Category Archives: Vests

ILHC 2014 – Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Get your ILHC tees here!

Get your ILHC tees here!

I was excited to see some new vendor faces and an old favorite return to the International Lindy Hop Championships this year. Particularly, with a focus on menswear – it is so easy for women to find good dance clothing, but most of our vendors (who are mostly women themselves) cater to women. This year, the men and women had some great vendors to choose from, from pieces you could take home to custom-made garments to order.

2014-08-23 00.08.48

Did I mention my love for Chloe Hong? After her stint at All Balboa Weekend, I was suprised (read: elated) to see her back in the U.S. after such a short time. Not only did she clean up on the dance floor, she set up shop at ILHC to take custom orders for her wonderful selection of women’s skirts and classic men’s suiting. Just going through her fabric swatches makes me happy! If you have never considered ordering something custom and you find yourself at an event with Chloe Hong, I would recommend at least looking into ordering a custom piece – she can get your measurements in person and has lots of experience dressing dancers for a range of movement (she counts Bobby White, Thomas Blacharz, Pontus Persson, Laura Keat, Jeremy Otth, and Juan Villafane as customers, and I could go on…)

2014-08-23 00.11.05

Returning for another year (have they been at ILHC every year?) is Forties Forward, with an array of lovely hair blooms, feathers, and accessories. One can never have too many hair accoutrements and I was also pleased to see that Forties Forward shared their table with A Woopie! Handmade Bowties (another menswear vendor!), which had a nice array of ties and even included some adorable instructions on how to tie the ties! I always need a little help when I tie my ties, so an adorable instruction card on my vanity beats, say, that YouTube tutorial I have to pull up every time I do this…

2014-08-23 17.28.04

Perhaps the most impressive display belonged to Brown & Williams Clothiers, who specialize in vintage British menswear – yes, they import and they curate a stellar collection, a portion of which was on display at ILHC. I wish could sport the amazing jackets, sweaters, and trousers I spotted in their booth (none of them small enough!) – a seriously delicious collection for anyone who digs British style, collegiate style, boating, and especially tweed. If you are interested in checking out some of their stock, it looks like the best way to purchase is through their Etsy site – that green and white crested blazer *drool*…

2014-08-23 16.47.30

Then there was this mysterious banner for Behind the Beat – Clothes that Match Your Rhythm and a link to a website that says it is launching July 7 (checks calendar…still no). Upon further inspection, a Facebook page yields evidence of graphic tee shirts and hoodies, so I guess we will stay tuned? Stay tuned.

And that’s all, folks, check out the goods below – happy shopping and happy dancing at ILHC!

Collar options - FROMChloeHong

Collar options – FROMChloeHong

Chloe does casual

Chloe does casual

An array of sample jackets at FROMChloeHong

An array of sample jackets at FROMChloeHong

The fabulous Chloe skirts - look at those colors!

The fabulous Chloe skirts – look at those colors!

Trouser detail at FROMChloeHong

Trouser detail at FROMChloeHong

Some softness from Forties Forward

Some softness from Forties Forward

Some signature blooms from Forties Forward

Some signature blooms from Forties Forward

What a cute name for ties!

What a cute name for ties!

A selection of A Whoopie! ties

A selection of A Woopie! ties

Adorable tie instructions

Adorable tie instructions

Belt back jacket spotted at Brown & Williams - definitely a good sign

Belt back jacket spotted at Brown & Williams – definitely a good sign

Red vest, for a more formal look - at Brown & Williams

Red vest, for a more formal look – at Brown & Williams

This striped jacket would be a great attention-grabber in a competition - at Brown & Williams

This striped jacket would be a great attention-grabber in a competition – at Brown & Williams

Lots of interesting details on this vest, especially the button lapels - at Brown & Williams

Lots of interesting details on this vest, especially the button lapels – at Brown & Williams

About these ads

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!

2014-08-17 11.17.43

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…

2014-08-17 11.24.51

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!

2014-08-17 11.27.25

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.

2014-08-17 11.28.56

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. :)

2014-08-17 11.32.05

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!

2014-08-17 11.35.23

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.

2014-08-17 11.39.57

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

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

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

2014-08-09 15.41.44

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.

2014-08-09 16.14.50

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.

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

Two Spring Sales: Prohibition Clothing Company and A Vintage Sole

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

1979487_462400940555995_681348278_n

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

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

Vecona Vintage

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Embroidery on a sailor collar

Embroidery on a sailor collar

I have another tip on a German reproduction/vintage inspired clothing source, thanks to Florian Kremers, who messaged me to tell me about Vecona Vintage. From the website:

“Inspired by the fashion of the 1920ies to 40ies Vecona Vintage combines former glamour with the wear comfort of modern textiles. High class materials and accurate craftsmanship make every item become a very personal piece of fashion history you´ll take much pleasure in for sure…Vecona Vintage garments are hand-made high quality products. Every single step is executed professional and accurate by a highly qualified and experienced master tailoress.”

As an added bonus: “The high quality materials not only feel great further they are easy to clean so that you don´t have to get them dry cleaned after every dance. You can wash your new treasures in your washing machine at 30°C.”

Vecona Vintage really shines with its menswear and women’s separates. The menswear selection boasts traditional pants and vest combos, along with knickers and work pants for a more casual-but-not-quite-as-casual-as-modern-jeans look. The women’s collection features a selection of high waisted trousers, pencil skirts, 1920’s-style dresses, and some lovely blouses. Here’s what I’m digging:

Rusty Dusty work pants

Rusty Dusty work pants

Lacy Daisy blouse in mint

Lacy Daisy blouse in mint

Casablanca linen vest and pants

Casablanca linen vest and pants

Marlene pants in red

Marlene pants in red

Darcy Clothing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

about-us

This menswear resource tip is from Christine Hall of the Decophile group on Facebook – Darcy Clothing, previously The Vintage Shirt Company, has expanded from shirts to include a much broader range of reproduction menswear and accessories from the 18th century to the early 20th century. This is a huge span of time, but there are plenty of 20th century goodies from this UK company to place in your closet.

From the website:

“The clothing is largely made specially for us and is taken directly from original garments. The shapes and fabrics are uncompromisingly genuine. We only ever use natural fibres in any pre C20th garments. The construction methods however take advantage of modern mass production techniques which means that we can supply costume designers with the authenticity they require at an affordable price.”

Here’s what I’m loving from their collection:

Spearpoint Collar Shirt

Spearpoint Collar Shirt

Working men's striped braces, available in 11 colors

Working men’s striped braces, available in 11 colors

Military ties - for your Buck Privates tribute routine

Military ties – for your Buck Privates tribute routine

Fair Isle socks - like stripes, but subdued...but more intricate...

Fair Isle socks – like stripes, but subdued…but more intricate…

Replica ollar pin, if you'd like to get your Boardwalk Empire on

Replica collar pin, if you’d like to get your Boardwalk Empire on

Cricket trousers - "perfect for any period cricketing attire"

Cricket trousers – “perfect for any period cricketing attire”

Cotton Work Jacket - a nice summer weight jacket option

Cotton Work Jacket – a nice summer weight jacket option

ViNSiNN

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Laura Keat's dress, the "Savoy Ballroom Kleid" - Laura has it in red, but I love the teal.  I CAN HAZ?

Laura Keat’s dress, the “Savoy Ballroom Kleid” – Laura has it in red, but I love the teal. I CAN HAZ?

This shop comes to you courtesy of Laura Keat, who posted a photo album on Facebook detailing the sources of her most-asked-about items of clothing. I recognized all of her sources except for one – ViNSiNN. A Google search led me to a website written entirely in German. Not easily deterred*, I used Google translator so I could browse their shop and tell you about it…in English.

The founders of this retail site are Marina Fischer, Peter Bieniossek, and Lucy Flournoy, all swing dancers with a passion for the vintage aesthetic that comes with the dancing. Marina details her frustrations with attempts to locate vintage clothing, mostly sourced from America, and dealing with shipping, taxes, customs, and the waiting, only to find out that after such a great effort the garment wouldn’t work after all. Then came the resourceful idea to start a shop of vintage-inspired garments to sell in Germany. I am a firm believer in “if it doesn’t exist, you create it” and Marina picked up the ball and ran with it, along with business partner Peter, who shared similar frustrations, and Lucy Flournoy, whose paragraph did not translate well in the Google translator…but I can attest to Lucy’s sense of style, as I observed it when she was going to college in North Carolina and dancing at regional events.

Great socks!

Great socks!

This is definitely a store with the dancer in mind – as I browse through all the lovely dress, top, and skirt options, I notice lots of great modern takes on familiar vintage shapes, lovely details, lots of color, but the overarching theme is that all of these are dressing I wouldn’t hesitate to dance in. There are some great basics for men, even a pair of knickers. And the socks page is divine!

Now I have the reverse problem as Marina and Peter – how to get these items (reasonably) from Germany to the US? Anyone coming to ILHC? ;) Faves listed below.

*I once used Babelfish to translate an entire transaction over the phone, in real time, into Spanish so I could order custom tango shoes from Columbia from a salesperson who spoke no English.

How About a Second Mate? Dress - also available in a romper, what the what?!

How About a Second Mate? Dress – also available in a romper, what the what?!

Anything Goes vest and...

Anything Goes vest and…

...matching knickers!

…matching knickers!

Splanky Shorts

Splanky Shorts

Lots of great caps to choose from...

Lots of great caps to choose from…

Twelve Bar Blues skirt, also available in black

Twelve Bar Blues skirt, also available in black

Each pair of socks is named after an illustrious swing dance instructor - shown here, the "Nick socken"

Each pair of socks is named after an illustrious swing dance instructor – shown here, the “Nick socken”

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

Gatsby Collections

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

From the Brooks Brothers Great Gatsby Collection

From the Brooks Brothers Great Gatsby Collection

With the pomp and fanfare given to Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming film rendition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” comes the opportunity for various merchants to cash in *ahem* I mean present collections of Gatsby era inspired clothing, rugs, shoes, flooring, you name it. It’s one of those things that sort of elicits a collective groan and, at the same time, a hope – a groan for the fad, the hyped up eBay prices for 20’s clothing, the assumption that you are part of the fad even though you’ve been an Art Deco lover for years; a hope that some really beautiful items will come of this that may not be plentiful in their vintage form.

I’d love to have a complete list of all the collections for 2013 that have been inspired by the movie – please feel free to submit your own! In the interim, here’s what I’ve been able to dig up:

(I’ll have to make an exception to my maximum price rule with this post, but Gatsby is all about luxury and what we can’t have, no?)

Brooks Brothers – there are several threads on Facebook criticizing the collection for its modern cuts, uniform hat sizing, and other elements that would either not be period appropriate or luxurious enough to warrant the cost. Yet, with a retailer as large and established as Brooks Brothers, one can always hope for knockoffs.

I would wear this EVERY DAY if I owned it.

I would wear this EVERY DAY if I owned it.

Tiffany & Co. – some simply stunning pieces with, what I would consider, an appropriate mix of modern and Art Deco elements. Anyone with an extra $200,000 in their bank account can purchase one of the gorgeous headpieces… *drool*

Armstrong Hardwood Floors – I’m no wood floor expert, so I’m looking for a tie-in to the Gatsby era…perhaps inspired by hardwood flooring stains of the 1920’s? I do know that Tudor architecture was popular during the 1920’s, so their Oak – Tudor Brown makes sense. The rest, I’m not sure…

Rhapsody Rug by Catherine Martin

Rhapsody Rug by Catherine Martin

Sue Wong – designer Sue Wong debuted her Fall 2013 collection inspired by the Great Gatsby. The collection is not on her website and I’m having a hard time finding photos of the actual collection, rather than the celebrity attendees. From the scant photos, it looks to be a modern interpretation.

Catherine Martin Rugs – this is probably my favorite, these Art Deco rugs are just divine, pieces of art themselves.

We can keep going…I’m happy to add to the list, if you have others!

1930’s and 40’s Suiting on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

All of a sudden, there was an influx of men’s 1930’s suits on eBay, including some lovely summer weight suits. Let’s get started:

Linen suit with belt back

Linen suit with belt back, size 36, starting bid $49.99

Palm Beach suit, size 40, bidding at $9.00

Palm Beach suit, size 40, bidding at $9.00

Another size 40 belt back suit, with accompanying cigar from that era?  Gross...LOL

Another size 40 belt back suit, with accompanying cigar from that era? Gross…LOL

Summer belt back suit, size 38, bidding at $86.00

Summer belt back suit, size 38, bidding at $86.00

1936 three-piece suit, size 38, bidding at $168.01

1936 three-piece suit, size 38, bidding at $168.01

Navy tux, size 42, Buy it Now for $135.00

Navy tux, size 42, Buy it Now for $135.00

Hillsborough Formalwear Outlet

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

My outlet tux!  Photo courtesy of Bonnie Stanley Photography.

My outlet tux! Photo courtesy of Bonnie Stanley Photography.

I had heard rumors about the Hillsborough Formalwear Outlet in Hillsborough, NC long before I actually went there – mostly people who had purchased a hat from their collection, but they spoke of a giant warehouse full of tuxedos, for rent or for purchase, at very reasonable prices. When Raleigh’s Vaudevillain Revue decided to go 20’s/30’s for a show, I decided it was time for me to pull a Dietrich for my performance and get a tux of my own.

The Deal: jacket, pants, shirt, vest or cummerbund, bow tie, studs, and cufflinks for just over $100 (including tax). You take it home, it’s all yours, everything you need but the socks and shoes.

How do they do it? When formalwear retailers and renters liquidate their stock, this place buys the goods. You are purchasing sometimes new, sometimes previously rented, goods. They have a wide selection of tuxedo styles – from tailcoats to modern jackets, every imaginable color of vest. If they don’t have it in the main warehouse/shop, they have a few other warehouses to draw from, including one that is almost entirely full of polyester 70’s tuxes with ruffled shirts – imagine the color combinations (*laugh*cry*shudder*)! All this to say that they probably have a tux that will work for you and your needs.

The customer service was fantastic – someone was essentially assigned to me and helped me painstakingly put together a men’s tux for my not-a-man’s body. I was elated with the result and the price – I’ve put together Halloween costumes with fewer pieces that cost more than this.

I was really hoping that they would be open the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve – people need tuxes for NYE, right? – and with Lindy Focus that week, people could fly into RDU and hit the warehouse on the way to Asheville. Alas, they will not be open that week, so my plans for directing you to them for this year’s LF have been foiled. However, this is a family-owned business, so perhaps if enough of you emailed them we could convince them to open for a day, or take appointments? Just a thought. Perhaps you can hit them up on the way back to RDU and pick up one for next year…