Tag Archives: Charleston

Reclaiming the Saddle Shoe

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Can I be this cute?

I know, I know, but hear me out.  I’m pretty sure my mom put me in saddle shoes at some point during my childhood and I ran around the playground wearing them with a dress in ultimate classic kid style.  When presented in high school with very limited options for women’s golf shoes, I was delighted that a saddle shoe was one of my options and made my selection accordingly.  Then swing dancing came into my life – when I started in 1998, retro culture was an amalgam of generic vintage pop culture, but as the smoke of the late 1990’s swing revival started to clear, it was became very clear to me that saddle shoes were associated with two things: 1) a caricature of the 1950’s and 2) newbie dancers.  As a budding Lindy Hopper, all I wanted was everything 1930’s/early 40’s and NOT to be associated with anything that would brand me as a newbie.   I wanted to be taken seriously as a dancer.  But deep down I still loved saddle shoes because they are adorable.

Flash forward a decade or so and I thought about saddle shoes again.  A green and white pair would be amazing and I found a retailer online that made them.   Vintage Dancer wrote this great blog post about the history of the saddle shoe, detailing their popularity between 1910 and 1960, clearly marking this as a period-appropriate choice for my swing-era-not-1950’s-caricature dancing activities.  And then I remembered how saddle shoes would be perceived and I abandoned that idea.

I don’t know when Gretchen Midgley and I were first talking about this, but saddle shoes came up in conversation and how I’d wanted a pair, but ALL OF THE ABOVE HESITATIONS.  Then I got a PM from Gretchen saying I needed to make this happen because saddle shoes would be a versatile addition to her fall wardrobe and she’s right.  Gretchen’s message was the kick in the pants I needed.  I AM LINDY SHOPPER AND I SHALL WEAR WHAT I PLEASE.

Won’t you be mine?

I ordered the green and white saddle shoes from Muffy’s, made from a last from 1956, which feature leather uppers and a Goodyear welted rubber sole and am so excited to finally have them after so many years of being worried about what other people would think about my dancing.  Silly, I know – but being perceived as a good dancer was and is so important to me.  I got to wear them last night to our weekly dance and I think they will take a little time to break in, but otherwise I am very happy with this purchase.

Would you like a pair of your own?  Vintage Dancer has a set of links to retailers at the bottom of the post and I’m also eyeballing a pair from Julia Bo customized to my specifications – has anyone ordered from this site?

If you’re worried about how to style the saddle shoe, Vintage Everyday has a great collection of photos of women doing everything from riding a motorcycle to sleeping in a barrel wearing saddle shoes, with photographs looking like they date from the early 1930’s through the 1950’s.

All this to say let’s be a little kinder, a little less judgmental about what we see on people’s feet.  I remember getting into a discussion on a chat forum in the early 2000’s about Bleyers, as I was still wearing mine for dancing, but someone there had branded them a shoe for newbies.  At that point, I didn’t consider myself a newbie, but I was embarrassed and mad because I had stuck up for this dance shoe that was servicing my feet and someone set out to belittle me.  I was either in school or working 3 jobs between stints in school at that point and I didn’t have a lot of money for dance shoes – hell, there weren’t even that many options for swing dance shoes at that point.  Perhaps this is also a lesson in humanity and humility – there’s a human attached to those shoes who just wants to dance.

Classic browns here, but Julia Bo has many more color combinations – order on Etsy or from website linked above.

Jenna Applegarth’s Applejacks Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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The Greenwood

This post may be premature, but I have been eagerly anticipating Jenna Applegarth’s line of swing dance shoes since I first saw her post about this business endeavor on Facebook.  A lot of people ask me about shoes and visit this blog for information about dance shoes, but Jenna is THE source, the person I know who knows about all the brands popping up all over the globe because she is traveling to teach at these places and trying out the shoes, but also because she has excellent taste, she cares about the shoes, and gives detailed feedback about the fit, look, materials, and functionality shoes.

I say premature because the Applejacks website does not have any shoes listed for sale, but Jenna has slowly been releasing posts about her work and, this week on the Applejacks Facebook page, photos of some of the shoes she has designed.  I couldn’t wait, you all need to know about this, and be sure to follow the Applejacks Facebook page for release updates.

From the Applejacks about page:

“Applejacks shoes are designed by dancers, for dancers. We want you to not only look good, but to feel good. To be able to stay on the dance floor all night and still walk back to your hotel. Our shoes are designed to help your body stay aligned and balanced. Room for your toes, secure on your ankles and happiness on your feet. We believe that Applejacks represents a fresh take on comfort and design.

We know feet are as unique as personalities, which is why we don’t believe in “one size (style) fits all.” That means we know our shoes may not work for everyone. But that is ok, because we founded this company to help fill in the gaps from the other companies already in business. Fit the feet that weren’t being fitted 🙂 Which means if our shoes don’t work for you, that is ok – they may fit your friends and family instead! And you can always check out some of the other great shoe companies out there with a different fit.

We have a goal to help reduce unnecessary waste, maintain high industry standards and choose sustainable durable materials.  What that means for you:

  • Simple labels – It gets thrown away anyway, so we only label what we need to.
  • Minimal packaging – From the factory to you, we do our best to only use what is needed.
  • No shoe bags automatically – but 1 free for every pair on request!
  • Leatherwork follows German PCP Regulations
  • Fair working conditions
  • Non-gendered/Non-roled sizing and styles

We are still working on building our brand and identity. We appreciate your feedback, and we hope you travel along with us on our journey.”

I love this approach and I can’t wait to see more from Jenna’s company.  I also have some nerdy glee about the company name being so perfect with Jenna’s last name and being one of my favorite jazz steps.   Here are the three previews released this week, from L-R: the Greenwood in teal, the Seneca in rose gold/silver, and the Seneca in purple.

Memery – Vintage-Inspired Footwear

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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The shoe blessings runneth over and, while this vintage reproduction shoe company doesn’t appear to be directly marketing to the swing dance community, all signs point to it being a default winner – Memery, a UK-based company, is making reproduction shoes from the 1920’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s with leather soles (but also a vegan option) and they are lovely, in some classic colors and some unexpected colors.  While it appears that they are getting a start on their shoe lines, it looks like they are off to a strong start, particularly with their 1940’s pump, which comes in six scrumptious suede colors and two heel heights (3 cm/1.18 inches and 6.7 cm/2.6 inches).  This is definitely a shoe company to watch!

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I have a 1940’s pair of oxfords with this same topstitching effect – love this attention to detail!

Etsy Holiday Gift Ideas

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

If you’re looking for a gift for the special swing dancer in your life (or really any super niche sub-culture), look no further than Etsy – here are some of my favorite swing dancer themed items that you may want to gift or that you may want under the tree for yourself:

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You don’t have to live in Austin to appreciate the beauty of The Fed, dance energy is universal – framed art prints make great gifts!

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For those stray ties, security is just a few clicks away – take your pick of a Leon James or (what appears to be) Kevin St. Laurent

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Did you know swing drummer/bandleader/dancer Josh Collazo has his own Etsy shop?  Pick up a mug for your favorite coffee/tee-loving dancer.

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Maybe you collect vintage bric-a-brac and these figurines are just the thing to fill a void in your collection?  Props for the “jazz” themed shirt/sweater and the rayon print dress.

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Lindy Hop or Swing Out?  Pendants and other goodies at LindyJewelsbySheri

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A print in celebration of this year’s transcription project bandleader? Even more adorable jazz musician critters at LauraGlaessArt

 

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Because your next change of shirt could be seasonal?

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I might need this shirt in my life…

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A 60’s-does-20’s set of Collins glasses with dancers

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Echo of Deco in the UK makes several different jazz dancers/couples, I bet you could order with customized colors…

 

 

 

 

SJC Pre-Orders – Striped Cotton Separates and Workhouse Chinos and Denim

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Wanna Charleston?

He may not know it outright, but Simon James Cathcart is here to serve swing dancers – that is, serve up classic, rare, and sought-after reproduction menswear pieces in great fabrics.  His latest offerings are all cotton, which means it’s all breathable and washable for us sweaty dancer types.

The workwear cotton stripe is being offered in four pieces, a belt back jacket, a waistcoat, a pair of trousers, and a cap, all inspired by 1920’s workwear.  From the website:

“SJC has woven this exclusive cloth, which recreates the striped pattern from a pair of genuine 1920’s work-wear trousers in the company’s collection of vintage clothing. The cloth has been brushed on the inside for warmth…”

The details on these pieces are wonderful, as per usual – notice all the careful seams and generous use of pockets.  Of interest to dancers would be the note about ample room in the thigh of the trousers, which translates to more room for your legs to move about unrestricted.

Finally, you just need some basics and SJC is, again, delivering the goods – what’s more basic than a pair of chinos or a pair of jeans?  The workhouse chinos come with all the casual air of a weeknight DJ’ed dance, but have all the details you expect from period trousers, such as buttons for braces, a cinched back, and a nice V at the back of the waistband.

Cotton = breathable = sweat and dance to your heart’s content!  Keep it comin’, Simon!

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Ready for a spring afternoon at a Lindy exchange

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I love a trouser in denim!

Saint Savoy Eden

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Saint Savoy just released a new shoe design, the Eden, and I was virtually stopped in my tracks on Facebook because I need a pair and need to know everything about it.  Of course they have a green pair I’m dying to own, but it’s black with a deep, almost iridescent, green detail, as if to say “I’m Evil” in the best possible Una-Mae-Carlisle-kind-of-way.  Also available with two tone matte/shiny combos of tan/bronze and white/silver and a double shiny pair with bronze/silver, here’s the post from this morning:

“A classic peep toe, eye-catching asymmetry, sturdy 4-cm heel, and fitted ankle strap.

With padding softer at the heel than the toe, this shoe allows the balls of your feet impeccable control of the floor while firmly supporting your ankles and heels .

A comparison between the heels of the RIVIERA and the EDEN will show the difference in cut. The sole is softer and the toe box wider than the RIVIERAs.

Enjoy this classy shoe on and off the dance floor! We deliver free of charge worldwide and include a shoe bag with every purchase.”

Best possible additional news?  Saint Savoy will be at Lindy Focus!

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Natty Shirts’ “Savvy Journalist” Shirt

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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In the search for reproduction menswear, one of the most commonly worn items, a dress shirt, is generally available – however, if you are a stickler for detail, you’ll notice that most modern men’s shirts lack that distinctive spearpoint collar prevalent in jazz age/swing era shirts.  One could always spend the money for a custom shirt, but what if you just want something a little more vintage without spending an arm and a leg?

It has been suggested by some of my esteemed OcTieBer colleagues that Natty Shirts’ “Savvy Journalist” shirt is that shirt – not quite exactly a vintage spearpoint, but definitely closer than most modern options, and, at $29.99, it’s far from breaking the bank.  You can even get it monogrammed for an additional $5.00.

SuAli Swing Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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The trend of swing dance-focused shoe companies continues and no one has their pulse on the dance shoes of now like dancer/instructor/organizer Jenna Applegarth – in my next installment of shoes Jenna has recommended to me and others in the Women’s Swing Dance Shoe Hunt! Facebook group, we have SuAli Swing Shoes based in Italy and owned by swing dancers.

You’ll have to pardon my complete ignorance of the Italian language – I’m using Google to translate the SuAli Swing Shoes website, but this is what I can tell from the rough transation (and really, we mostly need photos of these lovely shoes AMIRITE?):

Anyone else with more information is free to share more in the comments section.  Ciao!

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The Jean shoe – the sides of the heel have cutouts, too!

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The Frankie cap toes, also available in black/brown combo.

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Love the Big Bea in this plummy color – also available in royal blue.

SJC for Summer – Oviatt Polos and 1930’s Trousers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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This yellow is coming home with me…

It’s a banner week – a new Trashy Diva print is coming out tomorrow and today I open up my Facebook feed to find that Simon James Cathcart has not only restocked his amazing vintage style bamboo fabric polos, there are even more colors (!!!) and he’s added these fantastic 1930’s trousers to the website!

Men and dapper ladies, let’s talk about these trousers – from the website:  ”

SJC has just woven 50mts of 16oz Cream English 100% wool flannel, so do not hang about here. This fluffy ecru coloured cloth is thick but soft and billows like the sails of a yacht in the breeze when one moves.

Crafted into a 1930’s loose cut trouser that features deep pleats, a wide leg and a high rise fit.  The pants feature a button down coin pocket flap, side adjustors, sturdy pocket bags, sunburst corozo buttons, suspender buttons, deep fly front and belt loops.

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They come in a long untailored length so you can add your own 2″ cuffs on them to suit.

Judging by the outstanding quality of the cloth, the high desirability of the cut, the incredible price these pants will go fast.”

Have you had dreams of Fred Astaire’s wardrobe?  This looks like a good step toward his day-wear.  Pick from cream or gray fabric, then add striped socks and your desired footwear…

Re-mix Now Offering Women’s Size 5

d6605d6d-42cd-40e9-87fe-7db791c7598eThis post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This will be a very brief post, but I felt it warranted a full-fledged Lindy Shopper post because I know it will make some people very happy – Re-mix Vintage Shoes is now offering U.S. women’s size 5 in the following styles: Anita, Balboa, Charleston, Emily  and Emily 2.0!  These are all popular styles for swing dancing, which I’m sure is more than a happy coincidence. 🙂

Band-Aid Friction Block Stick

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

61q39vbwavl-_sy355_Last month I attended the Jazz Age Lawn Party in New York and the first day of the event reached some of the hottest temperatures I have experienced in my life, with a heat index of 107 degrees Fahrenheit.  My already blister-prone feet were properly welted with blisters by the end of the day, after extreme sweating, ample dancing, and walking and metro-ing to get to wherever I was going.  My hosts, well-versed in foot ails after years of walking around NY and DC, presented me with a Band-Aid Friction Block Stick, which looks like a deodorant stick put through a shrink ray and the substance itself looks a bit like Crisco (but not greasy).  This wasn’t going to help my existing blisters, but was told it would help prevent the next day’s rub on fresh skin from a different pair of shoes.  I was willing to try anything at that point.

After a slightly lesser heat index the following day and with more dancing (Peabody!), I was happy to report that the friction stick appeared to have made a difference on my unblistered skin, keeping it blister-free throughout the day and preventing irritation with a different pair of shoes that had a different profile (oxfords I’ve worn a number of times –> never worn before by me secondhand Mary Janes).  I’ve since acquired my own stick and used it on shoes that I know rub, on occasion, certain areas of my feet and also with a new pair of shoes, with great success.  I’m curious to know if others have discovered this stick – if so, do share your review in the comments.

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Day 2 at 10 a.m., this is the face of someone determined to dance for up to 6 hours and not get any more blisters.

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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!

 

 

A Rainbow of Slips on ModCloth

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I love finding interesting undergarments to wear under my dancing clothing, and I particularly love slips for all the reasons outlined in this earlier blog post.  In perusing ModCloth I noticed a number of slips in lovely colors, both full slips and half slips, and they are certainly worth mentioning here.  I like the idea of these brightly colored full slips doubling as a camisole for the top (perhaps with a V-neck or wrap dress), and the same color poking out under a twirly skirt when you spin.  Here are some of ModCloths under-goodies:

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Foundation Fascination Full Slip in Sea – love the detail at the neckline and the accordion pleats at the bottom to allow for extra movement just under your bum.  Also available in a rose pink and plummy purple.

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Give Me Gracefulness Slip in Rose – this blush color would look lovely under just about anything and give a bit of lift to your skirts with the tulle bottom.  Also available in black.

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If you can’t be bothered with spaghetti straps (I know I’ve safety pinned many to my dress to keep from slipping while dancing), perhaps this slip is a better fit for you.  I like the idea of layering this with a dress of a different cut for interest and for function.

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The name says it all – Dream It, Dance It Slip is divine in this steely gray tone, with some feather-light lace to peek out from under your dress and an opaque top to keep your bum covered.  Also available in rose and navy.

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Can’t Stop Dancing Slip in Ivory – your basic half-slip, also available in classic bronze and black. All these references to dancing and slips…ModCloth, are you reading my blog? 😉

Simon James Cathcart Spectators

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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SJC spectators in acorn.

I keep seeing Simon James Cathcart pop up in my newsfeed and in Facebook groups and everything I am seeing is just fantastic, not only for classic menswear in general, but also for swing dancers.  In September I blogged about his 1930’s jeans, something that dancers could wear for everyday and for a more casual dance look with or without vintage styling.  All of his stuff presents as carefully crafted, quality goods and I am all about those things!  How fancy is SJC?  This fancy: “For the past 12 months SJC has been quietly delighting dedicated devotees and attracting new fans from far and wide with limited edition runs of hard to find, high-end, vintage inspired pieces. More than a brand, this is a movement made up of over 200 of the earth’s most discerning menswear’ collectors. Led by Simon James Cathcart we have moved forwards with the meticulous design and construction of otherwise unobtainable pieces.”

We’re here to talk about these glorious two tone spectators, which are presently being sold through a Kickstarter (only 23 days left!) along with some equally sweet reproduction boots.  I’m going to lead with the fact that SJC has made these spectators in a wide range of sizes to fit both men AND some women (but not quite small enough for my feet *weeps*). UPDATE:  My size, US women’s 7/men’s 5 and US women’s 8/men’s 6 will be available – read the post here and then select the Lindy Shopper reward to get these sizes!

But why Kickstarter?

“Your pledge is going to help fund the production, materials and tooling costs involved with bringing back to life these historical classics. In return, you receive footwear at easily half of the retail price and will walk away wearing hand-crafted pieces of British footwear history.”

The price for these spectators via Kickstarter is around $223 USD (depending on the exchange rate) and that’s only slightly more than Remix and less than those holy grail Allen Edmonds you’ve been eyeballing.  Retail price is quoted at $600.  JUST LOOK AT THEM, this is a beautiful shoe.  I’m wiping away the drool from the corners of my mouth right now.  And can we talk about how you can never find a good looking navy shoe?  It’s kind of like the shrimp and grits rule, if the stellar navy shoes are on the menu, you get them.

To be clear, this is a summer shoe – the cream portions of the shoe are canvas, with the most of the rest of the shoe (including the lining) being made from leather.  The canvas is treated with Scotchguard to prevent marks.  Though, now I’m thinking of how cool it would be, once a pair of these did get scuffed up, to get an artists to custom paint the canvas portion of this shoe…a life and an afterlife!

I’m going to post a bunch of gorgeous photos of these shoes now – enjoy, and don’t forget that the Kickstarter ends soon!

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1930’s Style Collegiate Trousers from Heyday!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I was elated to receive an email in my inbox this morning notifying me that Heyday!, my favorite place to buy high waisted women’s trousers, had launched a new men’s trouser, based on a vintage pair of 1934 trousers made by a tailor and found in Paris.  More details from the website:

“The wide belt loops are a celebration of what was new in style…belts! These are a real fashion forward trouser, and, most likely a young man’s trouser. (Older men were slow to trust a belt, and for awhile some men would wear both the fashionable belt and the trusty braces)  We found a really similar pair in the Sears catalogue, it’s youthful design suggested in the name. Another point to note is that they are drawn very wide, like Oxford bags, but in fact the measure at the hem matches our pattern.  Our pattern has been tweaked to fit better, as the original had some quirks, and now we have them available in our sturdy, medium weight fabric that has proved so popular with our dancers.”

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All the little details add up:

Wide belt loops and waistband.
Side buckle adjusters
Back pockets
Button fly with bar and hook fastening
Cuffs

Available in practical black and (brace yourselves) ivory – I have heard your complaints about menswear and summer pants and here is your modern reproduction that you can sweat in and not worry about ripping the seat.  Pair with a colorful lightweight jacket and a boater for a lawn party or a striped tee for a more casual look.

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