American Duchess “Claremont,” Reproduction 1930’s Oxford

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


I first heard of American Duchess from my fellow blogger Beth Grover at V is for Vintage – I was excited that another reproduction shoe company had come along to give us more options for dance shoes, even customizable options via dye/paint. American Duchess focuses on earlier eras of women’s footwear and, until now, their latest time period of footwear offered was the 1920’s.

The Claremont is American Duchess’s 1930’s oxford, done in classic fashion – not too fussy, with elegant details. Available in black and brown (for pre-order right now), suede with patent leather accents and a 2 3/8 inch heel. The pre-order price is $115, $20 less than what you will pay when they are in stock…or, you could win a pair for free in the giveaway they are having right now. :)

Military Uniform Shirt Stays

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

One of the most annoying things about wearing shirts tucked in while we dance is that they tend to come untucked while we dance (one of the main reasons you will see me in dresses v. pants/skirts). One solution is to wear things untucked, but not every shirt was meant to be worn untucked and sometimes we want to look a little more polished. Aside from tucking things into your underwear (which isn’t foolproof), what other options do we have to keep our shirts tucked in?

For example...

For example…

I was scanning my Facebook news feed a few weeks ago and noticed that Philadelphia dancer and instructor Sascha Newberg had posted about military shirt stays as a possible solution. If you are not familiar with stays, they are elastic bands that attach on one end to your shirt tail and on the other end to your pants. They serve the dual purpose of keeping your shirt tucked in and your socks pulled up. If you are going for military precision, some sloppy shirts and droopy socks aren’t going to cut it.

I remember seeing these for the first time when my friend Joanna went to the U.S. Naval Academy. I commented on how impeccable she looked in her white uniform, how everything was just so, and she pulled up her pants leg to show me the stays. She said they took a little getting used to, that certain “spring” in her step, but after a while they just became part of the uniform.

What say ye? Shall we add a spring to our Lindy Hop steps? In the name of keeping shirts tucked in!

A Beginner’s Guide to Swing Dance Wardrobe Basics

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I’ve written a guest post for Raleigh Vintage on what a brand new, never-been-to-a-swing-dance-before, dancer might want to know before heading to their first swing dance. I know there are tons of these, written for every swing dance society/group ever created, but I figured these things can’t be said enough – the more resources, the better.

Check out the post on the Raleigh Vintage blog.


Trumpet Skirts Triumphant! Meet [ From ] Chloe Hong

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

At love has come lonely days are over...and life is like a last!

At last…my love has come along…my lonely days are over…and life is like a song…at last!

After what seemed like an exercise in futility, my trumpet skirt crusade has returned a winner that I hope will take off like gangbusters. Like every good crusade there’s a story and mine begins with a Facebook message from Valerie Salstrom.

Val messaged me in May that she had a great lead on trumpet skirts in Korea, a tailor named Chloe Hong who had a shop called From. She raved about the quality and construction of the skirt and, knowing Val’s extensive knowledge of vintage clothing and construction, I started to get excited. “They have a little more weight and a little more “slip” to them. They move like a dream.” I was sold.

I messaged Chloe about the skirts and after some discussion of sizing I ordered one in brown and one in black. She was so helpful and gracious – she also made arrangements to have a Korean dancer, Jade, bring the skirts to ILHC for me so that I could save on shipping. It was well worth the wait and after I picked them up from Jade (thank you for transporting them!) I ran back up to my hotel room to try them on and twirl in front of the mirror.

Chloe Hong's store in Korea

Chloe Hong’s store in Korea

This is a superior skirt for several reasons:

– The fabric has this wonderful weight to it – it’s 100% polyester, but it almost feels like a soft faille, with the drape of a crepe silk.

– The fabric has a slight stretch, which helps with fit and movement.

– The waistband is substantial enough to stay put and not roll over.

– The cut is superb – flattering to the tummy, hips, and bum, it starts to go out from the waist from the waistband, rather than hugging the hips too tightly and then flaring out (which can create several fit issues and give the illusion of gut or hip bumps). It just lays so nicely!

Oh, the lovely drape!

Oh, the lovely drape!

– The skirt is lined in a way that creates a mini-slip at the top of the skirt, from the waist down to just below your bum. The lining also helps in terms of smoothing things out (like your top that’s tucked in or the elastic line from the top of your bloomers) and helps with the movement of the skirt, so that it doesn’t catch on whatever you have underneath the skirt. Because the lining/slip hits just below your bum, you still get all the benefit of showing off your legs during the twirl, without having to worry as much about what is covering your bum (or what may have shifted).

– Machine washable!

– Travels well – it came from Korea to ILHC to North Carolina, I hung it up for two days, then wore it to work without having to iron it.

The price is a mere $52 for what I would consider to be the best trumpet skirt I have put on my body. If Chloe does not carry your size, a custom skirt would cost $80, which is really not terrible considering the quality of these skirts. Colors available appear to be black, brown, steel gray, mauve, and red.

Giselle Anguizola in the shorter version of the "flare skirt"

Giselle Anguizola in the shorter version of the “flare skirt”

Chloe also has some other great skirts for dancing, including a shorter version of the trumpet skirt and a pencil skirt with a front slit that Laura Keat has been sporting (and rocking out with her dancing) for competitions. Chloe also does custom work, which Val has attested is simply beautiful.

Chloe’s website is set to launch very soon, so you may wait until that occurs, or you may want to go through the Facebook page for her shop, From. I was able to order by waist size – measurements and sizes are available on Facebook. Also, Valerie says that Chloe will be at All Balboa Weekend in 2014 and that she is bringing a bunch of ready made skirts with her from Korea! Looking forward the website launch and seeing more from Chloe Hong. :)


Raleigh Vintage *hearts* Lindy Shopper – 10% Off for Our Readers


This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

One of my lovely supporters, Raleigh Vintage, is offering 10% off to Lindy Shopper readers for the foreseeable future. I’ll keep the reminder in the side bar to the right, in case you forget. Enter the code LINDYSHOPPER at checkout. ;)

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. :)

1940’s Dress with Detachable Skirt

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


I couldn’t resist posting this 1940’s dress with detachable skirt because I think it’s such a clever design. It seems that any time buttons are involved the cuteness is magnified, and when you make a skirt detachable it appears to require a lot of buttons. The dots with the solid fabric is a great combo, and I love the contrast collar on the shirt as well as the inset panels on the skirt. Wear with skirt attached or pair with pants for a cute cropped top…maybe without skirt for prelims, with skirt for finals? That’s smart packing, too. :)

International Lindy Hop Championships 2013


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!


This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Margaret Dress

Margaret Dress

I was in Bygones in Richmond, Virginia a few weeks ago and noticed a label that I had never seen before on their reproduction dress rack, attached to a very attractive dark teal rayon print dress. I, of course, forgot to write it down, but Bygones was able to connect the dots for me about Petrunia via Facebook…

…and, upon further investigation, it appears that Petrunia has an entire line of dresses and coats, many in shapes and fabrics reminiscent of the decades when swing dancing was popular.

From the website: “As specialists in vintage apparel and textiles we know that the most-cherished pieces that are kept and worn for decades share the traits of extraordinary quality and a style that serves the wearer as well as the latest trends. Certain pieces are so feminine and flattering that they are truly transformative, making the wearer look and feel her best. With this in mind we have recreated the fabrics and the fit and feel of some of the best coat and dress designs from the 1930s to the 1960s, and we have added modern fabric and design innovations.”

This is all very reassuring, inspiring confidence in a Petrunia purchase that it would have those qualities of vintage clothing. Regretfully, I didn’t purchase that dress at Bygones, but the fabric did feel like a dreamy cool rayon and the construction details were lovely.

It looks like there are only limited quantities of certain garments available for purchase directly through them, but there is an extensive list of retail locations around the United States where you can purchase Petrunia garments. Hopefully, this will change and you’ll be able to purchase everything online, but I don’t see any news to that effect, so we shall have to be patient.

(Edited to add that the owners of Petrunia contacted me to let me know they just launched an online store at

Here’s what I’m loving from Petrunia:

Grace Dress

Grace Dress

Embroidered Linen Dress

Embroidered Linen Dress

40's dress in aqua and green

40’s dress in aqua and green

Margaret dress in scallop print

Margaret dress in scallop print

Vintage Brooks Brothers Linen Suit

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s never too late in the season to pick up a proper summer suit and this vintage Brooks Brothers linen suit is no exception (ignore the ill fit on the model, poor guy) – the seller is dating this as 1920’s or 1930’s, but, regardless of decade, this is a quality suit. Looks to be around a 42/44 jacket with a 36 inch waist and a 30.5 inch inseam with a solid 2 inches to let out. SOLID.

If only they had just left that button unbuttoned...

If only they had just left that button unbuttoned…

Bonus: buttons for braces

Bonus: buttons for braces

Swing Dance Event Clothing Survival Kit

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

And we can dress real neat from our hats to our feet - and surprise 'em with the victory cry...

And we can dress real neat from our hats to our feet – and surprise ’em with the victory cry…

As we travel to events in different cities and dance the night away, sometimes our wardrobe fails us. Sometimes we don’t have backup clothing when our wardrobe fails us because we’ve sweated through all of our clean clothing or something else more catastrophic happens. If you’ve got the right things in your suitcase or dance bag, you may be able to make a quick repair or have a quick solution to keep yourself together and out on the dance floor for a few more dances. Here’s what I like to have in my bag:


They are so essential I carry them around on my keychain. They can do just about anything – mend a seam, hem pants, keep a neckline in place, pin a stray bra strap, or even hold a tie in place. Start keeping the ones they give you to pin your number on in competitions, just put them on your keychain or in your dance bag until you need them. ;)


Also known as “fashion tape,” this stuff is great for many of the things safety pins can do, only with more finesse. If you don’t sweat too much when you dance, you can use it to secure fabrics to your skin to prevent them from moving, and it is also great for fabric on fabric dilemmas at dance events. I’ve used it to secure larger collars or other loose clothing appendages, hem pants, make bows perkier, and to secure gaps when I wear button-down shirts.


Yes, I know, this is obvious – but it does come in handy.


Easy as one, two, three!

Easy as one, two, three!

I am a messy eater and I will inevitably spill something on myself during a meal. If you are like me, you dress up to go out to dinner with friends before the big Saturday night dance at an event and, in your finery, something saucy falls in your lap and you run to the bathroom to try to blot it out before it sets in. In times like this, it’s a good idea to have something on hand to eliminate the stain, like Tide To Go, so that you can go on to the dance without having to change clothes or wear something with your dinner on it.


If you happen to be attending a longer dance event and/or have very little luggage space, you may want to consider doing laundry while you are gone and wearing some things twice. I’m thinking about those of you who make multiple shirt changes each night – who wants to sacrifice luggage space to pack all the tee shirts you actually need for a week-long dance event? If your housing situation does not have laundry facilities, you can always wash your clothing in the sink – Tide also makes travel sink packets with detergent for washing your clothes in the sink.


Inevitably, at some point in your dance lifetime, you will be in the middle of an event and the suede on your shoes will start to come off, or maybe even the entire sole. If isn’t there vending and you didn’t bring backup, you could be in trouble. Have some sort of adhesive handy in your luggage – people have differing opinions about what works best, but barge cement and contact cement seem to be the most popular.

Cream Leluxe Dress on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Obviously, the dress on the left. ;)

Obviously, the dress on the left. ;)

Your deal of the week is this cream Leluxe Clothing beaded dress on eBay, worn once by a bride to her engagement party, and is now selling dress plus slip with a starting bid of $119.00. A new dress from Leluxe Clothing will set you back $300-400 and then the matching under slip is another $50. If you are planning for a Gatsby themed dance/party, a wedding, or your New Year’s Eve ensemble, this would be a great option!

The other wonderful thing about these dresses is that they tend to fit a range of sizes because they are made of mesh. I’m trying to place the style, but it’s not matching up with any dresses on the Leluxe website – I’d probably use “The Charleston” dress as a frame of reference for sizing.

Lindy Hop on

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This is the largest print, 48 X 72 inches - yeah!

This is the largest print, 48 X 72 inches – focal point!

I’ve been helping Jason Sager pick out items* for his new studio space for The Lindy Lab and one of the decorative items is artwork for the walls. Studios tend to have large expanses of wall, so the question becomes how does one fill up that space in an interesting and inspiring way?

With Lindy Hop photography prints, of course. A search for “Lindy Hop” on takes you to a selection of photographs from the August 23, 1943 LIFE Magazine spread featuring Leon James, Willa Mae Ricker, Kaye Popp, and Stanley Catron. If you’re in the market for wall art, these are some great, classic Lindy Hop prints!

*New items also include this bad ass Art Deco bar that’s going to be the DJ booth – oh, yes!

This one seems like it would be a good fit for a studio - progression of movement ;)

This one seems like it would be a good fit for a studio – progression of movement ;)

It’s Not You, It’s Them – Fit and Modern Clothing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Modern button down shirts are the worst - why is it so hard to put the buttons in the right place?

Modern button down shirts are the worst – why is it so hard to put the buttons in the right place?

One of the things I notice when I talk about clothing with other people is that people are quick to point out their “faults” – and by “faults” I mean differences in their body that tend to not conform to the modern clothing standards we encounter when we go to the mall to buy clothing. If we are all different, then how is that being translated into “fault?”

I could turn this into a rant about the media, fashion designers, body perception, the modern standard for beauty, etc. but I’m not going to waste my breath. I’m one of those crazy people who doesn’t watch TV anymore and, as I have slowly withdrawn myself from the clutches of the mall (not entirely, but significantly) and increasingly embraced vintage and custom clothing, I am less and less bothered by all of my personal clothing fit “faults” because they don’t exist anymore in my mind. I have almost eliminated the problem (underwear, you’re next) and I have, at the same time, changed my perception of my own body and learned to spend my resources on clothing that fits and is flattering, rather than trying to “make do” with something off the rack.

I’d like to share some thoughts on this topic, which is how I came to an understanding with my body about how, where, and why we buy clothing that makes us feel the best about ourselves:


That clothing is, sometimes, labeled “one size fits all” is absurd – to think that we are all just clones of each other running around wearing all the same size everything is the product of people pandering to the masses, to the people they think will buy the clothing, which is to say not the “average” size, but rather their ideal of the average size. This bothers me particularly with hats, something that should be indisputably a certain circumference so that it stays on your head.

Even where there are sizes, with modern sizing, there are no standard sizes – this is why you may wear an 8 in one store’s pants and a 12 in another store. My husband has the same issue, even though men’s sizing is supposedly based on a man’s actual measurements.

Within whatever arbitrary sizing scheme some manufacturer has procured, there is just no way to take into account all the variances in body proportions within the human population. Think about all the ways that you can measure your body – the circumference of your bust, waist, hip, thigh, upper arm, wrist, neck, head, and ribcage; the length of your arm (depending on sleeve length, to elbow, bracelet, wrist), leg (inseam, outseam, from waist over your bum to the floor, waist in front to floor), and foot (length and width at several points); and my personal favorite, the measurement that runs from the center/front of your waist, down and between your legs, running to the center of your back at your waist. And there are more. We are all so subtly and not-so-subtly different that the only way to really find clothing that fits is to have it made for you.


Every visit to the mall to buy clothing is a crapshoot – nothing is made for anyone except the fit models the clothing companies use to make their clothing, so unless you are within that sizing range or are wearing a sack (which is what a lot of modern clothing has defaulted to – loose shapes and copious use of elastic only previously seen in the “senior” clothing sections of department stores) it may not work out or fit you in just the right way. This is not your fault, this is beyond your control, and has nothing to do with any part of you being wrong in any conceivable way.

I find that it’s easier, in some ways, to buy vintage clothing – there aren’t racks of different sizes, there’s one size. If the measurements don’t fall within a few inches of mine, then it wasn’t meant to be and I move on.


In high school, I remember reading articles in Seventeen magazine about dressing for your body shape. To a certain extent it was helpful, but it tended to focus on one body feature (big or small bust, big or small hips, height, etc.) What if I have 3 of the body features and the recommendations contradict each other? Into the trash it went, and then I felt like poop about myself.

It took a lot of trial and error, but I have come to the conclusion that no shape should be ruled out; however, there are certain shapes that are more flattering to your particular shape and you must go find them, you can’t rely on a magazine to do this for you. Suggestions about where to begin are nice, but you have to try on the pieces and, even when it looks like it might be a good fit for your shape on the rack, those size ratios could be working against you – is the waist too big/small, but it fits everywhere else? Is the garment supposed to fit that way? Can you have it tailored? These are all questions I ask myself when trying on clothing. If it’s not right or it doesn’t look like it can be altered, back it goes.

One shape that tends to be my arch nemesis in modern clothing is the pencil skirt. I can fit into 1950’s pencil skirts all day, but I have yet to try on a modern pencil skirt that didn’t look like a wiggle skirt on me, seriously inhibiting movement, even when going up in size. It should look like a pencil on my body, not on the rack…but I digress.


With the advent of stretch fabrics, you think we’d be able to find super comfy, flattering, form-fitting clothing even easier. It can be an illusion, unless the cut of the garment is just right for your body or it’s tailored well (which is rare with stretch fabrics). This does not often occur for me because my measurements ratio rarely conforms with the garment, leaving at least one portion of the garment too…stretched. So I must buy the larger size and have it tailored, even though there is “stretch.” I think of the stretchiness as a consideration for movement, not for fit. Clothing manufacturers use stretch fabric as a crutch and consistently serve up poorly made, ill-fitting garments.



This is where modern clothing really does us a disservice, with its surged seams. Many older garments have more fabric on the inside of the seams, so if you just needed an extra 1/2 inch to make that pencil skirt fit, you could get that from the fabric on the inside of the seam. We must now adhere to the “buy it bigger and tailor it to be smaller” mantra (bridesmaid dresses, anyone?), which is generally fine, but sometimes we might gain a little weight in our late 20’s and a 1/2 inch would be the difference between keeping that dress and a tearful goodbye…

IT’S THEM. Cost cutting, down to the last 1/2 inch of seam.


Or have it made for you. Or make it yourself. Regardless, there are ways to make a garment fit your body and it involves a needle and thread. If you really love a particular garment, but it’s just not fitting you right…maybe you stand in front of the mirror in the dressing room and pinch it in the back to see how it should ideally fit. You can translate that pinch into a permanent fit adjustment by taking it to a tailor. If I know a dress has to be tailored to fit, I will factor that cost into my cost assessment of whether or not to purchase a garment.

I have revived sad garments from the closet, things that just never quite looked right, by bringing them to a tailor. The best part is that it’s usually a simple fix. Then you have clothing that fits you, flatters you, and you have worked within the confines of the fashion dictators who have decreed the standard sizing – you have defeated the sizing by making it your own!


I’m going to close with an observation I made during the numerous clothing swaps we’ve had amongst the female dancers in the Raleigh-Durham area. After the shopping bags have been dumped out all over the furniture and the floor and we all begin to dig in and try on clothing, I noticed several things:

1) We are all very different – height, weight, measurement ratios, body types, etc.

2) Some garments that came from someone you thought you’d never be able to share clothing with, for whatever reason, actually fit you well

3) Some garments fit everyone (but didn’t look great on everyone)

4) Some garments weren’t flattering on anyone

Noticing these things and talking about them was reassuring, that we had all come to blows with our clothing at some point, all had garments we loved that were just never quite right, and this was our chance to let go, have a glass of wine, and share in an experience of renewal through shedding our old clothing and adopting something new. At the end of the swap we’d all walk out with a least a few items of clothing and the feeling that we were empowered by the experience – I left with free clothing from my sisters-in-dance and a feeling that we were all different in good ways, ways that weren’t dictated by the shape of our clothing.

Summer Deals: Men’s and Women’s Aris Allens on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I haven’t done a post about Aris Allens on eBay in a while, but if you aren’t doing regular searches for these shoes, then here are some great deals for some used, some barely worn, dance shoes on eBay:

Red wedges, size 6, starting bid $10 - the listing says “used only once as I have no sense of rhythm” - my heart goes out to her!

Red wedges, size 6, starting bid $10 – the listing says “used only once as I have no sense of rhythm” – my heart goes out to her!

Brown and white wingtip oxfords, size 10.5, starting bid $40

Brown and white wingtip oxfords, size 10.5, starting bid $40

White mesh oxford heels, size 9.5, starting bed $19.99

White mesh oxford heels, size 9.5, starting bed $19.99

Black and white wingtip oxfords, size 10, starting bid $29

Black and white wingtip oxfords, size 10, starting bid $29

Herringbone Mary Jane wedges, size 9.5, starting bid $5

Herringbone Mary Jane wedges, size 9.5, starting bid $5