Tag Archives: vintage

Chatterblossom on Etsy: Vintage Millinery Flowers Meet Their Destiny

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Fit for a queen.

Fit for a queen.

Not all artificial flowers are created equal. Even more stunning than modern artificial blooms are those of yesteryear, reserved for hats and millinery, created with such detail and hues that can only come from the past or be made by hand. Jamie Sturdevant, the mastermind behind the Etsy shop Chatterblossom, has acquired stacks of boxes full of vintage millinery flowers and is using them to create floral clusters, headpieces, and fascinators for her shop. The results are stunning and perfect for pairing with your vintage dresses – like vintage fabric cut into a new dress, these unworn, unused flowers are just like getting a brand new hairpiece from the past. Even better, Jamie does custom work and can work with you to create a custom piece to go with one of your vintage ensembles. Here are some glorious pieces from her shop:

Seriously, this is A. MA. ZING.

Seriously, this is A. MA. ZING.

A gorgeously detailed rose.

A gorgeously detailed rose.

Marigolds, tiny yellow flowers, and straw on a hair comb

Marigolds, tiny yellow flowers, and straw on a hair comb

Gray and lavender velvet leaves

Gray and lavender velvet leaves

Good blue flowers are hard to find!

Good blue flowers are hard to find!

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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

Nudeedudee on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Dreaming of warmer climates...

Dreaming of warmer climates…

I ran across Kim Stewart’s Etsy shop, Nudeedudee, a few years ago when she was doing custom reproduction garments – at the time, she was one of the very few people with any 1930′s listings. I decided not to blog about her shop at the time because I try to keep the things I post on this blog under $200, but upon revisiting her blog I see that she is doing ready to wear in limited runs at great prices for reproduction garments made and sourced from materials in the USA.

You should definitely give her shop a once-over, then a twice-over – I feel transported looking at all her wonderful tropical prints in the middle of NC’s Polar Vortex/Snowmageddon/Hoth shutdown. I can pretend I’m in sunny California, shopping for vintage reproductions made from deadstock fabric…from the comfort of my laptop.

According to the shop description, the ready to wear is only temporary, as Kim needs “to switch gears to ready to wear in order to care for this little darling baby.” Get to shopping the goods while they last! Ethical bonus: “I donate a portion of the proceeds from this shop to humanitarian and environmental issues.”

Here are some of my faves:

It is almost impossible to find a good white button-down with puff short sleeves - yet here it is.  Motorcycle not included. ;)

It is almost impossible to find a good white button-down with puff short sleeves – yet here it is. Motorcycle not included. ;)

Ridiculously cute overalls

Ridiculously cute overalls

Wide leg trousers

Wide leg trousers

Nautical halter dress with smocked back

Nautical halter dress with smocked back

Richard’s Fabulous Finds – Vintage Men’s Clothing and Accessories

1940's suit and expertly paired accessories

1940′s double breasted suit and expertly paired accessories

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I ran across Richard’s Fabulous Finds on the OcTieBer group on Facebook – he had posted a few suits of interest, so I bit. Clicking through to his Etsy page, I was struck by the presentation – everything looked cool, wearable, and pulled together. On closer inspection, it wasn’t just the goods, it was the presentation. A model (perhaps Richard himself?) had on most of the suits, and each suit was fully presented, with shirt, necktie, pocket square, possibly a boutonniere, so that the suit wasn’t JUST a suit, you could see it as an ensemble. I know a lot of men struggle with color and pairings and Richard has done the work for you, at least for starters. Here’s what I’m loving from his Etsy shop:

Tweedy hat

Tweedy hat

Three piece plaid suit - 70's, but nobody has to know... ;)

Three piece plaid suit – 70′s, but nobody has to know… ;)

Vintage yin-yang pocket square

Vintage yin-yang pocket square

Belt-back blazer

Belt-back blazer

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.

Review: Petrunia’s Diamond Dot Annie Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I may be the worst model ever - is the photo over yet?  But check out this dress!

I may be the worst model ever – is the photo over yet? But check out this dress!

After I blogged about Petrunia’s lovely reproduction dresses, I was contacted by the sales manager this line of clothing, Lucy Carey, about reviewing one of their lovely dresses! I happily selected the initial dress that had caught my eye in Bygones, the Diamond Dot Annie dress, and it was shipped to my doorstep.

I saved the dress so I could wear it this past weekend at Jammin on the James, a Lindy Hop workshop weekend in Richmond, Virginia, so that I could give it the full dance treatment of wearing it to dinner, social dancing, competing, and singing with the Blue Crescent Syncopators. It survived all of these activities without incident and remained fresh, from late afternoon through the late night dance with Naomi and her Handsome Devils.

The fabric is rayon, which has that wonderful “cold,” silky feel, with a bit of a textured sheen. The color is rich and the dot pattern on the fabric provides just enough decoration that it doesn’t compete with the little details in this dress that make it pop, like the wide collar and the pleating on the bodice. The dress zips up the side with a metal zipper (bonus vintage points!) and the skirt is cut on the bias, so it will lay nicely on the hips without hugging or bagging. My only complaint would be that the arm holes were a little low on me, but this is a common problem I have with garments – someone taller than my 5’2.5″ will be fine – and it didn’t noticeably inhibit my movement while dancing. I finished the look with Re-mix wedges and a fakelite rose pin to complete the repro ensemble.

I hope this Ithaca-based shop will continue to create reproductions, in addition to tending their vintage clothing shop – years of being around vintage clothing will make you want to re-create it and Petrunia has done so with all the right details.

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Re-Mix Guys and Dolls

logospring09

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

vintageshape

Re-Mix Guys and Dolls is the name of a new Facebook group that you may be interested in…from the group description:

“Do you want to find out if a certain model is good for dancing, what model fits a narrow/wide foot, what experiences other people made, do you want to sell a pair in good condition or are you looking for a shoe courier…. here is the group for you!!!”

Yes…yes…yes…yes, and I want to buy pairs….all of this is yes, this sounds like a great potential resource. I have acquired about half of my Re-Mix shoes on eBay, some of them used and in excellent condition. I also have questions about the danceability of some Re-Mix models, given certain foot issues, and I’m sure I am not alone.

Since the group is fairly young, I’m hopeful that it will grow into a useful resource for dancers and a potential feedback mechanism for Re-Mix to learn more about how their shoes wear for people and what they can do to improve certain models (if applicable – arguably, the Balboa t-strap is my perfect dance shoe of the moment). Join today!

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. :)

Raleigh Vintage *hearts* Lindy Shopper – 10% Off for Our Readers

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This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

One of my lovely supporters, Raleigh Vintage, is offering 10% off to Lindy Shopper readers for the foreseeable future. I’ll keep the reminder in the side bar to the right, in case you forget. Enter the code LINDYSHOPPER at checkout. ;)

Petrunia

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Margaret Dress

Margaret Dress

I was in Bygones in Richmond, Virginia a few weeks ago and noticed a label that I had never seen before on their reproduction dress rack, attached to a very attractive dark teal rayon print dress. I, of course, forgot to write it down, but Bygones was able to connect the dots for me about Petrunia via Facebook…

…and, upon further investigation, it appears that Petrunia has an entire line of dresses and coats, many in shapes and fabrics reminiscent of the decades when swing dancing was popular.

From the website: “As specialists in vintage apparel and textiles we know that the most-cherished pieces that are kept and worn for decades share the traits of extraordinary quality and a style that serves the wearer as well as the latest trends. Certain pieces are so feminine and flattering that they are truly transformative, making the wearer look and feel her best. With this in mind we have recreated the fabrics and the fit and feel of some of the best coat and dress designs from the 1930s to the 1960s, and we have added modern fabric and design innovations.”

This is all very reassuring, inspiring confidence in a Petrunia purchase that it would have those qualities of vintage clothing. Regretfully, I didn’t purchase that dress at Bygones, but the fabric did feel like a dreamy cool rayon and the construction details were lovely.

It looks like there are only limited quantities of certain garments available for purchase directly through them, but there is an extensive list of retail locations around the United States where you can purchase Petrunia garments. Hopefully, this will change and you’ll be able to purchase everything online, but I don’t see any news to that effect, so we shall have to be patient.

(Edited to add that the owners of Petrunia contacted me to let me know they just launched an online store at http://shop.petrune.com/)

Here’s what I’m loving from Petrunia:

Grace Dress

Grace Dress

Embroidered Linen Dress

Embroidered Linen Dress

40's dress in aqua and green

40′s dress in aqua and green

Margaret dress in scallop print

Margaret dress in scallop print

Vintage Brooks Brothers Linen Suit

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s never too late in the season to pick up a proper summer suit and this vintage Brooks Brothers linen suit is no exception (ignore the ill fit on the model, poor guy) – the seller is dating this as 1920′s or 1930′s, but, regardless of decade, this is a quality suit. Looks to be around a 42/44 jacket with a 36 inch waist and a 30.5 inch inseam with a solid 2 inches to let out. SOLID.

If only they had just left that button unbuttoned...

If only they had just left that button unbuttoned…

Bonus: buttons for braces

Bonus: buttons for braces

Dapper Designs on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Dapper dancers in Tampa

Dapper dancers in Tampa

Tampa, Florida dancer Tom Blair tipped me off to Dapper Designs, an Etsy store that specializes in bow ties, hair bows, and other swing-inspired accessories, made by another Florida dancer, Margie Sweeney. There are a few things I really like about this shop:

1. The bow ties are available in four different styles: classic, diamond point, and those skinny nod-to-the-1950′s bow ties in both straight and wide straight. Let’s not deny that this period in history happened and that one does not have to look like a gift wrapped package to call it a bow tie. Options are always welcome.

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2. The neck-wear extends to women, so we can all get a jump on our neck-wear wardrobes to give the guys a run for their money during OcTieBer. I especially like the custom cross-tie, being reminiscent of some Girl Scout neck piece I may have worn and I think it would look fab with a blouse, a 30′s skirt, and a jaunty hat.

3. The fabric selection for the custom ties has a little something for everyone – from classic plaid to dots to geometric patterns to a faux bois print.

And there you have it! Lots of custom options for guys and gals, handmade by one of our own.

(Edited to add that David Lochner has informed me that “the “cross tie” is called a “continental” in menswear and the straight bows are “batwings” – I learn something new every day! :) )

Classic bow tie in seersucker

Classic bow tie in seersucker

Men’s High-Waisted Trousers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This is how it's done.

This is how it’s done.

I recently went to see The Great Gatsby (2013) and the thing that bothered me more than the horribly anachronistic female costuming and the inflatable zebras were the men’s pants. They were obviously out of place – poorly tailored stove pipes that wrinkled/puddled around the ankles and calves, much in the way that a pair of skinny jeans would on a hipster. David Lochner tells me they used Brooks Brothers’ Milano Fit Trouser, their “slimmest fitting trouser with a lower rise and a plain front.” Something about this description seems like the antithesis of 1920′s menswear. That the film would sacrifice historical accuracy for a modern marketing opportunity is no surprise, but it got me thinking about high waist pants. Is this really the best they can do? When I search for high waist pants, what are retailers offering these days?

The pre-qual to these questions is how we got out of the fashion of wearing high waisted pants in the first place. Whenever I wear modern pants while I am dancing, they slowly inch their way downward or pull unnecessarily on my legs when I wear a belt. Doesn’t it make sense that our bottom garments would be better served by being secured at the narrowest point on our body? As someone with an extremely short inseam, why would I want to make my legs look shorter?

So many questions…in my initial search online for men’s high waist pants I found this great article by Cator Sparks for the Huffington Post called “Rise Up, Men, to the Glorious High-Waisted Pant!” which seemed to address several questions:

Quoting Nick Wooster of Bergdorf Goodman, “men have become so comfortable with low rise that it’s like bringing back the pleated pant; it took years to get men out of them and now we are showing men how good they can look in them. He sighed, “Men are creatures of repetition and when they get conditioned to like something it takes a very long time to change that.”

Quoting Robert Bryan, stylist, “Nothing looks worse than a long torso with short legs, a look created by pants that rise only to the hips, or these days, considerably lower,” he demurred. “Furthermore, it seems only natural that trousers should rise at least to the natural waist where they can rest for support on the hips and drape from there,”

In closing, “So, men, it is up to you daredevils that want to look tall, erect and sophisticated to bring back this iconic staple to our wardrobes.”

Support and drape sounds beautiful and practical for dancing…so where do we find these high-waisted pants?

There should be a website devoted to hot men in high-waisted pants.

There should be a website devoted to hot men in high-waisted pants.

Well, a lower rise appears to have overtaken all modern retailers – I asked two of my favorite male sartorialists, Bobby White and the aforementioned Mr. Lochner, about where they find high-waisted trousers with modern retailers and it is just as I feared: nowhere. Sure, you can find waists that are higher in comparison to low-rise pants, but not pairs, for example, like the ones Marlon Brando is sporting in the photo to the left. Mr. Lochner added, “Even the old men’s section at Macy’s lowered the rise.” Your options are to order something made for you, seek vintage sources, or spend countless hours searching for that one elusive pair in a shop and buy every pair they have in your size.

There are some online custom trouser purveyors: Revamp Vintage has several reproduction options, like their 1920′s Elliot trousers and their 1930′s Felix trousers.

I found a nice selection of high waisted 1950′s pants at the Rusty Zipper, including some sweet looking Army slacks.

Levi's 517

Levi’s 517

A Google search of “men’s high waisted pants” revealed a few, perhaps, not-quite-so-high-but-higher-than-low-rise options:

Cator Sparks says he picked up a pair of Levi’s 517′s, which he says are the pants the cowboys wear. Aside from describing the seemingly endless zipper, I love that Mr. Sparks talks about how he hasn’t felt this comfortable in a pair of pants since he bought a pair of custom made tuxedo pants.

Emporio Armani has this pair, but they don’t look particularly high-waisted to me, rather somewhere just above a low rise.

Dickies, classic purveyors of work-wear, offers this trouser – added bonus: hidden expandable waist and extra pocket on the leg.

And there you have it – with the passing of generations that wore high-waisted pants and the wearing-down of the waistline, so to speak, to more low-rise trousers being en vogue in subsequent generations, we have run out of a resource. If you have resources for high-waisted pants, please feel free to share them here in the comments section below. I know others will thank you for it!

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Note: I have heard protests from “larger” gentleman about high-waisted pants not being a fathomable or flattering option for them. There is a great discussion at the Fedora Lounge on this topic. I would also recommend that you find Austin, TX dancer Victor Celania and pick his brain about this topic.

Also: Some more thoughts on the benefits of high-waisted trousers.

And this: On getting the right fit with high-waisted trousers.

Silliness: This pair from Wal-Mart.

Trollied Dolly

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

THE sailboat dress

THE sailboat dress

Incessant scanning of the Mod Cloth website can lead you to discover new brands that you instantly love – I fell in love with this sailboat dress, and a quick search took me to the Trollied Dolly website. The sailboat dress was there, along with an array of colorful vintage-inspired dresses and tops in clever prints – dragonflies, butterflies, seagulls, honeybees, strawberries – essentially adorable overload.

Based out of the UK (like everything else I want to buy these days), Trollied Dolly is the brainchild of two sisters, Louise and Nicole, who share with us that “the Trollied Dolly range reflects the colour and vibrancy of far flung places, lively cultures and perky people, all shaken up with a slice of London Town and a splash of getting’ down! They believe in a land where bad outfits, dull fabrics and boring basics are banned and dreams of utter wardrobe brilliance really can come true!” Getting’ down means “let’s dance,” right? :D

I’m thinking yes – on top of the adorableness, these dresses are made of cotton – breatheable, danceable, washable cotton. Yes! Yes! Yes!

Here’s what I love from Trollied Dolly:

Green, butterflies, and a cutout

Green, butterflies, and a cutout

Watch the Birdie dress...hehehe

Watch the Birdie dress…hehehe

Buckle Down Dress

Buckle Down Dress

Hello Boys Peplum Top

Hello Boys Peplum Top

The Slipperie

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

1930's teddy = full slip with built-in bloomers

1930′s teddy = full slip with built-in bloomers

One of my complaints, and one that I hear come up over and over, is that there are no really good slips being made, at least not ones that compare to vintage slips in terms of materials, function, and beauty. I always keep my eyes open at vintage stores for good slips – full, half, camisole, tap pants, whatever, just because the quality of these items is just far superior to anything I’ve purchased that was produced in my lifetime. But what if you didn’t have time to go to all the vintage stores?

If you need a gorgeous slip RIGHT NOW, The Slipperie on Etsy could be the answer. While the undergarments of yesteryear tend to be fairly plentiful, finding them all in one place can be difficult, and finding truly special ones (as with anything vintage) is even harder. I love that these beautiful undergarments are really meant to be worn, not just saved for special occasions. Add them to your dance wardrobe for a pop of color or lace with your twirl or swish (or other functions discussed in a prior post)…here’s what I love from the shop:

1960's hot pink slip - 60's slips are hella durable and generally have a good shape, details, and lace.  I may or may not have confiscated a 60's slip from my mother's chest of drawers and never gave it back...

1960′s hot pink slip – 60′s slips are hella durable and generally have a good shape, details, and lace. I may or may not have confiscated a 60′s slip from my mother’s chest of drawers and never given it back…

Powder blue 1950's pleated tap pants

Powder blue 1950′s pleated tap pants

If only more things were cut on the bias - so flattering and comfy, as this 30's/40's rayon slip probably is...

If only more things were cut on the bias – so flattering and comfy, as this 30′s/40′s rayon slip probably is…

Tap pants with little bows - OMG

Tap pants with little bows – OMG

Another great 1960's slip

Another great 1960′s slip