more styles and colors available than I’ve seen on her Facebook page, and swatch books of fabrics that I just wanted to hold and touch and flip through to marvel at the options. I can tell you that we are just scratching the surface on what Chloe Hong is capable of accomplishing!

And that’s a wrap! Cheers to you, shoppers, for continuing to support these businesses and All Balboa Weekend!

Goodies from The Cleveland Shop on display.

Goodies from The Cleveland Shop on display.

Flower Child's end of the hallway display.

Flower Child’s end of the hallway display.

A dapper Gene Kelly-inspired look by FROMChloehong.

A dapper Gene Kelly-inspired look by FROMChloehong.

A popular pullover from the merch table - very collegiate.

A popular pullover from the merch table – very collegiate.

Building a Swing Wardrobe at All Balboa Weekend

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The first finds of the day at Sweet Lorain - tie clip and tie.

The first finds of the day at Sweet Lorain – tie clip and tie.

One of the reasons I enjoy All Balboa Weekend so much is the vintage shopping and vendors at the event. This event is like no other because Remix Vintage Shoes comes here (and doesn’t travel to other swing events), there are multiple fantastic vintage stores and some of them set up as vendors at the hotel, and there are new international vendors every year that may only come for one year, but you get that critical chance to try things on, figure out what size you wear, and file that away for future online ordering (Heyday!, Retrospec’d, Bettie Page Clothing, FromChloehong, etc.). It offers the unique opportunity to have all of these things in one place, which would otherwise only be available on the internet.

When I travel I always come up on Wednesday night so I can have Thursday day to go shopping at the vintage stores in Cleveland. My travel companion this go around was Skyler Hinkel, a 20 year old dancer from Raleigh who has become a staple of our scene in the past couple of years and has recently begun traveling a lot more to dance events. I asked him if he wanted to go shopping with me and he asked me how much money he would need to budget to get an outfit and a new pair of dance shoes (good question to ask!). He told me he wanted to spend some money on clothing for dance events and, at the time, he only owned two pairs of dress pants and one dress shirt.

Our mission was clear and there was no time to waste – building 1 or 2 outfits of vintage/thrifted clothing is something usually done over time, not in one day. We started out at Sweet Lorain, my favorite Cleveland vintage shop, and were there when they opened at noon, along with a number of European Balboa dancers who also collect vintage clothing. I headed to the racks in the back with the 30’s and 40’s clothing and directed Skyler to the men’s section, figuring he would either sink or swim. I made my rounds with the other ladies, tried everything on, narrowed my choices, and headed over to the men’s section to see how Skyler was doing.

It can be overwhelming being in a store like Sweet Lorain, even for me, with wall to wall clothing, furniture, and knick-knacks – Skyler was definitely feeling overwhelmed. I started digging with him, with some occasional input by Andreas Olsson and Rich Werden, but ultimately everything he tried on was too large. I was astounded because I thought for sure we’d find some great 34/36 jackets that no one else could fit into, but most everything was firmly in the 40/42 size range. The myth that vintage clothing is only for tiny people has been disproved once again! We left the store with a tie and a tie clip for Skyler, nowhere close to an outfit, but at least able to accessorize the outfit he already owned.

Our next stop was Chelsea’s Vintage Clothing and Costumes, which was a bust for me last year, but has an astounding three tiered warehouse full of clothing, almost half of it menswear. Since menswear has changed very little since the 1930’s, almost anything we could find here would be great – anything that fit, at this point, would work and if we could find natural fibers that would be a bonus. Rich joined us again for this search and, between the three of us, we touched every single suit jacket and sportcoat in that place. NO SMALL FEAT. It definitely helped that Chelsea’s had tags on each of the sleeves, noting the size and price, whereas none of the clothing was labeled by size in Sweet Lorain. Neither store had things grouped by size, so there was no choice but to dig.

Rich's action back!

Rich’s action back!

I’ll back up and say that the first thing I saw in the men’s section was a light tan/ivory belt back jacket, so when Rich walked in I asked if he had seen it. Upon retrieval, we discovered that it was his size – how serendipitous! But what are the chances we could find one for Skyler? Luck was on our side and we found a similar jacket, a 70’s does 30’s belt back jacket for Skyler, as well!

In the entire place there were only 3 jackets that came close to fitting Skyler, one slate blue double breasted kids jacket, a white cotton dinner jacket, and the belt back jacket. We set these aside and kept digging. Next up were pants, which yielded only two pairs that fit – a pair of tuxedo pants and a pair of gray and blue wool plaid trousers. Given our jacket discoveries, either could work, so we set those aside and continued, though by this point the digging had lost some steam.

I took a mental break to check in on Rich and his fiance, Alisa Szatrowski, who had made her way through the limited selection of swing era garments. Half of vintage shopping with others is waiting for the discard pile, and I found a great cream 40’s dress with red soutache detail that hadn’t worked for her, but worked for me. Energized by the find, I returned to the Skyler search and we went through the vest rack together. We culled a wool sweater vest from this search and now had the beginnings of a wardrobe.

Sweater vest found - Adam Speen achievement unlocked

Sweater vest found – Adam Speen achievement unlocked

While it would be nice to be able to buy everything that fits us at vintage stores, practically speaking few of us make that kind of money. We decided that the belt back jacket would be more versatile, even though it was going to be a warmer jacket than the cotton dinner jacket. Thus, the tuxedo pants, were out and we headed to the checkout with (subtle) plaid wool pants, the belt back jacket, and the sweater vest. Not a bad day at the dig.

On our way to the checkout we quickly sifted through the ties and found a perfect match for the vest. Total damage for these four items (jacket, pants, vest, and tie): $40.00.

Two belt backs in one day - unprecedented!

Two belt backs in one day – unprecedented!

We headed back to the hotel, feeling good about the day’s purchases, and started planning the outfits; however, the critical component of white dress shirts for both outfits was missing, so we pulled over to a strip mall and found two white dress shirts in Target. Now, the only thing missing was a pair of pants to go with the sweater vest, and, if found, Skyler would have two complete outfits.

I was hopeful that Skyler would find something at one of the vendor’s booths. The vendors opened at 5:00 p.m. and we were there just minutes before. While there were some great trousers there, none of them were the right size. We talked to the ladies at the Flower Child booth and they said they would look in their inventory overnight. Later that evening, Chloe Hong’s booth opened up and, while they didn’t have any pants to sell off the rack, they did have sample sizes and I encouraged Skyler to try a pair on to see if they had his size and if he liked the trousers. He definitely liked Chloe’s pants the best out of all the trousers he tried on that day, so there was the option to increase his wardrobe by another pair of pants, even if he had to wait for them. We must always be forward thinking about our shopping!

Shopping at Remix's booth!

Shopping at Remix’s booth!

Last, but not least, Skyler had budgeted for a pair of Remix Vintage Shoes leather-soled shoes. Their men’s cap toe is a beautiful shoe and, due to the constraint in inventory they can bring to ABW, they only had one pair in his size – thankfully, they were brown and white, which would look great with the navy-hued items, like the vest and the ties.

We are waiting to find out if there is another pair of pants in store for Skyler…stay tuned!

Lindy Focus – Fashion Trailblazer

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Still recovering and playing catch up from Lindy Focus…and still unpacking…but there are more vendor reports to be had! Until then, I’ll leave you with this superlative I picked up – thanks to everyone who voted! :D

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Sparkles Done Right at Lindy Focus

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Adding to the dance and music bliss at Lindy Focus is the particular attention I see many people giving to their ensembles for the evening dances, even more so in years past. While most people save their sparkles for New Year’s Eve, I’m seeing the sparkles come out even earlier this year. I’d like to give a shout out to Anna Bryant and Caitlin Farthing not only for making the finals in the intermediate jack and jill, but also for selecting really stellar competition dresses that were vibrantly colored, swishy in the skirt, and sparkled in a way that drew attention without getting in the way of dancing (as beads and sequins are not so kind to leaders’ hands). Check out Caitlin at 3:28 in the video below, with a sequined collar, and Anna at 4:08 with a rhinestone (?) detail on the front of her dress. The video does not capture how much these two were twinkling in the lights! If I had been a better reporter, I would have gotten a photo of them together, but there’s like 1,000 people here so it’s hard to find everyone. :)

Lindy Focus 2013!

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This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Just a quick note amidst the amazing chaos to tell you that exciting things are going on at Lindy Focus – there’s going to be another wonderful Nicole Lenzen fashion show, the LF tee shirts are selling out as of the first official day of camp, the consignment shop goes up today for dancers to consign their dance duds (plus glitter tap shoes!), and the myriad vendors that round out our little micro-economy here at the happiest place on earth. Reports soon!

Eastern Balboa Championships 2013 – 10th Anniversary

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This weekend is the 10th and final Eastern Balboa Championships – I am sad to see it go, but have so many great memories from this event. I’ve worked with the organizers to bring in some great vendors and this year I am very excited about our local vendor offerings! Stay tuned for a report, but I do hope to see some of you this weekend!

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OcTieBer 2013

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The only thing better than OcTieBer is a Christmas with bow ties under the tree.

The only thing better than OcTieBer is a Christmas with bow ties under the tree.

Just a gentle reminder that OcTieBer starts tomorrow – if you are a gent or lady with a super collection of fashionable neckwear or you aspire to be, perhaps participating in OcTieBer is for you – a chance to cultivate excellent ensembles, highlighting neckwear, each day for the month of October. How do you participate? It’s easy – from the OcTieBer Facebook group:

“With the arrival of fall, men (and a few fashionably adventurous women) of style and good taste will once again bond together to demonstrate their embrace of dapper design and finely tailored fabrics.

In short, a month long sartorial celebration of quality neckwear worn in a traditional style.

How to participate? It’s simple:

1. Wear a collared shirt and tie each day (be it a long tie, bow tie, ascot, cravat, bolo, western double string tie or any other traditional neckwear that expresses your personal style). Preferably your outfit will be paired with a jacket, sweater, vest or other accessories that suggest why you’ve chosen that day’s tie.

2. Find the folder with the appropriate date under “Photos” and upload your image of finely attired “dudeness” wearing said outfit with an optional description of the designer, type of knot, fabric, etc.

3. Share the love by encouraging your friends to admire your statement of personal style.”

Ladies may obviously take liberties with the collared shirt requirement. :)

Happy OcTieBer!

ILHC 2013 Vendor and Style Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Forties Forward at ILHC

Forties Forward at ILHC

The International Lindy Hop Championships proved to be a truly inspiring event this year, with performances by top dancers, of course, but there was also an electricity, a sense of community, and mutual love and understanding that seemed to permeate the room. Am I getting on a hippie tangent? Maybe. But I shared some pretty awesome moments with hundreds of my fellow dancers.

My ONLY disappointment this year was the vendor area. I used the word “vendor” (singular) in the title because, aside from the ILHC tee shirts, I only saw one vendor table set up, which was the always charming Forties Forward, with their bevy of hair blooms and accessories. They were the bright spot in an otherwise empty hotel hallway/foyer.

I think the vendor area is important for a few reasons:
– Dancers get products they need
– Dancers can try things on
– Foreign dancers can buy things without having to pay for shipping
– We want to support businesses that cater to our specific needs/wants
– Many of the vendors are dancers themselves, so we like to invest in this micro-economy of dance events

I’m sure there are more. For whatever reason, I hope that the decline in vendor attendance is not permanent.

That said, I hate to leave a post like this, so I’m going to share with you some of the trends I noticed this year at ILHC, some of which I reported during my commentary on Yehoodi’s ILHC broadcast:

Head bands/scarves – the hair flower has reigned supreme for a long time as the hair accessory of choice for swing dancers. This year I saw many more things encircling dancers’ heads (including things with hair flowers attached), as well as creative use of colorful scarves. My favorite was Baltimore dancer Brandi Ferrebee using a head scarf as a snood to cover her curl set during prelims so that her set would be fresh (and dry!) for the dance that night.

The fabulous Anne Williams models a pencil skirt with a slit on the front left leg.

The fabulous Anne Williams models a pencil skirt with a slit on the front left leg.

Skirts with a front slit – the skirt slit or vent can be an essential if you aren’t wearing a full skirt. A larger slit or opening can increase your range of motion, which is always helpful in Lindy Hop. The options ranged from the sexy offset front slit to A-line skirts to tulip skirts to a pieced/sectioned skirt that managed to have an awesome slit and twirl at the same time. The effect was functional and lovely, though add a bit of caution when securing or selecting one of these skirts – that slit can migrate, either from side-to-side or up the seam. Give it a test run and make sure the top of the slit is sewn securely or reinforced to prevent splitting.

Double breasted suits – I saw several gentlemen in competition looking very sharp and put-together with their buttoned-up double breasted suits. Certainly, giving men more clothing alternatives for competitions is an excellent thing.

TweedRamona Staffeld and Todd Yannacone set the tweed tone with their matching plaid suits – Ramona’s a vest and skirt combo, while Todd’s was a three piece suit. They looked so sharp and were able to use pieces from this uniform for several competitions. I noticed other competitors in tweed-looking fabrics ranging from an oatmeal fleck to large plaids. The effect was definitely classy, with a nod to fall.

Sequin bloomers – ladies, your sequin bloomers were fabulous and timely, because ILHC is the time to sparkle. :)

International Lindy Hop Championships 2013

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As always, I am very excited to be attending the International Lindy Hop Championships in Washington, DC – this year I will reprise my role as guest commentator on Yehoodi’s live stream broadcast of the Open Balboa competition (in HD!) and look forward to seeing all the wonderfully creative competition outfits and pairings the competitors put together. I will also be on hand to report about all the wonderful vendors at ILHC and I am hopeful for a few new faces this year in the vendor area.

See you there or see you online!

All Balboa Weekend 2013 Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

If you are a good girl and save your pennies, the Cleveland fairy will bring you vintage on All Balboa Eve.

If you are a good girl and save your pennies, the Cleveland fairy will bring you vintage and repro on All Balboa Eve.

Still basking in the afterglow of All Balboa Weekend, the Balboa Mecca that occurs every year in Cleveland, Ohio. It is a hub for so many things I love – good dancing, good music, good vintage shopping, good company, and good cupcakes. I left with a full heart and a shopping bag full of goodies – it was like Christmas!

My first stop in Cleveland, per usual, was Sweet Lorain, the vintage department store where I seem to have the most luck finding things in my size. I was greeted at the door by the owner, Redwin Lewis, who remembered me from years past (and possibly phone orders – yes, you can call them back if you decide later that you really want/need something you saw, even 6 months later the item may still be there!) and we chatted about high school reunions and all the films (THE film being Captain America) shopping at his store. I was on a mission for a full slip with some sweet details and Sweet Lorain did not disappoint, with two full racks to choose from.

Dad's pitcher - my favorite find in Cleveland

Dad’s pitcher – my favorite find in Cleveland

On a personal note, I was ecstatic to find a red plastic beverage pitcher at Sweet Lorain, perhaps circa 40’s/50’s, that I have been seeking for the past decade or so – when I was in undergrad I picked up a plastic yellow pitcher from Target that looked vintage, with some sweet Deco detail on it. I probably paid less than $10 for it. My dad saw it in my apartment and was immediately drawn to it, asking where I got it, and how much it cost. I told him that I had purchased it at Target several months ago and that it was out of stock. He was crestfallen – my grandmother had owned one during his childhood and he had always thought it was a great design, with a lid that opens when you tilt it and closes when it’s upright. Flash forward to ABW 2013, I was chatting with Redwin in the housewares section and my eye caught a flash of red in that distinct shape. It was the pitcher! I text messaged my dad a photo of it and he confirmed that he wanted it. Done! I look forward to “reuniting” my dad with his childhood pitcher this coming weekend. :)

Thus Spake Zarathustra

Thus Spake Zarathustra…at Chelsea Costumes

My next stop was Chelsea Costumes, which I had somehow managed to miss on all prior visits to Cleveland. The sheer volume of square footage packed literally floor to ceiling was overwhelming in a way that only a disorganized Goodwill warehouse of great magnitude could rival. The racks were three tiers high, with the top two racks reachable by rolling staircases located on each aisle. Adding to the library feel of the place, the ends of the racks were labeled by decade range. I searched in vain for the early vintage clothing and had to ask where it was located – at the end of one of the 1950’s racks was a single rack with 1940’s clothing. I found a couple of items I liked, but they had fatal flaws (fading, shredding, etc.). I’d say it’s definitely worth a look, especially if you are into later decades, and it’s an absolute must if you are looking for menswear – I saw just about every size, shape, color, item, and a range of seasonal weights, with a massive selection. You do have to be a digger to make this worthwhile, but the prices are good and worth the dig.

Back at the hotel, ABW had an array of vendors, some new, some old, that filled up the hallway in front of the ballroom. The first vendor was The Cleveland Shop, with an array of clothing and accessories for men and women. Favorites included some divine shoes, a burgundy silk 1930’s gown, and every dress that went on the mannequin and immediately sold.

Next up was the ABW merchandise, which featured some cool shirts with stripes, a henley, and a girly slouchy tee with cool sleeve detail. This year also saw the return of the ABW shoe bag – I do love a shoe bag!

New style!!!

New style!!!

Moving down the hallway, the next vendor was the ever-popular Re-mix Vintage Shoes, with owner Philip Heath on hand to help all the men and women eager to try on their shoes. This year, they took advance requests from people for specific shoes and sizes, so if you wanted a guaranteed shot at trying on a certain pair in your size, you got that chance. I took advantage of this for my husband, who is sort of between sizes and needed another pair of oxfords. It also resulted in Re-mix bringing a number of pairs of wedges, which have never made it out to ABW, since we mostly dance “the Balboa” in heels. ;)

Romper, umbrella, and THE belts at Bettie Page Clothing

Romper, umbrella, and THE belts at Bettie Page Clothing

Bettie Page Clothing made its debut as a vendor this year, spearheaded by the lovely Shannon Butler, who is now the manager of the Bettie Page store at the Mall of America in Minnepolis, MN. Shannon brought another innovative way to make sure everyone got to try on the clothing and get the sizes they need – she kept a stock of the dresses, shirts, and skirts she brought as try-ons and once you decided what you wanted, she called the Mall of America store, placed your order, and it was shipped to you (sometimes that day!) free of charge. In addition to all the adorable clothing, she brought these great adjustable belts that are the perfect dress belt, for when that vintage dress comes without a belt or maybe you lost the belt or want to add a belt…regardless, good, skinny dress belts are hard to come by and these babies are only $10 and come in several handy colors.

Flower Child took up about half the hallway, with a wonderful display that moved from housewares and accessories, to jewelry, to several large racks of clothing at the end of the hall. Because Flower Child is made up of several vendors, there were a range of prices in the shop, and they definitely had the larges selection. Favorites included a 1940’s gold bathing suit, rayon Asian print pajamas, and an adorable dress with strawberry ribbon trim that came home with me.

Still obsessing over Dancestore.com's mesh and leather wingtip

Still obsessing over Dancestore.com’s mesh and leather wingtip

Finally, Dancestore.com made an appearance with most of their line of shoes. I liked that they had a set of “try-on” pairs that you could put on and take for a spin during one dance. It helps you decide, cuts down on wear and tear of new pairs, and also gives you an idea of how they will feel once they are broken in. Great idea!

This year was probably the best year for vendors yet – many of the vendors are veterans at this point, they know their audience, and they only bring the best stuff as it pertains to swing dancers. I am elated that they continue to come out, year after year.

Here are my photos from the weekend – enjoy!

Collar detail *swoon*

Collar detail at Sweet Lorain *swoon*

Velvet collar detail at Sweet Lorain

Velvet collar detail at Sweet Lorain

Love this Jack and the Beanstalk novelty print - at Sweet Lorain

Love this Jack and the Beanstalk novelty print – at Sweet Lorain

Menswear knits in shades of brown, at Sweet Lorain

Menswear knits in shades of brown, at Sweet Lorain

This photo does not do justice to the awesomeness of these sheer cutouts - at Sweet Lorain

This photo does not do justice to the awesomeness of these sheer cutouts – at Sweet Lorain

Oxfords at Sweet Lorain

Oxfords at Sweet Lorain

The entrance to Chelsea Costumes

The entrance to Chelsea Costumes

Brain...shuts...down...

Brain…shuts…down…

Navigation system at Chelsea Costumes

Navigation system at Chelsea Costumes

Lovely dress at Chelsea Costumes

Lovely dress at Chelsea Costumes

Collar detail at Chelsea Costumes

Collar detail at Chelsea Costumes

The view from the top of one of the rolling staircases at Chelsea Costumes

The view from the top of one of the rolling staircases at Chelsea Costumes

Select menswear items from The Cleveland Shop

Select menswear items from The Cleveland Shop

Cool cotton print dress from The Cleveland Shop

Cool cotton print dress from The Cleveland Shop

Tri-strap! From Re-mix Vintage Shoes

Tri-strap! From Re-mix Vintage Shoes

Did you know these come in GREEN?

Did you know these came in GREEN?

A lovely display from Flower Child

A lovely display from Flower Child

Gold bathing suit FTW - courtesy of Flower Child

Gold bathing suit FTW – courtesy of Flower Child

Love all of this - at Flower Child

Love all of this – at Flower Child

Suit jacket peplum made of petals! At Flower Child

Suit jacket peplum made of petals! At Flower Child

Pajamas! At Flower Child

Pajamas! At Flower Child

Lots of good knits this year - this from Flower Child

Lots of good knits this year – this from Flower Child

This Bettie Page blouse went home with many a gal

This Bettie Page blouse went home with many a gal

Lovely dresses from Bettie Page Clothing

Lovely dresses from Bettie Page Clothing

Indiegogo: Yehoodi Live Stream From ILHC

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Let's do 2013 even better!

Let’s do 2013 even better!

Last year was the first year that Yehoodi live broadcasted all of the competitions at the International Lindy Hop Championships. The broadcast garnered over 23,000 views and had an international audience. This is no small feat! I had the pleasure of being a part of this landmark broadcast as a commentator during the Open Balboa competition and marveled at how dedicated the Yehoodi staff was to putting out a quality broadcast in spite of their small crew and minimal equipment. It was a lot of work, for sure, and I am excited to report that they are planning on doing it again this year.

But they need a little help to do it right. From their Indiegogo page:

“For 15 years, Yehoodi.com has been providing, free of charge, an online home for the lindy hop community. We’ve run discussion forums, live events like the Basie Centennial, streaming online swing radio, and audio/video podcasts like the Yehoodi Talk Show, Hey Mr. Jesse and SwingNation.

In all of that time, we have never asked for a dime from our members and viewers. Today is the first time on all those years we are asking the lindy hop community for support.

ILHC logoLast year, we went to the International Lindy Hop Championships in Washington DC and produced our first live on-site dance competition show. Using basic production equipment and a skeleton crew, we were able to put on a high quality production that had 23,000+ views over the weekend, with viewers logging in from Korea, Sweden, Australia and many more countries. We heard from hundreds of you how much you enjoyed the live broadcast and the video archive later.

This year, we think we can do even better. We have an opportunity to create a television-quality, high definition video production from ILHC. But we need your help.

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Here’s what we need:

– bad ass equipment

– a killer production team…

(insert description of bad ass equipment and killer production team)”

FURTHER:

If I'm not attending this I want to be watching this!

If I’m not attending this I want to be watching this!

“We have already been approached by several event organizers to stream their competitions and showcases live to the internet. In particular, the team behind the Frankie100 Centennial Celebration have said that they would love for Yehoodi to be there in May of 2014 to stream some of that historic event to the world. With your support, that can happen.

Also, if we reach our goal, we will be able to provide the lindy community with a much higher quality version of our weekly lindy hop based show, SwingNation, the only weekly live streamed video podcast that delivers news, events, interviews and featured dance videos for our Lindy Hop audience. The SwingNation show archive will be in the best quality possible for future generations to come.”

MORE BROADCASTS. We will be in a whole other realm of hobby at this point, with potential for a broader international reach, not to mention the ability to bring the events to people who aren’t able to attend them, to see MORE AWESOME DANCING.

I am super excited about the prospects. As with any worthwhile endeavor, it takes blood, sweat, tears, and cash to make things run. Drop a few dollars their way, this is definitely one project that we can continue to benefit from well into the future. Click here to invest in your Lindy Hop future. :)

All Balboa Weekend 2013

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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It’s that time of year – the time every year where I drive 8 1/2 hours to my Mecca-of-sorts, All Balboa Weekend in Cleveland, Ohio. There will definitely be a vintage shopping excursion (with a report when I get back), with some old favorites and perhaps a new shop for Lindy Shopper. And cupcakes.

I’m looking forward to working with the many of you who volunteered to participate in All Balboa Weekend’s 1940’s fashion show, as well as seeing all the wonderful clothing that you are bringing and that Val and the vendors are providing for the show!

I am also looking forward to performing with my band, the Mint Julep Jazz Band, at the Friday night dance and to singing with the Boilermaker Jazz Band on Saturday. This is really a dream come true, to be able to have my band perform at my favorite dance weekend of the year, and I’m just…over the moon right now. EXCITED!

Last, but certainly not least, I am one of the main DJs for the weekend, along with head DJ Kyle Smith and fellow blogger Christian Bossert of Swing DJ Resources.

Yes, I will be doing ALL THE THINGS. Including dancing. :D

I hope to see some of you there, please come up and introduce yourself if we are not already acquainted.

Onward to Cleveland!

A Call to Arms: All Balboa Weekend 1940’s Fashion Show

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Do you have a 1940’s outfit? Are you attending All Balboa Weekend 2013? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, I would encourage you to participate in this year’s 1940’s fashion show at All Balboa Weekend! After the success of the 1930’s fashion show in 2011, Valerie Salstrom & Co. are bringing back the fashion show, highlighting a different swinging decade of fashion.

If you are interesting in appearing in your ensemble or modeling else’s clothing, please email me at caab241@hotmail.com. If you are wearing your own outfit, please email me a photo of the outfit (or outfits, we’re always up for a wardrobe change), preferably with you wearing it. If you are interested in modeling, please email me with your sizes (bust/waist/hip for women, jacket/waist/inseam for men).

Any ensemble will do – work-wear, military, gowns, nightgowns, swimwear, you name it, we’ll show it. :)

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