Here we have yet another example of the UK absolutely killing the reproduction clothing market: The Seamstress of BloomsburyThe Seamstress of Bloomsbury, a clothing line of revived reproductions from and inspired by a woman who bore this nickname, Lillian Wells, who was seamstress to aristocratic families around the world. The focus here is on 1940’s frocks and they’ve pretty much nailed everything down to the prints (which I find can be the hardest thing to get right, perhaps leaning toward the kitschy rather than fun and artful).
I am presently salivating over everything in the Seaside print and, with these reasonable prices, an order is inevitable…here are some of my favorites from the shop:
So many of you have asked me to profile individuals on Lindy Shopper and, while I think that is a lot of fun, I wanted Lindy Shopper to remain focused on retail sources and helpful ideas – however, when I combine powers with Yehoodi, anything is possible. 🙂 Yehoodi pitched the idea of me interviewing fashionable Lindy Hoppers at the International Lindy Hop Championships and I thought it was a great idea, to approach people who catch my eye on the floor about what they are wearing, why they are wearing it, where they got it, and their personal dance clothing and shoe preferences. Due to some technical difficulties, this was delayed and released this past Monday by Yehoodi, but here it is! Enjoy!
(turn on closed captioning if you have difficulty hearing – the DJ’ed music was louder than we anticipated)
I’m delighted to have been asked to be a part of the From the Top podcast‘s exploration of fashion for swing dancers. This is the sixth episode from this podcast that, in general, explores topics surrounding swing music and swing dancing. The host of From the Top, Vienna-based dancer Alexei Korolyov, explores modern lindy hop fashion with discussions from New York dancer/DJ Voon Chew, Vienna University’s Dr. Elisabeth Frottier, Russian dancer Yana Sanamyants, Saint Savoy owner Rani-Patricia Dirnhofer, and yours truly. Clocking in at 19 minutes, we can keep you company on your commute to somewhere this week – enjoy!
Oklahoma dancers Michelle Stokes and Laurel Ryan have ideas and designs on starting a made-to-measure clothing line called Blushing Violet for swing dancers, vintage styles and cuts in modern fabrics, made for the wearer with our special dancer needs in mind. What’s great is that you will know about this before it even exists and you can influence and share what YOU like to wear dancing that may influence what they offer in their clothing line. Take a minute and fill out this brief survey about the who, what, where, when and why of dance clothing: http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s/fEiCLxdq
It will be so interesting to follow Blushing Violet’s progress, I hope to stay in the loop and share updates on this blog!
While I was perusing the racks at Bygones Vintage Clothing while attending The Process in Richmond, VA, I happened upon a new-to-me brand of reproduction dresses called Lazy Bones. It appears to be a sort of Australian-based Anthropologie-type shop, with vintage-inspired clothing and home goods. From the website:
“Lazybones takes a fresh and whimsical approach to designing clothing and homewares for modern, relaxed living. Inspired by vintage, Lazybones clothing has become well known for its quirky signature prints, delicate embroidery and jacquard knitwear. Our homewares including bedding, ceramics and wallpaper inspires a fresh and playful approach to creating unique spaces within our homes. Our aim is to continually evolve each season designing products that surprise and delight our customers who have grown to love our brand across the world.”
With a name like Lazy Bones, there’s a great sense of humor here, along with an ease in the clothing that suggests you could still be lazy and look fabulously lazy. A lot of the pieces do remind me of comfy vintage finds, things that I buy to lounge or dance in, because of the fabric choices, prints, and easy shapes. Here are some of my favorites from Lazy Bones:
(Edited to add that there’s a USA website with better shipping options for those of us in the states at http://lazybonesusa.com/ – thanks for the tip, Jenny!)
A few months ago I wrote about La Vie en Swing and, in particular, their Berlin dress in purple, which resembles a dress worn by Agent Carter in her TV series. The Berlin dress also comes in mint green, which caught my attention even more, because I adore green and this particular shade is not something I have in my closet. Mint can be difficult in solids and, if not carefully styled, can end up looking a bit clinical, like hospital scrubs. This dress is far from scrubs because the details are impeccable:
– The fabric has a fine lustre that gives it depth and movement
– The fabric is lightweight and flowing, making it ideal for dancing – 100% viscose, machine washable if you don’t mind tricky ironing, or dry clean as a lazy option
– A slight puffed sleeve – there are never enough modern dresses with sleeves!
– Inset waistband, which could easily accommodate a belt
– A keyhole neckline with tie, which I adore
– The most divine Art Deco seaming around the neckline on both the front and the back of this dress and on the pockets. Only a solid color could do this justice, so that these details can be seen and not lost in a print.
The dress on the website is an A-line skirt with pockets, but La Vie En Swing also offers this dress with a more full skirt, slightly trumpeted, and better suited to my shape for movement and desires for swishy skirt-ness. If you are interested in a fuller skirt, do contact them about this option, they have been most helpful and accommodating!
I decided to give this dress a test run at Stompology X where I was singing with Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five. The dress presented very well on stage and I received loads of compliments on the color and the cut. I wish I had been able to dance more in the dress, but I did have one dance that weekend with Jonathan on a band break and it passed with flying colors – full arm rotation, modest skirt flare, good overall for movement, nothing that moved in a way that was uncomfortable or cause for worry or annoyance. A solid, beautiful choice for a dance dress that I would highly recommend. I don’t have anything else quite like it in my closet, and that’s saying a lot!
Check out the photos on the website and the ones I’ve posted below – still waiting for more people to post photos from Stompology, I know people took photos of me, I saw you! Until then, you’ll have the selfies I snapped at my host’s home before the gig. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions:
All Balboa Weekend celebrated its 15th Anniversary this year and I celebrated my 9th anniversary of attending ABW. This Balboa homecoming/family reunion is one that I look forward to every year for the friends, the amazing dancing, and the wonderful vintage shopping that is available in Cleveland. This year, my report will combine shopping inside and outside the hotel, since some brick and mortar stores set up booths at ABW and other remain in their brick edifices. All are worthy of mention and this year’s shops and vendors did not disappoint!
My partner in crime this year was Berkeley, California dancer Alisa Szatrowski – I’ll give an honorable mention to Jack Flaps, a wonderful brunchy place she discovered and where we fortified ourselves before a day of vintage shopping.
Our first stop is my always first stop, Sweet Lorain, and the owner Redwin Lewis welcomed us with open arms and escorted us back to the 30’s and 40’s area, where he showed us they had pulled additional racks of 30’s and 40’s clothing out just for ABW. *squee!* Soon, Alisa and I were lost in a jungle of clothing, amongst the close and very full racks, calling out to each other as if we were playing Marco Polo to try to find each other to show off choice garments. Sweet Lorain did not disappoint and Alisa and I soon had a dressing room full of things to try on, with another helpful employee pulling additional garments based on our selections. Seriously, an A+ for customer service. We both left with some wonderful pieces and warm fuzzy feelings about everything at Sweet Lorain.
Next stop was Chelsea’s Vintage Clothing and Costumes, which is an impressive warehouse full of clothing, and particularly has a large selection of menswear, which I wrote about more in-depth last year. We ran into dancer and DJ Bill Speidel and we did a quick run through the menswear, as I’m always shopping for certain dudes and the hubs. I left Chelsea’s empty-handed, but Alisa had great luck with late 30’s/early 40’s dresses in velvet and faille – dreamy!
The vendor market at ABW opens at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday and we were there even a little before that, with anxious vintage lovers already hovering over the booths.
The first booth you come to is Re-Mix Vintage Shoes and this booth was abuzz all weekend, with ladies buying shoes, trying on many more, and ogling the beautiful wares. The big hit this year was a new style, Gabriele, which is a low heeled 1930’s shoe with a t-strap, an alternative to the Balboa Style, with a slightly different shape and different colors. I would love to hear some reviews from the ladies who bought them and wore them this weekend – I did see Valerie Salstrom try them on the first day and then didn’t take them off as she continued to set up for the event!
Next in the line of vendors was Flower Child, which is comprised of several individual vendors that make up part of the brick and mortar store, and which takes up most of the hallway. They are always good about bringing in new inventory every day, taking requests, and having a nice selection of clothing, accessories, and some novelty items and knickknacks from the swing era. My favorite ABW find for this year came from Flower Child’s booth, a fully functional scales brooch, perfect for me as both a Libra and a lawyer – for serious, the scales have tiny chains and you could actually put things in the bowls and the scales would tip, SO COOL.
New to the vendor list this year was Sugar Shakers, the handiwork of Joanna Kassoulides Thibault, who got her start stitching chorus girl costumes for a troupe of the same name in Toronto and decided, after accumulating a wardrobe of costumes, that she would sell some of these versatile pieces. I love a good trumpet skirt and Joanna had a nice sampler of trumpet skirts, polka dot wrap blouses, bakelite-inspired earrings, as well as sharing a table with her husband Mike Thibault‘s handmade earrings and Vintage Jazz Art prints.
Next in the vendor lineup is ChatterBlossom, aka Jamie Sturdevant, who is local to me, but for ABW everyone can see her amazing handiwork up close, with flowers and headpieces made from vintage millinery flowers and jewelry made from vintage buttons. Seeing in person is even better, as I noted people running to their rooms for garments, trying to match a bloom to a dress, and (I know I’m a broken record on this, but) the colors in the vintage flowers are just so right for vintage clothing, for obvious reasons, and they are so much more exquisitely detailed than most modern artificial flowers I have seen. Jamie does custom pieces, too, so you can find the perfect bloom for that one of a kind vintage dress.
Holding down the end of the hallway was The Cleveland Shop, which had a nice selection of men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, and jewelry. The owner would also bring in new items daily, and even brought in some divine tropical rayon fabric one day, that was gone before it could hit the market (I can’t wait to see that blouse, Jamie!). Oh, to have a warehouse full of endless vintage things to sell!
Each year the vendors at ABW are one of the things I look forward to most about the event and I truly appreciate the effort the vendors put into setting up, displaying, being there to sell, breaking it all down, and sometimes traveling great distances – I think Philip Heath, the owner of Re-mix Vintage Shoes, wins this year by flying in and shipping shoes from California, though past ABWs venders have flown in from as far away as the UK and Australia. We love that you do it and we’ll keep buying all the beautiful things. 🙂
Here are some more photos of all the lovely things:
‘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)
I don’t know why it took me so long to write about 20th Century Foxy, because I’ve been eyeballing things on their website for over a year and I’m firmly convinced that I just need to buy a plane ticket and go shopping in the UK with all the great vintage repro I’m seeing. With a pun-tastic name, this line of womenswear takes its inspiration from the early to mid-20th century, citing the years 1925 through 1964 as inspiration. With an obvious passion for vintage style, 20th Century Foxy also has the goal of selling “top quality clothing produced locally and in ethical circumstances and using local or regional businesses where possible.” Further, they also want to appeal to a wide range of shapes and sizes – “there is the perfect outfit for every woman of every shape and that it will make her feel like a goddess.” YES THERE IS.
In addition to solid reproduction and vintage-inspired garments, they offer style guides for the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, with a bit of history, etiquette, key looks (with photos from the past paired with looks from the website), and a shopping list.
Here’s what I’d love to add to my closet from 20th Century Foxy:
A few weeks ago I attended the third annual Art Deco Society of Virginia Gatsby Afternoon Picnic in Richmond, Virginia. I have seen this event grow from “let’s all meet in a park at the same time” to an organized event at the historic Wilton House Museum, with live music, vintage vendors, an on-site barber, food trucks, photo booth, contests, media coverage, shuttles, parking attendants, an MC, and even an alcohol sponsor. I was happy to see some familiar faces amongst the vendors and pleasantly surprised to find vintage vendors that were new to me.
Let’s start on one end of the line and move to the other – first in the lineup was Chatterblossom, who has become my own personal vintage millinery Philip Treacy. The gorgeous millinery was on display, as well as lovely jewels, flapper headbands, and a nice selection of menswear accessories. If only women’s dress shirts didn’t button from the opposite side, a tie clip with vintage microphone would have certainly left with me!
Another standby for me, Raleigh Vintage, was present with a drool-worthy display of Art Deco era goods and jewels. This display was on the heels of another festival in Raleigh the previous day, but the busy bees at Raleigh Vintage persevered and were present in force. I am seriously in love with all of the jewelry in their display, can I just take the silver tray full of necklaces home with me? Also, lots of event-appropriate cotton frocks in lovely prints, embroidery, and all things just-so.
Machine Dance Vintage and Brooksy shared a lovely space together, complimenting a rack of MDV vintage dresses and goods with Brooksy’s hand-crafted 1920’s hats and headbands. I have long been a fan of MDV’s Etsy shop and it was good to see some of these great vintage pieces in person. I have also been following and eagerly anticipating the soon-to-be-launched Brooksy line of hats, created by ADSVA president Olivia Lloyd. The construction of these hats and the attention to detail is as impeccable as Ms. Lloyd’s vintage wardrobe. I am holding out for Myrna Loy’s pixie hat!
My husband’s family lives in Virginia Beach, which has many great thrift stores, but I was unaware of VB Vintage – no brick and mortar shop, but certainly an impressive enough of a display that I was kicking myself for not knowing about them before now. Their Etsy shop doesn’t even come close to displaying the number of goods they had on hand at the Gatsby picnic, which means there’s even more to come – also, the benefit of being on location for these trunk shows! Lots of great accessories, knick knacks, and a few stellar pieces of clothing from the era.
Monkey Shynes was up next, with a small selection of 78 rpm records and assorted vintage memorabilia and crafts.
Finally, on the other end of vendor’s row was MA’s Mad House of Adornment, another Etsy vendor with great feathered headpieces and eclectic jewelry. I am particularly fond of feathered headpieces made from feathers with curled ends – the effect is really stunning and the result is that they tend to lay so nicely in whatever configuration I have seen them in. I was also amused by the Scarlett O’Hara necklace – the movie came out in 1939, so we’ll humor the reference.
The long-awaited women’s line from Prohibition Clothing Company is go – I saw the fruits of their labor at the Jazz Age Lawn Party in August and now you can order these great separates online. Everything – the Parker trouser, the Clara knicker, and the Margaret skirt – is perfect for fall and coordinates with the existing menswear/unisex accessories. The neutral palette will also compliment so many other clothing items and colors for fall. I am particularly excited about having a ready-to-wear option for knickers and the potential for lady dandy dance ensembles and tweed ride awesomeness. Take a gander, folks!
I was excited to see some new vendor faces and an old favorite return to the International Lindy Hop Championships this year. Particularly, with a focus on menswear – it is so easy for women to find good dance clothing, but most of our vendors (who are mostly women themselves) cater to women. This year, the men and women had some great vendors to choose from, from pieces you could take home to custom-made garments to order.
Did I mention my love for Chloe Hong? After her stint at All Balboa Weekend, I was suprised (read: elated) to see her back in the U.S. after such a short time. Not only did she clean up on the dance floor, she set up shop at ILHC to take custom orders for her wonderful selection of women’s skirts and classic men’s suiting. Just going through her fabric swatches makes me happy! If you have never considered ordering something custom and you find yourself at an event with Chloe Hong, I would recommend at least looking into ordering a custom piece – she can get your measurements in person and has lots of experience dressing dancers for a range of movement (she counts Bobby White, Thomas Blacharz, Pontus Persson, Laura Keat, Jeremy Otth, and Juan Villafane as customers, and I could go on…)
Returning for another year (have they been at ILHC every year?) is Forties Forward, with an array of lovely hair blooms, feathers, and accessories. One can never have too many hair accoutrements and I was also pleased to see that Forties Forward shared their table with A Woopie! Handmade Bowties (another menswear vendor!), which had a nice array of ties and even included some adorable instructions on how to tie the ties! I always need a little help when I tie my ties, so an adorable instruction card on my vanity beats, say, that YouTube tutorial I have to pull up every time I do this…
Perhaps the most impressive display belonged to Brown & Williams Clothiers, who specialize in vintage British menswear – yes, they import and they curate a stellar collection, a portion of which was on display at ILHC. I wish could sport the amazing jackets, sweaters, and trousers I spotted in their booth (none of them small enough!) – a seriously delicious collection for anyone who digs British style, collegiate style, boating, and especially tweed. If you are interested in checking out some of their stock, it looks like the best way to purchase is through their Etsy site – that green and white crested blazer *drool*…
Wearing History has been a go-to referral for me when people ask about reproduction vintage patterns, but what if the clothing from Wearing History was already made for you (for those of us with less time and skills)? It’s happening and it’s adorable – the collection features 40’s style trousers, blouses, dresses, and a matching sash/head scarf, BUT before this collection exists, it’s got to have capital. The owner of Wearing History, Lauren Maringola, had the brilliant idea to use Kickstarter as pre-sales for the collection – for me, pre-sales are the best way to use Kickstarter because we backers are getting what we would have received anyway, only we’re actually helping make the entire thing happen! Her Kickstarter reward price points for each garment are comparable to similar reproduction garments I’ve either had made or purchased on Etsy.
Please watch the video and read the summary – it doesn’t come out and say it, but basically these clothes were made for dancers – durability, practicality, and vintage style. Dudes – if the Kickstarter goes nuts, they might add a menswear line! Even better for our US readers, these garments will be made in the USA, so you are supporting the sustainability of the US garment industry. Some of the rewards are limited in quantity, so go get your order in now!
I’ve been hearing a lot about Freddie’s of Pinewood lately, usually coming up in conversations about vintage or reproduction jeans. This UK-based company has taken a practical approach to dressing vintage, providing reproduction clothing you’d mostly wear just out and about, rather than getting gussied up – lots of great separates, shirts, jackets, and denim. While I generally dislike denim, I understand that most of you live in jeans – perhaps Freddie’s could be a gateway to a more vintage, casual look? There are a lot of versatile pieces on this site, to either dress up or dress down (or both), so take a gander!
In case you missed it in person or on the live stream, Frankie 100 in New York played host to a fashion show during the Sunday night festivities! Take a gander at some of your favorite swing dancers modeling some truly spectacular vintage fashions from the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s, both ladies and gents, starting at 46:20 mark on the video – a really gorgeous collection of everything from swimwear to eveningwear, Mutsumi Gee’s lovely reproductions, the vintage-inspired designs of Nicole Lenzen, the tailored menswear of Chloe Hong, even a segment devoted to the 1939 World’s Fair in New York! Special thanks to Voon Chew and Lainey Silver for their efforts in putting this together!