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!
I have anticipated checking out Alexandria’s Amalgamated Classic Clothing and Dry Goods since April, when I heard of its opening shortly prior to DCLX and the wonders that awaited me – rumors that the owners have a warehouse where items are pulled for Hollywood movies, that the inventory has real swing era stuff, GOOD stuff, and I was salivating. As I ditched the Saturday afternoon DCLX dance to head over to Alexandria I got a text message from Bill Speidel that the shop was closed. Oh, the disappointment!
Thankfully, I had already planned to attend the International Lindy Hop Championships in August, so I knew I’d get a second chance. I messaged the store’s Facebook page a few days prior to the event to make sure that they would be open and should I send my measuremnets. The answers were yes and yes, and I was elated.
I planned to go on Friday of ILHC and at the Thursday night dance I met Beth Midavaine, who had also planned to take a trip to Amalgamated with Bill Speidel, but Bill had bailed on her, so it seemed that fate would have it that we go shopping together. We headed to Amalgamated the next day with Jason Sager and arrived at the store at noon on the dot. The store was closed. I was frantic. We went next door to a knick knack store owner, who didn’t know why the shop wasn’t open. As we regrouped on the sidewalk, the door opened to Amalgamated and it was, after all, open for business. *phew!*
It took us three hours to get through everything in the store and try on the rack of clothes that Beth and I accumulated through our collective digging through the store. The store itself is small is square footage, but packed with everything good – there was no small rack where the few swing era items were delegated – the entire store was pre-1960’s, so 100% of their inventory was everything that you would want to see in a vintage store. It was glorious! The men’s section rivaled the women’s section in size and magnificence (who has an entire rack devoted to two tone Ricky Ricardo jackets?) and a men’s shoe section that took up an entire table, and included children’s shoes (tiny leather and mesh oxfords!). Owner Shelley White took us through boxes in the back room filled with delicate 1920’s beaded dresses, there were racks of glorious dresses and gowns, plus some very practical items that would be perfect for dancing. The women’s shoes had a good selection of larger women’s sizes, which was great for Beth, who picked up a pair of fantastic 1940’s heels.
I don’t think words or photos will do this place justice, so you’ll just have to go and see for yourself. Until then, check out some of our finds below:
Few things are as understated and refined as a silk knit tie. They don’t scream for attention (especially in solid colors), but they’re appreciated with further inspection. I have a few and would be happy to own more.
I haven’t seen any good tie deals pop up on ol’ eBay, lately, but here’s a good one.
I especially love the blue one and the grey-green tie too.
By the way, ties CAN be a great gift for the men in your life. Just try to make sure your gift complements their style and their needs. (I’m probably good for ties, though. Maybe it’s time to gift some of them).
1. Wear a tie each day (be it a long tie, bow tie, bolo, ascot, western double string tie or any other neckwear that expresses your personal style)
2. Upload a photo of your finely attired dudeness wearing said tie.
3. Share the love with your fellow man
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):
You may not be able to play the clarinet like Paul, but you can get in on the snazzy tie action. Here are a couple auctions:
eBay is THE place to find lots of ties at reasonable prices. Many printed vintage bow ties are made of rayon (synthetic silk), so they’re not often of the highest quality, so keep that in mind. With a bit of luck and vigilant searching, you can find some awesome deco ties made out of silk.
By the way, do check out the Boilermaker Jazz Band’s newest CD (linked above). 19 rock solid tracks of extremely danceable tunes (They recorded Pure Imagination!)
Happy hunting and I’ll see you on the dance floor!
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.
One of these ties popped into my saved eBay search this morning. I clicked to check out the seller’s other items and POW! These five patterned ties showed up.
Busy patterns and designs can be tricky to wear. Wear it properly and you can look very sharp. Overdo it and you risk looking like a train wreck. For ties like these, your best bet is to pair their patterns with a neutral background. i.e. now is not the time to wear your favorite gingham shirt. Wear a plain, blue or white dress shirt and you’ll do just fine. (Assuming everything fits, of course).
Proceed with caution; these ties would look very bad in the wrong hands. Happy hunting!
This post is short and sweet. I intend to do a longer post on ties in the future, but for now, I’ll just post this lot of 5 ties.
These are wide ties, most of them hovering around or beyond 4 inches; ties that would look best tied a bit short with a tie bar and high-waisted trousers, a vintage-inspired look I saw several leads rocking at ILHC this year.
My apologies for the hiatus (though you might not have realized I was gone since LS does such a great job. Steady bandwidth is hard to come by on deployment!) Ok, on to something really exciting (to me, at least).
As has been discussed before, the trick to dressing seasonally is all about wearing seasonally appropriate appropriate fabrics. Is the thought of wearing a seersucker or madras jacket too intimidating? If so, you can always start with something small, like a bow tie. Check these out!
Gingham, seersucker, madras… the gang’s all here.
All of this lovely neckwear comes from Lumina Clothing, based in Raleigh, N.C. According to their twitter: “Lumina Clothing is a custom tie and bow tie company out of Raleigh, NC. Our products mesh the classic style of the south with the Ivy League style of the 1960s.” Style of the south plus Ivy League style? I like!
And even cooler: “Our name, Lumina, comes from an old dance pavilion once located on Wrightsville Beach, NC. Opening in 1905, at the time it was the premier social venue in the South, hosting many of the biggest names in entertainment.”
I’ve only posted a couple of their ties and neckties, but they have a very cool collection of fabrics from which to choose. A huge bonus is that you can get the ties and bow ties at different widths. Skinny neckties are “in” at the moment, but general idea is to match the width of your jacket’s lapels. (So skinny lapels means skinny ties, etc.) It’s all about balance and proportion (and personal taste). Prices are reasonable with bow ties for $39 and ties for $59.
I plan to pick up a couple bow ties and ties here, but am pretty sad that I won’t be able to wear them this season. I’ll be interested to see what they produce for Fall/Winter.