Fab Gabs Shoe Influx

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Etsy vintage seller Fab Gabs recently posted a number of amazing vintage shoes in a range of sizes. Check out her Etsy page for the full story, but here are my faves:

The only time I've ever wished for a larger foot - woven 50's heels, size 8/8.5
The only time I’ve ever wished for a larger foot – woven 50’s heels, size 8/8.5
Stars!  1940's slingbacks, 7.5N
Stars! 1940’s slingbacks, 7.5N
1930's burgundy heels, size 8AA
1930’s burgundy heels, size 8AA
1930's t-straps, size 4.5 - I know you tiny feet girls are out there and you want something more than a Mary Jane!  There's another pair of satin wedding shoes in this size from the 30's...
1930’s t-straps, size 4.5 – I know you tiny feet girls are out there and you want something more than a Mary Jane! There’s another pair of satin wedding shoes in this size from the 30’s…

Richard’s Fabulous Finds – Vintage Men’s Clothing and Accessories

1940's suit and expertly paired accessories
1940’s double breasted suit and expertly paired accessories

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I ran across Richard’s Fabulous Finds on the OcTieBer group on Facebook – he had posted a few suits of interest, so I bit. Clicking through to his Etsy page, I was struck by the presentation – everything looked cool, wearable, and pulled together. On closer inspection, it wasn’t just the goods, it was the presentation. A model (perhaps Richard himself?) had on most of the suits, and each suit was fully presented, with shirt, necktie, pocket square, possibly a boutonniere, so that the suit wasn’t JUST a suit, you could see it as an ensemble. I know a lot of men struggle with color and pairings and Richard has done the work for you, at least for starters. Here’s what I’m loving from his Etsy shop:

Tweedy hat
Tweedy hat
Three piece plaid suit - 70's, but nobody has to know... ;)
Three piece plaid suit – 70’s, but nobody has to know… 😉
Vintage yin-yang pocket square
Vintage yin-yang pocket square
Belt-back blazer
Belt-back blazer

Girl Can’t Help It Sweater

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Pale topaz, anyone?
Pale topaz, anyone?

I’ve been on the prowl lately for more clothing that can double for work and swing, especially tops. I was delighted to see an email in my inbox this evening from My Baby Jo, a shop I blogged about early on in the history of Lindy Shopper, with some seriously superb reproduction sweater basics for fall. Their “Girl Can’t Help It” sweater looks like a great cropped shell, not too short, but not too long, with a simple weave and colors that are easily embellished with vintage jewelry. Definitely work-safe, and the email also said that matching cardigans would be coming out soon! Available in black, hunter green, lilac, baby blue, and pale topaz.

Aaaaaaand….cue obligatory dance scene opening credits:

Vintage Make-Up Guides

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

vintage-makeup-guides-bundle-tabber-image

Getting specific about period make-up tends to default to whether or not I decide to wear red lipstick, but I admit that I have been curious about the more specific make-up trends from each decade. Glamour Daze has put together four make-up guides – one each for the 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s – compiled from period manuals and magazine articles and made available to you as an ebook. Content covers things like the right colors for your hair/complexion, makeup techniques, skin care, and some decade-specific beauty norms and, perhaps, some not-so-norms by today’s standards. Each ebook is $9.99, or you can get all four for $19.99.

Dapper Designs on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Dapper dancers in Tampa
Dapper dancers in Tampa

Tampa, Florida dancer Tom Blair tipped me off to Dapper Designs, an Etsy store that specializes in bow ties, hair bows, and other swing-inspired accessories, made by another Florida dancer, Margie Sweeney. There are a few things I really like about this shop:

1. The bow ties are available in four different styles: classic, diamond point, and those skinny nod-to-the-1950’s bow ties in both straight and wide straight. Let’s not deny that this period in history happened and that one does not have to look like a gift wrapped package to call it a bow tie. Options are always welcome.

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2. The neck-wear extends to women, so we can all get a jump on our neck-wear wardrobes to give the guys a run for their money during OcTieBer. I especially like the custom cross-tie, being reminiscent of some Girl Scout neck piece I may have worn and I think it would look fab with a blouse, a 30’s skirt, and a jaunty hat.

3. The fabric selection for the custom ties has a little something for everyone – from classic plaid to dots to geometric patterns to a faux bois print.

And there you have it! Lots of custom options for guys and gals, handmade by one of our own.

(Edited to add that David Lochner has informed me that “the “cross tie” is called a “continental” in menswear and the straight bows are “batwings” – I learn something new every day! 🙂 )

Classic bow tie in seersucker
Classic bow tie in seersucker

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

Swell Farewell Vintage

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I am happy to announce that Lindy Shopper has a new supporter in the form of Etsy store Swell Farewell Vintage – owner Kate Blank has put together a lovely little shop with items from all of our jazz age and swing era decades, and beyond. Kate’s love of all things vintage began early in her childhood and she even ran her vintage clothing business out of her dorm room in college! You can see her experience in her collection, which includes quintessential items from each decade represented. I also love that she has clothing items listed by waist size, which is so helpful in initially narrowing down what will fit from the shop.

Right now the shop features mostly women’s clothing, but Kate has plans to add more men’s ties, as well as more inventory overall. Not everything is listed, so if you are looking for something specific, Kate encourages you to message her with your sought-after items to see if she has anything in her inventory that would fit the bill.

At the moment, Swell Farewell Vintage is running a 15% off coupon – enter the code 15OFF at checkout – it applies to all items!

Here’s what I love from the store:

1950's plaid peep toe heels
1950’s plaid peep toe heels
1940's dress with peplum and sequin applique
1940’s dress with peplum and sequin applique
So this is adorable...
So this is adorable…
This beyond sweet 1920's dress...
This beyond sweet 1920’s dress…
Black 1940's shoes
Black 1940’s shoes
The use of the fabric print on this 1950's dress is pretty fascinating - excellent neckline, as well
The use of the fabric print on this 1950’s dress is pretty fascinating – excellent neckline, as well

Shabby Apple Ferris Wheel Collection

Green gingham!  Eeeeeee!
Green gingham! Eeeeeee!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Like a breath of fresh spring air, the Shabby Apple Ferris Wheel Collection arrived in my inbox yesterday – the collection features some great 1950’s-inspired silhouettes in cotton candy colors, perfect for those looking for an early spring. I am particularly pleased that Shabby Apple selected some really great prints for this collection, as they tend to lean more toward solids. I also love that their full skirt comes in so many colors and prints. As always, Shabby Apple’s dresses are great for dance or work, so we can get maximum mileage with our purchase. Here are my favorites from the collection:

Lovely shaped dress in blue with a floral print
Lovely shaped dress in blue with a floral print
Fruity print!
Fruity print!
A sassy look with a Peter Pan collar
A sassy look with a Peter Pan collar
I am usually not a fan of ruffles on the bottom, but the placement of this ruffle has the potential to create a really flattering silhouette
Dots! I am usually not a fan of ruffles on the bottom, but the placement of this ruffle has the potential to create a really flattering silhouette

Cabiria: Vintage Style in Sizes 12-24

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Flaminia dress in a cherry print

I can thank milliner Joei Reed for directing me to this gem – Cabiria‘s tagline is “whimsical, sensual style in sizes 12-24,” but I think the word vintage should be thrown in there because so many of these designs take inspiration from 1940’s and 1950’s styles.

This brand is brand spanking new – according to their website, the line launched on October 22, 2012, with an e-store for presales and wholesale and their lookbook, which is a part of their fundraising through Kickstarter. That’s right, this company is still in its infancy and, with your support, these dresses could make their way to you faster and possibly at retail locations and boutiques if the company’s Kickstarter is successful – it looks like they are really close! Here’s the skinny from the Kickstarter campaign:

“The $8,000 is to pay for grading (sizing up and down) costs for each pattern, factory production fees (higher here in the US than abroad, but so important to keep skilled jobs local), shipping costs, website development, and marketing to let the buyers know about our SS13 line. Part of this is to produce the garments to place in independent plus size and boutiques and online retailers, and part will be to produce additional stock for our own e-store direct to the customer.”

Here’s what I’m loving (available for pre-order) from their Spring/Summer 2013 line – silk blends, cotton blends, prints – YESPLS:

*Note that there are additional fabrics/swatches available for each dress.

Francesca dress in a feather print
Flaminia dress in a tropical print
Anna shirtdress in robin’s egg blue print
Guiseppina dress in a butterfly print

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

Rosy Gingham and Scallops Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

There is so much to love in this adorable rosy gingham 1940’s/50’s dress with fantastic rose and white scallop detailing at the hem and sleeves.  I could do without the cheesy pink 80’s belt the seller added, where a ribbon would have done more, but overall the effect is fantastic.  Measurements are 42/37/52 and the starting price is right at $19.99.

Your Homework: Vintage Pattern Wiki

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

A selection from 1937

I hear a lot of questions about how to isolate the decade, or portion of a decade (or in rare instances, the year), in which a particular garment was made. How do you identify the date of a garment based on the details, fabrics, notions, etc. included the garment? My initial answer is to do your homework, but my learning mostly consisted of shopping for vintage with my mother, asking her to identify the decade, and having her point out different identifying details. I can’t loan out my mother to all of you, so you’ll have to learn the old fashioned way: book learning (or in the 21st century, the Internets).

Kim at Time Machine Vintage directed me to the Vintage Pattern Wiki to get some ideas for dresses, but I was delighted to see that you could search their extensive directory by the type of garment and also by year. I see other compilations of patterns for sale that usually group by decade, but I’m just anal retentive enough to want to add more mid-1930’s dresses to my collection, or to want to make sure that late 20’s/early 30’s dress is actually late 1920’s. Regardless of your OCD level or absence thereof, this website is a useful resource for anyone who would like to learn and understand more about the fashions from each of the swing era decades, down to the year. Another great feature of this site is menswear and children’s clothing included in the patterns, which is not something I run across very often.

Enjoy this resource, I’ve already spent portions of two evenings going through the early 1940’s stuff – this could take a while!

Electric Gypsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

While searching for 1930’s reproduction clothing, I stumbled across Electric Gypsy, a UK-based retailer of handmade reproduction clothing from the 1930’s through the 1980’s. For each decade, there are a few choice garments made with a selection of fabric options, and I was excited to see that they went as far back as the 1930’s. Don’t let the psychedelic graphics on the website fool you, there is good swing era-inspired stuff here.

From the website: “At Electric Gypsy we also have our own label of handmade vintage and retro inspired clothing. We use a mixture of original vintage fabrics and kitsch cool new fabrics. Many pieces are one-off or short runs, so you are guaranteed to find something that is unique and original, whether it be a 1960’s inspired shift dress or a 1950’s Rockabilly skirt with a modern twist. Each item is individually handmade by us in the UK. We create our designs by modernising vintage patterns, designing our own patterns from scratch and customising old vintage clothing.”

Here’s what I’m loving:

OMG this kick-pleat 1940's skirt
1940's sweetheart dress
1932 Midnight in Paris dress
1930's cape collar dress
1940's tea dress
1950's diner dress

Tuxedo Junction

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Comic strip of unknown origins, featured in Town and Country Magazine, January 2012

While reading my mom’s copy of the January 2012 issue of Town and Country, I ran across a comic strip detailing the history of the tuxedo – not normal comic book fare, so I was intrigued. Here’s your history lesson for the week: according to the strip and Wikipedia, the word tuxedo comes from the Lenni-Lenape Native American tribe (also known as the Delaware Indians), who were allegedly called Tuxedo (meaning “he has a round foot” (which may be in reference to the wolf), “place of the bear” or “clear flowing water”) by their enemies the Algonquins. The Lenni-Lenape lived near a lake which they named “Tucseto,” which later became known as Tuxedo Lake, and the area where they lived was called Tuxedo.

How does a tribe of Native Americans and a lake relate to the modern formal suit? In 1885, Pierre Lorillard IV developed a piece of land his grandfather owned in Tuxedo for a summer resort for the wealthy and well-to-do, naming it Tuxedo Park. He then “organized the Tuxedo Club and the Tuxedo Park Association, as hunting and fishing preserve (and society), and surrounded the property with a high game fence. In 1886, he built a club house, which saw the debut of the short dinner jacket, which soon became known as the Tuxedo jacket. Eventually, the Tuxedo ensemble, featuring the short dinner jacket, became the accepted dress for formal affairs. To give you some perspective on the class of people who frequented the Tuxedo Club, the “Blue Book of Etiquette,” written by Emily Post, was “based on what she observed inside the great stone gates of Tuxedo.”

I am amazed that the basis for modern formal menswear originated as far back as the 1880’s, but this demonstrates how the tuxedo has withstood the test of time.

As the modern Lindy Hop community matures, I see more dancers donning a tuxedo (or part of a tuxedo) for New Year’s Eve, specifically at Lindy Focus (alas, I will miss my first Lindy Focus in six years!). Just adding a bow tie to a black suit can elevate your look, or wear a vest/bow tie combo for maximum mobility.

Tuxedos are more attainable, thanks to the advent of eBay, but even thrift stores have tuxedos, sometimes castoffs from formal wear stores or a donation that simply doesn’t fit or isn’t used (and is usually rarely worn, so it good condition). You can often acquire a vintage tuxedo for less than the cost of a vintage suit because they are the garment that was worn least and survived the decades. It amazes me that people spend money to rent tuxedos when for the same price or less you could buy one.

Here are some lovelies on eBay and Etsy to make your New Year’s Eve classic and well-dressed:

1930's tuxedo with a faille shawl collor, size 42, buy it now $65.00
1930's tuxedo with tails, white vest, and white tie, size 38, $75.00 starting bid - paging Fred Astaire...
1940's tuxedo, button fly, size 40, buy it now $30.00
1950's shawl collar tuxedo on Etsy, $98.00
1940's tuxedo, size 44, $65.00

A Holiday Dress for Each Decade

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I am always pleased when sellers list seasonal items during the right season – when you are in the mood for something, retailers usually respond, and right now it’s the smell of cinnamon, clothing that sparkles, and Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas playing overhead (how did they know?! 😉 ).

I can’t give you the cinnamon, but here’s the Ella, and some vintage dresses from each of our swinging decades that really sparkle:

This 1950's holiday dress intrigued me - I like the clean shape of the black dress, with long sleeves, and this sort of geometric corsage/pocket/thingy adds this modern bit of excitment and pop of color
I am so in love with this 1940's maroon/fuschia belted dress, with just enough detail in all the right places - oh, the embroidery and beading! *drool*
What would a proper holiday dress selection be without velvet? Please ignore the crappy photography from this seller and focus on the awesomeness of the tucking, draping, and gorgeous belt buckle on this 1930's dress.
A 1920's dress in my favorite holiday color, with ombre beading and beading on the belt in my size...now, where is that $220 I need to buy it...