This will be a very brief post, but I felt it warranted a full-fledged Lindy Shopper post because I know it will make some people very happy – Re-mix Vintage Shoes is now offering U.S. women’s size 5 in the following styles: Anita, Balboa, Charleston, Emily and Emily 2.0! These are all popular styles for swing dancing, which I’m sure is more than a happy coincidence. 🙂
As most ladies know and Tim Gunn has spoken out about, the clothing options for women over a certain size range are particularly limited, even though they make up hundreds of thousands of shoppers in the US and beyond and spend significant sums on clothing for themselves. Compound limited selection with a preference for vintage styles and your options are even more limited.
I’ve had my eye on New Vintage Lady’s Etsy site for some time and I did a post on her in 2011, but I’m excited to see that she keeps showing up on my radar and continues to expand her line of vintage patterns, offering fantastic designs that are all the things we love about jazz age and swing era clothing, with all the wonderful details that make them great (and she has a great eye! I love her selections, artwork, and fabric choices). This latest endeavor is via Kickstarter, in an effort to expand her size range to cover bust sizes from 40 inches to 52 inches, as well as improving her existing patterns in terms of graphics and descriptions. Offering a range of sizes is a lot of work – often, you only find one vintage pattern of a certain dress and it comes in the size you found, not a range, and it’s not simply a matter of adding inches around to increase the size, of course it’s MUCH MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT, in that way that all of our bodies are a complicated mix of measurements.
The obvious rewards here are reaping the benefit of the new patterns once the Kickstarter is funded, but if you don’t sew there is an AMAZING reward – the New Vintage Lady will make you a dress, one of HER garments from the Kickstarter! What could be more amazing and more personal and more lovely than that? (I see she also does men’s trousers *ahem* maybe…if you ask nicely?) If you’ve ever wanted a reproduction dress to your specifications with your fabric choices and you haven’t done this for yourself, this is a great opportunity to help not only yourself, but others of a certain size range to gain access to these wonderful patterns.
There’s so much to love, go check out her line and video and consider backing this project!
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.
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!
A couple of weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to visit St. Louis, Missouri and perform at the Nevermore Jazz Ball with Michael Gamble and his Rhythm Serenaders. I was particularly eager to visit St. Louis because there are some very dear dance friends in my life who moved there after living with or near me in North Carolina and I heard there was amazing vintage clothing there – knowing that St. Louis had a lot of money/industry during my sought-after clothing periods and seeing the amazing wardrobe of Miss Jubilee in photographs online, I was beyond excited to take my first trip to this Midwest city.
I picked Saturday of Nevermore to embark on my shopping adventure, meeting up with Athena Moon and Lian Tarhay for a quick stop at The Vintage Haberdashery and then brunch at Rooster. The Vintage Haberdashery is part vintage store, part costume shop and had a small, but respectable selection of pre-WWII clothing and some great 1920’s reproduction beaded gowns glistening from the rafters. The store was well-organized with lots of quality items, and a particularly nice display of shoes and hats. I spotted a bunch of great 40’s day and cocktail dresses, some 1940’s oxfords, and a nice selection of menswear, both dress and sportswear items. Definitely worth a stop!
After brunch, we went to Cherokee Street to take in the Cherokee Street Jazz Crawl, which happened to include a vintage shop as a venue and be down the street from another vintage shop – bliss! Imagine shopping in a stacked vintage clothing store with a live hot jazz band playing just outside on the back patio, and you could take a break, dance, shop, dance, shop – that was my experience at Retro 101. Seriously, a luxury! Retro 101 had so many special pieces, I can’t even articulate everything, delicious sheer 1930’s dresses, beautiful rayon print 1940’s dresses, wonderful gowns, hats, gloves, leather, and a case of amazing bakelite! Feathers! Beading! I didn’t even get to the menswear, but I spotted some usual suspects with great garments and accessories in hand, so I know there was good stuff!
Finally, we visited Ruth’s Vintage Clothing, a little shop on the corner just a few blocks from Retro 101. Almost as soon as we stepped into the store, we heard the second line start up outside and ran back out to see the parade. At this point I’m thinking St. Louis and this event definitely have really unique offerings for the dance community – dancers joined in, people were drawn out of shops and restaurants to watch, adding to the magnetic and magical SOMETHING in the air that made this event distinctive, local, and inviting. We went back into Ruth’s, which had a few 1940’s dresses and some great accessories, including an Art Deco belt buckle and brooch set that combined distinctive rhinestone angled shapes with early plastic (bakelite or celluloid, not sure) flowers blooming from the stones – VERY tempting, can we create a dress or gown around this?
We followed the second line back down to Retro 101, took another gander (so much to take in!), then ended up at Melt for a cider and to hear Mike Faltesek and Chloe Feoranzo play their last set of the day. An all around very satisfying day of shopping in a wonderful city!
I must confess, for the past two days, since Saint Savoy posted a sneak preview of their new Riviera shoe, I have found myself going back to their Facebook page multiple times a day to go look at these shoes. THAT GREEN. That blue…and I’d definitely get some use out of that neutral pair, too. They had me at color, but I’m sold at the 3.5 cm (about 1.4 inches) heel.
All Balboa Weekend celebrated its 15th Anniversary this year and I celebrated my 9th anniversary of attending ABW. This Balboa homecoming/family reunion is one that I look forward to every year for the friends, the amazing dancing, and the wonderful vintage shopping that is available in Cleveland. This year, my report will combine shopping inside and outside the hotel, since some brick and mortar stores set up booths at ABW and other remain in their brick edifices. All are worthy of mention and this year’s shops and vendors did not disappoint!
My partner in crime this year was Berkeley, California dancer Alisa Szatrowski – I’ll give an honorable mention to Jack Flaps, a wonderful brunchy place she discovered and where we fortified ourselves before a day of vintage shopping.
Our first stop is my always first stop, Sweet Lorain, and the owner Redwin Lewis welcomed us with open arms and escorted us back to the 30’s and 40’s area, where he showed us they had pulled additional racks of 30’s and 40’s clothing out just for ABW. *squee!* Soon, Alisa and I were lost in a jungle of clothing, amongst the close and very full racks, calling out to each other as if we were playing Marco Polo to try to find each other to show off choice garments. Sweet Lorain did not disappoint and Alisa and I soon had a dressing room full of things to try on, with another helpful employee pulling additional garments based on our selections. Seriously, an A+ for customer service. We both left with some wonderful pieces and warm fuzzy feelings about everything at Sweet Lorain.
Next stop was Chelsea’s Vintage Clothing and Costumes, which is an impressive warehouse full of clothing, and particularly has a large selection of menswear, which I wrote about more in-depth last year. We ran into dancer and DJ Bill Speidel and we did a quick run through the menswear, as I’m always shopping for certain dudes and the hubs. I left Chelsea’s empty-handed, but Alisa had great luck with late 30’s/early 40’s dresses in velvet and faille – dreamy!
The vendor market at ABW opens at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday and we were there even a little before that, with anxious vintage lovers already hovering over the booths.
The first booth you come to is Re-Mix Vintage Shoes and this booth was abuzz all weekend, with ladies buying shoes, trying on many more, and ogling the beautiful wares. The big hit this year was a new style, Gabriele, which is a low heeled 1930’s shoe with a t-strap, an alternative to the Balboa Style, with a slightly different shape and different colors. I would love to hear some reviews from the ladies who bought them and wore them this weekend – I did see Valerie Salstrom try them on the first day and then didn’t take them off as she continued to set up for the event!
Next in the line of vendors was Flower Child, which is comprised of several individual vendors that make up part of the brick and mortar store, and which takes up most of the hallway. They are always good about bringing in new inventory every day, taking requests, and having a nice selection of clothing, accessories, and some novelty items and knickknacks from the swing era. My favorite ABW find for this year came from Flower Child’s booth, a fully functional scales brooch, perfect for me as both a Libra and a lawyer – for serious, the scales have tiny chains and you could actually put things in the bowls and the scales would tip, SO COOL.
New to the vendor list this year was Sugar Shakers, the handiwork of Joanna Kassoulides Thibault, who got her start stitching chorus girl costumes for a troupe of the same name in Toronto and decided, after accumulating a wardrobe of costumes, that she would sell some of these versatile pieces. I love a good trumpet skirt and Joanna had a nice sampler of trumpet skirts, polka dot wrap blouses, bakelite-inspired earrings, as well as sharing a table with her husband Mike Thibault‘s handmade earrings and Vintage Jazz Art prints.
Next in the vendor lineup is ChatterBlossom, aka Jamie Sturdevant, who is local to me, but for ABW everyone can see her amazing handiwork up close, with flowers and headpieces made from vintage millinery flowers and jewelry made from vintage buttons. Seeing in person is even better, as I noted people running to their rooms for garments, trying to match a bloom to a dress, and (I know I’m a broken record on this, but) the colors in the vintage flowers are just so right for vintage clothing, for obvious reasons, and they are so much more exquisitely detailed than most modern artificial flowers I have seen. Jamie does custom pieces, too, so you can find the perfect bloom for that one of a kind vintage dress.
Holding down the end of the hallway was The Cleveland Shop, which had a nice selection of men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, and jewelry. The owner would also bring in new items daily, and even brought in some divine tropical rayon fabric one day, that was gone before it could hit the market (I can’t wait to see that blouse, Jamie!). Oh, to have a warehouse full of endless vintage things to sell!
Each year the vendors at ABW are one of the things I look forward to most about the event and I truly appreciate the effort the vendors put into setting up, displaying, being there to sell, breaking it all down, and sometimes traveling great distances – I think Philip Heath, the owner of Re-mix Vintage Shoes, wins this year by flying in and shipping shoes from California, though past ABWs venders have flown in from as far away as the UK and Australia. We love that you do it and we’ll keep buying all the beautiful things. 🙂
Here are some more photos of all the lovely things:
Continuing an exploration of vintage workwear and denim, I’ll thank David Lochner for directing me to Levi’s Vintage Clothing website, which features reproduction jeans with the fits, fabrics, and details of the past, based on Levi’s own archives. I think the greatest thing is the spread of photographs denim styles from 1890 to 1978, and you can see the differences and tweaks in the cut, proportions, and details just in the 501 style. The website also sets out the history of these changes, so you can read about each style’s history and design details. Unfortunately, you can’t order them directly from this website, but they do provide a list of retailers.
So, would you prefer a 1922, 1933, 1937, or 1944? 🙂
I haven’t done anything for the gents in a while, so here we go – I have found myself shopping for menswear recently, as I assemble my golf outfit for the Jazz Age Lawn Party. I was on my high school’s golf team, so this is not entirely for show, and definitely about the love for the game and the clothes. That said, I’d more likely be dancing than swinging a club at the lawn party in August, so I’ll need something that can take the sweat and reduce the heat. I asked David Lochner, my favorite sartorialist and go-to for menswear advice, where I should acquire the perfect 1920’s-style golf cap and his immediate and only response was “Monsivais.”
Damian Monsivais, in addition to crafting superb caps, is a collector of clothing and accessories from 1900 through the 1930’s. From the website, a proper introduction: “Caps where all the rage during the early years but are so difficult to find in good sizes. All men of trades owned one, from farmers to the Prince of Wales. Mostly made of wool and lined with silk. Today’s modern caps are nothing like they made in the 1920s and 1930s so I took it upon myself to make some reproductions for myself and now I offer them here to the public whom share the same liking and want a period correct look.”
Right now Monsivais Caps is transitioning from an Etsy page to an independent website, so to get a bigger picture of the business, go look at both, then order from the independent website. The fabric selections are even broader than shown, so if you are looking for something specific, as I was looking for summer-weight fabrics in specific colors, simply start a conversation. You can also supply your own fabric and have it made into a fabulous cap.
Upon consultation with Mr. Monsivais and a mailing of fabric samples, we are going with a nice cream linen with a brown check in a “simple one piece crown” that I am very excited to acquire. I will do a follow-up post once I’ve worn the cap with the golf ensemble.
In the interim, I invite you to take a gander and these gorgeous cap offerings – oh, the seaming!
Continuing my foray into vintage/reproduction knitwear, I’ll highlight the Wollarium on Etsy, which is both swoon-worthy and holiday wishlist-worthy…and when I say holiday wishlist, I mean that the Wollarium (Emma Sommerfeld in Berlin, Germany) produces hand-made reproduction sweaters from vintage patterns and said hand-made items are priced accordingly. Have you ever knit something yourself? That scarf I made once took forever, I can only imagine the love and craftsmanship that goes into these gorgeous knits. Knit-to-order, so you can have your choice of yarns and colors! Great items for both ladies and gents.
If you aren’t following American Duchess on Facebook, I would recommend jumping on this train immediately – they are posting photos of fabulous shoes from the past and allowing people to vote on them to determine which pair(s) go(es) into production! Once the votes are tallied, you can pre-order these shoes. How cool is that!?
They are calling these vote-and-order shoes “exclusives” and are running votes in “cycles.” Cycle 1’s winner – the Harlow pump – has already come and gone in terms of pre-orders (oh, but LOOK at them!). Cycle 2’s winner is a reproduction of a gorgeous Edwardian triple strap shoe called the Belleclaire that could definitely lend itself to dancing. Imagine all those bows in a solo jazz routine, drawing attention to your lovely feet! You can pre-order the Belleclaire on the American Duchess website through December 15.
Cycle 3 is up for vote right now and I’m excited to say that a shoe idea I submitted is up for vote! I submitted the 1930’s/40’s two tone pumps in white and brown with the swoop on the front (go vote for them, please, this shoe is gorgeous with an amazing sculpted Art Deco heel!), which is up for vote alongside a pair of Marie Antoinette’s shoes, some sweet 1870’s two straps, and several other delicious jazz age/swing era shoes. Whatever wins will be made in 3 different colors. This is so exciting – cast your vote for fabulous footwear today!
In case you missed it in person or on the live stream, Frankie 100 in New York played host to a fashion show during the Sunday night festivities! Take a gander at some of your favorite swing dancers modeling some truly spectacular vintage fashions from the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s, both ladies and gents, starting at 46:20 mark on the video – a really gorgeous collection of everything from swimwear to eveningwear, Mutsumi Gee’s lovely reproductions, the vintage-inspired designs of Nicole Lenzen, the tailored menswear of Chloe Hong, even a segment devoted to the 1939 World’s Fair in New York! Special thanks to Voon Chew and Lainey Silver for their efforts in putting this together!
Not all artificial flowers are created equal. Even more stunning than modern artificial blooms are those of yesteryear, reserved for hats and millinery, created with such detail and hues that can only come from the past or be made by hand. Jamie Sturdevant, the mastermind behind the Etsy shop Chatterblossom, has acquired stacks of boxes full of vintage millinery flowers and is using them to create floral clusters, headpieces, and fascinators for her shop. The results are stunning and perfect for pairing with your vintage dresses – like vintage fabric cut into a new dress, these unworn, unused flowers are just like getting a brand new hairpiece from the past. Even better, Jamie does custom work and can work with you to create a custom piece to go with one of your vintage ensembles. Here are some glorious pieces from her shop: