Tag Archives: ILHC

ILHC 2016: Trend and Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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My seat for the weekend’s evening festivities.

It was another banner year for the International Lindy Hop Championships, now in its 9th year, and full of life, energy, and joy that only swing dancing with people who love these dances with every fiber of their being can bring.

This year’s ILHC was very different for me than in previous years, primarily because I was only singing with Jonathan Stout‘s bands on Friday and Saturday night, whereas in previous years I had competed, DJ’ed, participated in the Yehoodi broadcast, and also sang, usually 2-3 of these at various times over the course of the weekend.  Consequently, I cannot say that I was in the ballroom as much as I had been in the past, but I received a request for a trend report, so I will tell you what I was able to see while I was there:

Trashy Diva: TD has been around for a while and there would always be a token dancer in a TD dress (usually Mia Halloran (as in the video below) or Valerie Salstrom), but this year the TD was out en masse.  As my gaze scanned the dancing crowd each night, there were numerous ladies sporting TD’s signature printed rayon dresses and it made my heart sing!  You all looked amazing – at one point, I happened upon a cluster of three women in TD chatting in the hallway and there’s nothing that makes me happier than fashion bringing people together.

Cropped tops: This trend was a pleasant surprise, seeing adorable cropped tops paired with everything from floaty skirts to high waisted trousers, and always impeccably assembled with the rest of the outfit.  Everything from right at the top of the waistband to about three inches above the waistband, so some were just a peek when you lifted your arm to turn and others were more intentionally part of the ensemble’s silhouette.

High waisted tapered leg pleated front pants:  Ubiquitous, for a second year in a row.  My distaste for this trend remains, but at least they all fit you well, no one looked uncomfortable.

Women in ties: Neckties, bow ties, and I think I even spotted a Continental – ladies, won’t you join me during OcTieBer?

Men: I’ve got nothing, it looked rather more of the same, except that well-dressed men are always in style.  Nevermind, keep looking amazing, don’t change. 😉

If you attended, I’d love to hear what other trends did you noticed while you were there – feel free to leave a note in the comments.

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May 15, 2016 Lake Buena Vista, FL Ashley Eckstein / Her Universe Photo credit: Preston Mack

I’m also going to give honorable mention to Diana Smith, who wore my favorite clothing item of the weekend, a black floral romper that, at a distance looks like it’s made from a a nice vintage floral, but upon closer inspection has Captain America’s shield nestled in the beds of flowers!  Click on the photo to make it larger so you can see the detail –  brilliant nod to the Captain America back story and the victory prints of the 1940’s.  Did I think to get a photo of Diana in this romper?  No, because I’m a terrible reporter and I think I got her in trouble during sound check because we were both working when I started geeking out about her romper…so you’ll have to settle for the Kohl’s model at right.  Unfortunately, this romper is no longer available at Kohl’s! *sigh*

There were not as many vendors at ILHC as in the past, and I particularly missed seeing Chloe Hong, but there were 4 vendors offering goods and services to the masses in the hallway of the event and they should be noted because they are noteworthy!

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Holding down the largest vendor space was Laurie Gilkenson (aka Nina’s mom) with both Dancestore’s line of dance shoes for men and women, as well as vintage shoes and clothing.  I noticed that Dancestore has a new colorway in their Aris Allen men’s wingtip, a nice brown and cream.  I also died when I saw that Laurie had several pairs of 1920’s shoes, just the loveliest things in satin that my feet will never fit into!  Also, vintage velvet…so many lovely things…

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Junebug Shop’s original designs

Across from Laurie was the Junebug Shop, the custom clothing endeavor of Anna Yergat, who had her designs on display, as well as a line of geometric beaded jewelry in just about every color – so you could order an entire accessorized ensemble at her table.  The Junebug Shop Etsy page carries Anna’s custom designs as well as some vintage clothing items.  Anna’s designs look romantic and dance-worthy, vintage nods with modern twists.

Finally, the Vinspire Salon at ILHC was staffed by Destinee Cushing (hair) and Lani Barry (makeup), offering full services faces and quoifs all weekend, if you could even get one – they were so popular there was a wait list!  One could say that having hair and makeup done, either professionally by these two or by other means (self, friend) was also a trend this past weekend and rightly so – this is quite possibly Lindy Hop’s biggest and most broadcast performance opportunity of the year and it’s a time to shine, look vibrant under all those bright lights, and look and dance your best.

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Lani preparing for a new client and Destinee working on some curls.

And that’s a wrap!  I love coming to ILHC for the energy and the inspiring dances I see all weekend, there’s a little something here for everyone, even if you aren’t competing.  Sometimes it’s good just to take it all in.

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Geometric jewelry at the Junebug Shop.

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Vintage velvet must be the greatest snuggle fabric ever…sorry for the blurry photo, I was probably mid-swoon.

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1920’s shoes AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH

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Fashion at ILHC 2015 with Lindy Shopper

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

So many of you have asked me to profile individuals on Lindy Shopper and, while I think that is a lot of fun, I wanted Lindy Shopper to remain focused on retail sources and helpful ideas – however, when I combine powers with Yehoodi, anything is possible. 🙂  Yehoodi pitched the idea of me interviewing fashionable Lindy Hoppers at the International Lindy Hop Championships and I thought it was a great idea, to approach people who catch my eye on the floor about what they are wearing, why they are wearing it, where they got it, and their personal dance clothing and shoe preferences.  Due to some technical difficulties, this was delayed and released this past Monday by Yehoodi, but here it is!  Enjoy!

(turn on closed captioning if you have difficulty hearing – the DJ’ed music was louder than we anticipated)

Celania Custom Clothing at ILHC 2015

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I miss Victor terribly now that he's no longer on the east coast, he's the best to go vintage shopping with because he's a digger and he's persistent!

I miss Victor terribly now that he’s no longer on the east coast, he’s the best to go vintage shopping with because he’s a digger and he’s persistent!

As we approach the end of August, no doubt you have the International Lindy Hop Championships on the brain, whether you are attending in person or watching via Yehoodi broadcast. While ILHC has not been known for its quantity of vendors, it is known for rare opportunities to interact with special custom clothiers, such as Chloe Hong. This year, one of my earliest Lindy shopping companions, Victor Celania will add his expertise to the vendor lineup through his Celania Custom Clothing.

Based in Austin, Texas, Victor has created his own line of made-to-measure custom clothing that essentially takes everything that is great about Victor and whittles it down to something that is perfect for you. What this means is that Victor uses his knowledge of Lindy Hop, vintage fashion, menswear, modern fashion, the custom garment industry, fabrics, and his listening skills, willingness to try new things skills, and his ability to be that encouraging person in your life that assures you that yes, you should try this on and, no, that color is not bad for you, and yes, this will work with your coloring, and JUST TRUST VICTOR. The gents on his Instagram feed would rival (nay, exceed) anything GQ is putting out. He can simultaneously get you out of your comfort zone, yet find something that becomes so very YOU that you didn’t quite know how stylish you really are.

Victor will be scheduling appointments through Saturday evening at ILHC. Set up an appointment now by emailing him at vcelania@yahoo.com and visit his Instagram page to see more of his work.

Victor dresses an entire band, Austin's Soul Track Mind.

Victor dresses an entire band, Austin’s Soul Track Mind.

ILHC 2014 – Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Get your ILHC tees here!

Get your ILHC tees here!

I was excited to see some new vendor faces and an old favorite return to the International Lindy Hop Championships this year. Particularly, with a focus on menswear – it is so easy for women to find good dance clothing, but most of our vendors (who are mostly women themselves) cater to women. This year, the men and women had some great vendors to choose from, from pieces you could take home to custom-made garments to order.

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Did I mention my love for Chloe Hong? After her stint at All Balboa Weekend, I was suprised (read: elated) to see her back in the U.S. after such a short time. Not only did she clean up on the dance floor, she set up shop at ILHC to take custom orders for her wonderful selection of women’s skirts and classic men’s suiting. Just going through her fabric swatches makes me happy! If you have never considered ordering something custom and you find yourself at an event with Chloe Hong, I would recommend at least looking into ordering a custom piece – she can get your measurements in person and has lots of experience dressing dancers for a range of movement (she counts Bobby White, Thomas Blacharz, Pontus Persson, Laura Keat, Jeremy Otth, and Juan Villafane as customers, and I could go on…)

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Returning for another year (have they been at ILHC every year?) is Forties Forward, with an array of lovely hair blooms, feathers, and accessories. One can never have too many hair accoutrements and I was also pleased to see that Forties Forward shared their table with A Woopie! Handmade Bowties (another menswear vendor!), which had a nice array of ties and even included some adorable instructions on how to tie the ties! I always need a little help when I tie my ties, so an adorable instruction card on my vanity beats, say, that YouTube tutorial I have to pull up every time I do this…

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Perhaps the most impressive display belonged to Brown & Williams Clothiers, who specialize in vintage British menswear – yes, they import and they curate a stellar collection, a portion of which was on display at ILHC. I wish could sport the amazing jackets, sweaters, and trousers I spotted in their booth (none of them small enough!) – a seriously delicious collection for anyone who digs British style, collegiate style, boating, and especially tweed. If you are interested in checking out some of their stock, it looks like the best way to purchase is through their Etsy site – that green and white crested blazer *drool*…

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Then there was this mysterious banner for Behind the Beat – Clothes that Match Your Rhythm and a link to a website that says it is launching July 7 (checks calendar…still no). Upon further inspection, a Facebook page yields evidence of graphic tee shirts and hoodies, so I guess we will stay tuned? Stay tuned.

And that’s all, folks, check out the goods below – happy shopping and happy dancing at ILHC!

Collar options - FROMChloeHong

Collar options – FROMChloeHong

Chloe does casual

Chloe does casual

An array of sample jackets at FROMChloeHong

An array of sample jackets at FROMChloeHong

The fabulous Chloe skirts - look at those colors!

The fabulous Chloe skirts – look at those colors!

Trouser detail at FROMChloeHong

Trouser detail at FROMChloeHong

Some softness from Forties Forward

Some softness from Forties Forward

Some signature blooms from Forties Forward

Some signature blooms from Forties Forward

What a cute name for ties!

What a cute name for ties!

A selection of A Whoopie! ties

A selection of A Woopie! ties

Adorable tie instructions

Adorable tie instructions

Belt back jacket spotted at Brown & Williams - definitely a good sign

Belt back jacket spotted at Brown & Williams – definitely a good sign

Red vest, for a more formal look - at Brown & Williams

Red vest, for a more formal look – at Brown & Williams

This striped jacket would be a great attention-grabber in a competition - at Brown & Williams

This striped jacket would be a great attention-grabber in a competition – at Brown & Williams

Lots of interesting details on this vest, especially the button lapels - at Brown & Williams

Lots of interesting details on this vest, especially the button lapels – at Brown & Williams

ILHC 2014 – Trend Report

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This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This year’s International Lindy Hop Championships were a little topsy turvy for me – instead of competing and commentating on the Balboa Strictly competition and ILHC trends for Yehoodi’s broadcast, I was DJ’ing the Balboa competitions and singing with Jonathan Stout‘s bands. I ALMOST thought I wouldn’t have time to gather information for a blog post, but then I found myself going “OK, I have 5 minutes before sound check, let me just run over here…” So, you see, I have a post for you after all – two, even. 😀

Let’s start with trends! Here’s what I saw this year:

They actually looked better styled by the dancers at ILHC - tuck in shirt of your choice, hem to ankle length, add Keds and optional belt and/or head scarf.

They actually looked better styled by the dancers at ILHC – tuck in shirt of your choice, hem to ankle length, add Keds and optional belt and/or head scarf.

– Women’s high waisted pants with tapered leg, optional pleat – if they had gotten them at the GAP, it would be a new era of khakis swing because these pants were everywhere. I counted at least 10 pairs on follows in one of the Lindy Hop prelims heats, plus scattered sightings elsewhere. NYC dancer Jessica Miltenberger reported that American Apparel was a prime source here, offering said pant in a recent sale for a great price and versatile colors. It looked like a casual scene in a 1950’s technicolor film, with all the tucked in shirts, high waisted pants, and skinny belts…but that’s probably a different GAP commercial…

– Men’s suits in non-traditional colors – I saw lovely shades of deep burgundy, purple, and different blues, all elegantly done and tastefully accessorized, but with that extra pop that makes you notice them – which is exactly what you want in a dance competition, to be noticed.

– Stockings with detail on the lower thigh – yes, Jo Hoffberg has been doing this for years, but this year people must have Googled hard enough to find all her elegant stocking sources. The beauty of the lower thigh detail is that you don’t have to wear a super short or flyaway skirt to see all that glorious detail, and it emphasized swivels in a really cool and different way.

– Men’s purple dress shirts – were rampant! Light, medium, dark, all the shades. See also coordinating follower outfits.

Remy Kouakou Kouame & Vincenzo Fesi – holy mother of *insert expletives of joy*, those white suits…all their ensembles from the weekend, really, but their powers combine in this magnificent routine for sartorial and jazz dance sublimity.

Vendor report coming soon – stay tuned!

ILHC 2013 Vendor and Style Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Forties Forward at ILHC

Forties Forward at ILHC

The International Lindy Hop Championships proved to be a truly inspiring event this year, with performances by top dancers, of course, but there was also an electricity, a sense of community, and mutual love and understanding that seemed to permeate the room. Am I getting on a hippie tangent? Maybe. But I shared some pretty awesome moments with hundreds of my fellow dancers.

My ONLY disappointment this year was the vendor area. I used the word “vendor” (singular) in the title because, aside from the ILHC tee shirts, I only saw one vendor table set up, which was the always charming Forties Forward, with their bevy of hair blooms and accessories. They were the bright spot in an otherwise empty hotel hallway/foyer.

I think the vendor area is important for a few reasons:
– Dancers get products they need
– Dancers can try things on
– Foreign dancers can buy things without having to pay for shipping
– We want to support businesses that cater to our specific needs/wants
– Many of the vendors are dancers themselves, so we like to invest in this micro-economy of dance events

I’m sure there are more. For whatever reason, I hope that the decline in vendor attendance is not permanent.

That said, I hate to leave a post like this, so I’m going to share with you some of the trends I noticed this year at ILHC, some of which I reported during my commentary on Yehoodi’s ILHC broadcast:

Head bands/scarves – the hair flower has reigned supreme for a long time as the hair accessory of choice for swing dancers. This year I saw many more things encircling dancers’ heads (including things with hair flowers attached), as well as creative use of colorful scarves. My favorite was Baltimore dancer Brandi Ferrebee using a head scarf as a snood to cover her curl set during prelims so that her set would be fresh (and dry!) for the dance that night.

The fabulous Anne Williams models a pencil skirt with a slit on the front left leg.

The fabulous Anne Williams models a pencil skirt with a slit on the front left leg.

Skirts with a front slit – the skirt slit or vent can be an essential if you aren’t wearing a full skirt. A larger slit or opening can increase your range of motion, which is always helpful in Lindy Hop. The options ranged from the sexy offset front slit to A-line skirts to tulip skirts to a pieced/sectioned skirt that managed to have an awesome slit and twirl at the same time. The effect was functional and lovely, though add a bit of caution when securing or selecting one of these skirts – that slit can migrate, either from side-to-side or up the seam. Give it a test run and make sure the top of the slit is sewn securely or reinforced to prevent splitting.

Double breasted suits – I saw several gentlemen in competition looking very sharp and put-together with their buttoned-up double breasted suits. Certainly, giving men more clothing alternatives for competitions is an excellent thing.

TweedRamona Staffeld and Todd Yannacone set the tweed tone with their matching plaid suits – Ramona’s a vest and skirt combo, while Todd’s was a three piece suit. They looked so sharp and were able to use pieces from this uniform for several competitions. I noticed other competitors in tweed-looking fabrics ranging from an oatmeal fleck to large plaids. The effect was definitely classy, with a nod to fall.

Sequin bloomers – ladies, your sequin bloomers were fabulous and timely, because ILHC is the time to sparkle. 🙂

International Lindy Hop Championships 2013

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As always, I am very excited to be attending the International Lindy Hop Championships in Washington, DC – this year I will reprise my role as guest commentator on Yehoodi’s live stream broadcast of the Open Balboa competition (in HD!) and look forward to seeing all the wonderfully creative competition outfits and pairings the competitors put together. I will also be on hand to report about all the wonderful vendors at ILHC and I am hopeful for a few new faces this year in the vendor area.

See you there or see you online!

Indiegogo: Yehoodi Live Stream From ILHC

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Let's do 2013 even better!

Let’s do 2013 even better!

Last year was the first year that Yehoodi live broadcasted all of the competitions at the International Lindy Hop Championships. The broadcast garnered over 23,000 views and had an international audience. This is no small feat! I had the pleasure of being a part of this landmark broadcast as a commentator during the Open Balboa competition and marveled at how dedicated the Yehoodi staff was to putting out a quality broadcast in spite of their small crew and minimal equipment. It was a lot of work, for sure, and I am excited to report that they are planning on doing it again this year.

But they need a little help to do it right. From their Indiegogo page:

“For 15 years, Yehoodi.com has been providing, free of charge, an online home for the lindy hop community. We’ve run discussion forums, live events like the Basie Centennial, streaming online swing radio, and audio/video podcasts like the Yehoodi Talk Show, Hey Mr. Jesse and SwingNation.

In all of that time, we have never asked for a dime from our members and viewers. Today is the first time on all those years we are asking the lindy hop community for support.

ILHC logoLast year, we went to the International Lindy Hop Championships in Washington DC and produced our first live on-site dance competition show. Using basic production equipment and a skeleton crew, we were able to put on a high quality production that had 23,000+ views over the weekend, with viewers logging in from Korea, Sweden, Australia and many more countries. We heard from hundreds of you how much you enjoyed the live broadcast and the video archive later.

This year, we think we can do even better. We have an opportunity to create a television-quality, high definition video production from ILHC. But we need your help.

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Here’s what we need:

– bad ass equipment

– a killer production team…

(insert description of bad ass equipment and killer production team)”

FURTHER:

If I'm not attending this I want to be watching this!

If I’m not attending this I want to be watching this!

“We have already been approached by several event organizers to stream their competitions and showcases live to the internet. In particular, the team behind the Frankie100 Centennial Celebration have said that they would love for Yehoodi to be there in May of 2014 to stream some of that historic event to the world. With your support, that can happen.

Also, if we reach our goal, we will be able to provide the lindy community with a much higher quality version of our weekly lindy hop based show, SwingNation, the only weekly live streamed video podcast that delivers news, events, interviews and featured dance videos for our Lindy Hop audience. The SwingNation show archive will be in the best quality possible for future generations to come.”

MORE BROADCASTS. We will be in a whole other realm of hobby at this point, with potential for a broader international reach, not to mention the ability to bring the events to people who aren’t able to attend them, to see MORE AWESOME DANCING.

I am super excited about the prospects. As with any worthwhile endeavor, it takes blood, sweat, tears, and cash to make things run. Drop a few dollars their way, this is definitely one project that we can continue to benefit from well into the future. Click here to invest in your Lindy Hop future. 🙂

The ILHC Belt Fiasco

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

(Another article I have shared with Yehoodi – thank you for having me as a guest commentator for the ILHC broadcast!)

Wonder Woman wears a belt that creates a very prominent focal point for her outfit. Now, imagine Wonder Woman in a Lindy Hop competition. Imagine that with each swingout, the belt moves just a little bit to the right as a result of her movement and her lead’s contact, and then more to the right, and you begin paying attention to where the center of the belt is going instead of her dancing. By the time the spotlight is over the belt is almost halfway around her back, so that she no longer looks like the Wonder Woman that hit the floor at the beginning of the comp – she looks like a hot mess, shirt and skirt askew, having been pulled a little bit along with the belt.

I saw this happen in almost every competition at ILHC 2012, especially during the multiple Lindy Hop prelims on Saturday afternoon with multiple dancers. I also saw bra straps come out during spotlight dances, skirts that were too tight so that they either inhibited movement or rode up on the dancer’s body until there was room for movement, and shirt tails that came out of the skirts (or trousers for the gents). But the belts were the most egregious – wide swaths of leather, elastic, and metal making an orbit around the waist of so many dancers it was an epidemic.

Why is this so bad? This is the INTERNATIONAL LINDY HOP CHAMPIONSHIPS, the Olympics of our dance, if you will. When you have reached this level of competition there are certain expectations of presentation because you want people to focus on you and your abilities, not focus on something falling off your outfit or costume. You will be on YouTube for the world to see as one of the best swing dancers in the world. There is a level of professionalism that is expected at this point in the competition and a level of presentation that is higher than just wearing street clothes as you would wear them on the street. The visual distraction of a wardrobe malfunction and the accompanying anxiety of the viewer as the malfunction occurs is not the desired result in any performance – what if an Olympic ice skater had a bra strap fall down in the middle of a routine? I would wager that the television commentary would be less about her performance and more about whether or not she was coming undressed.

It’s all fun and games until somebody loses a focal point.

This problem is easily addressed, but requires some planning:

MAKE SMART CHOICES

When you are buying clothes for dancing or deciding what to wear in a competition, make good choices. Don’t wear clothing that inhibits your movement – make sure to do a motion test on your clothing, can you move your arms and legs in the way that you need to in order to effectively dance the way that you do? Buy clothing that fits you and is secure on your body – clothing that is too big can get caught on things or fall off, make it harder to find points on your body that need to be found by your partner, and, if large enough, can create drag that can dull your movement, either physically or visually. Don’t have too many straps or appendages hanging off that might get caught in something or accidentally grabbed. You get the idea – you want to be beautiful and interesting, but also efficient.

DO A DRY RUN

As someone who has had a wrap dress come untied in the middle of a spotlight, I can not stress enough the importance of doing a dry run. Before you dance in an outfit in a competition, please take that outfit for a spin on the floor at a dance prior to the competition. I promise that the wow factor of a new dress is completely lost when something goes wrong with the dress. There are things you can’t even anticipate that could happen, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

SECURE YOUR CLOTHING

Safety pins are your best friend. Plus, safety pins are usually in plentiful supply at competitions if you forget your own. Every belt that rotated this past weekend could have been secured to the shirt, dress, or pants of the wearer.

I mentioned this to someone and they were afraid of putting holes in their belt, but the secret is that you don’t put holes in your belt – with the elastic belts (which were most of the infractions this weekend), you simply gather a group of threads from the inside of the belt with the pin, then pin it to your garment. Do this in at least two places. If you are worried about piercing your belt, garment, or whatever, then don’t wear it. Seriously. Find something else to wear or find a something that you can secure. This is more of an issue with larger belts or belts that have prominent buckles or decoration. Skinny monotone belts can probably slide by unnoticed from a distance.

The security doesn’t end with belts. I pin stray bra straps, especially when I am wearing sleeveless garments. I pin necklines to my bra to make sure they don’t move. I pin shirts to my underwear or bloomers when I am wearing skirts or that rare pair of pants. I have even pinned my dress, slip, and bra together because the centrifugal force of the weight of the dress would pull it off my shoulders. At any given time I have 2 to 8 safety pins holding my outfit in place for dances.

Ultimately, you don’t want to have to worry about your clothing when you are competing, you already have enough worries. You also don’t want the audience to worry about your clothing, you want them to see your amazing dancing. This goes for any competition, not just ILHC. Make sure that the focal point remains you, that your clothing enhances your dancing rather than inhibits it, and that you project the polished look of a professional dancer, regardless of your division or level.

ILHC 2012 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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’s newest version of the trumpet skirt, available in black, brown, and red – as of ILHC, not available on the Dancestore website.

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!

Photograph of the Savoy Ballroom

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!

ILHC 2012

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Tomorrow I head north to Washington, D.C. for the 2012 International Lindy Hop Championships! Last year was my first year attending this event and it is truly like no other in terms of inspiration and sheer awe of what we can accomplish with this dance that we do. There will, of course, be vendors – I am certain that I will see Dancestore and My Heinies, perhaps others? There is also a new vintage store that opened this past year in Alexandria, Virginia called Amalgamated Classic Clothing and Dry Goods that I will definitely be checking out – I just hope they are open when I stop by! I tried to go to the store during DCLX, but I believe they had just opened and were not keeping regular hours. Wish me luck this time and I’ll hopefully return with a report.

Giant Hair Flower or Fascinator?

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

After seeing the giant white blossom Forties Forward had for sale at ILHC, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I certainly don’t have enough hair to wear it, but man, it was gorgeous! Following a flower mishap in the Balboa J&J finals, I went searching for a smaller white blossom that would be more secure than the orchid I wore and came across an even larger blossom from Etsy seller Now, Voyager – a gorgeous white orchid of epic proportions! I thought it interesting that the flower was listed as a fascinator and, indeed, it is as large as a hat.

Check out the rest of this quirky Etsy store – fascinators of entire birds, pinwheels, and even a pizza slice…

ILHC

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I feel like the turnaround time on my dance travels has been too quick, but I’m heading back up the east coast to Washington, D.C. this weekend for the International Lindy Hop Championships. This will be my first time at this event, so I’m not sure about vendor opportunities, but I will report back if I find anything interesting. Au revoir!

My Heinies

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The Carla

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.

The Shannon

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.”

The Caroline

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.

The Lisa

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.

You can order My Heinies online now or potentially at an event near you – My Heinies will be making appearances at All Balboa Weekend, Montreal Balboa Review, Camp Hollywood, and ILHC.

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!

The Sylvia

The Laura

The Courtney

The Sherry

The Linda

Cheap Chinos!

This post was written by Lindy Dandy.

Gents, here’s a great opportunity to stock up on the versatile and necessary basic, chinos.  Quick class for you: chinos are a type of pant; khaki is a color.

Many people call all chinos “khakis,” even Docker’s, apparently, but maybe they do it because of common use.  You can use them interchangeably, but now you know.

Like I mentioned, chinos are versatile and a few should be included in every man’s basic wardrobe.  Wear them with a polo and boat shoes or trainers (sans socks, of course) and they’re perfectly casual for the summer.  Match them with a button-down, tie, blazer and wingtips and you’re dressed up enough for a dinner at any restaurant. (This particular outfit was the basic dress code at my all-guys high school, so I still look can’t at khaki chinos (required for freshmen) without a bit of nostalgia).

Either of the above ensembles would work just as well at a dance (with dance shoes subbed in, of course).

Khakis/chinos are one of America’s greatest contributions to the world of men’s casual dress.  The U.S. Army adopted khaki during the Spanish American War. In 1941, khaki was approved for wear by senior enlisted and officers.  The American public was then able to see these sailors out on liberty.

Another plus, chinos are made out of cotton and breathe a bit better than denim or wool.   Be wary about sweating in them too much, though.  People will notice; sometimes at your expense.  Here’s an example!

You have been warned.

Oh, man, I *heart* that video.  FYI, It didn’t stop them from winning, either.

I was there for that competition too; it was awesome.  (Oh BTW, ILHC is coming up.  It’s one of my favorite dance events of the summer.  I’ll be missing it this year, which deeply saddens me.  So, you should be there so you can tell me all about it.  Have you registered?  Tip: stick around ’til the end, because that’s when they do the Invitational J&J).

Also, just say “no” to pleats and cuffs when it comes to chinos.  Flat-front and slim (but NOT tight) are the way to go.  Choose a leg length that will allow the bottom 3 inches of your pants to gather on top of your shoes.  (i.e. longer than your uncuffed suit pants and slightly longer than jeans).  They’re casual trousers, your socks should never be seen when you’re standing up.  Great examples, below.

Here are some well-priced ($35) chinos from Docker’s: flat-front, slim, straight leg.  They’re just about perfect.  (I find it funny Docker’s call them all “Clean Khakis.”)

"Khaki" comes from the Hindi word for "dust."

Here are a couple “rules” from Esquire, that I think are very helpful.

  • A crease down the front of a pair of khakis adds fifteen years of age to the wearer.
  • Unless you’re on safari, limit the number of khakis items in your outfit to one. Better yet, apply this rule even while on safari.