Tag Archives: Jammin on the James

All Balboa Weekend 2017 – Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I apologize for the tardiness, but, as we all know, life happens outside of the Internet – always better late than never is the All Balboa Weekend vendor post, because ABW has, in my opinion, the best vendor aggregate year after year.  This was my 10th ABW, if you can believe it, and the first one I couldn’t attend for the entire weekend, but I promise I crunched to maximize my time there and to give you this attempt at a comprehensive vendor post.

Before we get into the shopping, I have two things to note:

  1. I was given the incredible opportunity to examine Genevieve Grazis’ performance clothing, including the famous Beach Clip dress, and was invited to talk about the dress’ construction and details in front of the entire event as part of Kate Hedin and Bobby White‘s presentation and demonstration of the dress.  While everyone is gaga over the 11 godets that, combined with 1930’s satin, make this dress spin like a dream (and rightly so!), but my favorite part of this dress are the sleeves – a triple pleats, both front and back, along the arm hole seam with two piped seams straddling a panel in the middle of the sleeve.  The result is a puffed sleeve created by divine architecture.
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LindyShopper talks, Kate is radiant in Genevieve’s dress – photograph courtesy of McFreebird Photography

2.  Coif magicians Destinee Cushing and Francine Amendola combined forces to form the Hepcat Salon, delivering incredible and pristine vintage hairstyles all weekend long.  I know several people who will get their hair done and wear it for a couple of nights or most of the weekend so they don’t have to worry about doing it multiple nights and to keep it out of their faces, which I think is a great plan to maximize your ‘do and practical for a dance weekend with lots going on that you don’t want to miss.

The flagship booth at ABW is always Re-mix Vintage Shoes, who makes very rare appearances at any events outside of southern California.  I know people wait until ABW to buy their first (or second, or 10th) pair of Re-mix shoes so they can try them on and see how the styles fit their feet.  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see them all in a row.

Next in the lineup was Sweet Lorain, which is my favorite vintage shop in Cleveland.  To call it a shop is really an understatement, it’s almost a warehouse, definitely a department store, and you can get lost in there for hours amongst the clothing, furniture, kitchen wares, records, Christmas decorations, and on.  Of course, for ABW, they pull a selection of garments with dancers in mind from the 1930’s through the 1950’s so that you don’t have to do the digging, it’s already been dug out for you and is sitting in the hallway of the event.  My story this year is that Andy Nishida and Rita Shiang (dancers and organizers of Richmond, VA’s Jammin on the James) had come to Cleveland a few weeks earlier for the World Congress on Art Deco and had scouted a 1920’s dress for me at Sweet Lorain.  1920’s dresses are hard for me because of my body type, so I was hesitant to phone in the purchase, even though Rita knows my size.  I show up at ABW with this texted photograph of a dress and the owner, Redwin Lewis, knew the dress immediately, still had it, knew it would be perfect for me – and it was!  Sometimes vintage shopping is easy and sometimes it takes a few steps to find a dress a home.

De Fils en Perles returned to ABW this year with even more intricate beadwork, much of it Art Deco-inspired.  I was particularly smitten with the earrings this year, which were often made of an exquisite central bead with smaller embellishments and looked perfect for certain 1920’s and 1930’s ensembles.  I am often overwhelmed by jewelry, so many beautiful small things at once, and I took some time to sit down and go through the earrings and really appreciate the detail that goes into each piece.

Retro Rosie made its ABW debut this year and before I even got to ABW, there was a buzz that a vendor was there selling Trashy Diva.  I spoke with Miranda Scott, the owner, who runs this brick and mortar shop and an online shop, that most of her sales are online.  I found this unsurprising, given the specialty nature of the garments (as much as I like to think we are the norm), and was glad she gave ABW a chance.  She had several Trashy Diva dresses that are discontinued in most sizes, so secondary stockists are essential for the dress you may have missed (since they TD lines are selling out within days of launch, nowadays) and the chance to try things on in person.  She also had a selection of Besame Cosmetics, another item that I can’t purchase locally to me, but that I see on the internet all the time on vintage blogs and it’s great to see the colors in person and be able to try them on, as well.

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Jamie in an ABW ensemble with giant lily

Jamie Sturdevant’s Chatterblossom booth is always a bright spot, with her cheery disposition, creative floral-inspired ensembles for each day, and a bevy of blooms for each possible scenario and outfit.  Indecision abounds at this booth, as there are so many to choose from, so many outfits to match, so many beautiful pieces that you just want to come home with you.  My favorite pieces this year are the giant lilies she acquired earlier in the year by chance, they are just so big and elegant, I want one in every color!  Message her about matching one to your favorite ensemble, her Etsy listings are only the tip of the floral iceberg.

Finally, at the end of the hallway are the Flower Child ladies, who also do an amazing job of curating just the kinds of vintage goods dancers and swing era enthusiasts want, and also go back to their warehouse to look for items to fill specific requests.  With new things brought back every day, it’s worth a gander multiple times during the event to keep up with what is in stock.  My favorite item this year, brought to my attention by Jamie and ultimately purchased by Destinee, was a chartreuse 1930’s gown studded with rhinestones, featuring braided straps and a bias cut guaranteed to flatter the figure.  Destinee wore it on Saturday night and, with her impeccable hair and makeup and a Chatterblossom bloom, looked like a legit silver screen movie star – or perhaps early technicolor, because no one should hide the color of this gown!

And here we are!  Enjoy the photo spread below!

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But for serious…this chartreuse gown from Flower Child is everything!  Thanks to Destinee Cushing for allowing me to use this photo.

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A sun-speckled display at the Flower Child booth.

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Ladies hats, ladies things…at Flower Child.

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A gorgeous 1940’s rayon print dress at Flower Child.

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Bathing suit…romper…whatever you want…at Flower Child.

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A waistcoat and some men’s accessories at Flower Child.

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Lilies, roses, and blooms about at ChatterBlossom.

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A purple and white orchid at ChatterBlossom.

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Oh, God, I’m terrible at botany – I don’t remember what these are, but they looked like they were dappled in frost, just so lovely – at ChatterBlossom.

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A sight for sore eyes – gorgeous Besame Cosmetics on display at Retro Rosie.

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Vintage hairstyling books and Trashy Diva at Retro Rosie.

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Trashy Diva, alive and in person – at Retro Rosie.

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Perfect summer cropped top at Sweet Lorain.

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What even is this magical woven trim detail on this dress?  At Sweet Lorain.

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A sweet 1940’s rayon print long sleeved dress at Sweet Lorain.

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Bakelite abounds at Sweet Lorain.

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1940’s neckties at Sweet Lorain.

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More delicious details at Sweet Lorain.

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Minty fresh color on this comfy men’s shirt at Sweet Lorain.

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One of many awesome sweater vests at the Sweet Lorain booth.

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A summer starched topper at Sweet Lorain.

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Re-mix, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…

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Men’s selections at Re-Mix Vintage Shoes.

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Knots divine at Re-Mix Vintage Shoes.

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Beaded sets at De Fils en Perles.

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All this wonderful detail, handmade, just incredible – at De Fils en Perles.

 

 

 

 

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Review: Petrunia’s Diamond Dot Annie Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I may be the worst model ever - is the photo over yet?  But check out this dress!

I may be the worst model ever – is the photo over yet? But check out this dress!

After I blogged about Petrunia’s lovely reproduction dresses, I was contacted by the sales manager this line of clothing, Lucy Carey, about reviewing one of their lovely dresses! I happily selected the initial dress that had caught my eye in Bygones, the Diamond Dot Annie dress, and it was shipped to my doorstep.

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.

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Field Trip: Richmond Revisited

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It was another wonderful year at Richmond, Virginia’s Jammin’ on the James, both the dancing and the shopping. Some of my favorite vintage shoppers – Lily Matini, Elizabeth Aldrich, Bill Speidel, and, a new addition to my vintage cavalry, Josephine Stewart – made cameos at the event this year and it made Saturday an exciting and bustling day at the vintage shops in Richmond. I reported on my trips to Richmond’s two best vintage shops, Halcyon and Bygones, after last year’s Jammin’ on the James, but there’s always new inventory to scout.

Step into Halcyon!

Halcyon is my favorite Richmond store because it is so inviting – beautifully decorated, not too large/too small/too crowded, with a carefully chosen selection of garments that leaves you with the feeling that the entire store is filled with the “good stuff,” no filler. This year was no exception and I left with one beautiful 1930’s dress, but there were several other things I probably could have taken home if the budget had allowed. After we expressed interest in ties, Angelica from Halcyon pulled out the hidden rack of beautiful 1930’s ties, including one with circles and butterflies that Bill and I both claimed, but, ultimately, Bill won out because my husband wouldn’t answer his phone to tell me if he would wear the tie. Bill also scored a vintage Alexander Calder inspired tie by Carnival Jones, Elizabeth left with a lovely black faux fur jacket, and I left with a 1930’s silk dress. There were some really lovely pieces from a Richmond estate, including a 1920’s dress that must have had over 100 green bakelite buttons down the front and both sides.

Next stop was Bygones, which is famous for its window display and top of rack displays. This season’s display did not disappoint, with an Egyptian revival-themed window-dressing and an inside display of furs and faux animals that just begged for some taxidermy or, as Bill said, the barrel of a shotgun peeking out from between the furs. Josephine had great luck here, asking for tiny sized clothing and they definitely delivered. Favorite pieces included two 1940’s suits, one in light aqua velvet with quilting detail on the jacket and another in green silk velvet with amazing trim detail on the jacket.

Check out the goods from the photographs below!

A lovely coat from Halcyon

The dress of 100 buttons at Halcyon

Halcyon's bakelite offerings

Bill, the tie snatcher

A 1940's dress with shoulder pads fit for a linebacker...still a gorgeous dress!

The winner!

Step into Bygones...

The fur display at Bygones, complete with Mr. Fox

Bakelite at Bygones, including a set of strawberries, with necklace and earrings

The Bygones display cases

The pale aqua suit with quilted detail at Bygones

A lovely 1940's dress at Bygones - the photo doesn't do the color justice

Bygones carries reproductions, like the rack of Leluxe dresses shown here

The menswear section at Bygones

Which smoking jacket?

Josephine in a glorious green velvet suit at Bygones

Field Trip: Halcyon and Bygones, Richmond, VA (at Jammin’ on the James)

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This 1930's tuxedo was the find of the day - the only part of the ensemble we couldn't find was a pair of shoes.

This tuxedo was the find of the day - the only part of the ensemble we could not find was a pair of shoes

This past Saturday I embarked on a birthday vintage shopping trip of epic proportions. Along for the ride were fellow Jammin’ on the James attendees and fellow vintage queens Elizabeth Aldrich and Elizabeth Tietgen, as well as dapper gents Victor Celania, Maurice O’Brien, and Matthew Pait. Our first stop was Halcyon, which was having a rummage sale outside, in addition to the regular wares inside the store. Victor immediately found a coat for me and for himself – me, a lovely wool coat with a mink collar; him, a plaid overcoat (if I remember correctly). The damage? $15 for me. Elizabeth T. scored a sweet 1930’s waterfall radio. Then we went inside. 🙂

There’s nothing quite like having Lindy Hoppers who love vintage clothing in a vintage store. Add in the fact that Victor actually dresses people for a living, and you have an all out game of let’s-play-dress-up. What’s that song on the radio? Can you turn it up? Sure, but only if you dance for us. Dancing ensued to a selection of excellent vintage jazz tunes, upon the request/permission of the Halcyon staff. We love you gals!

Elizabeth T. managed to build an entire outfit around a lovely black 1960’s cocktail dress, complete with gloves, hat, and jewelry. Elizabeth A. was drawn to Halcyon’s selection of lovely coats and a fantastic green turban/cloche (did you go back and get it?). Matthew picked up a sweet blue wool jacket with a belted back. Maurice left with an entire 1930’s tuxedo, which fit like it was made for him. Victor was all over the store, checking in on the dressing rooms and putting together Maurice’s tuxedo ensemble. The Halcyon staff scurried to find whatever Victor could think up and never came up empty-handed. We spent over two hours at Halcyon and I think everyone left with at least one vintage item.

Next, we headed to Bygones, which has a mix of vintage and vintage reproduction clothing. It was great to browse their selection of Trashy Diva and Leluxe dresses, to actually see them in person and try them on. There were some other great reproductions and, if I had been paying attention instead of being distracted by the feather fans, I would have written down the brands. Bygones also had an extensive selection of Aris Allen dance shoes, which I’ve never seen outside of the internet or the Aris Allen store. Bygones had some lovely vintage clothing from the swing era, but none of it was in my size.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Bygones was the window display. I’ve been told they go all out for the window dressings and this season’s feature vignette was a Victorian spider lady, ensnaring a dapper gentleman in her web.

If you find yourself in Richmond, you must visit one or both of these stores – that they co-exist in the same town and have such amazing selections is remarkable. I can’t wait to go back!

The ladies' wall at Halcyon

The gents' wall at Halcyon

The fabulous green turban-cloche hat, modeled by Elizabeth A.

Victor's loot

Elizabeth T. admires a lovely fur capelet

Elizabeth T.'s loot

I was in love with this dress, but was informed that it used to belong to an opera singer with a giant rib cage.

Former home of a top hat.

Bakelite!

Elizabeth A. modeling a lovely coat

The display behind the counter at Halcyon

The window display at Bygones - check out the extra booted legs on the spider lady!

Looking into Bygones from the front of the store

Victor's fan dance

One of the great displays in the store

A wall of Aris Allens!

And....we're done! Time for a nap before the Saturday night dance!

Jammin’ on the James

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This weekend both Lindy Shopper and Lindy Dandy will be heading to Richmond, Virginia for a weekend of workshops and dances at Jammin’ on the James. Aside from the world-class instruction and intimacy of this regional workshop, one of the best things about JOTJ is having the opportunity to shop at Richmond’s excellent vintage stores. I’ll be heading to Halcyon on Saturday for their rummage sale, then to the legendary Bygones to browse their racks of pre-War clothing. I should have time for a full report and photos when I get back. It is also my birthday on Saturday – what better way to spend it than vintage shopping and swing dancing? There will also be cake.