This post was written by Lindy Shopper.
It’s been almost 7 years since I wrote this guest post for Atomic Ballroom in 2010, recommending clothing and brands to build a wardrobe of dance clothing basics and I thought it would be interesting to see how my recommendations held up seven years later. Maybe you’re just getting started, maybe you’re looking to add a few new pieces…let’s have a look:
2010: Recommended dance sneaker to get started.
2017: Would still recommend – KEDS 4EVA
2010: Recommended Heyday‘s 1940’s reproduction wide leg, high waist trousers.
2017: Would still recommend Heyday as the gold standard, but would add Vivien of Holloway and House of Foxy to the list, depending on waist/hip ratio and to give more fabric and color options. If you sew, make yourself a pair of Wearing History’s Smooth Sailing Trousers. More options seven years later means we are all winning. Note that the ready to wear pants I have listed are all from the UK, which means the UK wins the pants game in my book. That’s hard win, folks, given my general distaste for trousers.
2010: Trumpet skirt by Dancestore.com – note that I can not even link to this non-existent garment.
2017: After my crusade to bring back the Dancestore.com trumpet skirt failed, Chloe Hong rode across the sea on a unicorn to be my trumpet skirt fairy godmother, delivering the goods and improving on an already awesome skirt design by offering two different lengths and a built in slip to cover your bum when you spin. I’m 6 skirts in, four off the rack and two custom, and I’m hooked – I wear them to work and for dancing. A friend even noted she thought she made finals in a competition solely because this skirt improved how her dancing looked – that a garment could even do that speaks for itself.
2010: Shirts recommended from anywhere – cited ModCloth, The Limited, and American Apparel.
2017: Gonna keep the ModCloth recommendation (having one of those “what did I do before ModCloth?” moments) and add to the tops/blouse list Collectif (particularly for short sleeved knits), Nudeedudee (casual/dressy button-ups), and House of Foxy (dressy button-ups).
2010: TRASHY DIVA DRESSES
2017: TRASHY DIVA DRESSES
2010: Accessories to a minimum, usually hair flowers – recommended Bowsweet on Etsy.
2017: Still keeping accessories to a minimum, but my, how far we have come! Bowsweet primarily focuses on little girl hair accoutrements, but we now have many more dedicated hair creation artists online and at our swing dance events. My favorite is hometown gal Chatterblossom, who collects vintage millinery flowers to make exquisite creations that go with your vintage clothing – because vintage colors match vintage colors and the detail and material of the vintage blooms is so different than modern made blooms. Her shop is just scratching the surface of her flower collection.
As an addendum to the accessories, I’ll say that in the past couple of years that a number of artists have started making resin or plastic jewelry that resembles or is inspired by vintage Bakelite and Lucite jewelry and it’s marvelous. My favorites are Summer Blue, Mrs. Polly’s Lucite, and The Pink Bungaloo – leave the bangles, take the rest. Wearing less expensive reproductions means we don’t have to worry about breaking or damaging vintage jewelry when we dance.
There are so many more reproduction clothing companies now doing a variety of everyday/dress up and danceable garments and accessories, but these are my go-tos, so please take this as a starting point to find even more good clothing and brands online. We are much better off than we were seven years ago – with many more options to purchase vintage-inspired clothing online, it becomes even easier to build your swing dance wardrobe.
I’ll leave you with the recap from the initial post: “To recap: Shoes that go with everything, flattering pants and a skirt to mix in with ladylike tops and knits, and a dress with an impeccable cut – it sounds like you have an amazing dance wardrobe!”