Tag Archives: swing dance

SJC 1930’s Chinos

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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If I seem like a broken record, I promise it’s not the record, because the tune keeps changing.  One of the benefits of doing limited runs and placing orders in advance for goods is that you are only ordering based on the demand and you can easily switch your attentions to the next development.  I really like Simon James Cathcart’s business model because he is constantly bringing new items to the market, hence the repeated posts.  The downside is that you don’t get a year to mull over whether or not you need something in your life, but maybe that’s best – if it’s not hitting us in the gut or on our mind consistently for a matter of days, do we really need it?  You might if you decide you might have regrets later.  I’ve learned to trust my gut.

Another thought before I get to the substance of this post – the most searched for item on Lindy Shopper is men’s high waisted trousers, presumably in light-weight, breathable fabrics for dancing.

So what I am telling you is that this item, which is the most sought-after item on this blog, is available to you now on Simon James Cathcart’s website, but not for long!  This limited run of 1930’s chinos, available in khaki, navy, and chocolate brown, are what you have been looking for – something off the rack that you can throw on your body with a shirt of just about any ilk, and go out dancing.  Washable.  Breathable.  Movable.  Unisex.  That’s right, ladies, these trousers are for us, too – though a man’s pattern, given that these sit at the natural waist and have a wide leg, wide enough to accommodate a larger hip/waist ratio, this could work for you, too.  SJC’s advertising includes both a male and a female model to show you just how this will work, which caught my eye and took out the guesswork.

You know what to do!

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The Venice Beach Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Genevieve and Helwig from the Beach Clip

How often do you find a vintage piece of clothing and wished you knew more about the story of the person who wore it?  Sometimes vintage clothing will come with a tidbit of history, passed on from the family to the vintage clothing vendor, and in those wonderful rare moments you might see a photo of the original owner in the garment.

Then there are the garments that are a part of our history as swing dancers – even more rare, like the Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers jackets (lovingly reproduced by Chloe Hong) or the costumes worn on the silver screen by our Lindy Hop luminaries of the 30’s and 40’s.  Maybe some people know where some of these items are, but others are lost to time.

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Kate Hedin in THE dress

I remember reading Bobby White’s Swungover posts on Genevieve Grazis, one of the followers in the famous “Beach Clip” that many a Balboa dancer has studied in painstaking detail, and following his adventures in historic sleuthing about who she was and her life outside of this snippet of time we know as the Beach Clip.  After reading about the lives of the original swing dancers and watching them in videos, I can’t help but think, “Where are the clothes they wore, where are they NOW?”  Maybe that’s just my inclination.  Genevieve’s dress in the Beach Clip is distinct, both in its attention-grabbing “color” and texture, as well as the impeccable twirl of the gored skirt.

So I’m scrolling through Facebook today and at the top of my feed is the resplendent Kate Hedin in a glorious white satin dress – THE satin dress worn by Genevieve Grazis in the Beach Clip!  How does this happen?  Bobby, Kate, and the finder of this dress, Swing Sleuths Jennifer Halsne, explain the wonderful story in the video below, including a demonstration!  I got tingles listening to it – I love the hunt and I love the history!

Fashion Challenge for Frankie Month

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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My Lindy look usually involves Trashy Diva dresses #unsurprised  Photo taken by Soo Clark at The Lindy Lab.

I’m essentially going to re-post what is on the Frankie Manning Foundation website, but I wanted to get the word out – this can be a one-day challenge or a month-long challenge, your choice!  While you’re there, check out all the other ways you can get involved…and while you are here at lindyshopper.com, you can figure out just how to get #TheLindyLook. 😉

From the website: “As part of Frankie’s long-held wish that the entire world know about lindy hop, let’s dress the part and hopefully trigger some conversations at the water cooler, on public transit, and wherever you may go on May 26th.

Don your favourite swing threads that best capture the spirit of the Savoy Ballroom in its 1920-50s pomp, or if you prefer, wear your favorite event t-shirt or whatever else means “swing” to you. Have your photo taken at work, in your office, at your desk, at a cafe, on the street, or wherever you may go. Be creative!

Share your photos on social media with the hashtag #TheLindyLook; photos shared on most social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram will automatically be collated as part of #TheLindyLook tag board. Share your #TheLindyLook photos on Facebook too on the Frankie Manning Foundation page.

Are you up for an extra fancy challenge? Why not dress the part for the entire Frankie Month, May 1st to 31st, and share a photo each day!”

 

SJC for Summer – Oviatt Polos and 1930’s Trousers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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This yellow is coming home with me…

It’s a banner week – a new Trashy Diva print is coming out tomorrow and today I open up my Facebook feed to find that Simon James Cathcart has not only restocked his amazing vintage style bamboo fabric polos, there are even more colors (!!!) and he’s added these fantastic 1930’s trousers to the website!

Men and dapper ladies, let’s talk about these trousers – from the website:  ”

SJC has just woven 50mts of 16oz Cream English 100% wool flannel, so do not hang about here. This fluffy ecru coloured cloth is thick but soft and billows like the sails of a yacht in the breeze when one moves.

Crafted into a 1930’s loose cut trouser that features deep pleats, a wide leg and a high rise fit.  The pants feature a button down coin pocket flap, side adjustors, sturdy pocket bags, sunburst corozo buttons, suspender buttons, deep fly front and belt loops.

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They come in a long untailored length so you can add your own 2″ cuffs on them to suit.

Judging by the outstanding quality of the cloth, the high desirability of the cut, the incredible price these pants will go fast.”

Have you had dreams of Fred Astaire’s wardrobe?  This looks like a good step toward his day-wear.  Pick from cream or gray fabric, then add striped socks and your desired footwear…

Chester Cordite – Modern Vintage Menswear

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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We should just start giving all our clothing money to the UK because I’m convinced this is where the giant hub of vintage reproduction clothing is located.  Thanks to a Reddit thread about trying to find suits for swing dancing, I’m now hip to Chester Cordite,  which offers “a modern take on classic styles from the golden age of 1930s and 1940s, producing limited edition suits and shirts with period influenced fabrics at splendidly affordable prices and all suits made in England.”  Chester Cordite got its start with that same frustration of not being able to find the right suits in good condition, and since necessity is the mother of invention, we have this company producing wonderful suits and shirts.

The suits are definitely custom, in gorgeous fabrics, perfect vintage-inspired cuts, and are fairly reasonably priced for custom work.  On an even more accessible level are their spearpoint collar shirts, which will give you an immediate vintage look (compare to modern shirt collars) for only 60 pounds (roughly $75 as of the date of this post), about what you would spend for a shirt at a nice menswear store in the U.S.  The shirts also come in an array of solid colors and stripes, which I love for dancers because most menswear-wearing dancers I know don’t commit to a jacket the whole night and it’s nice to have something classic other than a white dress shirt to complete your look.  All of the suits and shirts are paired with vintage ties in photographs on the website to give you an idea of how your vintage look will work.

Here are some of my favorites from the website:

 

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Just gorgeous – 3 piece suit with belt back, Buchan Hopsack

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This blue is a herringbone, yessssssss

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Sage check front…

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…and back!

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Cement gray stripe spearpoint collar shirt.

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Blue and black stripes for the spearpoint shirt.

 

 

 

Tranky Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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GET IN MY CLOSET

So I basically can’t keep up with all the swing dancer-focused shoe companies popping up right now – the latest company to grab my attention is Tranky Shoes, which Jessica Bullock mentioned in response to a shoe question Gaby Cook posted on Facebook.  Their Facbook page is in Italian, Google translate has failed miserably to translate the text, and Facebook translate fared only slightly better, so I’m interested in hearing more about this shoe company.  Here’s what I can surmise from their Facebook page:

  • Based in Italy
  • There are green double strap Mary Janes that need to come home with me (sans the velvet bootie – can that happen?)
  • They are being sold at a bunch of European events
  • Handmade, leather upper, leather soles
  • For more information email trankyshoes@gmail.com

Tell me more, peeps!  Have you tried these shoes?  I want to hear all about them. 🙂

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An array of styles and colors.

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Some Tranky Shoes men’s footwear designs.

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Two New Re-mix Shoes: Saddle and Lectrice

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I’m a few days late with this news, particularly if you are already on Re-mix Vintage Shoes‘ email list, but I’m very excited about the new Lectrice and curious about the response to the saddle oxfords.  Lectrice is a no-brainer – built on the same last as the Anitas, which I already love, there is potential to love the Lectrice more because I don’t always feel stable dancing in my Anitas and I believe in the stability of oxfords.  Combined with the comfort of the Anitas and this lovely looped stitching detail, I’m cheering for this shoe to be the awesome I want it to be.

fullsizerender_5_1024x1024The saddle oxfords I am excited about in a smaller, more hesitant way.  There are not particularly good associations in the swing dance community at large for people who show up to dances wearing saddle shoes, and I wish that this could be different because saddle shoes are adorable and were popular decades before the 1950’s.  In popular culture they are so much associated with the 1950’s, part of a caricature involving poodle skirts and pony tails.  My hope is that people will be inspired by photographs of everyday people and dancers from the 1930’s and 40’s wearing saddle shoes and take their style cues from those outfits, or embrace 1950’s garb outside of the caricature.  I am probably most interested in seeing if Re-mix decides makes other colors, I would DIE for a green and white pair!

Simon James Cathcart Review: Spectators and Deco Polo

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I had already backed the Kickstarter for the navy/cream spectators and ordered my Deco polo when I started to see the Simon James Cathcart apparel on others, first the polo on Nicholas Centino while vintage shopping in Cleveland for All Balboa Weekend, then on Glenn Crytzer on Facebook, and then on just about every vintage-loving gent I ran across in person. That the Deco polo was so prevalent and widespread so quickly speaks to its necessity. Vintage clothing isn’t always about being dressed up for fancy affairs, we want to look sharp in casual-wear, with all those nice vintage details that are missing from modern clothing.  Unfortunately, not a lot of vintage knitwear survived, so we’re lucky SJC decided to do something about it.

My navy spectator shoes arrived in the mail week before last, so of course I have gigs all weekend and then it rains all week so I can’t wear them. I had already seen their glory on Facebook, through SJC’s posts of customers who shared their first ensembles with these glorious shoes.  It was so inspiring that I couldn’t help but plan an ensemble of my own. Who am I kidding, I already had my outfit planned out, maybe three outfits…

The first sighting of the canvas and leather spectators in person on another person occurred at Classic City Swing in Athens, Georgia – a pair in acorn/cream on the feet of Augusta, Georgia dancer Keith Beckman. He came over to show them to me, I squeed a bit, he thanked me for posting about the shoes, and he had good reviews for their danceability – the leather sole is top notch, you can tell just by looking at it, but Keith was worried about the small rubber bit on the rear outside of the heel. What he discovered is that the rubber didn’t get in the way of his dancing, spinning, or sliding, but he could use the rubber as a stopper depending on how he distributed his weight. Of course they looked impeccable, I had already spotted him across the room in them before he came over to talk to me, because they are SHARP AS HELL.

I finally got to wear my navy and white spectators this Friday, with navy trousers and a striped shirt.  It didn’t take long to break them in and by the end of the day they felt comfortable, even though I had worn them at my standing desk all day and walked around downtown during lunch for about 20 minutes.  They are men’s shoes, but they fit well – my heel is a regular size, but the ball of my foot and toes can err on the side of wide and I had plenty of room in the toe box without feeling like I was wearing shoes that were too big for me.  I wear a 7 in women’s U.S. sizes and I took a size 4 in SJC’s U.K. men’s sizes.  I received several compliments on my shoes during my lunchtime walk and some dude in the parking deck was definitely checking out my shoes when I got out of the car that morning.

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On Saturday I went out to lunch at Monuts in my green Deco polo, which was perfect for a fall transitional day – it was a season-appropriate color and matched my 1940’s Wild West scarf, but it was also good for the weather, which was sunny and 80-something degrees.  It was comfortable and easy to dress down with jeans and Keds, but I have seen this paired with jackets for a more dressy look.  I really struggle with that sort of in-between look that so many Americans seem to gravitate toward, not dressy, but not too casual – it seems I’m either in a fancy dress or in my pajamas, so the Deco polo is filling a bit of that in-between niche in my wardrobe.  For sizing reference, I typically wear a U.S. women’s size 10 and I took an XS in the SJC polo.  I’ll leave you with this description of the polo from the SJC website:

“Beautifully tailored and made from the truly remarkable bamboo plant.  It is circular knitted in the old school style and thus very slubby giving the shirt a distinctly raw 1930’s look.  Super soft feel and at 230 grams these polos have a nice weighty feel about them.”

I am so pleased with my Simon James Cathcart purchases.  It’s important to remember that these items are limited batch specialty items and some are based on Kickstarter/pre-orders, so it doesn’t give you a lot of time to ponder, “Do I need this?”  The spectators and polo were an easy choice for me because I almost never find good navy shoes (much less vintage two-tone navy flats) or green shirts and these are things I want in my wardrobe. There are only the acorn/cream spectators left on the website and some of the Deco polo colors have sold out, so be sure to act swiftly to secure what you like.

I can’t wait to see what SJC comes up with next, he seems to have a knack for finding these “holy grail” vintage items and then reproduces them for us to enjoy today.

Band-Aid Friction Block Stick

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

61q39vbwavl-_sy355_Last month I attended the Jazz Age Lawn Party in New York and the first day of the event reached some of the hottest temperatures I have experienced in my life, with a heat index of 107 degrees Fahrenheit.  My already blister-prone feet were properly welted with blisters by the end of the day, after extreme sweating, ample dancing, and walking and metro-ing to get to wherever I was going.  My hosts, well-versed in foot ails after years of walking around NY and DC, presented me with a Band-Aid Friction Block Stick, which looks like a deodorant stick put through a shrink ray and the substance itself looks a bit like Crisco (but not greasy).  This wasn’t going to help my existing blisters, but was told it would help prevent the next day’s rub on fresh skin from a different pair of shoes.  I was willing to try anything at that point.

After a slightly lesser heat index the following day and with more dancing (Peabody!), I was happy to report that the friction stick appeared to have made a difference on my unblistered skin, keeping it blister-free throughout the day and preventing irritation with a different pair of shoes that had a different profile (oxfords I’ve worn a number of times –> never worn before by me secondhand Mary Janes).  I’ve since acquired my own stick and used it on shoes that I know rub, on occasion, certain areas of my feet and also with a new pair of shoes, with great success.  I’m curious to know if others have discovered this stick – if so, do share your review in the comments.

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Day 2 at 10 a.m., this is the face of someone determined to dance for up to 6 hours and not get any more blisters.

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Derby Kiss Rollergirl Shorts –> Swing Dance Bloomers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Continuing our discussion in the vein of undergarments, I ran across a post on Facebook from dance instructor Mike Legenthal to dancer/event floor captain Brandi Ferrebee suggesting Derby Kiss sequined rollergirl shorts because Brandi and everyone else who wants to sparkle under their skirts should be allowed to shine.  I love crossover products made for athletes because they are usually made with similar considerations to what dancers will need (dancers, after all, are athletes!).  This is a small business, with the wife and husband team of Emily and Dan running the sparkle show – Emily makes the products and Dan takes care of the embroidery, photography, and technical details.

These sequin shorts come with some really great options – a variety of colors are available, and each pair has a color change, where the sequins look one color, but when you run your fingers over the sequins they flip to another color.  In the Facebook thread that ensued, it was agreed that the fabric band around the thighs was a great feature to prevent thigh rubbing or sequin rollover onto the skin.  I particularly like that these come with a high waisted option, which is essentially sparkles where the low rise shorts come up to and then black fabric up to your natural waist, providing smoothness where your skirt meets your waist (so as not to have sequin bumps show through your garments) and some extra coverage if you want it.

This video basically sells the whole thing:

 

There are also some other fun non-sequin fabrics available – I think this Galaxy pair of shorts would be perfect for Bal-ast Off, there’s already been a Dr. Who themed exchange, and I’m basically OK having red and white stars on my butt at any time.  THIS IS ALL SO FUN – enjoy!

 

 

A Rainbow of Slips on ModCloth

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I love finding interesting undergarments to wear under my dancing clothing, and I particularly love slips for all the reasons outlined in this earlier blog post.  In perusing ModCloth I noticed a number of slips in lovely colors, both full slips and half slips, and they are certainly worth mentioning here.  I like the idea of these brightly colored full slips doubling as a camisole for the top (perhaps with a V-neck or wrap dress), and the same color poking out under a twirly skirt when you spin.  Here are some of ModCloths under-goodies:

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Foundation Fascination Full Slip in Sea – love the detail at the neckline and the accordion pleats at the bottom to allow for extra movement just under your bum.  Also available in a rose pink and plummy purple.

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Give Me Gracefulness Slip in Rose – this blush color would look lovely under just about anything and give a bit of lift to your skirts with the tulle bottom.  Also available in black.

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If you can’t be bothered with spaghetti straps (I know I’ve safety pinned many to my dress to keep from slipping while dancing), perhaps this slip is a better fit for you.  I like the idea of layering this with a dress of a different cut for interest and for function.

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The name says it all – Dream It, Dance It Slip is divine in this steely gray tone, with some feather-light lace to peek out from under your dress and an opaque top to keep your bum covered.  Also available in rose and navy.

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Can’t Stop Dancing Slip in Ivory – your basic half-slip, also available in classic bronze and black. All these references to dancing and slips…ModCloth, are you reading my blog? 😉

Oldfield Clothing – British Sportswear and Accessories

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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A postcard from the UK that reads, “Wish you were here with all this tweed…”

Every time I turn around, I hear about a new vintage reproduction company in the UK, which seems to be where I want to spend my dollars-into-pounds lately and the retail climate appears to be thriving for vintage-inspired clothing.  Swing bandleader, guitarist, and dancer Glenn Crytzer tipped me off to Oldfield Clothing, “purveyors of fine British sportswear and accessories for ladies and gentlemen,” when he picked up a pair of their 1930’s workwear trousers, wanting something in a heavier weight for loading band equipment in and out at gigs.  The Oldfield Clothing collection looks well-suited to incorporating its pieces into modern wardrobes, with vintage takes on standard clothing items like trousers and sweaters.

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The trousers really shine – they offer five different cuts, ranging from the most vintage 1920’s golf knickers to the Keaton trousers that look like a standard pair of front pleated trousers (slightly lower rise than their other pairs, but probably higher rise than modern trousers, if you just want to dip your toe into the wading pool of reproduction trousers).  There are a range of fabrics, from linen to corduroy and wool, so you can shop and dress seasonally.  The workwear trousers Glenn picked are really special, not only for their durable fabric, but also for the details – buttons for braces, button fly, fish tail back, and cinch strap and buckle, to name a few.

Women’s offerings are limited to knitwear (specifically – but knickers, see above), but some really good pieces, like solid sweater vests and beautiful Fair Isle vests and a sweater.  Other items that could be unisex include caps, leather goods, and a classic cream long sleeve polo shirt with two collar options.

Here are some of the goods:

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“The Ralph Trouser” – 1930’s style linen, the trousers you need right now in this Northern Hemisphere heat

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Lady dandies, it’s never a bad time to shop for fall – grab one of these cashmere camel slipovers/sweater vests

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I love the chevron/starburst effect of this Donegal tweed herringbone cap.

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Polo shirt, available with either traditional collar or vintage collar – “ideal for sport, but smart enough to wear with a tie.”

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Some of the details on the workwear trousers.

Domesticated Pinup on Etsy

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Domesticated Pinup’s Etsy profile pic, which I believe was the product of a photo shoot with Jerry Almonte at Lindy Focus.

There are a few people in the Lindy Hop community whose style I would describe as iconic and Anne Williams is one of them – I remember seeing her at dances when she was in college at William and Mary and even then she was that girl with the wonderful vintage dresses (I later learned that her history with vintage goes back even further into her youth), while everyone else was in tee shirts and jeans.  I learned via Facebook (thanks Brandi Ferrebee!) that Anne had opened an Etsy shop called the Domesticated Pinup and was selling part of her collection, which made for an immediate click-through because Anne has such excellent taste, even her castoffs would be golden.  And I was right, check out her shop full of golden goodies and I remain hopeful that she will continue to bless us with her good taste.  Here are some of my favorites:

 

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Lilac 1950’s day dress.

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Caramel 1940’s fascinator.

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Blue chiffon 1950’s dress.

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Brown 1940’s hat with chartreuse feathers.

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury

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Can this be me? Please?

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Here we have yet another example of the UK absolutely killing the reproduction clothing market: The Seamstress of BloomsburyThe Seamstress of Bloomsbury, a clothing line of revived reproductions from and inspired by a woman who bore this nickname, Lillian Wells, who was seamstress to aristocratic families around the world.  The focus here is on 1940’s frocks and they’ve pretty much nailed everything down to the prints (which I find can be the hardest thing to get right, perhaps leaning toward the kitschy rather than fun and artful).

I am presently salivating over everything in the Seaside print and, with these reasonable prices, an order is inevitable…here are some of my favorites from the shop:

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Clara dress and bolero (and matching belt!) in the Seaside print – basically dying over here from the adorableness…

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Barbara wrap dress with slight ruffle in a navy blue print with little dogs – subtle, fun, classy, and I love the placement of the ruffle just slightly off the neckline.

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Because who doesn’t need a pair of black and white polka dot crepe de chine rayon wide leg 40’s trousers?

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This needs no explanation, other than if you don’t dig pants, it also comes as a dress.  CLASSY CLASSY CLASSY

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The Pearl Jacket – quintessentially 1940’s

Ains & Elke Style Haus on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I still need this in my life.

I’ve been on the hunt for elusive vintage and reproduction knitwear and came across Alixis Lupien on the Oooh La La! Vintage Swap and Sell Facebook group, as she was selling the most adorable sweater with parrots on it.  At first glance it looked vintage, but then I looked again and she made it!  People who knit clothing are magical unicorns in my book, it looks like so much could go wrong, but here was this darling multi-colored knit sweater that I could see instantly enhancing my summer wardrobe.

I followed her progress on Facebook to her Ains & Elke Style Haus Facebook page and then to her Etsy shop, where she posts her incredible novelty knit sweaters and an array of sewn clothing options that you can order custom to your fabric, color, measurement, etc. specifications.

Here are some of my favorites from the shop:

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Fishy sweater!

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Heart and Dagger sweater

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Pastel rainbow 50’s style skirt

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Coretta 40’s style jacket

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Esther 40’s sarong dress