Lindy Shopper’s Closet Episode 5 is up – this week I’m talking about swing dance undergarments, everything from briefs to full slips, what to wear under your skirts and dresses. Tune in, subscribe, let me know if you have requests for future topics, and stay healthy, y’all!
Don’t you hate it when you’ve been doing something your whole life and later discover that this thing you’ve been doing is harmful to something you love? My heart sunk to the bottom of the Marianas Trench when I read that my deodorant/antiperspirant, which I thought was great because it didn’t streak on my vintage clothing, was actually full of aluminum. Said aluminum not only made my dress shirt armpits sparkle with the most resistant strain of glitter herpes I’ve encountered to date, with an accompanying foul odor when the heat of an iron was applied, but it also caused a chemical reaction that made the armpits of some of my vintage clothing start to yellow/stain. How do I know this? There were casualties. Then research to determine the cause of said casualties. I never go down without a fight.
“Deodorants prevent odor-causing bacteria, while antiperspirants prevent sweat. To do so, antiperspirants rely on aluminum-based compounds, such as aluminum chloride, to cause cells in your sweat ducts to swell and block sweat from escaping. When these active ingredients (which also happen to be quite acidic) bond with your sweat, they’re prone to stain clothing.”
OH. MY. GOD.
Perhaps I’ve been lucky thus far with my antiperspirant not staining my clothing until recently, but I feel like this news should be broadcast, warnings posted in vintage clothing store dressing rooms, shouted from the rooftops. Maybe people don’t keep their clothing as long as I do, so it just doesn’t come up. Whatever the reason, I’m here to raise awareness of this issue and present some information on my journey to aluminum-free deodorant and stain/sparkle-free clothing.
We sweat a lot when we dance. We have to wear SOMETHING or our dance spaces will smell even more like locker rooms and foot cheese than they already do. I decided I could deal without the antiperspirant component of my underarm regimen, as I tended to select clothing for dancing that already doesn’t show at lot of soaked-through sweat, but the smell had to be UNDER WRAPS. But I had to change my deodorant fast, or suffer the consequences of damaging even more clothing.
I headed to the Internet to read reviews of aluminum-free deodorants and I found most reviews to be incomplete, overly-optimistic, and not descriptive enough. There were also options other than stick and roll-on, which sounded like a pain in the butt. Then I came across this article titled “Do Any of These Hippie Deodorants Work?” by Kat Stoeffel that was exactly what I needed – one person’s journey through a myriad of recommended deodorants with different applicators, brands, pros, cons, daily conditions, duration of effectiveness, and a ranking from worst to best. As everyone’s body chemistry is different, I went with her top two and was prepared to try others down the line if necessary.
Kat’s second highest recommendation, Le Couvent de Minimes Everyday Deodorant, is a French cologne which has alum stone as its active ingredient and dates back to 1862. True to Kat’s assessment, it did smell like a fancy Williams Sonoma hand soap, and would work as a nice unisex scent. Unfortunately, my skin had a sensitivity reaction to this deodorant. It did work well and I may try it again in a different season.
The deodorant with Kat’s highest seal of approval was Lavilin, an Israeli deodorant that featured images of athletes on the cardboard packaging around the bottle, which looked promising. I had to get used to wearing a roll-on, but it was usually dry by the time I finished drying my hair and I haven’t seen evidence of it leaving residue on my clothing when I remove it. It’s been working like a champ on regular office days for the past month. While it boasts 72 hours of coverage, I’d err on the side of caution when going to a swing dance – I would always reapply my old deodorant/antiperspirant before attending a dance, just to be safe, and that reapplication was needed with Lavilin if I wanted to continue to smell fresh at the end of the dance (per a self-sniff). Lavilin is my winner of the two.
Thankfully, it was just that easy, trying two and coming up with a winner. I am so relieved to have found a deodorant that has less of a negative impact on my wardrobe! If you have stories, recommendations, or other information about what works for you, please feel free to post it in the comments.
The guilt is immense. I’d like to say I have all the answers for my recovery plan, but I don’t. I’ve soaked the damaged red gingham dress in Oxyclean twice and the armpits are still yellow. I’ve used vinegar on a cranberry colored dress shirt and I can still see the glitter of aluminum embedded in the fabric. I did, however, manage to eradicate all glitter and stains from several white dress shirts following the advice of this video, using a paste of water, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide:
I probably need to try this on my cranberry shirt and gingham dress, but the peroxide has me worried it will bleach the color…need some more confidence…please feel free to insert confidence in the comments section, as well. 😉
I realize there are all sorts of warnings and cautionary things we can do to protect our vintage clothing (like not wearing it – but where is the fun in that?), but a change of deodorant was a fairly easy lifestyle change for me to make and it’s also made with an eye toward protecting the lifespan of my modern clothing, as well! Hopefully, I’ll never have to make a peroxide and baking soda paste again.
I often write about undergarment options for coverage when we wear skirts, but what about what we wear under our bloomers or our pants? What about the material? What about all that gross sweating we do? Where dudes bring multiple shirts to a dance weekend, I bring multiple pairs of underwear because there’s nothing worse that sitting around or dancing in a puddle of your own sweat (along those lines, there’s nothing better than putting on a fresh pair of underwear after you’ve danced, especially between a main dance and late night – file that under my body odor commentary).
Cotton breathes, but it also soaks everything up. Synthetics can be icky in terms of odor and I usually don’t like they way the feel against my skin. Can we get some technology in here to engineer us some undies?
Montreal dancer Alisha Ruiss sent me a link to this great Indiegogo campaign for Thinx: Change Your Underwear, “where technology and fashion intersect to solve a global problem.” How is this underwear smart? You can check out the diagram to the right, and then listen when I tell you that it
1) Is leak/stain-resistant, anti-microbial, moisture-wicking and lasts for several years
2) Acts as back-up to traditional methods of leakage prevention during your period (but will not replace these during heavier days – they are working on creating this style next!)
3) Completely replaces liners on light days
Whaaaaaa?! So this is obviously super practical in real life, and in your dance life having that bit of extra protection there for potential leakage (because we move around a lot, just like athletes, and we sometimes lose track of time…) or just sweat absorption could make the world of difference in your comfort at a dance, on any day of the year.
“Beyond our own desire for the smartest underwear for our drawer, we found out that there was an even bigger problem for girls and women in the developing world.
Girls in the developing world are missing up to a week of school per month and using unimaginable things to manage their monthly cycle like twigs, leaves, newspaper, plastic bags or dirty rags. In Africa alone, 67 million girls have dropped out entirely which overwhelmingly leads to early marriage, pregnancy and a greater difficulty in raising themselves out of poverty.
THINX is part of the solution. For every pair of THINX you buy, you help fund the production of a 7-pad washable kit for a woman or girl in the developing world via our partnership with AFRIpads. This kit helps create local jobs and empower the economy while also helping keep girls in school during that time of the month.”
Can you imagine what these girls have to give up? I know I can’t – and I’ll remember this every time I take my ability to leave the house during my period for granted.
I am excited that smarter solutions are being developed, with women all over the world in mind. Looking forward to seeing more from this company.
I often wonder what inspired certain reproduction dresses – shapes and motifs are obvious, but what about the specifics? I love finding those rare inspiration pieces and found what I believe to be Trashy Diva’s inspiration for their fall collection Lilian Dress (which I immediately began panting over upon seeing it) – this wonderful 1940’s dress on eBay. The embroidery is spot on. While the dress has undergone some Trashy Diva modifications, I think they made some great choices like moving the embroidery closer to the shoulder, changing the embroidery colors to more peacock blues and greens, losing the hip seaming/detail, and giving it an overall sleeker, more Asian-inspired silhouette. The charm is not lost, though, as the embroidery in the original is just as magnificent as the repro, and that little row of buttons is divine on both.
I am happy to announce that Lindy Shopper has a new supporter in the form of Etsy store Swell Farewell Vintage – owner Kate Blank has put together a lovely little shop with items from all of our jazz age and swing era decades, and beyond. Kate’s love of all things vintage began early in her childhood and she even ran her vintage clothing business out of her dorm room in college! You can see her experience in her collection, which includes quintessential items from each decade represented. I also love that she has clothing items listed by waist size, which is so helpful in initially narrowing down what will fit from the shop.
Right now the shop features mostly women’s clothing, but Kate has plans to add more men’s ties, as well as more inventory overall. Not everything is listed, so if you are looking for something specific, Kate encourages you to message her with your sought-after items to see if she has anything in her inventory that would fit the bill.
At the moment, Swell Farewell Vintage is running a 15% off coupon – enter the code 15OFF at checkout – it applies to all items!
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.
Aerosoles, often associated with comfortable and practical footwear, has stepped into the swing realm. I spotted Aerosoles on Laura Keat at The Experiment and on Nelle Cherry at DCLX, and wondered how they were dancing in these rubber soled shoes. The secret, according to Nelle, is to get the soles dusty and the rubber becomes the perfect consistency of slippery and sticky when you need it. Who knew? I wear Aerosoles to work for comfort, but I never thought about taking them out on the dance floor. This is great news for the people who dance in flats or heels or both – there’s a little something for everyone.
There are several things that make Aerosoles comfortable, but dancers specifically will notice the highly flexible sole, the cushioned footbed, and the soft leather interiors of the shoes. There are also some nice vintage-inspired shoes in their lineup.
This is less of a field trip and more of a weekly lunch break ritual, usually on Fridays, to a destination two blocks from my office in downtown Durham, North Carolina – to Dolly’s Vintage, a confectionery of a vintage store that is more like a trip to Candy Land than a trip back in time. And, like the board game, Dolly’s is timeless, adorable, and nostalgic at the same time.
You can’t help but smile when you walk by the store, with its vintage bathtub flower bed and cheerful wooden sign welcoming you in. In fact, much of Dolly’s business is foot traffic now that the store has moved from a small space in Brightleaf Square to its expansive new location on Main Street. The store is like a magnet, drawing both men and women into its cheerful interior, with owner Jennifer Donner ready to welcome everyone with a smile and delightful conversation.
What’s inside Dolly’s Vintage? An array of vintage clothing and accessories, mostly ranging from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. The men’s section has a great selection of ties, sport coats, dress and casual button up shirts, tees, and some miscellaneous accessories, like tie clips and cufflinks. The women’s section is a rainbow of awesome dresses, slips, aprons, bathing suits, rompers, skirts, and tops – no losers here, even the 70’s stuff is adorable. A vintage dress will set you back $20-30, which makes it easy to feed the addiction. 😉
Dolly’s carries custom items, like crinolines and ruffled bloomers that Jennifer orders especially for the store, as well as adorable gift items (Hello Kitty, Pucca, Demeter fragrances, and a ton of cool stuff you’ll want to take home with you) and a candy table worthy of Wonka’s chocolate factory.
Jennifer also works with local tailors and seamstresses to mend and repurpose vintage items with flaws to sell in the store.
905 West Main St # 20G
Durham, NC 27701
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Recent events have me thinking about male leads and sweating, specifically how leads deal with keeping themselves dry during dances so their partner doesn’t have to get into closed position with Swamp Thing. I see several methods in play: changing tee shirts multiple times during the night, athletic shirts that are supposed to wick the sweat away from your skin, and men dressing in layers with an undershirt, dress shirt, and sport coat. Of these three methods, the most effective that I have noticed is the man wearing layers. The sport shirts always feel damp even though they aren’t wet and the tee shirts, depending on the wearer, can have a pretty short life span before the lead is drenched again. Every lead I’ve danced with wearing a sportcoat feels dry, at least from the outside. And I thank them for that.
I found an article called “Why You Should Wear an Undershirt at All Times.” It certainly made for an interesting read and I wonder how many of you employ an undershirt as a tactic for dryness. There’s even an entire website devoted to undershirts, The Undershirt Guy, with reviews of undershirt brands and debates on comfort and dryness.
This is less of an informative post and more of a musing – I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic, as what works for one may not work for others. How do you stay dry? I might know some leads that need your help…
Are you looking for that perfect vintage-looking cap, one that’s less Kangol and more newsboy circa 1932? Look no further than the eBay store ZaSu Caps, a treasure trove of vintage style hats and caps, including newsboy caps, alpine caps, railroad engineer caps, a pith helmet, and some WWII reproductions.
The maker of these hats, Ralf Reynolds, is also one of the Reynolds Brothers, a trad jazz duo from that packs a mean, swinging punch. Further, “Ralf has the distinction of being the only person ever to have a 30 year career as a professional washboard player.” Check their website – how adorable are these guys?
From Peter Loggins, via Facebook (who tipped me off about the hats): “These are the cats that seriously influenced my dancing, practicing every day to their Futuristic Junglism CD, songs like Pigmeat stomp. Fun, down to earth, historical knowledge, John Reynolds also played in Mora’s Modern Rhythmists, and is a hell of artist, and Ralf Reynolds makes the hats I wear!!! Zasu Caps…I remember the night I first met Ralph, he had just moved back to California, and went to the Derby, with a duffel bag full of hats. I can’t remember how many I bought, but it was every one that fit me…”
Find ZaSu Caps on Facebook and become a fan! Watch the video below, and you’ll become a fan of the Reynolds Brothers as well. 🙂
Continuing with the shoe theme and the pink theme, I’m posting this eBay auction for a pair of Remix Open Toe Spectator Wedges in pink and black, size 7-8. I’ve never seen this color combination before, but I like it. The shoes are a size 8, but the seller says she wears a 7 1/2 wide and that the size felt more like a 7 to her. Starting price is $20, but the buy-it-now is $50! $50 for a pair of Remix shoes? You know what to do.
I’m heading up to DCLX this weekend, but before I abandon the blog for another dance weekend (you understand, right?) I’ll leave you with these two dresses. Red with green, green with red, but the real detail here is the contrast – most dresses try to match buttons, but I love these solid dresses with contrasting buttons. It really makes the buttons pop and becomes even more of a decorative detail than a functional necessity. This is definitely something I’d like to see more of (paging ModCloth, Anthropologie, Trashy Diva…).
Further, check out the neck detail on the green dress – it’s two dresses in one, with a keyhole neckline or a v-neckline. So in love…I was definitely one of the losing bidders on this auction.
This pair of 1940’s gold heels is about as glamorous as it gets – seller FrauleinMarlene has restocked her shop to include this amazing specimen of vintage footwear. Now that we’ve seen the sparkle, consider the practicality of such a pair of heels – gold is a metallic neutral so it can go with many things, and the mesh insets on the outside of the foot allow for breatheability and a little give on the side for your pinkie toes. I bet that gold leather is super soft…and the price? This gold will only set you back $59. I’d have snatched them up myself, but I already own a similar pair. That said, if you don’t snatch them up, I may reconsider. 😉