Tag Archives: dance

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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?😉

MerriWeather on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!

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.


The elusive MacArthur heart.


Good luck!


Queen of Hearts necklace

Deodorants, Antiperspirants, and Vintage Clothing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


Dearest dress, I never meant to hurt you.  It’s not you, it’s me, and the terrible way I’ve treated you.  Photograph by Frank Myers.

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.

From Howstuffworks.com:

“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.”


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.




Vote for the Next Charlie Stone Dance Shoe!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The fairly recently launched Charlie Stone Shoes is already working on their next swing dance shoe, utilizing the first shoe design’s low/hidden wedge, and you get to vote on what shoe they make next!  There are four adorable designs to choose from and all you have to do is go to the Charlie Stone Shoes Facebook page and tell them which shoe is your favorite: A, B, C, or D.  I love it when designers incorporate fan feedback – thanks, Charlie Stone!





Pedag Heel Grips

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


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!

1930’s Capezio Tap Costume

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


Happy Halloween! Speaking of costumes, I came across this 1930’s Capezio tap costume on eBay today, complete with matching bloomers. I am always fascinated by dance costumes of the past and this one appears to be fairly simple in terms of fabrics, but has some lovely details – trim, pocket, and sash – I wonder what routine and song went along with the costume wearer’s performance? Alas, we’ll never know who she is because the place to write the name on the dress tag is blank. I could see someone doing a nautical-themed Lindy Hop routine in this, accompanied by a sailor in white and blue, or maybe replicated by a troupe of chorus girls…


Eastern Balboa Championships 2013 – 10th Anniversary

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This weekend is the 10th and final Eastern Balboa Championships – I am sad to see it go, but have so many great memories from this event. I’ve worked with the organizers to bring in some great vendors and this year I am very excited about our local vendor offerings! Stay tuned for a report, but I do hope to see some of you this weekend!


1940’s Color Block Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I have an unhealthy obsession with this 1940’s color block dress, posted this week by Raleigh Vintage, in that I can’t stop going back to the website to look at it (even though I will never fit into it). It must be admired and, perhaps, worn by one of you? Don’t forget that 10% off code for LS readers…😉


Girl Can’t Help It Sweater

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Pale topaz, anyone?

Pale topaz, anyone?

I’ve been on the prowl lately for more clothing that can double for work and swing, especially tops. I was delighted to see an email in my inbox this evening from My Baby Jo, a shop I blogged about early on in the history of Lindy Shopper, with some seriously superb reproduction sweater basics for fall. Their “Girl Can’t Help It” sweater looks like a great cropped shell, not too short, but not too long, with a simple weave and colors that are easily embellished with vintage jewelry. Definitely work-safe, and the email also said that matching cardigans would be coming out soon! Available in black, hunter green, lilac, baby blue, and pale topaz.

Aaaaaaand….cue obligatory dance scene opening credits:

American Duchess “Claremont,” Reproduction 1930’s Oxford

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


I first heard of American Duchess from my fellow blogger Beth Grover at V is for Vintage – I was excited that another reproduction shoe company had come along to give us more options for dance shoes, even customizable options via dye/paint. American Duchess focuses on earlier eras of women’s footwear and, until now, their latest time period of footwear offered was the 1920’s.

The Claremont is American Duchess’s 1930’s oxford, done in classic fashion – not too fussy, with elegant details. Available in black and brown (for pre-order right now), suede with patent leather accents and a 2 3/8 inch heel. The pre-order price is $115, $20 less than what you will pay when they are in stock…or, you could win a pair for free in the giveaway they are having right now. 🙂

Military Uniform Shirt Stays

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

One of the most annoying things about wearing shirts tucked in while we dance is that they tend to come untucked while we dance (one of the main reasons you will see me in dresses v. pants/skirts). One solution is to wear things untucked, but not every shirt was meant to be worn untucked and sometimes we want to look a little more polished. Aside from tucking things into your underwear (which isn’t foolproof), what other options do we have to keep our shirts tucked in?

For example...

For example…

I was scanning my Facebook news feed a few weeks ago and noticed that Philadelphia dancer and instructor Sascha Newberg had posted about military shirt stays as a possible solution. If you are not familiar with stays, they are elastic bands that attach on one end to your shirt tail and on the other end to your pants. They serve the dual purpose of keeping your shirt tucked in and your socks pulled up. If you are going for military precision, some sloppy shirts and droopy socks aren’t going to cut it.

I remember seeing these for the first time when my friend Joanna went to the U.S. Naval Academy. I commented on how impeccable she looked in her white uniform, how everything was just so, and she pulled up her pants leg to show me the stays. She said they took a little getting used to, that certain “spring” in her step, but after a while they just became part of the uniform.

What say ye? Shall we add a spring to our Lindy Hop steps? In the name of keeping shirts tucked in!

A Beginner’s Guide to Swing Dance Wardrobe Basics

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I’ve written a guest post for Raleigh Vintage on what a brand new, never-been-to-a-swing-dance-before, dancer might want to know before heading to their first swing dance. I know there are tons of these, written for every swing dance society/group ever created, but I figured these things can’t be said enough – the more resources, the better.

Check out the post on the Raleigh Vintage blog.


Lindy Hop on AllPosters.com

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This is the largest print, 48 X 72 inches - yeah!

This is the largest print, 48 X 72 inches – focal point!

I’ve been helping Jason Sager pick out items* for his new studio space for The Lindy Lab and one of the decorative items is artwork for the walls. Studios tend to have large expanses of wall, so the question becomes how does one fill up that space in an interesting and inspiring way?

With Lindy Hop photography prints, of course. A search for “Lindy Hop” on AllPosters.com takes you to a selection of photographs from the August 23, 1943 LIFE Magazine spread featuring Leon James, Willa Mae Ricker, Kaye Popp, and Stanley Catron. If you’re in the market for wall art, these are some great, classic Lindy Hop prints!

*New items also include this bad ass Art Deco bar that’s going to be the DJ booth – oh, yes!

This one seems like it would be a good fit for a studio - progression of movement ;)

This one seems like it would be a good fit for a studio – progression of movement😉

Summer Deals: Men’s and Women’s Aris Allens on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I haven’t done a post about Aris Allens on eBay in a while, but if you aren’t doing regular searches for these shoes, then here are some great deals for some used, some barely worn, dance shoes on eBay:

Red wedges, size 6, starting bid $10 - the listing says “used only once as I have no sense of rhythm” - my heart goes out to her!

Red wedges, size 6, starting bid $10 – the listing says “used only once as I have no sense of rhythm” – my heart goes out to her!

Brown and white wingtip oxfords, size 10.5, starting bid $40

Brown and white wingtip oxfords, size 10.5, starting bid $40

White mesh oxford heels, size 9.5, starting bed $19.99

White mesh oxford heels, size 9.5, starting bed $19.99

Black and white wingtip oxfords, size 10, starting bid $29

Black and white wingtip oxfords, size 10, starting bid $29

Herringbone Mary Jane wedges, size 9.5, starting bid $5

Herringbone Mary Jane wedges, size 9.5, starting bid $5