Category Archives: Ladies

JJ Suspenders – Dual Use Braces and Suspenders for All Trousers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Every so often a company reaches out to me for a product review and it’s usually not a good fit for my blog, but when I saw JJ Suspenders pop up in my inbox I was intrigued.  Then I went to the website and there were loads of lovely braces and I thought, “Is this a mistake? Or is this marketing?”

As a lurker in several menswear groups on Facebook, the distinction between braces and suspenders was a critical one, it meant needing buttons sewn in your trousers versus simply clipping them on; it also meant a level are sartorial in-the-know-ness (you may call it snobbery) about the type of person who wears one over the other.  While I prefer a set of braces because I’ve watched my husband struggle with his clip-ons for tuxedo gigs (both to put them on and have them stay on) and I’m particular enough to want that added level of security/not wanting a hassle,  I know that the thought of sewing buttons into one’s trousers (or paying someone to do it), for some, is like that extra thing that’s not worth someone’s time, effort, and resources.  I understand that not everyone shares my priority for absolute security in trousers being held up by elastic straps.  I’m not at the level of wearing both braces and a belt, though, so I’m still within reason.

BUT I DIGRESS, back to the lovely package that arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago.  JJ Suspenders was very patient with me, because I already owned most of the colors I wanted and they were out of the burgundy, they waited until they got some more burgundy pairs in stock, notified me, and shipped me the pair.  As I opened the box, I was confused again – there were both clips AND leather attachments on the ends of the straps.  First thought, surely no one is THIS paranoid (takes a breath, looks closer); second thought, this is genius, they are delivering both so that you can choose and simply remove the type of trouser attachment you don’t want at the moment, with the option to reattach if/when you do, via a sturdy snap.  This means they can be worn with all of your trousers, at any time.

The packaging and extras are all so thoughtful – a small sewing kit with buttons (perhaps to immediately encourage non-sewers to pull up a YouTube video on how to accomplish the sewing of braces buttons onto trousers – the question of where do the buttons come from seems to be novel to my husband, so I’m glad they’ve eliminated this hurdle); two extra sets of suspender clips; and a lovely canvas bag to put it all in.

While I usually prefer a wider elastic, I opted for the narrower braces this go around and was pleasantly surprised at their sturdiness and quality.  The attachments are leather and the snaps sturdy.  I wore these all day with great comfort and would say these are a win for me.  I look forward to wearing them more this fall when I have more fall colored clothing items to coordinate.

The website has a large selection – from leather in seven colors to solids, stripes, tweeds, and a few patterns, I believe this to be a great resource for people who may be embarking on their first pair of suspenders/braces and for seasoned braces veterans.  The prices are on par with quality braces makers, like Trafalgar.  Now that I think about it, I’m not even sure I know of another quality brand of braces maker – and the lack of quality options was the impetus for JJ Suspenders coming into existence.  From their website:

“It started in 2014 when founders Jackson and Josh were shopping for suspenders to wear at a friend’s wedding and after visiting dozens of shops all they could find were a handful of generic, outdated and overpriced suspenders. When looking for alternatives online, they quickly found that about 90% of the suspenders on the market were low quality and mass-produced by the same factory. The only suspenders that met Jackson and Josh’s quality standards were from a very old company in England. But with this came high shipping costs, outdated designs, and poor customer service.”

My communications with JJ Suspenders have been exemplary – my contact, Misha Inglis, has been professional, courteous, and friendly and I am delighted that they found me and reached out to me out of the blue.  It is clear they are striving for quality and I appreciate and applaud their mission to provide quality braces and suspenders – both, actually, at the same time.

P.S. Yes, that is my 1964 Vespa 90 kitted to a 129 cc engine. I’ve enjoyed riding it more during the pandemic, since other hobbies have been on the back burner.

Harlem Candle Company

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

 

 

 

We are living in historic times and I want to make it clear that black lives matter – I have been posting on my other platforms, but then I remembered that I also have this blog, so I would be remiss if I did not make it abundantly clear that I support racial justice and dismantling systematic racism, across all of my platforms of speech.  A blog about swing dance clothing, shoes, and other things swing dancers may be interested in purchasing doesn’t seem like a likely candidate for addressing any sort of critical issues, but many people have written about how important what we wear is (historically and now) and how we spend our money affects perceptions and economics.

I was reminded this week of the Harlem Candle Company by dancer Lindsay Kelly, who posted her cocktail in a glass imprinted with E. Simms Campbell’s iconic 1932 nightclub map of Harlem (as some of you may know about #quarantini consumption throughout the pandemic).  I thought, how lovely, because you can enjoy the candle, then you can enjoy the glass, so you’ve doubled your enjoyment of this lovely gold embossed vessel featuring the Home of Happy Feet and so many other iconic locations within this map that were integral to this dance and this music that we love.

The company, owned by Teri Johnson, a woman with a resume that makes you want to pack your bags and go on a travel adventure with her, is based in New York and the candles are “inspired by the richness of Harlem…like music, the top, middle, and base notes of each Harlem candle tells a story while taking you on an olfactory journey through time and place. Drawing on inspiration from legends like Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, the subtle scents and soft glows from Harlem candles instantly enhance your space while creating a sense of comfort and luxury.”  I love that Teri draws inspiration for the scents from the very things that inspire us to dance.

I can’t help but think of one of Dawn Hampton’s signatures quotes – “the light is on” – and all sorts of things that came to mind when writing about candles involving light, the black lives matter movement, and supporting black artists and businesses.  I’ll spare you my soup of thoughts at the moment, but take inspiration where you may right now – we have a lot of work to do.

Seersucker Romper Revisited, Thanks to Loco Lindo

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I got a gut punch the other day when someone posted online about Loco Lindo’s collaboration with someone/something named Scout (feel free to explain this to me, I couldn’t locate info on the website), everything in seersucker and 40’s inspired.  I was looking at a vintage romper I owned – same pattern, same material, only the romper in my closet was starting to get snug and uncomfortable for dancing.  THIS WAS MY CHANCE AT REDEMPTION.  I didn’t hesitate to place an order for the Carolina Romper (they are coming for me, DIRECTLY). It arrived and has all the bells and whistles of my vintage romper, only the new one is green (old one was red) and it fits me so comfortably.  Check out this collection on the Loco Lindo website – the romper comes in green and blue and the collection features other pieces, like a 40’s dress, 40’s skirt, and tie top, all of which look really comfy and come in green, blue, red, and yellow.

Lindy Shopper’s Closet Episode 6 – Art Deco Ocean Queen

Lindy Shopper’s Closet Episode 6 is up and I’m talking about the Art Deco Ocean Queen ensemble I wore for NYE 2017 at Lindy Focus. This is probably the last episode for the foreseeable future – I am an essential employee and have been working mostly from home, but on top of my city re-opening in two weeks (and going back to my office full-time), I find that I am way more busy than I anticipated. Family law is booming (my day job) and I have enough engagement with music-related projects that producing these videos is no longer in the cards. I hope you enjoyed these, I have enjoyed making them, if only to be able to talk to myself in my guest room about clothing and shoes that I love.

Lindy Shopper’s Closet Episode 5 – Dance Undergarments

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Lindy Shopper’s Closet Episode 5 is up – this week I’m talking about swing dance undergarments, everything from briefs to full slips, what to wear under your skirts and dresses.  Tune in, subscribe, let me know if you have requests for future topics, and stay healthy, y’all!

Lindy Shopper’s Closet Episode 4 – My Favorite Swing Dance Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Lindy Shopper’s Closet Episode 4 is up and I’m talking about my favorite swing dance shoes! Tune in, be sure to subscribe to my channel, love you all and wish we were going out dancing tonight! ❤

Lindy Shopper’s Closet Episode 2 – Canceled Gig Outfits

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Lindy Shopper’s Closet Episode 2 is up and I talk about the pandemic’s effects on the swing dance community and what I would have worn to canceled events for which I had already planned outfits. We’ll call this the learning curve episode, I talk too much, I tried to wear too many outfits, and there are some things I would change and realized I forgot to do, but if you want to hang out with me and talk about clothes and how the pandemic has impacted life and the life of your music/dancer friends, you’re probably going to appreciate it.  I’ve also posted a ton of links to things I mention in the episode – pandemic relief resources, events and musicians affected by the pandemic, and resources for the clothing and accessories I talk about in the episode.

Saf Shoes – Genderless Dance Oxfords

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Grey Matter from the Intelligence is Sexy Collection

Time often gets away from me, so I must apologize for not writing about Saf Shoes when I first heard about them a while ago.  However, I see that their reputation grew and there’s a shiny new website now where you can view and purchase these dance shoes, so the order in the universe remains such that a good dance shoe is a good dance shoe and news of it will travel fast.

Vancouver dancer Jacky Li is the mastermind behind Saf Shoes, who shares his journey to shoes as follows: “As a long time dancers – we are talking over 10 years partner dancing, here – Jacky has put his time in on the dance floor. He knows how dancing affects the body and selfishly wanted to design a shoe that could let him dance all night without pain. It’s a crazy idea, especially because we know how hard ya’ll dance. The thing is, at saf shoes, we want to dance well into our 90s, and that means taking care of our bodies. Part of taking care of your body is finding a dance shoe that supports it.”

Right now Saf Shoes offers three styles of oxfords in 2-3 colorways, all with varitions on oxford detailing and Saf’s signature diagonal cap toe.  The Shadow and Light collection plays with tone on tone textures in white and black (currently out of stock due to pandemic-related leather shortage); the Made to Measure collection plays with multiple colors and the shoes are customized to your feet (available in leather sole and tap shoe options); and the Intelligence is Sexy collection takes the classic oxford for a spin into easy-to-work-with colors with a fun twist and standardized sizing.  Check out their Facebook page for more photos and celebrity endorsement by the Arntzen brothers.

I particularly love that there’s an entire page devoted to sizing and how to measure your foot – the key to getting a good fit with anything is having measurement information available and knowing/figuring out your current measurements.

Cheers and happy genderless shoe shopping!

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The giveaway ended, but I stole this photo from the Saf Shoes Facebook page so you could see more of the details all in one go.

Swing Meowt

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

If you’ve ever been to I Heart Bal or if you know Richmond-based instructor Erica Vess, you know what an incredible artist she is and how she is able to hone in on the most adorable and instantly relatable ideas and translate them into marketing and merchandise for her event.  I have only been to half of the I Heart Bal events, but I buy merchandise every year because I want it, it’s so good.  I was delighted to see a one-off design this morning from Erica in my Facebook feed, featuring a punk rock kitty with punk rock font saying SWING MEOWT.  This appeals to every fiber of my being.

From Erica on Facebook: “You can support our studio during the shutdown with this sweet merch I just dropped into our fundraising store. Bonus: you’ll also be supporting another local small business, Itty Bitty Press, who has lost tons of orders during this time.”

HERE FOR THIS SWEET MERCH, ERICA.  TAKE MY WALLET. 😉

California Balboa Classic 2020 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach greets you with full California spendor

I attended my very first California Balboa Classic – aka Cal Bal – last month and I’d say I don’t know what took me so long, but I have another hobby that managed to conflict with this event year after year.  I made the decision to choose Cal Bal this year and Cal Bal did such a great job welcoming me with open arms that I didn’t want to leave.  It’s also the first event I’ve attended in several years that I was not hired as a musician, so there was ample time for dancing between DJ shifts, which I have sorely missed and desperately needed.

To set the vendor scene, you need to understand the layout of the hotel – this is a hotel event, but this is not your typical hotel.  The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach is more of a complex, with lovely outdoor spaces connecting separate buildings, taking advantage of what are usually mild temperatures in southern California.  The ballroom was a separate building within the hotel complex and to enter the ballroom, one had to walk down a little path and through a large covered-but-open-to-the-air space.  It was a bit chilly at night, so the covered outdoor space had some temporary walls and heaters, as well as couches for sitting (basking) under said heaters, a snack station, a cash bar, and all the vendors for the event.  Had the temps at night been a little warmer, the vendor location would have been truly ideal – during the day it was lovely.

There are so many colors in this, it goes with so many things!

Cal Bal had some great merch this year – you’ve already seen my post about the Kendra Dandy designed scarves and pocket squares, and there were also pins, bags, and tee shirt designs (one even featuring the Rendezvous Ballroom).  I was elated to see a green tee shirt with musicians on it, so that came home with me!  If you aren’t sure how to style your large Kendra Dandy Cal Bal scarf, Cleveland dancer and instructor Alexis Davila posted an awesome/adorable/creative video on Facebook of several different ways to wear it on your head – I believe you can still order one, it looks they are up on the Cal Bal web store.

At this point, I’m blessed that Re-mix Vintage Shoes owner Philip Heath knows me by sight and always gives me a little tidbit to keep me coming back for more.  This year, the buzz was the production of a gold Opera model, which had previously been relegated to suede (which I don’t prefer to try to maintain) – since metallics are my go-to neutral, this was a delightful new development and I was excited that this particular model fit my particular feet, having never previously tried on any Opera model.

I didn’t notice the new addition to the men’s shoes (maybe a Fairway or a variation thereof? I’m not seeing it on the website) until Nicholas Centino posted the photo below of their gloriousness, but there’s a new two tone brown oxford with perforations that is so subtle and lovely.  I’m also not seeing them on the Re-mix website, so pick up that phone…

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Subtle and sweet oxfords by Re-mix – photo courtesy of Nicholas Centino

Next stop in the circle of vendors was the new-to-me Swankys Vintage, who appeared to have mostly menswear and some women’s items, with a mix of Swankys reproductions and vintage clothing, with a very 1940’s/50’s California aesthetic in terms of styling and color palette.  The reproductions were almost seamless with the vintage at first glance, the textures, fabrics, and colors were so spot on.  Lots of clothing that evoked comfort, ease, and fun, as well as some really nice looking classics, like tweed trousers with a buckle back.  It was so nice to see more of a focus on menswear, which tends to be minimal to non-existent in terms of vending at events.

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California vintage and repro by Swankys Vintage – it’s hard to tell what in this photo is vintage and what is repro

I’ll also give an honorable mention to the gent who set up a mostly vintage men’s shop for Saturday night, who I asked for a business card and he said this was his last vending spot ever and that he was liquidating his collection and selling it to another vintage seller.  It is hard work running these vendor spots/booths at events, carting around inventory, being present to run the shop, paying vendor fees and for hotel rooms, so my hat’s off to all the vendors – whether you’re still in the game or getting out, this is an important part of events and I’m appreciative of everyone who shows up.

I’m always excited to see Jenna Applegarth‘s Applejacks shoes at events, as I’ve probably learned more from her than anyone about the extensive and often frustrating process of designing, producing, and shipping dance shoes – I’m completely invested in this storyline and here for all subsequent chapters.  Remember that this is a labor of love each time you buy a dance shoe made by swing dancers for swing dancers!  I know several of us are eagerly anticipating the new models (I swear I saw green on Instagram), but the models out right now are particularly well-suited to Balboa.  One of my friends noted that she didn’t necessarily know what she’d wear with the rose gold shoes, but that they felt so good on her feet that it didn’t matter.  Good thing metallics are neutrals!

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Applejacks’ army of Balboa-ready Seneca shoes

Next up in our tour of vendors was Swingbird Fashions, who I have previously blogged about in terms of an Etsy shop, but since that post this brand has expanded greatly and wonderfully.  I am terribly sad that I was not able to meet the creator of these garments, Leea Kuronen from Denver, Colorado (it’s hard to be at your booth at every minute of the day, I completely understand) because I was smitten with everything – the colors, the fabric selection, and all the lovely details.  There’s this one green dress with white soutache detail that is absolutely to-die-for – I saw both Teni Lopez-Cardenas and Heather Ballew had purchased one of these dresses and wore them in competitions that very weekend.  It’s an I NEED TO WEAR THIS NOW kind of dress!  Lovely trousers, skirts, blouses, and dresses all around – this corner of the room made me smile.

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Swingbird Fashions’ dress of the weekend – SOUTACHE, Y’ALL, BY HAND

Across the room Loco Lindo represented with their line of crepe printed dresses, blouses, skirts, pants, and, of utmost importance, their Venice Beach clip dress, recreated from the one worn by Genevieve Grazis in said clip, she of the many gored twirly skirt.  It’s honestly super gratifying to see a whole line of them on a rack, knowing the history behind the dress and the process of getting this dress reproduced – get your twirl on and your shuffle on, let’s do this!  On a related note, I’m sad I missed the crunchy sound of shuffling on sand the Monday of Cal Bal where everyone met on the beach near the site of the former Rendezvous Ballroom – living that beach clip dream…

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Beach Clip twirls as far as the eye can see…

Sharing the space with Loco Lindo was Jen Gomez of Bandini St., who typically also shares a space at Camp Hollywood.  It’s a great idea, to share space, share labor, and have that symbiotic relationship of pairing dresses with hair accoutrements immediately.  This is probably going to be super personal to my preferences, but I was particularly happy to see pairs of hair flowers that were an ideal size (Goldilocks here, not too big, not too small…), flat – but with enough texture to be interesting, and a color gradient so that it goes with various shades of whatever color it represents.  VERY SPECIFIC.  I need to go through my closet to see what I might need, as these are available on the Bandini St. Etsy shop in several colors.

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Basically my perfect size dance-friendly hair flower

Finally, we’ve reached the lovely Saint Savoy booth at Cal Bal, with a candy colored array of heels and flats.  While their Riviera model remains the most popular and is available in a wide array of colors, I heard lots of talk about their oxfords for women being particularly comfortable.  A few other notes: 1) I’m pretty sure their Grace shoe in Neptune is one of the most beautiful dance shoes ever made.  I own a pair and I only wear them for singing because I would Gollum-style freak out if anything ever happened to them; 2)  I’m having feelings about their The Whip oxford in Mulled Wine because I had a pair of Doc Martens in high school with a similar color gradient and broguing (a whole different level of nostalgia); and 3) it was nice to see their Grand Prix t-strap dance flat in person – loving all the variety in heel heights, thank you, more of this from dance shoe makers, please. 🙂

And that’s a wrap – I hope I haven’t missed anyone!  I loved all the vendors, thank you again for your time and energies in attending Cal Bal and creating products with the swing dance community in mind.

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Saint Savoy Riviera shoes in so many lovely colors

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Saint Savoy’s Grand Prix in neutrals – ready to be the work-horse of your dance shoe wardrobe.

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Bandini St.’s array of headbands

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Love this print on a peplum’ed Loco Lindo dress

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Cheerful yellow trousers from Swingbird Fashions

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Wrap dress goodness from Swingbird Fashions

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I love the little kiltie detail on Applejacks’ Newport shoe

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Excited to be here, got some loot!

Men’s trousers by Swankys Vintage, giving me pants envy…

Racks of candy colored shirts, by Swankys Vintage

The brand new gold Opera by Re-mix

The Minnie shoe just absolutely kills me with adorableness

 

 

 

A little geography on a PSDF bag

 

 

Kendra Dandy Teams Up with Cal Bal

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Maybe you haven’t met Kendra Dandy at a swing dance event, maybe you’ve seen her – she likes to dance near the band and has mad solo jazz skills, is usually carrying a fan emblazoned with the word SHADE and has loads of style to match.  I watched her from the stage at a few events and figured that she must be the coolest person in the room.  When she accepted my friend request and I began seeing her posts in my feed, that suspicion was confirmed – she’s got the sharpest memes, excellent taste in cocktails, and is an incredible graphic designer who has teamed up with companies like Vans, Anthropologie, Estee Lauder, Coach, and companies selling products in Australia and South Korea that my grabby little American hands can’t reach.

This week the California Balboa Classic made the announcement that is has teamed up with Kendra for a very special project – from Cal Bal’s Facebook post:

“The community of dancers who come to CalBal represent an incredible range of talents from fiction authors, to medical professionals, to mechanical engineers. One of those people is Kendra Dandy . Even if you don’t know her name, you’ve probably seen her at a swing dance event, and it turns out that Kendra is a successful illustrator and designer with a career designing surfaces for international brands and her own shop at https://theebouffants.com/.

We want CalBal to be a showcase for talent in the Balboa community, and we love her work, so we asked Kendra if she would be willing to design something for CalBal2020. And she agreed!

The result is a limited edition scarf inspired by Kendra’s experience of CalBal. It comes in two sizes, is 100% silk satin, and is available to order now at https://calbalclassic.com/product-category/merch/

We will have other merchandise, too, but the CalBal2020 scarf is an opportunity to take home a unique work of art to remind you of your time at CalBal2020.”

I was excited to see this partnership, as I love supporting visual artists in our community, and I also love the addition of this luxe merchandise item that is still practical within our community.  A silk kerchief could be tied around the neck, worn in the hair, or worn as a pocket square; that 32 inch scarf opens up even more options, perhaps a belt or head wrap (to cover a wet set or not).  Maybe you blot your sweat with silk kerchiefs, no judgment here!

This product release coincides with my very first Cal Bal, I’ll be attending as a DJ  in 2020 – looking forward to that California vibe Kendra depicted in her scarf design, warmth, sun, palm trees, dancing shoes, and some cocktails!

2019 Holiday Gift Guide

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

As we embark on this rather abbreviated holiday season, we have even less time to get our act together and buy thoughtful gifts for the swing dancers in our lives.  Here are some tidbits and links that may help you out, but also, gift cards for retailers that sell dance shoes are always at the top of my want list!  I’m highlighting visual artists this year because there is so much fun art being created, inspired by our dance art.

First things first – did you even know Lindy Hop wrapping paper was available?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amado Peña;s Etsy shop is full of art inspired by the Austin, Texas swing dance community and, of course, Frankie 🙂

After years and years of seeking, through various sources, a complete copy of that incredible Harlem nightclub map from 1933, it can now be yours – available in three sizes.

If you need a gift for a Dean and Jewel fan, look no further.

Melissa from the UK makes lovely, dynamic black and white dancer prints (if anyone knows Melissa’s last name, I’m happy to edit this, it wasn’t available on her seller profile)

Show some love with a pair of Lucky Lindys NYC bloomers.

Amy Hood Illustration updates the classic Leon James and Willa Mae Ricker photo shoot from 1943 to a take on 2019.

Really cute swing dance fabric from Cleolovescolor, via Spoonflower

 

Emily Ensign’s “Swing Follow Pink Dress” oil painting pays tribute to the roots of Lindy Hop with a nod to Degas’ ballerinas

This guy made me smile – JAZZ DO IT + glitter phone case

Emiliano Puddu captures this Charleston pair in oil

I really want this hand-knitted 1940’s style sweater vest for myself…

I love a card set, artwork by Tamisha Anthony

I’ll leave you with this painting, featuring yours truly on the mic, by Conan Zhao – you can pick up his dancer/jazz-inspired paintings in their original form or on prints, bags, phone cases, and more. 😉

 

 

 

Groovy Fox’s Chic Foxes: The Cute Dance Flats You’ve Been Waiting For

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Hello, love…

One of the common complaints I hear about women’s swing dance shoes offerings is that they can’t find something flat and cute to wear with dresses.  For a variety of reasons, heels won’t work for certain dancers and, depending on the day/circumstances/conditions, a pair of cute flats may be the only cure for what ails.  Charlie Stone burst onto the scene a few years ago with their flats catering to dancers, but subsequently changed their business model and the soles of their shoes to rubber to accommodate a larger, less niche market.  Other companies have offered oxfords and boots, but I know that I am not alone in preferring something that pairs traditionally well with dresses and skirts and doesn’t necessitate socks (I’ll deal with the foot funk fallout later!).

We’re starting to get somewhere – in March I reported about Slide and Swing’s Nora Art Deco dancing flats and then in April Remix joined the fray with a flat, leather soled sandal.  Over the summer, Groovy Fox reached out to me about a review of their shoes and when the offering was a dance flat, Chic Foxes, I was excited and greatly anticipating the pair of shoes that would make its way in the mail to me from Bulgaria to North Carolina.

I reassembled the contents after a night of dancing in Chic Foxes – look at all these goodies!

It’s always exciting to receive international packages in the mail and, from start to finish, Groovy Fox has delivered the goods.  I opened my package and discovered a sealed envelope, with a thank you note (very classy, thank YOU), a welcoming solicitation for feedback and the means to do so, and a polite request for tags on social media; another card in the envelope talks about their goal of providing comfort and quality footwear and gives a list of aspects of the shoe they have focused on, such as insole cushioning, flexibility, softness, the strength and slide of the leather soles, and ends with a note that you are encouraged to wear them on and off the dance floor.  The flip side of this card details and diagrams the layer of viscoelastic gel throughout and foam layer at mid-sole in the insole of the shoe.

The next layer of my package included a burgundy shoe bag with the Groovy Fox logo on it, made from a quality material with a grosgrain ribbon tie.  I travel a lot and go through a lot of shoe bags to protect my shoes, so I was very grateful to receive a quality shoe bag that looks like it will wash well.

Finally, the shoes!  On the heels of discussing my Dorothy complex in September’s post on Kitschy Witch, I was delighted to see that the red shoes I was anticipating were actually a delicious, shimmery ruby color.  I may have died a small death of joy in receiving these shoes, the reveal was everything.  The leather is soft, but not so soft that it doesn’t hold its shape.  I can see these molding to my feet in good ways after several wears, and with the placement of the stitching and perforations I also anticipate that they will give in the right places and also hold up in those places.

The soles are smooth leather – I don’t have preferences on suede or smooth leather soles, so I can’t give you much feedback either way, but I did solo jazz, Lindy Hop, and Balboa in these shoes and did not feel compromised with any of these dances.  I found the cushioning to not be overt – I could still feel the floor a great bit, so I feel like this would be a good transition to make from Remix os Saint Savoy shoes if you are needing a flat that is lightly cushioned, but you still want to feel the floor.  If you need additional cushioning, I can see ways that you could easily add ball of foot cushioning with the closed toe box.  If you need a lot of arch support, which I do not, this shoe does not have that arch support feature, although the gel in the insole continues through the length of the sole.  The heel is rubber, but not a sticky rubber, so it did not inhibit my movement in any noticeable way.

Excited about shoes, with a cameo from Kimberly 🙂

I found these shoes to be streamlined and comfortable, a classic t-strap with great proportions and lovely details.  They immediately got a lot of attention at my local weekly dance, both because of the wonderful color, the styling, and the fact that they are flat, leather soled dance shoes.  The price point of $132 is a great value for the quality of dance shoe you receive.   I have also had excellent communication with Groovy Fox’s executive director, Georgi Evgeniev.  10/10 would recommend!

But also, the colors – I’m pretty sure I want all of the Chic Foxes color options in my life, in addition to the radiant red: a pearl Nile green, a deep gold/almost bronze, and a two tone light gold and black pair.  HERE FOR ALL OF THIS CLASSINESS.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions about the shoes and post them in the comments section below!  Happy dancing!

ItalicHome’s Daniel Drawstring Back Pack

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

ItalicHome’s Daniel bag in caramel

As I clicked purchase on my third Daniel bag by ItalicHome, I thought to myself, “Maybe others would want to know about this bag?”  At first glance, perhaps there’s nothing remarkable about this bag, other than it meets all of the criteria for a certain type of travel bag.  Then I remembered all of you reading this blog, with similar needs and interests, so it’s high time ItalicHome got a post.

Let’s go back to 2015 – I had been attending the Jazz Age Lawn Party in New York for a few years at this point and was struggling with some of the logistics of attending an event that is both city and country at the same time.  A good portion of this is dust management.  After trashing a pair of Re-mix shoes in the mud in a previous year, I learned quickly not to wear nice shoes; likewise, to wear flats and washable garments because each at at JALP was a long, sweaty, dirty day of dancing and picnicking on the ground.  I needed a bag that was also washable, durable, that could carry my necessities (wallet, phone, food for the day, a water bottle, extra pair of shoes, etc), and that looked like it would fit in with my 1920’s clothing.  Vintage bag searches gave me the idea to look for canvas bags, and an Etsy search came up with ItalicHome’s page and the Daniel bag.

The original Daniel bag is made of cotton canvas, grommets, rope, paraffin and beeswax (the latter two optional) – very simple, no crazy modern zippers, and the more I read about it, the more I thought it would fit the bill.  I messaged the shop owner, Colin Evan Pritchett, about the conditions under which I would be using the bag and we decided to go with un-waxed canvas, lest the wax melt all over a picnic blanket on a hot summer’s day.

Having a backpack was perfect for me, as I have struggled with back problems for the past decade and this was lightweight and evenly distributed the weight.  I could roll it down to be small and stick it in my suitcase or my carry-on.  It didn’t take up much space on the metro.  When I arrived, I could throw it on the ground and not worry about it getting dirty, as I selected the caramel color and knew that the dirt would wash out easily.  The bag is lined, so with a double layer of fabric, the contents did not get dirty.  I sweated on the rope, which is a very soft rope to the touch, and it was OK.  When I got home, it washed easily in my washer on the delicates setting with only minor shrinkage, and I folded it up for the next adventure.

As most recently spotted – my arrow print Daniel bag goes to Chloe Hong’s shop in Seoul.

It was such a success that I thought about getting another bag in a different color immediately following my return from JALP – ItalicHome tends toward neutrals and I really wanted something in green.  Within a month I found a green canvas with rainbow arrows print that I fell in love with and messaged Colin about doing a custom bag in the arrow canvas.  He was wonderful to work with and delivered his signature bag in a color scheme that goes with most of my wardrobe.

If you’ve seen me at an event in the last few years, you’ve probably seen this arrow bag. When I fly, I travel with a book bag and either a SkyRoll or Away suitcase – logistically, a purse doesn’t really fit into this scheme for me and I don’t always want to carry my book bag (which is a Girl Scout’s trove of air travel “just in case” items) to every destination in between flights on my gig travel.  The Daniel bag fills that purse gap, but, again, is big enough for a change of shoes and a water bottle, in addition to my purse contents.  Maybe you have bigger feet than me and this is the perfect heavy duty shoe bag.

The Daniel bag (and many other ItalicHome products) come in caramel, navy, black, gray, burgundy, natural and moss green.  You can mix things up a bit, and select the top of the bag to be any of these colors and have a two-tone bag.  You can select either natural or black rope.  Or you can pull a Lindy Shopper and work out a custom order in a canvas print that you source and send to Colin.

Is it just a drawstring back pack? Maybe.  But it’s exactly the draw string back pack I needed.

Daniel bag in gray and black and black rope

In the Mood for Fall: Kitschy Witch Designs

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This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

So many people love fall – while I dislike the idea of temperatures plummeting toward winter, I do love the sights and flavors of fall, particularly those involving Halloween – you may have noticed that I love to dress up and a costume is, for me, dressing up to the fullest!  I happened upon Kitschy Witch Designs earlier this year and essentially everything on this website is what I imagine as lovely and fun imagery around the Halloween season, taking inspiration from literature (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the Wizard of Oz), pop culture (Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride), and vintage notions of magic (fortune tellers, magicians, and the hallows eve itself).

Kitschy Witch Designs features the fabric, clothing, bag, and jewelry designs of artist and entrepreneur Stephanie Buscema, whose designs are fun, whimsical, and vintage-inspired.  From the website:

“My mission is to create unique collections of items you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Items are made in small limited edition batches, with our custom fabrics and clothing being printed and sewn here in the USA.

All art, textiles and designs are created by me in my home studio with real paints, paper and pencils, using traditional image making methods to create just about everything you’ll find here. Carefully curated and of course, made with the utmost love and care, KWD is most definitely my passion project. My hopes are you’ll find a few things here that will make you smile and bring a little magic into your life!”

I am absolutely smitten with the latest collection inspired by the Wizard of Oz – once you’ve been Dorothy in a community theater production of the musical, you basically never need to let that go (is what I am telling myself).  If 1950’s silhouettes are not your bag, there are plenty of other items on the website with more universal appeal – totes, clutches, makeup bags, scarves, jewelry, and sunglasses – which can be used year-round.  I know for some people Halloween is a state of mind and I think Kitschy Witch expands upon that to glorious effect.

What a glorious (green!) and colorful print (green!)!

Definitely one of my favorite rides…

A Sleepy Hollow scarf seems appropriate.

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A festive Halloween print skirt