Tomorrow (Wednesday, March 21, 2012), Lindy Dandy and I will be special guests on the next #lindychat, the “worldwide Twitter chat for Lindy Hoppers.” We’ll be chatting for an hour, starting at 6:00 p.m. EST, about swing dance clothing, shoes, fashion, and all things related. Bring your questions, your insight, or just come and enjoy the discussion!
How do you #lindychat? #lindychat founder Rebecca Brightly has created a helpful How To page on the #lindychat website with some great tips on how to interact, but essentially you will need a Twitter account and will need to run a search for the hashtag #lindychat to see what is going on.
Looking forward to seeing everyone online tomorrow! I’ll be tweeting as @lindyshopper and Lindy Dandy will be tweeting as @MQAvatar.
It’s been a long time since I sent out the call for a shopping challenge and it’s high time for another. The last shopping challenge I had was actually from Lindy Dandy, to find him a tuxedo, and since then I’ve found him two tuxedos that he has purchased – a three piece and one with tails.
But I’d love to find something for you, too! If there’s something you’ve been looking for, something you’ve always wanted, the missing piece to an outfit, costumes for a dance performance group, or ANYTHING, I’m up to the task. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. 🙂
There aren’t too many accessories quite as dapper and dandy as a flower in your lapel buttonhole (a.k.a. boutonnières). Most guys will never wear them more than a couple times in their lives.
Granted, most guys are not into flowers and probably would not bother buying/wearing something that won’t last more than 24 hours (though you should try). If you’d like a pop of color that will last, try a knit lapel flower.
There are several places to find them, but today I’ll direct you to JandHP, a second-hand clothing procurer. (I’m not a huge fan of the jacket they’re using as a backdrop, but it shows off the flowers well enough).
Green & yellow Lapel Flower $8.95
Pink Seersucker $8.95
Green & Pink Lapel Flower $8.95
Several of their lapel flowers are sold out at the moment, but they’re sure to have more in stock in the future.
The “trick” to wearing boutonnières is to wear them with confidence. In casual venues, it might also help to hold back on other accessories, lest you look too busy with a tie, pocket square and flower.
My apologies for the hiatus (though you might not have realized I was gone since LS does such a great job. Steady bandwidth is hard to come by on deployment!) Ok, on to something really exciting (to me, at least).
As has been discussed before, the trick to dressing seasonally is all about wearing seasonally appropriate appropriate fabrics. Is the thought of wearing a seersucker or madras jacket too intimidating? If so, you can always start with something small, like a bow tie. Check these out!
Gingham, seersucker, madras… the gang’s all here.
All of this lovely neckwear comes from Lumina Clothing, based in Raleigh, N.C. According to their twitter: “Lumina Clothing is a custom tie and bow tie company out of Raleigh, NC. Our products mesh the classic style of the south with the Ivy League style of the 1960s.” Style of the south plus Ivy League style? I like!
And even cooler: “Our name, Lumina, comes from an old dance pavilion once located on Wrightsville Beach, NC. Opening in 1905, at the time it was the premier social venue in the South, hosting many of the biggest names in entertainment.”
I’ve only posted a couple of their ties and neckties, but they have a very cool collection of fabrics from which to choose. A huge bonus is that you can get the ties and bow ties at different widths. Skinny neckties are “in” at the moment, but general idea is to match the width of your jacket’s lapels. (So skinny lapels means skinny ties, etc.) It’s all about balance and proportion (and personal taste). Prices are reasonable with bow ties for $39 and ties for $59.
I plan to pick up a couple bow ties and ties here, but am pretty sad that I won’t be able to wear them this season. I’ll be interested to see what they produce for Fall/Winter.
Many guys (myself included) like to dance in white Aris Allen captoes (or other white shoes). Why? They look sharp and they highlight your fancy footwork. (I love my Aris Allens to death; they’re my “go to” on most floors. Mine have gotten a bit beat up, but I think they’re full of character).
The detail that’s often forgotten, though, is to match those white shoes with a white belt. You should always coordinate your belt with your shoes, especially if you’re wearing dressier clothes (i.e. slacks or other odd trousers).
In fact, you should strive to coordinate all of your [ugh, I dislike the way this word sounds] accessories. All leather should match or coordinate. The same goes for anything metal (watch, rings, belt buckle, cufflinks, tie clips, grill, etc); either silver or gold. Don’t let it drive you crazy; similar colors will suffice.
White dress belts can be hard to come by, but here are a couple choices:
(remember: your belt size is one size (+2) up from your pant size)
L.L. Bean? As in that company that sells outdoorsy clothing through catalogs? Yup, that’s the one. You might recognize their Bean Boots, a Trad/WASP-y staple.
Very recently, L.L. Bean teamed up with Alex Carleton (of Rogues Gallery) to update its classic American sportswear with modern design ideas (particularly regarding fit). The result are familiar, classic pieces with a trimmer fit.
Here are a couple polos and shirts that would look good on and off a casual dance floor this summer.
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.”)
Believe it or not there are some dance events where you’ll be able to wear these finds.
First, a bathing suit. I’m probably just strange, but I’ve always been fascinated by men’s vintage bathing suits. Manufacturers didn’t have access to the man-made fabrics we have today, so they had to make their suits out of natural fibers that could survive sea water. Many were made out of wool, a material we usually associate with suits and sweaters. Hmm, this one is actually in my size.
There are several exchanges with dances at the beach:
CHEX, which I heard (and saw) was a great time. I wish I could’ve been there!
(and two plugs for my local scene) VBLX: June 17-20
Second, tails. It’s too often that you can wear clothing this formal to a dance event (or any event for that matter), but I would get tails if only for the New Year’s Eve party at Lindy Focus. Check out the details on the lapels and buttons.
The gents over at Prepidemic have extended their blog brand to their “house label,” Bocca al Lupo, and put out some nice pocket squares appropriate for Spring and Summer. (as pointed out here and here).
They’ve got all their bases covered: seersucker, madras and denim. All made from American and Italian fabrics, then lovingly crafted in New York. The best part? They’re $15! That’s a steal compared to other stores that I’ve seen sell pocket squares for 3 and 4 times as much. (Some of those were silk, but still, that’s just unaffordable).
According to Prepidemic, “The brand was formed as a reaction to the outrageous markups we saw in stores, especially on the simplest of accessories. So we decided to go out and hunt for fabric and then track down the best manufacturer to produce a collection that we would sell at a reasonable price.”
If I had to pick one, I’d definitely go for the green seersucker square, but I’d love to have any of these peeking out of a blazer or sportcoat this (and every future) summer.
If you’re convinced that wearing a suit to a dance is a hot, stuffy affair, then you’ll have a hard time believing that you can wear a suit in the summer, but it can be done. How?
It’s a matter of fabric. If you wear a typical 3-season weight (Fall/Winter/Spring) wool suit, you will melt. Chances are it’s a dark suit, which makes it extra hot and not appropriate for the season anyway. What you want is a lighter weight, breathable fabric like cotton or linen.
Besides the fabric of your jacket or suit, it’s lining will also make a difference to your perception of the temperature. Jackets can be fully lined, partially lined, or unlined. Unlined jackets are unstructured and often are made of cotton. (They’re also packable, which make them great for travel).
No matter how breathable and lightweight your clothes, you will sweat. Count on it. Take a break, cool off, dance by a fan, take off your jacket if it gets overwhelming, and for goodness sake, change if you’re drenched (you did bring extra shirts, right?). The follows will appreciate it. (If you don’t, they’ll tell their friends not to dance with you).
Most of these have leather soles (and you could get a cobbler to resole the others), but I say they’d serve you better getting to and from the dance. These auctions are all currently less than $15 (except for the black captoes, with some starting as low as $1).
Have you ever danced with a follow wearing an unsecured ponytail? Remember how you had to bob and weave to avoid getting smacked in the face? Annoying, yes?
You’ll be the male equivalent if you don’t have a way to secure your tie.
Now, there are a couple ways to do this:
Wear a vest.
Wear a tie clip (or a tie pin or tie chain).
Many swing dancers wear vests, but today, we’re talking tie clips.
Tie clips aren’t just functional. From simple and formal to ornate and silly, they’re an opportunity to express your personality and share your interests. They were the billboards of yesteryear, so you can even promote clubs and products with them. (I’ve seen tie clips shaped like weapons, animals, and vehicles). A plain silver rectangle works too. Besides protecting your follow, they also keep your tie out of your soup.
Here are a couple I found on ebay:
I prefer mine on the short side (around 1″), but I have a few longer ones.
Wear them anywhere between a 1/3rd and a 1/2 way down your tie from your collar. Match the metal of your other accessories (belt/ring/watch/cufflinks). Wearing it horizontally is more conservative. Angled down (my preference) is a tad rakish. As Frank Sinatra said, “Cock your hat – angles are attitudes.”
Do yourself a favor. Wear a tie. Do the ladies a favor and secure your ties with a tie clip.