Props to dancer and instructor Corey Manke, who regularly pays tribute to the style of the original Balboa dancers in those Bobby McGee’s videos from the 70’s, for digging up this little bit of nostalgia on eBay. Having a pin that says “Bobby McGee’s Loves You” is almost like saying “Balboa Loves You” in its own special way – just remember that whatever move you’re about to do, the old timers have already seen it. 😉
Every once in a while I’ll happen upon Lindy Hop-themed jewelry, so it was no surprise that retro-leaning Australian jewelry company Erstwilder created a brooch of a dancing couple mid-aerial called Jack Rabbit Slims, which looks like it was based on a classic photo of Hal Takier and Betty Takier. While I don’t recall Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega doing this move, I get the sentiment and perhaps another dance contest winner in that fictional universe won the dance contest with this move? It looks like this also came in a pink colorway at some point, maybe some digging on eBay will yield one if the brown colorway isn’t your bag. Cheers!
Craftspeople offering wonderful reproduction Bakelite/Lucite-esque reproductions in modern plastics have been popping up with shops on Etsy in the past few years and the offerings are fantastic. MerriWeather is another of these shops, honing in on some signature WWII costume jewelry items, such as the V for Victory and the MacArthur heart design.
From the shop’s About page: “Specifically with the MacArthur Heart Brooch, with prices continuing to climb it became harder and harder to collect bakelite. So, one day I thought – I should try to make one myself, I can’t be the only one that would like to have a MacArthur heart. So I started to carve from clay the original pieces that would be the foundation of my collection.
I carve all of my pieces from scratch, and then create my own molds of my original parts. This is the only way to have a truly unique piece. Each piece is poured and cast by hand. Each piece is then sanded for hours to get a polished finish. Then each is assembled with great care to give them an original and authentic vintage look. My first MacArthur Heart was finished in September 2013.”
MerriWeather is based in Austin, Texas, which begs the question as to whether MerriWeather is a swing dancer. If anyone knows, please chime in! In the meantime, here are some of my favorites from the shop.
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.
With the price of bakelite jewelry in the astronomical range, reproductions of this classic early plastic jewelry are a welcome commodity. I’ve found a few “fakelite” pieces via Forever 21 a few years ago and apparently Avon did some reproductions in the 1980’s, but both have been found in limited quantities. Classic Hardware was a sight for sore eyes, with a line of classic bakelite-style (called “Retrolite” on the website) pins, bracelets, necklaces, and rings that will give your vintage or reproduction dress the perfect finishing touch.
According to the website, “Karyn Cantor is the originator and driving force behind Classic Hardware and it is her personal vision that is reflected in every handcrafted piece. Her love of vintage fashions mixed with a strong post-industrial aesthetic is further influenced by art nouveau and dadaism. This striking amalgam of sensibilities, coupled with Karyn’s sense of humor has developed into her current line of accessories that reflect today’s sense of individuality, sophistication and spunk…Karyn’s tastes are eclectic and varied, running the gamut between rock ‘n’roll, punk rock, rockabilly and old timey music. She loves swing dancing, live music, travel, flea markets and playing the ukelele.”
She loves swing dancing! One can’t help but wonder if Karyn noticed all the unadorned lapels and necklines at dances and wanted to do something about it…
Here are some of my favorite “Retrolite” pieces from the Classic Hardware website:
I am a Deco-holic, on top of my other addictions. I am always looking for Art Deco jewelry online and in antique shops and, of course, vintage clothing from this era. Here are some of today’s Art Deco goodies from eBay.
A gorgeous brooch that separates to become two separate dress clips – brilliant! And if you think you won’t wear this, it seriously comes in handy and is a really versatile piece – I have one and have worn it as a jacket pin, capelet pin, dress pin both at the waist/belt and at the bottom of a V-neck, and have strung it on a chain and worn as a very impressive pendant.
While we are talking jewels, check out these lovely dress clips! Oooh, and these!
I am also in love with this dress and would hem it to knee length and hem the sleeves for dances if it were my size.
Note: Don’t be constrained by measurements and length! Vintage clothing can usually be altered by someone with experience. If you are in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area, I have someone I can refer you to.