Fancy legwear has definitely been a trend in the Lindy Hop community for the past few years and it makes sense – we are paying a lot of attention to movement and embellishing that is one way to get someone to look at your legs. I was contacted by the UK legwear retailer, Tightsplease, about reviewing their site and product and I am happy to report that all is well in the UK for quality hosiery.
I tried a pair of the Tightsplease brand’s Jive Stockings, which proved to be highly durable. I didn’t dance in them, but I did brave a Christmas party with a shooting contest, a parade, hot glue gun crafts, small children, and runway walking on a gravel driveway. They’ve made it through the wash on the delicate cycle and are ready to go again. This is saying a lot for these hose because I am the destroyer of all panty hose that are not, essentially, medical grade support hose. I destroyed a different pair last night on the first wear by simply attending a concert and sitting in a chair for 2 hours. Riddle me that.
I was very excited to see that they carry what they are calling Charleston stockings, which look like the silk stockings of old, but probably aren’t silk, based on the price tag. I am hopeful for the latter because silk stockings tend to get droopy around the ankles mid-way through the night and I’d love for modern technology to have improved on that, but maintain that same rich, silky look. Ella wasn’t kidding when she sang about silk shiny stockings – they are really shiny!
The website also lists the denier for most of the hosiery, which I find extremely helpful as the hosiery Godzilla. If there’s two pairs that look the same, you can be sure I’ll go for the one with the higher denier number.
Here are some of my favorites from this lovely site:
I noticed yesterday that the My Heinies website has officially expanded their line of dancewear to include the shoes, hosiery, and hair flowers I mentioned in my previous post on My Heinies and their creator, New York dancer and instructor Carol Fraser. This certainly calls for another post highlighting these goodies, because now we have pictures. 🙂
Before we get to the goods, I want to point out that Carol does her homework. At week one of the Balboa Experiment, Carol brought in samples of everything and held a focus group to talk about what Balboa dancers look for in a shoe – heel shape, heel height, colors, styles, straps, where the shoe falls on the top of your foot, suede v. hard leather, and everything in between. The shoes now available on the My Heinies website represent the results of this group discussion, most of which Carol had overnighted to the Experiment house so that we could try them on in person, give further feedback, and have the option to purchase. The sample shoes remained at the Experiment house for weeks 2 and 3 to try out as well, and I’m sure she’s solicited feedback from a number of other dancers. Another great thing about using the Experiment as a testing ground was that it gave Carol an international perspective on what dancers would want to wear, not just dancers in the U.S.
Here’s what I love from My Heinies’ new selections of shoes, hosiery, and hair flowers (and don’t forget to check out the bloomers, I think Carol’s ordering a new batch very soon):
If you are wearing a dress at a dance, chances are, at some point in the evening, your hoo-ha will be in someone’s line of sight, be it upside down in an aerial or while being dipped by your dance partner. With modern hemlines sky high, the need for coverage is even more pressing. But where to get good coverage? Or better yet, where to get pretty coverage?
Enter My Heinies, “the original ‘pretty’ dance pant.” My Heinies is the brainchild of Carol Fraser, a dancer and choreographer from New York, has been dancing for her entire life and was inspired by her experience sitting on the floor at All Balboa Weekend and looking at the competitors, who had nothing necessarily pretty going on under their skirts during competitions. Necessity is the mother of invention and Carol took it upon herself to create this line of dance and athletic-specific bloomers that were made to go under clothing and provide the type of coverage we are looking for, but with a bit of flair for color and pattern.
From the website: “My Heinies addresses many concerns of dancers and athletes in all genres. All pants have the triangular crotch design which reduces the inner thigh from riding up and also eliminates “the front wedgie.” Additionally, all short inseam pants are 1 inch lower in the back to maintain maximum cheek coverage. There is no elastic on the low and mid rise pants thus eliminating bulges and allowing for more movement. And the high waisted pant offers a new option to current lingerie style trends.
In addition to new technology, My Heinies brings to the market modern prints and patterns in many styles as well as materials that perform. It allows dancers of all genres – contemporary, modern, jazz, tap, salsa, swing, ballroom, tango – as well as all athletes in yoga, running, gymnastics or cheer to add a little “pretty” to their attire.”
My Heinies is currently offering 9 styles of dance pants, with variations on waist height and length. The critical detail here with the shortest leg length is that the backside is lower, so when you kick or lift your leg, the dance pant will not ride up, leaving you with a bit of cheek hanging out (Carol noted that the guys will probably hate her for this 😉 ). With the highest waist model, any dress that does not have a defined waist/belt can have a smoother appearance, rather than seeing the waistband of the bloomers through the fabric of the dress. Taking that even further, you could incorporate the high waist into the layers of your outfit – spokes-model Carla Heiney wore the high waisted model with a regular skirt and tucked her shirt into the My Heinies dance pants, offering a new and interesting way to display her Heinies while keeping her shirt securely tucked in.
Carol also noted that the fabric stretches 4 ways, while most stretch fabrics only stretch 2 ways – the 4 way stretch allows for maximum movement and prevents the fabric from riding up. The fabric is very smooth and can function similarly to a slip, in the sense that the smoothness prevents the bunching of your dress fabric against the fabric of your undergarments and also creates a smoother line under your clothing.
To clarify, these are not Spanx. I detest Spanx and any other sort of nouveau-girdle. These are athletic/dance pants to wear under your clothing for comfort, modesty, style, and athleticism. We are athletes and it’s time for a product to withstand our intensity while looking immensely put-together!
In addition to bloomers, My Heinies will be selling some really hot/sexy/fancy hosiery by Leg Avenue – fishnets, seams, patterns, faux garters, bows, FANCY. When your skirt flies up, there will be plenty of pretty to see!
As if things couldn’t get prettier, Hy Heinies will also be selling lovely hair flowers, of the traditional silk kind as well as real orchids from Thailand that are dipped in resin to preserve them. You can have a real, one of a kind hair flower in your hair that’s frozen in time. Brilliant!
Carol is currently in talks with Arika Nerguiz, maker of some of the most divine tango shoes on the planet, to make shoes for the swing dance community. I am very excited about this development, as I have been drooling over Arika Nerguiz shoes for years.
I am at the Balboa Experiment with Carol this week (we are roomies) and her excitement about the possibilities for this company is infectious. I love to see one of our own creating a new business that enhances our community and is driven by someone who knows dance, dance clothing construction, and our own unique sub-culture so well. She is diligently working to make sure these products live up to their intended function.
I look forward to seeing you and your Heinies on the dance floor!