I’ve been preparing for a WWII/D-Day themed gig and am elated to be borrowing a friend’s grandmother’s WWII nurse’s uniform for the day – the only thing I am missing is a hairstyle that will work with the uniform’s service cap. The obvious choice is a pin curl set, with curls peeking out from under the cap, since I have so little hair and an elaborate victory roll configuration just is not possible. I had experimented with a pin curl set pattern I found online through a video tutorial from Lisa Freemont Street, “the Gene Tierney,” and was very pleased with the results, though I only did a trial run without product and didn’t leave my home with the ‘do.
I began following Lisa Freemont Street’s Facebook page and this gal is a wealth of information, and timely at that – just as I was needing a pin curl set with some staying power (i.e. the right hair products), she posts an updated video of her styling tools and hair products recommendations. Since this blog is all about where to purchase the things we want and need for dancing, I thought I’d share her vlog post recommendations. She covers everything from products for finger waves to pin curls and talks about different types of hair. I made a list of things I will need for my pin curl set (both wet and dry, we’ll see what works best) and I was able to find everything on my list on Amazon.com. The hair products and tools are now on their way to my front door – voila! Thanks, technology! Check out Lisa’s recommendations in her vlog below and her YouTube channel is a wealth of how-to information:
It was another glorious weekend of competitions, inspirational figures (young and old), and a celebration of movement to some of the hottest jazz in the US – I’m talking about the 2012 International Lindy Hop Championships, held in Washington, D.C. this past weekend. The swanky Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel was the swanky backdrop for this event and the bright and shiny decor only added to the vibrancy of the event.
Were there vendors? You bet! I only wish there had been more vendors, as it appeared that they were fewer in number from last year. The most noticeable absence was Carol Fraser and her army of My Heinies, fabulous shoes, and accompanying Model J Vintage that filled up a prominent space in the vendor area at ILHC 2011. As a consolation, I did notice that every follow who showed her heiny in a comp had it securely covered. 🙂
Dancestore was there with an entire inventory of their staple shoes, but of serious note was the introduction of a new (wait for it)…trumpet skirt! While it’s not the trumpet skirt we know and love, it’s still a nice variation on the theme, with beautiful Art Deco-inspired seaming on the front. The twirl factor is good! The only con, in my opinion, is the material – it is a very stretchy/drapey jersey instead of the more substantial stretch suiting-type material of the trumpet skirts of my crusade. The new skirts are great if you want something to ball up and throw in your suitcase, but are not so good if you have hip, bum, or belly bumps, or if you want to tuck in your shirt. I am still eagerly awaiting the return of the more substantial trumpet skirt. In the vein of more substantial fabrics, Dancestore also had a fantastic new red wiggle dress (also not available on the website yet).
Next door, Laurie Gilkenson (also known as Nina‘s Mom), set up a table that was a mix of fabulous and/or quirky Nina clothing castoffs, fabulous vintage shoes, Mobtown Ballroom tee shirts, various DVDs from instructors, and anything else anyone else happened to want to sell. My favorite item on this table was actually the Mobtown Ballroom tee, which not only embodied the rebellious spirit of Mobtown, but also managed to be patriotic and historic – highly appropriate for an event in our nation’s capital!
Mike Thibault set up a display of his wonderful swing and early jazz prints from his Vintage Jazz Art website. I noticed a couple of new prints, including a colorful print a flapper with a trombonist and saxophonist and (most notably) another print of a photograph of the Savoy Ballroom featuring a mob of dancers and Erskine Hawkins on the band stand. Mike said that he was working with the photographer’s son and that this relationship may yield some more choice photographic prints! We’ll definitely stay tuned, especially if there is more Savoy Ballroom and trombone player goodness to be had.
Forties Forward was on hand to make sure the dancers were appropriately and florally decorated. I have several of their flowers and they are some of my favorites. These gals know that the blooms need to stay relatively flat to be practical for dancing and for this Lindy Shopper salutes you.
Last, but most certainly not least, the adorable and incomparable Dawn Hampton was intermittently manning her own table of CDs and DVDs of “The Unforgettable Hampton Family.” Sadly, I did not get photographic evidence of this!
And that’s a wrap on the vendors, but stay tuned for two more ILHC-related posts. I hope events will continue to have vendors and promote Lindy Hop commerce amongst businesses and the participants who need/want these unique products. ILHC, see you next year!
It’s that time of year again, time to don your best blooms for a celebration of cheer, color, and beauty during the winter month of February – with the blessing of Patron Saint Billie Holiday, 2012 will be another great year for Floweruary.
From Kerry & Philly:
Hey everybody, A few of us were planning on using this year’s Floweruary as a way to do some good.
The Commitment: Put away a dollar (or some amount of $, whatever you can spare) each day you participate in Floweruary. The Point: At the end of the month, we’ll give our Hair Flower Dollars to the Lindy Hopper’s Fund. It may not be a lot from each individual, but together we can certainly make an impact.
I’m not (yet) rolling in the dough, but I would love to do something to help the Lindy Hopper’s Fund. I hope you all think about joining in on this. Even if you’re a ten cent-er, go ahead and be proud with your ten cents!
Swingoutly, Kerry and the Philadelphians.”
There you have it! Looking forward to participating and seeing all the lovely hair accessories. 🙂
This past weekend I attended a wonderful dance and workshop weekend in Norfolk/Virginia Beach, VA called Be My Jazz Baby and blissed out on two nights of dancing to Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society. Be My Jazz Baby worked to bring in vendors, who set up their wares along the inside of the dance studio room where the Saturday night dance was held. This seemed to facilitate more interaction between the vendors and the dancers. Some of the vendors were old favorites and others were new to me.
First in the lineup, Sharon Crawford was there with her needle, thread, and supplies, whipping up custom Creations by Crawford for people on the fly, as well as vending some ready-to-wear items. Sharon prefers to create custom pieces for people, based on what they are wearing or something they own, which is entirely practical and takes the guesswork out of knowing what you’ll pair with one of her floral or feather pieces.
Next we had a new addition to our regional vendors, Norfolk-based Kelsie McNair and her collection of vintage dresses, shoes, ties, and other sundries from With Lavender and Lace. It’s always wonderful to welcome the vintage clothing community into the swing dance community and I think Kelsie was pleased with the response.
Dancestore.com, by way of Kara Fabina, was present to vend their quality dance shoes to anyone who needs or wants (or desperately needs because their shoes are falling apart) a new pair of swing dance shoes. I’m excited to see Aris Allen as a consistent vendor and events – after going through a patent leather oxford boy’s ballroom shoe nightmare this week, being able to try on the shoes is worth its weight in gold.
Also new-ish to the vendor squad (but not new to the Raleigh Durham dancers) is Hairzapoppin, the floral creations of Kristy Milliken. Kristy is probably her own best advertising, as she always has a bevy of blossoms tucked into her impeccable updo. Not to mention the Lite-Brite sign, acting as a beacon to draw you to her table…
Vintage Visage came next, which I first encountered at Jammin’ on the James in Richmond, VA this past fall. Wares include reproduction and vintage items, like hats, gloves, fans, hair accessories, ties, and purses, that little something extra you may need to complete your outfit. Kathryn Ann Meyer, the curator of the Vintage Visage collection, graciously let us use one of her hats to draw names for the competition – thanks again for that!
Finally, Be My Jazz Baby had a roving vendor – Caroline Langdon, dolled up in a gorgeous cigarette girl ensemble, peddled vintage ties and other vintage goodies from her tray instead of cigarettes on behalf of Moderlux, a vintage clothing and furniture store in Hampton, VA. Sadly, Caroline and I were both so busy that I didn’t catch sight of her wares, but she’s provided this information on the store: “Modernlux is a truly unique little store I operate with owner/founder Gary MacIntyre located in the heart of old Hampton at 47 East Queens Way (23669). We specialize in Mid-Century design including housewares, household gadgets, furniture, objets d’art, and, naturally, fashion – for both men and women!”
Thanks to Bill Speidel and Victor Celania for hosting a lovely weekend of dancing and shopping!
This weekend I’m traveling to Norfolk, Virginia for the Be My Jazz Baby workshop and competition weekend. Two of my favorite male clotheshorses, Bill Speidel and Victor Celania, are organizing this event and I am excited to see the vendors they have selected for the event!
There will definitely be a report when I get back. 🙂
It’s about that time – the time of the year where we don our holiday finery for holiday parties and dances, which means it’s time to start planning our outfits now. Regular hair flowers are great, but not always the right tone for a seasonal outfit. I’ve gone so far as to pick some unknown berries and leaves from my yard and put them in my hair because I wanted to look festive. I’m not sure if the berries were poisonous, so this year…safety first.
I’ll credit Philly dancer Caroline Gleeson for the tip about May Bell Creations, the Etsy store of Caroline’s friend, Mary Hadzimichalis. Mary has created some really lovely holiday hair ornaments, some that are more floral (like that elusive poinsettia I’ve been wanting) and others sparkle, and most do both. I think she’s done a fantastic job with the materials and making the pieces look festive without being kitschy. Here’s what I love:
My Baby Jo has a little bit of everything to help you embrace your inner pin-up girl, and some essential menswear clothing and accessories for the swing era gent. My Baby Jo has a retail store in Los Angeles, CA, but thankfully they also offer their excellent 1940’s and 1950’s-inspired clothing, shoes, and accessories online.
The website has a great selection of women’s dresses, swimwear, undergarments, hair flowers, jewelry, shoes, handbags, cosmetics and men’s jackets, shirts, pants, shoes, hats, pomade, ties, and vintage watches. The vintage men’s watches are especially good, with watches from the 1920’s through the 1950’s that look like they are in sturdy, wearable condition. Their swimwear selections feature the best of Esther Williams’ swimwear line. The site also offers some fun pieces that may fill gaps in your wardrobe or Halloween costume (like that Rosie the Riveter jumpsuit – where else do you find that?). They also have an extensive selection of men’s hats and hat-care items, including brushes and felt cleaner.
There’s so much goodness here, I’ll try to narrow down my favorites:
There’s been a flurry of Billie Holiday discussion online today, with DJs Rob Moreland (via Facebook) and Jerry Almonte (via blog) writing about danceable Billie Holiday tunes. Billie’s music is absolutely inspiring and so is her signature look. The images of Billie Holiday with clusters of gardenias in her hair are iconic – so much so, that flowers, or clusters of flowers, have become a quintessential vintage look for singers, dancers, and (as many Etsy listings tout) brides.
Billie’s flowered tresses came about by accident, according to biographer Bud Kliment (via the Human Flower Project). The story goes that “During Holiday’s tenure at Kelly’s Stable, Sylvia Sims, a fellow jazz singer, furnished Holiday with an accessory that was to become a lasting part of her image. One night before a performance, Holiday burned her hair with a curling iron. Sims, who was in the room with her, promptly went to a club down the street, where the coat check girls were selling flowers. Sims bought a big white gardenia and gave it to Holiday, who wore it that night to cover the burned section of her hair. She liked wearing the flower so much that she began to put a gardenia in her hair before every performance.”
Gardenias are beautiful, delicate white flowers with a lovely and potent scent. I was delighted to discover that the giant bush behind my house was a gardenia bush, after it blossomed with gusto this past spring. The smell was intoxicating and made my backyard a wonderful and fragrant place to be (in spite of my brown thumb and allergies to the outdoors). I plucked some of these flowers to wear at the G.I. Jive in Greenville, S.C. this past June, placing them carefully in a vase inside a cooler so they would survive the trip to South Carolina. At the dance that night, several people commented on the flowers’ fragrance and were surprised that I had transported real gardenias to wear in my hair. It was definitely worth the effort, as the gardenias achieved the desired Billie effect and fit wonderfully in the curl of a victory roll; however, by the end of the night, the June humidity and heat (as well as additional heat from dancers) caused the gardenias to wilt. I presume that all those photos of Billie with gardenias were taken shortly after she took the stage, or in winter…or that she perhaps wore a more hearty variety of gardenias.
(Side note: There is some debate in the Human Flower Project article about what it means to wear the flower on the right side above the ear or the left side above the ear. I notice that Billie wears hers on the left. I wear my flowers on the left so my lead doesn’t get a flower directly in the face when we are in closed position or dancing Balboa. I wonder if that was a consideration for her side selection…)
My gardenia bush lost its blooms several months ago, but there are a number of beautiful and practical artificial options to tide me over until next spring. Etsy has become my go-to place for hair flowers and the crafts-people on Etsy do not disappoint. Here are some options to help you achieve Lady Day’s signature look: