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:
If you’ve been following the adventures of Agent Carter, you’ll know that she has an impeccable 1940’s wardrobe that is ready for action and adventure – a particular purple dress caught the eye of Balboa dancer and instructor Nelle Cherry and, in her diligence and internet mastery, located a close approximation of said dress at La Vie en Swing. Classic 40’s shape, flattering waist, keyhole neckline, swing skirt, the Berlin dress is all the things I love in a dress and would love to wear on the dance floor. While I’m sure that this purple dress similarity a purely wonderful coincidence, it led me down the rabbit hole to exploring the La Vie En Swing clothing line.
La Vie en Swing offers a wonderful 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s reproduction clothing line, with an obvious bent toward swing dancers, with pieces that offer ease of movement and a swish of the skirt. From the website: “Our patterns are accurate in order to enhance and flatter the femenine silhouette. Some of the designs come from original vintage sewing patterns and some other designs are our own creations inspired in the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s, precious years of the Swing Era.”
I am loving the color palette – pinks, purples, mint, cream, and a pop of orange or red. One of my big complaints with vintage 1940’s clothing is the overall lack of color (I find lots of black, brown, navy) and I think La Vie en Swing has embraced a cheerful color palette (bring on the spring!) without resorting to colors that look out of character or like a caricature of the era. The pieces are carefully selected, with lovely details – a little bow detail on the skirt, keyhole necklines (love, love, love!), high waisted sailor trousers, pockets on dresses, and an adorable take on the shirtwaist dress.
Well, I’ve died and gone to heaven – not only did my favorite dress company, Trashy Diva, just come out with a green “kimono print” made of green and candy and marshmallow fluff and everything I love, they are offering 30% off EVERYTHING on their website (sale, new, jewelry, Re-mix Vintage Shoes *COUGHCOUGH*) with the code BLACKOUT30. Dress and matching head scarf acquired as we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, leaving me with much to be thankful for!
The promotion ends Monday, December 1, so get your orders in for your holiday dresses now before the postal service gets bananas!
My eBay searches this week have been filled with good things and most of the items I have clicked on turn out to be really good reproductions from eBay seller portlandcostumes, who simply states the following: “Liquidating costume stock. I started in Ancient Greece and have finally worked my way up to the 20th century.” Some of these great dresses have zero bids and are starting the bidding at $20! Some have never been worn! I can’t even post all the awesomeness because I’d be posting everything, go (quickly!) check out this seller’s store:
On a tip from DJ Kristy Milliken, I checked out Emmy, a Swedish company making vintage-inspired clothing – what I found was a really noteworthy clothing company, and here is why:
1. Their pieces really bridge the gap – you could mix and match a lot of these pieces with modern pieces or vintage pieces and they wouldn’t look out of place. Versatility is so important in a wardrobe.
2. Their pieces go together – they have sweaters to match the dresses/shirts/skirts, versatile basics, and coordinating colors. You could actually put together a mini-wardrobe just from their pieces and not be wanting for casual, dressy, beach, work, and so on.
I see a lot of repro and vintage-inspired clothing companies going for gold with their dresses (which is great, but not 100% of the time – what if I decide to go glamping?) and sort of half-heartedly offering a few separates or the other odd piece. There is definitely a trend away from this and I am hopeful that there is a demand out there, because I know I am wanting more and more to incorporate vintage and vintage-inspired clothing into my everyday life, not just my dancing or singing life.
So how did Emmy get to this point of versatility and so many different garments? With a focus on “feminine, well-fitted garments that embrace and enhance the female shape,” with a goal of suiting all body types and ages and a focus on quality to create garments that can be worn year after year.
Emmy has done a great job with their adorable and practical collections – here are some of my favorites from their Spring/Summer 2014 line:
I am a sucker for a keyhole neckline and a sucker for appliques and an even bigger sucker for a green dress, which is why I was basically devastated when this adorable 1940’s dress with all of these things was not in my size. Someone please buy it so I can adore it on you, in person! 😉
A week ago today I walked in to Trashy Diva’s French Quarter dress shop on a mission to buy a dress – I can’t often make this statement because it is so rare that one would actually get to walk into their store, but more often the case is gazing at their dresses through a web browser. The day before my trip, swing dance instructor and Diva Mia Goldsmith posted that the store had, that day, received their new line of spring/summer dresses and I was elated because I knew I would be able to try all of them on in person.
The new collection did not disappoint – I could have walked out of there with all of the pieces from both prints and then died and gone to heaven. There’s a little something for everyone! In the crepe myrtle print, you can have their sweet Ashley dress with sleeves, the Lena sarong dress with a shoulder drape (for drama), a friggin adorable romper, blouse, skirt, halter dress, hottie top, aaaaaaaaah!
Blue Hawaii print offerings include the Lena, halter, and skirt, but also the strappy L’amour dress, a Trixie top, a front tie top, high waisted shorts, two matching headband options (knot or giant bow), and, it’s not on the website, but I swear there was a little bolero jacket in this print, as well. Just immaculate, in that wonderful rayon. I picked up an Ashley and a Lena in the crepe myrtle – as a note, the Lena is smocked with elastic in the back, so there is a good amount of stretch for fit and you may need to go down 1-2 sizes to get a really good fit.
I love patterned fabrics and have been hoping to find something as lovely at this vintage dress with a fan print, which the seller lists as 1940’s. I love the cut, with the nod to kimono in the sleeves and the ruched edge at the top bringing the eye up, the way the fabric lays, the shawl collar…and, of course, the print is amazing on this sassy and elegant dress.
I’m delighted to report that Trashy Diva’s peppy blue and white polka dots have returned, both in familiar and new incarnations to enhance the adorableness of your wardrobe. I had almost given up hope that TD would give me more rayon prints in 40’s silhouettes, but I don’t know why I ever doubted. Check out their website for the full collection, featuring some of their classic dress designs, but my favorites from the new items are the separates – seriously, an adorable blouse with a peplum to pair with either a swishy skirt or high waisted shorts? YSPLS!
I’m still in holiday dress mode – would love to own something like this 1940’s green satin dress, maybe with the skirt a bit wider for dancing. The shape, color, and fabric are so lovely here, but the kicker is the draping in the back – this is definitely a NYE-worthy dress… *drools*
With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to think about what to wear to those holiday dances or, perhaps, Lindy Focus or Snowball for New Year’s Eve. I am in love with this 1940’s dress in fuschia – an unexpected color, but close-to-red and festively bright, with trimmings of sequins in the shape of…macaw? It looks like an eighth note at a distance…regardless, this dress would be the topic of conversation at any fête. It’s 20% off until the end of today when Fab Gabs’ sale ends!
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.
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… 😉
I couldn’t resist posting this 1940’s dress with detachable skirt because I think it’s such a clever design. It seems that any time buttons are involved the cuteness is magnified, and when you make a skirt detachable it appears to require a lot of buttons. The dots with the solid fabric is a great combo, and I love the contrast collar on the shirt as well as the inset panels on the skirt. Wear with skirt attached or pair with pants for a cute cropped top…maybe without skirt for prelims, with skirt for finals? That’s smart packing, too. 🙂