Tag Archives: dress

Dress Review: La Vie en Swing’s Berlin Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The Berlin dress in mint in the narrower skirt option, with pockets.

The Berlin dress in mint in the A-line skirt option, with pockets.

A few months ago I wrote about La Vie en Swing and, in particular, their Berlin dress in purple, which resembles a dress worn by Agent Carter in her TV series. The Berlin dress also comes in mint green, which caught my attention even more, because I adore green and this particular shade is not something I have in my closet. Mint can be difficult in solids and, if not carefully styled, can end up looking a bit clinical, like hospital scrubs. This dress is far from scrubs because the details are impeccable:

– The fabric has a fine lustre that gives it depth and movement

– The fabric is lightweight and flowing, making it ideal for dancing – 100% viscose, machine washable if you don’t mind tricky ironing, or dry clean as a lazy option

– A slight puffed sleeve – there are never enough modern dresses with sleeves!

– Inset waistband, which could easily accommodate a belt

– A keyhole neckline with tie, which I adore

– The most divine Art Deco seaming around the neckline on both the front and the back of this dress and on the pockets. Only a solid color could do this justice, so that these details can be seen and not lost in a print.

Love everything about this neckline!

Love everything about this neckline!

The dress on the website is an A-line skirt with pockets, but La Vie En Swing also offers this dress with a more full skirt, slightly trumpeted, and better suited to my shape for movement and desires for swishy skirt-ness. If you are interested in a fuller skirt, do contact them about this option, they have been most helpful and accommodating!

I decided to give this dress a test run at Stompology X where I was singing with Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five. The dress presented very well on stage and I received loads of compliments on the color and the cut. I wish I had been able to dance more in the dress, but I did have one dance that weekend with Jonathan on a band break and it passed with flying colors – full arm rotation, modest skirt flare, good overall for movement, nothing that moved in a way that was uncomfortable or cause for worry or annoyance. A solid, beautiful choice for a dance dress that I would highly recommend. I don’t have anything else quite like it in my closet, and that’s saying a lot!

Check out the photos on the website and the ones I’ve posted below – still waiting for more people to post photos from Stompology, I know people took photos of me, I saw you! Until then, you’ll have the selfies I snapped at my host’s home before the gig. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions:

The classic mirror selfie - the fit is so good, I'm a very happy girl. :)

The classic mirror selfie – the fit is so good, I’m a very happy girl. :)

See this happiness?  All the seams...

See this happiness? All the seams…

All Balboa Weekend 2015 – Shopping and Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

abwFbLogo

All Balboa Weekend celebrated its 15th Anniversary this year and I celebrated my 9th anniversary of attending ABW. This Balboa homecoming/family reunion is one that I look forward to every year for the friends, the amazing dancing, and the wonderful vintage shopping that is available in Cleveland. This year, my report will combine shopping inside and outside the hotel, since some brick and mortar stores set up booths at ABW and other remain in their brick edifices. All are worthy of mention and this year’s shops and vendors did not disappoint!

My partner in crime this year was Berkeley, California dancer Alisa Szatrowski – I’ll give an honorable mention to Jack Flaps, a wonderful brunchy place she discovered and where we fortified ourselves before a day of vintage shopping.

1940's rayon blouse at Sweet Lorain

1940’s rayon blouse at Sweet Lorain

Our first stop is my always first stop, Sweet Lorain, and the owner Redwin Lewis welcomed us with open arms and escorted us back to the 30’s and 40’s area, where he showed us they had pulled additional racks of 30’s and 40’s clothing out just for ABW. *squee!* Soon, Alisa and I were lost in a jungle of clothing, amongst the close and very full racks, calling out to each other as if we were playing Marco Polo to try to find each other to show off choice garments. Sweet Lorain did not disappoint and Alisa and I soon had a dressing room full of things to try on, with another helpful employee pulling additional garments based on our selections. Seriously, an A+ for customer service. We both left with some wonderful pieces and warm fuzzy feelings about everything at Sweet Lorain.

1940's dress with appliqués at Chelsea's Costumes

1940’s dress with appliqués at Chelsea’s Costumes

Next stop was Chelsea’s Vintage Clothing and Costumes, which is an impressive warehouse full of clothing, and particularly has a large selection of menswear, which I wrote about more in-depth last year. We ran into dancer and DJ Bill Speidel and we did a quick run through the menswear, as I’m always shopping for certain dudes and the hubs. I left Chelsea’s empty-handed, but Alisa had great luck with late 30’s/early 40’s dresses in velvet and faille – dreamy!

The vendor market at ABW opens at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday and we were there even a little before that, with anxious vintage lovers already hovering over the booths.

The Gabriele, Re-Mix Vintage Shoes

The Gabriele, Re-Mix Vintage Shoes

The first booth you come to is Re-Mix Vintage Shoes and this booth was abuzz all weekend, with ladies buying shoes, trying on many more, and ogling the beautiful wares. The big hit this year was a new style, Gabriele, which is a low heeled 1930’s shoe with a t-strap, an alternative to the Balboa Style, with a slightly different shape and different colors. I would love to hear some reviews from the ladies who bought them and wore them this weekend – I did see Valerie Salstrom try them on the first day and then didn’t take them off as she continued to set up for the event!

A wonderful display of hats from Flower Child

A wonderful display of hats from Flower Child

Next in the line of vendors was Flower Child, which is comprised of several individual vendors that make up part of the brick and mortar store, and which takes up most of the hallway. They are always good about bringing in new inventory every day, taking requests, and having a nice selection of clothing, accessories, and some novelty items and knickknacks from the swing era. My favorite ABW find for this year came from Flower Child’s booth, a fully functional scales brooch, perfect for me as both a Libra and a lawyer – for serious, the scales have tiny chains and you could actually put things in the bowls and the scales would tip, SO COOL.

Ready to shake it

Ready to shake it

New to the vendor list this year was Sugar Shakers, the handiwork of Joanna Kassoulides Thibault, who got her start stitching chorus girl costumes for a troupe of the same name in Toronto and decided, after accumulating a wardrobe of costumes, that she would sell some of these versatile pieces. I love a good trumpet skirt and Joanna had a nice sampler of trumpet skirts, polka dot wrap blouses, bakelite-inspired earrings, as well as sharing a table with her husband Mike Thibault‘s handmade earrings and Vintage Jazz Art prints.

Cherry blossoms abound!

Cherry blossoms abound!

Next in the vendor lineup is ChatterBlossom, aka Jamie Sturdevant, who is local to me, but for ABW everyone can see her amazing handiwork up close, with flowers and headpieces made from vintage millinery flowers and jewelry made from vintage buttons. Seeing in person is even better, as I noted people running to their rooms for garments, trying to match a bloom to a dress, and (I know I’m a broken record on this, but) the colors in the vintage flowers are just so right for vintage clothing, for obvious reasons, and they are so much more exquisitely detailed than most modern artificial flowers I have seen. Jamie does custom pieces, too, so you can find the perfect bloom for that one of a kind vintage dress.

1940's ties at The Cleveland shop

1940’s ties at The Cleveland shop

Holding down the end of the hallway was The Cleveland Shop, which had a nice selection of men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, and jewelry. The owner would also bring in new items daily, and even brought in some divine tropical rayon fabric one day, that was gone before it could hit the market (I can’t wait to see that blouse, Jamie!). Oh, to have a warehouse full of endless vintage things to sell!

Each year the vendors at ABW are one of the things I look forward to most about the event and I truly appreciate the effort the vendors put into setting up, displaying, being there to sell, breaking it all down, and sometimes traveling great distances – I think Philip Heath, the owner of Re-mix Vintage Shoes, wins this year by flying in and shipping shoes from California, though past ABWs venders have flown in from as far away as the UK and Australia. We love that you do it and we’ll keep buying all the beautiful things. :)

Here are some more photos of all the lovely things:

Who knew the Cotton Club had a soda?  At Jack Flaps.

Who knew the Cotton Club had a soda? At Jack Flaps.

1940's jumper with fringe and embroidered pockets at Sweet Lorain.

1940’s jumper with fringe and embroidered pockets at Sweet Lorain.

1940's rayon dress at Sweet Lorain.

1940’s rayon dress at Sweet Lorain.

Another 40's number in cotton from Sweet Lorain

Another 40’s number in cotton from Sweet Lorain

A cool summer jacket from Chelsea's Costumes

A cool summer jacket from Chelsea’s Costumes

Headbands in all the colors from ChatterBlossom

Headbands in all the colors from ChatterBlossom

Divine orchids from ChatterBlossom

Divine orchids from ChatterBlossom

A selection of goodies from The Cleveland Shop

A selection of goodies from The Cleveland Shop

A closeup of the detail on this 1940's dress from The Cleveland Shop

A closeup of the detail on this 1940’s dress from The Cleveland Shop

Trumpet skirt, Sugar Shaker style

Trumpet skirt, Sugar Shaker style

Vintage Jazz Art prints

Vintage Jazz Art prints

More options to grace your walls, from Vintage Jazz Art

More options to grace your walls, from Vintage Jazz Art

More of the man spread from Flower Child

More of the man spread from Flower Child

Gorgeous 1930's dress from Flower Child.

Gorgeous 1930’s dress from Flower Child.

Gold bathing suit and the biggest sun hat I've ever seen, at Flower Child.

Gold bathing suit and the biggest sun hat I’ve ever seen, at Flower Child.

Laura Bakker’s Catalogue of Fashion for Men and Women

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Felt appliques make this blouse awesome!

Felt appliques make this blouse awesome!

I happened upon Laura Bakker’s Catalogue of Fashion website in one of those lists – THOSE lists, that purport to have links to all the repro goodness, but ultimately and eventually the links stop working as websites go out of business (which is why I won’t maintain one of THOSE lists on this website). HOWEVER, every now and again you find a true gem, still in business, with fantastic garments.

With a degree from the Art School of Maastricht in her pocket and a love of movie costumes from the 1930’s through the early 1950’s, Laura got to work making her line of unique and individualized fashions. From the website: “Everything is made by only me, the patterns, the clothes and all the applications. Every item is made only once, my little personal war against all the big productions ;-) I wish to offer all the ladies & gentlemen something special.”

The menswear offerings include great shirt and trouser basics that look comfortable for dancing. The women’s clothing is all about the details and you can see on each piece how it is unique and how Laura has left her own mark on each piece, with buttons, trim, contrasting fabrics, inset panels, and even hand-painted details.

Here are some of my favorites from the website:

These 1950's cut high waisted trousers look great for spring and summer.

These 1950’s cut high waisted trousers look great for spring and summer.

"In the Navy" playsuit YESSSSSSSSS

“In the Navy” playsuit YESSSSSSSSS

Blue rayon short sleeved shirt, check out that collar!

Blue rayon short sleeved shirt, check out that collar!

Margie dress - I love the placement of the trim, to draw the eye up toward the neckline and also emphasizing the waist, moving toward the hips.

Margie dress – I love the placement of the trim, to draw the eye up toward the neckline and also emphasizing the waist, moving toward the hips.

High waisted pants in gray-green.

High waisted pants in gray-green.

Green AND a keyhole neckline!

Green AND a keyhole neckline!

My grandmother had a dress with this hip detail in the late 1940's - love!

My grandmother had a dress with this hip detail in the late 1940’s – love!

Hand painted panther blouse, for lovers of cats great and small ;)

Hand painted panther blouse, for lovers of cats great and small ;)

1940's sports jacket

1940’s sports jacket

20th Century Foxy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

My favorite decade for fashion.

My favorite decade for fashion.

I don’t know why it took me so long to write about 20th Century Foxy, because I’ve been eyeballing things on their website for over a year and I’m firmly convinced that I just need to buy a plane ticket and go shopping in the UK with all the great vintage repro I’m seeing. With a pun-tastic name, this line of womenswear takes its inspiration from the early to mid-20th century, citing the years 1925 through 1964 as inspiration. With an obvious passion for vintage style, 20th Century Foxy also has the goal of selling “top quality clothing produced locally and in ethical circumstances and using local or regional businesses where possible.” Further, they also want to appeal to a wide range of shapes and sizes – “there is the perfect outfit for every woman of every shape and that it will make her feel like a goddess.” YES THERE IS.

In addition to solid reproduction and vintage-inspired garments, they offer style guides for the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, with a bit of history, etiquette, key looks (with photos from the past paired with looks from the website), and a shopping list.

Here’s what I’d love to add to my closet from 20th Century Foxy:

GET IN MY CLOSET

GET IN MY CLOSET

Rayon blouse in carnelian

Rayon blouse in carnelian

To go with everything!

To go with everything!

These earrings ALL DAY

These earrings ALL DAY

We'll file this under wishful thinking for my stature, but what a gorgeous color, shape, and that draped collar!

We’ll file this under wishful thinking for my stature, but what a gorgeous color, shape, and that draped collar!

La Vie en Swing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This could be yours!  Just add a belt. :)

This could be yours! Just add a belt. :)

If you’ve been following the adventures of Agent Carter, you’ll know that she has an impeccable 1940’s wardrobe that is ready for action and adventure – a particular purple dress caught the eye of Balboa dancer and instructor Nelle Cherry and, in her diligence and internet mastery, located a close approximation of said dress at La Vie en Swing. Classic 40’s shape, flattering waist, keyhole neckline, swing skirt, the Berlin dress is all the things I love in a dress and would love to wear on the dance floor. While I’m sure that this purple dress similarity a purely wonderful coincidence, it led me down the rabbit hole to exploring the La Vie En Swing clothing line.

The Berlin dress can also be made with a more full, swishy skirt, more suited for dancing - inquire within!

The Berlin dress can also be made with a more full, swishy skirt, more suited for dancing – inquire within!

La Vie en Swing offers a wonderful 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s reproduction clothing line, with an obvious bent toward swing dancers, with pieces that offer ease of movement and a swish of the skirt. From the website: “Our patterns are accurate in order to enhance and flatter the femenine silhouette. Some of the designs come from original vintage sewing patterns and some other designs are our own creations inspired in the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s, precious years of the Swing Era.”

I am loving the color palette – pinks, purples, mint, cream, and a pop of orange or red. One of my big complaints with vintage 1940’s clothing is the overall lack of color (I find lots of black, brown, navy) and I think La Vie en Swing has embraced a cheerful color palette (bring on the spring!) without resorting to colors that look out of character or like a caricature of the era. The pieces are carefully selected, with lovely details – a little bow detail on the skirt, keyhole necklines (love, love, love!), high waisted sailor trousers, pockets on dresses, and an adorable take on the shirtwaist dress.

Right now the clothing line is limited to womenswear, but I see that menswear is coming soon!

Here are some of my favorites from the La Vie en Swing clothing line:

I really like the proportions of this shirtwaist - Mia light blue tea Dress, also available in pink, yellow, and two prints.

I really like the proportions of this shirtwaist – light blue Tea Dress

Another sassy keyhole dress, the Amy dress, inspired by a 1950's pattern, also available in soft yellow.

Another sassy keyhole dress, the Amy dress, inspired by a 1950’s pattern, also available in soft yellow.

The Berlin blouse, the white blouse to go with everything, with MORE KEYHOLE and lovely Art Deco seaming at the neck.  *swoon!*  Also available in a bright orange/coral color.

The Berlin blouse, the white blouse to go with everything, with MORE KEYHOLE and lovely Art Deco seaming at the neck. *swoon!* Also available in a bright orange/coral color.

The Lindy skirt, also available in red and black - the drape looks so nice, I'd love to see this in person!

The Lindy skirt, also available in red and black – the drape looks so nice, I’d love to see this in person!

This candy stripe blouse looks good enough to eat - Willa blouse, also available in a blue/brown stripe.

This candy stripe blouse looks good enough to eat – Willa blouse, also available in a blue/brown stripe.

High waisted sailor pants in denim!  Also available in black.  Love the pairing with the coral blouse!

High waisted sailor pants in denim! Also available in black. Love the pairing with the coral Berlin blouse!

Trashy Diva 30% Off Everything

Let us give thanks for rayon prints, designer Candice Gwinn, and the city of New Orleans

Let us give thanks for rayon prints, designer Candice Gwinn, and the city of New Orleans

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Well, I’ve died and gone to heaven – not only did my favorite dress company, Trashy Diva, just come out with a green “kimono print” made of green and candy and marshmallow fluff and everything I love, they are offering 30% off EVERYTHING on their website (sale, new, jewelry, Re-mix Vintage Shoes *COUGHCOUGH*) with the code BLACKOUT30. Dress and matching head scarf acquired as we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, leaving me with much to be thankful for!

The promotion ends Monday, December 1, so get your orders in for your holiday dresses now before the postal service gets bananas!

Love you, Trashy Diva!

Costume Stock Liquidation Yields Excellent Reproductions on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

My eBay searches this week have been filled with good things and most of the items I have clicked on turn out to be really good reproductions from eBay seller portlandcostumes, who simply states the following: “Liquidating costume stock. I started in Ancient Greece and have finally worked my way up to the 20th century.” Some of these great dresses have zero bids and are starting the bidding at $20! Some have never been worn! I can’t even post all the awesomeness because I’d be posting everything, go (quickly!) check out this seller’s store:

1930's repro in cream burnout velvet NEVER WORN

1930’s repro in cream burnout velvet NEVER WORN

40's repro in green cotton print

40’s repro in green cotton print

Silk plaid 1930's repro with adorable collar and cuffs

Silk plaid 1930’s repro with adorable collar and cuffs

30's repro in white linen - how sweet is this?

30’s repro in white linen – how sweet is this?

30's repro and it has a matching jacket!

30’s repro and it has a matching jacket!

50's repro - $12!!!

50’s repro – $12!!!

No words...

No words…

A Peach of a Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I’m presently in adoration of this 1940’s dress with the most adorable peach printed fabric, as such that I will now be on the lookout for adorable peach printed fabric so that I may have one of my own! The bidding is at $20 for those of you with a 26 inch waist…

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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

Trashy Diva – Crepe Myrtle and Blue Hawaii

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Lena Sarong Dress in Blue Hawaii print

Lena Sarong Dress in Blue Hawaii print

A week ago today I walked in to Trashy Diva’s French Quarter dress shop on a mission to buy a dress – I can’t often make this statement because it is so rare that one would actually get to walk into their store, but more often the case is gazing at their dresses through a web browser. The day before my trip, swing dance instructor and Diva Mia Goldsmith posted that the store had, that day, received their new line of spring/summer dresses and I was elated because I knew I would be able to try all of them on in person.

The new collection did not disappoint – I could have walked out of there with all of the pieces from both prints and then died and gone to heaven. There’s a little something for everyone! In the crepe myrtle print, you can have their sweet Ashley dress with sleeves, the Lena sarong dress with a shoulder drape (for drama), a friggin adorable romper, blouse, skirt, halter dress, hottie top, aaaaaaaaah!

Seriously.  This romper.  DYING.

Seriously. This romper. DYING.

Blue Hawaii print offerings include the Lena, halter, and skirt, but also the strappy L’amour dress, a Trixie top, a front tie top, high waisted shorts, two matching headband options (knot or giant bow), and, it’s not on the website, but I swear there was a little bolero jacket in this print, as well. Just immaculate, in that wonderful rayon. I picked up an Ashley and a Lena in the crepe myrtle – as a note, the Lena is smocked with elastic in the back, so there is a good amount of stretch for fit and you may need to go down 1-2 sizes to get a really good fit.

SO HAPPY! Trashy Diva, you have my heart!

Fan Print Dress

43960

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I love patterned fabrics and have been hoping to find something as lovely at this vintage dress with a fan print, which the seller lists as 1940’s. I love the cut, with the nod to kimono in the sleeves and the ruched edge at the top bringing the eye up, the way the fabric lays, the shawl collar…and, of course, the print is amazing on this sassy and elegant dress.

*drool*

43945

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!

Green Satin 1940’s Holiday Dress

$_57-1

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I’m still in holiday dress mode – would love to own something like this 1940’s green satin dress, maybe with the skirt a bit wider for dancing. The shape, color, and fabric are so lovely here, but the kicker is the draping in the back – this is definitely a NYE-worthy dress… *drools*

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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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