Shabby Apple Ferris Wheel Collection

Green gingham!  Eeeeeee!

Green gingham! Eeeeeee!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Like a breath of fresh spring air, the Shabby Apple Ferris Wheel Collection arrived in my inbox yesterday – the collection features some great 1950’s-inspired silhouettes in cotton candy colors, perfect for those looking for an early spring. I am particularly pleased that Shabby Apple selected some really great prints for this collection, as they tend to lean more toward solids. I also love that their full skirt comes in so many colors and prints. As always, Shabby Apple’s dresses are great for dance or work, so we can get maximum mileage with our purchase. Here are my favorites from the collection:

Lovely shaped dress in blue with a floral print

Lovely shaped dress in blue with a floral print

Fruity print!

Fruity print!

A sassy look with a Peter Pan collar

A sassy look with a Peter Pan collar

I am usually not a fan of ruffles on the bottom, but the placement of this ruffle has the potential to create a really flattering silhouette

Dots! I am usually not a fan of ruffles on the bottom, but the placement of this ruffle has the potential to create a really flattering silhouette

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On Having a Reasonable Discussion in the Lindy Hop Community

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

In light of a post I wrote on dressing appropriately for dances and the subsequent response (and many other responses) it garnered, I am shedding my Lindy Shopper hat for a post to address you all as a person. I would like to accomplish two things: 1) clarify some misconceptions about the post I wrote that have been taken to places I never even fathomed and 2) talk about how we can accomplish constructive criticism and incite meaningful, respectful discussion about topics within the community that we may agree, disagree, or agree to disagree on.

My intent with the Assaulted by Breasts post was to posit that you should dress appropriately for the athleticism of Lindy Hop, with considerations of mutual respect for those around you. I still agree with everything that I wrote, but I also agree with the feedback I have received that I should have tempered my hyperbole with more constructive how-to advice and delved more into considerations of mutual respect and boundaries.

Part of my hyperbole was in the use of the word “assault” in the title. For those of you who do not know me personally, I am an attorney by trade. If you know any attorneys personally, you probably know that their definitions, ultimate understanding, and frequency of using certain words is different from non-attorneys. When the topic addressed in my post came up in a discussion amongst friends at Lindy Focus, someone noted that in a comment on Dance World Takeover a male dancer had used the phrase “assaulted by breasts” to describe his discomfort in a particular situation. I began thinking about what I knew about assault after attending law school and practicing law and how that might relate to an incident where someone is on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction.

Assault, by definition (from the Barron’s Law Dictionary in my office – it was cheaper than Black’s), is “an attempt or threat, with unlawful force, to inflict bodily injury upon another, accompanied by the apparent present ability to give effect to the attempt if not prevented. Threat, coupled with a present ability, may be an assault. As a tort, an assault may be found where no actual intent to make one exists if the actor places the victim in reasonable fear. Because an assault need not result in a physical touching so as to constitute a battery, no physical injury need be proved to establish an assault.”

I’ll stop there, because there are many more considerations and variables that can come into play with assault, but I’m going to move on and address my rationale. You are given this basic definition, which, in turn, has been muddied, stretched, and pushed to within an inch of its meaning in order for lawyers to create arguments that will either meet the elements of the tort in order to obtain a conviction or judgment or argue a case that will absolve their client of liability. In my torts class in law school we read a case that I, in vain, have tried to locate (it must have been a handout, long gone, instead of in my textbook), but what I remember from the case is that the Plaintiff was a bystander/witness to a pretty gruesome automobile accident. If I remember correctly, his/her claim was that, by witnessing the automobile accident, this constituted assault and the Defendant should pay for their mental anguish.

I could see, in hyperbole land, how I could liken the assault contemplated by the Plaintiff in this case to a bystander’s apprehension and/or witnessing of subsequent wardrobe malfunction. To clarify, I in no way think that this is a real tort or that this argument would hold water in a court of law.

Subsequently, I see that my use of the word assault was extrapolated to mean sexual assault, which was not my intent, but a leap that people made in reading my post, perhaps based on addressing issues of leads being uncomfortable asking a potential wardrobe malfunction to dance. This then lead to outrage, and, ultimately, to the use of the phrase “slut shaming.”

I was not familiar with the phrase “slut shaming” prior to reading the comments I received on my blog post. In Christina Austin’s response to my post, she links to the Wikipedia article on “slut shaming,” which is defined as “the act of making someone, usually a woman, feel guilty or inferior, for engaging in certain sexual behaviors that violate traditional gender expectations. These include, depending on culture, having a large number of sex partners, having sexual relations outside marriage, having casual sexual relations, or acting or dressing in a way that is deemed excessively sexual. This is often done by name calling (often using the word “slut” itself) as well as covert shaming.” The article goes on to cite “an incident where a Toronto Police officer told a group of students that they could avoid sexual assault by not dressing like ‘sluts.'”

This kind of phenomenon pervades in our society and it is one of the most terrible atrocities of perception that we live with in our society. As someone who is, first and foremost, a woman who is both educated and liberal, and secondarily, a lawyer who has studied a body of rape case law spanning the past two centuries and who represents women who are victims of domestic violence, I understand, fully, the implications of this phrase, from a social, psychological, and legal standpoint. As a person, I have been assaulted, battered, and almost kidnapped by a man I did not know. If you would like to know more about my views and experiences, I would be happy to elaborate in a less public forum, but my point is that I disagree with “slut shaming” and everything that it stands for (and stands against) as to women.

When I started to get feedback on my post relating to “slut shaming,” initially from the amazing Sam Carroll (aka Dogpossum) who I admire and respect for her activities online and in her dance community, I had immediate anxiety about how the meaning of my post could be misconstrued. Could I/should I fix it? I reread my post again, and, in light of my personal background and experiences, I thought it was still OK and hoped that others would pick up on the hyperbole and know that I was not capable of having such a negative viewpoint of women. I have not met Sam in person, so it was entirely possible something was lost in translation.

I see now that a lot has been lost in translation and I have learned my lesson about the use of hyperbole. That said, I believe that tossing around accusations of “slut shaming” is a very serious matter having very public and serious implications online. Before taking something to that level of seriousness, I would want to be sure that I was clear about someone’s viewpoint before I labeled them with principles or values that they do not identify with or claim as their own.

Which leads into my second point – how to have a reasonable, constructive conversation or debate in the Lindy Hop community. Some might argue that this would be an impossibility, like having a reasonable debate in our U.S. Congress, but I have faith that we, as Lindy Hoppers, can maintain an environment of mutual respect and respectful dissent. We have this joyful dance in our lives, surely all is not in vain!

How can we have more constructive discussions?

Let’s say you’ve read something that makes you pause. Angry, even. You’ve read something that is so fundamentally against who you are as a person that you are personally offended and must take a stand. Now, take a minute to think.

1. Re-read the post.

I always go back and re-read the post I have just read. Read it three times. Read it until things don’t pop out as new to you. Every time I pause and go back and re-read a post, I find more intent, I find things that clarify, and I find more useful information to help me formulate an opinion and, in some cases, a response.

In this case, I am amazed at the number of people who have responded in a way that indicates they read my post to mean “no cleavage,” when I clearly state at the end of the fourth paragraph, “I am all for cleavage, but proportion, fit, and security are certainly factors to consider.” But I digress.

2. Think about all sides of the issue.

Take 5 minutes this time. Take a day. Take however much time you think you need to think about where this blogger is coming from and how they might have crafted this viewpoint based on their surroundings, their upbringing, their personal experience. We are all unique and our collective experiences have made us who we are and formed our opinions. You may not have experienced the same things as another person, or experienced them in the same way. It’s important to take the time to know where someone is coming from and understand their reasoning behind an idea, even if you disagree with that idea.

3. Don’t jump to conclusions.

If they said X, then they must believe Y! Go back and think about all the sides of an issue – if you can’t think of any other possible explanation for X other than Y, then it’s probably time to seek clarification and confirm that they do, indeed, believe Y. Regardless, it’s good to have clarification, rather than base your opinions or your writings on speculation.

4. Ask questions.

If you are unsure of a person’s position on a certain issue or find yourself jumping to conclusions, it’s a good idea to ask questions. If comments are open, you will most likely garner a response from the author and may further the discussion in a constructive manner, so that we are all clear on a certain issue. You may also further the discussion amongst other people commenting, who may chime in with their own opinion on that particular issue.

5. Be respectful.

There is a way to set forth your opinion on a topic in a manner that is respectful. I will often reword a sentence in a comment or a post several times before I publish it to make sure that it conveys my meaning and intent in an optimal way, especially if it is a topic on which I disagree. Resorting to name-calling, labeling, or strong language is disrespectful, doesn’t convey your ideas, ultimately detracts from your message, puts people on the defensive, and also detracts from the poster’s original message.

6. Reference the post.

I find that if I am crafting a response longer than a sentence, I will go back to the original text and compare it to the single idea or thought I just crafted, just to make sure that I am addressing the topic or issue I want to address and to make sure that I have crafted a relevant response.

If you find that, after all these things, you are still so angry about a particular post or article, keep in mind that you can be the bigger person. Your viewpoint is important, but, unless you can engage people in ways that will make them think rather than react, then your communications may not be as effective as you would like for them to be.

I think an effective response to my post was written by Aries Reyes, who I met at Lindy Focus this past year. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Aries, but what time I did spend with her I gathered that she was a liberated, kind, engaging, and thoughtful dancer. Her response reaffirms my positive perception of her and, though she disagrees with me, she sets forth her position in a manner that is respectful, engaging, and informative.

I would like to further the discussion of how we can have reasonable discussions within our community. I’ve outlined a few points above, but I’m sure there are tips I haven’t addressed that would be relevant and constructive. I hope that, in the future, we can all continue to engage in new ways online and show the world (since everything we post is public) that the Lindy Hop community is as welcoming and wonderful as I know it to be in person.

EDITED: To add that this post is, in no way, meant to attack Christina or call her personally unreasonable, childish, or disrespectful. There have been a couple of questions about this and I wanted to clarify. I have mentioned her in this post because she has been one of the driving forces behind furthering this discussion. This is an important discussion to have in our community and addresses issues that go beyond our little dance bubble. I’ll also add that intent is not magical and it is entirely reasonable that the words I used in my Assaulted by Breasts post were read to contain problematic messages. If any of you were hurt, offended, or angered, I apologize for using those words in a way that hurt, offended, or angered you. The pen is, indeed, mightier than the sword and I will, in the future, wield my pen with more consideration and responsibility.

Also, if I haven’t moderated or responded to your comment, please be patient as I have been bombarded with comments and communications about all of this.

EDITED: To add that Christina and I have had reasonable discussion about this and she has posted a follow-up: http://clausti.blogspot.com/2013/02/on-having-adult-discussion-in-lindy-hop.html. Sometimes things are better stated in private conversation and I’m happy that we have been able to effectively communicate our ideas.

EDITED: To add that Dogpossum has a timeline with links to relevant posts about this discussion, if you’d like to catch up on the background and full discussion as of February 8, 2013.

Floweruary 2013

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Oh, Billie, thy gardenias are plentiful!

Oh, Billie, thy gardenias are plentiful!

It’s that time of year again, where the ladies and gents of the swing world don lovely blooms in the midst of winter in celebration of Floweruary. This the third annual Floweruary and I am looking forward to seeing more creative wearing o’ the blooms, as the OcTieBer participants had some particularly creative uses of neckwear for 2012, raising the bar for sartorial challenges.

What is Floweruary? A sartorial challenge for the month of February, whereby you wear a flower (real or artificial) somewhere on your person every day for the entire month. Hair flowers made up the initial blooms, but since then people have come up with other creative ways to incorporate flowers into their ensembles.

So how can you celebrate Floweruary with others this year? There are several options:

1) The initial Tumblr group, established by the Philly dancers, is still going strong – check it out and participate by uploading photographs of you wearing your daily blooms at http://floweruary.tumblr.com/

2) For the past couple of years, this event has been initiated by a Facebook invite, but it looks like a local Facebook group is a presence this year. The group is sponsored by the Cookeville Swing Society in Cookeville, Tennessee, whose organizers have decided to donate $0.10 to a charity every time one of the Cookeville dancers (or anyone who has ever danced in Cookeville) posts a photo of themselves participating in the Floweruary challenge and tags local dancer Kyla Anderson. In addition, the proceeds of all sales of flowers and clips at CSS events will go to charity. Last year Cookeville raised money for The Lindy Hopper’s Fund of America and this year’s charity is the Kickstarter campaign for BLIP: Bringing Swing to Panama City and the Disabled.

3) Set up an Etsy Treasury of your favorite handmade blooms.

4) Check out Jo Hoffberg’s A Month of Hair – a hairstyle a day, coinciding with Floweruary 2011.

5) Can’t afford more flowers? Make your own with help from Jesse Hanus’ blog post Hair Flower Tutorials, with advice and links to tutorials on how to make your own flowers for Floweruary.

In a new turn of events, it looks like Floweruary has some haters, but there’s nothing redeeming about a blog that serves the purpose of relaying apathy and negativity. Clearly, we all have better things to do.

Floweruary is a celebration of joy, beauty, and charity, and we’ll keep that in mind all month long. Happy Floweruary! Let the blooming commence!

Dance-Proof Red Lips by Kat Von D

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I know several people who collect red lipstick for the lovely vintage look it gives them – there are so many reds to have, but not all lipsticks are created equal. The worst part about wearing most lipsticks is that they eventually wear off, leaving you looking thin-lipped, which defeats the entire purpose of wearing it in the first place. A night of dancing can wreak havoc on red lips. I have been looking for a budge-proof lip product and, after a semi-diligent search, I have the answer.

Kat Von D seems like the perfect spokesperson for a lip product that’s both glamorous and tough-as-nails. I was in Sephora on a whim and my friend Ellen Tucker, who works there, asked, “Is there anything you need?” I once swore by an Aveda lip pencil as a red lip foundation, but after it was discontinued I had no choice but to seek other products. I explained the red lip pencil/base search and she brought me over to the Kat Von D cosmetics, pulling out a really vibrant red and black tube of Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw (brick red). I was skeptical at first because liquid cosmetics can be difficult, but after a demonstration of it’s inability to be removed from her skin without a scrubbing, I was convinced…

…and I haven’t gone back! I am frequently asked how I manage to keep my lipstick on after dancing, meals, and gigs – this is the answer. It’s a bright red, but can be tempered by layering with other lipsticks. It is also matte, which gives it more of a vintage look.

It is slightly difficult to apply the first few times, but then you start to develop a technique and you understand that your fear of its electric red-ness will subside after the color sets in and it darkens a bit. I found it easiest to apply to either the middle of the upper or lower lip, then press lips together to spread the color, then do the outline of your lip. Also, check your teeth before you leave the mirror and give them a once-over with your tongue, or you’ll look like you had a vampire meal after application. Remove at the end of the night with a makeup remover – you may have to go over it twice to get all the color off.

I am hopeful that this line of cosmetics stays around for a while and, of course, I’d love to see some more color variations on red.

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

Remix Sale! More Things!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s been a while since I posted some Re-Mix love, so here’s a promo for their most recent sale, featuring the It Girl, the Greta wedge, and all colors of the gorgeous Emily shoe! If you aren’t on the Re-Mix emailing list, I’d highly recommend it for just such occasions. Now, which color of the Emily to get…

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Corn Applique Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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That’s right, I said corn – I found this great 1940’s sequin applique dress, but instead of the typical bows or flowers, this one features what could either be corn or yellow grapes. For our purposes, I’m going with corn and this is the sparkly equivalent of a novelty print. If I were heading to the Hawkeye Swing Festival or the Heartland Swing Festival, I would pick this up in a second. Adorable!

Assaulted by Breasts

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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As the trombone player stared into the distance, waiting for the next set to begin on New Year’s Eve at Lindy Focus XI, the trumpet player next to him prodded “Are you looking at what I’m looking at?” The trombone player followed the trumpet player’s gaze to the row of dancers lining the front of the stage and saw a girl who had come out of her dress on the top, exposing most or all of a breast.

While some guys would be delighted at this sight, and agree that this is awesome, in actuality it becomes an issue because something very private has become very public. And when something very private has a very public reaction that could be detected, that brings out even more issues. Yes, guys, I know you want to see attractive women at dances; however, the consensus has generally been that most guys don’t want to be a horn dog at dances, distracted by so much cleavage or full boobage that it becomes ogling and/or pushes them into creepy territory. Generally, guys who want to respect boundaries are going to be uncomfortable being pulled between instinct and decorum and are probably just less likely to dance with a potential wardrobe malfunction.

When the girls are in full display, or perhaps spilling out of one’s top or dress, the movement of Lindy Hop could turn pulse into a full trampoline bounce. I have seen this and been intimidated by watching someone dance like this. It is at that point that the dance becomes something else entirely for those within view – bystanders find themselves watching a car falling off the precipice of a cliff rather than watching an enjoyable aesthetic. It’s the apprehension that makes it so distracting for me – consider that the scope of the apprehension can go further than your dance partner.

For Lindy Focus, this was probably more of an issue on New Year’s Eve (as retailers notoriously only offer sparkle in cleavage-friendly shapes), but I did notice other things throughout the event, like sheer shirts over darkly contrasting bras (camisole, anyone?) and ill-fitting strapless dresses that looked as though the top were Hoover Dam about to burst from a flood of chest. Much of this goes back to buying clothes that fit you well (but not tightly – there is a distinction), but also shapes and necklines that are complimentary to your shape. If you have a smaller chest, you can get away with showing more skin – this is an inversely proportional relationship. Likewise, the larger your chest is, the less skin you can get away with showing, because there is more of it. I am all for cleavage, but proportion, fit, and security are certainly factors to consider.

Another consideration, for the burgeoning nudists among us, were the children present at Lindy Focus. I almost tripped over sleeping children near the stage on a couple of nights, but there were also children running around at the main dances. Let’s try not to scar these kids for life.

The trombone player in the story is my husband and I really don’t want to come home and hear stories like this. Thus, when you are dressing yourself for an event, consider the fit of your clothing, the risk of certain necklines, the athleticism of swing dancing in general, and the proportionate amount of cleavage that will be attractive without becoming a nuisance to you or to others.

EDITED: To add that this post has sparked an extensive discussion in our online Lindy Hop community – Dogpossum sets forth a timeline of the discussion (relevant blog responses and social media) mid-way through her blog post, if you’d like to follow and/or join the ensuing discussion as of February 8, 2013.

Brown and White Aris Allen Wingtips on eBay, Size 12

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Because men’s dance shoes so rarely appear on eBay, I’m passing along this gently used pair of men’s brown and white Aris Allen wingtips, size 12. Starting bid is $25, but you could buy them now for $32 (plus a very reasonable $4.50 shipping).

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Lindy Focus 2012 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Wide view of the Lindy Focus consignment shop

Wide view of the Lindy Focus consignment shop

This was a bit of an interesting year for vendors at Lindy Focus, in that few of the usual suspects were present, so the vending was made up mostly of DIY lindy hoppers, including endeavors by Lindy Focus itself. Lindy Focus offered a consignment shop for those who had danceable clothes and shoes to get rid of and for those who needed/wanted such items. I did pretty well in the selling department, so some of you may have left Lindy Focus with a Lindy Shopper vintage garment. :)

Noticeably absent was Dancestore and their signature Aris Allen shoes, a serious business faux pas, in my opinion – 900+ attendees, many of which (including me) were looking to buy or replace dance shoes. To make up for the lack of being able to replace dancers’ worn out shoes, Lindy Focus offered a shoe sueding and repair service.

One of Sharon's creations

One of Sharon’s creations

Marathon dance event vendor Sharon Crawford of Creations by Crawford was on hand creating custom hair pieces, boutonnieres, and other elegant accoutrement for ladies and gents at her table, positioned next to the ballroom off the registration lobby. Sharon’s table was always open and always had a bevy of guests – from hairdressers to nappers to chatters, all were welcome to hang out. I don’t know how she got any work done, but I’d wager to say she’s the longest working vendor at Lindy Focus (as evidenced by the sunrise/survivors photo on the last day, she was probably working the whole time).

Forties Forward - love these gals!

Forties Forward – love these gals!

Forties Forward, one of my favorite hair flower vendors, was right across the hallway from Sharon, making sure that the ladies of Lindy Focus had all the hair flowers they needed. With the customary gussying up for New Year’s Eve, I’m sure they did well. Added inventory this year: false eyelashes. Va-va-voom!

Also a regular, Mike Thibault’s jazz and lindy hop prints are always a welcome sight. I love his selection, especially the new-ish one of the interior of the Savoy ballroom packed to the gills with dancers. If you haven’t seen what he has, definitely check out his website – Vintage Jazz Art – and pick up something inspiring to put on your wall.

Next to Mike’s table was a curious little table of notecards with photograph images of dancers with a sign saying “Dance Cards by DJ Stone.” Perhaps a few campers picked one up to send a note saying “Wish you were here?”

The designer and her models - photograph courtesy of Jessica Keener Photography

The designer and her models – photograph courtesy of Jessica Keener Photography

Finally, New York designer Nicole Lenzen not only had a lovely rack of dresses at her vendor table, she debuted her first collection of dresses and rompers for dancers at Lindy Focus in a glorious fashion show during one of the camp meetings, featuring some of your favorite female instructors as models for her designs. The collection was movement-conscious, high in twirl factor, and rich in textiles. The designer loves to work with fine fabrics, produced ethically and created into garments in New York’s garment district. Nicole hopes to have her website ready to take orders soon – she does custom garments as well as those featured in her collection. Nicole is a delight and I look forward to seeing her business grow and flourish. Check out the fashion show in the video below for a full view of the collection and also Jessica Keener’s lovely photographs.

I think a fashion show and debut collection must be a swing dance event first, if not a Lindy Focus first, no? Clearly we are heading in the right direction.

I’ll close by saying I really enjoyed being on a panel discussing blogging and social media with Rebecca Brightly, Michael Seguin, and Jerry Almonte. Everyone had thoughtful commentary and different insights based on our different experiences. Special thanks to Abigail Browning for inviting us to participate and giving us questions so that we actually had something to say. :)

Mike Thibault's wonderful Vintage Jazz Art prints

Mike Thibault’s wonderful Vintage Jazz Art prints

Dance cards by DJ Stone

Dance cards by DJ Stone

I couldn't resist posting the beading detail from one of Nicole's dresses.  You should go look at the fashion show, but you won't be able to see all the wonderful details in her dresses!

I couldn’t resist posting the beading detail from one of Nicole’s dresses. You should go look at the fashion show, but you won’t be able to see all the wonderful details in her dresses!

Lindy Shopper at Lindy Focus

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I am eagerly anticipating my departure to Lindy Focus XI, not only for the shopping opportunities this year, but also for my appearance as a panelist in one of the Lindy Focus Field Day discussions! Come to the Overlook ballroom at 1:00 p.m. on December 30 for a discussion on “Scene Building in the Age of New Media” with me, Rebecca Brightly of Dance World Takeover, Jerry Almonte of Wandering and Pondering, and others!

In addition to vendors and merch, Lindy Focus boasts a consignment shop where you can bring your gently used clothing and shoes (up to 10 items) to sell in their shop to make a little extra cash for yourself (to do more shopping with, of course!). There’s also a shoe shop where they are offering a sole sueding service – $15 per pair for high quality suede and professional strength cobblers adhesive. They will also have many pairs of vintage and dance shoes for sale at the shoe shop. So many things!

Finally, Lindy Focus has a room with some emergency supplies, if you find yourself ailing outside of drugstore business hours. From Eva Millwood: “In room 128, there will be available band-aids/neosporin, Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, Tums, and Benadryl for $.25, and emergen-c and off-brand 5-hour energy shots for $.50. Someone will almost always be here!” They may add to this list of available items, so come to this room if you find yourself in a bit of a medical bind, but don’t need urgent care.

Lindy Focus continues to exceed expectations – I can’t wait to be there!

M.G. Baker Co. Bow Ties

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Red Tartan - can't post of Christmas Day without a Christmas tie!

Red Tartan – can’t post on Christmas Day without a Christmas tie!

Thanks to a tip from North Vancouver dancer Sarah Vincent, I am now apprised of the existence of M.G. Baker Co. Bow Ties, handmade in the U.S.A. and christened with names like Foxtrot, Lindy Hop, Bunny Hop, Charleston, Boogie, and other vintage dances. The funny thing is, this guy is not a dancer…which means he must be very clever to know the names of all of these dances. :)

These ties are 100% cotton, which means they are friendly for the inevitable sweat that accompanies your dancing. It also means you could probably throw it in the wash (but air dry, lest your tie shrink to mini-tie).

From the website: “All M.G. BAKER CO. Bow Ties are the traditional “Self-Tie” variety; meaning they are the kind you tie yourself. But don’t fret! Each and every one is uniquely packaged in a keepsake box complete with illustrated tying instructions to help teach even the most inexperienced beginner how to tie a bow tie to perfection.”

Faves:

Charleston

Charleston

Polka

Polka

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DIY Wingtip Keds

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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One of the first things on my Facebook feed this morning was a photo of a pair of red and a pair of green wingtip Keds, made by St. Louis dancers Beccy Aldrich and Kayce Maureen. I love a DIY project and the shoes were so adorable I couldn’t resist posting them here.

They got the idea from Pinterest, which linked to this site in a language unknown to me. However, the photographs take you step by step through the process so you can make a pair of your own! Beccy adds that they used fabric pens to create all the patterns on the shoe, and supplemented with white fabric paint to highlight the dots in the brogueing. We’re not sure what the turquoise pen is in the photo.

If you’re going to Lindy Focus, you’ll get to see the green pair and red pair in person – nice job, ladies!

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…

Large Holiday Clutch at Target

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I went into Target tonight to get ingredients for chili and, as I strolled by the accessories, I noticed a large sparkly holiday clutch and thought, “Wow, I bet I could fit a pair of dance shoes in there.” So I took one home with me and found out I was right! I’m not a big fan of collecting purses (usually one purse fulfills 99% of my bag lady/lady bag needs) but sometimes I need an upgrade and I find myself with two bags – a shiny, tiny purse that fits some cards and a tube of lipstick and a separate dance shoe bag in some state of disrepair or dirty. THIS purse is the solution.

Even if I decide not to put dance shoes inside, it could carry a full size wallet, phone, toiletries, meds, grocery bags, etc. I usually stuff in my purse, or if you are out in a pair of 4 inch heels for a night on the town, it could carry your emergency flats. Yay, function! Now, if we could just get them to put pockets in more dresses and pairs of pants…

Available in purple, black/silver, silver, and bronze. $18.00 or $22.99.

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