Tag Archives: bloomers

ILHC 2018 Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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The International Lindy Hop Championships is one of those events where, even if you go into it feeling like you don’t have a lot to do, there are so many excellent people around and things to see that this feeling dissipates very quickly.  While the vendor area was not as robust as in years past, there were still some new surprises as well as staple vendors to get you some things you may need and some things you may want.

I usually do a trend report, but I’m sad to say that I did not see many of the competitions this year due to both work obligations and time spent with friends outside of the dance.  I WILL note that I did see the invitational strictly and, if this is any indicator of trends, white was absolutely a trend this year – white skirts, pants, and even a jumpsuit.  White is one of those attention-grabbing colors for competitors and we usually point to shoes as a prime example, i.e. highlighting a dancer’s footwork, so here, let’s say we’re highlighting all those amazing swivels.  I also want to give a shoutout to Remy Kouakou Kouame, along those same lines, for wearing a stellar pink suit in a sea of neutrals and for being such a great menswear inspiration to up and coming dancers – I noticed one of the Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs, Jermaine Trevon Donald, competing in pink trousers and one of the sweetest sport coats I’ve seen in a long time (it’s hard to tell from the video, but the fabric is awesome), and coach Valerie Salstrom told me that Remy is a big inspiration to him.  Here’s to inspiring dancing and inspiring and eye-catching competition apparel!

Now, on to the vendors!

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Victor Celania has been working in custom menswear for years and serving dancers in the Austin, Texas swing dance community, but has only recently started setting up shop at swing dance events under the name of his business, Established Sartorial (which may have the cutest logo ever).  I love visiting Victor’s table and seeing and feeling all the wonderful fabric samples.  I also love hearing people talk about the kids of garments they want and how they want things to fit – we all have such different bodies, different needs, and different ways that off-the-rack clothing doesn’t work for us.  I’ve known Victor for a long time, he has such excellent taste and I’m glad he’s sharing this skill with the rest of the dance community.

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Dance the rainbow

Speaking of excellent taste and custom clothing, Chloe Hong was on site and focused on selling her not-quite-flats-not-quite-heels t-strap dance shoes that have become so popular due to their comfort and the array of colors offered – an actual rainbow of options appeared on her table, which I love and adore.  This goes without saying, but being able to try on the shoes is so important for us as dancers, so having Chloe at ILHC with shoes in all available sizes to try on was fantastic.  I ordered a pair in light gold and I’m so excited to try them out (following a recent purge of 10+-year-old dance shoes that were well past their prime)!  She also had a selection of men’s oxfords in more subdued colors with a contrast sole, I would be interested to hear from people how they like dancing in them.

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Sparkle butts assemble for swing outs…

New this year to me was Lucky Lindys NYC, a brand of bloomers made in New York and created by New York dancer Julia Loving.  I did not get to speak to Julia in person, but there were no less than three people at her booth, either helping or shopping, who sang the praises of these bloomers as to their comfort and construction, particularly that there is no center seam in the crotch area, eliminating THAT kind of discomfort.  If you missed out at ILHC, you can pick up a pair from the Lucky Lindys NYC Etsy shop.

Finally, also new to me, was Dee’s Tees, tee shirt customization and design by Darlene Davis, who would craft, create, and cut your tees on site in any number of ways to effectuate the desired result.  Maybe you want a larger neck hole or something off the shoulder, then maybe the shirt becomes an over layer for something interesting underneath.  She was using ILHC tees as examples, so you could pick up a tee and walk 10 feet over to Darlene’s table for instant gratification and leave with a one-of-kind shirt. I don’t have a website, but if you are interested in this kind of service at your event, email Darlene at darlenetedford@gmail.com.

Finally, Richmond dancers Dave Barry and Cate Rauschenberger set up their Jazz Garden, an array of gently used jazz CDs which they have scavenged in thrift shops and beyond to give this music the second life it deserves in the hands of new owners.  I love this idea, very much akin to scavenging/thrifting vintage clothing, and taking it to the next level by collecting a critical mass to sell at an event.  Like a good vintage clothing store, Dave and Cate have curated dance-friendly jazz artists and saved you the effort of intense and time-consuming digging.  I salute y’all, as I also enjoy the hunt!

I know there was also a massage vendor, but I was never in the area when they were around – I’m happy to update if someone wants to message me with their name and information!

Cheers!

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Darlene in action, getting started on a custom tee

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Samples of Dee’s Tees finished products

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An array of bloomer options from Lucky Lindys NYC

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Cate and Dave know good jazz music

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The men’s shoe offerings from Chloe Hong

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Gorgeous suiting fabrics from Established Sartorial

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“Buttons, buttons, we’ve got the buttons…buttons for the swingeroo…”

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Derby Kiss Rollergirl Shorts –> Swing Dance Bloomers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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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!

 

 

My Heinies Fire Sale

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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

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

Tap Pants and Pettipants

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1930’s tap pants with scallop detail

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

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

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

A little pink pair of pettipants

Scallops are adorable!

A bit pricier, but quite fab!

A plainer option, if lace isn’t your bag

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

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

Top 10 Places You Should Be Shopping for Swing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

(Another article for Yehoodi – enjoy!)

Inspired by Rebecca Brightly’s “Top 20 Online Resources For Becoming a Bad-Ass Swing Dancer” (and delighted to be included in her list!), I decided to come up with a list of my own. Unless you are a regular reader of the Lindy Shopper blog, it may be hard to determine what sources may be most helpful to get you started in your swing dance shopping endeavors.

I usually try to stay away from lists because I find that they can become outdated quickly (stores no longer in business, styles no longer relevant, etc.), so we are going to say that this is my top 10 list as of the date of publication. Most of these sources have been tried and true for me, so hopefully the list will withstand the test of time, at least for a few years.

1. Dancestore.com

This is kind of a no-brainer if you’ve been dancing for any length of time, but if you are just starting out you may not know where to find dance shoes. Most people outside of the swing dance community see character shoes as an option and I’ve definitely seen newer dancers show up in ballroom shoes, but it shows a level of commitment to the dance when you invest in your first pair of swing dance shoes.

Dancestore.com provides the work-horses of my dance shoe collection, as well as thousands of other dancers, with their Aris Allen line of shoes – shoes that are comfortable, relatively inexpensive, and offer vintage styles that work well with both vintage and modern outfits. I think we sometimes take Dancestore.com for granted – when I have worn my Dancestore shoes outside of the swing dance community, they tend to garner a lot of attention because they don’t look like shoes that are available anywhere else – and really, aside from a couple of other vintage repro shoe makers, they aren’t. Dancestore does the swing dance community a great service with their products and makes it easy for us to point new dancers in their direction and say THIS is where you should get your first pair of dance shoes.

2. Re-Mix Vintage Shoes

Let’s say you’ve accumulated a few pairs of Aris Allens in great neutral colors, but you’ve just acquired an outfit that requires some color or something extra fabulous in the way of footwear – Re-Mix Vintage Shoes is the next step. Offering an array of vintage styles from swing-era decades with divine details and fabulous color, Re-Mix is the place for the most stylish reproduction shoes I know of online.

3. Your local vintage store

If you are blessed with a wonderful vintage store in your area, then you already know this is a great place to shop. More likely, your vintage store does not stock swing era clothing or men’s clothing and is full of polyester, but don’t be discouraged! It is important to check in on these places for two reasons – first, you never know when they might get something in stock that you would die to have; second, if the store owner doesn’t know that there is a demand for these things, he or she probably won’t buy it from a seller or an estate. It is so important to develop relationships with the vintage store owners in your area and tell them what you are looking for in terms of clothing. Then, when something does come across their desk, they will have you in mind, they might even give you a call to let you know that something has come in, and they also might give you a better price on it because of that friendship and loyalty. Don’t assume you can come into a store and tell them you are a swing dancer and that they will instantly know how serious you are about collecting vintage clothing – to them, you are no better than the random college girl or boy looking for something to wear to a theme party. Distinguish yourself!

4. Your local thrift store

This is mostly for the gents, although ladies may find a diamond in the rough every now and then. But, seriously, menswear hasn’t changed so much in the last century that you can’t go to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or any local thrift store and find a sportcoat, old pairs of dress shoes, entire suits, pants, just about everything you need at a fraction of the cost of buying it new in a store AND with a cut and quality that is more likely to be in line with that of the swing era. It must pain most men to spend money on clothing because I talk about thrift store shopping (usually after hearing a complaint about needing more vests, pants, etc.) to dozens of men every year, only to hear the lamest excuses. You obviously went somewhere to buy those jeans and that tee shirt…and if you didn’t, you should tell the person shopping for you about the thrift stores…

5. eBay

I post a lot of items on Lindy Shopper from eBay because there are so many good things at good prices, if you are patient and willing to look. I spend the time looking on eBay because it’s worth it – I don’t have lots of vintage resources locally and it’s more efficient to shop on eBay because you simply type in your search terms and – voila! – what they have available pops up on your screen. Because eBay has continuous auctions and it’s not practical to search for the same items every day, you can save your search terms if you don’t find what your are looking for and have eBay email you when something you want does pop up on eBay. It’s that simple. For example, I get daily emails for 1940’s dresses and sometimes I go through the listings (looking at the most recently listed items), but other items, like 1930’s suit in size 40 (for my husband) only pop up every few months. Yes, it can be hit or miss and auctions can go for astronomical amounts, but even with the gamble it is still the best place to find the most rare items and the quickest way to find specific items, new and old.

6. Etsy

I am addicted to Etsy for many things. It’s almost as good as eBay for vintage finds (usually pricier), but it’s even better for new items that people have hand-crafted. If I can dream it or find it in a vintage photograph, someone on Etsy can make it. Etsy is my go-to source for hair flowers, fascinators, and affordable reproduction garments. Some Etsy sellers have ties to the dance community, like Jitterbuggin and Allure Original Styles, while others, like Time Machine Vintage and Raleigh Vintage simply have a love for vintage and reproduction clothing.

7. Your relatives’ closets (or anyone within earshot at least 40 years older than you)

The odds are favorable that you have a relative who was alive during the swing era, and the odds are pretty favorable that they have kept things from that era (being products of the Great Depression in some fashion – anyone else’s grandparents have giant freezers full of food?). I have been the recipient of so many items, mostly accessories, that relatives have given me that they didn’t want to get rid of, but were delighted to give to me knowing these items would be used and loved. Once word got out that I was looking for vintage items, other people (aunts, friends of grandparents) started digging through their closets or finding things at yard sales (for pennies!) that I might like. Even people I’ve encountered and simply had a conversation with about my vintage clothing has yielded items from closets, lovingly tucked away for years, but brought out for me because they thought I might like the garment and get some use out of it. The key here is to talk to people – a simple “Hey Grandpa, do you have any old suits you don’t wear anymore?” or “Grandma, do you have any jewelry from the 1940’s?” Even if they don’t give it to you, it can make a nice connection or revive some stories from the past. 🙂

8. My Heinies

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of covering your butt at swing dances. If you are not vintage-inclined and are buying the very short dresses that are in style now, don’t assume that the dance floor won’t be able to see your underwear. We all see it and I, especially, SEE it. Dancer Carol Fraser is a saint with her dance pants, My Heinies, developed based on her years of experience as a dancer and instructor, with the dance community and clothing styles in mind. There’s something for everyone on the My Heinies web site and I would encourage ladies who wear skirts and dresses to invest in this product so that you can dance uninhibited and free from worry that the entire room will see your private parts.

9. Vintage stores at out of town dance events

For me, the grass is usually much greener on the other side, so I take the opportunity when I travel to out of town swing dance events to visit that town’s vintage stores. Before I travel to a new city, I like to ask one of the local dancers where they recommend shopping (and if it’s worth it to try), or I’ll check to see what information I can find on the internet and, if it’s not apparent from the information on the web, give the store a call to find out if they carry swing-era merchandise. I relish every trip to Cleveland for All Balboa Weekend for the event and for Cleveland’s vintage stores, and I can’t wait to get back to Portland and Seattle. By the way, anyone know of any good vintage shops in Iowa City? Hawkeye Swing Festival, I’m coming in April…

10. Clothing swaps

One of the best places to get clothing and shoes for swing dancers could be other dancers. The ladies in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill swing dance community have been organizing periodic clothing swaps for the past couple of years, which include all clothing and accessories, but have been particularly helpful in passing around dresses and shoes that are good for dancing. That dress you are tired of wearing is brand new to someone else, so rather than give it to Goodwill, why not take it to the clothing swap and find it a new home? I’m always delighted when I see other girls in dresses that don’t fit me anymore, and they are always grateful for the garment. It’s a win-win.

ILHC 2011 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

ILHC swag

I had the pleasure of dancing and competing at this year’s International Lindy Hop Championships, held just outside of Washington, D.C. in Alexandria, Virginia. The event was a unique mix of swing dancers, in varying styles of dance, from around the globe. I think the event is best summed up by saying that ILHC is where you can see all those people you see dancing on YouTube – but there’s nothing better than seeing it live, as a video can’t quite capture the energy these couples and teams generate or the dynamic in the room.

(I apologize in advance for the quality of the photographs, as I forgot my real camera and had to use my phone)

Dancestore in the house!

Like most large swing dance events nowadays, ILHC had its own set of vendors, most of which I would categorize as the “essentials” providers – shoes, bloomers, hair flowers, and vintage/vintage-inspired clothing. Baltimore-based Dancestore.com was there with a lineup of Lindy and Bal-friendly shoes, including their new pair of white wingtips, which look gorgeous in person. Nina Gilkenson‘s mom, Laurie Gilkenson, was on hand, selling shoes for Dancestore, as well as vintage odds, ends, clothing, and shoes from Nina’s vintage shoe collection. If you wore a size 6.5, it was definitely your lucky day! More photos below of this and the other vendors.

Forties Forward had an array of new hair flowers, since I last saw these gals, Erica DeBlasio and Michelle Postles, at Lindy Focus. My new favorite bloom was a giant white bloom, possibly a magnolia blossom, that was so large it could almost be a hat!

My Heinies, in grand fashion, occupied the largest vendor space, with racks of colorful bloomers in all styles, as well as a beautiful collection of dance shoes for men and women. I noticed a particularly lovely pair of men’s two tone brown wingtips that garnered a lot of attention from the leaders in attendance, as well as some new to-die-for red heels in the collection. I noticed a number of followers in the competitions wearing My Heinies…and some who didn’t, but that’s another story…

A letterman's sweater from Model J Vintage

Working the booth with My Heinies was Model J Vintage, the Etsy store of New York dancer Joy Grad, which specializes in “a lifetime of collectibles directly to you from my personal closets and new adventures.” She turned up the volume for ILHC, offering a collection of both dance-ready and exquisite vintage and reproduction items from her collection and from Carol Fraser‘s closet. I swore I wasn’t going to buy anymore gowns, but I couldn’t pass up a 1940’s gown made of green silk, with a chevron bodice and velvet bow – it was a triple threat and I didn’t stand a chance. 😉

Last, but certainly not least, Mike Thibault of Vintage Jazz Art set up a gorgeous display of his framed prints, which are simply stunning in person. If you have an empty spot on a wall in your home, consider filling it with a daily reminder of your awesome dance hobby…

Thanks to everyone who organized the event and to those sold their wares at IHLC! I hope to return next year!

Gilkenson swag

A most exquisite pair of heels from the late 1800's/early 1900's, with jewels on the heels

My Heinies at ILHC

An array of Heinies

Some delicious new shoes, courtesy of My Heinies

An adorable blouse from Model J Vintage

Joy showing off a lovely vintage dress

The gown!

That glorious magnolia-like blossom I was telling you about, front and center, from Forties Forward

The coy ladies of Forties Forward

The Vintage Jazz Art display

Cover Your Bits

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Marilyn wears her dance pants!

I don’t like to use this blog for more outspoken opinions, but after seeing enough of this and blogging about options to no avail, I’d like to say something more explicit in hopes that something constructive may come of this.

For the record, at any dance event, I would prefer not to see any other follows’ hoo-ha, jiggly bits, cheeks, thong, sheer or lace underwear, or tanga. The last straw was at All Balboa Weekend this year when a follower in a competition wore minimal coverage undergarments that were visible when she turned. Someone commented that “She needed some Heinies” and several others agreed that, yes, it was distracting from her dancing to see so little there.

You can call me a prude, but I believe I speak for a number of follows (and maybe leads…maybe not) when I say that the allure of sharing your bits with the group is not there for us. Showing leg and some bloomer are great and I love twirly skirts, but there’s a line that is crossed and I believe a number of follows have no idea what this line is. It’s the line between your thigh and your bottom, and is carefully skirted by the opacity and size of your undergarments.

With hemlines on some modern dresses between mid-thigh and somewhere below the nether regions, it’s even more important to make sure things under your dresses are secure. I’m going to use amazing follower goddess Kara Fabina as an example – Kara wears shirts as dresses, garments that are so short that they were intended to be worn with pants underneath them. Kara does not wear pants with these dresses. I’ve marveled at how short she can wear them, yet I’ve never seen Kara’s hoo-ha. I approached Kara about this at All Balboa Weekend and her secret is that she wears a pair of tight fabric shorts underneath her shirt/dresses. The result is the opposite function of a slip – instead of adding flow, it secures and locks in both fabrics so that they do not move and her short shirt/dress stays in place.

There are many ways to go about this (My Heinies, granny panties, biker shorts, cheerleading bloomers, underwear that actually fits) but please, ladies, let’s keep things under your dresses secure and covered so you can show off your dancing as your asset.

All Balboa Weekend 2011 Vendors

Get your ABW t-shirts while they're hot!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The presence of vendors seems to be growing at larger Lindy Hop and Balboa events, presenting sellers with a unique opportunity to reach a targeted (and sometimes captive) audience. It can be difficult to fly into an event and not have the time to experience local vintage stores, or order online without trying something on, or maybe your dance shoes choose that weekend to fall apart. When the vendors come to you, the event becomes even more accommodating, convenient, and special.

As far as vendor lineups go, All Balboa Weekend this year has had the most vendors I have seen at any single event. Does this surprise the swing dance community at large, with Balboa dancers having a reputation for dressing up? Probably not. 🙂 There were three shoe vendors (four if you count the vintage store that brought some choice 1940’s pumps), a ton of dresses, hair accessories, bloomers, and a smattering of vintage goodies. Here’s a list of the vendors, in the order in which you would approach them entering the hallway of the event:

The My Heinies shoe spread

MY HEINIES

I’ve been singing Carol Fraser’s praises for months, but she has seriously outdone herself again. I don’t think I’ve seen that many bloomers in one place, with dozens of patterns in the My Heinies signature styles. Carol’s exclusive line of footwear from Worldtone, developed for swing dancers, is even more developed at this point and it was apparent that the styles available at ABW are targeted to be good colors and styles for dancers. I found the new shoes VERY appealing and was pleased to see that some of the focus group shoes had made the final cut. She also carried a number of one-of-a-kind styles – featuring more colors, patterns, and detailing – that were just breathtaking. I also noticed a number of follows sporting fancy hosiery from this vendor, both on the social dance floor and in competitions. Top it all off with one of the lovely hair flowers Carol sells and you’ve got a winner.

Now available in pink and blue!

REMIX VINTAGE SHOES

What can I say? Remix Vintage Shoes makes the most drool-worthy reproduction shoes out there, with dance-friendly heel heights and soft leather galore. There are always a few new models and colors, as well as some shoes that may not be made anymore (i.e. Remix is looking for a new manufacturer for the Balboa t-strap, so if you’ve been on the fence get them NOW because we don’t know when they will be available again!). I had the high honor of having my vintage two-tone oxfords photographed by Philip Heath, the owner of Remix – perhaps there will be a reproduction made and named after Lindy Shopper? *swoon*

Just add Shannon, feathers, and a little sparkle from Vegas 😉

BOMBSHELL BAUBLES

Shannon Sheldon is the mastermind behind both the execution of a flawless 1930’s fashion show and the line of adorable hair flowers known as Bombshell Baubles. Shannon personally tests each flower to make sure that, no matter how much your head shakes, the flower will not fall out. As someone who has abandoned flowers mid-dance because they simply could not stay in place, I salute you! Etsy store coming soon…

Oh, the cuteness!

FLAPPERFLY

Flapperfly makes cute, crafty, and recycled items, such as earrings, hair accessories, fabric bags, charm necklaces, and has some vintage finds worthy of the cuteness of this vendor. I only wish I had seen Flapperfly’s wares out more often at the event, I feel that I am lacking in accurate commentary. Please check out her Etsy site for goodies, especially the sequin sparrow barrette, which is my favorite.

This print caught my eye as particularly vintage looking

LOCO LINDO

Loco Lindo
saw some heavy traffic at ABW, and for good reason – their line of dresses and skirts are flirty and practical, made from an infinite number of crepe prints, both modern and vintage reminiscent. The best parts about this kind of crepe are the nod to vintage crepe fabrics (common in swing era clothing), the comfort and wearability of the fabric, and the washability – no dry cleaning necessary, just throw it in the washer and hang it up to dry. The crepe travels well, being somewhat wrinkle-resistant, which is good news for traveling swing dancers. I would also file these dresses under dance and work-appropriate, so there’s double duty potential. I picked up a lovely gray and white polka dot dress with smocking detail at the shoulders – it is so rare to find dresses with smocking – superb!

A wall of shoe boxes from Dancestore

DANCESTORE

The staple of almost every swing dancer’s wardrobe, Dancestore‘s shoes are always well received at dance events and tend to be the anchor vendor with their vast inventory. I think I spent most of the weekend in their white mesh oxford. They were not at ABW the entire time, so I am afraid I am remiss of additional tidbits relating to the event or new products. I will use this opportunity to reiterate Teni Lopez-Cardenas‘ plea to make the trumpet skirt available in more colors (and sizes) – please! I’ve been waiting for years for the black trumpet skirt to be in stock in my size.

Lisa and her lovelies

FOLLOW FASHIONS

More hair accessory cuteness, this time from Follow Fashions‘ Ohio based designer, Lisa Curry. As you can see from the photo, there are wonderful flowers and feather fascinators, in lots of color options, shapes, and sizes. I am particularly grateful to see the smaller flower options, for short haired follows, for embellishing up-do’s, and perhaps for use as a boutonniere. Special thanks to Follow Fashions for outfitting some of our 1930’s fashion show participants with hair accessories!

The shopping here was so good! I hope Valerie and Heidi (pictured) got something awesome.

FLOWER CHILD

The token actual vintage vendor at ABW was Flower Child, who looked like they had been hoarding swing era goodies for us for a while, as there were some really choice items available for purchase. Things that stuck out in my mind were some great 1940’s cocktail dresses, pumps and wedges, bakelite jewelry at not outrageous prices, vintage sewing notions, a fairly substantial menswear and accessories section, gorgeous hats, and the 6 yards of 1930’s printed cotton the ladies brought for me to look at after I told them about some of my dresses being handmade. These ladies were diligent and stuck it out all weekend, into the wee hours of the nightly dances. Special thanks also goes out to Flower Child for letting the 1930’s fashion show borrow some of their accessories – such lovely things!

And those are the vendors! Stayed tuned for more possible future ABW-related blog posts.

The highlight of my weekend!

My Heinies, Part Deux

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I noticed yesterday that the My Heinies website has officially expanded their line of dancewear to include the shoes, hosiery, and hair flowers I mentioned in my previous post on My Heinies and their creator, New York dancer and instructor Carol Fraser. This certainly calls for another post highlighting these goodies, because now we have pictures. 🙂

Before we get to the goods, I want to point out that Carol does her homework. At week one of the Balboa Experiment, Carol brought in samples of everything and held a focus group to talk about what Balboa dancers look for in a shoe – heel shape, heel height, colors, styles, straps, where the shoe falls on the top of your foot, suede v. hard leather, and everything in between. The shoes now available on the My Heinies website represent the results of this group discussion, most of which Carol had overnighted to the Experiment house so that we could try them on in person, give further feedback, and have the option to purchase. The sample shoes remained at the Experiment house for weeks 2 and 3 to try out as well, and I’m sure she’s solicited feedback from a number of other dancers. Another great thing about using the Experiment as a testing ground was that it gave Carol an international perspective on what dancers would want to wear, not just dancers in the U.S.

Here’s what I love from My Heinies’ new selections of shoes, hosiery, and hair flowers (and don’t forget to check out the bloomers, I think Carol’s ordering a new batch very soon):

I'll start with my favorite shoe, which I helped create during the focus group - Melina in Pure Pewter with a 2 inch heel. 2 inches means comfortable Lindy Hop height for me and being able to Balboa for longer periods of time; pewter color means it goes with everything

This shoe encapsulates the elements that spoke for the majority - solid pair of basic black shoes, t-straps, slightly open toed, slightly lower heel, with pretty detailing - you've seen this shoe before, from Tara Tango, but this model has a 2.5 inch heel instead of 3 inch

Sonrisa in Vanilla Biscotti - this was a really popular shoe with lovely two tone details

Mirage in Fresca Blue - one of the colors that came up was purple and I love this bluish purple - knowing Carol, there is more purple to be had, so stay tuned

Love these nude fishnets with a contrast seam

Sheer hosier with seams, bows and tassels...I am intrigued

Sheer hosiery with seams, bows and tassels - I am intrigued

Petite gardenias

A pair of lovely green orchids

Maidenform Boyshort

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This week has, for one reason or another, been full of undergarment ideas. I’ll start with the tip I got from Micki Schultz, who was sporting a pair of Maidenform boyshorts as bloomers at the TSDS dance on Saturday with Acme Swing Mfg. Co. With just a touch of lace to give a nod to vintage slips or tap pants, they didn’t look out of place under her wonderful vintage 1940’s suit.

These might also be a good option if you’d like some additional help with smoothing things out under your dress. According to the Maidenform website, these boyshorts

– Provide everyday control
– Smoothe and shape your body
– Eliminate bulges
– Looks great layered with ready to wear (not sure what this means, but OK)
– Can be worn under all types of outfits
– Soft and silky against the skin
– Lace adds femininity (indeed)

They come in the basic wardrobe colors of black and nude. Also of note, the waistband is high enough to smooth over your muffin top and the bottom is full coverage to keep everything snug.

Field Trip: Dolly’s Vintage, Durham, NC

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This is less of a field trip and more of a weekly lunch break ritual, usually on Fridays, to a destination two blocks from my office in downtown Durham, North Carolina – to Dolly’s Vintage, a confectionery of a vintage store that is more like a trip to Candy Land than a trip back in time. And, like the board game, Dolly’s is timeless, adorable, and nostalgic at the same time.

You can’t help but smile when you walk by the store, with its vintage bathtub flower bed and cheerful wooden sign welcoming you in. In fact, much of Dolly’s business is foot traffic now that the store has moved from a small space in Brightleaf Square to its expansive new location on Main Street. The store is like a magnet, drawing both men and women into its cheerful interior, with owner Jennifer Donner ready to welcome everyone with a smile and delightful conversation.

What’s inside Dolly’s Vintage? An array of vintage clothing and accessories, mostly ranging from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. The men’s section has a great selection of ties, sport coats, dress and casual button up shirts, tees, and some miscellaneous accessories, like tie clips and cufflinks. The women’s section is a rainbow of awesome dresses, slips, aprons, bathing suits, rompers, skirts, and tops – no losers here, even the 70’s stuff is adorable. A vintage dress will set you back $20-30, which makes it easy to feed the addiction. 😉

Dolly’s carries custom items, like crinolines and ruffled bloomers that Jennifer orders especially for the store, as well as adorable gift items (Hello Kitty, Pucca, Demeter fragrances, and a ton of cool stuff you’ll want to take home with you) and a candy table worthy of Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Jennifer also works with local tailors and seamstresses to mend and repurpose vintage items with flaws to sell in the store.

Location:

905 West Main St # 20G
Durham, NC 27701

(919) 682-1471 ‎

Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Take a look inside!

The view from the front door - ahhh...

Looking up at the wheel-o-crinolines suspended from the ceiling

The glorious purple velvet couch, with the women's section in the background

Massive tie rack

I've mentioned 70's does 30's before and here is a good example - yes, the fabric is synthetic, but it's gauzy enough to look like a chiffon, and the shawl collar is so 30's

This one came home with me 🙂

I died a little when this dress with an adorable purple bird print and purple trim wouldn't zip up my rib cage

A closeup of the bird print

A rack of vintage slips...love

Live your Pretty in Pink fantasy with these 1950's prom dresses

Sportcoats!

Ruffled bloomers

Get your costume wigs here!

Nibble on some candy while you shop

My Heinies

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The Carla

If you are wearing a dress at a dance, chances are, at some point in the evening, your hoo-ha will be in someone’s line of sight, be it upside down in an aerial or while being dipped by your dance partner. With modern hemlines sky high, the need for coverage is even more pressing. But where to get good coverage? Or better yet, where to get pretty coverage?

Enter My Heinies, “the original ‘pretty’ dance pant.” My Heinies is the brainchild of Carol Fraser, a dancer and choreographer from New York, has been dancing for her entire life and was inspired by her experience sitting on the floor at All Balboa Weekend and looking at the competitors, who had nothing necessarily pretty going on under their skirts during competitions. Necessity is the mother of invention and Carol took it upon herself to create this line of dance and athletic-specific bloomers that were made to go under clothing and provide the type of coverage we are looking for, but with a bit of flair for color and pattern.

The Shannon

From the website: “My Heinies addresses many concerns of dancers and athletes in all genres. All pants have the triangular crotch design which reduces the inner thigh from riding up and also eliminates “the front wedgie.” Additionally, all short inseam pants are 1 inch lower in the back to maintain maximum cheek coverage. There is no elastic on the low and mid rise pants thus eliminating bulges and allowing for more movement. And the high waisted pant offers a new option to current lingerie style trends.

In addition to new technology, My Heinies brings to the market modern prints and patterns in many styles as well as materials that perform. It allows dancers of all genres – contemporary, modern, jazz, tap, salsa, swing, ballroom, tango – as well as all athletes in yoga, running, gymnastics or cheer to add a little “pretty” to their attire.”

The Caroline

My Heinies is currently offering 9 styles of dance pants, with variations on waist height and length. The critical detail here with the shortest leg length is that the backside is lower, so when you kick or lift your leg, the dance pant will not ride up, leaving you with a bit of cheek hanging out (Carol noted that the guys will probably hate her for this 😉 ). With the highest waist model, any dress that does not have a defined waist/belt can have a smoother appearance, rather than seeing the waistband of the bloomers through the fabric of the dress. Taking that even further, you could incorporate the high waist into the layers of your outfit – spokes-model Carla Heiney wore the high waisted model with a regular skirt and tucked her shirt into the My Heinies dance pants, offering a new and interesting way to display her Heinies while keeping her shirt securely tucked in.

Carol also noted that the fabric stretches 4 ways, while most stretch fabrics only stretch 2 ways – the 4 way stretch allows for maximum movement and prevents the fabric from riding up. The fabric is very smooth and can function similarly to a slip, in the sense that the smoothness prevents the bunching of your dress fabric against the fabric of your undergarments and also creates a smoother line under your clothing.

The Lisa

To clarify, these are not Spanx. I detest Spanx and any other sort of nouveau-girdle. These are athletic/dance pants to wear under your clothing for comfort, modesty, style, and athleticism. We are athletes and it’s time for a product to withstand our intensity while looking immensely put-together!

In addition to bloomers, My Heinies will be selling some really hot/sexy/fancy hosiery by Leg Avenue – fishnets, seams, patterns, faux garters, bows, FANCY. When your skirt flies up, there will be plenty of pretty to see!

As if things couldn’t get prettier, Hy Heinies will also be selling lovely hair flowers, of the traditional silk kind as well as real orchids from Thailand that are dipped in resin to preserve them. You can have a real, one of a kind hair flower in your hair that’s frozen in time. Brilliant!

Carol is currently in talks with Arika Nerguiz, maker of some of the most divine tango shoes on the planet, to make shoes for the swing dance community. I am very excited about this development, as I have been drooling over Arika Nerguiz shoes for years.

You can order My Heinies online now or potentially at an event near you – My Heinies will be making appearances at All Balboa Weekend, Montreal Balboa Review, Camp Hollywood, and ILHC.

I am at the Balboa Experiment with Carol this week (we are roomies) and her excitement about the possibilities for this company is infectious. I love to see one of our own creating a new business that enhances our community and is driven by someone who knows dance, dance clothing construction, and our own unique sub-culture so well. She is diligently working to make sure these products live up to their intended function.

I look forward to seeing you and your Heinies on the dance floor!

The Sylvia

The Laura

The Courtney

The Sherry

The Linda

Dance Undergarments

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

After a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of finals at Twin Cities Balboa Festival, the undergarments Lindy Shopper wears dancing have taken on new importance; thus, a post was necessary. These are some of the least talked about clothing items, probably because we don’t normally see the undergarments and generally people compliment or comment on what they see. I like to pick out undergarments with a specific function in mind, but I find myself constantly seeking better function for dancing. I would love to hear what works and what doesn’t work for you and invite commentary on this blog, as I am still seeking the perfect bra and pair of underwear for dancing. Gents, feel free to chime in on your choices as well…I can only imagine.

A swing dancer’s underwear should stay put, provide full coverage for your bum, and generally not inhibit dancing. I see a lot of women with biker shorts under their skirts, which provide maximum coverage of bum and upper leg. I do not subscribe to the wearing of biker shorts, so I can’t comment on what products may work best for this, but I would caution against getting something that may be too tight or too supportive, for fear that the shorts will cause a ripple effect (which I have witnessed on the dance floor).

Another full coverage option is to wear a slip, which I discussed at length in an earlier blog post.

I sometimes wear cheerleading bloomers, which are made for jumping around, tumbling, and dancing, so the function translated well from sport to dance. I’m a big fan of Varsity’s products and their bloomers are comfortable, immovable, and indestructible (I’ve had mine since the 7th grade). They also come in a lot of fun colors, but be careful if you order white, because the only underwear color that won’t show through is tan/nude.

My newest favorite option, as of late, is a thicker cotton, wedgie-resistant version of the granny panty – full coverage underwear almost up to your navel. I got this idea after looking at the shape of bloomers, which are essentially the same as granny panties, only with bloomers you have two layers – your regular, less coverage undies and the bloomers. I thought, why not eliminate the middle man? Unless I’m doing aerials, I don’t necessarily need the iron-clad security of bloomers. Granny panties provide the same amount of coverage as bloomers without having an extra layer of polyester fabric; thus, they are more breathable and comfortable.

The search was on and I stumbled upon Hanes’ Low Rise Modern Brief with Comfort Waistband , with a “No Ride Up” money back comfort guarantee, in my local Target. While labeled as low rise, they looked pretty high rise to me. When I got them home and held them up they looked intimidatingly large. I had to laugh at myself when I first put them on to wear to a dance because they were so different from the norm. They were big, but they were also very comfy. I didn’t even notice them during the dance and I think that’s the point – it’s good to wear something you don’t have to worry about under your dress.

I am at a loss for what to recommend for a bra. Dancers need the support of a really durable sports bra, but often wear clothes that don’t work with the kind of full coverage that a sports bra provides. I am left looking for a bra that can still be worn with a V-neck dress that can keep the girls locked and loaded.

My malfunction at TCBF incited discussion about other malfunctions and both Sylvia Sykes and Nick Williams agreed that, for the guys, it’s always a good idea to match your underwear to your pants color. Your pants may still fit and not be too tight, but still rip at the seams if a particular dance move puts too much strain on the pants. If your underwear matches your pants, people may not even notice the rip, even if it’s a rather large rip.