Category Archives: Ladies

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.

Racing Green Balboas + 1930’s dress + gig the weekend after Cal Bal 🙂

On a personal note, I finally thought to ask Philip if he had any lower heeled shoes in Pepper Green.  My Pepper Green Anitas seem to go with so many of my vintage dresses and are starting to get a little sad looking (I think I’ve had them for at least a decade), but also I’d like a lower heeled Pepper Green shoe.  To my delight, Re-mix had done a limited run of a Pepper Green/hunter green color combo Balboa shoe for a UK company, which called the combo Racing Green.  I was basically sold without even seeing it (green on greeeeeeeen!) – Philip brought a pair the next day from the Re-mix warehouse and the deal was done.  If you want a pair, he’s got maybe one of each size – get the phone, y’all, to get that order in…

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

Visiting Chloe Hong in Seoul

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Bliss in 3, 2, 1…

This past weekend I experienced my first international gig performing with Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders at Jeju Swing Camp in South Korea.  In spite of a typhoon imposing itself upon the event, the organizers and dancers persevered and an incredible time was had by all and the sun came out for the last day of the event so that we could have an epic beach party with four bands and dancing on the sand.  Following the event, several of the musicians would spend part of a day in Seoul waiting for our flights to various locations – my number one request was that I be able to visit Chloe Hong’s shop, FROMChloeHong.

Over lunch with MG Chris Jung and Scully Heejin Kim, Scully made arrangements with Chloe for me to come by the shop.  I found out later that Chloe’s shop is by appointment only and that I was able to get in, perhaps, even before people who live in Seoul could get an appointment!  Scully is my new hero, clearly. ❤

I traveled with reed man Keenan McKenzie on all the legs of this journey and he joined me at Chloe’s shop, with a mission to obtain one of Chloe’s legendary trumpet skirts for his wife, swing DJ and dancer Allison Meeks.  Scully arranged for a cab to take us to Chloe’s shop and we ended up walking into some sort of laundry facility by accident and probably amusing several Korean women with our confusion and language barrier.  Around the corner and up a short flight of stairs we found the shop.

Upon Keenan’s recommendation, the soundtrack to my entrance into Chloe’s shop is Gene Wilder’s rendition of “Pure Imagination,” feel free to cue that up for the rest of this post.  Keenan also snapped the photo of me going into the shop, a pleasant surprise!

I often muse about Chloe’s excellent taste – you only get a glimpse of it at the events in the US, with a sampling of the shoes, ready to wear women’s clothing, and custom menswear pieces.  Stepping into her shop was personal, an affirmation of her love of vintage style and decor, quality garments and fabrics, personalized goods, and Lindy Hop.  Ella Fitzgerald’s dulcet tones greeted me as I walked through the custom painted gold door. The shop was on the smaller side, yet spacious feeling, furnished with early to mid-20th century furniture, vintage haberdashery items, and artwork, including various vintage-inspired Lindy Hop event posters.  The chevron stripe wood floor gleamed.  A teddy bear sporting one of the reproduction Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers jackets sent me over the edge.  Bolts of beautiful fabrics, racks of sample menswear garments with exquisite details, rows of sample shoes to try on, a rack of Chloe’s staple women’s items, and vintage and vintage-inspired accessories completed the offerings in Chloe’s shop.  I would also characterize the space a hybrid shop and studio – there was a room to the side I could see through glass that was clearly a sewing workroom.  Most of the space functions as a custom menswear studio, where one would come in to be fitted for garments, view and try on sample garments and fabrics, select various cuffs and collars on display that could also be tried on, and once an ensemble was completed or conceived, select carefully curated accessories – vintage ties, Trafalgar braces, vintage cufflinks, tie cips, tie bars, caps, etc. – to complete the look.

The front portion of the shop was dedicated to Chloe’s dance shoe line, both women’s and men’s shoes.  The shoes samples could be purchased if the color and size you needed were in the sample stock, but otherwise the shoes were made to order.  I purchased my first pair of Chloe’s dance shoes last year at ILHC and they have become my favorite dance shoe, so I made plans to purchase two more pairs in colors I wear most often for dancing.  A few weeks ago I had come to the realization that my 1930’s gold shoes were more of a deeper, bolder gold than most modern gold shoes and, of course, Chloe had the perfect leather sample to make just such a shoe so I can now have a dedicated pair for dancing.  Does one have a conversation about 1930’s gold leather characteristics with just anyone?  My heart sings for Chloe…

Back to our mission, we located a trumpet skirt for Allison – I imagine Chloe’s skirts are in such demand, as there was a limited selection, so don’t feel slighted if you’ve tried to order online only to find out she is out of stock.  Everyone wants this skirt!  There will be more coming soon, I understand, as well as some lovely trousers that look like they will lay perfectly, move well, and be as durable as the trumpet skirts.

It must be impossible to go into Chloe’s shop and NOT order menswear, so Keenan decided it would be a good idea to order a couple of dress shirts and to get measured in case another purchase may be viable in the future.  It was such fun picking out fabrics from the lovely samples, selecting collars, cuffs, embroidery, and details for the shirts.  Chloe was a wonderful collaborator, discussing options, allowing for opinions, and making suggestions.  The turnaround was predicted to be fast for custom garments, about 3 weeks for the shirts.

While Chloe was working with Keenan, I essentially floated around her shop, absorbing all of her good taste and beautiful things, giving me life and energy and joy.  I spotted a cap hanging on the wall I had been seeking for years – black and white tweed with a rainbow fleck.  Into the bag it went!

As I finish this post, I realize that Chloe has been on my radar since 2013 and I have known her since shortly after that, seeing her at least annually at dance events in the US.  It was thrilling to be able to visit her on her home turf, to visit the bustling city of Seoul that she calls home, and to glimpse into her daily life at her shop/studio.  If you find yourself in Seoul, I would highly recommend setting up an appointment and making your way to her shop – it felt like a home away from home.

Your Favorite Dance Heels Become Flats

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Re-Mix’s Giulia sandal

For too long, the Keds and heels divide was a painful reality, with very little in the way of dance shoes in between these options.  With the explosion of new swing dance shoe companies in the past few years, the options have increased, but often the flats offerings were limited to oxfords.  Knowing how much work goes into starting any company, it stood to reason that shoe companies would offer those items that are already a sure thing, but even then one of the most common complaints I hear from women is that they just want a cute, flat dancing shoe.  With Charlie Stone stepping away from the dance shoe market by eliminating leather soles, where does that leave us?

What I hope I am seeing is a trend toward cute, flat dancing shoes.  At All Balboa Weekend this past weekend, I saw Re-Mix Vintage Shoes’ brand new Giulia model, a flat sandal with a leather sole in Re-Mix’s impeccable vintage style and colors.  I have owned other pairs of Re-Mix’s flat sandals with rubber soles and love them, so it is exciting to see their take on a flat dance sandal in colors that compliment my vintage clothing.  Not to be outdone, I spotted Saint Savoy’s announcement that their Riviera shoe (one of my favorite Balboa shoes) will now be a flat sandal – nothing was lost in translation, the proportions on this shoe look so lovely and I imagine I will see a lot of this shoe pop up at events in the fall after they launch.

Thanks so much to dance shoe companies for listening – I am so excited to be able to direct newer dancers to more flat shoe options that are not only comfortable, but also beautiful.

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Saint Savoy’s flat Riviera, beautifully done

Vintage Shopping at Bull City Swingout

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The Triangle dancers are in a flurry preparing for the inaugural Bull City Swingout (July 12-14, 2019) and we are so excited to share with you all the lovely things our area has to offer – doing my part here and sharing all of my local vintage clothing and jewelry haunts.  While the event is walkable within downtown Durham, North Carolina, if you want the full vintage shopping experience, you will need to venture out in a car – however, there are two vintage stores in the downtown area, so even if you don’t have a car you won’t miss out.  I’ll start with the stores closest to the event and work our way (distance-wise) out from there.

DOLLY’S VINTAGE
213 W. Main St. (2 blocks from the Durham Armory)
Durham, NC
Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Dolly’s is a vintage clothing store and gift shop, offering both men’s and women’s clothing in addition to some fun Durham merch, cute gifts, and some downtown necessities (i.e. umbrellas in case you forgot yours, socks for jurors who get cold at the courthouse).  Most of the clothing will be 1950’s-1980’s, but there are a few Art Deco gems hanging around – there’s a brown crepe and sequin evening gown and matching bolero from the 1930’s in there right now that better go home with someone!  Dolly’s is only two blocks away from my office and is my haven when I need a cheerful place to be during a lunch break – say hi to Larisa Harrison, the owner, or maybe local artist Anna Wallace will be working that day.  This is also where I take most of my vintage clothing that no longer fits.

GIBSON GIRL VINTAGE
1001 W. Chapel Hill St.
Durham, NC
Open 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (closed on Mondays, open ’til 8 p.m. on Thursdays)

Owner Sara Spissu opened Gibson Girl Vintage a few months ago and she’s already got a full shop with more inventory coming in all the time – every time I go in, there’s new things to see, which is all very exciting.  Gibson Girl has both men’s and women’s clothing, as well as a good bit of furniture and housewares.  Like Dolly’s, it will mostly be 1950’s-1980’s clothing, with a sprinkling of earlier clothing – there’s a lovely yellow lace 1930’s dress and some hawt black 1940’s pumps (size 7.5) in there right now that I wish fit me!  It’s about a 20 minute walk from the Durham Armory – if you decide to take that hike, there are some other great things within this block of the city, like the Durham Co-op Market, Grub (a yummy restaurant), and a Joe Van Gogh coffee shop.

CARLISLE & LINNY VINTAGE JEWELRY
112 S. Churton St.
Hillsborough, NC
Tuesday – Friday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday – Monday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

If you like vintage jewelry, Carlisle & Linny is the stuff dreams are made of, stocking Victorian through 1970’s jewelry, and not in a token way – there are so many Art Deco pieces that I spent about two hours in the store the first time I went, mulling over the pieces I should buy.  I am fairly indecisive, particularly when there are so many lovely things…regardless, this tiny shop is packed to the gills and there’s even more in the back. If you are looking for something specific, reach out to owner Lindsley Bown ahead of time to see if she might have something – her inventory is deep, jewelry is small, so it takes some effort to find things.  This shop is about a 17 minute drive from the Durham Armory and downtown Hillsborough is adorable – there are several good restaurants and a wonderful chocolate shop, Matthew’s Chocolates, within a couple of blocks of the shop.

RALEIGH VINTAGE
18 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC
Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you attended the Eastern Balboa Championships, you may already be familiar with Raleigh Vintage, as they were our wonderful lobby vintage vendors who saved all their good swing era stuff all year for our selection. You can also get a nice selection of their inventory on their website, but obviously nothing beats going in person and being able to try things on.  This shop is a 30-35 minute drive from the Armory and can be a little hard to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for – the entrance is down a ramp, between a shop and a parking lot, look for a door and a Raleigh Vintage sign at the bottom of the ramp. Once you’re inside, it doesn’t even feel like you are in a basement, the space is a light and airy salon with a selection of Victorian through 1970’s clothing and accessories that reflects the excellent taste of the owners, Andi Shelton and Isaac Panzarella.  It’s also a few doors down from my favorite Triangle bakery, The Cupcake Shoppe.

FATHER & SON ANTIQUES
302 S. West St.
Raleigh, NC
Monday – Saturday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Father & Son is a Raleigh institution, predating any of the aforementioned shops and was one of those places before the downtown area started revitalizing that was an admirable and crowded mix of excellent junk, vintage clothing, and awesome furniture. They have moved to a location that is less crowded and less dank and it is just not the same and my heart will always belong at that old location. Father & Son tends to be better for menswear than women’s clothing, but it’s still worth a trip, particularly if you love mid-century furniture – they always have a beautiful selection and furniture makes up about half the store. This shop is also about a 30-35 minute drive from the Durham Armory.

Second Chances – Original 1930’s Dress and Emmy’s Reproduction

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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MANY REGRETS

When things started picking up with the Mint Julep Jazz Band, I was voraciously searching for vintage dresses to wear for performances.  I didn’t necessarily have a ton of money to spend, as the recession was still in full swing, but it never hurt to watch the dresses I’d love to buy on Etsy and add them to my favorites list or on Pinterest.  One of these dresses, a 1930’s cotton print dress with a rickracked sailor collar, I watched for at least a year in Moon River Mercantile‘s Etsy shop and, when it sold in 2014, I had strong regrets about not finding the money somewhere to buy it for myself.  I don’t often have these regrets, but this is one of the few that stuck with me.

Flash forward to a few months ago and Emmy released previews of their spring line – much of the collection is sailor-inspired and I gasped when I got to their Silverscreen Sailorette Dress.  It looked almost exactly like THE dress, the REGRETS dress, even in a red colorway, it couldn’t be a coincidence.  I cross-referenced with my Pinterest and then emailed Emmy about the dress.  It’s entirely possible we had the same love for the same dress – she said she found it on Instagram rummaging through vintage sellers’ accounts.

The Silverscreen Sailorette dress is available as of today – Emmy’s spring line was launched in three waves, with releases a month apart and today being the last wave.  In addition to the red Art Deco print, it also comes in a blue Art Deco print, solid cream, and solid navy.  I’m both excited and grateful for a second chance at this dress! ❤  Pictured below, the original (left) and Emmy’s dress (right).

 

 

Jenna Applegarth’s Applejacks Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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The Greenwood

This post may be premature, but I have been eagerly anticipating Jenna Applegarth’s line of swing dance shoes since I first saw her post about this business endeavor on Facebook.  A lot of people ask me about shoes and visit this blog for information about dance shoes, but Jenna is THE source, the person I know who knows about all the brands popping up all over the globe because she is traveling to teach at these places and trying out the shoes, but also because she has excellent taste, she cares about the shoes, and gives detailed feedback about the fit, look, materials, and functionality shoes.

I say premature because the Applejacks website does not have any shoes listed for sale, but Jenna has slowly been releasing posts about her work and, this week on the Applejacks Facebook page, photos of some of the shoes she has designed.  I couldn’t wait, you all need to know about this, and be sure to follow the Applejacks Facebook page for release updates.

From the Applejacks about page:

“Applejacks shoes are designed by dancers, for dancers. We want you to not only look good, but to feel good. To be able to stay on the dance floor all night and still walk back to your hotel. Our shoes are designed to help your body stay aligned and balanced. Room for your toes, secure on your ankles and happiness on your feet. We believe that Applejacks represents a fresh take on comfort and design.

We know feet are as unique as personalities, which is why we don’t believe in “one size (style) fits all.” That means we know our shoes may not work for everyone. But that is ok, because we founded this company to help fill in the gaps from the other companies already in business. Fit the feet that weren’t being fitted 🙂 Which means if our shoes don’t work for you, that is ok – they may fit your friends and family instead! And you can always check out some of the other great shoe companies out there with a different fit.

We have a goal to help reduce unnecessary waste, maintain high industry standards and choose sustainable durable materials.  What that means for you:

  • Simple labels – It gets thrown away anyway, so we only label what we need to.
  • Minimal packaging – From the factory to you, we do our best to only use what is needed.
  • No shoe bags automatically – but 1 free for every pair on request!
  • Leatherwork follows German PCP Regulations
  • Fair working conditions
  • Non-gendered/Non-roled sizing and styles

We are still working on building our brand and identity. We appreciate your feedback, and we hope you travel along with us on our journey.”

I love this approach and I can’t wait to see more from Jenna’s company.  I also have some nerdy glee about the company name being so perfect with Jenna’s last name and being one of my favorite jazz steps.   Here are the three previews released this week, from L-R: the Greenwood in teal, the Seneca in rose gold/silver, and the Seneca in purple.

Royal Vintage Shoes Offers Leather Soles for Spring 2019

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Lillian Mary Janes

Since their launch a few years ago, I’ve been a supporter of Royal Vintage Shoes, an offshoot of American Duchess, creating reproduction vintage shoes from the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s.  My one complaint was that these wonderfully crafted shoes with leather uppers did not have leather soles – until now!  For Spring 2019, Royal Vintage has made the transition to leather soles and I’m so excited about the offerings, all of which can be added to your dance shoe wardrobe.  The new leather soled collection will be available for pre-order on their website starting on April 25, 2019.  I particularly love the wedges, the heeled oxfords, and I’m delighted they are re-issuing their two tone Lillian Mary Janes (although I’ve already purchased the rubber soled version from a previous collection, womp womp).  Enjoy their “Foxtrot Summer” collection, aptly named to now cut a rug!