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

Heyday! Revisited

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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.

Here are my favorites from the website:

How sharp are these! Get your Gene Kelly on in the Anzac trousers, available in 9 colors
You just can't go wrong with these swing trousers - available in 14 colors
Fleur wrap dress, available in 6 prints
Hollywood jacket, an alternative to the traditional blazer
Olivia blouse - stinkin' adorable, in 11 colors
Want this suit!

Two 1930’s Three Piece Suits, 40R

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I came across two black 1930’s suits in the same jacket size, 40R, on eBay this week that look to be in great condition! The first has a double breasted jacket with the following description:

“This is a vintage 1930’s, three piece, double breasted suit in good, vintage dry cleaned condition. There are no holes or stains. This suit measures 21″ across the chest from armpit to armpit. The upper shoulder area at the back is 16 1/2″ across from arm seam to arm seam. The sleeves are 25″ long from the shoulder seam to the end of the cuff. The pants are 36 x 30. They have interior buttons for suspenders and a button front closure. They are flat fronted with cuffs.”

The second suit is a regular three piece suit, dated 1933, with the description:

“It is 22″ across the chest from armpit to armpit. The upper shoulder area at the back is 17 1/2″ across the back from arm seam to arm seam. The sleeves are 25″ long from the shoulder seam to the cuff. The pants are 35 x 30. They are flat fronted with cuffs. There is a watch pocket.”

Starting price is $199.00 for each suit – you’d run the same at Men’s Wearhouse for a three piece suit, but something tells me this vintage suit would be more of a standout. 🙂

Three Piece Suit at Men’s Wearhouse

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The Men's Wearhouse three piece suit in brown pinstripe

It is not often that my husband contributes ideas to this blog, but I must give him credit for this find. We’ve been looking for a vintage or new three piece suit for him for a while now and, with his birthday coming up, I guess he kicked his part of the search in gear and found this three piece suit at Men’s Wearhouse to add to his wishlist. It looks pretty nondescript in terms of era, but could easily be enhanced with details, like a vintage tie, pocket square, or tie clip, to give it that swing era feel. It could also double as just a regular suit by removing the vest and adding modern accessories for work, job interviews, or whatever else you may need a suit for. At $199.00, the price is right for this versatile three piece suit, which comes in black, a fine black/white pattern, brown pinstripes, a fine brown pattern, and charcoal gray.

Plus Fours Suit and National Recovery Administration Suit

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Two interesting specimens popped up in my eBay searches this week. First, herringbone knickers/plus fours and a matching jacket, which the seller is dating 1930’s or 1940’s, but someone who knows menswear better than me might have a better handle on their decade of origin. In any case, knickers are awesome and here’s a whole suit for your day on the links, night on the dance floor, or the next tweed ride – 39 jacket and 31 waist.

Second, ignore the uncomfortable looking dude in the picture and focus on this blue Depression-era wool suit that the seller dates between 1933 and 1935 due to the National Recovery Administration (or NRA…not to be confused with that other NRA) label inside. This suit is exactly my husband’s size and he won’t have anything to do with it because it’s blue, so I’m beside myself with disappointment…but maybe it will fit one of you? 42 jacket, 32 pants, starting bid at $19.99.

ABW 1930’s Vintage Fashion Show

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

A few of our participants at curtain call, from L-R: Abigail Browning, Elizabeth Tietgen, Patrick Draus, Kyle Kettner, Dominique Blouin, Mia Goldsmith, Bobbly White, Emily Shuhmann, Heidi Rosenau, Joe McGlynn and Valerie Bissig - photographs by Patrick Hovan

I had the honor of working on the committee that produced All Balboa Weekend‘s first 1930’s Vintage Fashion Show this year. The committee was comprised of Valerie Salstrom, Shannon Sheldon, Shannon Butler, Victor Celania, and myself, with some consultation about accuracy from the reigning queen of vintage, Heidi Rosenau. The idea was that we would put out the call for people attending ABW to submit photos of themselves in 1930’s clothing that they either own, inherited, or borrowed and we would decide on themes based on the contents of the submissions to put together a complete show. We would also take people who were interested in modeling and put them in extra vintage clothing, provided by myself and Valerie.

The plan worked. We had enough models, clothes, and themes to put together a cohesive fashion show. Having never actually coordinated a fashion show, I was relieved when Shannon Sheldon stepped up to the plate at our meetings to expertly organize the execution of the show, down to charts of participants, clothing, what rack their garments would hang on, who they would enter with, in what order, who had a quick change and would get priority near the rack, and who needed help changing. I love organization! Victor and I cat-walked in the lobby to make sure the music was right for each theme. After a single run through with the participants we hoped everything would go according to plan.

We knew there would be a bit of a time crunch getting everything in, but when it came time to put on the show everything ran so smoothly that I think we came in under time! The themes/vignettes were beachwear, sleepwear, collegiate, picnic, day wear, cocktail, and evening wear. In addition to helping organize the show, I also participated in the show, in a floral day dress and straw hat and a green velvet evening gown with matching cape. I also had one of those quick changes and it was so fast that, even with two people dressing me and not changing shoes I barely made it out in time for the vignette! I have to hand it to the people who do this every day, getting people dressed, re-dressed, and parading them around a room is hard work!

Thank you to everyone who participated and made this wonderful! Special thanks to Remix Vintage Shoes for sponsoring the fashion show and giving all participants a discount on their lovely shoes, as well as the vintage store Flower Child for providing the participants with props for the show.

Here are some photographs of the fashion show, courtesy of Patrick Hovan (P.S. if there are more photos I haven’t seen them, but would love to post more here! Please let me know if you find others):

Dominique Blouin, Bobby White, and Shannon Butler model evening wear
Kate Hedin, Joe McGlynn, and Brandi Ferrebee show off their cockail attire
Heidi Rosenau in beach pajamas and Joe McGlynn in a Palm Beach suit
A closeup of that Palm Beach suit - looking sharp, Joe!
Mia Goldsmith's gorgeous black and gold gown
Lindy Shopper's gown and cape, with Carla Heiney sporting a velvet and fur coat over Valerie's grandmother's black and white evening gown

Field Trip: Sweet Lorain, Cleveland, OH


This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


Sweet Lorain
(formerly Suite Lorain, now under new ownership) is one of those rare places where there are entire racks devoted to 1930’s and 1940’s clothing, rather than being relegated to a few rare items on the wall or stuck in the middle of a mound of polyester. In fact, Sweet Lorain skirts the issue by focusing exclusively on “Deco to 1960’s.” It’s a huge store, with tons of furniture, housewares, knick-knacks, clothing and accessories, and maybe some random items from a past era you’ve never even thought about. The dresses, evening gowns, coats, and other swing era garments are comparably plentiful and in an array of sizes. There were so many things to see that my partner in crime, Elizabeth Tietgen, and I spent several hours there, long enough for the store owner to offer us each a bottle of water!

We were told that the store had been hoarding swing era items for the ABW participants and people were dropping off things to sell to the ABW’ers the morning of the day we went to Sweet Lorain, namely a pair of 1940’s low heeled sandals that Elizabeth took home and a green 1930’s raincoat that came home with me.

I have heard stories about Sweet Lorain for years from my vintage tailor/couturier, Laura Boyes, who grew up in Cleveland. She and her daughter have had great luck in this store during their visits and Laura has even seen buyers from Anthropologie using their corporate card to purchase items from Sweet Lorain to copy or as inspiration for their designs. Understandably, I’ve been eagerly anticipating this visit to Sweet Lorain and it did not disappoint.

Did I think to take photos of what we bought? No, of course not, but Elizabeth left with a bevy of blue and white items, including a 1950’s sundress, a 1930’s day dress with matching bolero, black 1940’s shoes, tap shoes, and an aqua velvet 1930’s gown, and I left with a gray 1920’s dress, a seersucker romper of unknown decade, the 1930’s raincoat, a tie for the Boy, and a Bakelite bangle. Quite possibly the best trip to a vintage store EVER. Did I mention the prices here are amazing? This store will be a must-do for all subsequent ABWs.

Here are some of the other goodies I found at Sweet Lorain (I apologize for posting photos from my phone, I forgot my real camera):

Read the signs, ladies - this is the place!
A wall of slips, with cheerful bloomers hanging above the dressing room area
Wonderful coral crepe print dress
Navy and red crepe dress
Purses under glass
The 1940's shoes we found for Elizabeth
Tie clips galore, including one from the 1933 World's Fair
Ties!
A selection of men's hats
Oh, the bakelite!

Jos. A. Bank Seersucker Suit for $129 – Today Only!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Embrace your inner southern gentleman by purchasing one of Jos. A. Bank’s deeply discounted seersucker suits in blue, tan, or taupe – only $129.00 if you buy it today, marked down from $395.00. That’s right, you’d save $266.00. 🙂 Where would you wear it? Where wouldn’t you wear it! Seersucker is a lightweight cotton fabric, perfect for summer dances, outdoor events, weddings, and courthouses. I love, love, love that they have it in tan and taupe – one of the most beautiful color combinations I have seen is a tan seersucker suit with a coral shirt, brightly printed tie in coral and blue, and leather and linen oxfords. You can do this, gentlemen!

To get the $129.00 price, you have to purchase via Brad’s Deals, so use this link: http://www.bradsdeals.com/deals/jos-a-bank-seersucker-suit-129-p72957.html#instructions

Magnoli Clothiers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s back to reality, post-Experiment, but while I was away I did have a chance to chat with instructor Bobby White about some of his impeccable garments. He directed me to Magnoli Clothiers as a great source for vintage reproduction three piece suits. I must agree with Mr. Whi-te on this one, as the tailoring and fabrics look spot on.

Magnoli Clothiers is more than just menswear, it “is dedicated to the reproduction of vintage clothing, historic garments and popular film costumes. These reproductions, however, are not costume pieces, but tailor-made, high-quality clothing…any piece of mens clothing that you can provide images of can be reproduced. We can copy a garment you already own, or, by analyzing various images, we can reproduce any article from photograph or film stills.” The sky is the limit, or you can choose from their impeccable sample suits, pants, leather jackets, sport coats, shirts, vests, shoes, hats, and accessories.

The prices are no bargain, but for custom pieces…consider this an investment in looking awesome. Reasonably priced vintage repro menswear is hard for Lindy Shopper to find, but I am on a reproduction kick right now so I thought it best to share. Did I mention shipping is included in the price? That helps a bit.

Here are some of the great pieces you might want to own:

Cagney suit
Dillinger suit
Fairbanks suit
Marshall suit - more awesome belt-back action
Princeton tweed suit
Boardwalk linen blazer
McCoy jacket - with pockets and belted back for maximum sportiness
Highway jacket - because the Rocketeer is HOTTT
Hughes jacket
Joker vest
Hollywood pants
Oxford Bags

1920’s/30’s Double Breasted Three Piece Suit

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s been a while since anything gentlemanly crossed my path for the blog, but here’s a wonderful double breasted navy suit from the jazz era, listed on eBay by seller privatescreening. From a “high quality prominent Seattle estate,” this suit has wonderful details, like pants cuffs, peaked lapels, a matching 6 button vest, button fly, and lots of pockets. A great investment for your wardrobe, as any of these pieces could be worn separately or together. The price is a bit up there, but comparably much less than the other three piece vintage suits popping up on eBay as of late.

Swing Outfits: Custom 1930’s and 1940’s Clothing for Men, Women, and Lindy Ensembles

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Amapola dress

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…

Here’s what I love from Swing Outfits:

Classic trumpet skirt
Knickerbockers - yes, this is the photo from the web page - why hide those pretty socks when you can do them justice with a pair of knickers?
Splanky dress
Student pants - 1930's style
Splanky blouse
Single-breasted cashmere vest
Sailor pencil skirt
A nod to classic ensemble Lindy Hop performances, your ensemble can also sport silky jumpers for the ladies with matching silk shirts for the gents

Emerald City Vintage on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This 1950's jacket is nerdy and awesome

I am very impressed with the selection of clothing that eBay seller Emerald City Vintage has posted, for both men and women. If Emerald City is from Seattle, then it comes as no surprise to me that this seller has excellent threads, as my own excursion to Seattle last year yielded three critical wardrobe items.

The selection is primarily 1930’s through 1950’s clothing and the starting prices are generally around $20.00. Some of the items for sale are buy it now – whether or not some of these items are reasonable is open to interpretation, but some of the buy it now items are what you would pay in a decent vintage store and others are a bit pricier.

Randomly, there are also several dirndls in the store, if you are looking for something befitting Oktoberfest.

Overall, this is a very focused selection of garments for swing era ladies and gents, with lots of great basics for both men and women. Here are my favorites from this week’s selections (but I would encourage you to browse the eBay store, as there are lots of different sizes available in similar items, such as pants):

1950's black sweater
1940's three-tone rayon dress
1940's Tuxedo
1936 three piece suit
1930's belted back suit
1940's double breasted suit
WWII uniform
1940's or 50's striped pants

The Secret to Summer Suiting

This post was written by Lindy Dandy.

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.

White linen: think more Tom Wolfe, less Don Johnson (unless that’s your thing, then go for it!).

Tom Wolfe: good. Don Johnson: not as good.

Cotton Seersucker: Can look a bit dandy (works for me!), so dress it down, stick to one seersucker item (jacket/vest/pants) per ensemble, or try an alternate seersucker color, like gray.
Khaki Linen: The most approachable option. The jacket or pants can each easily be used separately. Perfect together for a summer wedding.
Madras: Very preppy, very summer, and another option (as a jacket, NOT as a suit).
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).
As Barney from How I Met Your Mother might say, “Summer suit up!”