As life becomes ever more complicated and my work obligations balloon all around, I am sad that I haven’t had more time to post here, but there ARE some new things, so rather than doing a comprehensive post, I will post some new developments here as teasers and encourage you to do your own research into what appear to be interesting new products and some updates on things/companies I have reported about in the past:
Hepcats – a new women’s dance shoe company has popped up, courtesy of Polish dancer Bogna Jabłońska, thanks to Jenna Applegarth for the tip! Check out their Instagram for lovely things to come.
Trashy Diva – my obsession continues and they plan to release a New Orleans/Preservation Hall/jazz-themed print in the impending future. Watch their Facebook page or Instagram for updates about the release.
I apologize for the tardiness, but, as we all know, life happens outside of the Internet – always better late than never is the All Balboa Weekend vendor post, because ABW has, in my opinion, the best vendor aggregate year after year. This was my 10th ABW, if you can believe it, and the first one I couldn’t attend for the entire weekend, but I promise I crunched to maximize my time there and to give you this attempt at a comprehensive vendor post.
Before we get into the shopping, I have two things to note:
I was given the incredible opportunity to examine Genevieve Grazis’ performance clothing, including the famous Beach Clip dress, and was invited to talk about the dress’ construction and details in front of the entire event as part of Kate Hedin and Bobby White‘s presentation and demonstration of the dress. While everyone is gaga over the 11 godets that, combined with 1930’s satin, make this dress spin like a dream (and rightly so!), but my favorite part of this dress are the sleeves – a triple pleats, both front and back, along the arm hole seam with two piped seams straddling a panel in the middle of the sleeve. The result is a puffed sleeve created by divine architecture.
2. Coif magicians Destinee Cushing and Francine Amendola combined forces to form the Hepcat Salon, delivering incredible and pristine vintage hairstyles all weekend long. I know several people who will get their hair done and wear it for a couple of nights or most of the weekend so they don’t have to worry about doing it multiple nights and to keep it out of their faces, which I think is a great plan to maximize your ‘do and practical for a dance weekend with lots going on that you don’t want to miss.
The flagship booth at ABW is always Re-mix Vintage Shoes, who makes very rare appearances at any events outside of southern California. I know people wait until ABW to buy their first (or second, or 10th) pair of Re-mix shoes so they can try them on and see how the styles fit their feet. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see them all in a row.
Next in the lineup was Sweet Lorain, which is my favorite vintage shop in Cleveland. To call it a shop is really an understatement, it’s almost a warehouse, definitely a department store, and you can get lost in there for hours amongst the clothing, furniture, kitchen wares, records, Christmas decorations, and on. Of course, for ABW, they pull a selection of garments with dancers in mind from the 1930’s through the 1950’s so that you don’t have to do the digging, it’s already been dug out for you and is sitting in the hallway of the event. My story this year is that Andy Nishida and Rita Shiang (dancers and organizers of Richmond, VA’s Jammin on the James) had come to Cleveland a few weeks earlier for the World Congress on Art Deco and had scouted a 1920’s dress for me at Sweet Lorain. 1920’s dresses are hard for me because of my body type, so I was hesitant to phone in the purchase, even though Rita knows my size. I show up at ABW with this texted photograph of a dress and the owner, Redwin Lewis, knew the dress immediately, still had it, knew it would be perfect for me – and it was! Sometimes vintage shopping is easy and sometimes it takes a few steps to find a dress a home.
De Fils en Perles returned to ABW this year with even more intricate beadwork, much of it Art Deco-inspired. I was particularly smitten with the earrings this year, which were often made of an exquisite central bead with smaller embellishments and looked perfect for certain 1920’s and 1930’s ensembles. I am often overwhelmed by jewelry, so many beautiful small things at once, and I took some time to sit down and go through the earrings and really appreciate the detail that goes into each piece.
Retro Rosie made its ABW debut this year and before I even got to ABW, there was a buzz that a vendor was there selling Trashy Diva. I spoke with Miranda Scott, the owner, who runs this brick and mortar shop and an online shop, that most of her sales are online. I found this unsurprising, given the specialty nature of the garments (as much as I like to think we are the norm), and was glad she gave ABW a chance. She had several Trashy Diva dresses that are discontinued in most sizes, so secondary stockists are essential for the dress you may have missed (since they TD lines are selling out within days of launch, nowadays) and the chance to try things on in person. She also had a selection of Besame Cosmetics, another item that I can’t purchase locally to me, but that I see on the internet all the time on vintage blogs and it’s great to see the colors in person and be able to try them on, as well.
Jamie Sturdevant’s Chatterblossom booth is always a bright spot, with her cheery disposition, creative floral-inspired ensembles for each day, and a bevy of blooms for each possible scenario and outfit. Indecision abounds at this booth, as there are so many to choose from, so many outfits to match, so many beautiful pieces that you just want to come home with you. My favorite pieces this year are the giant lilies she acquired earlier in the year by chance, they are just so big and elegant, I want one in every color! Message her about matching one to your favorite ensemble, her Etsy listings are only the tip of the floral iceberg.
Finally, at the end of the hallway are the Flower Child ladies, who also do an amazing job of curating just the kinds of vintage goods dancers and swing era enthusiasts want, and also go back to their warehouse to look for items to fill specific requests. With new things brought back every day, it’s worth a gander multiple times during the event to keep up with what is in stock. My favorite item this year, brought to my attention by Jamie and ultimately purchased by Destinee, was a chartreuse 1930’s gown studded with rhinestones, featuring braided straps and a bias cut guaranteed to flatter the figure. Destinee wore it on Saturday night and, with her impeccable hair and makeup and a Chatterblossom bloom, looked like a legit silver screen movie star – or perhaps early technicolor, because no one should hide the color of this gown!
It was another banner year for the International Lindy Hop Championships, now in its 9th year, and full of life, energy, and joy that only swing dancing with people who love these dances with every fiber of their being can bring.
This year’s ILHC was very different for me than in previous years, primarily because I was only singing with Jonathan Stout‘s bands on Friday and Saturday night, whereas in previous years I had competed, DJ’ed, participated in the Yehoodi broadcast, and also sang, usually 2-3 of these at various times over the course of the weekend. Consequently, I cannot say that I was in the ballroom as much as I had been in the past, but I received a request for a trend report, so I will tell you what I was able to see while I was there:
Trashy Diva: TD has been around for a while and there would always be a token dancer in a TD dress (usually Mia Halloran (as in the video below) or Valerie Salstrom), but this year the TD was out en masse. As my gaze scanned the dancing crowd each night, there were numerous ladies sporting TD’s signature printed rayon dresses and it made my heart sing! You all looked amazing – at one point, I happened upon a cluster of three women in TD chatting in the hallway and there’s nothing that makes me happier than fashion bringing people together.
Cropped tops: This trend was a pleasant surprise, seeing adorable cropped tops paired with everything from floaty skirts to high waisted trousers, and always impeccably assembled with the rest of the outfit. Everything from right at the top of the waistband to about three inches above the waistband, so some were just a peek when you lifted your arm to turn and others were more intentionally part of the ensemble’s silhouette.
High waisted tapered leg pleated front pants: Ubiquitous, for a second year in a row. My distaste for this trend remains, but at least they all fit you well, no one looked uncomfortable.
Women in ties: Neckties, bow ties, and I think I even spotted a Continental – ladies, won’t you join me during OcTieBer?
Men: I’ve got nothing, it looked rather more of the same, except that well-dressed men are always in style. Nevermind, keep looking amazing, don’t change. 😉
If you attended, I’d love to hear what other trends did you noticed while you were there – feel free to leave a note in the comments.
I’m also going to give honorable mention to Diana Smith, who wore my favorite clothing item of the weekend, a black floral romper that, at a distance looks like it’s made from a a nice vintage floral, but upon closer inspection has Captain America’s shield nestled in the beds of flowers! Click on the photo to make it larger so you can see the detail – brilliant nod to the Captain America back story and the victory prints of the 1940’s. Did I think to get a photo of Diana in this romper? No, because I’m a terrible reporter and I think I got her in trouble during sound check because we were both working when I started geeking out about her romper…so you’ll have to settle for the Kohl’s model at right. Unfortunately, this romper is no longer available at Kohl’s! *sigh*
There were not as many vendors at ILHC as in the past, and I particularly missed seeing Chloe Hong, but there were 4 vendors offering goods and services to the masses in the hallway of the event and they should be noted because they are noteworthy!
Holding down the largest vendor space was Laurie Gilkenson (aka Nina’s mom) with both Dancestore’s line of dance shoes for men and women, as well as vintage shoes and clothing. I noticed that Dancestore has a new colorway in their Aris Allen men’s wingtip, a nice brown and cream. I also died when I saw that Laurie had several pairs of 1920’s shoes, just the loveliest things in satin that my feet will never fit into! Also, vintage velvet…so many lovely things…
Across from Laurie was the Junebug Shop, the custom clothing endeavor of Anna Yergat, who had her designs on display, as well as a line of geometric beaded jewelry in just about every color – so you could order an entire accessorized ensemble at her table. The Junebug Shop Etsy page carries Anna’s custom designs as well as some vintage clothing items. Anna’s designs look romantic and dance-worthy, vintage nods with modern twists.
Finally, the Vinspire Salon at ILHC was staffed by Destinee Cushing (hair) and Lani Barry (makeup), offering full services faces and quoifs all weekend, if you could even get one – they were so popular there was a wait list! One could say that having hair and makeup done, either professionally by these two or by other means (self, friend) was also a trend this past weekend and rightly so – this is quite possibly Lindy Hop’s biggest and most broadcast performance opportunity of the year and it’s a time to shine, look vibrant under all those bright lights, and look and dance your best.
And that’s a wrap! I love coming to ILHC for the energy and the inspiring dances I see all weekend, there’s a little something here for everyone, even if you aren’t competing. Sometimes it’s good just to take it all in.
There’s been so much going on in Trashy Diva land lately, it’s past time for an update. I’ll try to keep it brief and the drooling to a manageable minimum:
New print: Crimson Clover – a beautiful 1940’s inspired floral along with solid navy coordinates. Seriously, this is just screaming SPRING and I am READY. Available in some classic TD styles and what looks to be a newcomer, the Dolores.
March Madness – you know that thing about how Trashy Diva does limited runs of prints and once the dresses are gone they are gone forever? I can only think of one reissue since I’ve been a customer in the past 7 years, but this time TD is getting democratic about it and there are BRACKETS. Here’s a blog post showing the brackets thus far: http://bit.ly/1Ut6ns0 – we still have 3/4 of the way to go! The only way to vote is on the TD Facebook page, so get to following and check in every day to see which prints are battling it out to be reissued.
Possible new print – the 1930’s are my favorite decade for fashion, so when TD posted on their Facebook wall that the inspiration for their new print was this 1930’s dress I died in my shoes. DYING FROM JOY.
Desperately Seeking Trashy Diva Facebook group– I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this incredible Facebook group devoted to all things TD: discussions on new prints and styles, discussions on old prints and styles, how each style fits in terms of sizing, reselling or trading old TD garments, the classic “desperately seeking” posts (pleas from people looking for garments/prints), photos of group members styling themselves, and one of the most supportive group of women on the Internet. Divas from the store are also on hand to answer questions and the women in this group are devoted, attentive, and full of helpful information.
Well, I’ve died and gone to heaven – not only did my favorite dress company, Trashy Diva, just come out with a green “kimono print” made of green and candy and marshmallow fluff and everything I love, they are offering 30% off EVERYTHING on their website (sale, new, jewelry, Re-mix Vintage Shoes *COUGHCOUGH*) with the code BLACKOUT30. Dress and matching head scarf acquired as we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, leaving me with much to be thankful for!
The promotion ends Monday, December 1, so get your orders in for your holiday dresses now before the postal service gets bananas!
A week ago today I walked in to Trashy Diva’s French Quarter dress shop on a mission to buy a dress – I can’t often make this statement because it is so rare that one would actually get to walk into their store, but more often the case is gazing at their dresses through a web browser. The day before my trip, swing dance instructor and Diva Mia Goldsmith posted that the store had, that day, received their new line of spring/summer dresses and I was elated because I knew I would be able to try all of them on in person.
The new collection did not disappoint – I could have walked out of there with all of the pieces from both prints and then died and gone to heaven. There’s a little something for everyone! In the crepe myrtle print, you can have their sweet Ashley dress with sleeves, the Lena sarong dress with a shoulder drape (for drama), a friggin adorable romper, blouse, skirt, halter dress, hottie top, aaaaaaaaah!
Blue Hawaii print offerings include the Lena, halter, and skirt, but also the strappy L’amour dress, a Trixie top, a front tie top, high waisted shorts, two matching headband options (knot or giant bow), and, it’s not on the website, but I swear there was a little bolero jacket in this print, as well. Just immaculate, in that wonderful rayon. I picked up an Ashley and a Lena in the crepe myrtle – as a note, the Lena is smocked with elastic in the back, so there is a good amount of stretch for fit and you may need to go down 1-2 sizes to get a really good fit.
I’m delighted to report that Trashy Diva’s peppy blue and white polka dots have returned, both in familiar and new incarnations to enhance the adorableness of your wardrobe. I had almost given up hope that TD would give me more rayon prints in 40’s silhouettes, but I don’t know why I ever doubted. Check out their website for the full collection, featuring some of their classic dress designs, but my favorites from the new items are the separates – seriously, an adorable blouse with a peplum to pair with either a swishy skirt or high waisted shorts? YSPLS!
ARE YOU SEEING THIS?!? Trashy Diva has out-Trashy Diva’d themselves and come out with a jumpsuit (perhaps, even, beach pajamas?) in gorious navy rayon. This isn’t a gown, these are some awesome, wide leg, flowy pants! Pants with all the utility of a dress – just one piece and, voila! Your outfit is complete.
This is part of a nautical collection they have been inching out onto their website over the past couple of days, so there may be more additions after this post. I’m going to post everything here because it should be seen. Adorable!
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.
Yes, I know I just posted about Trashy Diva last month, BUT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND – they have just outdone themselves, following up their perfect-for-early-fall plaids with a collection of insanely elegant, whimsical, and ultimately flattering dresses that will work year round and make you the sassiest attendee of any soiree you may attend. It deserves a fashion standing ovation – let’s take this Asian-inspired collection dress by dress, because I can’t narrow it down.
The Dragon Lilian dress is just fab – if you’ve always wanted a cheongsam, but didn’t quite fit into the shape of that dress, I can already see that this dress is more forgiving and flattering. The skirt looks straight, but there are tucks that give the skirt more room and forgiveness for the posterior and hips. The awesome potential is off the charts.
I might die if I don’t own the Peacock Lillian dress, so I’ve already pre-ordered it to save myself from annihilation. I have been looking for a vintage dress similar to this for about a year now – something a little cocktail, a little sparkle, and elegant for gigs, but something I could still wear dancing if I needed to swing out. Blues, greens, gold, *drool*…SO HAPPY!
With “the bodice and sleeves…modeled after a 1937 vintage pattern,” the two tone Frenchie Dress is adorable, sexy, eye-catching, and actually looks really comfortable. Not to be overlooked are the wonderful vintage-inspired frog closures at the waist. The overall effect is slimming, with red drawing your eye in and the black slimming you from the sides.
The Soutache Sandy dress is, obviously, ornamented with lovely soutache embroidery. I am excited to see this detail limited to the waist, as it usually ornaments shoulders or a neckline and is sometimes used a bit too liberally. It makes a lovely focal point on the bodice of this flattering silhouette.
Last, but certainly not least, is the surprise dress of the collection – the Sadie Bustle dress. Yes, the heart pockets (!!!) are adorable on the front, but then you turn around and BOOM, there is a red cascade of ruffles, skyrocketing the sass levels into the stratosphere.
I think one of the Trashy Diva employees who posted on Facebook said it best about this collection: “I’m so excited it’s like Christmas! And I work here, heehee!” If the employees are that excited, you know it’s good!
It’s been a couple of months since I praised Trashy Diva, so we’re long overdue.
I’d like to highlight their pencil skirt, which I have “seen” before, but didn’t “notice” until today. I’ve had several people request information on where to find a good pencil skirt, but I have not been as helpful because I usually run in the other direction when I hear the words “pencil skirt,” much like “skinny jeans” and “leggings” – all highly unflattering items on my figure.
However, I believe that the pencil skirt is not an impossibility, it is just given a bad rap by the tubes of fabric retailers are calling pencil skirts these days. I have a pencil skirt of my grandmother’s from the late 1950’s/early 1960’s in gold brocade and the fit is divine, but the difference between this skirt and modern pencil skirts I’ve seen is that it has a waist. That nip makes a nice illusion and line that comes down from the top of your hips and gives the illusion that the skirt is hugging your shape, rather than actually clinging to it, like modern skirts – one reeks of desperation, the other does not.
But do not despair! The Trashy Diva pencil skirt is a dead ringer for my grandmother’s skirt and I have high hopes for it. I might even break down and buy one, if I am feeling ambitious. It comes in so many colors – black, gray, red, white, blue, pink, green, floral, polka dot, leopard – it will be hard to decide!
This past weekend was my first trip to New Orleans, LA, which meant I was going to get a double dose of nerdy obsessive bliss – trad jazz and Trashy Diva. The occasion was to celebrate, bachelorette style, the upcoming nuptials of my dear friend Danielle McQueen, who also loves good music and beautiful dresses. On our Saturday in New Orleans the bride and bridesmaids headed over to Chartres Street to shop…
I blubbered like a blithering idiot when I got into the store, I was so excited to be there. The shop attendant was skeptical as I introduced myself as a blogger and asked if I could take photographs of the shop, but I probably sounded like a lunatic. The store was beautiful, so quintessentially French Quarter (but without all the Mardi Gras beads), and, most importantly, it was stocked full of every lovely Trashy Diva dress you can see on their website.
I’m pretty adventurous about buying clothing online, but it was so nice to be able to try on the dresses in the store. Candice Gwinn‘s designs are even more fetching in person. We all leaped in with gusto, each of us hitting either the jewelry counter, the dressing room, or both to take in all the wonderful things we spotted that wanted to come home with us. Danielle left with the dress of the day, the gorgeous deep red velvet Natasha dress, with beading at the shoulders and all around the waistband. The photo on the website doesn’t begin to do this gorgeous dress justice – it’s simply to die for – and it’s perfect for a Christmas or New Year’s Eve cocktail party or a winter dance opportunity.
We were running out of time, so we peeked into the Trashy Diva lingerie store next door to take in the wares. So many lovely, tiny, lacy things on racks! Of note, there are (what looked like) some excellent reproduction slips and nightgowns.
The bachelorette ladies flew out the next day, but I opted to stay an extra day so I could go dancing at d.b.a. to Tuba Skinny (so worth it! I even ran into Lindy Dandy!). This left me with most of Sunday to myself in New Orleans. Since the girls didn’t have time to visit the Trashy Diva shoe store the day before, I headed back to Chartres Street. The shoe shop is truly divine – an entire table is devoted to Re-mix shoes, a selection of the most adorable Aris Allens, and then there were even more fantastic and unfathomable shoes, as well as some more practical-yet-fabulous flats.
I struck up a less blubbery, but excited conversation with Rachel Scott, the keeper of the shoes, and managed to introduce myself like a human being, with coherent words and a Lindy Shopper business card. We proceeded to chat about so many wonderful things over the next hour and a half or so, shopping for shoes all the while, and the whole experience was delightful. After this conversation, I’m definitely looking forward to what Trashy Diva has in store for us in the future and have a greater appreciation for what Trashy Diva offers now in terms of products. Rachel also referred me to some other keen places in the French Quarter, where I could find bakelite, wigs and sparkly hair accessories, and some amazing pralines. To top it all off, the weather was perfect and sunny all day and I didn’t even need the sweater I packed in my bag.
In another stroke of genius, the New Orleans-based Trashy Diva has launched a bridal collection, featuring some of their most popular dress styles in white stretch cotton blend satin. This collection is perfect for so many things, but especially for dancers who may want to change from their fairytale wedding gown into something more danceable for the reception, or maybe you just want something simple, beautiful, and comfortable to wear throughout your wedding. The choice of fabric here appears ideal, as well, with a lovely satin sheen for a slightly more formal look, but enough stretch to be able to move and dance comfortably.
Gah! Where were these dresses when I was getting married? There is a real need for these knee-length white dresses…just brilliant!
Of course, you aren’t limited to weddings in wearing this – anyone could wear one of these lovely white dresses alone, or accessorize with a pop of color. Here’s the collection:
Oh, Trashy Diva, oh, Trashy Diva, how lovely are thy dresses…Trashy Diva, the New Orleans-based retail and online seller of fantastic vintage-inspired dresses has added some new additions to their line of stretch cotton blend satin dresses. Notably, a very lovely shade of green in the Ballerina dress and the Dottie Dress. Unfortunately, these items are only available for pre-order, so you’ll have to plan for events after the holidays.
Available for purchase right now are a collection of vintage coats Trashy Diva has just listed on their website, including a glorious olive velvet 1940’s coat, several faux mouton coats, and a few models with fur collars.