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:
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!
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.”
All the little details add up:
Wide belt loops and waistband.
Side buckle adjusters
Button fly with bar and hook fastening
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.
By now you probably think I am a broken record posting about new swing dance shoe companies, but take a second to consider the history of our options over the past 20 years and how bananas this is right now that within the past year so many new shoe companies have emerged focusing on shoes for swing dancers and who made their presence known all over the world via social media. It’s awesome! I have another company I’ve yet to blog about after this post, as well.
I first heard about Swingz Begoña Cervera from swing dance instructor Jenna Applegarth, who posted a photo of her feet on Facebook in a most delicious pair of red glitter dance heels from this company. The company appears to be based in Spain and owned by Lindy Hop enthusiasts, whose “aim is to express the beauty and feminity through hand-made shoe-manufacturing, achieving a perfect mix of music and dance, and allowing you to personally and uniquely choose the shoes you most like to wear in your performances.”
More from the website about what makes their shoes special:
“Our shoes have a wide toe box for your greater comfort, providing the space you need to stretch and flex your feet easily. They are also reinforced with both, a protective heel and toecap to prevent being hurt while you are dancing. Swingz are firm-looking and well-fitting to help you keep balance when you dance, but also soft and comfortable inside to carefully protect your feet at all times.
From the minute you order your shoes until you receive them, we commit to a creative manufacturing process which involves the selection of details, such as the choice of materials, colour, style and heel height. Always supported by our personalised advice, we want your shoe to be unique and able to fit you as you deserve.”
The 2016 collection is online for you to view and customize, but Swingz also has a selection of in-stock items if you need some shoes ASAP. US buyers, the exchange rate is looking good right now…
Here’s what I’m loving from their 2016 collection:
Since the launch of their not-quite-flat-not-quite-heeled wedge over a year ago, I’ve seen Charlie Stone’s signature t-strap pop up at dances in the U.S., with solid reviews and a supply of dancers looking for that shoe that’s dressier than Keds, but still as comfortable as their flats. For their second collection, they polled Facebook for feedback and votes on the new shoe designs (I love a Facebook poll) and the results are not only in, they are ready to launch two new shoes, the Peta and the Marisa. The Marisa is a white ankle strap shoe with adorable cutouts, while the Peta is closer in design to their sigature shoe, with some modifications to design and a two-tone color scheme. They are offering a presale with 10% off starting this Sunday, February 14, 2016, here are the details from their Facebook page: “From 14.02.16 to 29.02.16, use the discount code PRESALE at checkout to get 10% off Peta or Marisa.” Enjoy!
Don’t you hate it when you’ve been doing something your whole life and later discover that this thing you’ve been doing is harmful to something you love? My heart sunk to the bottom of the Marianas Trench when I read that my deodorant/antiperspirant, which I thought was great because it didn’t streak on my vintage clothing, was actually full of aluminum. Said aluminum not only made my dress shirt armpits sparkle with the most resistant strain of glitter herpes I’ve encountered to date, with an accompanying foul odor when the heat of an iron was applied, but it also caused a chemical reaction that made the armpits of some of my vintage clothing start to yellow/stain. How do I know this? There were casualties. Then research to determine the cause of said casualties. I never go down without a fight.
“Deodorants prevent odor-causing bacteria, while antiperspirants prevent sweat. To do so, antiperspirants rely on aluminum-based compounds, such as aluminum chloride, to cause cells in your sweat ducts to swell and block sweat from escaping. When these active ingredients (which also happen to be quite acidic) bond with your sweat, they’re prone to stain clothing.”
OH. MY. GOD.
Perhaps I’ve been lucky thus far with my antiperspirant not staining my clothing until recently, but I feel like this news should be broadcast, warnings posted in vintage clothing store dressing rooms, shouted from the rooftops. Maybe people don’t keep their clothing as long as I do, so it just doesn’t come up. Whatever the reason, I’m here to raise awareness of this issue and present some information on my journey to aluminum-free deodorant and stain/sparkle-free clothing.
We sweat a lot when we dance. We have to wear SOMETHING or our dance spaces will smell even more like locker rooms and foot cheese than they already do. I decided I could deal without the antiperspirant component of my underarm regimen, as I tended to select clothing for dancing that already doesn’t show at lot of soaked-through sweat, but the smell had to be UNDER WRAPS. But I had to change my deodorant fast, or suffer the consequences of damaging even more clothing.
I headed to the Internet to read reviews of aluminum-free deodorants and I found most reviews to be incomplete, overly-optimistic, and not descriptive enough. There were also options other than stick and roll-on, which sounded like a pain in the butt. Then I came across this article titled “Do Any of These Hippie Deodorants Work?” by Kat Stoeffel that was exactly what I needed – one person’s journey through a myriad of recommended deodorants with different applicators, brands, pros, cons, daily conditions, duration of effectiveness, and a ranking from worst to best. As everyone’s body chemistry is different, I went with her top two and was prepared to try others down the line if necessary.
Kat’s second highest recommendation, Le Couvent de Minimes Everyday Deodorant, is a French cologne which has alum stone as its active ingredient and dates back to 1862. True to Kat’s assessment, it did smell like a fancy Williams Sonoma hand soap, and would work as a nice unisex scent. Unfortunately, my skin had a sensitivity reaction to this deodorant. It did work well and I may try it again in a different season.
The deodorant with Kat’s highest seal of approval was Lavilin, an Israeli deodorant that featured images of athletes on the cardboard packaging around the bottle, which looked promising. I had to get used to wearing a roll-on, but it was usually dry by the time I finished drying my hair and I haven’t seen evidence of it leaving residue on my clothing when I remove it. It’s been working like a champ on regular office days for the past month. While it boasts 72 hours of coverage, I’d err on the side of caution when going to a swing dance – I would always reapply my old deodorant/antiperspirant before attending a dance, just to be safe, and that reapplication was needed with Lavilin if I wanted to continue to smell fresh at the end of the dance (per a self-sniff). Lavilin is my winner of the two.
Thankfully, it was just that easy, trying two and coming up with a winner. I am so relieved to have found a deodorant that has less of a negative impact on my wardrobe! If you have stories, recommendations, or other information about what works for you, please feel free to post it in the comments.
The guilt is immense. I’d like to say I have all the answers for my recovery plan, but I don’t. I’ve soaked the damaged red gingham dress in Oxyclean twice and the armpits are still yellow. I’ve used vinegar on a cranberry colored dress shirt and I can still see the glitter of aluminum embedded in the fabric. I did, however, manage to eradicate all glitter and stains from several white dress shirts following the advice of this video, using a paste of water, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide:
I probably need to try this on my cranberry shirt and gingham dress, but the peroxide has me worried it will bleach the color…need some more confidence…please feel free to insert confidence in the comments section, as well. 😉
I realize there are all sorts of warnings and cautionary things we can do to protect our vintage clothing (like not wearing it – but where is the fun in that?), but a change of deodorant was a fairly easy lifestyle change for me to make and it’s also made with an eye toward protecting the lifespan of my modern clothing, as well! Hopefully, I’ll never have to make a peroxide and baking soda paste again.
Now in its fifth year, OcTieBer is “a month long sartorial celebration of quality neckwear worn in a traditional style” – in reality, it is much more than the sum of this description: it is the encouragement of people of all walks, creeds, and genders to embrace classic style (or modern twists on classic style); it highlights accessories that we don’t often consider in our modern lives, unless you happen to be a lawyer or just really like wearing neck scarves or ascots; it encourages you to dig deep into your closet and pull out those neglected ties or challenges regular tie wearers to create new ensembles and be inspired by others; it may cause people to notice you in positive ways; it creates a sense of camaraderie within the OcTieBer Facebook group where novice and even professional dressers can share their creativity and efforts for the day or every day of October.
OcTieBer IS inspiring. The challenge is to wear neckwear every day for the month of October, but even if you only join us for a couple of days, I invite you to join us for the fun of dressing, learning from and being inspired by others, and being supported in your endeavors by a wonderful group of people.
1. Wear a collared shirt and tie each day (be it a long tie, bow tie, ascot, cravat, bolo, western double string tie or any other traditional neckwear that expresses your personal style). Preferably your outfit will be paired with a jacket, sweater, vest or other accessories that suggest why you’ve chosen that day’s tie.
2. Upload an image of your fine outfit with an optional description of the designer, type of knot, fabric, etc.
3. Share the love by encouraging your friends to admire your statement of personal style.”
More than a nod to Art Deco, the Phineas Cole Spring tie collection is so expressly Art Deco that the word Deco is used in most of the tie names. These ties are gorgeous in their geometric simplicity, just vintage enough to be convincing, yet modern enough that they might even go by unnoticed as a throwback (but certainly noticed for their loveliness!). A sample of the goodies:
Because there will never be enough clever tee shirts in the world and certainly never enough of anything that identifies us as swing dancers, there’s The Lindy Shop, a line of clothing founded by graphic designers who couldn’t stop thinking about swing dancing and wanted to create a brand for dance lovers.
I love a sale and I love it when I find new products tailored for swing dancers – here, we have Saint Savoy Dancewear, a swing dance company founded by Rani-Patricia Dirnhofer, a Vienna-based dancer who grew up in Spain and uses her connections there to collaborate with Alicante shoe manufacturers to create this line of men’s and women’s dance shoes – from oxfords to t-straps, flats to heels, brogueing to cutouts…there’s a lot of variety here! Additionally, Saint Savoy is running a sale until November 30, 10 Euros off any pair of dance shoes…
…but what about these shoes, you say? Let’s take a closer look:
It seems all dancers struggle with finding that perfect pair of shoes – Rani-Patricia shared this struggle: “While hunting for stylish dance shoes, we searched through countless websites from all over the world. The meagre array, several bad buys, and a lot of research brought us to the idea of starting our very own company.” What is remarkable is that people are actually doing this, starting companies and making these shoes – clearly there is a demand!
So if you could come up with a dance shoe company, what specs would you include? Saint Savoy touts the following:
– Sustainable production: “We hold the manufacturing methods of our products to high ethical standards, and select the materials used according to durability and sustainability. We proudly ensure that our shoeboxes are made from recycled paper, plastic packaging is minimized, leatherwork follows German PCP Regulations, and working conditions for our shoemakers are fair – more ways in which we join traditional and contemporary.”
Here are some favorites from the Saint Savoy line of shoes for men and women (ladies, note that there are flats and low heel options) – don’t forget to place your orders before November 30 to get the discount!
In the never-ending quest for full coverage swing dance undergarments and bloomers, I have come across many athletic options and, for a short time, we had some fun My Heinies, but for the most part finding something feminine in the undergarment department that would meet the athletic requirements of the dance limited my options to tap pants. ModCloth, in the infinite wisdom of its buyers, unearthed what they call the “Properly Layered Undies,” which is Rago Style 919 – a full coverage brief in a sateen finish with just a touch of lace at the top of the leg. Just the RIGHT about of lace in the right place. Order from ModCloth (which has been sold out twice and restocked twice since I started watching these) or from another Rago distributor – don’t be scared of the intense looking shapewear on the Rago site, these undies just have enough shape to hold everything in place, no more than that, no miracles, just a solid pair of full coverage undies. Available in white, black, beige, pink, mocha, black, or red.
A few months ago, I started looking for a solution to the blisters I get from shoes when I dance – not every shoe, but some of my faves that I didn’t want to get rid of because I would start the night just fine, then end the night with blisters without even realizing it until I took my shoes off. I have a bit of a narrow heel, so it tends to slide out of shoes. I’ve also been buying more European shoes lately, and the are not always offered in half sizes (37.5 here), so I end up with a slightly larger shoe to make sure it fits (38). However I looked at it – slightly larger shoes, stretched over the course of a dance, or rubbing blisters for whatever reason – I had a problem.
After some digging online, I came across the Pedag heel grips on Amazon.com – stick-on suede leather heel grips with a padded ridge to grip your heel. The number of reviews numbered over 200 and were overwhelmingly positive and detailed. I would recommend reading the reviews to see if your particular foot and/or shoe might benefit – I have Haglund’s deformity and the more I read, the more I realized that this was the product that would keep those shoes from rubbing once and for all.
And, thankfully, I was right – it doesn’t work for every problem shoe, but it has worked for all the dance shoes I have tried and a few pairs of non-dancing pumps. It provided just the right amount of space-filler to prevent the friction and I can control the placement to avoid or assist my Haglund’s bump. The suede works well as a gripping material and I have not had trouble with the adhesive not sticking to the shoes. No more blisters, yay!