Domesticated Pinup on Etsy

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Domesticated Pinup’s Etsy profile pic, which I believe was the product of a photo shoot with Jerry Almonte at Lindy Focus.

There are a few people in the Lindy Hop community whose style I would describe as iconic and Anne Williams is one of them – I remember seeing her at dances when she was in college at William and Mary and even then she was that girl with the wonderful vintage dresses (I later learned that her history with vintage goes back even further into her youth), while everyone else was in tee shirts and jeans.  I learned via Facebook (thanks Brandi Ferrebee!) that Anne had opened an Etsy shop called the Domesticated Pinup and was selling part of her collection, which made for an immediate click-through because Anne has such excellent taste, even her castoffs would be golden.  And I was right, check out her shop full of golden goodies and I remain hopeful that she will continue to bless us with her good taste.  Here are some of my favorites:

 

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Lilac 1950’s day dress.

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Caramel 1940’s fascinator.

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Blue chiffon 1950’s dress.

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Brown 1940’s hat with chartreuse feathers.

Vendor Report: All Balboa Weekend 2016

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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ABW bandana, tweedy cap with ABW patch, and ABW canvas shoulder bag with leather strap.

This year All Balboa Weekend celebrated it’s 16th birthday and I celebrated 9 years of attending this event, with the requisite vintage shopping, both within and outside of the hotel where the event occurs.  The event has become such a destination for our micro-economy of dance clothing, shoes, and accessories, that it attracts some truly wonderful vendors, some repeat vendors and some new each year.  I have certainly become educated as to certain brands by being introduced to them at ABW and also have the opportunity to try things on in person that I may only see online for the rest of the year.

I am sad to report that one of ABW’s regular vendors, The Cleveland Shop, has closed its doors, so there was no more brick and mortar store, nor a happy booth of vintage clothing and accessories at the hotel.

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Ready for a cream crew neck sweater…I just have to find one…

All Balboa Weekend had some clever merchandise this year, with specialty items that I was very excited about – as someone who owns many event tee shirts, it is nice to see events thinking outside of the box (but also inside OUR box as swing dancers).  My favorite this year was the chenille patch of two eighth notes, with “Balboa” and “ABW” embroidered on the patch – as if you attended ABW and lettered in Balboa – to add to any jacket or sweater for an instant collegiate look.  My second favorite item this year was the bandanas they had made, which is already an extremely practical item for the wiping of sweat or the hiding of a pincurl wet set, but also features graphics of dancers, dance shoes, dance wax, a new ABW logo, and a border print that is actually musical notations of a well-known and loved song in the Balboa community!  The level of thought and love that went into this did not go unnoticed.  I also loved and picked up the new durable canvas logo shoulder bag with a leather strap, perfect as a traveling bag or to carry all your accoutrements to your local dance.

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Remix’s new men’s shoe

Next in line as we travel down the ABW ballroom hallway/vendor area, is Remix Vintage Shoes, and we should all thank the heavens that owner Philip Heath comes to Cleveland with a metric ton of shoes for us, because (as far as I know) only ABW and Viva Las Vegas have made it worth Remix’s while to come outside of their retail location and shipping center in California.  New this year is a black and off-white version of the popular Balboa style shoe, which is also available in a rainbow of color options and it was delightful to see them all in a row.  Also new is a lower heeled version of the Ritz called the Charleston, which looked much more dance-friendly with 2 3/8 inch heels as opposed to 3 1/4 inch heels.  Last, but certainly not least, the new men’s shoe features a fantastic array of perforations and brogueing, just perfect for summer!

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Hello, my pretties…

Rejoining us this year after a brief hiatus is my favorite brick and mortar Cleveland vintage shop, Sweet Lorain, who packed up a bunch of their “vintage department store’s” wares and set up shop at ABW.  I went to the brick and mortar store before I went shopping at the hotel and I can tell you that it didn’t make a dent, that shop is packed to the gills and I’m glad I shopped both the store and the booth.  There was a great mix of garments, but I thought the separates were particularly good this year, namely an amazing lantern print blouse snagged by San Francisco dancer Lori Taniguchi and a mint green sailor middy with white trim I snagged for myself.  Also the bakelite jewelry… *swoons*

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De Fils en Perles was a new vendor to ABW this year, with truly amazing, meticulous, intricate beadwork, many pieces with a nod to Art Deco lines and loveliness.  As someone who has attempted beadwork repairs on clothing, I can only imagine the patience it takes to create this jewelry!  Favorites included drop earrings with 3D effects, bracelets with multi-color geometric patters, and a beaded bracelet with lady bugs.

  
Next in the line is Dancestore, with their signature line of Aris Allen dance shoes and the booth headed up by none other than Laurie Gilkenson (affectionately aka “Nina’s mom). Dancestore offered a nice selection of dance shoes at affordable prices, including their cap cap toes and some nice options for flats for the ladies, if you didn’t want to dance in heels all weekend.  You can catch Laurie and Dancestore at ILHC, next for your chance to try on and pick up a pair of dance shoes in person.

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ABW vendor veteran and Etsy celebrity ChatterBlossom never disappoints and this year, knowing that she would be back, her fans were ready – it was not uncommon for people to bring clothing down from their rooms specifically to match items, even showing up to ABW unaccessorized knowing that ChatterBlossom would have just the bloom to complete the outfit.  Of course, it’s also easy to pick up a vintage dress and find a vintage flower from Chatterblossom to match, as Jamie Sturdevant (proprietress and artist) collects vintage millinery for her pieces and, thus, the dyes are just as they were.

Holding it down at the end of the hall was Flower Child, which is a collective of sellers who usually sell at the Flower Child brick and mortar location, but have also been staples at ABW for the past few years with an epic spread of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, and also some other vintage items like housewares, memoribilita, fabric and sewing notions.  My absolute favorite dress this year was purchased by Rochester dancer Beth Midavaine, a late 30’s/early 40’s rayon dress with all the bells and whistles one could fathom for a vintage rayon dress – a stellar print with a sort of 3 muses theme (but also tropical and geometric?), a light peplum, gathered seams creating a fan effect just below the booty (and accentuating said booty), bakelite rings at the shoulders, all the right tucks and pleats, and a wonderful drape that makes all this fuss into a truly comfortable dance dress.  Even better, Beth was able to accessorize the dress with the help of the two vintage vendors and Chatterblossom and wear the dress for Saturday night!

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Yours truly and Beth Midavaine – her dress can only truly be appreciated in person, the print stealthily conceals all those amazing details from the camera.

That’s all, folks!  Another stellar year of shopping at All Balboa Weekend!

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Balboa instructor and competitor David Lee models the new ABW cardigan.

 

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And the back!

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Anita, my love…at the Remix table.

 

 

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Lower heeled Remix Charleston shoe.

Red

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Redwin, the owner of Sweet Lorain, almost removed the medal from this jacket, but I told him to leave it because it was aspirational

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A bevy of colorful ties at Sweet Lorain.

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Vintage hair curlers at Sweet Lorain.

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I love a pinafore dress!  At Sweet Lorain.

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Wonderful detail on the neckline of a 40’s dress at Sweet Lorain.

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Fab fabric on a tiny skirt at Sweet Lorain.

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3D beaded drop earrings from De Fils en Perles.

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A lovely assortment of beaded bracelets from De Fils en Perles.

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A beaded earrings and necklace set, ready to take flight, from De Fils en Perles.

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A row of headbands and blooms from Chatterblossom.

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A regal set from Chatterblossom.

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There are never enough white orchids – from Chatterblossom.

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A fantastic display from Flower Child, menswear to the right, ladies department to the left…

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Rayon dress with an interesting gray and yellow print with black sequin neckline detail, from Flower Child

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This is a closeup of the print from Beth’s Flower Child dress – muses? nymphs? good witches?

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Jacket with a nice nubby check, from Flower Child.

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WWII WAVES uniform, from Flower Child.

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Oh, hello…

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I love this hat from Flower Child, but it looked terrible on my head – to another home it must go!

 

  

 

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury

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Can this be me? Please?

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Here we have yet another example of the UK absolutely killing the reproduction clothing market: The Seamstress of BloomsburyThe Seamstress of Bloomsbury, a clothing line of revived reproductions from and inspired by a woman who bore this nickname, Lillian Wells, who was seamstress to aristocratic families around the world.  The focus here is on 1940’s frocks and they’ve pretty much nailed everything down to the prints (which I find can be the hardest thing to get right, perhaps leaning toward the kitschy rather than fun and artful).

I am presently salivating over everything in the Seaside print and, with these reasonable prices, an order is inevitable…here are some of my favorites from the shop:

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Clara dress and bolero (and matching belt!) in the Seaside print – basically dying over here from the adorableness…

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Barbara wrap dress with slight ruffle in a navy blue print with little dogs – subtle, fun, classy, and I love the placement of the ruffle just slightly off the neckline.

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Because who doesn’t need a pair of black and white polka dot crepe de chine rayon wide leg 40’s trousers?

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This needs no explanation, other than if you don’t dig pants, it also comes as a dress.  CLASSY CLASSY CLASSY

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The Pearl Jacket – quintessentially 1940’s

Sale: Allen Edmonds Broadstreet Wingtip

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The quest for the perfect men’s swing dance shoe seems to end for many with Allen Edmonds, perhaps because this is a shoe that is made to last and resole, it’s lasting comfort, or perhaps because all of their dance shoe money went into purchasing a pair.  It’s common for a pair of Allen Edmonds to set you back $400, but thankfully there are sales!  One of Allen Edmonds’ classic wingtips, the Broadstreet, is on sale in two delicious color combinations: brown/white and walnut/bone.  Brown two tones always look classy as hell, to me, and you can still have that vintage brogued look in an unexpected colorway.  Sale priced at $279, saves you over $100.

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Lindy Shopper on The Track Podcast, Episode 14

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I sat down with podcaster Ryan Swift in December at Lindy Focus for an interview for The Track, which features in-depth interviews with pivotal persons in the swing dance community, and the fruits of that interview appear in Episode 14 of The Track!  I’m flattered and delighted to join the ranks of people I admire as a dancer and vocalist who have been featured on the podcast before me, including my DJ mentor Rob Moreland, Renaissance woman Naomi Uyama, the unparalleled Sylvia Sykes, and the inimitable Dawn Hampton.  We talk about my process in starting the Lindy Shopper blog, my first vintage clothing purchase, and more – take a listen, if you’re interested in hearing more from me or from one of the many other wonderful interviewees.  Ryan is an intuitive and fun interviewer and the topics always swing.

Practice Swing – A New Book from Swungover’s Bobby White

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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International swing dance instructor, prolific writer of the Swungover blog, and regularly the most dapper man in the room Bobby White has written a book titled “Practice Swing,” which launched today and is available for purchase online!  Practice Swing is accompanied by this sage description: “Since every great swing dancer has followed their own path to greatness, this book gives dancers as many choices as possible to find their own way, including in-depth explorations of skill-building, what makes exceptional dancers exceptional, and the variety of ways dance skills can be honed in studios, groups, or on the social dance floor.”

I’ve seen a lot of historical and biographical books about swing dancing and dancers, but I don’t recall many/any books on methods of study published during our modern swing era – since we are talking about dancing, it’s more obvious to use videos to learn steps, but what about going deeper than visual/physical movement and mechanics?  I imagine Bobby takes us on a journey that answers some of the deeper questions that can’t be covered in an instructional video and, as he always does with his Swungover writing and research, will give us lasting food for thought.

Bobby has written a great FAQ about the book on the Swungover blog that goes into much more details about “Practice Swing,” check it out and feel free to report back once you’ve had a chance to read and digest the book!

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Ains & Elke Style Haus on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I still need this in my life.

I’ve been on the hunt for elusive vintage and reproduction knitwear and came across Alixis Lupien on the Oooh La La! Vintage Swap and Sell Facebook group, as she was selling the most adorable sweater with parrots on it.  At first glance it looked vintage, but then I looked again and she made it!  People who knit clothing are magical unicorns in my book, it looks like so much could go wrong, but here was this darling multi-colored knit sweater that I could see instantly enhancing my summer wardrobe.

I followed her progress on Facebook to her Ains & Elke Style Haus Facebook page and then to her Etsy shop, where she posts her incredible novelty knit sweaters and an array of sewn clothing options that you can order custom to your fabric, color, measurement, etc. specifications.

Here are some of my favorites from the shop:

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Fishy sweater!

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Heart and Dagger sweater

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Pastel rainbow 50’s style skirt

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Coretta 40’s style jacket

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Esther 40’s sarong dress

Deco Polo by SJC

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This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Among the rarest of the rarities of pre-WWII clothing is knitwear – like today, they probably wore the crap out of it until that ratty shirt became a dust rag or bedding for a pet.  Simon James Cathcart, he of the superior summer spectators and Balmoral boots, has launched his Deco Polo, a wonderful addition to the scarce vintage reproduction men’s knitwear offerings available today.  Did I say men’s?  This is totally a unisex garment, I’m definitely getting one of these!

I love SJC’s descriptions – if this doesn’t sell this shirt to a bunch of sweaty dancers, I don’t know what will:

“After a year in development we think we’ve created the ultimate summer polo shirt. Made from the truly remarkable bamboo plant. This magic fabric was circular knitted in the old school style and is very slubby giving the shirt a distinctly raw 1930s look.  Why is it magic?  Well, bamboo miraculously wicks away sweat and odour whilst retaining its dryness and shape. The shirts are cool to touch, super soft on, and @ 230 grams they have a nice weighty feel on the body.”

For a limited time, SJC is offering some price breaks for people getting in on this shirt at the beginning and the more you buy, the better the discount.  Available in 6 colors (Navy. Milk Chocolate. Stone Grey. Bottle Green. Carmine Red. Cream.) and sizes XXS through XXXL – order now to get the discount!

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Lindy Shopper Turns 6

 

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If only Myrna Loy and I could celebrate together.😉

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s hard to believe that 6 years ago I started this blog, thinking it would only take a couple of months to share all of my sources and enthusiasm with my fellow dancers, but here we are and it’s been a wonderful ride.  Know that even when I’m not posting as regularly, there is still a backlog of topics and sources that I want to share with you, I’m just waiting for that time to sit down and write.  Until then, cheers!

MerriWeather on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!

Craftspeople offering wonderful reproduction Bakelite/Lucite-esque reproductions in modern plastics have been popping up with shops on Etsy in the past few years and the offerings are fantastic.  MerriWeather is another of these shops, honing in on some signature WWII costume jewelry items, such as the V for Victory and the MacArthur heart design.

From the shop’s About page: “Specifically with the MacArthur Heart Brooch, with prices continuing to climb it became harder and harder to collect bakelite. So, one day I thought – I should try to make one myself, I can’t be the only one that would like to have a MacArthur heart. So I started to carve from clay the original pieces that would be the foundation of my collection.

I carve all of my pieces from scratch, and then create my own molds of my original parts. This is the only way to have a truly unique piece. Each piece is poured and cast by hand. Each piece is then sanded for hours to get a polished finish. Then each is assembled with great care to give them an original and authentic vintage look. My first MacArthur Heart was finished in September 2013.”

MerriWeather is based in Austin, Texas, which begs the question as to whether MerriWeather is a swing dancer.  If anyone knows, please chime in!  In the meantime, here are some of my favorites from the shop.

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The elusive MacArthur heart.

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Good luck!

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Queen of Hearts necklace

Dipsy Doodlers Jacket

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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File this under “I need this in my life but can’t justify spending $400 on it,” BUT LOOK AT THIS JACKET from 1939 on eBay, some organization or sports team decided that they were going to take a tip from Ella and Chick and name their group the Dipsy Doodlers.  I am so in love with this!  Comes with a matchbook and napkin from Hamilton High School class of 1939, along with a bit of history:

“The Dipsy Doodlers were a group at the Hamilton High School in Trenton, New Jersey, circa late 30’s.  This belonged to Lillian Crabtree, who went on to become secretary to General Claire L. Chennault, Commander of the “Flying Tigers.”

FROMChloeHong Dance Shoes for Men and Women

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Men’s wingtips and captoes by FROMChloeHong

PRE-POST NOTE:  Facebook, you have failed me if you are not showing me every update from Chloe Hong.  I had to learn about these shoes MONTHS after their debut from the amazing and wonderful Ramona Staffeld, via Facebook, you know…whenever you got around to it, FACEBOOK.

THAT SAID, my favorite trumpet skirt designer and South Korean menswear designer Chloe Hong has thrown her hat into the dance shoe ring, offering classic oxford wingtips and cap toes for men and a t-strap dance heel for women, available in an array of colors to coordinate with all of Chloe’s lovely clothing.  Leather shoes with leather soles, and women can customize their heel height.  I’m not seeing these sold on Chloe’s website, but they are available with more information on her shop’s Facebook page, so shoot her a message via the Facebook page to grab a pair!

 

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A delicious array of colors!

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A close-up of the black oxfords – divine details…

Trashy Diva Updates: The Obsession Continues

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

There’s been so much going on in Trashy Diva land lately, it’s past time for an update.  I’ll try to keep it brief and the drooling to a manageable minimum:

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  1.  New print: Crimson Clover – a beautiful 1940’s inspired floral along with solid navy coordinates.  Seriously, this is just screaming SPRING and I am READY.  Available in some classic TD styles and what looks to be a newcomer, the Dolores.
  2. March Madness – you know that thing about how Trashy Diva does limited runs of prints and once the dresses are gone they are gone forever?  I can only think of one reissue since I’ve been a customer in the past 7 years, but this time TD is getting democratic about it and there are BRACKETS.  Here’s a blog post showing the brackets thus far: http://bit.ly/1Ut6ns0  – we still have 3/4 of the way to go!  The only way to vote is on the TD Facebook page, so get to following and check in every day to see which prints are battling it out to be reissued.
  3. Possible new print – the 1930’s are my favorite decade for fashion, so when TD posted on their Facebook wall that the inspiration for their new print was this 1930’s dress I died in my shoes.  DYING FROM JOY.
  4. Desperately Seeking Trashy Diva Facebook group – I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this incredible Facebook group devoted to all things TD: discussions on new prints and styles, discussions on old prints and styles, how each style fits in terms of sizing, reselling or trading old TD garments, the classic “desperately seeking” posts (pleas from people looking for garments/prints), photos of group members styling themselves, and one of the most supportive group of women on the Internet.  Divas from the store are also on hand to answer questions and the women in this group are devoted, attentive, and full of helpful information.

SJC Spectator Crusade: Women’s Sizes & Small Men’s Sizes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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As you may have read in a post earlier this week, I wept tears of infinite sorrow that there were no Simon James Cathcart spectators in my size that I could order through SJC’s wonderful summer shoe Kickstarter, BUT THROUGH THE MAGIC OF THE INTERNET I have spoken with SJC and he has offered to make this shoe available to us sizes 7-8 US women’s/sizes 5-6 US men’s/sizes 4-5 UK men’s (I wear a US women’s 7) on one condition: he needs 8 of us to back the shoe at each size in order for it to be cost-effective for the factory to produce this size as a part of this run.

I wasn’t sure if could rustle up enough support from people wearing these shoe sizes, but this is such a quality, unique shoe that I thought there might be enough lady dandies or gents with smaller feet that we MIGHT be able to pull this off.  It can be any of the three colors, we just need 8 people to back the SHOE at each SIZE.

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Can I find 16 people who love this shoe and need it in their lives?  I know you’re out there!

A few more details on this marvelous shoe:

  • They are made by hand in Northampton (the shoe capital of England) on 1930’s lasts, so the shape is there from the start.
  • They will last a lifetime. How? They are “Goodyear Welted” (the gold seal of quality) which means as the soles wear out they can be easily replaced while the shoe remains totally intact.
  • The shoes are lined in soft calfskin for comfort, with a super comfortable cork footbed so your feet breathe.
  • They come in three gorgeous shades; Navy, Oxblood and Acorn – order whatever color you like, we only need 8 people to order a particular SIZE.
  • The real bargain here is they are going to be 2.5 times this price out in the real world and if we don’t do this, the real tragedy will be they will never be in our size.  NEVER AVAILABLE TO YOU EVER AGAIN.

As per usual Kickstarter, you don’t pay until the end of the project and you only pay if the project is funded.  If you are ordering a size 7  US women/ 5 US men/ 4 UK men OR for size 8 US women/6 US men/5 UK men, SJC has added a special early bird spectator reward/pre-order option just for us – you can see it if you scroll down “Lindy Shopper Deal” – click HERE if you want this shoe as much as I do!

 

Simon James Cathcart Spectators

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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SJC spectators in acorn.

I keep seeing Simon James Cathcart pop up in my newsfeed and in Facebook groups and everything I am seeing is just fantastic, not only for classic menswear in general, but also for swing dancers.  In September I blogged about his 1930’s jeans, something that dancers could wear for everyday and for a more casual dance look with or without vintage styling.  All of his stuff presents as carefully crafted, quality goods and I am all about those things!  How fancy is SJC?  This fancy: “For the past 12 months SJC has been quietly delighting dedicated devotees and attracting new fans from far and wide with limited edition runs of hard to find, high-end, vintage inspired pieces. More than a brand, this is a movement made up of over 200 of the earth’s most discerning menswear’ collectors. Led by Simon James Cathcart we have moved forwards with the meticulous design and construction of otherwise unobtainable pieces.”

We’re here to talk about these glorious two tone spectators, which are presently being sold through a Kickstarter (only 23 days left!) along with some equally sweet reproduction boots.  I’m going to lead with the fact that SJC has made these spectators in a wide range of sizes to fit both men AND some women (but not quite small enough for my feet *weeps*). UPDATE:  My size, US women’s 7/men’s 5 and US women’s 8/men’s 6 will be available – read the post here and then select the Lindy Shopper reward to get these sizes!

But why Kickstarter?

“Your pledge is going to help fund the production, materials and tooling costs involved with bringing back to life these historical classics. In return, you receive footwear at easily half of the retail price and will walk away wearing hand-crafted pieces of British footwear history.”

The price for these spectators via Kickstarter is around $223 USD (depending on the exchange rate) and that’s only slightly more than Remix and less than those holy grail Allen Edmonds you’ve been eyeballing.  Retail price is quoted at $600.  JUST LOOK AT THEM, this is a beautiful shoe.  I’m wiping away the drool from the corners of my mouth right now.  And can we talk about how you can never find a good looking navy shoe?  It’s kind of like the shrimp and grits rule, if the stellar navy shoes are on the menu, you get them.

To be clear, this is a summer shoe – the cream portions of the shoe are canvas, with the most of the rest of the shoe (including the lining) being made from leather.  The canvas is treated with Scotchguard to prevent marks.  Though, now I’m thinking of how cool it would be, once a pair of these did get scuffed up, to get an artists to custom paint the canvas portion of this shoe…a life and an afterlife!

I’m going to post a bunch of gorgeous photos of these shoes now – enjoy, and don’t forget that the Kickstarter ends soon!

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