I couldn’t resist posting this 1940’s dress with detachable skirt because I think it’s such a clever design. It seems that any time buttons are involved the cuteness is magnified, and when you make a skirt detachable it appears to require a lot of buttons. The dots with the solid fabric is a great combo, and I love the contrast collar on the shirt as well as the inset panels on the skirt. Wear with skirt attached or pair with pants for a cute cropped top…maybe without skirt for prelims, with skirt for finals? That’s smart packing, too. 🙂
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.
I’ve been meaning to seek out the items for this post for a couple of years and Memorial Day seems like a good time to share – following my last What’s Old is New featuring outfits from A Day at the Races, I’d like to look at some of the costuming choices in Groovie Movie and note where you may find similar items in modern times to hone your 1940’s-inspired dance pieces. As this was a film made during World War II and the film features some the male dancers at the end wearing military uniforms, this appears to an excellent film to highlight, in the spirit of Memorial Day. Jitterbugs, veterans, and those who served our nation with honor – we salute you!
I’m going to focus on some of the followers’ outfits at the end of the film because some of the earlier outfits were more…to prove a point or to further the narrative. 🙂 For military garb, that’s a bit of a can of worms. Visit your local army/navy surplus for inspiration, talk to your grandpa, or delve into the potentially very expensive (and very specific) hobby of collecting vintage uniforms.
I’m not sure what else we can do, ladies – over a hundred of you personally posted on Dancestore.com’s wall saying “YES! We would buy this skirt” even “instantly” and, in some cases, “in every color!” I guess it’s time to start looking for another source. I have a lead on something, which I hope to write about very soon after a purchase and a test run…we shall see.
Jitterbuggin’ is having a 25% off sale today and tomorrow (that’s July 3 and 4) to keep the inventory rolling so the fabulous Kimberly Cullins can do awesome things with the new fabrics she got in this week. A little birdie told me there are some awesome new prints, including two cat prints, which I am dying to see, so….we should all help Kim keep the ball rolling and pick up something from the Jitterbuggin store!
While I already have a green repro jumper, I couldn’t resist posting this Jukebox DJ Jumper available at ModCloth – high waist, potential twirly skirt, little green buttons on the front, just adorable. Pair with just about any blouse!
After several days of people reading my post about bringing back the trumpet skirt and going to the Dancestore.com Facebook page and clicking “Like” on my post to indicate that YES I WANT DANCESTORE.COM TO MAKE AND SELL THE TRUMPET SKIRT AGAIN, we’ve reached 72 likes and a number of comments. I would consider this to be a pretty significant outpouring of support, but Dancestore.com remains skeptical:
Me: “So, DanceStore.com, what is the magic number? How many Likes do I need to get before you will bring back the trumpet skirt? ;)”
Dancestore.com: “I can’t guarantee anything, but 60 likes isn’t bad. Thanks everyone for your posts. Keep them coming.”
Isn’t bad? ISN’T BAD??? Ladies, we are clearly going to have to get some significant number of likes on this post before Dancestore.com will commit to the skirt. Short of starting a Kickstarter campaign to fund the endeavor for Dancestore.com ourselves, I am hoping we can get enough likes to convince them that we mean business – and by business, I mean business for them! They will not indicate how many “Likes” will make a difference, but I’m guessing if we had enough “Likes” to validate my statement about hundreds of dancers needing and wanting this skirt that it could make a difference. Can we get 100 Likes? 200? Spread the word, I’m determined that petitioning them can make a difference and we will bring back the trumpet skirt from extinction!
Since there has been some confusion about where to post, thanks to Facebook’s horrible new Timeline, here’s the process:
2) Look on the right hand side of the Timeline – you should see a box that says “Recent Posts by Others on DanceStore.com.”
3) You can find my post two ways, first by clicking “See All” at the top right of the “Recent Posts by Others on DanceStore.com” box and scroll down to find Laura Windley’s post linking to A Letter to Dancestore.com/Ode to a Trumpet Skirt
4) Click “Like” on this post. Leave a comment if you wish!
For those of you who have already posted or “Liked” the comment, thanks for all your support! I know many of you feel the same way I do about these skirts – a great skirt that is great for what we do at a great price!
While searching for 1930’s reproduction clothing, I stumbled across Electric Gypsy, a UK-based retailer of handmade reproduction clothing from the 1930’s through the 1980’s. For each decade, there are a few choice garments made with a selection of fabric options, and I was excited to see that they went as far back as the 1930’s. Don’t let the psychedelic graphics on the website fool you, there is good swing era-inspired stuff here.
From the website: “At Electric Gypsy we also have our own label of handmade vintage and retro inspired clothing. We use a mixture of original vintage fabrics and kitsch cool new fabrics. Many pieces are one-off or short runs, so you are guaranteed to find something that is unique and original, whether it be a 1960’s inspired shift dress or a 1950’s Rockabilly skirt with a modern twist. Each item is individually handmade by us in the UK. We create our designs by modernising vintage patterns, designing our own patterns from scratch and customising old vintage clothing.”
Portland-based repro maven Jitterbuggin is running a Facebook promotion where YOU could win $100 in Jitterbuggin merchandise. You want this $100. How can you enter to win?
From the Jitterbuggin website: “This is a very special gift certificate! It will be given away FOR FREE when the Jitterbuggin Facebook Page reaches 1,000 likes! Once the page is at 1,000 we will publish a post that you can comment on to enter to win. We will number the comments in the order they were received and enter them into a random number generator to declare a winner.”
As I’m writing this post, the Jitterbuggin Facebook group sits at 786 fans – an impressive feat! But to get 1,000 fans we’ll need you to “Like” the Jitterbuggin Facebook page, maybe get your friends to “Like” it as well. Once the 1,000 mark has been reached, then (and only then) will it trigger the post for the giveaway. Now that you have your homework…go forth and Facebook “Like,” and check out the goods at jitterbuggin.com!
I’ve been following Allure Original Styles for a while, from her initial offerings through eBay as seller buddhaboogie (which is still used to sell what appears to be samples), to a full-fledged Etsy store where you can purchase custom made reproduction swing era garments. Allure Original Styles distinguishes itself from other reproduction sellers by creating an extensive line of pants and complimentary blouses. The fabrics range from wool gabardine to light-medium weight denim, to cover both dressy and casual pants needs. I am probably most excited about having wide leg denim options – while I love to dress up, sometimes you have you wear jeans for more casual occasions and shopping for jeans is only a step above shopping for a swimsuit on the loathsome activity scale. What could be more comfortable for everyday wear than a pair of flattering wide leg lightweight denim jeans?
There are also some great dresses and other separates from the store. So much to love here…I might learn to love wearing pants again:
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.
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.
It’s been a while since I checked on Heyday!, my favorite UK retailer of heavenly high waisted trousers, but I see that they have been busy. They have expanded their line of women’s and men’s clothing and have some pretty impressive and hard-to-find pieces at not unreasonable prices. Men can pick up some more casual style jackets, like the gab jacket or the Hollywood jacket, or some elegant 1940’s trousers. Women who are looking for separates will find several styles of adorable reproduction blouses, 1940’s style suits, dresses that are great for dances and work, as well as those famous trousers that make everyone’s bum look like a million bucks.
I’ve written in the past about finding vintage clothing in a size larger than tiny, or any size, really, but even for those who find vintage more commonly in their size, it can be a burden of a task to find vintage dresses that fit that also suit your style. While vintage clothing does exist beyond the tiny realm, it is much harder to find, especially when eBay sellers list L/XL as anything from a size 10 upwards – that’s quite a range of sizes to pilfer through! I’ve been touting the benefits of reproductions (ready to wear, made for you, or make yourself), but haven’t found a lot of resources for women who wear over a size 12 or 14.
New Vintage Lady on Etsy has seen this need and done something about it. New Vintage Lady is “proud to stock one of the largest rotations of original plus size vintage patterns and reproductions. I specialize in plus size vintage patterns (but carry items of all sizes!), reproduction patterns 40″ bust and over, clothing, notions, and vintage inspired creations often of my own design.”
I am so in love with New Vintage Lady’s aesthetic – I am actually more enthralled with her own pattern designs than the original patterns she has listed, primarily because she illustrates her own patterns with whimsy, color, imagination, and style. Her patterns are adorable, with thoughtful details like buttons, tucks, contrast panels, belts with buckles, and scalloped edges. She even has hat patterns, and an entire pattern devoted to different types of sleeves that you can add to any dress – imagine that, designers-who-produce-clothing-for-any-mall-retailer – SLEEVES! If anyone has worked with vintage patterns before, you know that the arm holes/sleeves tend to run on the small side, so this add-on pattern is a genius idea.
New Vintage Lady has other great items in her shop, like vintage patterns of all sizes, sewing books, and some vintage and reproduction dresses. Here are some of my favorite items from her shop: