Author Archives: Lindy Shopper

Fashion Challenge for Frankie Month

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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My Lindy look usually involves Trashy Diva dresses #unsurprised  Photo taken by Soo Clark at The Lindy Lab.

I’m essentially going to re-post what is on the Frankie Manning Foundation website, but I wanted to get the word out – this can be a one-day challenge or a month-long challenge, your choice!  While you’re there, check out all the other ways you can get involved…and while you are here at lindyshopper.com, you can figure out just how to get #TheLindyLook. 😉

From the website: “As part of Frankie’s long-held wish that the entire world know about lindy hop, let’s dress the part and hopefully trigger some conversations at the water cooler, on public transit, and wherever you may go on May 26th.

Don your favourite swing threads that best capture the spirit of the Savoy Ballroom in its 1920-50s pomp, or if you prefer, wear your favorite event t-shirt or whatever else means “swing” to you. Have your photo taken at work, in your office, at your desk, at a cafe, on the street, or wherever you may go. Be creative!

Share your photos on social media with the hashtag #TheLindyLook; photos shared on most social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram will automatically be collated as part of #TheLindyLook tag board. Share your #TheLindyLook photos on Facebook too on the Frankie Manning Foundation page.

Are you up for an extra fancy challenge? Why not dress the part for the entire Frankie Month, May 1st to 31st, and share a photo each day!”

 

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SJC for Summer – Oviatt Polos and 1930’s Trousers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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This yellow is coming home with me…

It’s a banner week – a new Trashy Diva print is coming out tomorrow and today I open up my Facebook feed to find that Simon James Cathcart has not only restocked his amazing vintage style bamboo fabric polos, there are even more colors (!!!) and he’s added these fantastic 1930’s trousers to the website!

Men and dapper ladies, let’s talk about these trousers – from the website:  ”

SJC has just woven 50mts of 16oz Cream English 100% wool flannel, so do not hang about here. This fluffy ecru coloured cloth is thick but soft and billows like the sails of a yacht in the breeze when one moves.

Crafted into a 1930’s loose cut trouser that features deep pleats, a wide leg and a high rise fit.  The pants feature a button down coin pocket flap, side adjustors, sturdy pocket bags, sunburst corozo buttons, suspender buttons, deep fly front and belt loops.

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They come in a long untailored length so you can add your own 2″ cuffs on them to suit.

Judging by the outstanding quality of the cloth, the high desirability of the cut, the incredible price these pants will go fast.”

Have you had dreams of Fred Astaire’s wardrobe?  This looks like a good step toward his day-wear.  Pick from cream or gray fabric, then add striped socks and your desired footwear…

On the Sunny Side Vintage Design

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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This silhouette is SO NICE.

Grab your coat and get your hat, we’re going shopping for menswear at On the Sunny Side Vintage Design, a gorgeous online store (and parallel Etsy shop) specializing in the “elegance and quality of the past.”  Everything I see before me reads as luxe, from the colors to the fabric selections, it is a feast for the eyes in terms of what I, personally, love to see men wearing: high draped pants, just like Billie sang about; that black velvet waistcoat to pair with everything in the winter; a necktie of Art Deco swirling waves; 1920’s reproduction Oxford bags;  that elusive evening waistcoat to go with your vintage tux; and on…custom garments are also available, if you like what you see here or elsewhere and want tailor/proprietor Sunny van Zijst to make something special for you.

Let’s talk about Sunny van Zijst, or rather, let her talk about her work, via the website: “I spend many hours looking into the originals that are the source of my work. The details, the construction, the fabric, they all matter. I try to get to the fundamentals of a garment, and work out what makes them iconic. The process of the making involves learning the old techniques, and combine them with modern techniques. I prefer to work with quality materials for outside as well as inside. Waistcoats, jackets and coats are tailored with hair canvas interfacing in order to give structure on the inside, and a natural drape on the outside. This makes a garment into a piece that is timeless and can be treasured a lifetime.”  This is all music to my ears, of course!

Here are things I love from the website/Etsy site:

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Aqua bat wing bow tie

 

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The aforementioned evening waistcoat.

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Detachable collars and corresponding dress shirts.

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Oxford bags, y’all!

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Who doesn’t need this red Victorian frock coat? 😉

Royal Vintage Shoes’ Spring Lineup

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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THESE.

Royal Vintage Shoes, an offshoot of American Duchess, sells vintage inspired and reproduction shoes from their own line of shoes and from other lovely shoe makers.  When under the American Duchess umbrella, they did some truly lovely custom pre-order shoes in limited runs and I was excited to see the owners branch out and create an entirely separate line for just us 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s gals.  Their first line under Royal Vintage came out this past fall with some wonderful basics, but I felt the pumps/slingbacks weren’t practical for dancing and the heels were too high to be accessible to most dancers, which is why you didn’t read about it on this blog.  Fast forward to now and let’s just say we’ve hit the mother load.

Beginning March 23, you can pre-order these amazing Royal Vintage Shoes – you can tell that the owners love history and know it well, based on their style and color selections.  These shoes, which they are calling “Deco Darlings,” are anything but basic, yet I can see them going with so many things!  Introducing the “Lillian,” a Mary Jane two tone heel in navy/white and sage/white; the “Evelyn,” a canvas and leather oxford in brown/cream and brown/navy; and the “Roxy,” a dressy Mary Jane in gold and silver.

#teamLunceford Pins by JitterButtons

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s no secret that I’m #teamLunceford for the second round of the Lindy Focus transcription project, whereby we all get to vote for which night of dance music by a swing era bandleader will be transcribed for our dancing, listening, and (later) performing pleasure.  Earl Hines and Fletcher Henderson are formidable opponents, the opposite of slouches, but maybe Jimmie just pulls at your heartstrings a little bit more?  Show your support with one of JitterButtons’ Jimmie Lunceford buttons, made in the style of vintage political buttons.  Great for lapels and shoe bags alike, three styles to choose from – grab yours now! #LuncefordforFocus

 

Lindy Shopper 101 – 2010 v. 2017

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:

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Classic Lindy Hop footwear

SHOES

2010: Recommended dance sneaker to get started.

2017: Would still recommend – KEDS 4EVA

CLOTHING

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.

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Chloe Hong spotlight

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.

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ModCloth delivers a ladylike bow blouse with a dinosaur print and all I can think about is the wizardry that went into making this blouse and print classy as hell.

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.

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Raspberry necklace and earring set by Summer Blue

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!”

Chester Cordite – Modern Vintage Menswear

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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We should just start giving all our clothing money to the UK because I’m convinced this is where the giant hub of vintage reproduction clothing is located.  Thanks to a Reddit thread about trying to find suits for swing dancing, I’m now hip to Chester Cordite,  which offers “a modern take on classic styles from the golden age of 1930s and 1940s, producing limited edition suits and shirts with period influenced fabrics at splendidly affordable prices and all suits made in England.”  Chester Cordite got its start with that same frustration of not being able to find the right suits in good condition, and since necessity is the mother of invention, we have this company producing wonderful suits and shirts.

The suits are definitely custom, in gorgeous fabrics, perfect vintage-inspired cuts, and are fairly reasonably priced for custom work.  On an even more accessible level are their spearpoint collar shirts, which will give you an immediate vintage look (compare to modern shirt collars) for only 60 pounds (roughly $75 as of the date of this post), about what you would spend for a shirt at a nice menswear store in the U.S.  The shirts also come in an array of solid colors and stripes, which I love for dancers because most menswear-wearing dancers I know don’t commit to a jacket the whole night and it’s nice to have something classic other than a white dress shirt to complete your look.  All of the suits and shirts are paired with vintage ties in photographs on the website to give you an idea of how your vintage look will work.

Here are some of my favorites from the website:

 

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Just gorgeous – 3 piece suit with belt back, Buchan Hopsack

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This blue is a herringbone, yessssssss

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Sage check front…

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…and back!

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Cement gray stripe spearpoint collar shirt.

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Blue and black stripes for the spearpoint shirt.

 

 

 

Lindy Focus Vendors 2016

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Merch!

One does not simply recover from Lindy Focus – even if you manage to escape the plague, reset your sleep schedule, unpack and do the mountains of laundry, there are still all the YouTube videos to watch, the photographs to see, and the new people to find and connect with on Facebook and all of this takes a bit of time.  As you can see, it is January 10 and I am just now getting to this post!

It was the best year for vendors yet at Lindy Focus, primarily because almost the entire main front lobby was converted to a vendor area, with the smaller lobby registration/vendor area remaining as a secondary area.  I posted a preview of the vendors before Lindy Focus, so I won’t go into too many details about the ones I have already written about, but there were some additions to that list I would like to highlight, then I’ll post all my photos:

  •  Mickey Fortanasce, who is not only an great instructor and competitor, but also an incredible graphic artist, created an entire set of playing cards using the likenesses of swing dance legends like Frankie Manning, Dawn Hampton, Jewel McGowan, Dean Collins, and many more to create and truly beautiful and unique piece of functional and fun artwork.  “For cutters and shufflers,” of course. 😉  Photos below, I’m not sure how many of these are left, but it doesn’t hurt to reach out to him to find out. (UPDATE:  You can purchase packs of cards at this link –> http://www.kellyandmickey.com/legends-of-swing-playing-cards)
  • Artist, writer, and dancer Irena Spassova was on hand with her adorable artwork, with prints and coloring books (!) to take home, as well as commission work offered at the event!  What a great idea to grab a coloring book and run back to your room for a little de-stress time mid-event.  I always see Irena with a smile on her face and her artwork is just as infectious.
  • San Francisco instructor Ann Mony has created a set of jazz step playing cards, which look to be great for both new and veteran dancers alike, for solo dancing or dancing with others or with a class, and there are already plans to expand the deck!  You could get a set at LF or you can order them on Etsy – follow Shimmytown on Etsy to get updates on expansions.
  • Ryan Calloway returned to Lindy Focus with his fantastic original jazz prints, featuring great dancers and musicians alike!  To up the ante this year, I spotted Ryan backstage making sketches, so perhaps we shall see the fruits of his artistry at LF 2017 – to tide you over until then, you can pick up a jazz print on his Etsy page.
  • Hilary Mercer of photography fame is also a seller for Lularoe – she was selling in the secondary lobby near registration before the Savoy Shop set up and was thereafter selling in her room, and I am aggravated with myself that I did not get a photo of her Lularoe spread, because it was rather impressive in magnitude.  Follow her for Lularoe on Facebook and marvel at this combination of stellar photographer and colorful attire, essentially match made in heaven.

I apologize tenfold if I have somehow missed someone or missed a detail, Lindy Focus was a wonderful and time-consuming 2 p.m. to 4 a.m. job for me this year, which kept me away from the vendor areas except when I was passing through – please let me know what may be missing and I’ll amend this post!

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These two lovelies are from the Savoy Shop and were quickly snatched up (by Laura Glaess and Bethany Potter, respectively)!

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At the Savoy Shop, I was like WHOA what even is this…

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…with similar sentiments on the tag, LOL.

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Fun accessories at the Savoy Shop

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Welcome, Saint Savoy and this parade of lovelies!

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Some colorful men’s shoes by Saint Savoy

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Hello, love…

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Laurie Gilkenson (aka Nina’s mom) held her own in a big part of the vendor area, with a mix of Dancestore shoes, vintage items, and handcrafted items she made herself!

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Festive and fruity earrings, handcrafted by Laurie Gilkenson

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Lindy Hoppers are moms, too – Laurie explained these were to be worn by infants to let people know that they are breastfeeding.

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Mickey Fortanasce’s fantastic original artwork turned into function beautiful decks of playing cards, featuring legends of swing dancing!

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The delightful Irena Spassova displays some of her artwork and prints.

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An entirely different, but no less entertaining, deck of cards created by Ann Mony.

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Blooms about at Chatterblossom!

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A bloom for every dress, no less…

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Headbands to keep everything in place with a spot of color.

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Need some Lindy Hop or jazz art prints in your life?  Here’s the man.

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Ryan Calloway draws epic dancers…

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…and musicians!

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OH, HI CHLOE *attempts to hide crazy girl fangirl reaction to running into Chloe Hong*

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I was so excited I couldn’t take a photo of the men’s rack in focus.

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It’s all in the details…

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Because you can.  Thanks, Chloe!

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Seriously, the taste level here is so high. ❤

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I’ll leave you with one of Lindy Focus’ most stalwart vendors, the classic Forties Forward table of blooms!

 

Re-mix Now Offering Women’s Size 5

d6605d6d-42cd-40e9-87fe-7db791c7598eThis post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This will be a very brief post, but I felt it warranted a full-fledged Lindy Shopper post because I know it will make some people very happy – Re-mix Vintage Shoes is now offering U.S. women’s size 5 in the following styles: Anita, Balboa, Charleston, Emily  and Emily 2.0!  These are all popular styles for swing dancing, which I’m sure is more than a happy coincidence. 🙂

Tranky Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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GET IN MY CLOSET

So I basically can’t keep up with all the swing dancer-focused shoe companies popping up right now – the latest company to grab my attention is Tranky Shoes, which Jessica Bullock mentioned in response to a shoe question Gaby Cook posted on Facebook.  Their Facbook page is in Italian, Google translate has failed miserably to translate the text, and Facebook translate fared only slightly better, so I’m interested in hearing more about this shoe company.  Here’s what I can surmise from their Facebook page:

  • Based in Italy
  • There are green double strap Mary Janes that need to come home with me (sans the velvet bootie – can that happen?)
  • They are being sold at a bunch of European events
  • Handmade, leather upper, leather soles
  • For more information email trankyshoes@gmail.com

Tell me more, peeps!  Have you tried these shoes?  I want to hear all about them. 🙂

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An array of styles and colors.

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Some Tranky Shoes men’s footwear designs.

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Holiday Romper from The House of Foxy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Oh, how much do I love this red romper from The House of Foxy?  A lot.  ALOT.  In addition to being adorable, practical (look mom, no tights!), stylish, and festive, it has great dance potential because it’s made from “Rayon/poly mix with a touch of spandex for stretch. Bodice lined in stretch poly.”  I bet the drape is lovely…

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It’s about to get foxy in here…

 

Lindy Focus Vendors Preview

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Brand new colors from Saint Savoy, available for pre-order/pick up at Lindy Focus or try on at Lindy Focus

I usually reserve my vendor report for after the event, but in an effort to be proactive in reporting and share the good news in advance so that we may all prepare ourselves (and perhaps put a bit of that holiday bonus or Christmas money aside, should you be so lucky), I am excited to share what many of you may already know from obsessively following the Lindy Focus Facebook group – nevertheless, here it is, the Lindy Focus vendor lineup:

NEW VENDORS:

– From Chloe Hong – http://www.fromchloehong.com/  (she of the trumpet skirt revolution)
– Saint Savoy – http://www.saintsavoy.com/en/
– ChatterBlossom – https://www.etsy.com/shop/ChatterBlossom

RETURNING VENDORS

– Forties Forward – https://www.facebook.com/FortiesForward/
– Dance Store – https://dancestore.com/
– Savoy Shop Dancer Clothing Exchange –https://www.facebook.com/savoyshop1

SERVICE VENDORS

– Jack n’ Jill Salon – https://www.facebook.com/JnJSalonLindyFocus
– Massage with Danielle Knight!
– Mary Kay Williams is returning again this year to draw $5-5 minute black and white caricatures of everyone, and is also taking commissions for some fabulous vintage pin-up style color caricatures!

For any event, this is a formidable lineup.  It is particularly noteworthy because Chloe Hong will be coming from South Korea and Saint Savoy from Austria, making this a strong international presence in our vendor lineup, which is truly a rarity, a treat, and not something to be taken lightly – you can now try on all those wonderful skirts and shoes that you see online, talk to the vendors in person, and perhaps save on international shipping.  Saint Savoy has already been posting information about new shoe colors that will be available in the Facebook group and, based on the comments, the people are READY FOR YOUR WARES.

I encourage you to become active in the Facebook group discussions if you have any questions.  With Saint Savoy, specifically, as they are bringing try-ons only, unless you place your order by the end of November (see linked FB thread for information).  The Jack n’ Jill Salon should start taking appointments soon and those appointments go fast.  If you want something special/specific for your hair for NYE, reach out to Chatterblossom in advance for a custom piece, as she’ll only be able to bring limited stock of her seemingly endless inventory.  Start compiling your best castoffs to consign at the Savoy Shop – I’ve already got a bag of goodies ready to go from my last closet purge.  Are you ready for Lindy Focus?  SOON.

The Oblong Box Shop for the Holidays

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I can’t begin to tell you how I began to salivate once I happened upon The Oblong Box Shop’s holiday offerings, particularly this skirt WHAT EVEN IS THIS.  I tend to gravitate more towards 1930’s and 40’s aesthetics, but there are just some 1950’s things, confectionery things, that are irresistible.  The combination of adorable reindeer, fluffy trees, and winter landscape in candy colors set my heart aflame and my fingers on the refresh button until, at last, the notification appeared that this skirt was in stock.  Endless joy abounds and I’m set for my holiday engagements!

Check out the shop, other delightful confections await…

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A bit of tinsel and this skirt…we’re set, right?

New Vintage Lady Kickstarter with Rewards for Both Sewers and the Not-So-Thread-Inclined

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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This green 30’s dress…it’s like she channeled my thoughts on the perfect day dress.

As most ladies know and Tim Gunn has spoken out about, the clothing options for women over a certain size range are particularly limited, even though they make up hundreds of thousands of shoppers in the US and beyond and spend significant sums on clothing for themselves.  Compound limited selection with a preference for vintage styles and your options are even more limited.

I’ve had my eye on New Vintage Lady’s Etsy site for some time and I did a post on her in 2011, but I’m excited to see that she keeps showing up on my radar and continues to expand her line of vintage patterns, offering fantastic designs that are all the things we love about jazz age and swing era clothing, with all the wonderful details that make them great (and she has a great eye!  I love her selections, artwork, and fabric choices).  This latest endeavor is via Kickstarter, in an effort to expand her size range to cover bust sizes from 40 inches to 52 inches, as well as improving her existing patterns in terms of graphics and descriptions.  Offering a range of sizes is a lot of work – often, you only find one vintage pattern of a certain dress and it comes in the size you found, not a range, and it’s not simply a matter of adding inches around to increase the size, of course it’s MUCH MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT, in that way that all of our bodies are a complicated mix of measurements.

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I LOVE a sailor collar.

The obvious rewards here are reaping the benefit of the new patterns once the Kickstarter is funded, but if you don’t sew there is an AMAZING reward – the New Vintage Lady will make you a dress, one of HER garments from the Kickstarter!  What could be more amazing and more personal and more lovely than that?  (I see she also does men’s trousers *ahem* maybe…if you ask nicely?)  If you’ve ever wanted a reproduction dress to your specifications with your fabric choices and you haven’t done this for yourself, this is a great opportunity to help not only yourself, but others of a certain size range to gain access to these wonderful patterns.

There’s so much to love, go check out her line and video and consider backing this project!

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There are separates, too!

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Yes to all of this!

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There’s even workwear!

SJC Waistcoats of Many Colors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Aubergine/brown vest combo.

In the past year I have learned that Simon James Cathcart is making limited runs of highly desirable reproduction clothing items and accessories and that we are all along for the ride.  It’s almost been the male-leaning equivalent of a Trashy Diva print launch, with each new item generating a buzz on social media and, within a couple of weeks, I’ll see said item on one of my vintage/classic menswear friends.  What’s been going on lately?  He’s released a long-sleeved version of his bamboo knit Art Deco polo, vintage-inspired “gang” jackets (are you a Vampire or a Werewolf? aka are you from Brooklyn or Detroit?), and yesterday I noticed a colorful array of two-tone waistcoats in my feed and it was then that I decided it was time for another post on the adventures of Mr. Cathcart.

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Gray/navy vest combo.

Given the prevalence of vests/waistcoats in the swing dance world, particularly in competitions for their practicality and aesthetic, I would love to see the ensembles inspired by these particular waistcoats.  Most waistcoats I see are of suiting fabric in muted tones, but these waistcoats are alive with color.  Maybe not electric color, but certainly more of a range than I have seen in the past.  They invite creativity and catch the eye, which makes them a viable candidate for a competition-wear, or maybe you just need an injection of color for a winter dance.

The vests are made of melton wool and are shown on the SJC website with both dressed-up menswear and dressed-down workwear ensembles – available in green/brown, navy/royal, green/rust, navy/mustard, gray/navy, and aubergine/brown combinations.

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It’s a cinch.