Category Archives: Undergarments

Darcy Clothing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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This menswear resource tip is from Christine Hall of the Decophile group on Facebook – Darcy Clothing, previously The Vintage Shirt Company, has expanded from shirts to include a much broader range of reproduction menswear and accessories from the 18th century to the early 20th century. This is a huge span of time, but there are plenty of 20th century goodies from this UK company to place in your closet.

From the website:

“The clothing is largely made specially for us and is taken directly from original garments. The shapes and fabrics are uncompromisingly genuine. We only ever use natural fibres in any pre C20th garments. The construction methods however take advantage of modern mass production techniques which means that we can supply costume designers with the authenticity they require at an affordable price.”

Here’s what I’m loving from their collection:

Spearpoint Collar Shirt

Spearpoint Collar Shirt

Working men's striped braces, available in 11 colors

Working men’s striped braces, available in 11 colors

Military ties - for your Buck Privates tribute routine

Military ties – for your Buck Privates tribute routine

Fair Isle socks - like stripes, but subdued...but more intricate...

Fair Isle socks – like stripes, but subdued…but more intricate…

Replica ollar pin, if you'd like to get your Boardwalk Empire on

Replica collar pin, if you’d like to get your Boardwalk Empire on

Cricket trousers - "perfect for any period cricketing attire"

Cricket trousers – “perfect for any period cricketing attire”

Cotton Work Jacket - a nice summer weight jacket option

Cotton Work Jacket – a nice summer weight jacket option

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Wearing History 1940’s Panties & Bloomers Pattern

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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In my always-present search for swing dance undergarments, I am particularly (still) fond of tap pants, especially under short skirts. I love vintage tap pants cut on the bias, like silky dreams, they are! However, I find that they tend to take a beating from my dancing and start fraying because the material (and sometimes the elastic) are so old. Newer tap pants are less likely to be cut on the bias, or at least the ones I can afford to put through the wringer.

Then I saw that Wearing History had issued a 1940’s panties and bloomers pattern – of course you could make them, but I think that was a little out of mind until I saw that there was an actual pattern and they didn’t seem so complicated that they’d be some big undertaking – maybe more along the lines of craft project, in terms of skill level and time commitment. Yes? Maybe? They look adorable and just think – you could make them in any fabric you want!

You can order a printed pattern or an e-pattern – if you have some fabric, you can get started immediately. ๐Ÿ™‚

Military Uniform Shirt Stays

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

One of the most annoying things about wearing shirts tucked in while we dance is that they tend to come untucked while we dance (one of the main reasons you will see me in dresses v. pants/skirts). One solution is to wear things untucked, but not every shirt was meant to be worn untucked and sometimes we want to look a little more polished. Aside from tucking things into your underwear (which isn’t foolproof), what other options do we have to keep our shirts tucked in?

For example...

For example…

I was scanning my Facebook news feed a few weeks ago and noticed that Philadelphia dancer and instructor Sascha Newberg had posted about military shirt stays as a possible solution. If you are not familiar with stays, they are elastic bands that attach on one end to your shirt tail and on the other end to your pants. They serve the dual purpose of keeping your shirt tucked in and your socks pulled up. If you are going for military precision, some sloppy shirts and droopy socks aren’t going to cut it.

I remember seeing these for the first time when my friend Joanna went to the U.S. Naval Academy. I commented on how impeccable she looked in her white uniform, how everything was just so, and she pulled up her pants leg to show me the stays. She said they took a little getting used to, that certain “spring” in her step, but after a while they just became part of the uniform.

What say ye? Shall we add a spring to our Lindy Hop steps? In the name of keeping shirts tucked in!

All Balboa Weekend 2013 Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

If you are a good girl and save your pennies, the Cleveland fairy will bring you vintage on All Balboa Eve.

If you are a good girl and save your pennies, the Cleveland fairy will bring you vintage and repro on All Balboa Eve.

Still basking in the afterglow of All Balboa Weekend, the Balboa Mecca that occurs every year in Cleveland, Ohio. It is a hub for so many things I love – good dancing, good music, good vintage shopping, good company, and good cupcakes. I left with a full heart and a shopping bag full of goodies – it was like Christmas!

My first stop in Cleveland, per usual, was Sweet Lorain, the vintage department store where I seem to have the most luck finding things in my size. I was greeted at the door by the owner, Redwin Lewis, who remembered me from years past (and possibly phone orders – yes, you can call them back if you decide later that you really want/need something you saw, even 6 months later the item may still be there!) and we chatted about high school reunions and all the films (THE film being Captain America) shopping at his store. I was on a mission for a full slip with some sweet details and Sweet Lorain did not disappoint, with two full racks to choose from.

Dad's pitcher - my favorite find in Cleveland

Dad’s pitcher – my favorite find in Cleveland

On a personal note, I was ecstatic to find a red plastic beverage pitcher at Sweet Lorain, perhaps circa 40’s/50’s, that I have been seeking for the past decade or so – when I was in undergrad I picked up a plastic yellow pitcher from Target that looked vintage, with some sweet Deco detail on it. I probably paid less than $10 for it. My dad saw it in my apartment and was immediately drawn to it, asking where I got it, and how much it cost. I told him that I had purchased it at Target several months ago and that it was out of stock. He was crestfallen – my grandmother had owned one during his childhood and he had always thought it was a great design, with a lid that opens when you tilt it and closes when it’s upright. Flash forward to ABW 2013, I was chatting with Redwin in the housewares section and my eye caught a flash of red in that distinct shape. It was the pitcher! I text messaged my dad a photo of it and he confirmed that he wanted it. Done! I look forward to “reuniting” my dad with his childhood pitcher this coming weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thus Spake Zarathustra

Thus Spake Zarathustra…at Chelsea Costumes

My next stop was Chelsea Costumes, which I had somehow managed to miss on all prior visits to Cleveland. The sheer volume of square footage packed literally floor to ceiling was overwhelming in a way that only a disorganized Goodwill warehouse of great magnitude could rival. The racks were three tiers high, with the top two racks reachable by rolling staircases located on each aisle. Adding to the library feel of the place, the ends of the racks were labeled by decade range. I searched in vain for the early vintage clothing and had to ask where it was located – at the end of one of the 1950’s racks was a single rack with 1940’s clothing. I found a couple of items I liked, but they had fatal flaws (fading, shredding, etc.). I’d say it’s definitely worth a look, especially if you are into later decades, and it’s an absolute must if you are looking for menswear – I saw just about every size, shape, color, item, and a range of seasonal weights, with a massive selection. You do have to be a digger to make this worthwhile, but the prices are good and worth the dig.

Back at the hotel, ABW had an array of vendors, some new, some old, that filled up the hallway in front of the ballroom. The first vendor was The Cleveland Shop, with an array of clothing and accessories for men and women. Favorites included some divine shoes, a burgundy silk 1930’s gown, and every dress that went on the mannequin and immediately sold.

Next up was the ABW merchandise, which featured some cool shirts with stripes, a henley, and a girly slouchy tee with cool sleeve detail. This year also saw the return of the ABW shoe bag – I do love a shoe bag!

New style!!!

New style!!!

Moving down the hallway, the next vendor was the ever-popular Re-mix Vintage Shoes, with owner Philip Heath on hand to help all the men and women eager to try on their shoes. This year, they took advance requests from people for specific shoes and sizes, so if you wanted a guaranteed shot at trying on a certain pair in your size, you got that chance. I took advantage of this for my husband, who is sort of between sizes and needed another pair of oxfords. It also resulted in Re-mix bringing a number of pairs of wedges, which have never made it out to ABW, since we mostly dance “the Balboa” in heels. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Romper, umbrella, and THE belts at Bettie Page Clothing

Romper, umbrella, and THE belts at Bettie Page Clothing

Bettie Page Clothing made its debut as a vendor this year, spearheaded by the lovely Shannon Butler, who is now the manager of the Bettie Page store at the Mall of America in Minnepolis, MN. Shannon brought another innovative way to make sure everyone got to try on the clothing and get the sizes they need – she kept a stock of the dresses, shirts, and skirts she brought as try-ons and once you decided what you wanted, she called the Mall of America store, placed your order, and it was shipped to you (sometimes that day!) free of charge. In addition to all the adorable clothing, she brought these great adjustable belts that are the perfect dress belt, for when that vintage dress comes without a belt or maybe you lost the belt or want to add a belt…regardless, good, skinny dress belts are hard to come by and these babies are only $10 and come in several handy colors.

Flower Child took up about half the hallway, with a wonderful display that moved from housewares and accessories, to jewelry, to several large racks of clothing at the end of the hall. Because Flower Child is made up of several vendors, there were a range of prices in the shop, and they definitely had the larges selection. Favorites included a 1940’s gold bathing suit, rayon Asian print pajamas, and an adorable dress with strawberry ribbon trim that came home with me.

Still obsessing over Dancestore.com's mesh and leather wingtip

Still obsessing over Dancestore.com’s mesh and leather wingtip

Finally, Dancestore.com made an appearance with most of their line of shoes. I liked that they had a set of “try-on” pairs that you could put on and take for a spin during one dance. It helps you decide, cuts down on wear and tear of new pairs, and also gives you an idea of how they will feel once they are broken in. Great idea!

This year was probably the best year for vendors yet – many of the vendors are veterans at this point, they know their audience, and they only bring the best stuff as it pertains to swing dancers. I am elated that they continue to come out, year after year.

Here are my photos from the weekend – enjoy!

Collar detail *swoon*

Collar detail at Sweet Lorain *swoon*

Velvet collar detail at Sweet Lorain

Velvet collar detail at Sweet Lorain

Love this Jack and the Beanstalk novelty print - at Sweet Lorain

Love this Jack and the Beanstalk novelty print – at Sweet Lorain

Menswear knits in shades of brown, at Sweet Lorain

Menswear knits in shades of brown, at Sweet Lorain

This photo does not do justice to the awesomeness of these sheer cutouts - at Sweet Lorain

This photo does not do justice to the awesomeness of these sheer cutouts – at Sweet Lorain

Oxfords at Sweet Lorain

Oxfords at Sweet Lorain

The entrance to Chelsea Costumes

The entrance to Chelsea Costumes

Brain...shuts...down...

Brain…shuts…down…

Navigation system at Chelsea Costumes

Navigation system at Chelsea Costumes

Lovely dress at Chelsea Costumes

Lovely dress at Chelsea Costumes

Collar detail at Chelsea Costumes

Collar detail at Chelsea Costumes

The view from the top of one of the rolling staircases at Chelsea Costumes

The view from the top of one of the rolling staircases at Chelsea Costumes

Select menswear items from The Cleveland Shop

Select menswear items from The Cleveland Shop

Cool cotton print dress from The Cleveland Shop

Cool cotton print dress from The Cleveland Shop

Tri-strap! From Re-mix Vintage Shoes

Tri-strap! From Re-mix Vintage Shoes

Did you know these come in GREEN?

Did you know these came in GREEN?

A lovely display from Flower Child

A lovely display from Flower Child

Gold bathing suit FTW - courtesy of Flower Child

Gold bathing suit FTW – courtesy of Flower Child

Love all of this - at Flower Child

Love all of this – at Flower Child

Suit jacket peplum made of petals! At Flower Child

Suit jacket peplum made of petals! At Flower Child

Pajamas! At Flower Child

Pajamas! At Flower Child

Lots of good knits this year - this from Flower Child

Lots of good knits this year – this from Flower Child

This Bettie Page blouse went home with many a gal

This Bettie Page blouse went home with many a gal

Lovely dresses from Bettie Page Clothing

Lovely dresses from Bettie Page Clothing

Thinx: Smart Underwear

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I often write about undergarment options for coverage when we wear skirts, but what about what we wear under our bloomers or our pants? What about the material? What about all that gross sweating we do? Where dudes bring multiple shirts to a dance weekend, I bring multiple pairs of underwear because there’s nothing worse that sitting around or dancing in a puddle of your own sweat (along those lines, there’s nothing better than putting on a fresh pair of underwear after you’ve danced, especially between a main dance and late night – file that under my body odor commentary).

Cotton breathes, but it also soaks everything up. Synthetics can be icky in terms of odor and I usually don’t like they way the feel against my skin. Can we get some technology in here to engineer us some undies?

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Montreal dancer Alisha Ruiss sent me a link to this great Indiegogo campaign for Thinx: Change Your Underwear, “where technology and fashion intersect to solve a global problem.” How is this underwear smart? You can check out the diagram to the right, and then listen when I tell you that it

1) Is leak/stain-resistant, anti-microbial, moisture-wicking and lasts for several years

2) Acts as back-up to traditional methods of leakage prevention during your period (but will not replace these during heavier days – they are working on creating this style next!)

3) Completely replaces liners on light days

Thank you for the different coverage options!

Thank you for the different coverage options!

Whaaaaaa?! So this is obviously super practical in real life, and in your dance life having that bit of extra protection there for potential leakage (because we move around a lot, just like athletes, and we sometimes lose track of time…) or just sweat absorption could make the world of difference in your comfort at a dance, on any day of the year.

They had a previously successful Kickstarter campaign, but due to the nature of Kickstarter they were not able to raise money for a cause, which is the intersection of this project.

From the Indiegogo page:

For more information on AFRIpads, visit afripads.com

For more information on AFRIpads, visit afripads.com

“Beyond our own desire for the smartest underwear for our drawer, we found out that there was an even bigger problem for girls and women in the developing world.

Girls in the developing world are missing up to a week of school per month and using unimaginable things to manage their monthly cycle like twigs, leaves, newspaper, plastic bags or dirty rags. In Africa alone, 67 million girls have dropped out entirely which overwhelmingly leads to early marriage, pregnancy and a greater difficulty in raising themselves out of poverty.

THINX is part of the solution. For every pair of THINX you buy, you help fund the production of a 7-pad washable kit for a woman or girl in the developing world via our partnership with AFRIpads. This kit helps create local jobs and empower the economy while also helping keep girls in school during that time of the month.”

Can you imagine what these girls have to give up? I know I can’t – and I’ll remember this every time I take my ability to leave the house during my period for granted.

I am excited that smarter solutions are being developed, with women all over the world in mind. Looking forward to seeing more from this company.

The Slipperie

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

1930's teddy = full slip with built-in bloomers

1930’s teddy = full slip with built-in bloomers

One of my complaints, and one that I hear come up over and over, is that there are no really good slips being made, at least not ones that compare to vintage slips in terms of materials, function, and beauty. I always keep my eyes open at vintage stores for good slips – full, half, camisole, tap pants, whatever, just because the quality of these items is just far superior to anything I’ve purchased that was produced in my lifetime. But what if you didn’t have time to go to all the vintage stores?

If you need a gorgeous slip RIGHT NOW, The Slipperie on Etsy could be the answer. While the undergarments of yesteryear tend to be fairly plentiful, finding them all in one place can be difficult, and finding truly special ones (as with anything vintage) is even harder. I love that these beautiful undergarments are really meant to be worn, not just saved for special occasions. Add them to your dance wardrobe for a pop of color or lace with your twirl or swish (or other functions discussed in a prior post)…here’s what I love from the shop:

1960's hot pink slip - 60's slips are hella durable and generally have a good shape, details, and lace.  I may or may not have confiscated a 60's slip from my mother's chest of drawers and never gave it back...

1960’s hot pink slip – 60’s slips are hella durable and generally have a good shape, details, and lace. I may or may not have confiscated a 60’s slip from my mother’s chest of drawers and never given it back…

Powder blue 1950's pleated tap pants

Powder blue 1950’s pleated tap pants

If only more things were cut on the bias - so flattering and comfy, as this 30's/40's rayon slip probably is...

If only more things were cut on the bias – so flattering and comfy, as this 30’s/40’s rayon slip probably is…

Tap pants with little bows - OMG

Tap pants with little bows – OMG

Another great 1960's slip

Another great 1960’s slip

Tightsplease

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Fancy legwear has definitely been a trend in the Lindy Hop community for the past few years and it makes sense – we are paying a lot of attention to movement and embellishing that is one way to get someone to look at your legs. I was contacted by the UK legwear retailer, Tightsplease, about reviewing their site and product and I am happy to report that all is well in the UK for quality hosiery.

I tried a pair of the Tightsplease brand’s Jive Stockings, which proved to be highly durable. I didn’t dance in them, but I did brave a Christmas party with a shooting contest, a parade, hot glue gun crafts, small children, and runway walking on a gravel driveway. They’ve made it through the wash on the delicate cycle and are ready to go again. This is saying a lot for these hose because I am the destroyer of all panty hose that are not, essentially, medical grade support hose. I destroyed a different pair last night on the first wear by simply attending a concert and sitting in a chair for 2 hours. Riddle me that.

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I was very excited to see that they carry what they are calling Charleston stockings, which look like the silk stockings of old, but probably aren’t silk, based on the price tag. I am hopeful for the latter because silk stockings tend to get droopy around the ankles mid-way through the night and I’d love for modern technology to have improved on that, but maintain that same rich, silky look. Ella wasn’t kidding when she sang about silk shiny stockings – they are really shiny!

The website also lists the denier for most of the hosiery, which I find extremely helpful as the hosiery Godzilla. If there’s two pairs that look the same, you can be sure I’ll go for the one with the higher denier number.

Here are some of my favorites from this lovely site:

Side bow suspender tights - sassy without the garter belt

Side bow suspender tights – sassy without the garter belt

Chicago tights - more shiny stuff!

Chicago tights – more shiny stuff!

Freakin' gorgeous hold ups with peacock feather detail

Freakin’ gorgeous hold ups with peacock feather detail

80 denier tights in 7 colors - hoping 80 denier means Godzilla-proof...

80 denier tights in 7 colors – hoping 80 denier means Godzilla-proof…

Dogstooth tights

Dogstooth tights

My Heinies Fire Sale

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This just in from Facebook, via the My Heinies page: “Time to empty out old inventory and prepare for new inventory for next year! EVERYTHING IS MARKED 50% OFF! Sizes, styles and colors are limited! If the price is $0.00, then we are out of that item!!!! Get them while supplies last!”

Go to www.myheinies.com to stock up on some new bloomers!

What Katie Did Seamed Hosiery

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

As I sit here in front of my space heater, loathing the cold front that came in and whisked my summer away, I’ll admit that I have to start thinking about warmer garments. I’ve been saving up some things to write about until the colder weather arrived, such as highlighting some great seamed hosiery options offered by What Katie Did, my favorite retro/repro undergarment web store.

I am completely smitten with the Swiss dot seamed pantyhose – an element of adorableness amidst the classic, yet sassy, seam. I also love the metallic seams, which you can buy in nude with a gold seam or black with a silver seam – the OCD in me would pair them with matching metallic heels for a Balboa comp. Finally, I see what could potentially be a more durable option for dancing (80 denier as opposed to 15 denier) with opaque seamed hosiery – in black with a red racing stripe for the back of your legs. ๐Ÿ™‚

Field Trip: Amalgamated Classic Clothing and Dry Goods, Alexandria, VA

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I have anticipated checking out Alexandria’s Amalgamated Classic Clothing and Dry Goods since April, when I heard of its opening shortly prior to DCLX and the wonders that awaited me – rumors that the owners have a warehouse where items are pulled for Hollywood movies, that the inventory has real swing era stuff, GOOD stuff, and I was salivating. As I ditched the Saturday afternoon DCLX dance to head over to Alexandria I got a text message from Bill Speidel that the shop was closed. Oh, the disappointment!

Thankfully, I had already planned to attend the International Lindy Hop Championships in August, so I knew I’d get a second chance. I messaged the store’s Facebook page a few days prior to the event to make sure that they would be open and should I send my measuremnets. The answers were yes and yes, and I was elated.

I planned to go on Friday of ILHC and at the Thursday night dance I met Beth Midavaine, who had also planned to take a trip to Amalgamated with Bill Speidel, but Bill had bailed on her, so it seemed that fate would have it that we go shopping together. We headed to Amalgamated the next day with Jason Sager and arrived at the store at noon on the dot. The store was closed. I was frantic. We went next door to a knick knack store owner, who didn’t know why the shop wasn’t open. As we regrouped on the sidewalk, the door opened to Amalgamated and it was, after all, open for business. *phew!*

It took us three hours to get through everything in the store and try on the rack of clothes that Beth and I accumulated through our collective digging through the store. The store itself is small is square footage, but packed with everything good – there was no small rack where the few swing era items were delegated – the entire store was pre-1960’s, so 100% of their inventory was everything that you would want to see in a vintage store. It was glorious! The men’s section rivaled the women’s section in size and magnificence (who has an entire rack devoted to two tone Ricky Ricardo jackets?) and a men’s shoe section that took up an entire table, and included children’s shoes (tiny leather and mesh oxfords!). Owner Shelley White took us through boxes in the back room filled with delicate 1920’s beaded dresses, there were racks of glorious dresses and gowns, plus some very practical items that would be perfect for dancing. The women’s shoes had a good selection of larger women’s sizes, which was great for Beth, who picked up a pair of fantastic 1940’s heels.

I don’t think words or photos will do this place justice, so you’ll just have to go and see for yourself. Until then, check out some of our finds below:

The more choice men’s shoes behind glass.

The more choice women’s shoes behind glass – if you wear a size 5, those green t-straps could be yours!

On closer inspection, the print on this adorable 1940’s suit with giant lucite buttons features winged puppies! Does it get any cuter than freakin’ winged puppies???

Love this green 50’s dress, with a white scalloped stripe across the upper torso to draw the eye up and GIANT POCKETS.

Tie rack includes dead stock ties as well as used vintage ties.

Men’s shoes…

…and more men’s shoes…

Wide leg high waist women’s pants with adorable trim.

Ricky in purples

Ricky in brown and white

A shirt Jason considered…

Beth in a snappy hat

Jason snuggles with a vintage cat pillow.

A school spirited hat

A 1920’s beaded dress in my favorite color.

My find of the day – a 1930’s day dress in green. I’m holding the back because it will have to be taken in a bit, but I can’t pass up a green 30’s dress…

Beth’s find of the day – a gorgeous 1940’s gown with floral appliques and overlays

Love this Asian-inspired shape in a cotton leaf print.

Just about died when this almost-but-didn’t-quite fit

Gorgeous embroidery on this peach 1920’s day dress

A men’s vignette in the store

Another display at Amalgamated

Big Trashy Diva Sale

One of my faves, the Sweetie Dress, is on sale in several prints

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Rayon print dresses for under $100 – need I say more? Check out the sale page for some great deals!

GOOOOOOOOOOO!

Tap Pants and Pettipants

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I’m always on the lookout for dancing undergarment solutions. Like the effect of My Heinies, it’s always nice to see a bit of color under a twirly skirt (and that things are covered), and it’s also nice to see a bit of a slip, or in the case of my new acquisition, a little satin and/or lace with full coverage.

I picked up a pair of 1930’s tap pants at All Balboa Weekend and am in heaven. They just don’t make the lace like they used to and the overall effect with the high waist, comfortable leg opening, and the peach silk and lace combo is very elegant. I could wear them under just about any dress, but where I found them particularly useful was under very short dresses, like those that you may pick up from Forever 21 that are just at mid-thigh (or higher, if your legs are longer than mine). I have had trouble with slips and short dresses because, at some point, the dresses are just so short that the slip becomes a liability, either sticking out the bottom when you are standing or peeking out when you sit down. I couldn’t go without because any good Southern girl wouldn’t be seen in a dress that showed the outline of her legs and getting a shorter slip would be an exercise in futility. The tap pants worked like a champ. Where I generally despise shorts because they ride up when I sit down, the tap pants rode up enough to not stick out from under the dress when I sat down and were still comfortable because of the silk. There’s all this going for the tap pants, plus the twirl factor will be lovely!

I started seeking out other forms of tap pants and there are also pettipants, although pettipants may also refer to longer versions of the slip pant. I found the Wikipedia entry on pettipants quite amusing:

“When pettipants were fashionable, they were usually worn under skirts, dresses, culottes, or walking shorts for modesty or comfort. However, they are not considered a modern or popular style; currently they are most likely to be worn by square dancers or persons involved in historical reenactment. Unlike other types of underwear, pettipants will not ride up and eliminate hot-weather chafing.”

Well, then. Like the petticoat’s evolution into the slip, the pettipants have also evolved (although the square dancer and reenactment versions still exist). When you search for pettipants online, something akin to the 1930’s tap pants appears in the search results. The modern tap pants I found are a bit scantier, but there are some potential candidates for dancewear. Here’s what I’m thinking may work:

Pettipants on eBay, available in multiple sizes and basic colors – white, tan, ivory, black

More low rise, but check out the lovely lace detail. Available in blue, tan, pink, and off white.

1930’s tap pants with scallop detail

From the 1940’s, another peachy pair, with slits in the front – for high kicks?

Dead stock, vintage – on a model, so you can see about where they would fall when wearing them

This pair from the 60’s is crazy, but the bows! I could see someone creative pulling them off.

A little pink pair of pettipants

Scallops are adorable!

A bit pricier, but quite fab!

A plainer option, if lace isn’t your bag

The bargain pair on Amazon, $6 – available in white, black, tan, and sand

I do love a button detail – this pair is from What Katie Did

All Balboa Weekend 2012 Vendors/Field Trip: Vintage Stores in Cleveland, OH

The store front of Deering Vintage

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I have returned from the land of Balboa milk and honey, with tired feet, a warm heart, and a bag of vintage goodies in tow. The All Balboa Weekend organizers did another stellar job with the event this year and it remains my favorite swing dance event. Of course, the shopping helps… ๐Ÿ˜‰

I usually do separate posts for event vendors and my “field trips” to a city’s brick-and-mortar stores, but was no way to separate the vendors from the stores because, in several cases, they were the same. I’ll run through the shopping activities chronologically:

My partners in crime for this round of shopping were Elizabeth Tietgen (she of the aqua velvet 30’s gown and other blue accoutrements from last year) and Molly McGowan (her first trip to ABW and first big vintage shopping endeavor). After a lunch of delicious crepes, we visited Deering Vintage first because they were not represented in the ABW vendor lineup and so I did not blow all of my money at Suite Lorain, as in past years, and actually make it to another store. Deering Vintage had a few swing era items, but was mostly filled with quality goods from later decades and tons of fantastic accessories, like purses and gloves. Elizabeth found a fantastic black and red velvet 40’s ice skater-ish dress (which she took home) and Molly found a gorgeous 1930’s tea dress, which we decided was not the most-dancer friendly dress and that we would keep looking. We also ran into Valerie Bissig and Stefan Deuber, who were also making the vintage store rounds, and I started to get really excited about the weekend and all the international dancers!

The magnetic pull was too strong, so we drove to Sweet Lorain, the vintage department store, for some shopping. There are some real heartbreakers there, in the form of gorgeous dresses suffering from fading, but there were some new gems in the midst as well. Favorites were a late teens/early 20’s dress that was screaming at me to take it home and dress up as someone from Downton Abbey for Halloween, a velvet gown with Art Deco burnouts on the sleeves, some purple canvas 1940’s platforms, and Molly’s navy blue 1940’s dress with matching bolero – win!

We pressed on, to Flower Child next, which appeared to be mostly furniture on the main level, and had vendor booths with clothing, records, knick-knacks, and other furniture downstairs. There were racks upon racks of polyester and, aside from a few slips, we deduced that the good stuff was already in the hallway at ABW (and we were right!). Nevertheless, an interesting space with some really good furniture pieces on display.

Our last stop before heading back to the hotel was The Cleveland Shop. At the front of the store when we walked in was an empty rack where all the swing era clothing used to be and we had to laugh because we all knew where it went. Still, it was nice to see the location and know where it is, for future reference. There were a couple of items left behind, namely a mint condition 1920’s beaver fur coat that was too small for my shoulders and a pair of silk tap pants that came home with me (my first purchase of the day, if you can believe it).

Side note: We were apparently right across the street from another treasure trove, Chelsea Costumes, and didn’t know it. Next year!

Back at the hotel, we began shopping immediately. The Flower Child vendors grabbed the prime spot at the top of the hallway, where you round the corner to go to the ballroom. These ladies get the most dedicated award, for being there the whole time and for bringing in new clothing and items daily. There were too many good things to name – gorgeous beaded and velvet 1920’s dresses, 40’s cocktail dresses, 30’s tea and house dresses, men’s military, sweaters, ties, hats, fabric, notions, you name it, Flower Child had a piece of it.

Next up in the hallway was Re-mix Vintage Shoes, where many would linger, ponder, and eventually part with their hard-earned cash for a fabulous pair of handmade leather reproduction heels. I didn’t notice any new models this year, but there were a few new colors available in the Emily t-strap and some new metallics in the Anita shoe. So much love for these shoes!

The Cleveland Shop set up almost across from Re-Mix and had a nice variety of clothing for ladies and gents, as well as some accessories and choice footwear. This is where I found my sole dress purchase of the weekend! I heard that The Cleveland Shop did so well at ABW, they are interested in attending the Eastern Balboa Championships this year as a vendor. Cleveland, North Carolina will certainly welcome you with open arms if you bring your vintage goods to our fair state…

Shannon Sheldon’s Bombshell Baubles were back this year, in all their petal and feather glory. Shannon added some new handmade items, like aprons, make-up bags in adorable fabrics, and hair flowers made of fabric and buttons. Of note, there were a lot of blue flowers in the collection, which is a color that is both hard to find and, if you do find it, hard to find in a GOOD blue. I made sure to pick up a blue hair bloom for myself.

My Heinies grabbed a fair chunk of the vendor space to house all the lovely bloomers and Carol Fraser’s army of hot dance shoes. I spotted a number of these fabulous heels making their debut on the dance floor this past weekend. I stocked up on fancy hosiery while I was there and picked up some hair accessories that sparkle! As at ILHC, My Heinies paired up with Model J Vintage to offer a selection of vintage and vintage-inspired clothing.

Finally, Sweet Lorain set up a display case of rare gems (like 1920’s beaded bags and Art Deco jewels) at the end of the hallway, and I briefly saw a rack of clothing nearby, but did not see that they were present the way most of the other vendors were. Hence, the lack of reporting. Don’t worry, Sweet Lorain, I still love you!

And…that’s a wrap! I look forward to next year’s vendors and vintage shopping at ABW!

Molly’s find at Deering Vintage

Green guayabera at Deering Vintage

Bakelite bangles at Deering Vintage

Molly and her lovely dress with matching bolero from Sweet Lorain

Burnout velvet! at Sweet Lorain

The Downton Abbey dress at Sweet Lorain – I’ve already been yelled at today by my local vintage store owner for leaving it in the store after it fit me, lol

Purple 40’s slingbacks at Sweet Lorain

This was the creepiest thing at Sweet Lorain – can you guess what helpful household item it is supposed to be?

Flower Child’s men’s accessories at ABW

A selection of red goodies from Flower Child

Hotttt 1930’s shoes from The Cleveland Shop

David Lee, holding up one of many knit shirts I saw gents walk away with this past weekend from the vintage vendors

A letter sweater, possibly from my alma mater? at The Cleveland Shop

The My Heinies Army

Get your foxy legs at the My Heinies table

Field Trip: Trashy Diva, New Orleans, LA

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This past weekend was my first trip to New Orleans, LA, which meant I was going to get a double dose of nerdy obsessive bliss – trad jazz and Trashy Diva. The occasion was to celebrate, bachelorette style, the upcoming nuptials of my dear friend Danielle McQueen, who also loves good music and beautiful dresses. On our Saturday in New Orleans the bride and bridesmaids headed over to Chartres Street to shop…

I blubbered like a blithering idiot when I got into the store, I was so excited to be there. The shop attendant was skeptical as I introduced myself as a blogger and asked if I could take photographs of the shop, but I probably sounded like a lunatic. The store was beautiful, so quintessentially French Quarter (but without all the Mardi Gras beads), and, most importantly, it was stocked full of every lovely Trashy Diva dress you can see on their website.

Dani and her gorgeous Natasha dress!

I’m pretty adventurous about buying clothing online, but it was so nice to be able to try on the dresses in the store. Candice Gwinn‘s designs are even more fetching in person. We all leaped in with gusto, each of us hitting either the jewelry counter, the dressing room, or both to take in all the wonderful things we spotted that wanted to come home with us. Danielle left with the dress of the day, the gorgeous deep red velvet Natasha dress, with beading at the shoulders and all around the waistband. The photo on the website doesn’t begin to do this gorgeous dress justice – it’s simply to die for – and it’s perfect for a Christmas or New Year’s Eve cocktail party or a winter dance opportunity.

We were running out of time, so we peeked into the Trashy Diva lingerie store next door to take in the wares. So many lovely, tiny, lacy things on racks! Of note, there are (what looked like) some excellent reproduction slips and nightgowns.

The bachelorette ladies flew out the next day, but I opted to stay an extra day so I could go dancing at d.b.a. to Tuba Skinny (so worth it! I even ran into Lindy Dandy!). This left me with most of Sunday to myself in New Orleans. Since the girls didn’t have time to visit the Trashy Diva shoe store the day before, I headed back to Chartres Street. The shoe shop is truly divine – an entire table is devoted to Re-mix shoes, a selection of the most adorable Aris Allens, and then there were even more fantastic and unfathomable shoes, as well as some more practical-yet-fabulous flats.

I struck up a less blubbery, but excited conversation with Rachel Scott, the keeper of the shoes, and managed to introduce myself like a human being, with coherent words and a Lindy Shopper business card. We proceeded to chat about so many wonderful things over the next hour and a half or so, shopping for shoes all the while, and the whole experience was delightful. After this conversation, I’m definitely looking forward to what Trashy Diva has in store for us in the future and have a greater appreciation for what Trashy Diva offers now in terms of products. Rachel also referred me to some other keen places in the French Quarter, where I could find bakelite, wigs and sparkly hair accessories, and some amazing pralines. To top it all off, the weather was perfect and sunny all day and I didn’t even need the sweater I packed in my bag.

If you ever make it to NOLA for ULHS, Jazz Fest, Girl Jam or what have you, you simply must go!

The view of the dress shop from the door - instant meltdown.

Knit dresses greet you at the door, with fantastic necklaces

Lovely pink and gray - dress from the new bridal collection

The beaded detail on the silk Sadie dress

The jewelry counter, with fantastic fakelite

Adorable flats!

Rachel and the domain of delectable shoes

A functional use of mantel space ๐Ÿ™‚

Moving Comfort Bras

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I am still on a quest for the perfect dance bra. Those female dancers who are well endowed know what a pain it is to not have proper foundation garments that will hold everything in place for the athleticism of Lindy Hop, while trying to maintain a sense of style and not have to revert to support that’s the equivalent of a straight jacket for your chest.

I took a ballet class over the summer and looked for a leotard with proper support. After dredging through a number of ballet forums on this topic, the general conclusion was that you would have to wear a bra under your leotard if you wanted proper support. I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t bought a sports bra since high school and my body is definitely different at this point in my life. I really had to dig on the internet to find specific information on what sports bras are best for certain cup sizes, but finally came across a review of Moving Comfort’s Fiona sports bra. It looked sturdy, smooth, and non-threatening. I liked that it dipped in the back, instead of having a racer back, and the straps were wider set so that it wouldn’t show under my boat neck leotard. It also hooked in the back like a regular bra, instead of stretching and sliding over your head, which gave an added element of support.

After using it for ballet class, it slowly became the only acceptable sports bra I owned. While I don’t think this is the perfect Lindy Hop bra, I do think it’s worth mentioning because it has kept the girls in place better than any other sports bra I have owned. I put it on and forget about my chest, which is a fantastic feeling when you are jumping up and down during a jazz routine, or navigating your way through a swingout.

The pros and cons are outlined on Moving Comfort’s very user-friendly website. I would agree with the reviews that the Fiona is comfortable, moisture-wicking, snug fitting, lightweight, and stylish (in the sense that I could actually wear this under a lot of dresses due to the shape of the bra, having the deep V in the back and a scoop front). The only con I agree with is the uni-boob feedback (“flattens bust”), but that’s to be expected with a bra that doesn’t have separate cups. I disagree with the review about poor craftsmanship, as this is the sturdiest bra I own and I found the materials to be quality and comfortable. My only personal con is that I can’t wear this under a dress with a V neckline in the front.

Now that I have found this bra, I’m even more willing to try other bras on the Moving Comfort website. You can shop for bras by cup size (A-E) or by style, and each bra is different, based on what cup sizes it is best suited and for the level of activity it for which it was designed (low, medium, and high impact). There are a few styles with separate cups that I may explore for wearing under dresses. If you have tried one of these bras for dancing, I’d love to hear your feedback, as well.