I basically love everything about these reproduction 1930’s shorts from House of Foxy – I particularly love when shorts look like a skirt because I like the aesthetic of a skirt, the functionality of the shorts, and all the extra room those fabric panels give my bum and thighs to move around. I bet they even give a little flare when you twirl…tennis or swingouts, anyone?
I’m delighted to report that Trashy Diva’s peppy blue and white polka dots have returned, both in familiar and new incarnations to enhance the adorableness of your wardrobe. I had almost given up hope that TD would give me more rayon prints in 40’s silhouettes, but I don’t know why I ever doubted. Check out their website for the full collection, featuring some of their classic dress designs, but my favorites from the new items are the separates – seriously, an adorable blouse with a peplum to pair with either a swishy skirt or high waisted shorts? YSPLS!
This shop comes to you courtesy of Laura Keat, who posted a photo album on Facebook detailing the sources of her most-asked-about items of clothing. I recognized all of her sources except for one – ViNSiNN. A Google search led me to a website written entirely in German. Not easily deterred*, I used Google translator so I could browse their shop and tell you about it…in English.
The founders of this retail site are Marina Fischer, Peter Bieniossek, and Lucy Flournoy, all swing dancers with a passion for the vintage aesthetic that comes with the dancing. Marina details her frustrations with attempts to locate vintage clothing, mostly sourced from America, and dealing with shipping, taxes, customs, and the waiting, only to find out that after such a great effort the garment wouldn’t work after all. Then came the resourceful idea to start a shop of vintage-inspired garments to sell in Germany. I am a firm believer in “if it doesn’t exist, you create it” and Marina picked up the ball and ran with it, along with business partner Peter, who shared similar frustrations, and Lucy Flournoy, whose paragraph did not translate well in the Google translator…but I can attest to Lucy’s sense of style, as I observed it when she was going to college in North Carolina and dancing at regional events.
This is definitely a store with the dancer in mind – as I browse through all the lovely dress, top, and skirt options, I notice lots of great modern takes on familiar vintage shapes, lovely details, lots of color, but the overarching theme is that all of these are dressing I wouldn’t hesitate to dance in. There are some great basics for men, even a pair of knickers. And the socks page is divine!
Now I have the reverse problem as Marina and Peter – how to get these items (reasonably) from Germany to the US? Anyone coming to ILHC? 😉 Faves listed below.
*I once used Babelfish to translate an entire transaction over the phone, in real time, into Spanish so I could order custom tango shoes from Columbia from a salesperson who spoke no English.
This just in from Facebook, via the My Heinies page: “Time to empty out old inventory and prepare for new inventory for next year! EVERYTHING IS MARKED 50% OFF! Sizes, styles and colors are limited! If the price is $0.00, then we are out of that item!!!! Get them while supplies last!”
It’s been a while since I posted reproductions, so here is your reproduction retail fix: Tara Starlet is a UK based company that makes reproduction 1940’s and 1950’s clothing with an interest in recycling and creating eco-conscious products.
From the website: “We are advocates of recycling and we have a collection of original buttons and trimmings from our favourite era that we try to incorporate into our designs wherever possible, giving our collection true authenticity. Also we reinvent quality wool jumpers, injecting a bit of fifties glamour to give them a new lease of life! We use end of roll fabrics too, putting to good use what would otherwise be waste. This means that our designs are often made in a selection of different fabrics with a limited amount of garments in each, so you won’t find hundreds of other women wearing the same thing! On top of this, all of our clothes are made locally in London, to keep our carbon footprint dainty.”
I love the idea of reusing original materials – there is waste where there is leftovers, even from the 1940’s, and if we can reuse these notions and fabrics, it creates a really interesting hybrid vintage/new garment and eliminates the need for modern manufacturers to re-create these items. The original stuff is better anyway, right?
I don’t like to use this blog for more outspoken opinions, but after seeing enough of this and blogging about options to no avail, I’d like to say something more explicit in hopes that something constructive may come of this.
For the record, at any dance event, I would prefer not to see any other follows’ hoo-ha, jiggly bits, cheeks, thong, sheer or lace underwear, or tanga. The last straw was at All Balboa Weekend this year when a follower in a competition wore minimal coverage undergarments that were visible when she turned. Someone commented that “She needed some Heinies” and several others agreed that, yes, it was distracting from her dancing to see so little there.
You can call me a prude, but I believe I speak for a number of follows (and maybe leads…maybe not) when I say that the allure of sharing your bits with the group is not there for us. Showing leg and some bloomer are great and I love twirly skirts, but there’s a line that is crossed and I believe a number of follows have no idea what this line is. It’s the line between your thigh and your bottom, and is carefully skirted by the opacity and size of your undergarments.
With hemlines on some modern dresses between mid-thigh and somewhere below the nether regions, it’s even more important to make sure things under your dresses are secure. I’m going to use amazing follower goddess Kara Fabina as an example – Kara wears shirts as dresses, garments that are so short that they were intended to be worn with pants underneath them. Kara does not wear pants with these dresses. I’ve marveled at how short she can wear them, yet I’ve never seen Kara’s hoo-ha. I approached Kara about this at All Balboa Weekend and her secret is that she wears a pair of tight fabric shorts underneath her shirt/dresses. The result is the opposite function of a slip – instead of adding flow, it secures and locks in both fabrics so that they do not move and her short shirt/dress stays in place.
There are many ways to go about this (My Heinies, granny panties, biker shorts, cheerleading bloomers, underwear that actually fits) but please, ladies, let’s keep things under your dresses secure and covered so you can show off your dancing as your asset.
This week has, for one reason or another, been full of undergarment ideas. I’ll start with the tip I got from Micki Schultz, who was sporting a pair of Maidenform boyshorts as bloomers at the TSDS dance on Saturday with Acme Swing Mfg. Co. With just a touch of lace to give a nod to vintage slips or tap pants, they didn’t look out of place under her wonderful vintage 1940’s suit.
These might also be a good option if you’d like some additional help with smoothing things out under your dress. According to the Maidenform website, these boyshorts
– Provide everyday control
– Smoothe and shape your body
– Eliminate bulges
– Looks great layered with ready to wear (not sure what this means, but OK)
– Can be worn under all types of outfits
– Soft and silky against the skin
– Lace adds femininity (indeed)
They come in the basic wardrobe colors of black and nude. Also of note, the waistband is high enough to smooth over your muffin top and the bottom is full coverage to keep everything snug.
As most of the United States is blanketed with snow and ice, the Delia*s catalog arrives in my mailbox, bearing good tidings of warm weather that we won’t see for a few more months. I see cork soled wedges and sundresses and I want the temperature to go up 40 degrees so the sheet of ice covering my driveway will evaporate and I can emerge from the cocoon of winter coats into the warm glow of a summer sun. Is that too much to ask for?
Delia*s is one of those stores/catalogs that I think most people associate with teenagers, but every year I find something in the Delia*s catalog that becomes that thing that everyone asks, “Where did you get that? It’s so cute!” It’s definitely worth a look. Here’s a preview of some good things to come from Delia*s:
Someone posted on Yehoodi this week asking about where to find skirts for a dance team, either to be made or to order. This post jogged my memory and I immediately thought of Swing Outfits, a website that sells custom, made to order clothing for men and women from 1930’s and 1940’s patterns. Swing Outfits offers some wonderful options for just about any basic swing garment you could think of in an almost endless selection of fabrics.
Swing Outfits has a section of their website devoted to dance team shopping. I understand that selecting an outfit that everyone agrees on is nearly impossible; however, Swing Outfits offers some sound advice on selecting a team or couple’s costume:
“For couples that dance regularly in competition or performance it is especially important to have a costume. It is one thing to dance at a party, and a different thing to dance on a stage before an audience. It is not enough to just have nice clothes on each individual performer – you need to look like a unified couple.
What makes a good stage costume for a couple? First of all, your costume must be tailor made for you – we will need measurements from both dancers. You will also need to select a fabric and a design for your costumes. Pictured below are three sets of costumes: Silk, Polka Dots, and Plaid/Stripes. Within each set are a number of elements that you can select for your costume, and each will be made from the same material you have chosen.”
The website then walks you through three easy steps to select pieces for your performance outfit. The beauty of these pieces is that they can be mixed and matched with anything – with each other or with something you might find at Target or H&M.
Another great thing about having team costumes made for the team members is that you avoid the one-pattern-fits-all problem that you encounter when purchasing something from a retail store. Having personally experienced the pain of not fitting into the mold of a chosen team costume, I would personally rather pay more and get something that fits perfectly, that I don’t have to pay someone to alter, and that I might actually wear again dancing.
Which leads to my next point – you don’t have to be on a dance team to wear and enjoy an outfit from Swing Outfits! Make sure to browse their selection of patterns, then their selection of fabrics, and think of the endless possibilities. The Libra in me may never be able to decide…
Unlike the highly anticipated Zac Posen collection for Target, I had never heard of Tucker by Gaby Basora, so I was not planning on showing up at Target at 8:00 a.m. the day the collection debuted to get first dibs on the goods. However, after I saw an ad in VOGUE for the Tucker collection featuring an Art Deco print dress paired with a wide brim hat and flapper stockings, I changed my mind and set my alarm for 7:40 a.m. this morning to go check it out.
Target was blissfully empty at 8:00 this morning and I had a fantastic time rummaging through this fall collection that has a little something for everyone and some great pieces for work, fun, dancing, and evening. Some of my favorites from the collection are a burnout velvet dress, an orange polka dot blouse, an orange herringbone skirt, a sparkly boucle cocktail dress, several floral dresses, and a pair of herringbone shorts. The fabrics are obviously not the designer’s usual silks, but the fabrics chosen for the collection didn’t feel or look cheap, they draped well, and are much more washable and wearable from this dancer’s practical perspective.
The clothing from the collection is shown in “looks,” but I was more inspired looking at Tucker’s official web site. The intro video was delightful eye candy, with vintage-inspired looks featuring Tucker’s fall collection with vintage jewelry, hairstyles that ranged from Gibson Girl to Marie Antoinette, crocheted gloves, flapper headbands, red lips, hair flowers, and dessert. 🙂
I first happened upon RetroSpect’d Clothing at All Balboa Weekend 2009, as it was one of the vendors setting up shop outside the ballroom. I heard that a contingency of Australian dancers had come with garments stuffed into each of their suitcases so that the company could sell clothing at ABW. As usual, I was waiting with anticipation as the garments were put onto the racks and quickly made my selections, then headed to the bathroom to try things on.
I left the bathroom with one of the most universally flattering dresses I own – Retrospect’d’s 1943 dress in red crepe. Several other girls, of varying sizes and shapes also tried this dress on and it was simply the most flattering dress on everyone, giving the illusion of or accentuating a tiny waist. A flirty skirt, expert fit, cute tucks and gathers, a simplicity of form, crepe material, and sleeves make this dress easy to wear for a variety of occasions year-round.
Guys always seem to be looking for pants and Retrospect’d has two pairs of reproduction pants to choose from: the New Yorkers and the Californias. The New Yorkers feature (and pardon my lack of menswear knowledge, Lindy Dandy might correct me later 😉 ) a tab front pant with pleats, cuffs, and buttons for suspenders and comes in 5 classic menswear fabrics. The Californias have a similar wide leg and cuffs, but accommodate a more relaxed, belted look.
There are lots of other fun things for sale, including vintage repro jeans, adorable 1940’s shorts, ladies’ pants, a bevy of colorful dresses, men’s shirts, full skirts, wrap tops, ladylike blouses, and the infamous ski bunny knit top.