Tag Archives: swing dance

Field Trip: Vintage Shopping in St. Louis

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


St. Louis has legs!

A couple of weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to visit St. Louis, Missouri and perform at the Nevermore Jazz Ball with Michael Gamble and his Rhythm Serenaders.  I was particularly eager to visit St. Louis because there are some very dear dance friends in my life who moved there after living with or near me in North Carolina and I heard there was amazing vintage clothing there – knowing that St. Louis had a lot of money/industry during my sought-after clothing periods and seeing the amazing wardrobe of Miss Jubilee in photographs online, I was beyond excited to take my first trip to this Midwest city.


I picked Saturday of Nevermore to embark on my shopping adventure, meeting up with Athena Moon and Lian Tarhay for a quick stop at The Vintage Haberdashery and then brunch at Rooster.  The Vintage Haberdashery is part vintage store, part costume shop and had a small, but respectable selection of pre-WWII clothing and some great 1920’s reproduction beaded gowns glistening from the rafters.  The store was well-organized with lots of quality items, and a particularly nice display of shoes and hats.  I spotted a bunch of great 40’s day and cocktail dresses, some 1940’s oxfords, and a nice selection of menswear, both dress and sportswear items.  Definitely worth a stop!


After brunch, we went to Cherokee Street to take in the Cherokee Street Jazz Crawl, which happened to include a vintage shop as a venue and be down the street from another vintage shop – bliss!  Imagine shopping in a stacked vintage clothing store with a live hot jazz band playing just outside on the back patio, and you could take a break, dance, shop, dance, shop – that was my experience at Retro 101.  Seriously, a luxury!  Retro 101 had so many special pieces, I can’t even articulate everything, delicious sheer 1930’s dresses, beautiful rayon print 1940’s dresses, wonderful gowns, hats, gloves, leather, and a case of amazing bakelite!  Feathers!  Beading!  I didn’t even get to the menswear, but I spotted some usual suspects with great garments and accessories in hand, so I know there was good stuff!


Finally, we visited Ruth’s Vintage Clothing, a little shop on the corner just a few blocks from Retro 101.  Almost as soon as we stepped into the store, we heard the second line start up outside and ran back out to see the parade.  At this point I’m thinking St. Louis and this event definitely have really unique offerings for the dance community – dancers joined in, people were drawn out of shops and restaurants to watch, adding to the magnetic and magical SOMETHING in the air that made this event distinctive, local, and inviting.  We went back into Ruth’s, which had a few 1940’s dresses and some great accessories, including an Art Deco belt buckle and brooch set that combined distinctive rhinestone angled shapes with early plastic (bakelite or celluloid, not sure) flowers blooming from the stones – VERY tempting, can we create a dress or gown around this?

We followed the second line back down to Retro 101, took another gander (so much to take in!), then ended up at Melt for a cider and to hear Mike Faltesek and Chloe Feoranzo play their last set of the day.  An all around very satisfying day of shopping in a wonderful city!


1940’s heels with potential at The Vintage Haberdashery – those waves!


Adorable!  All the details!  At The Vintage Haberdashery.


This wonderful confection of a hat, at The Vintage Haberdashery.


A menswear display at The Vintage Haberdashery.


The serious goods hanging from the ceiling at Retro 101.


The bakelite case in all its glory, at Retro 101.


This purple plaid 1930’s dress at Retro 101 is EVERYTHING.


Beaded detail on sleeve of 1930’s dress at Retro 101.


A snapshot of the men’s section at Retro 101.


A carousel of accessories at Retro 101.


A lovely neckline on this 1940’s dress at Ruth’s Vintage Clothing.


A wall of accessories at Ruth’s Vintage Clothing.


A closeup of a 1940’s floral rayon dress with these interesting ruched scallops down the seam, at Ruth’s Vintage Clothing.


Following the second line down Cherokee Street.


1940’s Reproduction Overalls by Nudeedudee

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


A definite trend at ILHC 2015 was overalls, sported by both male and female dancers alike. While typically associated with more rural endeavors (and perhaps costumed, in some instances, as a nod to such), overalls are comfortable, typically a bit wider in the leg and the seat by design, and create a nice long line from your soles up to your chest. Anything that makes me look taller is good in my book!

I purchased a fantastic pair of 1940’s reproduction overalls from Nudeedudee last year and I am in love – the styling is a bit softer than your standard modern overall, with a torso shape that is more akin to a sundress (flattering!), and buttons with button holes instead of a metal button and metal loop. I get so many compliments every time I have worn them! Style a la Rosie the Riveter to complete your swing era workwear look. Available in denim and engineer stripe, as well as a denim romper if you are looking for shorts.


My pair, styled for OcTieBer with a vintage bow tie and flannel shirt.

My pair of Nudeedudee overalls, styled for OcTieBer with a vintage bow tie and flannel shirt.

From the Top, Episode 6 – Fashion and Swing Dance

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I’m delighted to have been asked to be a part of the From the Top podcast‘s exploration of fashion for swing dancers. This is the sixth episode from this podcast that, in general, explores topics surrounding swing music and swing dancing. The host of From the Top, Vienna-based dancer Alexei Korolyov, explores modern lindy hop fashion with discussions from New York dancer/DJ Voon Chew, Vienna University’s Dr. Elisabeth Frottier, Russian dancer Yana Sanamyants, Saint Savoy owner Rani-Patricia Dirnhofer, and yours truly. Clocking in at 19 minutes, we can keep you company on your commute to somewhere this week – enjoy!


Jive Styles – Lindy Hop Tees

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Willamae and Leon!

Willamae and Leon!

On a tip from Kevin and Jo’s Facebook page, I stumbled upon Jive Styles, a retail website specializing in Lindy Hop themed tee shirts featuring the artwork of two dancing artists, Sarah Carney (said in my best Duke Ellington impression) and Michael Lombardi. Their cartoons of famous Lindy Hoppers in iconic poses, from Lucille and Frankie to Jo and Kevin, are fresh and adorable, as well as their wonderful original artwork. I see it as a continuation of our legacy as dancers in art, with a nod to Disney’s animation of Benny Goodman’s All the Cats Join In. The shirts are available in standard, soft, v-neck, and scoop neck styles, and a wide array of colors – check it out!

Solo jazz dancer and her shellac!

Solo jazz dancer and her shellac!

ModCloth’s Bugle Joy Skirt

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


While we’re talking about skirts, I’d like to talk about Mod Cloth’s Bugle Joy Skirt, one of the great basics that ModCloth offers that I picked up for work, but then spotted on dancer friends as we all independently discovered the wonders of this skirt. Chicago dancer Lindsay Longstreth sported a plum Bugle Joy at the Knoxville Lindy Exchange and I spotted its signature shape and spin- she learned about the skirt from St. Louis dance instructor Jenny Shirar, who has one in olive. Within the month I spotted one on Philadelphia dancer Caitlin Farthing in the OcTieBer group. After such compelling evidence, it’s safe to say that the Bugle Joy skirt is a success amongst Lindy Hoppers.

Why is this skirt great? Here’s the rundown:

– A full skirt that is a nod to the New Look without being costumey

– It twirls nicely for a full skirt, without too much bloomer exposure

– The polyester fabric drapes nicely and is super durable

– It doubles for work-wear – in fact, I initially purchased one in red as a work skirt.

– It comes in some great basic colors and not-so-basic colors, like black, red, gray, rust, burgundy, olive, teal, and plum

– At $54.99 it’s not too hard on the wallet for a quality skirt

I hope ModCloth continues to carry this skirt or even expand its colors offered – what a great, versatile piece to add to your wardrobe!

OcTieBer Starts Tomorrow!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

One of my favorite outfits from last year's OcTieBer.

One of my favorite outfits from last year’s OcTieBer.

Now in its fifth year, OcTieBer is “a month long sartorial celebration of quality neckwear worn in a traditional style” – in reality, it is much more than the sum of this description: it is the encouragement of people of all walks, creeds, and genders to embrace classic style (or modern twists on classic style); it highlights accessories that we don’t often consider in our modern lives, unless you happen to be a lawyer or just really like wearing neck scarves or ascots; it encourages you to dig deep into your closet and pull out those neglected ties or challenges regular tie wearers to create new ensembles and be inspired by others; it may cause people to notice you in positive ways; it creates a sense of camaraderie within the OcTieBer Facebook group where novice and even professional dressers can share their creativity and efforts for the day or every day of October.

OcTieBer IS inspiring. The challenge is to wear neckwear every day for the month of October, but even if you only join us for a couple of days, I invite you to join us for the fun of dressing, learning from and being inspired by others, and being supported in your endeavors by a wonderful group of people.

Here are the official rules, from the Facebook group:

“How to participate? It’s simple:

1. Wear a collared shirt and tie each day (be it a long tie, bow tie, ascot, cravat, bolo, western double string tie or any other traditional neckwear that expresses your personal style). Preferably your outfit will be paired with a jacket, sweater, vest or other accessories that suggest why you’ve chosen that day’s tie.

2. Upload an image of your fine outfit with an optional description of the designer, type of knot, fabric, etc.

3. Share the love by encouraging your friends to admire your statement of personal style.”

Blushing Violet Wants To Know What You’re Wearing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Would ya like to take a survey?

Would ya like to take a survey?

Oklahoma dancers Michelle Stokes and Laurel Ryan have ideas and designs on starting a made-to-measure clothing line called Blushing Violet for swing dancers, vintage styles and cuts in modern fabrics, made for the wearer with our special dancer needs in mind. What’s great is that you will know about this before it even exists and you can influence and share what YOU like to wear dancing that may influence what they offer in their clothing line. Take a minute and fill out this brief survey about the who, what, where, when and why of dance clothing: http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s/fEiCLxdq

It will be so interesting to follow Blushing Violet’s progress, I hope to stay in the loop and share updates on this blog!

Phineas Cole by Paul Stuart Spring 2015 Tie Collection

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

More than a nod to Art Deco, the Phineas Cole Spring tie collection is so expressly Art Deco that the word Deco is used in most of the tie names. These ties are gorgeous in their geometric simplicity, just vintage enough to be convincing, yet modern enough that they might even go by unnoticed as a throwback (but certainly noticed for their loveliness!). A sample of the goodies:

Line Deco Silk Tie

Line Deco Silk Tie

Deco Dot Silk Tie

Deco Dot Silk Tie

Deco Fans Silk Tie

Deco Fans Silk Tie

Deco Swirl Silk Tie

Deco Swirl Silk Tie

Deco Triangle Silk Tie

Deco Triangle Silk Tie

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.


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.

Vintage Jazz and Lindy Hop Jamberry Nails

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Albuquerque swing dancer Alyx Hodges has designed several sets of Jamberry fingernails, featuring artwork from vintage jazz, swing, and jazz dance posters! You can order a set through Alyx’s Jamberry group on Facebook – essentially, you buy gift certificates through Jamberry and, because Alyx created this custom set, you have to order them through her. I’m not one to ever have my fingernails done, but the thought of having Artie Shaw or Duke Ellington on my nails is VERY tempting…


Vote for the Next Charlie Stone Dance Shoe!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The fairly recently launched Charlie Stone Shoes is already working on their next swing dance shoe, utilizing the first shoe design’s low/hidden wedge, and you get to vote on what shoe they make next!  There are four adorable designs to choose from and all you have to do is go to the Charlie Stone Shoes Facebook page and tell them which shoe is your favorite: A, B, C, or D.  I love it when designers incorporate fan feedback – thanks, Charlie Stone!





Re-mix News: Sale and New Shoes!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.



In a triple whammy, I see that Re-mix Vintage Shoes has put a number of danceable shoes on sale AND has introduced two new colors for existing styles – Antique Brass Balboa and Gold Metallic Janet – AND has introduced a new style of shoe, the Playtime, a canvas 1940’s wedge in navy/white and red/white. Love love love!


Jitterbuggin’ Derby Day Blouse

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


‘Tis the season for horse racing and large hats and the Lindy Hop community will always be tied to “the races” by way of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers’ appearance in the Marx Brothers’ film. What better way to celebrate than by picking up a very limited edition horse race print blouse, courtesy of Jitterbuggin’? The stylized horses and be-hatted spectators on this reproduction blouse are just perfect for a dance or your local Derby festivities. And when I say limited run, I mean she only made three of them and one of them has already sold! (Kim, please make more! <3)

A close-up of the print.

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