Tag Archives: Balboa

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

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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.

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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 2014 – 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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1940′s Holiday Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to think about what to wear to those holiday dances or, perhaps, Lindy Focus or Snowball for New Year’s Eve. I am in love with this 1940′s dress in fuschia - an unexpected color, but close-to-red and festively bright, with trimmings of sequins in the shape of…macaw? It looks like an eighth note at a distance…regardless, this dress would be the topic of conversation at any fête. It’s 20% off until the end of today when Fab Gabs’ sale ends!

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Re-Mix Vintage Shoes Sale

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

On the heels of the Dancestore.com sale comes a Re-Mix Sale! Some particularly danceable models are reduced drastically – I’ll let the graphic below explain more. :)

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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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Malco Modes Ribbed Cotton Stretch Belt

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I have written in the past about belts, specifically “wide swaths of leather, elastic, and metal making an orbit around the waists” of dancers, especially noticeable in competitions. I am guilty of this on the social dance floor as well – but so many belts can be hard to secure, especially the plastic/pleather ones that come with those reasonably priced wash-and-wear dresses.

After securing one of these reasonably priced dance dresses recently, it arrived with an unfortunate waistline that could only be remedied with a belt. I wanted something with elastic, but also something that was plain, but not too plain, resiliant, thick enough, and with an interesting buckle. I basically create the impossible in my head and then try to find it – it hones my hunting skills, but can be frustrating at times.

Fortunately, after a quick search on Amazon.com, I arrived at a belt that I think a lot of Lindy Hoppers may appreciate – Malco Modes Ribbed Cotton Stretch Belt. It met and exceeded the requirements – 100% cotton, simple-but-not-boring buckle, wide enough (but not too wide), elastic, durable, and available in 24 colors. I will be back for more colors, you can be certain of that.

Some of the reviews said the belt looked cheap and the fabric was cheap, but I think that depends on your point of view and the purpose of the belt. I wouldn’t wear this with shantung silk, clearly, but I would say the fabric is more durable cotton than “cheap” – think cotton work-shirt or uniform. With that durable, ruched cotton I feel very comfortable sticking in as many safety pins as needed to keep that belt securely in place.

EBC 2013 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The Eastern Balboa Championships, in its final year, brought out the best in everyone who attended – there was so much positive energy at this event, plus the usual shenanigans, that it was radiant with awesome. Way to go out with a bang!

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The vendors added to the shine, as the vendor area showcase several local businesses with a serious fan base. Creations by Crawford has become a staple of swing dance events in the southeast and beyond, known for her custom hair pieces, but perhaps most brilliantly for her lapel art, which elevates and distinguishes the lapels of men’s jackets, with metal, feathers, fabric, and touches that are elegant without being femme. Sharon had a truly delicious selection of jewels to choose from, as the basis for her designs.

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Raleigh Vintage, whose online fan base has reached international proportions, returned, with a large vendor space filled with 1930′s and 40′s dresses, separates, menswear, accessories, shoes, and a 1933 World’s Fair tie clip for everyone. They always curate a superbly appropriate collection to bring to EBC, with an eye for durable vintage to withstand the tests of the dance floor. Of particular note was a collection of men’s socks with fantastic colors and details. This year’s display also featured a sale rack of items with minor flaws and majorly discounted prices. And there was much rejoicing.

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Chatterblossom made its EBC debut this year, with a collection of hand crafted hair accessories and jewelry, with a vintage-inspired aesthetic. With a welcoming and eye-catching display, it was hard to resist the rings, necklaces, blooms, and flapper head bands in the collection. Already a successful blog and Etsy shop, I hope to see Chatterblossom at future swing dance events, well stocked with tons of goodies, especially red flowers (there are never enough in red!).

Here’s a glimpse of what you missed:

Part of Chatterblossom's vendor area

Part of Chatterblossom’s vendor area

If your name is George, this is your lucky day - at Chatterblossom

If your name is George, this is your lucky day – at Chatterblossom

Earrings made from cute buttons, by Chatterblossom

Earrings made from cute buttons, by Chatterblossom

Ridiculous socks at Raleigh Vintage

Ridiculous socks at Raleigh Vintage

Adorable dress at Raleigh Vintage

Adorable dress at Raleigh Vintage

Ties at Raleigh Vintage

Ties at Raleigh Vintage

Raleigh Vintage always has a few good sweater vests!

Raleigh Vintage always has a few good sweater vests!

This neckline!  At Raleigh Vintage

This neckline! At Raleigh Vintage

Yellow men's shirt with top stitching, at Raleigh Vintage

Yellow men’s shirt with top stitching, at Raleigh Vintage

Miss Sharon Crawford, busy with a custom piece.

Miss Sharon Crawford, busy with a custom piece.

A box of jewels, which can become the basis for a Creation by Crawford.

A box of jewels, which can become the basis for a Creation by Crawford.

Eastern Balboa Championships 2013 – 10th Anniversary

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This weekend is the 10th and final Eastern Balboa Championships – I am sad to see it go, but have so many great memories from this event. I’ve worked with the organizers to bring in some great vendors and this year I am very excited about our local vendor offerings! Stay tuned for a report, but I do hope to see some of you this weekend!

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