Category Archives: Gentlemen

Kevin and Jo Highlight Lindy Hopper Artists

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The April 28 post featured artist Emma Robertson from Auckland, New Zealand!

The April 28 post featured artist Emma Robertson from Auckland, New Zealand!

I meant to post about this earlier, but swing dance instructors Jo Hoffberg and Kevin St. Laurent spent the entire month of April highlighting and interviewing artists all over the globe who belong to our wonderful swing dance community, featuring a different artist each day for the entire month. This is a great opportunity to see how people in our community can be creative in other ways and how you can support them – links to the artists’ websites are included for you to explore further and potentially purchase some great artwork, some of it swing dance-related, some of it not. Shop for your walls, or perhaps commission something special for yourself? Either way, you’re contributing to the dance world and treating yourself. :) So great!

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SwingGene’s Folding Hand Fans

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Novel use of duck tape - also available in fabric options

Novel use of duck tape – also available in fabric options

“Keeping cool even when your swingouts are on fire” is the motto of SwingGene’s Folding Hand Fans, the brainchild of Albuquerque dancer Amber Templeton, who came up with her own fan design after watching the slow demise of a hinged fan over the course of three larger swing dance events. Your average fan was not made to withstand being thrown into a dance bag, possibly kicked/shuffled/stepped on at a dance, shaken vigorously and then perhaps tossed hastily aside as someone asks you to dance, then maybe living in your dance bag, which may then live in your hot car with your stinky dance shoes…you get the idea. Really beautiful fans tend to be fragile and the robust lifestyle of a Lindy Hopper calls for something more.

Amber uses fabric or duck tape as the main material for the fan, with a more traditional wooden structure to make it collapsible. This is a pretty novel use of duck tape, in my opinion, and I’ve seen some pretty sweet colors and pattern available for options. Fabric offers nearly endless options – from the Etsy site: “I have some ambitious goals for the future on how to really customize, embellish, and trick out the fans. For now though I just really want to make each customer the perfect custom fan. There are so many cool designs and patterns I feel like everyone should have the fan that they dream about.”

So what you see is just a sample – feel free to contact Amber for your custom, durable swing dance fan!

It's like she understands us...

It’s like she understands us…

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.

More Belt Back Action

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The ABW vendor report is in progress, but to tide you over you could pick up your own summer belt back jacket and vest from this eBay auction – pair with your favorite pair of summer trousers, wear together or separate. Size 42, bidding at $99.95 with free shipping…not quite the steal from Chelsea’s, but cheaper than flying to Cleveland!

$_57

$_57

Freddie’s of Pinewood: 40’s and 50’s Jeans and Casualwear for Men and Women

Classic men's jeans - high waist, straight leg, cuff or hem.  Looks good to me!

Classic men’s jeans – high waist, straight leg, cuff or hem. Looks good to me!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Freddie’s of Pinewood lately, usually coming up in conversations about vintage or reproduction jeans. This UK-based company has taken a practical approach to dressing vintage, providing reproduction clothing you’d mostly wear just out and about, rather than getting gussied up – lots of great separates, shirts, jackets, and denim. While I generally dislike denim, I understand that most of you live in jeans – perhaps Freddie’s could be a gateway to a more vintage, casual look? There are a lot of versatile pieces on this site, to either dress up or dress down (or both), so take a gander!

Here’s what I’m loving on the website:

High waisted denim with buttons down the side, just the way I like 'em!

High waisted denim with buttons down the side, just the way I like ‘em!

Lovelovelove a men's knit pullover

Lovelovelove a men’s knit pullover

"Saddle" sweater - can I please have one of these in every color?

“Saddle” sweater – can I please have one of these in every color?

Because dudes need this classic stripe tee shirt X 3 to make it through a dance

Because dudes need this classic stripe tee shirt X 3 to make it through a dance

These red denim capri pants are super sassy!

These red denim capri pants are super sassy!

Frankie 100 Fashion Show

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

In case you missed it in person or on the live stream, Frankie 100 in New York played host to a fashion show during the Sunday night festivities! Take a gander at some of your favorite swing dancers modeling some truly spectacular vintage fashions from the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s, both ladies and gents, starting at 46:20 mark on the video – a really gorgeous collection of everything from swimwear to eveningwear, Mutsumi Gee’s lovely reproductions, the vintage-inspired designs of Nicole Lenzen, the tailored menswear of Chloe Hong, even a segment devoted to the 1939 World’s Fair in New York! Special thanks to Voon Chew and Lainey Silver for their efforts in putting this together!

http://new.livestream.com/yehoodi/frankie100/videos/52027142

Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers Reproduction Jacket

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The original!

The original!

As if FROMChloehong had not already reached the pinnacle of awesomeness by producing and selling superior trumpet skirts, she has upped the ante by creating a reproduction of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers’ letterman style jacket. I couldn’t find a lot of information about the original jacket except for the black and white photo posted here and a video clip from 1940 linked to by Bobby White on his Swungover blog, showing the jacket and noting that the logo on the back was the same logo on the shirts Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers wear in “Keep Punching” (aka the Big Apple clip). This jacket is a pretty big undertaking and Chloe’s results are fantastic, with great attention to detail.

If you would like to purchase one of these jackets, Chloe will begin taking orders on May 23, 2014 with more details forthcoming at the FROMChloehong Facebook page. What a conversation starter this jacket must be, with the wearer instantly becoming an ambassador of Lindy Hop in a very public and visual way. I can’t wait to see one of these in person!

EDITED to add that the order form is up! Click here to order. Chloe is donating a portion of the proceeds to the Frankie Manning Foundation and, if you get your order in by April 30, you can pick up your jacket at Frankie 100!

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Artsy Toes on Etsy, aka Mike the Girl Creates Artful Dance Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

A New Orleans-inspired pair of Keds.

A New Orleans-inspired pair of Keds.

“Let your shoes live up to your dancing. Send me your shoes, and I’ll turn them into art that represents you. Send me a conversation, to get the ball rolling on your inspiration and preferences, then purchase through the Etsy shop.”

It’s just that simple! Blues instructor and DJ Mike “the Girl” Legenthal will take your plain, canvas dance shoes, or anything from “formal shoes to steampunk coats to home decor” and make it all about you after some design consult with you about who you are and what you’d like to see on your item. I love the idea of decorated canvas shoes – I have a pair of Vans slip-ons that a tattoo artist friend drew pin-ups on for me – and I was excited to see that Mike is offering to do this, with an obvious focus on the swing dance community. You can purchase through her Etsy shop, but the bulk of her work is on display on the Artsy Toes Facebook Page. Check it out and enjoy her wonderful, whimsical shoe designs!

Get some Savoy style!

Get some Savoy style!

Norfolk Jacket with Art Deco Pleats

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

So…this is gorgeous. Size 44 is a lucky size today! Starting bid $99.99.

$_57

Reiterating Tie Clips

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Clip it.  Clip it good.

Clip it. Clip it good.

It’s been four years since Lindy Dandy wrote on this blog about the functionality of tie clips and a lot can happen in four years – new dancers come, old dancers leave, some dancers have already come and gone. It bears repeating that tie clips, perhaps second only to cufflinks in desirable-but-when-am-I-going-to-wear-this man jewelry, are super-functional for dancers, especially competitors, wearing ties.

I was at Lindyfest and the Lone Star Championships two weekends ago and reveled in the fantastic showmanship in the competitions. With so many great performances, something like, say, a tie flapping about on a competitor like a giant red kite, would be entirely noticeable – nay, distracting. I’m sure I’m beating a dead horse here, but the focus should be on your dancing and your attire should enhance, not distract from, your dancing. I did see a number of tie-wearing competitors in tie clips, so the word has gotten out.

For those of you new to this concept, I invite you to embrace the tie clip, tie bar, whatever you’d like to call it. It’s there for you to keep your tie out of your face and your partner’s face and to prevent any sort of mishaps where the tie may catch on something. Safety first!

“He Spoke Style” has a nice little tutorial on how to wear a tie bar – thorough, yet concise.

keep_calm_and_dance_on_tie_clip

Two Spring Sales: Prohibition Clothing Company and A Vintage Sole

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Two spring sales worth posting about! First, the Original Prohibition Clothing Company is offering a great sale dubbed the “Spring Made-to-Measure Event” – with a focus on spring/summer weight fabrics (hello, tropical weight woolens and linens), the following price cuts:

Unconstructed Jackets were $348, now $298
Full-Rise Trousers were $188, now $159
Fine Cotton Shirts were $88, now $75

Prices valid through March 31st, 2014. There are so many “3 season” suits and heavy suits out there, it seems that for dancing that the most practical splurge would be for a summer suit, no? If you don’t like ironing or wrinkling, my vote is for the tropical weight wool. Remember, wool is a natural fiber that breathes…

Buy these $78 early 1950's wedges and get 15% off with the Benzie code at 5% goes to a food bank!

Buy these $78 early 1950’s wedges and get 15% off with the Benzie code and 5% goes to a food bank!

Next, a wonderful sale from the I-can’t-believe-this-is-a-thing retailer A Vintage Sole, selling dead stock/never worn vintage shoes – here are the details:

“Enter ‘Benzie’ in the discount box at checkout and receive 15% OFF your entire order. By doing so, you’ll be lending a very helpful hand to those in real need.

When you use the Benzie code, we will donte 5% of your order to the Benzie Food Partners, our local all volunteer food bank.

Visit aVintageSole.com to learn more about our $hop-$ave-$upport program and the huge impact your purchase will make for those in Benzie County, Michigan.”

Buy some vintage shoes, help those in need!

Winter Action Backs

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This, the coldest winter I’ve experienced in my life living in North Carolina, just won’t go away – Mother Nature teased us with 60 degrees today, followed by a forecast of snow tomorrow. Since I’m still digging around for more woolens to wear, here are a couple of cozy Norfolk/action back jackets on eBay for the gents to bundle up with until these winter storms pass:

Seriously gorgeous brown wool with colored flecks jacket, dated November 19, 1941, bidding around $100 right now...

Seriously gorgeous brown wool with colored flecks jacket, dated November 19, 1941, bidding around $100 right now…

This blue action back is part of a three piece suit and the jacket is double breasted

This blue action back is part of a three piece suit and the jacket is double breasted

Lindy Hop Tees

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Every once in a while a really clever Lindy Hop tee shirt will show up in my newsfeed, and I marvel that anyone is making money on tees independent of a dance event, but then again we are a clever bunch. It stands to reason that we should also have clever tees to advertise our cleverness. A quick search of the Internets reveals that there are even more Lindy Hop tees and cotton apparel than I imagined. Here are some highlights (and if there are other tees you love, feel free to post them in the comments):

Abraham Lincoln is ambidancetrous - from IllustriousStudio on Etsy

Abraham Lincoln is ambidancetrous – from IllustriousStudio on Etsy

Evolutionary theory of Lindy Hop - at Zazzle.com

Evolutionary theory of Lindy Hop – at Zazzle.com

Variation on a theme and conversation starter - from lindyshirts.com

Variation on a theme and conversation starter – from lindyshirts.com

I like the simplicity of the Art Deco style in this design - from spreadshirt.com

I like the simplicity of the Art Deco style in this design – from spreadshirt.com

Comic book adventure variation on a classic photo - from plenty-hot.com

Comic book adventure variation on a classic photo – from plenty-hot.com

For your next impromptu live music outing - from redbubble.com

For your next impromptu live music outing – from redbubble.com

A definitive ruling on the style wars - from zazzle.co.uk

A definitive ruling on the style wars – from zazzle.co.uk

And I'll leave you with this bit of bliss - from DC's Jam Cellar

And I’ll leave you with this bit of bliss – from DC’s Jam Cellar

Richard’s Fabulous Finds – Vintage Men’s Clothing and Accessories

1940's suit and expertly paired accessories

1940’s double breasted suit and expertly paired accessories

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I ran across Richard’s Fabulous Finds on the OcTieBer group on Facebook – he had posted a few suits of interest, so I bit. Clicking through to his Etsy page, I was struck by the presentation – everything looked cool, wearable, and pulled together. On closer inspection, it wasn’t just the goods, it was the presentation. A model (perhaps Richard himself?) had on most of the suits, and each suit was fully presented, with shirt, necktie, pocket square, possibly a boutonniere, so that the suit wasn’t JUST a suit, you could see it as an ensemble. I know a lot of men struggle with color and pairings and Richard has done the work for you, at least for starters. Here’s what I’m loving from his Etsy shop:

Tweedy hat

Tweedy hat

Three piece plaid suit - 70's, but nobody has to know... ;)

Three piece plaid suit – 70’s, but nobody has to know… ;)

Vintage yin-yang pocket square

Vintage yin-yang pocket square

Belt-back blazer

Belt-back blazer