Mod Cloth Sale

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Well…everyone is having a sale today, but I’ve been particularly smitten with Mod Cloth‘s recent offerings, especially their holiday dresses. That’s one of the beautiful things about swing dancing, is that there’s always a dance party to attend, with a little sparkle added during the holidays.

Mod Cloth also has some great gift ideas for guys and gals – I found some great things to stash under my Christmas tree for friends and family.

Here are some goodies to make your Black Friday bright and cheerful:

Classic Beauty Dress
City of Lights Dress
Dream a Little Gleam Dress
Blumengarten Dress
Peppermint Pansies Dress
Cocoa Cozy Dress
Proscenium Dress
Under the Dark Sky Dress
Oberek Romper
All Aboard Heels - actually a pair of divine Remix shoes, on sale for $100, size 9.5 - last pair!

Fraulein Marlene on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Hello Fraulein! That is the greeting at the top of Fraulein Marlene’s Etsy shop, welcoming you in to look at her lovely vintage goodies. Almost half of her selections are divine vintage shoes from the 1930’s and 1940’s in neutral tones, like brown, black and beige, so they’ll go with everything in your fall and winter dance wardrobe. The shoes also look like they are in solid condition and are reasonably priced.

Fraulein Marlene says simply, “I love clothing and accessories from the 1920’s-1950’s. Vintage is my first passion —> but i am no professional seller…it is a hobby.”

Here are some selections from this excellent hobbyist:

Very much in love with these shoes that are not in my size - 1930's t-straps with gorgeous textured fabric
1940's reptile sandals from Spain in original box
1940's brown suede platform heels
1940's brown suede heels
Black Art Deco pumps - the hotness
1940's brown peeptoes

Jitterbuggin on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I love the initiative and creativity of those seamstresses and tailors who take vintage patterns and make them come alive again. Etsy seller Jitterbuggin is one of these talented people who create garments of the past in the present, and adds her own bit of whimsy through her pattern and fabric selections.

Of particular interest is Jitterbuggin’s profile: “I am a dancer and stage performer with an enthusiastic interest for fun clothes. I make quality ready to wear ranging in eras, styles and sizes. I use vintage materials when I can and often substitute with vintage reprints. Almost every garment is a one of a kind creation. My garments are made with “danceability” and modern comforts in mind while staying true to the glamor of the eras.” Dancers making clothes for dancers is always a good idea, especially when considering cut, construction, and fabric selections.

Here are some of my favorites from the Jitterbuggin Etsy site:

Red jumper and sailor blouse
1930's blouse
High waist pants
1940's Hollywood style skirt
Anchors and stars playshorts
1930's style halter top

Shabby Apple

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Special thanks to Julie and Elizabeth for directing me to Shabby Apple, whose dresses are in several categories in my book – vintage-inspired, dance-worthy, clean lines, and work-appropriate. That last category is critical – if I can wear it to work and to dances, I can probably justify paying a bit more for the garment because I’ll get more miles out of it. I can see me getting a lot of miles out of some of these lovely dresses!

Tuileries Dress

That these dresses are work-appropriate is entirely based on the owners’ desire to have stylish dresses that cover enough skin to make them feel comfortable. In their search for these dresses, they discovered that the problem was not that stores were not buying these clothes, but that the designers were not designing these clothes. Necessity is the mother of invention, so Shabby Apple decided to make these dresses that did not seem to exist!

The web site also makes a good point about these dresses – it’s an all in one outfit. You don’t have to buy any camisoles to go underneath or cardigans to go on top, you just have to buy the dress. In these tough economic times, it seems that the dress is the wardrobe saver in more ways than one.

I should also note that I keep running across companies who have great products and a social conscience, and Shabby Apple is no exception. Shabby Apple partners with Unitus, a non-profit organization that “accelerates access to life-changing financial services for those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Shabby Apple donates 5% of its net dress sales to support work in India (where Shabby Apple Dresses has sourced many of its dresses and the textiles used to manufacture its dresses). In addition, each Shabby Apple Dresses customer has the opportunity to donate an extra five dollars to Unitus every time she buys a dress. Shabby Apple Dresses and Unitus are involved with 10 of India’s most promising microfinance organizations that provide financial services to more than 1.6 million hard-working women and their families. Every $100 donation from Shabby Apple Dresses provides at least 20 women with access to financial services – and the chance to live a life without poverty.”

There are a bevy of dresses to love, so let’s get started:

Sheep Meadow Dress
Bette D. Dress
Ingrid Dress
Lindy Hop Dress
Jitterbug Dress
Frida K. Dress
Circo Dress
Liz and Darcy Dress (in 9 colors!)
Bonheur Dress
La Tour Eiffel Dress
Sutherland Point Bathing Suit

Vendors at All Balboa Weekend

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s been another fantastic year at All Balboa Weekend. If birds of a feather flock together, then our feathers are preened and shiny, because the Balboa people love to dress up and talk about dressing up. If you are a vintage style clothing or shoe retailer, then ABW can be an excellent opportunity to reach out to your fans, many of which come to Cleveland to shop in its vintage stores and/or pick up a pair of dance shoes from one of the ABW vendors (because it’s always great to try them on in person and to avoid shipping charges).

The Ritz

While it was a fantastic year, I was getting over a cold at ABW. I had many plans to do fantastic reporting on fashions, vendors, vintage stores, and take lots of pictures, but decided to take it easy and make sure I was well for the event. However, I have not left ABW empty-handed! The ABW vendors should certainly be highlighted for their fantastic contributions and much appreciated presence at the event.

My favorite vendor at ABW is Remix Vintage Shoes, which lines up their glorious shoes, some of which are not available online, in a long row that covers two large tables. Any Remix shoe can be an investment, so there’s always a delicious agony in choosing the right pair to take home.

White suede mens captoe from Remix

Remix owner Phil Heath was on hand to answer questions, help with fittings, and tell wonderful stories about the shoes (or rather, the shoe of origin). I picked up a delicious pair of silver “The Ritz” shoes and Phil told me he found the model shoe (and pardon me if I butcher the story) at some sort of flea market and bought them for a song – the pair was from the 1920’s and had actual gold leaf on them. The Remix versions, while not in 24K, certainly look gilded.

Aris Allen 1940's velvet and mesh Mary Jane

I saw a number of gents pick up Remix’s answer to the white Aris Allen captoe, which have fantastic detail and come in a soft white suede. I couldn’t find these on the web site, so you’ll have to call Remix and inquire.

I’ll have more of my Remix photos at the end of this post. was at the event in force, with literally a wall of inventory in all shapes and sizes. Dancestore had two people staffing the table at times and the response for these shoes was overwhelming to wade through, with ladies and gents strewn about the hallway trying on shoes.

Aris Allen Classic Dress Sneaker

I saw a lot of ladies buying and sporting the Aris Allen 1940’s velvet and mesh Mary Jane heel, which looked fantastic on everyone who wore them. I was also informed that this was the ladies shoe of choice at The Experiment.

The men could stock up on those critical white Aris Allen captoes, or pick up a pair of Classic Dress Sneakers, which I saw on a number of male feet.

Heyday trouser

Heyday was back again this year, fresh from the UK, with owner Shona van Beers bringing over stacks of her amazing wide leg trousers, dresses, and flirty tops. If you haven’t experienced the wonders of the Heyday trousers, then you are truly missing out – they have an elegant drape, feel like pajamas, and make your bum look like a million bucks. I apologize for not having live photos of these items, and especially apologetic for not posting all of Shona’s amazing outfits that she wore all weekend – gorgeous stuff!

Heyday 1940's dress

Toward the end of the weekend Bop City Vintage made an appearance at the end of the hall, with fresh vintage clothing for men and women each day and prices in the $10 to $20 range. There are no online resources for this company, but duly noted that it is very cool to have racks of vintage clothing for sale at a swing event!

I’ll end by saying that the Balboa community has some truly creative individuals, who came out in full force for the ABW Project Runway competition. The challenge was to create a look out of Bart Bartolo tee shirts with the slogan “Keepin’ it casual,” duct tape, and scissors. While I did not win with my pencil skirt with Bart kickpleat, pop-art halter top with chevron detailing on the back, matching purse, and fascinator, I was very pleased with the showing and with my model, Nelle Cherry, who did a smashing job showing it off. The winner of the contest made a fantastic, wearable dress with lovely goring and a twirly skirt. It may be too early for pictures – I’m hoping my Facebook friends come through with a few!

I’d like to thank Valerie Salstrom, MaryAnn Carothers, Kyle Smith, and the rest of the ABW crew for putting on a world-class event. This was my fourth ABW and, in my opinion, the best one thus far – I can’t wait until next year!

Leluxe Clothing Co.: Reproduction 1920’s Beaded Dresses

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I just about passed out when I found the Leluxe Clothing Company web site.

If you have ever come across a 1920’s beaded gown for sale, odds are the retailer was asking upwards of $1,000 for the dress, if in mint condition. If not in mint condition, then the seller was still asking hundreds of dollars for the garment. Even then, there was no guarantee that the dress would not disintegrate upon wearing, and dancing in it was out of the question.

I could only lust after these dresses, wishing I could cut a rug and hear the soft swishing of beads like the dancers in the Great Gatsby movie.

The unattainable is now attainable. Leluxe Clothing Company offers hand beaded dresses in modern materials that give you the quality and craftsmanship of a 1920’s beaded dress without the worry that the dress will fall apart.

According to the web site, “LeLuxe Clothing Company was founded in 2000 with the goal of continuing the traditions of design and craftsmanship of a bygone era. Working in the costume houses of Hollywood, owner Jill Schliesmann realized the fragile creations of diaphanous cottons, laces, and beaded silks were being lost to time. She and her husband, Shane Burroughs, recognized a void that needed to be filled – a style that needed to be revived so that those creations could live again. LeLuxe Clothing Company makes the fun and luxury of the Jazz Age accessible to the Twenty-first Century. The combined experiences of Ms. Schliesmann and Mr. Burroughs gives them insight into the specialized needs of the entertainment industry, the demands of cutting-edge fashion, and the fascinating sphere of collecting, preserving, and restoring vintage clothing. LeLuxe Clothing Company not only offers faithful reproductions of period designs, but also a number of exclusive designs created in the spirit of the 1920’s – dresses that embody creative energy, sharp design, and a wonderful sense of whimsy.”

These dresses are stunning. And sparkly. And wearable! They come in a variety of lengths and the owners have noted which dresses are best for dancing. The fit on 1920’s dresses does not have to be exact, which makes these dresses easy to size because the dress can be as fitted or loose as you want it to be. All of the dresses have different measurements, there is no uniform sizing, so pay close attention to the measurements before purchasing or dismissing.

The dresses are mesh, so a slip is an essential part of the ensemble. Leluxe also offers slips that are made to go under these dresses in a number of different colors. Depending on the look you want or the dress you have chosen, you can mix up the shape and the color of the slip.

As if the beaded dresses weren’t enough to make Leluxe fabulous, they also carry dreamy white cotton dresses with vintage embroidery. Everything is so lovely here!

It’s going to be hard to narrow this down and not post every dress on the web site, but here’s a sampling of these glorious dresses (most come in multiple colors):

The Duchess
The Garconne
The Fleur-de-lis (the red is not on the web site, but should be available soon)
The Egyptian
The Deco Star
The Spider (this dress would be wicked cool on Halloween!)
The Vamp
Gatsby Lawn Dress
The Forget-Me-Not

Vivien of Holloway

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Vivien of Holloway is a UK based retailer of 1940’s and 1950’s reproduction clothing. From the looks of their press page, the British glitterati are already in love with Vivien of Holloway’s designs – thank goodness for the Interwebs to bring us these goodies from across the pond! Check out their amazing photo gallery for some inspiring ways to wear their designs.

I’d like to thank my friend, DJ, and fellow clotheshorse Bill Speidel for this find.

Most of these items come in 10+ colors, so if you don’t like the color I posted, chances are there’s a color you will like. Also, if you like halter tops and dresses, this is your store. Here are some of my faves:

I am such a sucker for gingham dresses...
Turquoise linen sarong dress
Red pencil skirt
Gypsy top - rickrack FTW!
Petticoat/crinoline - an item that can be really hard to find unless you go digging in square dance land. They also come in multiple colors and are already the correct length for the dresses sold on the site.
Anchor belt - yes, please! Also comes in blue.
Cherry shoe clips!

Delia*s all in white

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I’ve been getting the Delia*s catalog since I was about 14 years old and with each passing year I wonder when I will grow out of loving things from this catalog. True, the number of “love” items has grown smaller as I grow older, but there is always something in the catalog that catches my eye or ends up catching my wallet. This season, Delia*s has put out a number of great pieces that are all white. I love wearing white in the summer – it always looks so light and cool. Check out these lovely pieces, with details like ruffles, pintucks, battenburg lace, and smocking – some of these garments come in darker colors, if you have trouble seeing the detail:

Mod Cloth: the democratic republic of vintage-inspired fashion

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

When Mod Cloth was discovered online by one of my friends, news of the web site spread like wildfire in my circle of friends because we were starved for a place to get modern retro-inspired clothing at a reasonable price. Variety is the spice of life and Mod Cloth takes this to heart by offering clothing from many different sources, including Trashy Diva, Stop Staring!, and Tulle, thus, giving you maximum exposure to brands offering what you want to wear. The really great clothing items sell out quickly, but I find that if they include the brand or maker in the item description, that the item that is out of stock on Mod Cloth may be in stock at the source web site.

Perhaps the reason Mod Cloth is so great is in large part due to the philosophies of its founders:

“Founded by high school sweethearts, Eric Koger and Susan Gregg Koger, and built on a foundation of love for vintage and retro clothing, is an online clothing, accessories, and decor retailer that aims to provide a fun and engaging shopping atmosphere for you, our customer. We do this by interacting with you via social network sites like Twitter and Facebook, requesting your feedback through the ModLife Blog and product reviews, and asking you to vote on potential inventory with the Be the Buyer program, all with the intention of running a fashion business in a democratic style. Supplying you with the opportunities to have your voice heard is what keeps our company fresh, relevant, and growing by leaps and bounds. This is what allows us to continually accommodate your pioneering passion for modern trends. We invite you to comb through our clever product descriptions, flip through our stylebooks, shop our vast assortment of indie designs, find some unique one of a kinds, and get in touch with one of our friendly customer care representatives if you have any questions. We want to be the fashion company you’re friends with!”

A fashion democracy? Hear, hear!

The web site is so full of goodness that I’ll limit my favorites to the most recent arrivals:

Trashy Diva

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

First things first – there’s nothing trashy about Trashy Diva. This New Orleans-based outfit carries classy goods for ladies, from shoes to clothes to accessories. I know I already mentioned Trashy Diva in my blog entry for Atomic Ballroom, but I want to shout it from the hills how amazing their dresses are now that I own one!

One of my favorite concepts is for retailers to take vintage patterns and make them into current clothing (this will definitely be a recurrent theme on This solves two problems:

1) My need to look like a vintage doll at swing dances; and

2) My need for durable, danceable clothing that doesn’t inhibit movement and won’t disintegrate if I sweat in it.

My mother, who grew up sewing her own clothes with the clean lines of 1960’s clothing, has made me a few dresses from vintage patterns, but after seeing her worry about messing them up and fretting over the tucks and gathering (they came out beautifully, Mom!), I have been able to give her a bit of a break, thanks to retailers and dressmakers like Trashy Diva. I should also mention that finding suitable fabric to make these clothes is very difficult, if not impossible in North Carolina. That Trashy Diva is able to find such wonderful fabrics for these dresses is truly amazing to someone who doesn’t live near Mood or some other purveyor of fine fabrics.

The fit on these dresses is impeccable. I know my measurements and Trashy Diva delivered to my doorstep a comfortable dress that required no alteration. I purchased one of their rayon dresses and the pattern on the fabric and texture were spot on. My only complaint is that the garment must be dry cleaned, which may not be required for some of their other fabrics.

The Trashy Diva website mimics the real life Trashy Diva store, which I have heard (but not actually witnessed – one day!) are actually three stores in New Orleans, one carrying dresses, one with lingerie, and another with shoes, accessories, etc. You should take your time and explore this website, as there are wonderful surprises at every click.

Unfortunately, the website is set up to where I can’t link you to individual items, but here are some of my favorites, if you’d like a scavenger hunt:

Lindy looks from Forever 21

Forever 21 has some of the best bargains I’ve found for clothes, but I usually shy away from their retail stores because of the sheer volume of chaos involved in going to the store. The Forever 21 website is a streamlined way to get through all those racks of clothes in a more organized and stress-free fashion.

Here are some dresses from Forever 21’s website that are sort of a nod to things swing:

Meridian Silk Dress

Picnic Party Dress

Whispy flower silk dress

Whispy feather knit dress

Pretty frocks to cure your case of the Mondays

On Mondays the eBay sellers get back to work with fresh vintage auctions for the week. Here’s what today’s listing had to offer:

Coral beaded flapper dress

Adorable blue gingham dress with bows on the shoulders and buttons up the side.

Colorful feedsack print dress.

Citrus striped sundress.

Aqua patterned 40’s day dress with puffed sleeves and rickrack.

Chevron striped sundress.

Black crepe cocktail dress with beading detail.

Art deco-inspired earrings.