Tag Archives: blouse

What’s Old Is New: Keep Punching

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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There is a lot of documented history about the creation and performance of The Big Apple line dance in the 1939 film “Keep Punching” – if you don’t know this story already, take a gander at Wikipedia, The Lindy Circle, and Savoy Style.  It’s the story of a dance within a dance craze!  I love this clip for its energy, the individual style (dancing and clothing) of each of the dancers, and also because they keep it simple and functional – this clothing is obviously their own normal street clothing, with the exception of the coordinating Whitey’s Savoy Lindy Hoppers tee shirts.  I imagine this is a snapshot into what they might wear on any given night of the week out at a dance (compare to the more fancy street clothing/costumes in Hot Chocolate (Cottontail) or the outright dance costumes in The Harlem Congaroos clip).  There is an array of interesting clothing in this clip – from the dancers to the more fancy daywear/cocktail attire of the actors/extras to the orchestra in tails.

 

There are so many pieces of clothing worn by the dancers in this clip that are accessible today, so let’s dig in:

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First, those custom Whitey’s Savoy Lindy Hoppers tee shirts – we don’t have the light background with the darker graphics, but Chloe Hong has reproduced this graphic on dark blue and dark red tees that you can order from her website.  Since none of us hold a candle to the original Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, we can view these shirts as aspirational/inspirational, a tribute to these original dancers and innovators.  I love that some of the tee shirts in the clip are worn as-is and others are worn over another shirt, as layers.  This makes me think of the ever present battle of sweat management – if that tee shirt has to last through a day of many film takes under hot lights, you might need that base layer to keep things fresh on the outside.

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SJC spearpoint in check

Since men’s reproduction knitwear is still a bit of an outlier, your best collared “undershirt” solution to get the look from the video is to pick up one of Simon James Cathcart’s short sleeved polos with that distinctive spearpoint collar – they are also made of wicking bamboo fabric, so extra helpful with sweat management.  Available in nine colors and I wouldn’t be surprised if SJC was going to release some more in the future.  Even though the men in this clip are wearing the spearpoint collars, these polos are also great for women, I have a few and I love them.

A few of the women in this clip looks like they may be wearing either some sort of collared or uncollared blouse underneath their tee shirt or they may be wearing a scarf tied loosely around their neck and tucked in a bit at the tee shirt collar.  The House of Foxy’s 1940’s shirt in crepe would give a similar effect to the pointed collar blouses in the clip, with just the top points peeking out and the crepe being flexible enough to work around the tee shirt collar and lay right.  One of the women is wearing a belt with her flared skirt and it looks awesome, but the video quality is such that I can’t tell if the belt is leather, fabric, or some other material.

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Heyday’s A-line skirt

While there is one woman in a flared skirt (and I say that relatively, as we’re not talking Dior “new look” volume, just a bit more twirl than the other women), rest of the women in this clip are in A-line skirts, something with a more streamlined profile, but with enough radius at the hemline to allow for kicks and movement.  This skirt silhouette and just-below-the-knee hemline shows the fashion transition to the 1940’s silhouette, when you contrast with the calf-length skirts from the film A Day at the Races that came out just two years before Keep Punching.

UK brand Heyday has a nice A-line skirt, available in several prints and solid colors, I love the quality, wearability, and washability of their pieces.   If you are going for the more full skirt, it looks like the House of Foxy’s Whirlaway Skirt fits the bill of being not to full, not too A-line, but just right in terms of fullness for the purposes of this clip.   It’s also available in 7 colors and ditto on the quality coming out of this UK brand.  Would wear both of these skirts for dancing and for work and for anything, really.

Men’s bottoms look like your standard fare for trousers, tucked in shirt or not tucked in – I mean, whatever’s comfortable for you after umpteen takes, right?  If you are looking for something high waisted, I can’t say enough good things about SJC’s 1930’s chinos, which can handle belt or braces.  Or just go and buy whatever lightweight, breathable trousers you can find and wear that shirt untucked!  The exact right pants are usually hard to find, but for this look it’s not an absolute essential, the devil is in the other details.  For the tucked-in crowd, note the dancer with the skinny belt – how skinny is up to you and your pants loops.  Google was an absolute failure at looking for skinny belts (“no, Google, I mean REALLY skinny, 1.5 inches wide isn’t skinny!”), so dive deeper into your internet searches and/or go to the women’s section of a department store to buy one because nobody cares where it comes from.

The footwear is all over the map.  I see white Keds-like sneakers with dark socks (that may color-coordinate with the collared shirt under the tee shirt) and in other colors (Gray? Black? Oh, wait, we’re not in Technicolor), or maybe even a shoe with a  more substantial sole closer to Vans’ classic shoe (or their newly engineered more flexible/lightweight version).

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OHAI PRETTY SHUEZ

I see a couple of pairs of saddle shoes thrown in the mix and, though most modern associations are with the 1950’s, the saddle shoe’s popularity boomed in the decades prior to the 1950’s, as well.  Most saddle shoes I see today have a crepe sole, which isn’t my favorite for dancing, but Re-mix carries them with a leather sole.  I’d consider giving this Restricted pair from ModCloth a whirl because they have leather interiors (for my sensitive feet), what appears to be a flat synthetic sole, and because the blue/brown color combo is awesome.   Then I go and find this yellow and white Chelsea Crew pair…I need to stop while I’m ahead.

One of the dancers wears a pair of low heeled sandals with an ankle strap, akin to Saint Savoy’s Eden shoe or Chelsea Crew’s Nadia sandal – she’s also sporting them with some ankle socks, which may be part fashion-forward, part blister/sweat management.

Finally, one dancer has some classic leather oxfords on, which previous discussions on my blog have covered everything from buying them used at thrift stores to getting your first pair of Aris Allens to splurging for a pair of Allen Edmonds (or finding them used on eBay).

To recap: classic dance shoes of your choosing, socks, comfy pants/skirt, signature tee shirt, optional undershirt/collar/scarf action.  One might say this is not too far from what we are wearing on the dance floor today.  Now, time to go practice the second half of the Big Apple that I never seem to remember….

 

 

 

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What’s Old is New: Hot Chocolate (Cottontail)

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Duke Ellington and his Orchestra in the soundie “Hot Chocolate (Cottontail)”

A lot of black Lindy Hoppers are speaking right now and a lot of us are listening, but I know a lot of us also want to take action to help.  I have been looking for more ways to be an ally and to use my voice to help make our community more inclusive to black dancers.  Lindy Shopper is my most public voice, but this is a fashion blog – I wasn’t sure how I could help writing about clothing and shoes.

Then I saw a Facebook post made by dancer Angel Sheniev Cadenza, which detailed ways in which racial isolation is present in the dance scene, and one of those was was the following:  “Racial isolation in the dance scene to me…It is planning to attend a vintage-themed dance event and having almost no black reference points to create your look because all the vintage themed resources are created by and for whites, and black people are almost non-existent in historical media.”

I spend a good amount of time poring over photographs and videos from the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s studying the subjects’ clothing and I knew that there were a lot of black reference materials (a good place to start is the Vintage Black Glamour Facebook page, which you should all be following because it’s fabulously curated with lots of historical information), but I can do better and share this information here.  I realize newer dancers may not know all the vintage clips of the swing era, so let’s explore that.  The focus of this blog is source material, where to purchase clothing and shoes, so I’ll try to tie that in, as well – we should be inspired AND know where to get the look.

Back in 2010, I started a series called “What’s Old is New” and I realized that I never actually made this into a series, so I’m going to pick this up and continue it (after posting it in Angel’s thread as a possibility of how I could contribute to this discussion and received positive feedback)…so here we go.  If this is a misstep, then I apologize and I will stop and continue listening.

The first and only post in my What’s Old is New series was about the clothing in the Marx Brothers’ film “A Day at the Races,” which features Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers and I found sources for some modern day inspirations/approximations of the garments worn by the women dancers in the film.  I still love their outfits, the quintessential mid-calf 1930’s skirts in bias cut plaid are just awesome.

Let’s take a look at another classic clip featuring Whitey’s Lindy Hopper’s, a 1941 soundie called “Hot Chocolate (Cottontail),” featuring Duke Ellington and his Orchestra playing Cottontail.  The dancers are wearing clothing that is not quite costume, not quite street clothing, somewhere fun and in the middle.

The pinafore/jumpers on the women are just adorable and I am dying over the huge sleeves on their blouses.  The men have a bit more variance in their dress, ranging from overalls to jackets with maybe the largest collar I’ve ever seen on a shirt.  Finding exact replicas of these garments would be hard, you’d likely have to get a copy made, but we’ll find some pieces that capture some of the fun of these garments.

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Sleeves for days!

For the blouses, my first instinct was to go to the House of Foxy website and they deliver – their Elsie blouse has those amazing sleeves (available in mustard, black, and white).  They also have a great Peter Pan collar blouse available in ivory, ivory gingham, black gingham, and a black/gray/red floral print – I know I have missed seeing these available outside of thrift/vintage shops and I’m glad House of Foxy is offering some twists on the basic (or not so basic) blouse so we can find some reproductions we may not feel as hesitant to dance in.  I own the Peter Pan collar shirt and some other pieces from this company and the quality is stellar, would purchase again.

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The sweater with the Peter Pan collar, even!  Completes the styling.

Modcloth has a couple of great jumper options (including the red “Overall Winner” jumper that is pictured, also available in black) and the skirt length is pretty close to the clip, a bit shorter than knee length to facilitate movement.  I’m also a fan of the green velvet “Cupcake Consultant” jumper (it’s like they know me), but I’m sure no one is surprised there.  There’s another black jumper with a front panel, which I am noting because I prefer a front panel with my personal shape.

I didn’t see but one vintage 40’s jumper that caught my eye on Etsy (but it’s awesome – black velvet with pockets on the front!), but they tend to pop up somewhat often, as these jumpers and pinafore dresses were fairly common – the thing you won’t find is the shorter skirt length, but then you can decide what length you want and what look is more your style.

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70’s does big collars like nobody’s business

Men, I don’t even know where to begin with that giant collar, it’s amazing and a sight bigger than any 40’s, any 70’s, anything I’ve ever seen.  Since a trend in the 70’s was 30’s style and the collars were of superior width and breadth in that decade, I went looking in vintage because I honestly don’t know of any modern retailer carrying an approximation of this.  Even Simon James Cathcart’s polos aren’t cut that big, but if you wanted a nod to that big collar, this would be a reasonable place to start.  The 40’s shirts were a bust, but there were some promising 70’s options on Etsy – like this Art Deco print or this yellow long sleeved shirt.  There were more great printed shirts on Etsy with wide collars so take a gander!

As for the overalls…I’ve got nothing.  Sometimes garments are so special that they can’t be found and/or have to be made.

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Eat your heart out, Burberry

I went looking for the light car coat in the video and the first hits were Burberry and Prada, so I retreated to Etsy and found one from the 60’s that fit the bill.  That they were doing aerials in a coat is pretty awesome, but you’ll probably save yours for before and after the dance.

There are other pieces I wish I could find!  In particular that two tone paneled skirt, what a great piece to have in your closet.

Feel free to chime in with other pieces you have found that look inspired by this clip in the comments!  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but a starting point for ideas and sources.

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Simplicity Reissues Rosie the Riveter Pattern

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It is no secret that workwear has been a trend in the vintage community for the past several years and this has started to translate into some more casual reproduction clothing being made and available for dancers who may not want to roll up into a dance in a 1930’s suit or a 1940’s rayon dress every week.  For women, many of these workwear reproductions translate into WWII era throwbacks, when women joined the workforce in many sectors of employment, including factory workers who would need to wear something more practical than the aforementioned rayon dress.  Vintage style workwear is very easy to integrate into your wardrobe, whether you wear vintage style every day or want a few easy pieces to mix in with your regular daywear.

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Simplicity patterns has been periodically trickling out reissues of popular patterns from the past, with reformatted instructions for more ease in sewing, for the past decade, or so.  I remember picking up a couple of dress patterns for my mom to make for me a little over 10 years ago, since her sewing skills are so much better than mine, and was very pleased with the results.  But the vintage reissues are still a very small part of their offerings, so I hadn’t checked in in a while to see what they were up to.

Yesterday, I see in my Facebook feed that Simplicity has caught wind of the workwear trend and reissued their pattern for 1940’s overalls, trousers, and blouses, a practical package deal for anyone, then and now.  Each piece has such lovely details, showing us that practical doesn’t have to mean boring.  The overalls come up over the bust with some shape so that they define the waistline a bit more than your standard pair of overalls.  The trousers are so classic, make them out of just about any fabric for any occasion, and that hooded blouse is just…I’m dying.   The best of all possible basics in one envelope.  My only complaint is that there isn’t an optional short sleeve for the blouse, but that may not bother you if you are a veteran sewer – if I were actually to make this, I would be lazy and not want to have to figure that out, LOL.3322_1024x1024

But wait!  This pattern is already on backorder.  I’m a little surprised, but then not surprised because this is such a great pattern to own.

If you need this pattern in your life right now, never fear – EvaDress Patterns has already been selling a reissue of this pattern (with the original pattern number), picking up the slack from Simplicity being behind the curve on this trend.  It even has the short sleeve options, further picking up the slack from Simplicity. 😉

New Vintage Lady Kickstarter with Rewards for Both Sewers and the Not-So-Thread-Inclined

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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This green 30’s dress…it’s like she channeled my thoughts on the perfect day dress.

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.

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I LOVE a sailor collar.

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!

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There are separates, too!

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Yes to all of this!

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There’s even workwear!

Jitterbuggin’ Derby Day Blouse

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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‘Tis the season for horse racing and large hats and the Lindy Hop community will always be tied to “the races” by way of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers’ appearance in the Marx Brothers’ film. What better way to celebrate than by picking up a very limited edition horse race print blouse, courtesy of Jitterbuggin’? The stylized horses and be-hatted spectators on this reproduction blouse are just perfect for a dance or your local Derby festivities. And when I say limited run, I mean she only made three of them and one of them has already sold! (Kim, please make more! <3)

A close-up of the print.

Laura Bakker’s Catalogue of Fashion for Men and Women

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Felt appliques make this blouse awesome!

Felt appliques make this blouse awesome!

I happened upon Laura Bakker’s Catalogue of Fashion website in one of those lists – THOSE lists, that purport to have links to all the repro goodness, but ultimately and eventually the links stop working as websites go out of business (which is why I won’t maintain one of THOSE lists on this website). HOWEVER, every now and again you find a true gem, still in business, with fantastic garments.

With a degree from the Art School of Maastricht in her pocket and a love of movie costumes from the 1930’s through the early 1950’s, Laura got to work making her line of unique and individualized fashions. From the website: “Everything is made by only me, the patterns, the clothes and all the applications. Every item is made only once, my little personal war against all the big productions 😉 I wish to offer all the ladies & gentlemen something special.”

The menswear offerings include great shirt and trouser basics that look comfortable for dancing. The women’s clothing is all about the details and you can see on each piece how it is unique and how Laura has left her own mark on each piece, with buttons, trim, contrasting fabrics, inset panels, and even hand-painted details.

Here are some of my favorites from the website:

These 1950's cut high waisted trousers look great for spring and summer.

These 1950’s cut high waisted trousers look great for spring and summer.

"In the Navy" playsuit YESSSSSSSSS

“In the Navy” playsuit YESSSSSSSSS

Blue rayon short sleeved shirt, check out that collar!

Blue rayon short sleeved shirt, check out that collar!

Margie dress - I love the placement of the trim, to draw the eye up toward the neckline and also emphasizing the waist, moving toward the hips.

Margie dress – I love the placement of the trim, to draw the eye up toward the neckline and also emphasizing the waist, moving toward the hips.

High waisted pants in gray-green.

High waisted pants in gray-green.

Green AND a keyhole neckline!

Green AND a keyhole neckline!

My grandmother had a dress with this hip detail in the late 1940's - love!

My grandmother had a dress with this hip detail in the late 1940’s – love!

Hand painted panther blouse, for lovers of cats great and small ;)

Hand painted panther blouse, for lovers of cats great and small 😉

1940's sports jacket

1940’s sports jacket

La Vie en Swing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This could be yours!  Just add a belt. :)

This could be yours! Just add a belt. 🙂

If you’ve been following the adventures of Agent Carter, you’ll know that she has an impeccable 1940’s wardrobe that is ready for action and adventure – a particular purple dress caught the eye of Balboa dancer and instructor Nelle Cherry and, in her diligence and internet mastery, located a close approximation of said dress at La Vie en Swing. Classic 40’s shape, flattering waist, keyhole neckline, swing skirt, the Berlin dress is all the things I love in a dress and would love to wear on the dance floor. While I’m sure that this purple dress similarity a purely wonderful coincidence, it led me down the rabbit hole to exploring the La Vie En Swing clothing line.

The Berlin dress can also be made with a more full, swishy skirt, more suited for dancing - inquire within!

The Berlin dress can also be made with a more full, swishy skirt, more suited for dancing – inquire within!

La Vie en Swing offers a wonderful 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s reproduction clothing line, with an obvious bent toward swing dancers, with pieces that offer ease of movement and a swish of the skirt. From the website: “Our patterns are accurate in order to enhance and flatter the femenine silhouette. Some of the designs come from original vintage sewing patterns and some other designs are our own creations inspired in the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s, precious years of the Swing Era.”

I am loving the color palette – pinks, purples, mint, cream, and a pop of orange or red. One of my big complaints with vintage 1940’s clothing is the overall lack of color (I find lots of black, brown, navy) and I think La Vie en Swing has embraced a cheerful color palette (bring on the spring!) without resorting to colors that look out of character or like a caricature of the era. The pieces are carefully selected, with lovely details – a little bow detail on the skirt, keyhole necklines (love, love, love!), high waisted sailor trousers, pockets on dresses, and an adorable take on the shirtwaist dress.

Right now the clothing line is limited to womenswear, but I see that menswear is coming soon!

Here are some of my favorites from the La Vie en Swing clothing line:

I really like the proportions of this shirtwaist - Mia light blue tea Dress, also available in pink, yellow, and two prints.

I really like the proportions of this shirtwaist – light blue Tea Dress

Another sassy keyhole dress, the Amy dress, inspired by a 1950's pattern, also available in soft yellow.

Another sassy keyhole dress, the Amy dress, inspired by a 1950’s pattern, also available in soft yellow.

The Berlin blouse, the white blouse to go with everything, with MORE KEYHOLE and lovely Art Deco seaming at the neck.  *swoon!*  Also available in a bright orange/coral color.

The Berlin blouse, the white blouse to go with everything, with MORE KEYHOLE and lovely Art Deco seaming at the neck. *swoon!* Also available in a bright orange/coral color.

The Lindy skirt, also available in red and black - the drape looks so nice, I'd love to see this in person!

The Lindy skirt, also available in red and black – the drape looks so nice, I’d love to see this in person!

This candy stripe blouse looks good enough to eat - Willa blouse, also available in a blue/brown stripe.

This candy stripe blouse looks good enough to eat – Willa blouse, also available in a blue/brown stripe.

High waisted sailor pants in denim!  Also available in black.  Love the pairing with the coral blouse!

High waisted sailor pants in denim! Also available in black. Love the pairing with the coral Berlin blouse!

Wearing History Review: Smooth Sailing Trouser and Norma Jean Blouse

This is what 5:00 a.m. at RDU looks like.

This is what 5:00 a.m. at RDU looks like.

I see that Wearing History will be one of the vendors at Cal Bal (the California Balboa Classic) and thought this would be a good time to review the clothing I received from Wearing History as a result of backing their Kickstarter in August. It’s been fascinating following the manufacturing process after funding, with owner/designer Lauren Maringola giving frequent updates on the status of the fabric, printing, and the manufacturing timeline for each garment, among other details about working hands-on producing her made-in-the-USA line of 40’s-inspired clothing.

I backed Wearing History at the level where I would receive a pair of the Smooth Sailing trousers in denim (yes, I bought pants! Also available in plus sizes.) and the Norma Jean blouse in a must-own-or-perish musical note print. The package arrived in the mail and was waiting for me when I got home from the holidays and Lindy Focus. It was my intent to wear the outfit dancing, but the Lindy Focus plague (née the flu) and my cat getting sick prevented me from attending any local dance nights between then and now – but I wanted to make sure my Cal Bal ladies and all of you could know about this great line of clothing!

So instead of dancing, I decided to put my Wearing History outfit though another intense experience – a whirlwind trip to Hot Rhythm Holiday in Austin, Texas, where my band, the Mint Julep Jazz Band, would fly in, perform, and fly out in a period of 32 hours. 4 airports, 4 flights, shuttles, carrying baggage/equipment, eating my weight in Tex Mex food, and touring a bit of Austin before playing the Fed that night.

A close-up of this adorable print!

A close-up of this adorable print!

Just in case the glockenspiel case and traveling with 6 dudes carrying odd-shaped instrument cases wasn’t enough, the eighth-noted Norma Jean blouse would let everyone know that I was a musician and this was a band flying to a gig (and I was so excited, I’m sure I annoyed the crap out of everyone nearby). The blouse was actually a great travel piece and I imagine, for similar reasons, would be for dancing – it stayed tucked in with the darted waistline and high waisted trouser combo, the arm holes and slight dolman sleeve allowed for a wide range of movement, the tencel fabric was soft and durable, and the blouse could be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.

Trousers and blouse dressed up a bit more

Trousers and blouse dressed up a bit more

The Smooth Sailing trousers got the double travel treatment – I only wore the blouse on the first day, but wore the trousers for both traveling days. The weight of the denim is just perfect – not too thick, not too thin, and soft without losing its denim qualities. The cut is flattering, and I love the way a high waisted trouser makes your bum look. After two days on airplanes and sleeping on planes and in the airport, the trousers managed to retain their shape really well, with no stretch bubbles at the knee, and the only noticeable change was perhaps a little loosening at the waist, which may have been a casualty of my Tex Mex food baby. Two days in these pants and they performed like champs. I even slept in them when I got home – after a 23 hour day and 3 hours of sleep (with intermittent airport/plane sleeping) there was really no need to get into pajamas when the trousers were just as comfortable.

And there you have it – Cal Bal ladies, do go by the Wearing History booth and check out this wonderful new collection of clothing and remember that Wearing History is just getting started! Everyone else, please visit the Wearing History website, where you can order these lovely garments, plus some other adorable garments from Wearing History’s first clothing line. I can’t wait to see what else Wearing History has up its sleeve and would back another Kickstarter in a second. Quality goods with great style!

Collectif Clothing – 40’s and 50’s Inspired Clothing from the UK

Keyhole cable knit with a bow?  YESPLS

Keyhole cable knit with a bow? YESPLS

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I have been on the hunt for knitwear to pair with my Chloe Hong trumpet skirts to transition them into winter and fall. My conclusion is that most of the great knitwear I am finding is coming from the UK, so let’s start with one of my new favorite knitwear sources, Collectif Clothing. What’s this all about? From the website: “Established in the year 2000, Collectif is an independent 1940s and 1950s inspired vintage reproduction brand based in London. We create garments and accessories that are inspired by genuine vintage patterns, knitting patterns, and fabrics from our extensive archive.”

Of course there’s much more than knitwear here, and I’ve seen a few pieces pop up on other vintage/retro retail websites, like ModCloth and Miss L Fire (US shipping!). From blouses to knitwear to gowns to overalls, I love the variety available here – there’s lots of really good everyday basics to work into your wardrobe, casual or dressy, and you could put together an entire ensemble here or just pick up a few special pieces. Also, plaid…keep it coming, I can never get enough!

Here are some of my favorites from Collectif Clothing:

Perhaps the perfect holiday dress?

Perhaps the perfect holiday dress?

GEEZ, THIS COAT

GEEZ, THIS COAT

A lovely full "swing" skirt in red

A lovely full “swing” skirt in red

Where was this ivory blouse when I needed it years ago?

Where was this ivory blouse when I needed it years ago?

Flirty + sailor

Flirty + sailor

My mostest favorite!  This wonderful green Fair Isle sweater. :)

My mostest favorite! This wonderful green Fair Isle sweater. 🙂

40’s and 50’s Blouses

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

50's novelty print blouse

50’s novelty print blouse

In my recent quest for just work-wear in general (but also/always work/dance clothing) I came up pretty empty handed this fall in the blouse department. What will I tuck in to my trumpet skirts and high waisted trousers? Up until now, I haven’t had much difficulty finding vintage-inspired, ladylike, professional tops to go with suits and work-wear at the mall, but this year was a total bust or was just more of what I already had in my closet.

Am I becoming one of those people who feels the need to wear vintage every day? Maybe. At this point, only out of necessity so that I don’t look like a sack or a lawyer in pajamas.

My solution to this problem has become vintage blouses – I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, probably because I prefer to wear dresses for dancing and don’t seek out blouses, but there’s a great selection of vintage blouses on Etsy and I was able to find several in brick and mortar stores (with a specifically great haul from Amalgamated Classic Clothing and Dry Goods). Price-wise, they are comparable to or less than what I would pay for a nice work blouse at a mall retailer.

Most of the ones I found that I loved were from the 1940’s or 1950’s. I really like the ones that have darts in the torso so that the fit is flattering – emphasis on flat, and not “blousy” (pun intended), which also appears to help the shirt stay tucked in, so long as you are wearing skirts and pants that sit at your natural waist, i.e. the narrowest point on your torso.

Here are some lovelies for the office or the dance floor, courtesy of Etsy:

40's blouse with pocket detail and contrast Peter Pan collar

40’s blouse with pocket detail and contrast Peter Pan collar

40's blouse with cutwork lace

40’s blouse with cutwork lace

Neck detail on 40's blouse

Neck detail on 40’s blouse

Sweet collar on this 1950's blouse

Sweet collar on this 1950’s blouse

Double collar with lovely detail on this 40's blouse

Double collar with lovely detail on this 40’s blouse

1940’s Dress with Detachable Skirt

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I couldn’t resist posting this 1940’s dress with detachable skirt because I think it’s such a clever design. It seems that any time buttons are involved the cuteness is magnified, and when you make a skirt detachable it appears to require a lot of buttons. The dots with the solid fabric is a great combo, and I love the contrast collar on the shirt as well as the inset panels on the skirt. Wear with skirt attached or pair with pants for a cute cropped top…maybe without skirt for prelims, with skirt for finals? That’s smart packing, too. 🙂

What’s Old is New: Groovie Movie

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

GroovieMovieCast

I’ve been meaning to seek out the items for this post for a couple of years and Memorial Day seems like a good time to share – following my last What’s Old is New featuring outfits from A Day at the Races, I’d like to look at some of the costuming choices in Groovie Movie and note where you may find similar items in modern times to hone your 1940’s-inspired dance pieces. As this was a film made during World War II and the film features some the male dancers at the end wearing military uniforms, this appears to an excellent film to highlight, in the spirit of Memorial Day. Jitterbugs, veterans, and those who served our nation with honor – we salute you!

I’m going to focus on some of the followers’ outfits at the end of the film because some of the earlier outfits were more…to prove a point or to further the narrative. 🙂 For military garb, that’s a bit of a can of worms. Visit your local army/navy surplus for inspiration, talk to your grandpa, or delve into the potentially very expensive (and very specific) hobby of collecting vintage uniforms.

Onward, ladies!

Jitterbuggin has a great jumper/pinafore that's similar to the one Irene Thomas is wearing in the clip.

Jitterbuggin has a great jumper/pinafore that’s similar to the one Irene Thomas is wearing in the clip.

A jumper similar to the one worn by Kay Vaughn (Smith) in the clip, courtesy of Time Machine Vintage on Etsy - adorbs!

A jumper similar to the one worn by Kay Vaughn (Smith) in the clip, courtesy of Time Machine Vintage on Etsy – adorbs!

Jitterbuggin has Irene's number - this blouse style is so close.  The cat print is great, but you could probably convince Kim to make you a white one to complete your Groovie Movie look. :)

Jitterbuggin has Irene’s number – this blouse style is so close. The cat print is great, but you could probably convince Kim to make you a white one to complete your Groovie Movie look. 🙂

And it looks like Time Machine Vintage has Kay's number - Kay's shirt is a little harder to discern, but it looks like a button-down with some sort of tie at the neck.  Request in white sans lace for your Groovie Movie homage.

And it looks like Time Machine Vintage has Kay’s number – Kay’s shirt is a little harder to discern, but it looks like a button-down with some sort of tie at the neck. Request in white sans lace for your Groovie Movie homage.

This bow looks like it's about the right size. :)  Courtesy of Whispy Love on Etsy.

This bow looks like it’s about the right size. 🙂 Courtesy of Whispy Love on Etsy.

Jean Veloz's fitted V-neck shirt with ruching on the front is the most difficult - I still can't find a good reproduction, or even a pattern I feel comfortable identifying as "close."  In terms of closeness, this pattern is about as close as I could get.  Find a seamstress friend or Etsy seller for hire and get to work.

Jean Veloz’s fitted V-neck shirt with ruching on the front is the most difficult – I still can’t find a good reproduction, or even a pattern I feel comfortable identifying as “close.” In terms of closeness, this pattern is about as close as I could get. Find a seamstress friend or Etsy seller for hire and get to work.

I've looked at the blurry image of Jean's brooch on her blouse long enough that I'm fairly certain it's a flower (though witch on a broomstick was a close second) - search eBay for "1940 flower brooch" and the options are plentiful!

I’ve looked at the blurry image of Jean’s brooch on her blouse long enough that I’m fairly certain it’s a flower (though witch on a broomstick was a close second) – search eBay for “1940 flower brooch” and the options are plentiful!

Trashy Diva's gathered mini skirt looks like the junior version of their high waisted 1940's skirt - perfect for the Groovie Movie look, as Jean's skirt was definitely above the knee.  Available in teal, purple, green, red, and black

Trashy Diva’s gathered mini skirt looks like the junior version of their high waisted 1940’s skirt – perfect for the Groovie Movie look, as Jean’s skirt was definitely above the knee. Available in teal, purple, green, red, and black

Wedges for everyone!  Get yours before Dancestore.com discontinues them - available in the sale section, in black and brown.

Wedges for everyone! Get yours before Dancestore.com discontinues them – available in the sale section, in black and brown.

I couldn't find ankle tie wedges, so these ankle straps will have to do - from Cruisin Australia.

I couldn’t find ankle tie wedges, so these ankle straps will have to do – from Cruisin Australia.

Trollied Dolly

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

THE sailboat dress

THE sailboat dress

Incessant scanning of the Mod Cloth website can lead you to discover new brands that you instantly love – I fell in love with this sailboat dress, and a quick search took me to the Trollied Dolly website. The sailboat dress was there, along with an array of colorful vintage-inspired dresses and tops in clever prints – dragonflies, butterflies, seagulls, honeybees, strawberries – essentially adorable overload.

Based out of the UK (like everything else I want to buy these days), Trollied Dolly is the brainchild of two sisters, Louise and Nicole, who share with us that “the Trollied Dolly range reflects the colour and vibrancy of far flung places, lively cultures and perky people, all shaken up with a slice of London Town and a splash of getting’ down! They believe in a land where bad outfits, dull fabrics and boring basics are banned and dreams of utter wardrobe brilliance really can come true!” Getting’ down means “let’s dance,” right? 😀

I’m thinking yes – on top of the adorableness, these dresses are made of cotton – breatheable, danceable, washable cotton. Yes! Yes! Yes!

Here’s what I love from Trollied Dolly:

Green, butterflies, and a cutout

Green, butterflies, and a cutout

Watch the Birdie dress...hehehe

Watch the Birdie dress…hehehe

Buckle Down Dress

Buckle Down Dress

Hello Boys Peplum Top

Hello Boys Peplum Top

My Baby Jo 40’s Blouses

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

My Baby Jo announced the arrival of their new 1940’s-inspired blouses, that are the epitome of lady-like (“Veronica” and “Simone” to be exact). I knew as soon as I saw the photo exactly what they were – I have a 1940’s coral blouse of the same vein that I picked up from Dolly’s Vintage a few months ago thinking, “Here’s something I haven’t seen a lot.” It looks like My Baby Jo was on the same page, only they did something about it! This blouse is fitted, with lovely buttons down the back, and metallic stud detailing. It’s just begging for a high-waisted skirt! Available in black, red, blue, and brown.

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