Remix Anita in Green, Size 10

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

God, this is a no-brainer – size 10, new in box, green Anitas, Buy it Now $89.99. Retails for $190.00 at remixvintageshoes.com. Go!

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It Don’t Mean a Thing…and other Nerdy Swing Tee Shirts

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

You can thank the magic of Facebook for alerting me to this shopping opportunity – I believe I saw that Valerie Salstrom had commented on a particular tee shirt image and voila! I found Dean Velasco’s home grown swing tee shirt shop, where you can message Dean on Facebook for one of his clever swing dance themed tees.

I showed one of the tees to my husband, who said “I might like one of those,” so I bit – commerce through Facebook commenced and I learned that Dean did have a “slightly outdated” website that did not have an ordering system, but does allow the general public to view the tees. Dean sells mostly to friends and via Facebook, but right now it’s just a hobby. We all have 2 or 3 streams of income, right? Right. If things pick up, perhaps Dean can find a distributor for his wares, but for now he’s keeping things in the community.

The shirts are available in unisex sizes, S to XL in black and navy blue, and a few black XXL. The ladies shirts are available in S to XL in black and navy blue. $15.00 a pop ($17.50 for XXL) plus shipping.

Dragon Ladies at Trashy Diva

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Yes, I know I just posted about Trashy Diva last month, BUT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND – they have just outdone themselves, following up their perfect-for-early-fall plaids with a collection of insanely elegant, whimsical, and ultimately flattering dresses that will work year round and make you the sassiest attendee of any soiree you may attend. It deserves a fashion standing ovation – let’s take this Asian-inspired collection dress by dress, because I can’t narrow it down.

The Dragon Lilian dress is just fab – if you’ve always wanted a cheongsam, but didn’t quite fit into the shape of that dress, I can already see that this dress is more forgiving and flattering. The skirt looks straight, but there are tucks that give the skirt more room and forgiveness for the posterior and hips. The awesome potential is off the charts.

I might die if I don’t own the Peacock Lillian dress, so I’ve already pre-ordered it to save myself from annihilation. I have been looking for a vintage dress similar to this for about a year now – something a little cocktail, a little sparkle, and elegant for gigs, but something I could still wear dancing if I needed to swing out. Blues, greens, gold, *drool*…SO HAPPY!

With “the bodice and sleeves…modeled after a 1937 vintage pattern,” the two tone Frenchie Dress is adorable, sexy, eye-catching, and actually looks really comfortable. Not to be overlooked are the wonderful vintage-inspired frog closures at the waist. The overall effect is slimming, with red drawing your eye in and the black slimming you from the sides.

The Soutache Sandy dress is, obviously, ornamented with lovely soutache embroidery. I am excited to see this detail limited to the waist, as it usually ornaments shoulders or a neckline and is sometimes used a bit too liberally. It makes a lovely focal point on the bodice of this flattering silhouette.

Last, but certainly not least, is the surprise dress of the collection – the Sadie Bustle dress. Yes, the heart pockets (!!!) are adorable on the front, but then you turn around and BOOM, there is a red cascade of ruffles, skyrocketing the sass levels into the stratosphere.

I think one of the Trashy Diva employees who posted on Facebook said it best about this collection: “I’m so excited it’s like Christmas! And I work here, heehee!” If the employees are that excited, you know it’s good!

What Katie Did Seamed Hosiery

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

As I sit here in front of my space heater, loathing the cold front that came in and whisked my summer away, I’ll admit that I have to start thinking about warmer garments. I’ve been saving up some things to write about until the colder weather arrived, such as highlighting some great seamed hosiery options offered by What Katie Did, my favorite retro/repro undergarment web store.

I am completely smitten with the Swiss dot seamed pantyhose – an element of adorableness amidst the classic, yet sassy, seam. I also love the metallic seams, which you can buy in nude with a gold seam or black with a silver seam – the OCD in me would pair them with matching metallic heels for a Balboa comp. Finally, I see what could potentially be a more durable option for dancing (80 denier as opposed to 15 denier) with opaque seamed hosiery – in black with a red racing stripe for the back of your legs. :)

My Baby Jo 40′s Blouses

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

My Baby Jo announced the arrival of their new 1940′s-inspired blouses, that are the epitome of lady-like (“Veronica” and “Simone” to be exact). I knew as soon as I saw the photo exactly what they were – I have a 1940′s coral blouse of the same vein that I picked up from Dolly’s Vintage a few months ago thinking, “Here’s something I haven’t seen a lot.” It looks like My Baby Jo was on the same page, only they did something about it! This blouse is fitted, with lovely buttons down the back, and metallic stud detailing. It’s just begging for a high-waisted skirt! Available in black, red, blue, and brown.

“Paramount Wardrobe” 1930′s Belt Back Suit

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Do I know any size 42 gents? If I did or if I remembered you would have received a message from me about this amazing 1930′s suit, labeled “Paramount Wardrobe” as in this suit was made for the movies! I’m just going to copy/paste the seller’s description because this suit is so rad:

“Original Men’s 1930′s two piece BACK BELT SUIT in Size 42″ chest in a nice medium cocoa brown wool flannel suiting. The jacket is single breasted with two lower patch pockets and decorative seams down the front. The back is pleated into a half belt and has a “Bi-Swing” action back with two long vertical pleats. The pants have a pleated front and two side and two back pockets. The only markings are an ink stamp on the trouser waistband: “Paramount Wardrobe”

The suit measures:

Across the shoulders: 19″
Down back from collar seam to hem: 31″
Sleeve from shoulder seam to cuff: 24 1/2″
Pants waist: 36″ (can be let out to 38 1/2″
Pants inseam: 31″ (can be let out to 33 1/2″)

There are no rips, tears, stains or mothing, etc on this suit. It’s in excellent condition.” (Emphasis added.)

42 gentlemen, it is your imperative and your directive that you acquire this suit – go forth and conquer!

Cutouts, Insets, and Embroidery

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This is such a hot little 1940′s dress and manages, at the same time, to be really beautiful – the shape and the black satin make it foxy, while the amazing floral cutouts with pink insets soften the look, tied together by tone on tone embroidery. Delicious! Auction ends tomorrow, someone snap this beauty up!

Field Trip: Amalgamated Classic Clothing and Dry Goods, Alexandria, VA

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I have anticipated checking out Alexandria’s Amalgamated Classic Clothing and Dry Goods since April, when I heard of its opening shortly prior to DCLX and the wonders that awaited me – rumors that the owners have a warehouse where items are pulled for Hollywood movies, that the inventory has real swing era stuff, GOOD stuff, and I was salivating. As I ditched the Saturday afternoon DCLX dance to head over to Alexandria I got a text message from Bill Speidel that the shop was closed. Oh, the disappointment!

Thankfully, I had already planned to attend the International Lindy Hop Championships in August, so I knew I’d get a second chance. I messaged the store’s Facebook page a few days prior to the event to make sure that they would be open and should I send my measuremnets. The answers were yes and yes, and I was elated.

I planned to go on Friday of ILHC and at the Thursday night dance I met Beth Midavaine, who had also planned to take a trip to Amalgamated with Bill Speidel, but Bill had bailed on her, so it seemed that fate would have it that we go shopping together. We headed to Amalgamated the next day with Jason Sager and arrived at the store at noon on the dot. The store was closed. I was frantic. We went next door to a knick knack store owner, who didn’t know why the shop wasn’t open. As we regrouped on the sidewalk, the door opened to Amalgamated and it was, after all, open for business. *phew!*

It took us three hours to get through everything in the store and try on the rack of clothes that Beth and I accumulated through our collective digging through the store. The store itself is small is square footage, but packed with everything good – there was no small rack where the few swing era items were delegated – the entire store was pre-1960′s, so 100% of their inventory was everything that you would want to see in a vintage store. It was glorious! The men’s section rivaled the women’s section in size and magnificence (who has an entire rack devoted to two tone Ricky Ricardo jackets?) and a men’s shoe section that took up an entire table, and included children’s shoes (tiny leather and mesh oxfords!). Owner Shelley White took us through boxes in the back room filled with delicate 1920′s beaded dresses, there were racks of glorious dresses and gowns, plus some very practical items that would be perfect for dancing. The women’s shoes had a good selection of larger women’s sizes, which was great for Beth, who picked up a pair of fantastic 1940′s heels.

I don’t think words or photos will do this place justice, so you’ll just have to go and see for yourself. Until then, check out some of our finds below:

The more choice men’s shoes behind glass.

The more choice women’s shoes behind glass – if you wear a size 5, those green t-straps could be yours!

On closer inspection, the print on this adorable 1940′s suit with giant lucite buttons features winged puppies! Does it get any cuter than freakin’ winged puppies???

Love this green 50′s dress, with a white scalloped stripe across the upper torso to draw the eye up and GIANT POCKETS.

Tie rack includes dead stock ties as well as used vintage ties.

Men’s shoes…

…and more men’s shoes…

Wide leg high waist women’s pants with adorable trim.

Ricky in purples

Ricky in brown and white

A shirt Jason considered…

Beth in a snappy hat

Jason snuggles with a vintage cat pillow.

A school spirited hat

A 1920′s beaded dress in my favorite color.

My find of the day – a 1930′s day dress in green. I’m holding the back because it will have to be taken in a bit, but I can’t pass up a green 30′s dress…

Beth’s find of the day – a gorgeous 1940′s gown with floral appliques and overlays

Love this Asian-inspired shape in a cotton leaf print.

Just about died when this almost-but-didn’t-quite fit

Gorgeous embroidery on this peach 1920′s day dress

A men’s vignette in the store

Another display at Amalgamated

The ILHC Belt Fiasco

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

(Another article I have shared with Yehoodi – thank you for having me as a guest commentator for the ILHC broadcast!)

Wonder Woman wears a belt that creates a very prominent focal point for her outfit. Now, imagine Wonder Woman in a Lindy Hop competition. Imagine that with each swingout, the belt moves just a little bit to the right as a result of her movement and her lead’s contact, and then more to the right, and you begin paying attention to where the center of the belt is going instead of her dancing. By the time the spotlight is over the belt is almost halfway around her back, so that she no longer looks like the Wonder Woman that hit the floor at the beginning of the comp – she looks like a hot mess, shirt and skirt askew, having been pulled a little bit along with the belt.

I saw this happen in almost every competition at ILHC 2012, especially during the multiple Lindy Hop prelims on Saturday afternoon with multiple dancers. I also saw bra straps come out during spotlight dances, skirts that were too tight so that they either inhibited movement or rode up on the dancer’s body until there was room for movement, and shirt tails that came out of the skirts (or trousers for the gents). But the belts were the most egregious – wide swaths of leather, elastic, and metal making an orbit around the waist of so many dancers it was an epidemic.

Why is this so bad? This is the INTERNATIONAL LINDY HOP CHAMPIONSHIPS, the Olympics of our dance, if you will. When you have reached this level of competition there are certain expectations of presentation because you want people to focus on you and your abilities, not focus on something falling off your outfit or costume. You will be on YouTube for the world to see as one of the best swing dancers in the world. There is a level of professionalism that is expected at this point in the competition and a level of presentation that is higher than just wearing street clothes as you would wear them on the street. The visual distraction of a wardrobe malfunction and the accompanying anxiety of the viewer as the malfunction occurs is not the desired result in any performance – what if an Olympic ice skater had a bra strap fall down in the middle of a routine? I would wager that the television commentary would be less about her performance and more about whether or not she was coming undressed.

It’s all fun and games until somebody loses a focal point.

This problem is easily addressed, but requires some planning:

MAKE SMART CHOICES

When you are buying clothes for dancing or deciding what to wear in a competition, make good choices. Don’t wear clothing that inhibits your movement – make sure to do a motion test on your clothing, can you move your arms and legs in the way that you need to in order to effectively dance the way that you do? Buy clothing that fits you and is secure on your body – clothing that is too big can get caught on things or fall off, make it harder to find points on your body that need to be found by your partner, and, if large enough, can create drag that can dull your movement, either physically or visually. Don’t have too many straps or appendages hanging off that might get caught in something or accidentally grabbed. You get the idea – you want to be beautiful and interesting, but also efficient.

DO A DRY RUN

As someone who has had a wrap dress come untied in the middle of a spotlight, I can not stress enough the importance of doing a dry run. Before you dance in an outfit in a competition, please take that outfit for a spin on the floor at a dance prior to the competition. I promise that the wow factor of a new dress is completely lost when something goes wrong with the dress. There are things you can’t even anticipate that could happen, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

SECURE YOUR CLOTHING

Safety pins are your best friend. Plus, safety pins are usually in plentiful supply at competitions if you forget your own. Every belt that rotated this past weekend could have been secured to the shirt, dress, or pants of the wearer.

I mentioned this to someone and they were afraid of putting holes in their belt, but the secret is that you don’t put holes in your belt – with the elastic belts (which were most of the infractions this weekend), you simply gather a group of threads from the inside of the belt with the pin, then pin it to your garment. Do this in at least two places. If you are worried about piercing your belt, garment, or whatever, then don’t wear it. Seriously. Find something else to wear or find a something that you can secure. This is more of an issue with larger belts or belts that have prominent buckles or decoration. Skinny monotone belts can probably slide by unnoticed from a distance.

The security doesn’t end with belts. I pin stray bra straps, especially when I am wearing sleeveless garments. I pin necklines to my bra to make sure they don’t move. I pin shirts to my underwear or bloomers when I am wearing skirts or that rare pair of pants. I have even pinned my dress, slip, and bra together because the centrifugal force of the weight of the dress would pull it off my shoulders. At any given time I have 2 to 8 safety pins holding my outfit in place for dances.

Ultimately, you don’t want to have to worry about your clothing when you are competing, you already have enough worries. You also don’t want the audience to worry about your clothing, you want them to see your amazing dancing. This goes for any competition, not just ILHC. Make sure that the focal point remains you, that your clothing enhances your dancing rather than inhibits it, and that you project the polished look of a professional dancer, regardless of your division or level.

ILHC 2012 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It was another glorious weekend of competitions, inspirational figures (young and old), and a celebration of movement to some of the hottest jazz in the US – I’m talking about the 2012 International Lindy Hop Championships, held in Washington, D.C. this past weekend. The swanky Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel was the swanky backdrop for this event and the bright and shiny decor only added to the vibrancy of the event.

Were there vendors? You bet! I only wish there had been more vendors, as it appeared that they were fewer in number from last year. The most noticeable absence was Carol Fraser and her army of My Heinies, fabulous shoes, and accompanying Model J Vintage that filled up a prominent space in the vendor area at ILHC 2011. As a consolation, I did notice that every follow who showed her heiny in a comp had it securely covered. :)

Dancestore’s newest version of the trumpet skirt, available in black, brown, and red – as of ILHC, not available on the Dancestore website.

Dancestore was there with an entire inventory of their staple shoes, but of serious note was the introduction of a new (wait for it)…trumpet skirt! While it’s not the trumpet skirt we know and love, it’s still a nice variation on the theme, with beautiful Art Deco-inspired seaming on the front. The twirl factor is good! The only con, in my opinion, is the material – it is a very stretchy/drapey jersey instead of the more substantial stretch suiting-type material of the trumpet skirts of my crusade. The new skirts are great if you want something to ball up and throw in your suitcase, but are not so good if you have hip, bum, or belly bumps, or if you want to tuck in your shirt. I am still eagerly awaiting the return of the more substantial trumpet skirt. In the vein of more substantial fabrics, Dancestore also had a fantastic new red wiggle dress (also not available on the website yet).

Next door, Laurie Gilkenson (also known as Nina‘s Mom), set up a table that was a mix of fabulous and/or quirky Nina clothing castoffs, fabulous vintage shoes, Mobtown Ballroom tee shirts, various DVDs from instructors, and anything else anyone else happened to want to sell. My favorite item on this table was actually the Mobtown Ballroom tee, which not only embodied the rebellious spirit of Mobtown, but also managed to be patriotic and historic – highly appropriate for an event in our nation’s capital!

Photograph of the Savoy Ballroom

Mike Thibault set up a display of his wonderful swing and early jazz prints from his Vintage Jazz Art website. I noticed a couple of new prints, including a colorful print a flapper with a trombonist and saxophonist and (most notably) another print of a photograph of the Savoy Ballroom featuring a mob of dancers and Erskine Hawkins on the band stand. Mike said that he was working with the photographer’s son and that this relationship may yield some more choice photographic prints! We’ll definitely stay tuned, especially if there is more Savoy Ballroom and trombone player goodness to be had.

Forties Forward was on hand to make sure the dancers were appropriately and florally decorated. I have several of their flowers and they are some of my favorites. These gals know that the blooms need to stay relatively flat to be practical for dancing and for this Lindy Shopper salutes you.

Last, but most certainly not least, the adorable and incomparable Dawn Hampton was intermittently manning her own table of CDs and DVDs of “The Unforgettable Hampton Family.” Sadly, I did not get photographic evidence of this!

And that’s a wrap on the vendors, but stay tuned for two more ILHC-related posts. I hope events will continue to have vendors and promote Lindy Hop commerce amongst businesses and the participants who need/want these unique products. ILHC, see you next year!

ILHC 2012

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Tomorrow I head north to Washington, D.C. for the 2012 International Lindy Hop Championships! Last year was my first year attending this event and it is truly like no other in terms of inspiration and sheer awe of what we can accomplish with this dance that we do. There will, of course, be vendors – I am certain that I will see Dancestore and My Heinies, perhaps others? There is also a new vintage store that opened this past year in Alexandria, Virginia called Amalgamated Classic Clothing and Dry Goods that I will definitely be checking out – I just hope they are open when I stop by! I tried to go to the store during DCLX, but I believe they had just opened and were not keeping regular hours. Wish me luck this time and I’ll hopefully return with a report.

Trashy Diva: Mad for Plaid

Pontchartrain Beach Set – giant pockets and flower buttons FTW

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I felt compelled to update you on the latest offerings from Trashy Diva, per my usual obsession, but also because my Scottish ancestry won’t let me ignore a good plaid dress. These plaids are bright and cheerful, in playful 1950′s silhouettes. I am particularly fond of the two piece beach set – if you are going to show your midriff, this is the way to do it, without the possibility of your underpants/thong creeping into the picture. Enjoy!

Annette Dress in red, black, and white plaid; also available in pink, purple and white plaid and in pink, white, and turquoise plaid.

Streetcar Dress in brown plaid – also available in the black, white, and red plaid.

Nofolk Jacket with Matching Knickers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This kind of thing shows up so rarely that I couldn’t resist posting this set of a Norfolk jacket with matching knickers – 2 pairs! If you happen to rip a hole in the seat of your pants doing something awesome on the dance floor, you’ll have a spare. The size of this is very small for men, a 35 chest for the jacket and a 28 inch waist on the knickers, but those are also pretty standard lady sizes, so this little suit gets filed under ladies and gents. Whoever wears this is going to look badass.

Lady Dandy: Etienne Aigner’s Kimber Oxford

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Veteran elegant-lady-shoe-and-handbag producer Etienne Aigner has a great women’s wingtip oxford out right now that they are calling Kimber (Jem and the Holograms?) – it’s a solid looking wingtip that comes in four color combinations: black, a reddish brown, two tone caramel and brown, and two tone olive green and dark brown. This is exactly the kind of shoe I would pick up if I actually wore pants on a regular basis. It also appears to have that half rubber, half fabric sole that the Payless shoes have, which means this shoe has a high dance potential. The price isn’t bad at $78.99, but if you register for Zulily, they are on special for $54.99 through August 18.

Asian Print and Peplum

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I am still on a peplum kick and fell in love with this 1940′s Asian novelty print dress with a lovely peplum. The combination of the cheerful color, the shape, that amazing cutout at the neckline, and this whimsical Asian print featuring little boats makes this dress. The only drawback is that this dress is from a NYC seller, which means it has a NYC price tag. Still…pretty fabulous. Perhaps a tongue-in-cheek wardrobe selection for the upcoming Eastern Balboa Championships?

This print is just adorable!