Category Archives: Uncategorized

Madame Dynamite

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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A little wine…

“Dance shoes to dream, that move us to another more friendly time, full of swing, magic and good vibrations.” (Translated from Spanish thanks to Google Translate)

As a lady dancer, the name of this brand new swing dance shoe business really caught my eye – who of my femme-leaning friends doesn’t want to be a Madame Dynamite on the dance floor? I received a message via the Lindy Shopper Facebook page from Mayte Ample alerting me to the existence of this new swing dance shoe company based in Valencia, Spain.

It looks like they are just getting off the ground (the Facebook page says they were “born” on November 3), but definitely more to watch for – check out their lovely 30’s-inspired t-strap shoe, available in navy, honey, red wine, rose gold, and ginger. Also, check out their Facebook page photos for some fantastic photos of these shoes being made – I love seeing how clothing and shoes are constructed!

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A work in progress

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The finished product!¬† Also, there are never enough good navy shoes, thank you for contributing to this cause. ūüôā

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Saint Savoy Eden

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Saint Savoy just released a new shoe design, the Eden, and I was virtually stopped in my tracks on Facebook because I need a pair and need to know everything about it.¬† Of course they have a green pair I’m dying to own, but it’s black with a deep, almost iridescent, green detail, as if to say “I’m Evil” in the best possible Una-Mae-Carlisle-kind-of-way.¬† Also available with two tone matte/shiny combos of tan/bronze and white/silver and a double shiny pair with bronze/silver, here’s the post from this morning:

“A classic peep toe, eye-catching asymmetry, sturdy 4-cm heel, and fitted ankle strap.

With padding softer at the heel than the toe, this shoe allows the balls of your feet impeccable control of the floor while firmly supporting your ankles and heels .

A comparison between the heels of the RIVIERA and the EDEN will show the difference in cut. The sole is softer and the toe box wider than the RIVIERAs.

Enjoy this classy shoe on and off the dance floor! We deliver free of charge worldwide and include a shoe bag with every purchase.”

Best possible additional news?  Saint Savoy will be at Lindy Focus!

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Natty Shirts’ “Savvy Journalist” Shirt

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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In the search for reproduction menswear, one of the most commonly worn items, a dress shirt, is generally available – however, if you are a stickler for detail, you’ll notice that most modern men’s shirts lack that distinctive spearpoint collar prevalent in jazz age/swing era shirts. ¬†One could always spend the money for a custom shirt, but what if you just want something a little more vintage without spending an arm and a leg?

It has been suggested by some of my esteemed OcTieBer colleagues that Natty Shirts’ “Savvy Journalist” shirt is that shirt – not quite exactly a vintage spearpoint, but definitely closer than most modern options, and, at $29.99, it’s far from breaking the bank. ¬†You can even get it monogrammed for an additional $5.00.

Letter Sweaters

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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One of the classic swing dance looks is a “collegiate look,” a youth culture of the jazz age and swing era (and beyond, really), who had their own trends and fads, like any youth culture – one option to add to this look is a classic letter sweater.¬† Last year All Balboa Weekend had a limited number of ABW patches made up, so of course I snagged one because I love the look, love the concept and I lettered in a couple of sports when I was in high school, so I’m partial to that nostalgia – I mean, of course I’ve lettered in Balboa by now, my 10th ABW, right?

But my ABW letter patch has been sitting on the dresser in my guest room since then, waiting for the perfect sweater.  I had hoped to find a vintage one, but finding one in the right color and in my size proved to be a non-starter.  I ran into New York dancer/instructor/performer Adrienne Weidert at Camp Hollywood in September sporting a Miss Camp Hollywood letter sweater and she (and several other former Miss Camp Hollywood title holders) had purchased theirs online.  It makes sense, I had a letter jacket in high school, those classic items can still be purchased, why not sweaters?

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A Neff letter sweater with all the bells and whistles

A quick internet search directed me to Neff, a company still making classic letter jackets and letter sweaters, but the absolute best part is that these sweaters, made from acrylic, are customizable – 16 different colors to choose from, decide what you want each color to be for the body of the sweater, the neck/placket, the pocket trim, the buttons, and if you want stripes on either sleeve.¬† I designed a sweater and submitted it for a quote, which came back at $94.95, which is cheaper than any vintage sweater I had found that would work.¬† Then we had to get our roof fixed for the impending hurricane than never ended up coming, and the sweater quote email sat in my inbox, I’m sure you know how that goes, and I never got around to getting this…

Then, dancer/instructor/organizer Andy Nishida tagged me on Instagram for a kelly green 30’s/40’s wool letter sweater being sold by @mrartdeco, and I had to have it – exactly my size, my favorite color, maybe it would look good with the ABW letter, and if it didn’t I’d still have a ton of things to wear with it.¬† It arrived and it is WARM and HEAVY – like I don’t know if I’d need a coat if I had it on, which I think was the point (that you’d want everyone to see your sweater and not cover it up with a coat).¬† There’s no way I could dance in it, so I decided to look for something more…3 seasons than 1 season.¬† But never fear, the green sweater will be out in its own glory, it really needs no embellishment and you will all see me coming a mile away.

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Harlow cardigan – a good choice for my climate and needs

I had a birthday coupon for J Crew and went to look at their cardigans – I don’t buy a lot of things from J Crew, but their Jackie cardigan is my go-to classic cardigan (good weight cotton, lovely finish, stays nice through washes, nice shape/length, etc.) so I went to check on any new colors they may have for the fall season.¬† As I’m perusing the cardigan page, I notice the Harlow cardigan, which looks like a letter sweater in shape – merino wool, pockets on each side, trimmed in grosgrain ribbon, but it looks like a lighter weight wool.¬† Of course ordering things online is tricky and I was fully prepared for this sweater to be a total failure of modern clothing, like most things from mall retailers are for me these days.¬† It arrived today and it’s perfect – great weight for a little nip in the air, light enough to be a middle layer, I prefer natural fibers for breathability, and just enough space to sew my letter on.¬† I can’t wait to wear it out and about!

Thus ends this letter sweater story – if you are on a search for your letter sweater, I hope some of this information will be helpful.

Simplicity Reissues Rosie the Riveter Pattern

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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

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

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

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

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

Fashion Challenge for Frankie Month

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

On the Sunny Side Vintage Design

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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This silhouette is SO NICE.

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

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

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

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Aqua bat wing bow tie

 

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The aforementioned evening waistcoat.

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Detachable collars and corresponding dress shirts.

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Oxford bags, y’all!

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

Royal Vintage Shoes’ Spring Lineup

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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THESE.

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

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

#teamLunceford Pins by JitterButtons

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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

 

Lindy Shopper 101 – 2010 v. 2017

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s been almost 7 years since I wrote this guest post for Atomic Ballroom in 2010, recommending clothing and brands to build a wardrobe of dance clothing basics and I thought it would be interesting to see how my recommendations held up seven years later.  Maybe you’re just getting started, maybe you’re looking to add a few new pieces…let’s have a look:

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Classic Lindy Hop footwear

SHOES

2010: Recommended dance sneaker to get started.

2017: Would still recommend – KEDS 4EVA

CLOTHING

2010: Recommended Heyday‘s 1940’s reproduction wide leg, high waist trousers.

2017:  Would still recommend Heyday as the gold standard, but would add Vivien of Holloway and House of Foxy to the list, depending on waist/hip ratio and to give more fabric and color options.  If you sew, make yourself a pair of Wearing History’s Smooth Sailing Trousers.  More options seven years later means we are all winning.  Note that the ready to wear pants I have listed are all from the UK, which means the UK wins the pants game in my book.  That’s hard win, folks, given my general distaste for trousers.

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Chloe Hong spotlight

2010: Trumpet skirt by Dancestore.com – note that I can not even link to this non-existent garment.

2017: After my crusade to bring back the Dancestore.com trumpet skirt failed, Chloe Hong rode across the sea on a unicorn to be my trumpet skirt fairy godmother, delivering the goods and improving on an already awesome skirt design by offering two different lengths and a built in slip to cover your bum when you spin.  I’m 6 skirts in, four off the rack and two custom, and I’m hooked – I wear them to work and for dancing.  A friend even noted she thought she made finals in a competition solely because this skirt improved how her dancing looked – that a garment could even do that speaks for itself.

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

2010: Shirts recommended from anywhere – cited ModCloth, The Limited, and American Apparel.

2017:  Gonna keep the ModCloth recommendation (having one of those “what did I do before ModCloth?” moments) and add to the tops/blouse list Collectif (particularly for short sleeved knits), Nudeedudee (casual/dressy button-ups), and House of Foxy (dressy button-ups).

2010:  TRASHY DIVA DRESSES

2017: TRASHY DIVA DRESSES

2010:  Accessories to a minimum, usually hair flowers – recommended Bowsweet on Etsy.

2017: Still keeping accessories to a minimum, but my, how far we have come!  Bowsweet primarily focuses on little girl hair accoutrements, but we now have many more dedicated hair creation artists online and at our swing dance events.  My favorite is hometown gal Chatterblossom, who collects vintage millinery flowers to make exquisite creations that go with your vintage clothing – because vintage colors match vintage colors and the detail and material of the vintage blooms is so different than modern made blooms.  Her shop is just scratching the surface of her flower collection.

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Raspberry necklace and earring set by Summer Blue

As an addendum to the accessories, I’ll say that in the past couple of years that a number of artists have started making resin or plastic jewelry that resembles or is inspired by vintage Bakelite and Lucite jewelry and it’s marvelous.  My favorites are Summer Blue, Mrs. Polly’s Lucite, and The Pink Bungaloo – leave the bangles, take the rest.  Wearing less expensive reproductions means we don’t have to worry about breaking or damaging vintage jewelry when we dance.

There are so many more reproduction clothing companies now doing a variety of everyday/dress up and danceable garments and accessories, but these are my go-tos, so please take this as a starting point to find even more good clothing and brands online.  We are much better off than we were seven years ago – with many more options to purchase vintage-inspired clothing online, it becomes even easier to build your swing dance wardrobe.

I’ll leave you with the recap from the initial post: “To recap: Shoes that go with everything, flattering pants and a skirt to mix in with ladylike tops and knits, and a dress with an impeccable cut ‚Äď it sounds like you have an amazing dance wardrobe!”

Re-mix Now Offering Women’s Size 5

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

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

Tranky Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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GET IN MY CLOSET

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

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

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

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An array of styles and colors.

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Some Tranky Shoes men’s footwear designs.

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Holiday Romper from The House of Foxy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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

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It’s about to get foxy in here…

 

Lindy Focus Vendors Preview

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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

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

NEW VENDORS:

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

RETURNING VENDORS

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

SERVICE VENDORS

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

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

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

The Oblong Box Shop for the Holidays

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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

Check out the shop, other delightful confections await…

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