Tag Archives: shoe

Ros Hommerson Harper Shoe – Accidental 1930′s Reproduction?

HarperBlkMicro

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I came across the Ros Hommerson Harper shoe in my Zulily email this morning and did a double take because the shape of the shoe is almost exactly like a pair of late 1930′s shoes I own, down to the mix of fabric and leather in the shoe and that quintessential shape where it comes to a V on the vamp. The heel could be thicker and there are some other obvious modern updates, but then this isn’t necessarily a vintage shoe reproduction company. Buy it on the Drew shoes website for $129.00 or get it on Zulily for a limited time for $64.99.

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American Duchess “Claremont,” Reproduction 1930′s Oxford

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

clarement-1930s-suede-oxford-brown-1-340x340

I first heard of American Duchess from my fellow blogger Beth Grover at V is for Vintage – I was excited that another reproduction shoe company had come along to give us more options for dance shoes, even customizable options via dye/paint. American Duchess focuses on earlier eras of women’s footwear and, until now, their latest time period of footwear offered was the 1920′s.

The Claremont is American Duchess’s 1930′s oxford, done in classic fashion – not too fussy, with elegant details. Available in black and brown (for pre-order right now), suede with patent leather accents and a 2 3/8 inch heel. The pre-order price is $115, $20 less than what you will pay when they are in stock…or, you could win a pair for free in the giveaway they are having right now. :)

Johnston & Murphey Holbrook Linen Cap Toe

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

BEHOLD! I give you this glorious new shoe from Johnston & Murphey – the Holbrook Linen Cap Toe! I can’t think of many other shoes more worthy of a linen or seersucker suit. Gents, this is one snappy shoe.

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Taking Care of Your Dance Shoes

cobbler

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Our dance hobby is relatively light on equipment – all you really need is a good pair of dance shoes. Once you find that pair (or 20) you want to be able to wear them for as long as possible, get the most mileage out of them, but you also want them to look nice for as long as possible. Here are some tips on keeping your shoes in shape:

Air Out

We get sweaty when we dance and gravity tends to pull things downward, including your sweat. There have been those nights after a dance where my socks are a puddle. Rather than stuffing your shoes away or leaving them in a bag, when you get home from the dance take them out and just let them sit overnight. A good airing out will do wonders for longevity and odor prevention.

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For more advanced airing out, you can purchase unvarnished shoe trees to draw the moisture out of your leather shoes, so long as you get the trees into the shoes within an hour or two of removing your shoes. If your shoes are really wet, stuffing them with newspaper will help draw out the moisture. Be sure not to put them on a heater or heat dry them, as this can damage the leather and/or the bonding material.

Wash Your Feet and Your Socks

While I rarely wear out dance shoes, I have had to throw away a pair of shoes for the smell (leather wedges, how I love to wear thee without socks!). To help prevent smelly shoes, in general, it’s a good idea to make sure your feet are clean and that your socks are cleaner – just say no to wearing that same pair of socks all day and night and late night at an event. Bring a change of socks and, if you happen to have smelly-prone feet or a predilection for walking around barefoot between dances, take a moment to wash your feet before inserting them back into your dance shoes.

This must be the coolest kid in her ballet class.

This must be the coolest kid in the ballet class.

Bag Them

It’s a good idea to put your dance shoes in a small shoe bag or another type of small bag before slinging them into another bag, your car, your suitcase, or whatever vessel gets you and them to the dance. It protects their exterior from scuffing up against other things (ballpoint pens, food, sharp objects, etc.) that may be lurking in your bag that could damage the exterior of your shoes. Bagging your shoes also conveniently serves the purpose of protecting your other things from the shoes, which may be dusty from the dance floor. I like to put mine either sole to sole or top to top and then wrap the rest of the loose bag around them like a burrito to make sure they are secure, then put them in my bag for the night.

Repair

I firmly believe everyone should have a cobbler. I don’t know how I would live without mine – I’ve had heels pop off, soles come loose, and giant patches of color scraped from the toe of a shoe by a wayward leader’s giant foot. A visit to the cobbler means that these things can be repaired by replacement, re-gluing/nailing, and I actually had to have a pair of shoes entirely re-colored because there was no polish of that color – but I did it and it meant spending $20 to have them fixed rather than $160 for a new pair. If your shoes are smelly, have your cobbler replace the insole to see if that helps with the odor. I have rarely encountered a shoe problem that could not be addressed, or at least improved, by a cobbler in some fashion.

Resole

Soles getting thin? Cracked? Coming apart? Or maybe you just want a different sole – talk to your cobbler about your options.

My dad has had one of these mega shoe shine kits with the swanky wooden box for as long as I can remember.  When you have to special order extra narrow shoes, replacing them can get expensive.  I used to consider it a privilege to sit down with my dad and help him polish his shoes (is that weird?) and I always loved the results - shiny!

My dad has had one of these mega shoe shine kits with the swanky wooden box for as long as I can remember. When you have to special order extra narrow shoes, replacing them can get expensive. I used to consider it a privilege to sit down with my dad and polish his shoes (is that weird?) and I always loved the results – shiny!

Polish, Shine, Brush, and/or Dye

How to spruce up your shoes is going to depend on the type of material.

If you have leather shoes, polishing them is good not only for keeping them shiny and new looking, but also for preserving the leather and keeping it supple – the salt in your sweat can dry out the leather over time. Cobblers, grocery stores, and other retailers have shoe polish kits that you can buy to help you with the materials and instructions you may need. If you can’t find the right color polish locally, you may have to hit the internet (so many colors!) or get creative to cover those scuffs – I discovered that Gold Sharpies are almost the exact same gold as the Re-Mix Balboas in gold, I just color over the scuff and rub the color in with my finger.

For suede shoes, there are specific materials – you can get a suede eraser to touch up scuffs and a suede brush will restore the nap of the leather.

If you love white Keds, you know that by sueding them you can’t just throw them in the wash when they get dirty. You can use a tablespoon of baking soda and just a bit of water to make a paste and rub it onto the more noticeable spots, then wipe clean.

Then there’s that whole bit about cleaning the white mesh Aris Allen oxfords with Windex…

Finally, some shoes are made of dyeable materials, so if they are just beyond hope you could always make them a different color. Beth Grover at V is for Vintage has a great tutorial on how to dye your Aris Allen oxfords.

Buy More Than One Pair

I know I’m going to get resistance from some people on this one, but you should own more than one pair of dance shoes, especially if you are Lindy Hopping multiple nights a week. You want your shoes to last longer and to give them time to breathe between wearings, which is why it’s not a good idea to wear the same pair of shoes every day. You also want your feet to stay limber and not put repeated pressure on the same areas of the foot with a certain pair of shoes, which is another good reason to rotate dance shoes. Different shoes use different muscles and we want to keep our muscles in good condition so we can dance for as long as possible. :)

Remix Anita in Green, Size 10

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

God, this is a no-brainer – size 10, new in box, green Anitas, Buy it Now $89.99. Retails for $190.00 at remixvintageshoes.com. Go!

Brown Mesh and Leather Oxford

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

If you can’t wait for Dancestore.com to come out with their mesh and leather oxford, here’s an original specimen on eBay in size 10.5! These would look great with…just about anything this summer. :)

Introducing the Vogue Wedge

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I know I do a blog post every time Re-Mix exhales, but this is important because I love dancing in wedges – Re-mix Vintage Shoes has come out with a new wedge they are calling Vogue (or, if you read the fashion bible, you might call it the VOGUE).

From the website: “We have replicated every detail of this 1940’s style, from the multi perforations on the vamp, to the grosgraine fabric piping of the original. It has a vintage “roller buckle” detail, and of course the legendary comfort is “standard”. All leather construction and polished leather soles. Available in White, Red or Yellow…”

Love!

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?

Dance Shoes for Wide or Narrow Feet

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

My most recent article for Yehoodi:

If there’s one thing we need to wear as dancers, it’s appropriate and comfortable footwear. Shoes that fit you well can make a positive difference in your dancing; conversely, shoes that are ill-fitting can negatively impact your dancing and potentially cause health problems. So what do you do when you can’t find a pair of shoes that fits because of the width or shape of your foot?

I’ve had a couple of requests about dance shoes for irregular feet widths, specifically dance Keds and Balboa shoes. While I wear a regular width shoe, I just barely missed the genetic gift of narrow feet from my father and paternal grandmother, who both have very narrow feet (Granny wears a AAAA). Finding narrow shoes in retail stores seems to be an extinct possibility for them, so both of them have had to order shoes from catalogs that offer narrow and wide width shoes. This can get pretty expensive, considering my dad had to wear a suit and dress shoes every day to work and my grandmother loves to dress up.

However, these shoes do exist! I’ll start with the Keds, because that is easy – Keds makes narrow and wide widths of their Champion Oxford, the quintessential Lindy Hop shoe of the past few years. Keds makes them in AAAA (super narrow), AA (narrow), B (medium), D (wide), and EE (extra wide) widths. You are a bit limited in the colors available, but the classic white and black are there, as well as navy, blue, red and tan.

The process to get them to dance shoes is the same – buy Keds and either glue the suede/leather sole them yourself or take them to a cobbler to be sueded/leathered.

You can buy the different widths from the Keds website, but I found that finding the different widths was easier and they were cheaper on the Maryland Square website (which is the catalog my Granny uses). Also, the EE width did not appear to be available on either website, but was available in the paper catalog, so if you are looking for this width you will probably need to place a phone order with Maryland Square.

Men, you can have these in two-tone or one color, with 13 different colors to choose from.

My suggestion for different widths of Balboa shoes and for men looking for an oxford for dancing is to buy a custom pair of tango shoes. Tango shoe makers tend to offer vintage-inspired styles of shoes and will create a custom pair for your feet using actual measurements of your feet. The cost is more than a pair of Aris Allens, but generally less than a pair of Re-Mix Vintage Shoes. I ordered a custom pair from Mr. Tango Shoes a few years ago and had a very positive experience. The fit of my custom shoes was unparalleled. On top of the width/shape, you can also customize the colors in both two-tone and mono-tone, the heel height and width/shape, the type of sole, the arch support, cushioning at the ball of the foot, and whether or not you want a platform. Another friend has had a good experience ordering custom shoes from Guaranteed Fit Tango Shoes.

Kind of digging this pair from Mr. Tango Shoes, maybe with a silver metallic and a wider, shorter heel

If you have narrow feet, the vintage shoe world is your oyster. I would encourage you to look for vintage shoes on eBay and in vintage stores. Always ask whoever is working in the vintage store if they have narrow shoes because they don’t always put them out, and ask your local vintage store to be on the lookout for your size – often, stores will turn down shoes that are narrow because they don’t believe they will sell. Let them know you are the person who will buy these shoes!

Also, if you have wide or narrow feet and have found something that works for you, please feel free to share your experience or source here – I know there are others who would like to have this information. :)

Free Shipping for Re-Mix Vintage Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This just in from the wire: “For “THANKSGIVING WEEK,” free shipping on all orders sent to anywhere in the U.S., from Monday November 21 to Monday, November 28th! For our Overseas customers – 50% off normal shipping prices!”

Shipping is usually around $20.00 for Re-Mix shoes from CA to NC, and I can’t imagine what the international cost might be…

If you haven’t started your holiday shopping, now might be a good time – who wouldn’t want a nice pair of Re-Mix Vintage Shoes under the tree?

EBC 2011 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

EBC beach clip swag

It’s already wonderful that the Eastern Balboa Championships is just a short drive away, but this year EBC really had the feel of a top notch swing dance event, brimming with a level of excitement and enthusiasm that is almost unrivaled. EBC already felt like a Balboa family reunion, bridging the gap between All Balboa Weekends, but this year it felt like EBC really came into its own as an event. The new hotel for this year’s EBC, the North Raleigh Hilton, provided a lovely ballroom space, a big hallway with chairs and tables for vendors, registration, and for hanging out, and there were no shortage of extra rooms for practice space. There were competitions for everyone and I am proud of the newer Raleigh/Durham Balboa dancers, some of them only dancing Balboa for a few weeks prior to the event, taking the challenge head on and entering their first amateur competitions.

Some of the Vintage Collective spread

This year, EBC grew from one vendor to four vendors. The solo repeat vendor, and one that is near and dear to my heart, is the Vintage Collective (Andi Shelton, Claire Villa, and Laura Churchill Pemberton), who paid attention to what was bought and who purchased it last year, then went out to their sources to find even more of these vintage goods that swing dancers wear. The result was four large racks of clothing from the 1920′s through the 1940′s, both men’s and women’s apparel, three tables of accessories, and a giant shoe rack. The Vintage Collective was only set up for one day, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and I was there with my fellow vintage poachers at 9:00 sharp, freshly rolled out of bed and ready to commence with the hunt.

I intended to go grab the goodies I wanted, then go back to bed, but it was so exciting trying on clothes with my friends and choosing outfits for people that it was lunchtime before I knew it. I think Rita Shiang got my two favorite dresses of the day – a 1930′s sailor dress with red trim and a 1940′s brown floral rayon dress with amazing draping and a fishtail attachment in the back, you know, for sass. Again, I forgot to take photos of all this good stuff until the end of my shopping visit, I got so wrapped up in the experience…

So many shoes!

Next, we have Dancestore, the anchor vendor of any major swing dance event and one that is continuously welcome, as they continue to provide reasonably priced, reproduction dance shoes that are essential to any swing dancer’s wardrobe. At one point, Frankie Hagan stopped dancing and came up to me to show me that his heel had come off his shoe. About 10 minutes later he came back up to me to show off his new pair of Aris Allen cap toes. THIS is only one of the great reasons to have a shoe vendor at your event. Another is to be able to actually try on the shoes to ensure a good fit. Then, at the dance on Sunday night, Kara Fabina announced that Dancestore would be selling their entire inventory at the event for 40% off for the next 15 minutes. YES!!! There was a rush to purchase the discounted shoes and even I decided to replace my pair of white mesh oxfords that I had danced a hole through the toe – at 40% off, how could you not?

Creations by Crawford is Sharon Crawford’s name for the hair flowers, fascinators, boutonnieres, and other clothing ornamentations she makes. I was a bit confused when I saw Sharon’s vendor space, as there were a few items for sale, but it mostly looked like a craft studio, with supplies everywhere. Then Bill Speidel showed me his boutonniere and explained that Sharon had made it custom to go with his outfit. I looked over and Sharon confirmed, as she furiously sewed together one of her creations for a customer. This is a new approach and one that can work at a weekend event – you have a bit of a captive audience if the shopper is there for the weekend, why not make something to go with what they are wearing if they have the time to wait? By the end of the dance you can have a custom piece that you know will work with something you have.

Finally, we have Vintage Visage, the brainchild of Kathryn Meyer, who had a fantastic display of vintage-inspired hats and accessories for sale, including hair flowers, fancy gloves, hats for ladies and gents, and the ever essential fan. Whoever has the foresight to sell fans at dances is always tops in my book. If you are looking for Kathryn and her wares after EBC, she is a regular vendor at Richmond’s Second Saturday dances.

And that about wraps it up for another great year at EBC! Here are some supplemental photos of the vendors:

My favorite Dancestore wedge in brown

Nelle Cherry models a Dancestore limited edition two tone mesh and leather heeled oxford

Sharon shows off her handiwork

Kathryn and Meghan with the Vintage Visage spread

Hats and purses - even a 1920's cloche! From the Vintage Collective

Adorable socks and ties from the Vintage Collective

The Vintage Collective's shoe rack

Elizabeth getting ready to hit the dressing room

Lovely fabrics from the Vintage Collective dresses

Happy shoppers!

Aris Allen Black Wingtips

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

On the heels of their white wingtip, Dancestore.com has introduced a black wingtip oxford to their line of Aris Allen dance shoes. This is most certainly a welcome addition and one that, I believe, may be picked up by people outside of the dance community. At $74.95, this pair of basic black dress shoes is less than half the retail cost of most new pairs of black wingtips with leather soles.

Miss L Fire Fall 2011 Collection

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

OH. MY. HAWT. It’s been a long time since I came across a shoe that I couldn’t get out of my head, that I was so distracted about that I couldn’t focus on anything else until I figured out how to make it mine. Miss L Fire‘s fall 2011 collection has this shoe, and several other shoes with a distinctly jazz age styling that are simply amazing. Miss L Fire always has some really quirky and amazing shoes, and this goes for the fall collection as well, but there are a few pairs that just defy awesome and somehow become…art. And do you see all these mid-height heels?! OK, I’ve talked this up enough, check out the shoes!

Goddess shoe - I don't usually post what I plan to hoard for myself, but these were just too good not to share. IWILLOWNTHESE

Clara shoe - a wonderfully detailed t-strap with a wide, low heel - also in green, red and black, and brown

Edith shoe - an adorable oxford heel with a wonderful perforated design in the leather - also available in brown and royal blue

Gabrielle shoe, studded with Swarovski crystals - perfect for your holiday outings and dances - also available in red, blue, and brown

Mamie shoe - so cute! Also available in brown, black, and blue and tan combo

Mabel (she's the bomb?) shoe - a great option for a stylish flat shoe - also available in black and white combo and brown and white combo

Aris Allen White Wingtip Oxford

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Aris Allen is on a roll this week, this time with the debut of a new men’s shoe (a rare occurrence, indeed) – a lovely white wingtip oxford with classic broguing detail along the seams and on the toe. Aris Allen has been the go-to for affordable men’s swing dance shoes and I’m happy to see this welcome addition to their men’s footwear line. Now, you just have to decide if you are a white wingtip man or a white cap toe man…

The Help, Starring Aris Allen

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Do you recognize these shoes?

I took this photograph at the movie theater tonight, from a giant banner for the movie “The Help,” which will be in theaters tomorrow. I am almost 95% certain that these shoes are the white Aris Allen 1940′s peep toe oxfords. Can anyone verify this? I suppose it caught me off-guard – you expect to see, for example, Remix reproduction 1920′s shoes in a 1920′s movie, but not necessarily 1940′s repro shoes in a 1960′s movie. Surprises where you least expect it. :)