Category Archives: 1940’s

All Balboa Weekend 2017 – Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I apologize for the tardiness, but, as we all know, life happens outside of the Internet – always better late than never is the All Balboa Weekend vendor post, because ABW has, in my opinion, the best vendor aggregate year after year.  This was my 10th ABW, if you can believe it, and the first one I couldn’t attend for the entire weekend, but I promise I crunched to maximize my time there and to give you this attempt at a comprehensive vendor post.

Before we get into the shopping, I have two things to note:

  1. I was given the incredible opportunity to examine Genevieve Grazis’ performance clothing, including the famous Beach Clip dress, and was invited to talk about the dress’ construction and details in front of the entire event as part of Kate Hedin and Bobby White‘s presentation and demonstration of the dress.  While everyone is gaga over the 11 godets that, combined with 1930’s satin, make this dress spin like a dream (and rightly so!), but my favorite part of this dress are the sleeves – a triple pleats, both front and back, along the arm hole seam with two piped seams straddling a panel in the middle of the sleeve.  The result is a puffed sleeve created by divine architecture.
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LindyShopper talks, Kate is radiant in Genevieve’s dress – photograph courtesy of McFreebird Photography

2.  Coif magicians Destinee Cushing and Francine Amendola combined forces to form the Hepcat Salon, delivering incredible and pristine vintage hairstyles all weekend long.  I know several people who will get their hair done and wear it for a couple of nights or most of the weekend so they don’t have to worry about doing it multiple nights and to keep it out of their faces, which I think is a great plan to maximize your ‘do and practical for a dance weekend with lots going on that you don’t want to miss.

The flagship booth at ABW is always Re-mix Vintage Shoes, who makes very rare appearances at any events outside of southern California.  I know people wait until ABW to buy their first (or second, or 10th) pair of Re-mix shoes so they can try them on and see how the styles fit their feet.  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see them all in a row.

Next in the lineup was Sweet Lorain, which is my favorite vintage shop in Cleveland.  To call it a shop is really an understatement, it’s almost a warehouse, definitely a department store, and you can get lost in there for hours amongst the clothing, furniture, kitchen wares, records, Christmas decorations, and on.  Of course, for ABW, they pull a selection of garments with dancers in mind from the 1930’s through the 1950’s so that you don’t have to do the digging, it’s already been dug out for you and is sitting in the hallway of the event.  My story this year is that Andy Nishida and Rita Shiang (dancers and organizers of Richmond, VA’s Jammin on the James) had come to Cleveland a few weeks earlier for the World Congress on Art Deco and had scouted a 1920’s dress for me at Sweet Lorain.  1920’s dresses are hard for me because of my body type, so I was hesitant to phone in the purchase, even though Rita knows my size.  I show up at ABW with this texted photograph of a dress and the owner, Redwin Lewis, knew the dress immediately, still had it, knew it would be perfect for me – and it was!  Sometimes vintage shopping is easy and sometimes it takes a few steps to find a dress a home.

De Fils en Perles returned to ABW this year with even more intricate beadwork, much of it Art Deco-inspired.  I was particularly smitten with the earrings this year, which were often made of an exquisite central bead with smaller embellishments and looked perfect for certain 1920’s and 1930’s ensembles.  I am often overwhelmed by jewelry, so many beautiful small things at once, and I took some time to sit down and go through the earrings and really appreciate the detail that goes into each piece.

Retro Rosie made its ABW debut this year and before I even got to ABW, there was a buzz that a vendor was there selling Trashy Diva.  I spoke with Miranda Scott, the owner, who runs this brick and mortar shop and an online shop, that most of her sales are online.  I found this unsurprising, given the specialty nature of the garments (as much as I like to think we are the norm), and was glad she gave ABW a chance.  She had several Trashy Diva dresses that are discontinued in most sizes, so secondary stockists are essential for the dress you may have missed (since they TD lines are selling out within days of launch, nowadays) and the chance to try things on in person.  She also had a selection of Besame Cosmetics, another item that I can’t purchase locally to me, but that I see on the internet all the time on vintage blogs and it’s great to see the colors in person and be able to try them on, as well.

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Jamie in an ABW ensemble with giant lily

Jamie Sturdevant’s Chatterblossom booth is always a bright spot, with her cheery disposition, creative floral-inspired ensembles for each day, and a bevy of blooms for each possible scenario and outfit.  Indecision abounds at this booth, as there are so many to choose from, so many outfits to match, so many beautiful pieces that you just want to come home with you.  My favorite pieces this year are the giant lilies she acquired earlier in the year by chance, they are just so big and elegant, I want one in every color!  Message her about matching one to your favorite ensemble, her Etsy listings are only the tip of the floral iceberg.

Finally, at the end of the hallway are the Flower Child ladies, who also do an amazing job of curating just the kinds of vintage goods dancers and swing era enthusiasts want, and also go back to their warehouse to look for items to fill specific requests.  With new things brought back every day, it’s worth a gander multiple times during the event to keep up with what is in stock.  My favorite item this year, brought to my attention by Jamie and ultimately purchased by Destinee, was a chartreuse 1930’s gown studded with rhinestones, featuring braided straps and a bias cut guaranteed to flatter the figure.  Destinee wore it on Saturday night and, with her impeccable hair and makeup and a Chatterblossom bloom, looked like a legit silver screen movie star – or perhaps early technicolor, because no one should hide the color of this gown!

And here we are!  Enjoy the photo spread below!

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But for serious…this chartreuse gown from Flower Child is everything!  Thanks to Destinee Cushing for allowing me to use this photo.

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A sun-speckled display at the Flower Child booth.

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Ladies hats, ladies things…at Flower Child.

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A gorgeous 1940’s rayon print dress at Flower Child.

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Bathing suit…romper…whatever you want…at Flower Child.

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A waistcoat and some men’s accessories at Flower Child.

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Lilies, roses, and blooms about at ChatterBlossom.

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A purple and white orchid at ChatterBlossom.

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Oh, God, I’m terrible at botany – I don’t remember what these are, but they looked like they were dappled in frost, just so lovely – at ChatterBlossom.

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A sight for sore eyes – gorgeous Besame Cosmetics on display at Retro Rosie.

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Vintage hairstyling books and Trashy Diva at Retro Rosie.

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Trashy Diva, alive and in person – at Retro Rosie.

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Perfect summer cropped top at Sweet Lorain.

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What even is this magical woven trim detail on this dress?  At Sweet Lorain.

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A sweet 1940’s rayon print long sleeved dress at Sweet Lorain.

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Bakelite abounds at Sweet Lorain.

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1940’s neckties at Sweet Lorain.

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More delicious details at Sweet Lorain.

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Minty fresh color on this comfy men’s shirt at Sweet Lorain.

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One of many awesome sweater vests at the Sweet Lorain booth.

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A summer starched topper at Sweet Lorain.

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Re-mix, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…

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Men’s selections at Re-Mix Vintage Shoes.

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Knots divine at Re-Mix Vintage Shoes.

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Beaded sets at De Fils en Perles.

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All this wonderful detail, handmade, just incredible – at De Fils en Perles.

 

 

 

 

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Simplicity Reissues Rosie the Riveter Pattern

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It is no secret that workwear has been a trend in the vintage community for the past several years and this has started to translate into some more casual reproduction clothing being made and available for dancers who may not want to roll up into a dance in a 1930’s suit or a 1940’s rayon dress every week.  For women, many of these workwear reproductions translate into WWII era throwbacks, when women joined the workforce in many sectors of employment, including factory workers who would need to wear something more practical than the aforementioned rayon dress.  Vintage style workwear is very easy to integrate into your wardrobe, whether you wear vintage style every day or want a few easy pieces to mix in with your regular daywear.

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Simplicity patterns has been periodically trickling out reissues of popular patterns from the past, with reformatted instructions for more ease in sewing, for the past decade, or so.  I remember picking up a couple of dress patterns for my mom to make for me a little over 10 years ago, since her sewing skills are so much better than mine, and was very pleased with the results.  But the vintage reissues are still a very small part of their offerings, so I hadn’t checked in in a while to see what they were up to.

Yesterday, I see in my Facebook feed that Simplicity has caught wind of the workwear trend and reissued their pattern for 1940’s overalls, trousers, and blouses, a practical package deal for anyone, then and now.  Each piece has such lovely details, showing us that practical doesn’t have to mean boring.  The overalls come up over the bust with some shape so that they define the waistline a bit more than your standard pair of overalls.  The trousers are so classic, make them out of just about any fabric for any occasion, and that hooded blouse is just…I’m dying.   The best of all possible basics in one envelope.  My only complaint is that there isn’t an optional short sleeve for the blouse, but that may not bother you if you are a veteran sewer – if I were actually to make this, I would be lazy and not want to have to figure that out, LOL.3322_1024x1024

But wait!  This pattern is already on backorder.  I’m a little surprised, but then not surprised because this is such a great pattern to own.

If you need this pattern in your life right now, never fear – EvaDress Patterns has already been selling a reissue of this pattern (with the original pattern number), picking up the slack from Simplicity being behind the curve on this trend.  It even has the short sleeve options, further picking up the slack from Simplicity. 😉

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!

Two New Re-mix Shoes: Saddle and Lectrice

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I’m a few days late with this news, particularly if you are already on Re-mix Vintage Shoes‘ email list, but I’m very excited about the new Lectrice and curious about the response to the saddle oxfords.  Lectrice is a no-brainer – built on the same last as the Anitas, which I already love, there is potential to love the Lectrice more because I don’t always feel stable dancing in my Anitas and I believe in the stability of oxfords.  Combined with the comfort of the Anitas and this lovely looped stitching detail, I’m cheering for this shoe to be the awesome I want it to be.

fullsizerender_5_1024x1024The saddle oxfords I am excited about in a smaller, more hesitant way.  There are not particularly good associations in the swing dance community at large for people who show up to dances wearing saddle shoes, and I wish that this could be different because saddle shoes are adorable and were popular decades before the 1950’s.  In popular culture they are so much associated with the 1950’s, part of a caricature involving poodle skirts and pony tails.  My hope is that people will be inspired by photographs of everyday people and dancers from the 1930’s and 40’s wearing saddle shoes and take their style cues from those outfits, or embrace 1950’s garb outside of the caricature.  I am probably most interested in seeing if Re-mix decides makes other colors, I would DIE for a green and white pair!

Simon James Cathcart Review: Spectators and Deco Polo

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I had already backed the Kickstarter for the navy/cream spectators and ordered my Deco polo when I started to see the Simon James Cathcart apparel on others, first the polo on Nicholas Centino while vintage shopping in Cleveland for All Balboa Weekend, then on Glenn Crytzer on Facebook, and then on just about every vintage-loving gent I ran across in person. That the Deco polo was so prevalent and widespread so quickly speaks to its necessity. Vintage clothing isn’t always about being dressed up for fancy affairs, we want to look sharp in casual-wear, with all those nice vintage details that are missing from modern clothing.  Unfortunately, not a lot of vintage knitwear survived, so we’re lucky SJC decided to do something about it.

My navy spectator shoes arrived in the mail week before last, so of course I have gigs all weekend and then it rains all week so I can’t wear them. I had already seen their glory on Facebook, through SJC’s posts of customers who shared their first ensembles with these glorious shoes.  It was so inspiring that I couldn’t help but plan an ensemble of my own. Who am I kidding, I already had my outfit planned out, maybe three outfits…

The first sighting of the canvas and leather spectators in person on another person occurred at Classic City Swing in Athens, Georgia – a pair in acorn/cream on the feet of Augusta, Georgia dancer Keith Beckman. He came over to show them to me, I squeed a bit, he thanked me for posting about the shoes, and he had good reviews for their danceability – the leather sole is top notch, you can tell just by looking at it, but Keith was worried about the small rubber bit on the rear outside of the heel. What he discovered is that the rubber didn’t get in the way of his dancing, spinning, or sliding, but he could use the rubber as a stopper depending on how he distributed his weight. Of course they looked impeccable, I had already spotted him across the room in them before he came over to talk to me, because they are SHARP AS HELL.

I finally got to wear my navy and white spectators this Friday, with navy trousers and a striped shirt.  It didn’t take long to break them in and by the end of the day they felt comfortable, even though I had worn them at my standing desk all day and walked around downtown during lunch for about 20 minutes.  They are men’s shoes, but they fit well – my heel is a regular size, but the ball of my foot and toes can err on the side of wide and I had plenty of room in the toe box without feeling like I was wearing shoes that were too big for me.  I wear a 7 in women’s U.S. sizes and I took a size 4 in SJC’s U.K. men’s sizes.  I received several compliments on my shoes during my lunchtime walk and some dude in the parking deck was definitely checking out my shoes when I got out of the car that morning.

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On Saturday I went out to lunch at Monuts in my green Deco polo, which was perfect for a fall transitional day – it was a season-appropriate color and matched my 1940’s Wild West scarf, but it was also good for the weather, which was sunny and 80-something degrees.  It was comfortable and easy to dress down with jeans and Keds, but I have seen this paired with jackets for a more dressy look.  I really struggle with that sort of in-between look that so many Americans seem to gravitate toward, not dressy, but not too casual – it seems I’m either in a fancy dress or in my pajamas, so the Deco polo is filling a bit of that in-between niche in my wardrobe.  For sizing reference, I typically wear a U.S. women’s size 10 and I took an XS in the SJC polo.  I’ll leave you with this description of the polo from the SJC website:

“Beautifully tailored and made from the truly remarkable bamboo plant.  It is circular knitted in the old school style and thus very slubby giving the shirt a distinctly raw 1930’s look.  Super soft feel and at 230 grams these polos have a nice weighty feel about them.”

I am so pleased with my Simon James Cathcart purchases.  It’s important to remember that these items are limited batch specialty items and some are based on Kickstarter/pre-orders, so it doesn’t give you a lot of time to ponder, “Do I need this?”  The spectators and polo were an easy choice for me because I almost never find good navy shoes (much less vintage two-tone navy flats) or green shirts and these are things I want in my wardrobe. There are only the acorn/cream spectators left on the website and some of the Deco polo colors have sold out, so be sure to act swiftly to secure what you like.

I can’t wait to see what SJC comes up with next, he seems to have a knack for finding these “holy grail” vintage items and then reproduces them for us to enjoy today.

ILHC 2016: Trend and Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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My seat for the weekend’s evening festivities.

It was another banner year for the International Lindy Hop Championships, now in its 9th year, and full of life, energy, and joy that only swing dancing with people who love these dances with every fiber of their being can bring.

This year’s ILHC was very different for me than in previous years, primarily because I was only singing with Jonathan Stout‘s bands on Friday and Saturday night, whereas in previous years I had competed, DJ’ed, participated in the Yehoodi broadcast, and also sang, usually 2-3 of these at various times over the course of the weekend.  Consequently, I cannot say that I was in the ballroom as much as I had been in the past, but I received a request for a trend report, so I will tell you what I was able to see while I was there:

Trashy Diva: TD has been around for a while and there would always be a token dancer in a TD dress (usually Mia Halloran (as in the video below) or Valerie Salstrom), but this year the TD was out en masse.  As my gaze scanned the dancing crowd each night, there were numerous ladies sporting TD’s signature printed rayon dresses and it made my heart sing!  You all looked amazing – at one point, I happened upon a cluster of three women in TD chatting in the hallway and there’s nothing that makes me happier than fashion bringing people together.

Cropped tops: This trend was a pleasant surprise, seeing adorable cropped tops paired with everything from floaty skirts to high waisted trousers, and always impeccably assembled with the rest of the outfit.  Everything from right at the top of the waistband to about three inches above the waistband, so some were just a peek when you lifted your arm to turn and others were more intentionally part of the ensemble’s silhouette.

High waisted tapered leg pleated front pants:  Ubiquitous, for a second year in a row.  My distaste for this trend remains, but at least they all fit you well, no one looked uncomfortable.

Women in ties: Neckties, bow ties, and I think I even spotted a Continental – ladies, won’t you join me during OcTieBer?

Men: I’ve got nothing, it looked rather more of the same, except that well-dressed men are always in style.  Nevermind, keep looking amazing, don’t change. 😉

If you attended, I’d love to hear what other trends did you noticed while you were there – feel free to leave a note in the comments.

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May 15, 2016 Lake Buena Vista, FL Ashley Eckstein / Her Universe Photo credit: Preston Mack

I’m also going to give honorable mention to Diana Smith, who wore my favorite clothing item of the weekend, a black floral romper that, at a distance looks like it’s made from a a nice vintage floral, but upon closer inspection has Captain America’s shield nestled in the beds of flowers!  Click on the photo to make it larger so you can see the detail –  brilliant nod to the Captain America back story and the victory prints of the 1940’s.  Did I think to get a photo of Diana in this romper?  No, because I’m a terrible reporter and I think I got her in trouble during sound check because we were both working when I started geeking out about her romper…so you’ll have to settle for the Kohl’s model at right.  Unfortunately, this romper is no longer available at Kohl’s! *sigh*

There were not as many vendors at ILHC as in the past, and I particularly missed seeing Chloe Hong, but there were 4 vendors offering goods and services to the masses in the hallway of the event and they should be noted because they are noteworthy!

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Holding down the largest vendor space was Laurie Gilkenson (aka Nina’s mom) with both Dancestore’s line of dance shoes for men and women, as well as vintage shoes and clothing.  I noticed that Dancestore has a new colorway in their Aris Allen men’s wingtip, a nice brown and cream.  I also died when I saw that Laurie had several pairs of 1920’s shoes, just the loveliest things in satin that my feet will never fit into!  Also, vintage velvet…so many lovely things…

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Junebug Shop’s original designs

Across from Laurie was the Junebug Shop, the custom clothing endeavor of Anna Yergat, who had her designs on display, as well as a line of geometric beaded jewelry in just about every color – so you could order an entire accessorized ensemble at her table.  The Junebug Shop Etsy page carries Anna’s custom designs as well as some vintage clothing items.  Anna’s designs look romantic and dance-worthy, vintage nods with modern twists.

Finally, the Vinspire Salon at ILHC was staffed by Destinee Cushing (hair) and Lani Barry (makeup), offering full services faces and quoifs all weekend, if you could even get one – they were so popular there was a wait list!  One could say that having hair and makeup done, either professionally by these two or by other means (self, friend) was also a trend this past weekend and rightly so – this is quite possibly Lindy Hop’s biggest and most broadcast performance opportunity of the year and it’s a time to shine, look vibrant under all those bright lights, and look and dance your best.

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Lani preparing for a new client and Destinee working on some curls.

And that’s a wrap!  I love coming to ILHC for the energy and the inspiring dances I see all weekend, there’s a little something here for everyone, even if you aren’t competing.  Sometimes it’s good just to take it all in.

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Geometric jewelry at the Junebug Shop.

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Vintage velvet must be the greatest snuggle fabric ever…sorry for the blurry photo, I was probably mid-swoon.

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1920’s shoes AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH

Oldfield Clothing – British Sportswear and Accessories

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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A postcard from the UK that reads, “Wish you were here with all this tweed…”

Every time I turn around, I hear about a new vintage reproduction company in the UK, which seems to be where I want to spend my dollars-into-pounds lately and the retail climate appears to be thriving for vintage-inspired clothing.  Swing bandleader, guitarist, and dancer Glenn Crytzer tipped me off to Oldfield Clothing, “purveyors of fine British sportswear and accessories for ladies and gentlemen,” when he picked up a pair of their 1930’s workwear trousers, wanting something in a heavier weight for loading band equipment in and out at gigs.  The Oldfield Clothing collection looks well-suited to incorporating its pieces into modern wardrobes, with vintage takes on standard clothing items like trousers and sweaters.

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The trousers really shine – they offer five different cuts, ranging from the most vintage 1920’s golf knickers to the Keaton trousers that look like a standard pair of front pleated trousers (slightly lower rise than their other pairs, but probably higher rise than modern trousers, if you just want to dip your toe into the wading pool of reproduction trousers).  There are a range of fabrics, from linen to corduroy and wool, so you can shop and dress seasonally.  The workwear trousers Glenn picked are really special, not only for their durable fabric, but also for the details – buttons for braces, button fly, fish tail back, and cinch strap and buckle, to name a few.

Women’s offerings are limited to knitwear (specifically – but knickers, see above), but some really good pieces, like solid sweater vests and beautiful Fair Isle vests and a sweater.  Other items that could be unisex include caps, leather goods, and a classic cream long sleeve polo shirt with two collar options.

Here are some of the goods:

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“The Ralph Trouser” – 1930’s style linen, the trousers you need right now in this Northern Hemisphere heat

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Lady dandies, it’s never a bad time to shop for fall – grab one of these cashmere camel slipovers/sweater vests

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I love the chevron/starburst effect of this Donegal tweed herringbone cap.

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Polo shirt, available with either traditional collar or vintage collar – “ideal for sport, but smart enough to wear with a tie.”

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Some of the details on the workwear trousers.

Domesticated Pinup on Etsy

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Domesticated Pinup’s Etsy profile pic, which I believe was the product of a photo shoot with Jerry Almonte at Lindy Focus.

There are a few people in the Lindy Hop community whose style I would describe as iconic and Anne Williams is one of them – I remember seeing her at dances when she was in college at William and Mary and even then she was that girl with the wonderful vintage dresses (I later learned that her history with vintage goes back even further into her youth), while everyone else was in tee shirts and jeans.  I learned via Facebook (thanks Brandi Ferrebee!) that Anne had opened an Etsy shop called the Domesticated Pinup and was selling part of her collection, which made for an immediate click-through because Anne has such excellent taste, even her castoffs would be golden.  And I was right, check out her shop full of golden goodies and I remain hopeful that she will continue to bless us with her good taste.  Here are some of my favorites:

 

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Lilac 1950’s day dress.

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Caramel 1940’s fascinator.

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Blue chiffon 1950’s dress.

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Brown 1940’s hat with chartreuse feathers.

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury

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Can this be me? Please?

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Here we have yet another example of the UK absolutely killing the reproduction clothing market: The Seamstress of BloomsburyThe Seamstress of Bloomsbury, a clothing line of revived reproductions from and inspired by a woman who bore this nickname, Lillian Wells, who was seamstress to aristocratic families around the world.  The focus here is on 1940’s frocks and they’ve pretty much nailed everything down to the prints (which I find can be the hardest thing to get right, perhaps leaning toward the kitschy rather than fun and artful).

I am presently salivating over everything in the Seaside print and, with these reasonable prices, an order is inevitable…here are some of my favorites from the shop:

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Clara dress and bolero (and matching belt!) in the Seaside print – basically dying over here from the adorableness…

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Barbara wrap dress with slight ruffle in a navy blue print with little dogs – subtle, fun, classy, and I love the placement of the ruffle just slightly off the neckline.

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Because who doesn’t need a pair of black and white polka dot crepe de chine rayon wide leg 40’s trousers?

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This needs no explanation, other than if you don’t dig pants, it also comes as a dress.  CLASSY CLASSY CLASSY

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The Pearl Jacket – quintessentially 1940’s

Ains & Elke Style Haus on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I still need this in my life.

I’ve been on the hunt for elusive vintage and reproduction knitwear and came across Alixis Lupien on the Oooh La La! Vintage Swap and Sell Facebook group, as she was selling the most adorable sweater with parrots on it.  At first glance it looked vintage, but then I looked again and she made it!  People who knit clothing are magical unicorns in my book, it looks like so much could go wrong, but here was this darling multi-colored knit sweater that I could see instantly enhancing my summer wardrobe.

I followed her progress on Facebook to her Ains & Elke Style Haus Facebook page and then to her Etsy shop, where she posts her incredible novelty knit sweaters and an array of sewn clothing options that you can order custom to your fabric, color, measurement, etc. specifications.

Here are some of my favorites from the shop:

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Fishy sweater!

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Heart and Dagger sweater

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Pastel rainbow 50’s style skirt

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Coretta 40’s style jacket

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Esther 40’s sarong dress

MerriWeather on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!

Craftspeople offering wonderful reproduction Bakelite/Lucite-esque reproductions in modern plastics have been popping up with shops on Etsy in the past few years and the offerings are fantastic.  MerriWeather is another of these shops, honing in on some signature WWII costume jewelry items, such as the V for Victory and the MacArthur heart design.

From the shop’s About page: “Specifically with the MacArthur Heart Brooch, with prices continuing to climb it became harder and harder to collect bakelite. So, one day I thought – I should try to make one myself, I can’t be the only one that would like to have a MacArthur heart. So I started to carve from clay the original pieces that would be the foundation of my collection.

I carve all of my pieces from scratch, and then create my own molds of my original parts. This is the only way to have a truly unique piece. Each piece is poured and cast by hand. Each piece is then sanded for hours to get a polished finish. Then each is assembled with great care to give them an original and authentic vintage look. My first MacArthur Heart was finished in September 2013.”

MerriWeather is based in Austin, Texas, which begs the question as to whether MerriWeather is a swing dancer.  If anyone knows, please chime in!  In the meantime, here are some of my favorites from the shop.

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The elusive MacArthur heart.

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Good luck!

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Queen of Hearts necklace

Keds Celebrates 100 Years

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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According to Wikipedia, Keds as shoes were introduced by the U.S. Rubber company in 1916, so 2016 marks 100 years of canvas on rubber athleticism.  Through the decades this classic shoe has remained a constant, falling in and out of fashion, but seems to be prevalent and lasting in the Lindy Hop community as a staple shoe.  Its efficient shape, versatile rubber sole, and array of colors help continue that legacy, whether they are selected to be “period-appropriate” or just a reasonably-priced dance shoe.

I got an email in my inbox celebrating this anniversary and touting three new collections, inspired by the 1940’s, 1970’s, and 1990’s – the 1940’s shoe is an espadrille in a washed cotton, a nod to both casual elegance and a worn, vintage look, as though these shoes had been washed and loved for years.  The colors available are spot on for the 1940’s – a patriotic navy, classic white, and coral that was so popular during the 1940’s.

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Field Trip: Vintage Shopping in St. Louis

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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

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Adorable!  All the details!  At The Vintage Haberdashery.

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

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A menswear display at The Vintage Haberdashery.

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The serious goods hanging from the ceiling at Retro 101.

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

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

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

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

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A carousel of accessories at Retro 101.

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

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A wall of accessories at Ruth’s Vintage Clothing.

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

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Following the second line down Cherokee Street.

 

All Balboa Weekend 2015 – Shopping and Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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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.

Wearing History Review: Smooth Sailing Trouser and Norma Jean Blouse

This is what 5:00 a.m. at RDU looks like.

This is what 5:00 a.m. at RDU looks like.

I see that Wearing History will be one of the vendors at Cal Bal (the California Balboa Classic) and thought this would be a good time to review the clothing I received from Wearing History as a result of backing their Kickstarter in August. It’s been fascinating following the manufacturing process after funding, with owner/designer Lauren Maringola giving frequent updates on the status of the fabric, printing, and the manufacturing timeline for each garment, among other details about working hands-on producing her made-in-the-USA line of 40’s-inspired clothing.

I backed Wearing History at the level where I would receive a pair of the Smooth Sailing trousers in denim (yes, I bought pants! Also available in plus sizes.) and the Norma Jean blouse in a must-own-or-perish musical note print. The package arrived in the mail and was waiting for me when I got home from the holidays and Lindy Focus. It was my intent to wear the outfit dancing, but the Lindy Focus plague (née the flu) and my cat getting sick prevented me from attending any local dance nights between then and now – but I wanted to make sure my Cal Bal ladies and all of you could know about this great line of clothing!

So instead of dancing, I decided to put my Wearing History outfit though another intense experience – a whirlwind trip to Hot Rhythm Holiday in Austin, Texas, where my band, the Mint Julep Jazz Band, would fly in, perform, and fly out in a period of 32 hours. 4 airports, 4 flights, shuttles, carrying baggage/equipment, eating my weight in Tex Mex food, and touring a bit of Austin before playing the Fed that night.

A close-up of this adorable print!

A close-up of this adorable print!

Just in case the glockenspiel case and traveling with 6 dudes carrying odd-shaped instrument cases wasn’t enough, the eighth-noted Norma Jean blouse would let everyone know that I was a musician and this was a band flying to a gig (and I was so excited, I’m sure I annoyed the crap out of everyone nearby). The blouse was actually a great travel piece and I imagine, for similar reasons, would be for dancing – it stayed tucked in with the darted waistline and high waisted trouser combo, the arm holes and slight dolman sleeve allowed for a wide range of movement, the tencel fabric was soft and durable, and the blouse could be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.

Trousers and blouse dressed up a bit more

Trousers and blouse dressed up a bit more

The Smooth Sailing trousers got the double travel treatment – I only wore the blouse on the first day, but wore the trousers for both traveling days. The weight of the denim is just perfect – not too thick, not too thin, and soft without losing its denim qualities. The cut is flattering, and I love the way a high waisted trouser makes your bum look. After two days on airplanes and sleeping on planes and in the airport, the trousers managed to retain their shape really well, with no stretch bubbles at the knee, and the only noticeable change was perhaps a little loosening at the waist, which may have been a casualty of my Tex Mex food baby. Two days in these pants and they performed like champs. I even slept in them when I got home – after a 23 hour day and 3 hours of sleep (with intermittent airport/plane sleeping) there was really no need to get into pajamas when the trousers were just as comfortable.

And there you have it – Cal Bal ladies, do go by the Wearing History booth and check out this wonderful new collection of clothing and remember that Wearing History is just getting started! Everyone else, please visit the Wearing History website, where you can order these lovely garments, plus some other adorable garments from Wearing History’s first clothing line. I can’t wait to see what else Wearing History has up its sleeve and would back another Kickstarter in a second. Quality goods with great style!