Tag Archives: Aris Allen

Hand Painted Aris Allens on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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These shoes got an “oh, hell yeah!” when they were posted in the Women’s Swing Dance Shoes Hunt Facebook group – custom hand painted bejeweled Aris Allen dance heels that look like a Balboa shoe turned hot rod, thanks to Etsy seller BlueApplePie. I love seeing people take plain items like Keds and Vans and take them to the next level, or see shoes that may have been past their prime get a new life with a coat of paint, thinking of Valerie Salstrom spray painting her Aris Allen mesh oxfords silver. Let’s do more of this! :D Best part – you can own this custom pair of heels, the work is already done for you, just click to place in your shopping cart…

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Lindy Shopper’s Favorite Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The most common questions I field in person and online are about dance shoes – this is our one essential piece of “equipment” or “gear” (since street shoes are only occasionally made in a way that they can be an option), so it stands to reason that shoes would be the primary topic of discussion about what we put on our bodies when we dance. I’ve written about swing shoes before for Atomic Ballroom, but that was over 3 years ago, so it’s probably time for an update. Instead of doing another overview, I’m going to write about my favorite dance shoes of the moment – my go-to shoes for a variety of situations and ones that I would recommend to others. I’m also going to photograph them so you can see how much they are loved.

#1 – The weekly dance: Re-Mix Balboa

This is my main shoe right now – gold goes with almost everything and these are so nice and broken in that I just can’t pass them over. They are my most flexible pair and, with a low heel, are ideal to transition back and forth from Balboa to Lindy Hop/Charleston. The addition of a gel pad at the ball of my foot has combated any discomfort for lack of shoe padding. They are starting to look pretty bad because of so many people stepping on the toes, but a gold Sharpie is helping to keep up appearances.

2013-12-18 21.09.21

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#2 – The dance where I wear a vintage dress: Nina Gilkenson‘s 1940’s Red Cross Mesh and Leather Oxfords/Dancestore.com Mesh Oxford

I bought these shoes years ago at Lindy Focus from Nina’s mom, Laurie Gilkenson, who was cleaning out some of Nina’s vast vintage shoe collection. I was told that they were the model for Dancestore.com’s mesh oxford, which explains also why I love that shoe so much, as well (but the original is still my fave). The leather on these shoes is so broken in, the sole is the perfect consistency, and the mesh keeps things cool and flexible. They are very worn and the polish has come off the heel and I don’t care. This is another wonderful 2 inch heel that’s great for a dance where you have to do everything – it’s a bit thicker than the Re-mix Balboa heel, so if I’m stepping into uncharted dance territory, I’ll opt for the thicker heel. This is also me advocating for wearing vintage shoes for dancing – they don’t have to be in pristine cosmetic condition. If the shoe is still solid structurally and fits, wear it!

2013-12-18 21.11.31

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#3 – The dance where there is no Balboa: Aris Allen Mary Jane wedge

I am sad that these are no longer in production (except in brown), but this is my lazy comfort shoe – I am so used to wearing heels when I dance that the wedge is as low as I usually like to go, but I do appreciate the groundedness of full contact with the floor. Stability is key here. If I wore these for long, they would rub and leave blisters on my heels, so I added some Pedag leather heel grips, which solved the problem.

2013-12-18 21.10.24

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#4 – Practicing solo jazz OR Lindy Focus Day 4 late night: Keds

When I am working on solo jazz movement or routines, I want to start out not worrying about my personal balance or lines or anything other than focusing on basic movement and learning. I do have personal balance issues and, when I don’t have another person to help with that, I tend to want to be in flats. I also have my limits with heels and anything longer than a regular dance weekend just makes my feet want to give up. I would probably wear Keds more often, but my heels slip out of them and I have to wear thick socks with them to keep them on, so vanity and convenience can sometimes override my dance shoe selection.

2013-12-18 21.12.26

Aris Allen Cap Toes – $3.99 on eBay

$_58

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The deals on gently used dance shoes just keep rolling in – this time, a pair of black Aris Allen cap to oxfords, size 10, for $3.99. Courtesy of a swing dance dropout:

“I purchased these shoes to wear at the “big dance” we attended after taking dance lessons. They were never worn for practice and when I wore them at the dance I wore street shoes until inside. They are in perfect condition. I got a new girl friend and so I don’t have to dance any more!! Shoe trees shown in the picture are not included.”

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure? ;) Bless his heart…

Aris Allen Red Velvet Oxfords – $5.99 on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Another pair of dance shoes priced to move! Aris Allen Red Velvet Oxfords, size 7.5, starting bid $5.99. The shipping is a little steep at $18.35 *ahem* for Expedited mail, but perhaps you could convince the seller to ship at a lower/slower rate. I just sent Lindy Dandy a box of goodies to Kabul and it didn’t cost half that…anyway, bid away and don’t forget to message the seller about the shipping and perhaps some more details about the condition of the shoes.

Dancestore.com Sale

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Just got word that Dancestore.com is having a sale – items of note:

Aris Allen wingtip oxfords (in white and two-tone black/white) are $69.95 (marked down from $84.95).

Men’s wide leg trousers in brown for $14.95 (marked down from $39.95).

Brown and tweed/plaid saddle shoe for $34.95 (marked down from $49.95) – I have these and they are adorable and comfortable.

Aris Allen Loafers for $6.99

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I came across this pair of Aris Allen loafers today on eBay, with a starting bid of $6.99 – this is how you do it, folks, to sell your used dance shoes you should price this stuff to move. Size 11.5, they look to be in good condition – used, but not worn out baked potatoes. If you were thinking about trying the Aris Allen loafers, this is a low-cost commitment. The seller also indicates that this pair is the older version of the shoe with the “hard sole” (as opposed to the raw sole), which means it’s easier to do floor slides. :)

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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

Dancestore.com Summer Sale

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I don’t see anything on Facebook, but I got an email notification from Dancestore.com that they are having a pretty sweet sale on Aris Allens. For example:

Velvet Oxford – $10 off

White wingtip oxford – $20 off

Loafers – $10 off

Mary Jane wingtip – $15 off

You get the idea – and there are more! So many of their shoes are $10-$20 off, seems like a good time to stock up on some staples.

More Aris Allens on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s been a while since I scoped out eBay for Aris Allens, there are a few good deals on the auction block this week:

Camel velvet oxfords, size 9.5, bidding at $26.95

Camel velvet oxfords, size 9.5, bidding at $26.95

Black t-strap heels, size 8, bidding starts at $14.99

Black t-strap heels, size 8, bidding starts at $14.99

Brown and white wingtips, size 10.5, buy it now $50.00

Brown and white wingtips, size 10.5, buy it now $50.00

Aris Allen White Wingtips on eBay, Size 10, $19.99

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

All you need to know is in the title – looking for an inexpensive pair of dance shoes? This is it! Grab these white Aris Allen wingtips, worn once, at this great price!

$T2eC16R,!zcE9s4g3IvWBRPge4nNN!~~60_57

Review: New Aris Allen Shoes for Women (and Notes on New Shoes for Men)

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Saddle shoes, circa 1938.

Saddle shoes, circa 1938.

If you haven’t been to Dancestore.com in a while, you should spend a few minutes checking out their new selection of shoes. I knew Dancestore was working on a pair of mesh and leather Aris Allens, but I did not know they had other men’s styles and new women’s shoes up their sleeve, as well. They were kind enough to invite me to test out a few pairs and I’m happy to share my report with you about the women’s shoes (and direct your attention to some of the men’s shoes I think are worthy of a look-see).

The first pair I decided to try was their new saddle shoe. I personally think saddle shoes are adorable and if you showed up to a dance in a 40’s skirt, blouse, sweater vest, and saddle shoes, I’d think you were completely awesome. And adorable. Very collegiate, no? I think most people associate saddle shoes with the 1950’s and poufy skirts, but they date back to 1906 when Spalding introduced them for tennis and squash players and reached their height as a trend that spanned 20 or so years, from the 1930’s through the 1950’s.

Saddle Shoe - available in brown tweed, black tweed, and classic black and white

Saddle Shoe – available in brown tweed, black tweed, and classic black and white

I have been looking for a pair of saddle shoes for myself for some time, but have failed to find any with leather soles (like the pair from my childhood), only that spongy “crepe” sole which I find not as well-suited for dancing. Dancestore has introduced a great compromise – a saddle shoe with a hard rubber sole that has been sueded. I opted to try the brown tweed version of their saddle shoe, which has a soft tweedy fabric covering most of the shoe with brown faux leather covering the “saddle” part of the shoe. They came with two pairs of laces, a thicker set and a thin set. When I first tried on the shoe it felt a bit stiff, but after only a couple of dances, the stiffness wore off at the points where I needed movement. The shoe itself was very comfortable, the rubber sole flexible, and I didn’t worry about the shoes as I danced in them. I wore them with socks, which was a nice change for me, and they looked great with the collegiate outfit I described above. :) The only criticism I have, which is more of a personal preference item, was that the footbed was not super cushioned – this is not something that bothers me, but some people prefer a cushioned footbed. Given the shape of the shoe, it would be easy to add an insole or inserts for an easy fix. I normally wear a 7 in Aris Allens and needed a half size larger because I wanted to wear socks with them.

Athletic Mary Jane - available in black, white, black & white, and black & leopard print,

Athletic Mary Jane – available in black, white, black & white, and black & leopard print,

The second pair I tried is actually a style that has been out for a while, but since I don’t normally wear flats for dancing, I hadn’t had much incentive to try out the Aris Allen Athletic Mary Janes. I know there is a population of dancers out there who don’t wear heels who are looking for a Keds alternative, so I thought I’d try them out. The biggest pros for me with this shoe were the wide sole and the cushy insole. The shoes themselves felt of regular width, but the width of the sole seemed wider than the sueded Keds I owned, which in turn made my ankles less prone to roll and just gave me more overall security in feeling “grounded.” The insole on these shoes is cushy in all kinds of good ways – giving without being squishy; soft, yet resilient in its mesh design; arch support with good placement of said support. The strap was ample, so they remained on my feet, and the wingtip styling is adorable. I also had to go a half size up with this shoe for it to fit comfortably. I am hopeful that, like the white mesh oxfords, I’ll be able to shine these up with Windex when they get dirty.

D'Orsay Sandal - available in black satin, tan satin, and silver sparkle

D’Orsay Sandal – available in black satin, tan satin, and silver sparkle

The final pair I tried is definitely a new style for Aris Allen and was the one I was most excited about – the d’Orsay sandal. I have admired the Aris Allen d’Orsay satin t-strap since they launched a few years ago, but never bought a pair because the 3 inch heels were just too high for me for dancing. I hoped that they would create a similar pair with a lower heel and was elated to see the d’Orsay sandal with a 1 5/8 inch heel.

I selected a black satin pair to try out. Initially I got a size 7, but couldn’t fit my foot in the shoe, so I exchanged them for a 7.5. I got the 7.5 on my foot, but because I have a weird foot* the part of the shoe around where your foot enters the shoe near the ball of the foot was too tight. I enlisted the help of my friend Tiffany Linquist, another size 7 lady, to test the shoes for me, as her foot fit into them without the same problem. Another dancer, Heidi Reule, also tried out the fit of the shoe and did not have the same problem.

After about 5 dances, Tiffany came back over to me – the short end of the strap had broken on the d’Orsay sandal. We were pretty mortified, because we both have Aris Allen shoes that we love and know that they can make quality products. We brainstormed about the shoe and here’s what we came up with:

- The quality of the shoe appeared to be good – the materials used appeared to be quality, the overall aesthetic of the shoe was very good, the cutouts added to the comfort at the ball of the foot, and the insole was soft and comfortable.
– The heel height and width were ideal for Charleston, Balboa, and Lindy Hop.
– While the ball of the foot was very flexible, the arch was not – it was stiff and the shoe itself was very narrow at the arch. Tiffany’s feedback was that the shoe was very comfortable while she was dancing on her toes, but not while she was standing still. The arch, overall, felt and looked very narrow and, when she was wearing the shoes, she said it felt like her arches were dancing off a cliff (i.e. not secure).
– The arch support in the shoe felt like it was too far forward in the shoe.
– We were surprised that the strap broke (the small part with the buckle, not the long part with the holes for the buckle) until we noticed that there was no elastic on the strap. The absence of elastic, combined with the stiff arch appeared to put unnecessary strain on the strap, which likely caused the break. There is only so much thread can hold without some give to that tension.

That said, I hope that Dancestore does not give up on this style – I would still love to own a pair of shoes in this style and heel height – I hope that they take this feedback and make some improvements to this lovely shoe – a little elastic and some love in the arch would help what is, otherwise, a good shoe.

Styles I did not try, but that are also new include a cap toe sneaker – if you’ve been dancing in your Chucks and finding them lacking, maybe an investment in the Aris Allen Cap Toe as a viable alternative. Available in black, brown plaid, and black/white/blue plaid. They have also added a number of colors to their heeled oxford selection, including black/black & white houndstooth, black/blue brocade, black/red brocade, and fuschia velvet.

Lurve these

Lurve these

MEN! If you are still reading, you are dedicated – there are good things for you, including a much anticipated mesh wingtip in brown tones, a sweet white wingtip that looks like it may give Re-Mix’s version a run for its money (at half the price), and dance loafers in black, white, and a “Michael Jackson” edition in black with a special rubber insert in the heel that was specific to a pair of shoes worn by the King of Pop. I notice in the descriptions for the white wingtips and the loafers that they have taken feedback from dancers to heart and made these pairs with a thicker sole than the regular Aris Allen dance shoes – the result is something more like a quality pair of dress shoes and requires a bit of a break-in period. Not a bad thing if you are looking for a more quality pair of shoes. Men, I would take the time to read the descriptions of these shoes, as they have taken the time to describe their qualities in a fairly in-depth way to help you make a decision about what shoe would be right for you.

I’d be interested in hearing how the new Aris Allen shoes fare as compared to the shoes from December’s men’s footwear discussion

I love where Dancestore is going with their men’s shoe line – I think the aesthetic is spot on and the focus on quality materials and listening to user feedback is a step in a great direction. I think there are some improvements that could be made with the women’s shoes – aside from the aforementioned satin sandal, I would also like to see more leather shoes in the women’s shoe line and would like to continue to be able to buy leather wedges, which are a staple of my dance shoe wardrobe. I see that my staple wedges are being phased out, which is a shame because there are no viable alternatives, in my experience, that have the same wonderful, flexible sole as my Aris Allens. I am on my second pair of tan Rugcutters (since purchasing my first pair circa 2003/4?), and would still be on my first pair if they hadn’t smelled so terrible after 5 or 6 years that I had to throw them out. I wore them to death, almost every night, until I could afford to expand my shoe wardrobe and buy more wedges. I love them, please don’t get rid of them! *grovels and clings to your leg*

I would like to thank Dancestore for involving me in a review of their products. I am a staunch supporter of their shoes because I believe that they are a great entry point for dancers to buy dance shoes at more affordable prices and are one of the few places offering viable social dance shoes in flats. I hope they continue to make shoes that I love and experiment with new styles and adjustments to make the shoes that they have even better for dancing.

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*I have weird feet, so not every shoe works. I am the genetic product of a father with narrow feet and mother with tiny feet, a high arch, and Haglund’s deformity – the result (in me) is a narrow heel, a disproportionately wide ball of the foot, and the Haglund’s knob on the back of my heels. I also have a Tailor’s bunion and have had two surgeries to repair a toe I mutilated in my youth by falling down the stairs, breaking my toe, and then stuffing the broken toe into toe shoes before it healed. Needless to say, I must have very comfortable footwear and my health insurance has labeled me as having a pre-existing condition.

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).

$T2eC16RHJG8E9nyfnU,+BQ6yVOliPQ~~60_57

Newsflash: Aris Allen Mesh and Leather Oxford

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Since I didn't snap a photo of the Aris Allen prototype, here's a version by Allen Edmunds, their "Strawfut," to give you an idea of the mesh and leather combo, but with a $300+ price point.

This past weekend at DCLX, amidst discussions of trumpet skirts, Dancestore.com owner Gay Santelmann showed me
her prototype of an Aris Allen
mesh and leather oxford, set
to go into production and be available for purchase in, approximately, 4 to 6 months. Excited! I’ve been looking for
a vintage pair for my husband and it’s just not happening…
but now it is!

I’m a big fan of the Dancestore.com mesh and leather heeled oxford for its comfort, flexibility, and breatheability. I can imagine that the same concept will translate well into an oxford for men. Kudos to Dancestore.com for picking up on this functionality.

Did I think to take a photo of the prototype? No, of course not, but the shoe I saw was two tone, with dark brown leather and tan mesh, and was copied from a 1940’s pair of the same coloring. Gay said they would also be available in black leather/white mesh, and possibly a black and navy combo.

Top 10 Places You Should Be Shopping for Swing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

(Another article for Yehoodi - enjoy!)

Inspired by Rebecca Brightly’s “Top 20 Online Resources For Becoming a Bad-Ass Swing Dancer” (and delighted to be included in her list!), I decided to come up with a list of my own. Unless you are a regular reader of the Lindy Shopper blog, it may be hard to determine what sources may be most helpful to get you started in your swing dance shopping endeavors.

I usually try to stay away from lists because I find that they can become outdated quickly (stores no longer in business, styles no longer relevant, etc.), so we are going to say that this is my top 10 list as of the date of publication. Most of these sources have been tried and true for me, so hopefully the list will withstand the test of time, at least for a few years.

1. Dancestore.com

This is kind of a no-brainer if you’ve been dancing for any length of time, but if you are just starting out you may not know where to find dance shoes. Most people outside of the swing dance community see character shoes as an option and I’ve definitely seen newer dancers show up in ballroom shoes, but it shows a level of commitment to the dance when you invest in your first pair of swing dance shoes.

Dancestore.com provides the work-horses of my dance shoe collection, as well as thousands of other dancers, with their Aris Allen line of shoes – shoes that are comfortable, relatively inexpensive, and offer vintage styles that work well with both vintage and modern outfits. I think we sometimes take Dancestore.com for granted – when I have worn my Dancestore shoes outside of the swing dance community, they tend to garner a lot of attention because they don’t look like shoes that are available anywhere else – and really, aside from a couple of other vintage repro shoe makers, they aren’t. Dancestore does the swing dance community a great service with their products and makes it easy for us to point new dancers in their direction and say THIS is where you should get your first pair of dance shoes.

2. Re-Mix Vintage Shoes

Let’s say you’ve accumulated a few pairs of Aris Allens in great neutral colors, but you’ve just acquired an outfit that requires some color or something extra fabulous in the way of footwear – Re-Mix Vintage Shoes is the next step. Offering an array of vintage styles from swing-era decades with divine details and fabulous color, Re-Mix is the place for the most stylish reproduction shoes I know of online.

3. Your local vintage store

If you are blessed with a wonderful vintage store in your area, then you already know this is a great place to shop. More likely, your vintage store does not stock swing era clothing or men’s clothing and is full of polyester, but don’t be discouraged! It is important to check in on these places for two reasons – first, you never know when they might get something in stock that you would die to have; second, if the store owner doesn’t know that there is a demand for these things, he or she probably won’t buy it from a seller or an estate. It is so important to develop relationships with the vintage store owners in your area and tell them what you are looking for in terms of clothing. Then, when something does come across their desk, they will have you in mind, they might even give you a call to let you know that something has come in, and they also might give you a better price on it because of that friendship and loyalty. Don’t assume you can come into a store and tell them you are a swing dancer and that they will instantly know how serious you are about collecting vintage clothing – to them, you are no better than the random college girl or boy looking for something to wear to a theme party. Distinguish yourself!

4. Your local thrift store

This is mostly for the gents, although ladies may find a diamond in the rough every now and then. But, seriously, menswear hasn’t changed so much in the last century that you can’t go to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or any local thrift store and find a sportcoat, old pairs of dress shoes, entire suits, pants, just about everything you need at a fraction of the cost of buying it new in a store AND with a cut and quality that is more likely to be in line with that of the swing era. It must pain most men to spend money on clothing because I talk about thrift store shopping (usually after hearing a complaint about needing more vests, pants, etc.) to dozens of men every year, only to hear the lamest excuses. You obviously went somewhere to buy those jeans and that tee shirt…and if you didn’t, you should tell the person shopping for you about the thrift stores…

5. eBay

I post a lot of items on Lindy Shopper from eBay because there are so many good things at good prices, if you are patient and willing to look. I spend the time looking on eBay because it’s worth it – I don’t have lots of vintage resources locally and it’s more efficient to shop on eBay because you simply type in your search terms and – voila! – what they have available pops up on your screen. Because eBay has continuous auctions and it’s not practical to search for the same items every day, you can save your search terms if you don’t find what your are looking for and have eBay email you when something you want does pop up on eBay. It’s that simple. For example, I get daily emails for 1940’s dresses and sometimes I go through the listings (looking at the most recently listed items), but other items, like 1930’s suit in size 40 (for my husband) only pop up every few months. Yes, it can be hit or miss and auctions can go for astronomical amounts, but even with the gamble it is still the best place to find the most rare items and the quickest way to find specific items, new and old.

6. Etsy

I am addicted to Etsy for many things. It’s almost as good as eBay for vintage finds (usually pricier), but it’s even better for new items that people have hand-crafted. If I can dream it or find it in a vintage photograph, someone on Etsy can make it. Etsy is my go-to source for hair flowers, fascinators, and affordable reproduction garments. Some Etsy sellers have ties to the dance community, like Jitterbuggin and Allure Original Styles, while others, like Time Machine Vintage and Raleigh Vintage simply have a love for vintage and reproduction clothing.

7. Your relatives’ closets (or anyone within earshot at least 40 years older than you)

The odds are favorable that you have a relative who was alive during the swing era, and the odds are pretty favorable that they have kept things from that era (being products of the Great Depression in some fashion – anyone else’s grandparents have giant freezers full of food?). I have been the recipient of so many items, mostly accessories, that relatives have given me that they didn’t want to get rid of, but were delighted to give to me knowing these items would be used and loved. Once word got out that I was looking for vintage items, other people (aunts, friends of grandparents) started digging through their closets or finding things at yard sales (for pennies!) that I might like. Even people I’ve encountered and simply had a conversation with about my vintage clothing has yielded items from closets, lovingly tucked away for years, but brought out for me because they thought I might like the garment and get some use out of it. The key here is to talk to people – a simple “Hey Grandpa, do you have any old suits you don’t wear anymore?” or “Grandma, do you have any jewelry from the 1940’s?” Even if they don’t give it to you, it can make a nice connection or revive some stories from the past. :)

8. My Heinies

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of covering your butt at swing dances. If you are not vintage-inclined and are buying the very short dresses that are in style now, don’t assume that the dance floor won’t be able to see your underwear. We all see it and I, especially, SEE it. Dancer Carol Fraser is a saint with her dance pants, My Heinies, developed based on her years of experience as a dancer and instructor, with the dance community and clothing styles in mind. There’s something for everyone on the My Heinies web site and I would encourage ladies who wear skirts and dresses to invest in this product so that you can dance uninhibited and free from worry that the entire room will see your private parts.

9. Vintage stores at out of town dance events

For me, the grass is usually much greener on the other side, so I take the opportunity when I travel to out of town swing dance events to visit that town’s vintage stores. Before I travel to a new city, I like to ask one of the local dancers where they recommend shopping (and if it’s worth it to try), or I’ll check to see what information I can find on the internet and, if it’s not apparent from the information on the web, give the store a call to find out if they carry swing-era merchandise. I relish every trip to Cleveland for All Balboa Weekend for the event and for Cleveland’s vintage stores, and I can’t wait to get back to Portland and Seattle. By the way, anyone know of any good vintage shops in Iowa City? Hawkeye Swing Festival, I’m coming in April…

10. Clothing swaps

One of the best places to get clothing and shoes for swing dancers could be other dancers. The ladies in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill swing dance community have been organizing periodic clothing swaps for the past couple of years, which include all clothing and accessories, but have been particularly helpful in passing around dresses and shoes that are good for dancing. That dress you are tired of wearing is brand new to someone else, so rather than give it to Goodwill, why not take it to the clothing swap and find it a new home? I’m always delighted when I see other girls in dresses that don’t fit me anymore, and they are always grateful for the garment. It’s a win-win.

Black Cap Toe Aris Allens on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Men tend to wear their dance shoes out, so I was pleasantly surprised to see this eBay listing for a pair of black cap toe Aris Allens, size 11.5, gently used. They look to be in great condition and, with a $24.99 starting bid, much cheaper than a new pair. Anyone looking for a replacement or an inexpensive addition to your dance shoe collection?