Category Archives: Shoes

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!

Advertisements

Visiting Chloe Hong in Seoul

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

67068586_10106876000506688_6180973498228277248_n

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.

Re-Mix-Giulia-Metallic-Combo-Angle_540x

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.

65251167_2438561449520110_8920202394353008640_n

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.

Jenna Applegarth’s Applejacks Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

57447308_822717211416350_2613435042101198848_n

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.

56158049_2316245225364008_5788817708220940288_n

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!

Made in Lindy – Swing Dance Shoe Review

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I can’t find a record of previously blogging about this company, but I was aware of Made in Lindy shoes through several Texas swing dancer acquaintances, who purchased Made in Lindy shoes and recommended them on Facebook a few years ago.  Fast forward to 2019 and former Texas/now North Carolina dancer Allison Lemley was wearing a pair of her Made in Lindy shoes at the weekly Lindy Lab dance, so of course we started talking about her shoes.  I took a gander at the offerings on the Made in Lindy Facebook page and fell in love with a red pair of Mary Jane heels with a heart cutout – I mean, just look at this cuteness!

IMG_8255

Made in Lindy is based in China and the orders are placed via Facebook page chat and payment through PayPal.  I had a very helpful exchange with Made in Lindy, where I began by inquiring about a shoe and pricing – the shoes I ordered were $99.00 (including shipping) and the turnaround for an order is about 3.5 weeks for production and delivery.  I was offered an array of color options and, even though I wanted the red shoe from the photo, I was even offered two different reds to choose from.  I could specify 3cm, 4cm, or 5cm heel height.  Customer service asked about my sizing and offered advice.  I received a confirmation message when they received my payment and another message when the shoes were shipped with tracking information.

IMG_8260

2 a.m. in the lobby at Lindyfest

While I still find it a little odd to place orders through Facebook (even though I have done it many times now through Chloe Hong’s Facebook page) it helped to have the recommendation of a friend and that the customer service was so well-done.

Now for the shoes!  They arrived a couple of days before Lindyfest (along with an adorable orange satin shoe bag with pink lettering), so of course I packed my brand new pair and a backup pair in case of new shoe blisters.  I don’t often get to dance at events anymore because I’m singing, but Lindyfest was a mix of DJ’ing and singing for me, so I got ample dancing in on the two nights I was DJ’ing and not singing.  The Made in Lindy shoes were wonderful for mostly Lindy/some Bal and, for the first time in a long time with any pair of shoes, I did not get blisters (which was extra great, since I had forgotten to pack my friction stick).  I found the foot bed to be slightly wider than some of my other pairs of dance shoes and the 4 cm heel was comfortable and stable (photo of heel and sole after one night of dancing below).  Excited to have a new pair of dance shoes I love in my selection, I may even get over the loss of my beloved Aris Allen wedges (RIP).  Would buy again!

Slide & Swing Nora – Art Deco Dancing Flats

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

When I have heard about Slide & Swing dance shoes I usually hear about someone coveting their boots, but now I’m on their website having a panic attack over their ART DECO GLITTER DANCE FLATS.  Do any of those words make you salivate?  Available in teal, copper, and a sort of burnt gold color – limited edition, so you know what that means…

nora-5-aniversario-limited-edition

Mid-Winter Digest

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

mockup-0d100df4_600x

The alternate title for this post is I Have Too Many Things To Write About and No Time To Do It – my hope is that you’d rather have the news as it comes, rather than a comprehensive post about everything, so I’m giving you the tip of the iceberg here and trust that you’ll enjoy all the things at your leisure:

Zoe Vine – glorious dresses (with sleeves!) in lovely colors, based in the UK (because the UK has everything I want right now, right?), machine washable – gimme!

Hepcat Corner – tees, sweatshirts, bags, phone cases, and more, all with the swing dancer in mind.  Bonus points for graphic of shag dancing couple (labeled Charleston – could be either!).

August Three – I had hoped to cover this in a Lindy Focus vendor post that may never come to fruition, but I got to see the beauties from this new swing dance shoe company based in Thailand and the quality looks great and I loved the custom color options.  Would love to hear from others who have tried them!  Jenna Applegarth has endorsed these and she is essentially the international swing dance shoe expert at this point, I’m not sure there’s a swing dance shoe company she hasn’t tried!

33751410_851653151710621_270878261599272960_n

Pretty Retro – In December I discovered that my new favorite go-to clothing website, The House of Foxy, has an offshoot brand called Pretty Retro.  I’m not sure what the differences are, it all looks like more glorious, quality vintage-inspired reproduction clothing and I am here for it.

Angelus Lustre Cream and Leather Paint – having trouble color matching leather polish so you can try to restore some life into a tired, scratched pair of dance shoes?  Lauren Stowell of Royal Vintage Shoes recommends Angelus Lustre Cream (thanks for posting in the Women’s Swing Dance Shoes Hunt Facebook group!).

il_570xn.1648039152_pyio

Some sunshine for these gloomy winter days, from Swingbird Fashions

Green of Grey – I found another magical trumpet skirt in the wild (which has since sold out, but maybe custom order? That bow, AMIRITE?) and a number of other adorable swing-era-inspired items in this adorable Etsy shop.

Swingbird Fashions – a Denver-based Etsy shop, with trumpet skirts IN STOCK, adorable 30’s style shorts/skort, 30’s blouses, trousers (both wide leg and those pleated/tapered ones that everyone seems to compete in), some gorgeous dresses, really so many quality things!

Groovy Fox – what a fun name for this new swing dance shoe company!  Bulgaria jumps in on the dance shoe game and the results are lovely – we so spoiled with all these new shoe companies with lovely colors and styles.  Loving the lilac and mint and wanting to build a spring wardrobe around these colors…

mbr02789

 

Memery – Vintage-Inspired Footwear

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

IMG_5839_1024x1024

The shoe blessings runneth over and, while this vintage reproduction shoe company doesn’t appear to be directly marketing to the swing dance community, all signs point to it being a default winner – Memery, a UK-based company, is making reproduction shoes from the 1920’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s with leather soles (but also a vegan option) and they are lovely, in some classic colors and some unexpected colors.  While it appears that they are getting a start on their shoe lines, it looks like they are off to a strong start, particularly with their 1940’s pump, which comes in six scrumptious suede colors and two heel heights (3 cm/1.18 inches and 6.7 cm/2.6 inches).  This is definitely a shoe company to watch!

IMG_2193_590x

I have a 1940’s pair of oxfords with this same topstitching effect – love this attention to detail!

Swing Beauty Dance Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

47044374_10213960614478660_5902287888028008448_n

Jon Tigert’s pairs of Swing Beauty shoes

The hits keep coming, folks – and for all the new swing dance shoe companies popping up, there is an equally eager audience of dancers wondering and hoping – “Will this be THE shoe?”  Finding your perfect dance shoe is a process and everyone’s feet respond differently to different shoes, are shaped differently, have their own special needs, and there’s just never a one-size-fits-all solution, at least in terms of dance shoes.

I first heard about Swing Beauty swing dance shoes from instructor Jon Tigert, who I have seen at a number of swing dance events this year sporting a pair of green and tan dance shoes that he has been very happy with over the past months, explaining that he acquired them from this China-based company owned by dancer Mina Lin.  Jon has wide feet and has been committed to a style of Stacy Adams shoes in a wide width for years prior to acquiring these Swing Beauty shoes – the new shoes look great on him and feel light on his feet, two excellent notes for a dance shoe.  Jon posted on Facebook last night that he had acquired a second pair of Swing Beauty shoes in blue during a trip to Guangzhou to replace some shoes that were ready for retirement – I’d say acquisition of a second pair is a great recommendation!  Jon was able to pick out his custom colors and, for wide widths, recommends that you reach out to Swing Beauty about customization options/sizing questions beyond the color customization listed on the website (and even the color custom chart, as compared with the photos on Facebook, looks like just the tip of the iceberg – if you can dream it, maybe they can make it?).

For all the women I am hearing who have wide feet or are looking for the perfect pair of oxfords or need flats (or all of the above!), here’s another option for you.  There’s also a boot and a low heeled oxford.

The website looks fairly straightforward, with step by step instructions on what to do – your first step is essentially to send them an order inquiry, rather than putting something in a cart, which gives you the opportunity to ask a lot of questions (if needed) and to inquire about what custom options you seek.  To get ideas, you can check out the Swing Beauty Facebook page, which I am sure will expand to give you more options as they create more custom pairs for dancers.  The prices look great, ranging from about $107 to $140, based on today’s conversion table.

Here’s what I am loving from Swing Beauty:

47024039_183922292560640_3729094780542517248_n

All of these!  Look at the options!

43640550_151824249103778_4467134891170988032_n

Saddle shoes done so well!  

43660723_151823195770550_8897947454373101568_o

I do love a tweed…

43654267_151822829103920_2361636146217222144_n

Adorbs!

Swing It – Dance Shoes and Apparel from Poland

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

40204862_701313363540006_5834448785098407936_n

A row of Swing It shoes

The newest contender in the swing dance shoes and apparel market is Swing It, based in Krakow, Poland.  A quote from their Facebook page caught my eye, so we’ll start with that: “We believe in slow fashion philosophy – natural materials, quality and comfort.”  If this quote had the word adorable in it, it might be directly targeted at me.  I’m seeing this term “slow fashion” come up more often and, as I become the old lady I was always destined to be, I find myself drawn to this idea that fashion should slow down a little – as a vintage clothing wearer, this seems innate, but in terms of buying new garments made now (but in the vintage style – we’re full circle), this is a new term that applies to a very old concept, of buying quality things you love to last you for a long time.  I think slow fashion is easier for people who have developed their own sense of personal style, but then you’re here, reading this blog post, so maybe you have that or maybe you aspire to that more permanent sense of style.  Perhaps you’re here to augment your current style.  If you’re comfortable in yourself, comfortable in your quality clothes, and are sweating it out on the dance floor in natural fibers, what more do you need from a garment?  Whatever the reason, I’ve digressed far afield, so let’s return to Poland where this new swing dancer-focused brand resides.

I always try to start on a company’s about page, to get a flavor for what the company goals are and what makes it tick.  Swing It produces reproduction clothing and shoes from the 1930’s through the 1960s, based on original patterns, with all of the clothing made in Poland.  Goals are quality, great appearance, and customer satisfaction, but also personal satisfaction, as the owners of this company, Basia and Greg, design things they want to wear.  I believe in this concept – if you like it and are excited about it, certainly there are others who will/are, too.

The men’s shoes are cap toes or classic brogues, with your basic brown tones as well as a more adventurous color/combination for each style (I see you, dark green cap toes!).

The women’s shoes are also oxfords, in lovely suede in two of my favorite colors – purple and green.  It’s almost like they called me…

The clothing offerings on the Swing It website are limited to women’s clothing at this time, but I definitely see vests on Facebook, so I’m assuming there is more in the works.  For women, Swing It is launching the basics in an array of colors – for their skirt, a 1950’s reproduction wrap skirt with four buttons, and for their trousers, a high waist/pleated front/tapered leg reproduction from 1952 in classic suiting plaids and in red.

Here is what I am loving from Swing It:

42679751_716378772033465_1136297043413696512_n

Please do ask me to dance, any time…

45006835_732001457137863_1317766210602926080_n

I love a multi-tonal shoe, makes a neutral even more versatile by coordinating with more brown tones

 

36437933_640569326281077_2036340902380699648_n

Chic red trousers

42147906_712315762439766_4500517210946535424_n

These look luscious and soft…

36199864_636746509996692_7703338666478796800_n

I’ll leave you with this minty green – cheers!

Camp Hollywood 2018 Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

img_7608.jpg

This year was my first full Camp Hollywood experience, flying in before the event began and flying out after the event ended, and after I got my obligatory In-N-Out Burger fix, I headed to the vendor area to hover and watch the magic unfold in the vendor area.  The vendor area was comprised of an entire ballroom, a large adjacent conference room, and  a large Camp Hollywood merch table where you could purchase both camp swag and music from the bands and musicians performing over the course of the event.  This is definitely the largest vendor area at any event I have attended – I marveled at it last year, but this year I understood.  The traffic in Los Angeles is so bad that you almost don’t want to leave the hotel, or at least not to go somewhere outside of a 5 mile radius.  I looked into some sightseeing on Friday – maybe a vintage car museum or a Frank Lloyd Wright house – but the 12-15 miles to get there would take over an hour at 10:30 a.m., which I was neither willing to spend the time nor the money to accomplish at that point, especially with evening band obligations.  So, the shopping comes to you!

IMG_7610

Ladies and gentlemen, Jo Stafford

I did manage an excursion with fellow vintage enthusiast Brettie Page, who had a car at Camp Hollywood – through some careful planning on her part and a small window of time on Monday where the traffic would only take about a half-hour, we rushed over to Paper Moon Vintage.  I don’t have a full report because, when one has the challenge of an hour in a vintage store, one must be focused, particularly when said vintage store has a great selection of swing era items.  Brettie and I both left with garments – she an incredible 1940’s bathing suit in shimmering white with gold stars and me with a silk 1930’s garden party dress – which is just about all you can ask for in a successful run to a vintage shop.  I also left with this swell Jo Stafford pin – like, how often do you come across 1940’s band merch?  Like, never.  The cherry on this sundae was that everything in the store was 15% off.

IMG_7578

I. Love. Wedges.

Back at the LAX Marriott on the first day of the event, I hovered near the ballrooms and enough friends were volunteering at the Re-mix Vintage Shoes booth that I got pulled in with some lovely chatting and managed to be their first purchase of the weekend.  Some day I will visit the mothership, but it was still great to chat with owner Philip Heath about shoes, pick up the shoes I had reserved, and check out all the new gorgeous purple shoes and a selection of wedges (which he doesn’t usually bring to All Balboa Weekend, the only other dance event Re-mix attends as a vendor).  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Starlet shoe will actually fit my feet, even though I believe it’s on the same last as the Gabrielle, which my feet are entirely too fat to wear – another pair to go on the wishlist!

My second stop of the trip, in the brief window between sound check and downbeat, was to hit up the Vintage Blue Moon booth and I’m so glad I did!  Apparently, the vintage expo at the Queen Mary didn’t happen this year and Vintage Blue Moon was having a magnificent sale on jewelry, both vintage and some excellent reproduction “Bakelite” jewelry.  The first pass yielded a Bakelite scottie dog brooch, a 1930’s rhinestone ukulele brooch, and a matching repro necklace and earrings set in peppermint stripes.  I returned later to go through the clothing and there were some truly special pieces – in particular a 1930’s black satin (that heavy/heavenly indestructible kind) jumpsuit with appliqués (dying/gasping), really excellent 1920’s dresses, 20’s/30’s lingerie, and an impressive wall of menswear.

IMG_7554

The Venice Beach dress, with a rack of Venice Beach dresses beside it!

As I’m running through the vendor area, I notice a dress – CAN IT BE – it’s the Beach Clip dress!  As we’ve talked about on this blog, I knew the Beach Clip dress (originally owned and worn by Southern California dancer Genevieve Grazis) was being reproduced for sale by Loco Lindo and recently heard that it would be debuted at Camp Hollywood, but I almost couldn’t believe my eyes.  Having examined it up close and inside out, I was so excited to finally see this project come to fruition and to see an entire rack of these dresses in wonderful prints on comfortable and washable rayon crepe.  I made a beeline for the Loco Lindo booth after the main dance ended and was relieved to find several prints still available in my size, including a scottie dog print.  (Fate?  Fate.)  Loco Lindo owner Linda Marrone and her crew did an incredible job with the design, translating a fairly complicated late 1930’s dress into the garment I ultimately purchased, which will be comfortable and movable for dancing, with the same amazing twirl from that gored skirt.  You could also buy a Beach Clip skirt, and, of course, any of Linda’s other wonderful dresses, skirts, pants, and blouses in that wonderful crepe fabric.  The “Venice Beach” skirt is already on the website and I hear the dress will be posted for sale in short order.  Very special thanks to Jennifer Halsne, who essentially unearthed this dress, brought it to national attention, and then worked with Loco Lindo to make this reproduction happen!  For more on the story of the Venice Beach/Beach Clip dress, visit Jennifer’s blog, Swing Sleuths.

IMG_7556

Sharing the vendor area with Loco Linda was Bandini St., selling a variety of head bands, hair flowers, shoe bags, and ideally situated next to the door leading to the main ballroom across the hall.  Let’s say you’ve already picked up a pair of Re-mix shoes, snagged a dress from either Loco Lindo or vintage dress, then you can put the finishing touches on your ensemble and/or buy a nice shoe bag to protect your new shoe investment.  I had thoughts about WHAT IF THE AIRLINE LOSES MY LUGGAGE and then I realized that I’d be at Camp Hollywood where I could replace everything except my underwear.

All the Shiny Things!  Occupied the center of the main vendor ballroom with an intense amount of jewelry for just about anyone or anything.  I noted on the evening of the A Bug’s Life theme that it would be easy to stop by the ATST booth and instantly upgrade your outfit to tonight’s theme by purchasing one of many insect brooches or small pins to be worn on a dress or lapel or collar.  I particularly loved the rainbow display of bangles – lucite, bakelite, other plastic, who knows?  But if the color fits…

Need a hairstyle to get you through the weekend or maybe want to do something special for the Saturday night dance?  The stylists from Hush Hush Bang Bang had you covered, offering an array of services from blowout to a full updo or glam waves.

IMG_7582

A tropical oasis in the vendor ballroom at A Walk Thru Time Vintage

A Walk Thru Time Vintage is the last stop in the main vendor area ballroom, offering a mix of swing era vintage, later vintage, and costume pieces.  I particularly loved that they created a tiki/tropical vignette, as we were surrounded by palm trees poolside at the Marriott and it just seemed right that you might want to pick up something festive to wear by the pool or to the special poolside live music on Monday.

Across the hall in a conference room I found a Lip Sense booth, which was a collaboration among Iris Tarou (who was also vending at Lindy Focus this past year, Tawnie Gadd, and Lisa Cleveland.  I am a big fan of budge-proof lip color for dance events for obvious reasons (short = face sometimes accidentally grazing lead’s shirt during Bal, also having to be dressed before dinner because of time constraints) and I am not above forgetting cosmetics!  I also love the combined effort of these dancer/business women, which means the booth stays open more often for shoppers and they can alternate dance time!

The remainder of the conference room was a bit less defined, so I apologize if I credit a garment to the wrong vendor.  Both Pepperpie Vintage, who was at Camp Hollywood last year, and Rare Revival Vintage carried a mix of swing era vintage and dance/fab appropriate later vintage items, mostly women’s items.  In the very back was a men’s corner by Purple Peacock Vintage, with some truly fabulous menswear pieces, like a 4 piece suit (extra pants, y’all), other swing era three piece suits, and the cutest light blue and white polka dot braces (that I really considered buying even though I don’t own any pants that could accommodate them).

If I’ve missed anyone, please give me a shout!  There’s so much going on at Camp Hollywood and the vendor area is no exception – save your pennies to do some serious shopping at next year’s event!

IMG_7555

Double seams give the sleeve on the Venice Beach dress a bit of structure

IMG_7561

The Venice Beach skirt – gores and twirls for days…

IMG_7562

A cross-section of Venice Beach skirt fabrics at Loco Lindo

IMG_7557

Need a head band?  Bandini St. has them, even in coordinating Loco Lindo fabrics!

IMG_7558

Bandini St. also offered an array of classic blooms

IMG_7563

The wall of menswear courtesy of Vintage Blue Moon

IMG_7565

The main display at Vintage Blue Moon

IMG_7566

This satin jumpsuit, tho…I hope someone got this and takes a photo of them wearing it and sends it to me…

IMG_7564

The sweetest vintage lingerie at Vintage Blue Moon

IMG_7570

The weave on this straw hat…

IMG_7571

Fun and excellent reproduction Bakelite style jewelry at Vintage Blue Moon

IMG_7572

Services available at Hush Hush Bang Bang in-house salon

IMG_7576

Taste the rainbow of bangles at All The Shiny Things!

IMG_7574

The instant theme night outfit

IMG_7575

A little something to hold your necktie in place while dancing, at All the Shiny Things!

IMG_7577

Re-mix wedges, how do I love thee…

IMG_7579

Classic men’s oxfords at Re-mix

IMG_7580

*drools*

IMG_7587

Lucite handbags at A Walk Thru Time Vintage

IMG_7586

I love a houndstooth jacket – at A Walk Thru Time Vintage

IMG_7589

The entrance to the Pepperpie/Rare Revival/Purple Peacock area

IMG_7590

Super duper wished this had been in my size – at Pepperpie Vintage

IMG_7591

Gorgeous 40’s dress, at Pepperpie Vintage, I think???

IMG_7597

Lovely handbags and accessories at Rare Revival Vintage

IMG_7592

My favorite type of vintage men’s shoe – this mesh is so practical!  At Purple Peacock Vintage.

IMG_7595

One of many delicious vintage men’s suits at Purple Peacock Vintage

IMG_7600

Cowboy braces at Purple Peacock Vintage

IMG_7601

Ending with Lip Sense, to give you all a virtual kiss goodby without the residue. 😉

 

 

 

 

ILHC 2018 Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

cropped-rsz_1logo2-1-150x150

The International Lindy Hop Championships is one of those events where, even if you go into it feeling like you don’t have a lot to do, there are so many excellent people around and things to see that this feeling dissipates very quickly.  While the vendor area was not as robust as in years past, there were still some new surprises as well as staple vendors to get you some things you may need and some things you may want.

I usually do a trend report, but I’m sad to say that I did not see many of the competitions this year due to both work obligations and time spent with friends outside of the dance.  I WILL note that I did see the invitational strictly and, if this is any indicator of trends, white was absolutely a trend this year – white skirts, pants, and even a jumpsuit.  White is one of those attention-grabbing colors for competitors and we usually point to shoes as a prime example, i.e. highlighting a dancer’s footwork, so here, let’s say we’re highlighting all those amazing swivels.  I also want to give a shoutout to Remy Kouakou Kouame, along those same lines, for wearing a stellar pink suit in a sea of neutrals and for being such a great menswear inspiration to up and coming dancers – I noticed one of the Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs, Jermaine Trevon Donald, competing in pink trousers and one of the sweetest sport coats I’ve seen in a long time (it’s hard to tell from the video, but the fabric is awesome), and coach Valerie Salstrom told me that Remy is a big inspiration to him.  Here’s to inspiring dancing and inspiring and eye-catching competition apparel!

Now, on to the vendors!

IMG_7517

Victor Celania has been working in custom menswear for years and serving dancers in the Austin, Texas swing dance community, but has only recently started setting up shop at swing dance events under the name of his business, Established Sartorial (which may have the cutest logo ever).  I love visiting Victor’s table and seeing and feeling all the wonderful fabric samples.  I also love hearing people talk about the kids of garments they want and how they want things to fit – we all have such different bodies, different needs, and different ways that off-the-rack clothing doesn’t work for us.  I’ve known Victor for a long time, he has such excellent taste and I’m glad he’s sharing this skill with the rest of the dance community.

IMG_7523

Dance the rainbow

Speaking of excellent taste and custom clothing, Chloe Hong was on site and focused on selling her not-quite-flats-not-quite-heels t-strap dance shoes that have become so popular due to their comfort and the array of colors offered – an actual rainbow of options appeared on her table, which I love and adore.  This goes without saying, but being able to try on the shoes is so important for us as dancers, so having Chloe at ILHC with shoes in all available sizes to try on was fantastic.  I ordered a pair in light gold and I’m so excited to try them out (following a recent purge of 10+-year-old dance shoes that were well past their prime)!  She also had a selection of men’s oxfords in more subdued colors with a contrast sole, I would be interested to hear from people how they like dancing in them.

IMG_7528

Sparkle butts assemble for swing outs…

New this year to me was Lucky Lindys NYC, a brand of bloomers made in New York and created by New York dancer Julia Loving.  I did not get to speak to Julia in person, but there were no less than three people at her booth, either helping or shopping, who sang the praises of these bloomers as to their comfort and construction, particularly that there is no center seam in the crotch area, eliminating THAT kind of discomfort.  If you missed out at ILHC, you can pick up a pair from the Lucky Lindys NYC Etsy shop.

Finally, also new to me, was Dee’s Tees, tee shirt customization and design by Darlene Davis, who would craft, create, and cut your tees on site in any number of ways to effectuate the desired result.  Maybe you want a larger neck hole or something off the shoulder, then maybe the shirt becomes an over layer for something interesting underneath.  She was using ILHC tees as examples, so you could pick up a tee and walk 10 feet over to Darlene’s table for instant gratification and leave with a one-of-kind shirt. I don’t have a website, but if you are interested in this kind of service at your event, email Darlene at darlenetedford@gmail.com.

Finally, Richmond dancers Dave Barry and Cate Rauschenberger set up their Jazz Garden, an array of gently used jazz CDs which they have scavenged in thrift shops and beyond to give this music the second life it deserves in the hands of new owners.  I love this idea, very much akin to scavenging/thrifting vintage clothing, and taking it to the next level by collecting a critical mass to sell at an event.  Like a good vintage clothing store, Dave and Cate have curated dance-friendly jazz artists and saved you the effort of intense and time-consuming digging.  I salute y’all, as I also enjoy the hunt!

I know there was also a massage vendor, but I was never in the area when they were around – I’m happy to update if someone wants to message me with their name and information!

Cheers!

IMG_7521

Darlene in action, getting started on a custom tee

IMG_7522

Samples of Dee’s Tees finished products

IMG_7526

An array of bloomer options from Lucky Lindys NYC

IMG_7527

Cate and Dave know good jazz music

IMG_7524

The men’s shoe offerings from Chloe Hong

IMG_7518

Gorgeous suiting fabrics from Established Sartorial

IMG_7519

“Buttons, buttons, we’ve got the buttons…buttons for the swingeroo…”

SaveSave

Toms Vintage Disney Princesses

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

10012729-BlueSnowWhitePrintedCanvasWomensAlpargata-S1-1450x1015

I have probably been remiss (and definitely very late to the game) in mentioning Toms as dance shoes, I see them often on dance floors – not quite as often as classic Keds, but enough that my curiosity was piqued.  I usually dance in heels or wedges, so it took Toms producing a pair of their signature alpargatas in chambray with embroidered music notes for me to break down and decide to give them a chance.  I was worried that my foot shape would not work with the alpargatas style, since loafers and similar slip-ons are the death knell for my feet, but these shoes are soft and don’t hit me at those same problematic loafer areas.  So now I’m hooked – give me your soft canvas shoes, Toms!

Today Toms launched their Snow White collection (and if you know me, you know that I was Snow White in the kindergarten play, but also bring me all the 1937 style, please) and so I have yet another excuse to buy a pair of Toms.  This is in addition to the previously released Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty collections already in circulation.  I love the soft, muted colors on all of these – a little interest, but generally reading as neutrals.  Maybe you need a princess pair, or maybe you need some fairies, scurrying mice, and helpful dwarves in your life…

10012738-GreySevenDwarvesPrintedCanvasWomensAlpargata-P-1450x1015

Love the colors on these dwarves!

Sleeping-Beauty-Toms-Disney-Collection

A little fairy dust…

toms-disney-01-ht-jc-180619_hpMain_12x5_992

Sewing, slipper, slipper, sewing…