SJC Waistcoats of Many Colors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


Aubergine/brown vest combo.

In the past year I have learned that Simon James Cathcart is making limited runs of highly desirable reproduction clothing items and accessories and that we are all along for the ride.  It’s almost been the male-leaning equivalent of a Trashy Diva print launch, with each new item generating a buzz on social media and, within a couple of weeks, I’ll see said item on one of my vintage/classic menswear friends.  What’s been going on lately?  He’s released a long-sleeved version of his bamboo knit Art Deco polo, vintage-inspired “gang” jackets (are you a Vampire or a Werewolf? aka are you from Brooklyn or Detroit?), and yesterday I noticed a colorful array of two-tone waistcoats in my feed and it was then that I decided it was time for another post on the adventures of Mr. Cathcart.


Gray/navy vest combo.

Given the prevalence of vests/waistcoats in the swing dance world, particularly in competitions for their practicality and aesthetic, I would love to see the ensembles inspired by these particular waistcoats.  Most waistcoats I see are of suiting fabric in muted tones, but these waistcoats are alive with color.  Maybe not electric color, but certainly more of a range than I have seen in the past.  They invite creativity and catch the eye, which makes them a viable candidate for a competition-wear, or maybe you just need an injection of color for a winter dance.

The vests are made of melton wool and are shown on the SJC website with both dressed-up menswear and dressed-down workwear ensembles – available in green/brown, navy/royal, green/rust, navy/mustard, gray/navy, and aubergine/brown combinations.


It’s a cinch.


Two New Re-mix Shoes: Saddle and Lectrice

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


I’m a few days late with this news, particularly if you are already on Re-mix Vintage Shoes‘ email list, but I’m very excited about the new Lectrice and curious about the response to the saddle oxfords.  Lectrice is a no-brainer – built on the same last as the Anitas, which I already love, there is potential to love the Lectrice more because I don’t always feel stable dancing in my Anitas and I believe in the stability of oxfords.  Combined with the comfort of the Anitas and this lovely looped stitching detail, I’m cheering for this shoe to be the awesome I want it to be.

fullsizerender_5_1024x1024The saddle oxfords I am excited about in a smaller, more hesitant way.  There are not particularly good associations in the swing dance community at large for people who show up to dances wearing saddle shoes, and I wish that this could be different because saddle shoes are adorable and were popular decades before the 1950’s.  In popular culture they are so much associated with the 1950’s, part of a caricature involving poodle skirts and pony tails.  My hope is that people will be inspired by photographs of everyday people and dancers from the 1930’s and 40’s wearing saddle shoes and take their style cues from those outfits, or embrace 1950’s garb outside of the caricature.  I am probably most interested in seeing if Re-mix decides makes other colors, I would DIE for a green and white pair!

OcTieBer 2016

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


OcTieBer on a casual day.

It’s the season of cooling temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes, and tweed – that is, it’s time for another OcTieBer, “a month long sartorial celebration of quality neckwear worn in a traditional style.”

It’s hard to believe we are on our sixth OcTieBer – what once started as a challenge for a small group of sartorially inclined swing dancers to dig deep into their closets and put together ensembles with classic neckwear has grown to include persons outside of the dance community, perhaps some people who thought they might not be up to the challenge of neckwear every day for a month or people who don’t really wear ties/scarves regularly.  This is includes me – last year I made it a priority to do every day, having maxed out at 16 or 17 days out of the month in the past, but I pushed myself to find new and creative ways to pull wardrobe items together and by the end I couldn’t believe I had actually done it (except for the large pile of laundry, of course).  It was refreshing to think inside this box (which is outside of my normal box) and I don’t think I will look at my closet the same way again.

If you don’t believe in sartorial challenges or don’t feel like you have enough ties, no matter – you don’t have to complete the 31 day challenge to celebrate OcTieBer, all excellent ensembles featuring neckwear are welcome at any time during the month (and, really, anytime thereafter if you are feeling particularly natty).  If and when you do participate, be sure to share it with the Facebook group – this is a supportive group of people who love dressing well and celebrating it with others.

For more information, to stop in and take a gander, or post your neckwear-inspired ensemble, visit the OcTieBer Facebook group.


Simon James Cathcart Review: Spectators and Deco Polo

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


I had already backed the Kickstarter for the navy/cream spectators and ordered my Deco polo when I started to see the Simon James Cathcart apparel on others, first the polo on Nicholas Centino while vintage shopping in Cleveland for All Balboa Weekend, then on Glenn Crytzer on Facebook, and then on just about every vintage-loving gent I ran across in person. That the Deco polo was so prevalent and widespread so quickly speaks to its necessity. Vintage clothing isn’t always about being dressed up for fancy affairs, we want to look sharp in casual-wear, with all those nice vintage details that are missing from modern clothing.  Unfortunately, not a lot of vintage knitwear survived, so we’re lucky SJC decided to do something about it.

My navy spectator shoes arrived in the mail week before last, so of course I have gigs all weekend and then it rains all week so I can’t wear them. I had already seen their glory on Facebook, through SJC’s posts of customers who shared their first ensembles with these glorious shoes.  It was so inspiring that I couldn’t help but plan an ensemble of my own. Who am I kidding, I already had my outfit planned out, maybe three outfits…

The first sighting of the canvas and leather spectators in person on another person occurred at Classic City Swing in Athens, Georgia – a pair in acorn/cream on the feet of Augusta, Georgia dancer Keith Beckman. He came over to show them to me, I squeed a bit, he thanked me for posting about the shoes, and he had good reviews for their danceability – the leather sole is top notch, you can tell just by looking at it, but Keith was worried about the small rubber bit on the rear outside of the heel. What he discovered is that the rubber didn’t get in the way of his dancing, spinning, or sliding, but he could use the rubber as a stopper depending on how he distributed his weight. Of course they looked impeccable, I had already spotted him across the room in them before he came over to talk to me, because they are SHARP AS HELL.

I finally got to wear my navy and white spectators this Friday, with navy trousers and a striped shirt.  It didn’t take long to break them in and by the end of the day they felt comfortable, even though I had worn them at my standing desk all day and walked around downtown during lunch for about 20 minutes.  They are men’s shoes, but they fit well – my heel is a regular size, but the ball of my foot and toes can err on the side of wide and I had plenty of room in the toe box without feeling like I was wearing shoes that were too big for me.  I wear a 7 in women’s U.S. sizes and I took a size 4 in SJC’s U.K. men’s sizes.  I received several compliments on my shoes during my lunchtime walk and some dude in the parking deck was definitely checking out my shoes when I got out of the car that morning.


On Saturday I went out to lunch at Monuts in my green Deco polo, which was perfect for a fall transitional day – it was a season-appropriate color and matched my 1940’s Wild West scarf, but it was also good for the weather, which was sunny and 80-something degrees.  It was comfortable and easy to dress down with jeans and Keds, but I have seen this paired with jackets for a more dressy look.  I really struggle with that sort of in-between look that so many Americans seem to gravitate toward, not dressy, but not too casual – it seems I’m either in a fancy dress or in my pajamas, so the Deco polo is filling a bit of that in-between niche in my wardrobe.  For sizing reference, I typically wear a U.S. women’s size 10 and I took an XS in the SJC polo.  I’ll leave you with this description of the polo from the SJC website:

“Beautifully tailored and made from the truly remarkable bamboo plant.  It is circular knitted in the old school style and thus very slubby giving the shirt a distinctly raw 1930’s look.  Super soft feel and at 230 grams these polos have a nice weighty feel about them.”

I am so pleased with my Simon James Cathcart purchases.  It’s important to remember that these items are limited batch specialty items and some are based on Kickstarter/pre-orders, so it doesn’t give you a lot of time to ponder, “Do I need this?”  The spectators and polo were an easy choice for me because I almost never find good navy shoes (much less vintage two-tone navy flats) or green shirts and these are things I want in my wardrobe. There are only the acorn/cream spectators left on the website and some of the Deco polo colors have sold out, so be sure to act swiftly to secure what you like.

I can’t wait to see what SJC comes up with next, he seems to have a knack for finding these “holy grail” vintage items and then reproduces them for us to enjoy today.

Lost and Found Lindy Lounge

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


What if you had unlimited patience and diligence to power through thrift store racks AND and uncanny knack for knowing your friends/dancers’ style to pick up the best deals for them at said thrift stores?  Knoxville dancer, organizer, and bandleader Megan Lange noticed this pattern in her life and a growing inventory in her house and decided to launch the Lost and Found Lindy Lounge, which is both a Facebook-based shop and a pop-up shop at swing dance events.  Megan has been posting new goodies regularly on the Facebook page and you can inquire about what you see in the photographs on the page in terms of pricing, shipping, sizes, etc.  She loves working with people, so don’t be shy about reaching out!


Swing dance friends make great models.

As with any business endeavor, the Lost and Found Lindy Lounge is a bit of serendipity, inspiration, and thoughtful business planning – Megan wrote this about her start: “A few years ago, I was given a book called A Vintage Affair (written by Isabel Wolff, a novel about a woman who owns a vintage store in London) and fell in love with the idea of owning a consignment shop – the book is also a lovely read – and when I combined that with my love for sewing and all things vintage, and the fact that I have time to do things right now… It just seemed like the right time to try it.  It’s all just a grand adventure.”

So what has Megan unearthed for the dancing masses?  Posted in the Facebook page is an array of dance-worthy and vintage-inspired shoes in great condition, dance dresses, jewelry, and hats, as well as a box showing her latest haul with some of the above and gloves and purses in the mix.  The shoes are the most impressive, some really nice dance heels and leather shoes, and lots of them!

You can find the Lost and Found Lindy Lounge at the Knoxville Lindy Exchange in October and MC Shuffle in February, and perhaps at some other events near you in the future!




Barely worn Chase & Chloe shoes, size 8.5, $15.00


The dance shoes don’t get any cheaper than this – $5.00 for what looks to be unworn Target brand Keds knockoffs.  Love this color combo for fall!

Band-Aid Friction Block Stick

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

61q39vbwavl-_sy355_Last month I attended the Jazz Age Lawn Party in New York and the first day of the event reached some of the hottest temperatures I have experienced in my life, with a heat index of 107 degrees Fahrenheit.  My already blister-prone feet were properly welted with blisters by the end of the day, after extreme sweating, ample dancing, and walking and metro-ing to get to wherever I was going.  My hosts, well-versed in foot ails after years of walking around NY and DC, presented me with a Band-Aid Friction Block Stick, which looks like a deodorant stick put through a shrink ray and the substance itself looks a bit like Crisco (but not greasy).  This wasn’t going to help my existing blisters, but was told it would help prevent the next day’s rub on fresh skin from a different pair of shoes.  I was willing to try anything at that point.

After a slightly lesser heat index the following day and with more dancing (Peabody!), I was happy to report that the friction stick appeared to have made a difference on my unblistered skin, keeping it blister-free throughout the day and preventing irritation with a different pair of shoes that had a different profile (oxfords I’ve worn a number of times –> never worn before by me secondhand Mary Janes).  I’ve since acquired my own stick and used it on shoes that I know rub, on occasion, certain areas of my feet and also with a new pair of shoes, with great success.  I’m curious to know if others have discovered this stick – if so, do share your review in the comments.


Day 2 at 10 a.m., this is the face of someone determined to dance for up to 6 hours and not get any more blisters.


ILHC 2016: Trend and Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


My seat for the weekend’s evening festivities.

It was another banner year for the International Lindy Hop Championships, now in its 9th year, and full of life, energy, and joy that only swing dancing with people who love these dances with every fiber of their being can bring.

This year’s ILHC was very different for me than in previous years, primarily because I was only singing with Jonathan Stout‘s bands on Friday and Saturday night, whereas in previous years I had competed, DJ’ed, participated in the Yehoodi broadcast, and also sang, usually 2-3 of these at various times over the course of the weekend.  Consequently, I cannot say that I was in the ballroom as much as I had been in the past, but I received a request for a trend report, so I will tell you what I was able to see while I was there:

Trashy Diva: TD has been around for a while and there would always be a token dancer in a TD dress (usually Mia Halloran (as in the video below) or Valerie Salstrom), but this year the TD was out en masse.  As my gaze scanned the dancing crowd each night, there were numerous ladies sporting TD’s signature printed rayon dresses and it made my heart sing!  You all looked amazing – at one point, I happened upon a cluster of three women in TD chatting in the hallway and there’s nothing that makes me happier than fashion bringing people together.

Cropped tops: This trend was a pleasant surprise, seeing adorable cropped tops paired with everything from floaty skirts to high waisted trousers, and always impeccably assembled with the rest of the outfit.  Everything from right at the top of the waistband to about three inches above the waistband, so some were just a peek when you lifted your arm to turn and others were more intentionally part of the ensemble’s silhouette.

High waisted tapered leg pleated front pants:  Ubiquitous, for a second year in a row.  My distaste for this trend remains, but at least they all fit you well, no one looked uncomfortable.

Women in ties: Neckties, bow ties, and I think I even spotted a Continental – ladies, won’t you join me during OcTieBer?

Men: I’ve got nothing, it looked rather more of the same, except that well-dressed men are always in style.  Nevermind, keep looking amazing, don’t change. 😉

If you attended, I’d love to hear what other trends did you noticed while you were there – feel free to leave a note in the comments.


May 15, 2016 Lake Buena Vista, FL Ashley Eckstein / Her Universe Photo credit: Preston Mack

I’m also going to give honorable mention to Diana Smith, who wore my favorite clothing item of the weekend, a black floral romper that, at a distance looks like it’s made from a a nice vintage floral, but upon closer inspection has Captain America’s shield nestled in the beds of flowers!  Click on the photo to make it larger so you can see the detail –  brilliant nod to the Captain America back story and the victory prints of the 1940’s.  Did I think to get a photo of Diana in this romper?  No, because I’m a terrible reporter and I think I got her in trouble during sound check because we were both working when I started geeking out about her romper…so you’ll have to settle for the Kohl’s model at right.  Unfortunately, this romper is no longer available at Kohl’s! *sigh*

There were not as many vendors at ILHC as in the past, and I particularly missed seeing Chloe Hong, but there were 4 vendors offering goods and services to the masses in the hallway of the event and they should be noted because they are noteworthy!


Holding down the largest vendor space was Laurie Gilkenson (aka Nina’s mom) with both Dancestore’s line of dance shoes for men and women, as well as vintage shoes and clothing.  I noticed that Dancestore has a new colorway in their Aris Allen men’s wingtip, a nice brown and cream.  I also died when I saw that Laurie had several pairs of 1920’s shoes, just the loveliest things in satin that my feet will never fit into!  Also, vintage velvet…so many lovely things…


Junebug Shop’s original designs

Across from Laurie was the Junebug Shop, the custom clothing endeavor of Anna Yergat, who had her designs on display, as well as a line of geometric beaded jewelry in just about every color – so you could order an entire accessorized ensemble at her table.  The Junebug Shop Etsy page carries Anna’s custom designs as well as some vintage clothing items.  Anna’s designs look romantic and dance-worthy, vintage nods with modern twists.

Finally, the Vinspire Salon at ILHC was staffed by Destinee Cushing (hair) and Lani Barry (makeup), offering full services faces and quoifs all weekend, if you could even get one – they were so popular there was a wait list!  One could say that having hair and makeup done, either professionally by these two or by other means (self, friend) was also a trend this past weekend and rightly so – this is quite possibly Lindy Hop’s biggest and most broadcast performance opportunity of the year and it’s a time to shine, look vibrant under all those bright lights, and look and dance your best.


Lani preparing for a new client and Destinee working on some curls.

And that’s a wrap!  I love coming to ILHC for the energy and the inspiring dances I see all weekend, there’s a little something here for everyone, even if you aren’t competing.  Sometimes it’s good just to take it all in.


Geometric jewelry at the Junebug Shop.


Vintage velvet must be the greatest snuggle fabric ever…sorry for the blurry photo, I was probably mid-swoon.



Derby Kiss Rollergirl Shorts –> Swing Dance Bloomers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


Continuing our discussion in the vein of undergarments, I ran across a post on Facebook from dance instructor Mike Legenthal to dancer/event floor captain Brandi Ferrebee suggesting Derby Kiss sequined rollergirl shorts because Brandi and everyone else who wants to sparkle under their skirts should be allowed to shine.  I love crossover products made for athletes because they are usually made with similar considerations to what dancers will need (dancers, after all, are athletes!).  This is a small business, with the wife and husband team of Emily and Dan running the sparkle show – Emily makes the products and Dan takes care of the embroidery, photography, and technical details.

These sequin shorts come with some really great options – a variety of colors are available, and each pair has a color change, where the sequins look one color, but when you run your fingers over the sequins they flip to another color.  In the Facebook thread that ensued, it was agreed that the fabric band around the thighs was a great feature to prevent thigh rubbing or sequin rollover onto the skin.  I particularly like that these come with a high waisted option, which is essentially sparkles where the low rise shorts come up to and then black fabric up to your natural waist, providing smoothness where your skirt meets your waist (so as not to have sequin bumps show through your garments) and some extra coverage if you want it.

This video basically sells the whole thing:


There are also some other fun non-sequin fabrics available – I think this Galaxy pair of shorts would be perfect for Bal-ast Off, there’s already been a Dr. Who themed exchange, and I’m basically OK having red and white stars on my butt at any time.  THIS IS ALL SO FUN – enjoy!



A Rainbow of Slips on ModCloth

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I love finding interesting undergarments to wear under my dancing clothing, and I particularly love slips for all the reasons outlined in this earlier blog post.  In perusing ModCloth I noticed a number of slips in lovely colors, both full slips and half slips, and they are certainly worth mentioning here.  I like the idea of these brightly colored full slips doubling as a camisole for the top (perhaps with a V-neck or wrap dress), and the same color poking out under a twirly skirt when you spin.  Here are some of ModCloths under-goodies:


Foundation Fascination Full Slip in Sea – love the detail at the neckline and the accordion pleats at the bottom to allow for extra movement just under your bum.  Also available in a rose pink and plummy purple.


Give Me Gracefulness Slip in Rose – this blush color would look lovely under just about anything and give a bit of lift to your skirts with the tulle bottom.  Also available in black.


If you can’t be bothered with spaghetti straps (I know I’ve safety pinned many to my dress to keep from slipping while dancing), perhaps this slip is a better fit for you.  I like the idea of layering this with a dress of a different cut for interest and for function.


The name says it all – Dream It, Dance It Slip is divine in this steely gray tone, with some feather-light lace to peek out from under your dress and an opaque top to keep your bum covered.  Also available in rose and navy.


Can’t Stop Dancing Slip in Ivory – your basic half-slip, also available in classic bronze and black. All these references to dancing and slips…ModCloth, are you reading my blog? 😉

LouTaylorStudio on Etsy



Seriously?  Seriously. ❤


This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Yes, it’s another UK-based company and yes, it’s another retro plastic jewelry maker, I CAN’T HELP MYSELF.  The explosion of goodness will not go unreported on this blog and LouTaylorStudio is the latest in creative genius, using a laser cutter to create whimsical and detailed jewelry in distinctive vintage shapes.  The Carmen Miranda alone warranted a post.

From her Etsy page, it looks like Lou Taylor got her start in paper, which you can also purchase some of her paper creations on Etsy:

“I create striking papercuts full of colour, pattern and intricate detail. Prints are available of my work, and are high-quality giclee prints made by a local printers called Stampa.

I am inspired daily by colour, pattern and often vintage fashion illustrations from the 50s and 60s and I have a real affection for Vogue and Harpers Bazaar covers from the 20s. I love to use unusual motifs in my work such as thermos flasks, spider plants and flamingoes as I believe they are very evocative and iconic.

I recently translated my ideas into acrylic jewellery and now have a wide range of colourful striking designs that I hope have a similar feel to my artwork.”

She also notes that bags will be coming to the shop next (!!!) and I see the scarves she predicted have made it to the shop.  Here are my favorites from the Etsy shop.


The Jantzen diving swimmer on a brooch or necklace – you decide!


Josephine Baker earrings…


…and accompanying bananas brooch.


A classic question mark brooch.


Because Frida.


A bathing beauty, ready for her underwater close-up.

Oldfield Clothing – British Sportswear and Accessories

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


A postcard from the UK that reads, “Wish you were here with all this tweed…”

Every time I turn around, I hear about a new vintage reproduction company in the UK, which seems to be where I want to spend my dollars-into-pounds lately and the retail climate appears to be thriving for vintage-inspired clothing.  Swing bandleader, guitarist, and dancer Glenn Crytzer tipped me off to Oldfield Clothing, “purveyors of fine British sportswear and accessories for ladies and gentlemen,” when he picked up a pair of their 1930’s workwear trousers, wanting something in a heavier weight for loading band equipment in and out at gigs.  The Oldfield Clothing collection looks well-suited to incorporating its pieces into modern wardrobes, with vintage takes on standard clothing items like trousers and sweaters.


The trousers really shine – they offer five different cuts, ranging from the most vintage 1920’s golf knickers to the Keaton trousers that look like a standard pair of front pleated trousers (slightly lower rise than their other pairs, but probably higher rise than modern trousers, if you just want to dip your toe into the wading pool of reproduction trousers).  There are a range of fabrics, from linen to corduroy and wool, so you can shop and dress seasonally.  The workwear trousers Glenn picked are really special, not only for their durable fabric, but also for the details – buttons for braces, button fly, fish tail back, and cinch strap and buckle, to name a few.

Women’s offerings are limited to knitwear (specifically – but knickers, see above), but some really good pieces, like solid sweater vests and beautiful Fair Isle vests and a sweater.  Other items that could be unisex include caps, leather goods, and a classic cream long sleeve polo shirt with two collar options.

Here are some of the goods:


“The Ralph Trouser” – 1930’s style linen, the trousers you need right now in this Northern Hemisphere heat


Lady dandies, it’s never a bad time to shop for fall – grab one of these cashmere camel slipovers/sweater vests


I love the chevron/starburst effect of this Donegal tweed herringbone cap.


Polo shirt, available with either traditional collar or vintage collar – “ideal for sport, but smart enough to wear with a tie.”


Some of the details on the workwear trousers.

Domesticated Pinup on Etsy


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:



Lilac 1950’s day dress.


Caramel 1940’s fascinator.


Blue chiffon 1950’s dress.


Brown 1940’s hat with chartreuse feathers.

Vendor Report: All Balboa Weekend 2016

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


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.


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.


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!


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*


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.


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!


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!


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



And the back!


Anita, my love…at the Remix table.




Lower heeled Remix Charleston shoe.



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


A bevy of colorful ties at Sweet Lorain.


Vintage hair curlers at Sweet Lorain.


I love a pinafore dress!  At Sweet Lorain.


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


Fab fabric on a tiny skirt at Sweet Lorain.


3D beaded drop earrings from De Fils en Perles.


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


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


A row of headbands and blooms from Chatterblossom.


A regal set from Chatterblossom.


There are never enough white orchids – from Chatterblossom.


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


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


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


Jacket with a nice nubby check, from Flower Child.


WWII WAVES uniform, from Flower Child.


Oh, hello…


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




The Seamstress of Bloomsbury


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:


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


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.


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


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


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.