Review: Petrunia’s Diamond Dot Annie Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I may be the worst model ever - is the photo over yet?  But check out this dress!
I may be the worst model ever – is the photo over yet? But check out this dress!

After I blogged about Petrunia’s lovely reproduction dresses, I was contacted by the sales manager this line of clothing, Lucy Carey, about reviewing one of their lovely dresses! I happily selected the initial dress that had caught my eye in Bygones, the Diamond Dot Annie dress, and it was shipped to my doorstep.

I saved the dress so I could wear it this past weekend at Jammin on the James, a Lindy Hop workshop weekend in Richmond, Virginia, so that I could give it the full dance treatment of wearing it to dinner, social dancing, competing, and singing with the Blue Crescent Syncopators. It survived all of these activities without incident and remained fresh, from late afternoon through the late night dance with Naomi and her Handsome Devils.

The fabric is rayon, which has that wonderful “cold,” silky feel, with a bit of a textured sheen. The color is rich and the dot pattern on the fabric provides just enough decoration that it doesn’t compete with the little details in this dress that make it pop, like the wide collar and the pleating on the bodice. The dress zips up the side with a metal zipper (bonus vintage points!) and the skirt is cut on the bias, so it will lay nicely on the hips without hugging or bagging. My only complaint would be that the arm holes were a little low on me, but this is a common problem I have with garments – someone taller than my 5’2.5″ will be fine – and it didn’t noticeably inhibit my movement while dancing. I finished the look with Re-mix wedges and a fakelite rose pin to complete the repro ensemble.

I hope this Ithaca-based shop will continue to create reproductions, in addition to tending their vintage clothing shop – years of being around vintage clothing will make you want to re-create it and Petrunia has done so with all the right details.


Field Trip: Halcyon and Bygones, Richmond, VA (at Jammin’ on the James)

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This 1930's tuxedo was the find of the day - the only part of the ensemble we couldn't find was a pair of shoes.
This tuxedo was the find of the day - the only part of the ensemble we could not find was a pair of shoes

This past Saturday I embarked on a birthday vintage shopping trip of epic proportions. Along for the ride were fellow Jammin’ on the James attendees and fellow vintage queens Elizabeth Aldrich and Elizabeth Tietgen, as well as dapper gents Victor Celania, Maurice O’Brien, and Matthew Pait. Our first stop was Halcyon, which was having a rummage sale outside, in addition to the regular wares inside the store. Victor immediately found a coat for me and for himself – me, a lovely wool coat with a mink collar; him, a plaid overcoat (if I remember correctly). The damage? $15 for me. Elizabeth T. scored a sweet 1930’s waterfall radio. Then we went inside. 🙂

There’s nothing quite like having Lindy Hoppers who love vintage clothing in a vintage store. Add in the fact that Victor actually dresses people for a living, and you have an all out game of let’s-play-dress-up. What’s that song on the radio? Can you turn it up? Sure, but only if you dance for us. Dancing ensued to a selection of excellent vintage jazz tunes, upon the request/permission of the Halcyon staff. We love you gals!

Elizabeth T. managed to build an entire outfit around a lovely black 1960’s cocktail dress, complete with gloves, hat, and jewelry. Elizabeth A. was drawn to Halcyon’s selection of lovely coats and a fantastic green turban/cloche (did you go back and get it?). Matthew picked up a sweet blue wool jacket with a belted back. Maurice left with an entire 1930’s tuxedo, which fit like it was made for him. Victor was all over the store, checking in on the dressing rooms and putting together Maurice’s tuxedo ensemble. The Halcyon staff scurried to find whatever Victor could think up and never came up empty-handed. We spent over two hours at Halcyon and I think everyone left with at least one vintage item.

Next, we headed to Bygones, which has a mix of vintage and vintage reproduction clothing. It was great to browse their selection of Trashy Diva and Leluxe dresses, to actually see them in person and try them on. There were some other great reproductions and, if I had been paying attention instead of being distracted by the feather fans, I would have written down the brands. Bygones also had an extensive selection of Aris Allen dance shoes, which I’ve never seen outside of the internet or the Aris Allen store. Bygones had some lovely vintage clothing from the swing era, but none of it was in my size.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Bygones was the window display. I’ve been told they go all out for the window dressings and this season’s feature vignette was a Victorian spider lady, ensnaring a dapper gentleman in her web.

If you find yourself in Richmond, you must visit one or both of these stores – that they co-exist in the same town and have such amazing selections is remarkable. I can’t wait to go back!

The ladies' wall at Halcyon
The gents' wall at Halcyon
The fabulous green turban-cloche hat, modeled by Elizabeth A.
Victor's loot
Elizabeth T. admires a lovely fur capelet
Elizabeth T.'s loot
I was in love with this dress, but was informed that it used to belong to an opera singer with a giant rib cage.
Former home of a top hat.
Elizabeth A. modeling a lovely coat
The display behind the counter at Halcyon
The window display at Bygones - check out the extra booted legs on the spider lady!
Looking into Bygones from the front of the store
Victor's fan dance
One of the great displays in the store
A wall of Aris Allens!
And....we're done! Time for a nap before the Saturday night dance!

Jammin’ on the James

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This weekend both Lindy Shopper and Lindy Dandy will be heading to Richmond, Virginia for a weekend of workshops and dances at Jammin’ on the James. Aside from the world-class instruction and intimacy of this regional workshop, one of the best things about JOTJ is having the opportunity to shop at Richmond’s excellent vintage stores. I’ll be heading to Halcyon on Saturday for their rummage sale, then to the legendary Bygones to browse their racks of pre-War clothing. I should have time for a full report and photos when I get back. It is also my birthday on Saturday – what better way to spend it than vintage shopping and swing dancing? There will also be cake.