Tag Archives: Balboa

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

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I attended the first ever Southeast Summer Brawl two weekends ago, a weekend of competitions for the Southeast held in Columbia, SC.  Having never been to Columbia, I was curious to know about vintage shopping there, as the South is notoriously bad for having vintage clothing (poor, rural us, right?), but then Columbia is the capital and just maybe there was something – organizer Nathan Clinebelle tipped me off to two places, a vintage clothing and costume shop called Hip Wa Zee and the Gentleman’s Closet, a store that sells consignment menswear and some new items.  My companions for this outing were Winston-Salem dancer Anna Bryant and my ABW shopping companion and newly outfitted Skyler Hinkel.

Hip Wa Zee proved to be a successful outing – the front of the store is a mix of vintage clothing and reproduction clothing and the back of the store is entirely rental clothing and costumes.  The store was cheery and organized and, while it lacked a large section of swing-era vintage clothing, the offerings it did have were swell.  Definitely a good place to stop in if you are going through or stopping in to visit Columbia!  I particularly enjoyed the selection of beautiful slips in an array of colors, as well as a gorgeous rayon print suit with a floating overskirt/long peplum and puffed sleeves.  Anna left with two gorgeous slips, Skyler with two ties, and I with a 50’s sundress and matching bolero, as well as a late 30’s tie.  We also ran into Clemson, SC dancer Ben White, who left with a sweet vintage sweater vest.

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Gentleman’s Closet was a consignment store full of menswear basics – shirts, suits, slacks, socks (new, not used), braces, belts, ties, shoes, just about everything you’d need to put together a wardrobe.  They also had the largest selection of seersucker suit colors I had ever seen (all new suits, pristine, in plastic dry cleaning bags), which I understand were in stock for Carolina Cup, a horse race held in Camden, SC – purple, yellow, orange, colors I have never seen made into a suit and I LIVE IN THE SOUTH.  We found Skyler a pair of brown oxford street shoes to go with his ABW clothes and newly acquired three piece navy pinstripe suit – can’t wear those Remix oxfords out in the street!

Enjoy the photos and be sure to stop in Columbia if you are in the South – these two stores are also in a very hip area of town, with fun restaurants and delicious coffee!

Seriously, THIS - but seriously, it was tiny.  We so wished it fit Anna, but sometimes we leave things on the rack when they are snug...

Seriously, THIS – but seriously, it was tiny.

Ben White: another Adam Speen achievement unlocked - one dancer at a time!

Another Adam Speen achievement unlocked – one dancer at a time!

Skyler's finds for the day at Hip Wa Zee

Skyler’s finds for the day at Hip Wa Zee

My sweet bolero and sundress...

My sweet bolero and sundress…

A viable suit option

A viable suit option

This is part of the costume section - I kind of like the idea of pairing these fluffy animal heads with vintage prom dresses, hehehehe

This is part of the costume section – I kind of like the idea of pairing these fluffy animal heads with vintage prom dresses, hehehehe

Men's accessories overflowing from the racks at the Gentleman's Closet.

Men’s accessories overflowing from the racks at the Gentleman’s Closet.

Skyler's shoe acquisition for the day

Skyler’s shoe acquisition for the day

So much seersucker, I couldn't fit it all in the frame!

So much seersucker, I couldn’t fit it all in the frame!

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Rago Style 919 – Bloomer Brief with a Little Lace

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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In the never-ending quest for full coverage swing dance undergarments and bloomers, I have come across many athletic options and, for a short time, we had some fun My Heinies, but for the most part finding something feminine in the undergarment department that would meet the athletic requirements of the dance limited my options to tap pants. ModCloth, in the infinite wisdom of its buyers, unearthed what they call the “Properly Layered Undies,” which is Rago Style 919 – a full coverage brief in a sateen finish with just a touch of lace at the top of the leg. Just the RIGHT about of lace in the right place. Order from ModCloth (which has been sold out twice and restocked twice since I started watching these) or from another Rago distributor – don’t be scared of the intense looking shapewear on the Rago site, these undies just have enough shape to hold everything in place, no more than that, no miracles, just a solid pair of full coverage undies. Available in white, black, beige, pink, mocha black, or red.

Anitas in Green, 7.5

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Short and sweet – one of my favorite pairs of Remix Shoes, the Anita in green, has popped up on eBay in excellent used condition, size 7.5, priced to move at $74. If they were a 1/2 size smaller I’d pick them up as a backup pair!

$_57

All Balboa Weekend 2014 Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Lots of new merch at ABW this year, including this comfy dress.

Lots of new merch at ABW this year, including this comfy dress.

I think it’s safe to say that All Balboa Weekend has the best vendor setup for any event in the United States. With veteran vendors and a few new ones, this year was a good year to bring a little extra to spend at ABW.

The crown jewel at ABW is always Remix Vintage Shoes, who makes their only swing dance event stop here – you can try on that new style you spotted on the website, get that pair of Balboas you’ve been eyeing on any number of Bal follows, and this year they even took pre-orders so that you could be sure to get the style, color, and size of your choice and have them held for you at the booth until you pick them up. Owner Philip Heath was always helping someone with a pair, either giving advice or giving an opinion after they try them on, and he was at the booth until the wee hours of the morning. The demand is so high for these shoes that he pays to ship them from California and flys himself to Cleveland, hundreds of pairs just waiting for the right foot to take them home. Philip also told me that Remix was also working on revamping the website, so that’s good news for everyone!

The accessories display from The Cleveland Shop.

The accessories display from The Cleveland Shop.

Making their return to ABW were the ladies of Flower Child, a vintage store in Cleveland that has many contributors, and The Cleveland Shop, which had a nice selection of 20’s through 40’s. The ladies set up an impressive display of menswear, womenswear, accessories, shoes, jewelry, sewing notions, and Flower Child even had a large display of hats that would be appropriate for the Saturday night theme “A Night at the Races.” It was a race to get down there at get the goods at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday when the vendors opened, before it got picked over. Thankfully, the Flower Child and Cleveland shop ladies would replenish some of the supplies throughout the weekend, which I love about them – you never know what they are going to bring back the next day, and don’t be afraid to tell them what you are looking for because they may bring back that very thing!

ChatterBlossom's colorful display - vintage millinery to the left

Chatterblossom’s colorful display

On the new vendor front is a vendor who is near and dear to me here in North Carolina, ChatterBlossom (aka Jamie Sturdevant) who runs a fantastic Etsy shop for her handmade blooms and jewelry, as well as vintage accessories. What sets Chatterblossom apart are the vintage millinery blooms she uses to make some of her hair pieces – the colors are so RIGHT, especially when you see the color wave across the hall on the Flower Child clothing racks, you just KNOW that these blooms are vintage. I know she did well because her supplies of vintage flowers were dwindling by the end of the event.

Chloe and her team at the samples table.

Chloe and her team at the samples table.

Finally, we have FROMChloehong, who has taken the swing fashion world by storm, first with her trumpet skirts (MY storm), then with reproduction Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers jackets that she produced and took orders for especially for Frankie 100, then with her stellar showing of tailored menswear at the Frankie 100 fashion show. Chloe was on hand with sample skirts and menswear for people to try on for custom orders – there were so many more styles and colors available than I’ve seen on her Facebook page, and swatch books of fabrics that I just wanted to hold and touch and flip through to marvel at the options. I can tell you that we are just scratching the surface on what Chloe Hong is capable of accomplishing!

And that’s a wrap! Cheers to you, shoppers, for continuing to support these businesses and All Balboa Weekend!

Goodies from The Cleveland Shop on display.

Goodies from The Cleveland Shop on display.

Flower Child's end of the hallway display.

Flower Child’s end of the hallway display.

A dapper Gene Kelly-inspired look by FROMChloehong.

A dapper Gene Kelly-inspired look by FROMChloehong.

A popular pullover from the merch table - very collegiate.

A popular pullover from the merch table – very collegiate.

Building a Swing Wardrobe at All Balboa Weekend

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The first finds of the day at Sweet Lorain - tie clip and tie.

The first finds of the day at Sweet Lorain – tie clip and tie.

One of the reasons I enjoy All Balboa Weekend so much is the vintage shopping and vendors at the event. This event is like no other because Remix Vintage Shoes comes here (and doesn’t travel to other swing events), there are multiple fantastic vintage stores and some of them set up as vendors at the hotel, and there are new international vendors every year that may only come for one year, but you get that critical chance to try things on, figure out what size you wear, and file that away for future online ordering (Heyday!, Retrospec’d, Bettie Page Clothing, FromChloehong, etc.). It offers the unique opportunity to have all of these things in one place, which would otherwise only be available on the internet.

When I travel I always come up on Wednesday night so I can have Thursday day to go shopping at the vintage stores in Cleveland. My travel companion this go around was Skyler Hinkel, a 20 year old dancer from Raleigh who has become a staple of our scene in the past couple of years and has recently begun traveling a lot more to dance events. I asked him if he wanted to go shopping with me and he asked me how much money he would need to budget to get an outfit and a new pair of dance shoes (good question to ask!). He told me he wanted to spend some money on clothing for dance events and, at the time, he only owned two pairs of dress pants and one dress shirt.

Our mission was clear and there was no time to waste – building 1 or 2 outfits of vintage/thrifted clothing is something usually done over time, not in one day. We started out at Sweet Lorain, my favorite Cleveland vintage shop, and were there when they opened at noon, along with a number of European Balboa dancers who also collect vintage clothing. I headed to the racks in the back with the 30’s and 40’s clothing and directed Skyler to the men’s section, figuring he would either sink or swim. I made my rounds with the other ladies, tried everything on, narrowed my choices, and headed over to the men’s section to see how Skyler was doing.

It can be overwhelming being in a store like Sweet Lorain, even for me, with wall to wall clothing, furniture, and knick-knacks – Skyler was definitely feeling overwhelmed. I started digging with him, with some occasional input by Andreas Olsson and Rich Werden, but ultimately everything he tried on was too large. I was astounded because I thought for sure we’d find some great 34/36 jackets that no one else could fit into, but most everything was firmly in the 40/42 size range. The myth that vintage clothing is only for tiny people has been disproved once again! We left the store with a tie and a tie clip for Skyler, nowhere close to an outfit, but at least able to accessorize the outfit he already owned.

Our next stop was Chelsea’s Vintage Clothing and Costumes, which was a bust for me last year, but has an astounding three tiered warehouse full of clothing, almost half of it menswear. Since menswear has changed very little since the 1930’s, almost anything we could find here would be great – anything that fit, at this point, would work and if we could find natural fibers that would be a bonus. Rich joined us again for this search and, between the three of us, we touched every single suit jacket and sportcoat in that place. NO SMALL FEAT. It definitely helped that Chelsea’s had tags on each of the sleeves, noting the size and price, whereas none of the clothing was labeled by size in Sweet Lorain. Neither store had things grouped by size, so there was no choice but to dig.

Rich's action back!

Rich’s action back!

I’ll back up and say that the first thing I saw in the men’s section was a light tan/ivory belt back jacket, so when Rich walked in I asked if he had seen it. Upon retrieval, we discovered that it was his size – how serendipitous! But what are the chances we could find one for Skyler? Luck was on our side and we found a similar jacket, a 70’s does 30’s belt back jacket for Skyler, as well!

In the entire place there were only 3 jackets that came close to fitting Skyler, one slate blue double breasted kids jacket, a white cotton dinner jacket, and the belt back jacket. We set these aside and kept digging. Next up were pants, which yielded only two pairs that fit – a pair of tuxedo pants and a pair of gray and blue wool plaid trousers. Given our jacket discoveries, either could work, so we set those aside and continued, though by this point the digging had lost some steam.

I took a mental break to check in on Rich and his fiance, Alisa Szatrowski, who had made her way through the limited selection of swing era garments. Half of vintage shopping with others is waiting for the discard pile, and I found a great cream 40’s dress with red soutache detail that hadn’t worked for her, but worked for me. Energized by the find, I returned to the Skyler search and we went through the vest rack together. We culled a wool sweater vest from this search and now had the beginnings of a wardrobe.

Sweater vest found - Adam Speen achievement unlocked

Sweater vest found – Adam Speen achievement unlocked

While it would be nice to be able to buy everything that fits us at vintage stores, practically speaking few of us make that kind of money. We decided that the belt back jacket would be more versatile, even though it was going to be a warmer jacket than the cotton dinner jacket. Thus, the tuxedo pants, were out and we headed to the checkout with (subtle) plaid wool pants, the belt back jacket, and the sweater vest. Not a bad day at the dig.

On our way to the checkout we quickly sifted through the ties and found a perfect match for the vest. Total damage for these four items (jacket, pants, vest, and tie): $40.00.

Two belt backs in one day - unprecedented!

Two belt backs in one day – unprecedented!

We headed back to the hotel, feeling good about the day’s purchases, and started planning the outfits; however, the critical component of white dress shirts for both outfits was missing, so we pulled over to a strip mall and found two white dress shirts in Target. Now, the only thing missing was a pair of pants to go with the sweater vest, and, if found, Skyler would have two complete outfits.

I was hopeful that Skyler would find something at one of the vendor’s booths. The vendors opened at 5:00 p.m. and we were there just minutes before. While there were some great trousers there, none of them were the right size. We talked to the ladies at the Flower Child booth and they said they would look in their inventory overnight. Later that evening, Chloe Hong’s booth opened up and, while they didn’t have any pants to sell off the rack, they did have sample sizes and I encouraged Skyler to try a pair on to see if they had his size and if he liked the trousers. He definitely liked Chloe’s pants the best out of all the trousers he tried on that day, so there was the option to increase his wardrobe by another pair of pants, even if he had to wait for them. We must always be forward thinking about our shopping!

Shopping at Remix's booth!

Shopping at Remix’s booth!

Last, but not least, Skyler had budgeted for a pair of Remix Vintage Shoes leather-soled shoes. Their men’s cap toe is a beautiful shoe and, due to the constraint in inventory they can bring to ABW, they only had one pair in his size – thankfully, they were brown and white, which would look great with the navy-hued items, like the vest and the ties.

We are waiting to find out if there is another pair of pants in store for Skyler…stay tuned!

Emmy – Your Vintage-Inspired Wardrobe from Sweden

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Can I live in a world where I can wear this sailboat playsuit all the time?

Can I live in a world where I can wear this sailboat playsuit all the time?

On a tip from DJ Kristy Milliken, I checked out Emmy, a Swedish company making vintage-inspired clothing – what I found was a really noteworthy clothing company, and here is why:

1. Their pieces really bridge the gap – you could mix and match a lot of these pieces with modern pieces or vintage pieces and they wouldn’t look out of place. Versatility is so important in a wardrobe.

2. Their pieces go together – they have sweaters to match the dresses/shirts/skirts, versatile basics, and coordinating colors. You could actually put together a mini-wardrobe just from their pieces and not be wanting for casual, dressy, beach, work, and so on.

I see a lot of repro and vintage-inspired clothing companies going for gold with their dresses (which is great, but not 100% of the time – what if I decide to go glamping?) and sort of half-heartedly offering a few separates or the other odd piece. There is definitely a trend away from this and I am hopeful that there is a demand out there, because I know I am wanting more and more to incorporate vintage and vintage-inspired clothing into my everyday life, not just my dancing or singing life.

So how did Emmy get to this point of versatility and so many different garments? With a focus on “feminine, well-fitted garments that embrace and enhance the female shape,” with a goal of suiting all body types and ages and a focus on quality to create garments that can be worn year after year.

Emmy has done a great job with their adorable and practical collections – here are some of my favorites from their Spring/Summer 2014 line:

Ahoy!  Sailor pants - come in black and two shades of blue/denim, also available in shorts, capris, and a skirt - something for everyone!

Ahoy! Sailor pants – come in black and two shades of blue/denim, also available in shorts, capris, and a skirt – something for everyone!

Cropped (or rather the right length?) cable knit cardigan - available in red, navy, pink, and green

Cropped (or rather the right length?) cable knit cardigan – available in red, navy, pink, and green

This knit top ALL DAY

This knit top ALL DAY

For those days when you are washing your romper, you can settle for this adorable sailboat blouse.

For those days when you are washing your romper, you can settle for this adorable sailboat blouse.

Why, yes, they also do dresses... ;)

Why, yes, they also do dresses… ;)

Keys + Keyhole Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I am a sucker for a keyhole neckline and a sucker for appliques and an even bigger sucker for a green dress, which is why I was basically devastated when this adorable 1940’s dress with all of these things was not in my size. Someone please buy it so I can adore it on you, in person! ;)

$_57

FROMChloeHong Pleated Skirt

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Chloe Hong, she of the superior trumpet skirts, has introduced a new dance-friendly skirt to her clothing line – a skirt with three mirrored parallel pleats, starting in seams at the top, and separating into pleats toward the bottom of the skirt. I would love to see how this spins! Available in 3 juicy colors – teal, red, and purple.

Details from Chloe’s Facebook page (last time I checked her website was still under development – don’t let communication via Facebook deter you from ordering from her! PayPal all your monies to her for fabulous skirts.):

Like the trumpet skirt, the pleated skirt also features a built-in slip that comes to just below your bum.

Like the trumpet skirt, the pleated skirt also features a built-in slip that comes to just below your bum.

* Color : dark purple / green / pale red

* Size : S (55) : waist(25.5~26inch/ 65cm), hip (36inch/91cm)
M (66) : waist(27~27.5inch/ 69.5cm), hip (38inch/99cm)
(I don’t see L and XL, but I know she has these sizes in the trumpet skirt, always good to ask)

* Length : 23 inch (59cm)

* Fabric : Polyester, Spandex

* price : $57

Black Tara Tango Heels on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Those of you in the market for some Balboa shoes and with a size 9 foot might be interested in this pair of unworn Tara Tango shoes on eBay – bidding is at $20 and ends today! These shoes retail for $185, definitely the steal of the week.

$_12

Winter Action Backs

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This, the coldest winter I’ve experienced in my life living in North Carolina, just won’t go away – Mother Nature teased us with 60 degrees today, followed by a forecast of snow tomorrow. Since I’m still digging around for more woolens to wear, here are a couple of cozy Norfolk/action back jackets on eBay for the gents to bundle up with until these winter storms pass:

Seriously gorgeous brown wool with colored flecks jacket, dated November 19, 1941, bidding around $100 right now...

Seriously gorgeous brown wool with colored flecks jacket, dated November 19, 1941, bidding around $100 right now…

This blue action back is part of a three piece suit and the jacket is double breasted

This blue action back is part of a three piece suit and the jacket is double breasted

Trashy Diva Dots Are Back!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Here's the Louise top...now, am I feeling sporty or dressy today... ;)

Here’s the Louise top…now, am I feeling sporty or dressy today… ;)

I’m delighted to report that Trashy Diva’s peppy blue and white polka dots have returned, both in familiar and new incarnations to enhance the adorableness of your wardrobe. I had almost given up hope that TD would give me more rayon prints in 40’s silhouettes, but I don’t know why I ever doubted. Check out their website for the full collection, featuring some of their classic dress designs, but my favorites from the new items are the separates – seriously, an adorable blouse with a peplum to pair with either a swishy skirt or high waisted shorts? YSPLS!

Fab Gabs Shoe Influx

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Etsy vintage seller Fab Gabs recently posted a number of amazing vintage shoes in a range of sizes. Check out her Etsy page for the full story, but here are my faves:

The only time I've ever wished for a larger foot - woven 50's heels, size 8/8.5

The only time I’ve ever wished for a larger foot – woven 50’s heels, size 8/8.5

Stars!  1940's slingbacks, 7.5N

Stars! 1940’s slingbacks, 7.5N

1930's burgundy heels, size 8AA

1930’s burgundy heels, size 8AA

1930's t-straps, size 4.5 - I know you tiny feet girls are out there and you want something more than a Mary Jane!  There's another pair of satin wedding shoes in this size from the 30's...

1930’s t-straps, size 4.5 – I know you tiny feet girls are out there and you want something more than a Mary Jane! There’s another pair of satin wedding shoes in this size from the 30’s…

Pedag Heel Grips

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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A few months ago, I started looking for a solution to the blisters I get from shoes when I dance – not every shoe, but some of my faves that I didn’t want to get rid of because I would start the night just fine, then end the night with blisters without even realizing it until I took my shoes off. I have a bit of a narrow heel, so it tends to slide out of shoes. I’ve also been buying more European shoes lately, and the are not always offered in half sizes (37.5 here), so I end up with a slightly larger shoe to make sure it fits (38). However I looked at it – slightly larger shoes, stretched over the course of a dance, or rubbing blisters for whatever reason – I had a problem.

After some digging online, I came across the Pedag heel grips on Amazon.com – stick-on suede leather heel grips with a padded ridge to grip your heel. The number of reviews numbered over 200 and were overwhelmingly positive and detailed. I would recommend reading the reviews to see if your particular foot and/or shoe might benefit – I have Haglund’s deformity and the more I read, the more I realized that this was the product that would keep those shoes from rubbing once and for all.

And, thankfully, I was right – it doesn’t work for every problem shoe, but it has worked for all the dance shoes I have tried and a few pairs of non-dancing pumps. It provided just the right amount of space-filler to prevent the friction and I can control the placement to avoid or assist my Haglund’s bump. The suede works well as a gripping material and I have not had trouble with the adhesive not sticking to the shoes. No more blisters, yay!

Lindy Focus 2013 – Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Al and Leon, as illustrated by Ryan Calloway

Al and Leon, as illustrated by Ryan Calloway

I’ve waited long enough to post, but I have largely been in denial about Lindy Focus ending – watching the myriad videos posted daily and attending in my local dances with the tidal wave of positive energy remaining and commiserating about the days that we don’t get to dance now that Lindy Focus is over. I’m still on LF sleep schedule, which means I have started this blog post at 2:15 a.m., as if in anticipation of a 3:00 a.m. DJ shift. But I must move on, and I’ve got to get these vendors posted if I’m going to remember anything about them – on with the post!

I’ll start off with this year’s Lindy Focus feature artist, Ryan Calloway, who not only had fabulous jazz dance and jazz music prints available for purchase, but whose artwork was also featured in a limited edition Lindy Focus tee shirt. I particularly love his style and the way in which he depicts the movement in his prints – a feast for the eyes on the walls of any Lindy Hopper home.

A custom bridal piece by Creations by Crawford

A custom bridal piece by Creations by Crawford

Next, we have what I believe to be my most frequent topic on Lindy Shopper, which would be Miss Sharon Crawford and her Creations by Crawford – her prolific event attendance as a vendor is unparalleled in the Southeast and her custom creations a work of art inspired by each wearer who contracts for her creative services. She works during the entire event, often so that a purchaser can wear their custom pieces to the dance THAT NIGHT. Her women’s pieces are stellar, but I think she really shines with menswear and her use of feathers to create custom lapel pieces.

Sharon also vended jewelry pieces from Plain Jane, a local to Asheville designer, and shared a table with Zoe Lechucita, who was also making custom hair pieces during the event, with accents of sequins and jewels.

Glitter taps...so close, yet so far away...

Glitter taps…so close, yet so far away…

The Lindy Focus consignment shop was in full swing, with everything from madras plaid pants to beaded gowns to glitter tap shoes. I was dying for a pair of the glitter tap shoes, but the sizes were just out of reach. I made a little money consigning a few things, which is great, and I overheard several people on New Year’s Eve saying that they had purchased their dress at the consignment shop. What a great idea to recycle dancer clothing and, as far as I know, this is unique to Lindy Focus.

A Forties Forward display!

A Forties Forward display!

Forties Forward, another consistent southeast swing event vendor, was set up with their glorious blooms and has also added some feathered pieces to the lineup. Bejeweled centers decked the blossoms, as well as the feathers – the overall feeling from the booth was opulence. Right on, ladies!

Nestled in the consignment shop I saw a small display for JitterButtons, featuring a selection of 8 buttons with clever, swing dance-related designs and slogans, such as “Friends Don’t Let Friends Clap on One” and an anti-pretzel sign. You can purchase one of their stock buttons from their website and you can also order custom buttons for your own event, as well!

Seriously...about the clapping...

Seriously…about the clapping…

Last, but certainly not least, Nicole Lenzen dazzled us with another fashion show during one of the camp meetings, highlighting her new collection and using instructors to expertly show off the movement of her garments. I’m sad that I didn’t get a chance to look at the garments more closely due to schedule constraints, but I am sure, after speaking with her last year, that the fabrics are of excellent quality and texture, and there were some repeat details that I loved, such as the lovely belt on the Mariposa dress (now in more colors!). Take a look at the entire fashion show and collection on the Lindy Focus YouTube channel:

A selection of Ryan Calloway's jazz prints

A selection of Ryan Calloway’s jazz prints

Plain Jane's baubles

Plain Jane’s baubles

Zoe hard at work on a feathered piece.

Zoe hard at work on a feathered piece.

Sharon shows off a custom hair piece.

Sharon shows off a custom hair piece.

An array of men's footwear at the Lindy Focus consignment shop.

An array of men’s footwear at the Lindy Focus consignment shop.

The consignment shop comprised most of the vendor area square footage.

The consignment shop comprised most of the vendor area square footage.

All the feathers!  This lovely piece is by Forties Forward.

All the feathers! This lovely piece is by Forties Forward.

Nicole Lenzen's display served as a teaser for the fashion show earlier in the week.

Nicole Lenzen’s display served as a teaser for the fashion show earlier in the week.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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