Tag Archives: tuxedo

Hillsborough Formalwear Outlet

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

My outlet tux!  Photo courtesy of Bonnie Stanley Photography.

My outlet tux! Photo courtesy of Bonnie Stanley Photography.

I had heard rumors about the Hillsborough Formalwear Outlet in Hillsborough, NC long before I actually went there – mostly people who had purchased a hat from their collection, but they spoke of a giant warehouse full of tuxedos, for rent or for purchase, at very reasonable prices. When Raleigh’s Vaudevillain Revue decided to go 20’s/30’s for a show, I decided it was time for me to pull a Dietrich for my performance and get a tux of my own.

The Deal: jacket, pants, shirt, vest or cummerbund, bow tie, studs, and cufflinks for just over $100 (including tax). You take it home, it’s all yours, everything you need but the socks and shoes.

How do they do it? When formalwear retailers and renters liquidate their stock, this place buys the goods. You are purchasing sometimes new, sometimes previously rented, goods. They have a wide selection of tuxedo styles – from tailcoats to modern jackets, every imaginable color of vest. If they don’t have it in the main warehouse/shop, they have a few other warehouses to draw from, including one that is almost entirely full of polyester 70’s tuxes with ruffled shirts – imagine the color combinations (*laugh*cry*shudder*)! All this to say that they probably have a tux that will work for you and your needs.

The customer service was fantastic – someone was essentially assigned to me and helped me painstakingly put together a men’s tux for my not-a-man’s body. I was elated with the result and the price – I’ve put together Halloween costumes with fewer pieces that cost more than this.

I was really hoping that they would be open the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve – people need tuxes for NYE, right? – and with Lindy Focus that week, people could fly into RDU and hit the warehouse on the way to Asheville. Alas, they will not be open that week, so my plans for directing you to them for this year’s LF have been foiled. However, this is a family-owned business, so perhaps if enough of you emailed them we could convince them to open for a day, or take appointments? Just a thought. Perhaps you can hit them up on the way back to RDU and pick up one for next year…

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30’s and 40’s Menswear on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s rare that anything in vintage menswear shows up in multiples on eBay, but I kept coming across good things at good prices, so here’s a selection of menswear goods from eBay this week:

1930’s to early 40’s German “Stresemann” Suit means it’s business time – size 36 or 38, starting bid $10

Another great 30’s/40’s German suit, size 36 or 38, starting bid at $10

Double breasted navy 1940’s suit, about a size 42, bidding at $36

Velvet 1940’s jacket – swanky

I do love a tuxedo with a silk faille lapel…

Top Hat and Lindy Commerce

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I love the micro-economies that pop up at swing dance events. I hope that vendor areas continue to develop at events and bring dancers closer to the goods and products they need and want.

I’m not at Lindy Focus this week, but it’s hard to ignore all the Facebook status updates. I had hoped that my friends who are attending would take photographs of their purchases so I could live vicariously through them. A photograph of Sharon Crawford in a top hat caught my eye, as I scanned my Facebook wall, with the description, “See Sharon Crawford if you’d like this vintage Beaver Top Hat from London to be yours.”

The post was from Bill Speidel, collector of sartorial antiquities, who acquired several top hats from an estate sale and decided to sell one of them at Lindy Focus through Sharon Crawford’s vending table at Lindy Focus. This top hat is spiffy – a Herbert Johnson of London beaver top hat, size 7, sold by Fifield and Stevenson of Chicaco, IL. Bill is asking $125.00 for the hat, which, given the condition and wearable size, is a good price for this topper.

If you are interested in the top hat, there are two ways to go about acquiring the hat: 1) if you are at Lindy Focus, find Bill Speidel or find Sharon Crawford’s table in the vending area – she’ll be the one sewing custom boutonnieres and fascinators; or 2) if you are not at Lindy Focus, email Bill at wspeid@cox.net to arrange for payment and shipping. Buyer pays shipping costs.

The top hat would pair well with one of the tuxedos I posted yesterday… 😉

Tuxedo Junction

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Comic strip of unknown origins, featured in Town and Country Magazine, January 2012

While reading my mom’s copy of the January 2012 issue of Town and Country, I ran across a comic strip detailing the history of the tuxedo – not normal comic book fare, so I was intrigued. Here’s your history lesson for the week: according to the strip and Wikipedia, the word tuxedo comes from the Lenni-Lenape Native American tribe (also known as the Delaware Indians), who were allegedly called Tuxedo (meaning “he has a round foot” (which may be in reference to the wolf), “place of the bear” or “clear flowing water”) by their enemies the Algonquins. The Lenni-Lenape lived near a lake which they named “Tucseto,” which later became known as Tuxedo Lake, and the area where they lived was called Tuxedo.

How does a tribe of Native Americans and a lake relate to the modern formal suit? In 1885, Pierre Lorillard IV developed a piece of land his grandfather owned in Tuxedo for a summer resort for the wealthy and well-to-do, naming it Tuxedo Park. He then “organized the Tuxedo Club and the Tuxedo Park Association, as hunting and fishing preserve (and society), and surrounded the property with a high game fence. In 1886, he built a club house, which saw the debut of the short dinner jacket, which soon became known as the Tuxedo jacket. Eventually, the Tuxedo ensemble, featuring the short dinner jacket, became the accepted dress for formal affairs. To give you some perspective on the class of people who frequented the Tuxedo Club, the “Blue Book of Etiquette,” written by Emily Post, was “based on what she observed inside the great stone gates of Tuxedo.”

I am amazed that the basis for modern formal menswear originated as far back as the 1880’s, but this demonstrates how the tuxedo has withstood the test of time.

As the modern Lindy Hop community matures, I see more dancers donning a tuxedo (or part of a tuxedo) for New Year’s Eve, specifically at Lindy Focus (alas, I will miss my first Lindy Focus in six years!). Just adding a bow tie to a black suit can elevate your look, or wear a vest/bow tie combo for maximum mobility.

Tuxedos are more attainable, thanks to the advent of eBay, but even thrift stores have tuxedos, sometimes castoffs from formal wear stores or a donation that simply doesn’t fit or isn’t used (and is usually rarely worn, so it good condition). You can often acquire a vintage tuxedo for less than the cost of a vintage suit because they are the garment that was worn least and survived the decades. It amazes me that people spend money to rent tuxedos when for the same price or less you could buy one.

Here are some lovelies on eBay and Etsy to make your New Year’s Eve classic and well-dressed:

1930's tuxedo with a faille shawl collor, size 42, buy it now $65.00

1930's tuxedo with tails, white vest, and white tie, size 38, $75.00 starting bid - paging Fred Astaire...

1940's tuxedo, button fly, size 40, buy it now $30.00

1950's shawl collar tuxedo on Etsy, $98.00

1940's tuxedo, size 44, $65.00

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

Shopping Challenge, Round II

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s been a long time since I sent out the call for a shopping challenge and it’s high time for another. The last shopping challenge I had was actually from Lindy Dandy, to find him a tuxedo, and since then I’ve found him two tuxedos that he has purchased – a three piece and one with tails.

But I’d love to find something for you, too! If there’s something you’ve been looking for, something you’ve always wanted, the missing piece to an outfit, costumes for a dance performance group, or ANYTHING, I’m up to the task. Email me at caab241@gmail.com with your request. 🙂

1930’s Three Piece Tuxedo with Arrow Tuxedo Shirt

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

You could be dressed up like a million dollar trooper this holiday season in this fantastic 1930’s tuxedo, available on eBay from seller catalpa1961 with a starting bid of only $9.99! I do wish the seller had pressed the tuxedo and shirt before taking the photos, but you’ll have to imagine it after a pressing. Even with wrinkles, it’s easy to see that this tuxedo has some wonderful detailing, like the satin lapels, satin stripe down the leg, double breasted coat and vest, and, my favorite detail, checkerboard satin covered buttons on the coat and vest. This tuxedo has the rare added bonus of a period Arrow tuxedo shirt in good condition. Just add socks, shoes, studs, and cufflinks and a bow tie and you’re fit for any fête.

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

1932 Tuxedo

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I can’t resist posting a tuxedo on here, even though most of you will probably never be seen in a tuxedo at a dance; however, in the off-chance you are feeling dapper and festive, here’s a lovely tuxedo that popped up on eBay from 1932. It looks pristine. The tag on this tux reads “Kennedy’s” and is dated October 10, 1932. I wonder who was buying a tuxedo in the middle of the Great Depression…

Check the measurements for sizing, but the seller is posting this is approximately a 33 inch waist on the pant and a 36 jacket. Note that the seller will not re-list the item if not sold. With two days left on the auction, no bidders, and a $49.99 start price, this could be a fantastic deal!

1930’s Tuxedo with Tails, Vest, and Pants

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I can’t resist posting a three piece suit, even if it’s a tux with tails, which I’ve only ever seen on the dance floor on the Killer Dillers or Drew Nugent. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to take your dressing up a notch. With a starting bid on eBay at $24.99, it would be worth a bid just to pick up the vest!

Size is estimated at a 40, but the measurements on the jacket are 18 inches across the shoulder with 24 inch sleeves, and pants at a 38 inch waist and 31 inch inseam.

Strange Vintage Pairing: Two “Suits”

This post was written by Lindy Dandy.

Believe it or not there are some dance events where you’ll be able to wear these finds.

First, a bathing suit.  I’m probably just strange, but I’ve always been fascinated by men’s vintage bathing suits.  Manufacturers didn’t have access to the man-made fabrics we have today, so they had to make their suits out of natural fibers that could survive sea water.  Many were made out of wool, a material we usually associate with suits and sweaters.  Hmm, this one is actually in my size.

Vintage 20s Bathing Suit, made of wool. I wonder if it's itchy.

There are several exchanges with dances at the beach:

Second, tails.  It’s too often that you can wear clothing this formal to a dance event (or any event for that matter), but I would get tails if only for the New Year’s Eve party at Lindy Focus. Check out the details on the lapels and buttons.

Can you imagine swinging out in tails? I could.

Zac Posen for Target

I have been in love with Zac Posen‘s clothing since Natalie Portman wore his Empire Dress to the Star Wars Episode I premiere (Pictured here – I still love this dress!). I have followed his work over the years, but lack a movie star budget, so I have admired his work from afar…until today.

Target‘s GO! Designer series has done an excellent job of bringing edgy, creative, and up-and-coming designers to the masses. In the past I’ve picked up a few things to wear to dances from this clothing line at Target, including a black Anna Sui flapper dress, an off-white Libertine 20’s-inspired slip dress, and a blouse and vest by Alice Temperley.

I went to Target this morning to check out the collection, which was surprisingly not picked over yet. The collection was youthful, colorful, and a bit more luxurious and detailed than some previous GO! collections I have seen. I’ll add that Zac Posen knows how to make a lady look good and, where the fit in previous collections has been sub-par, everything I tried on from this collection had an excellent fit. Here are some of my favorite looks from the collection that have swing dance potential:

This dress is adorable and, unfortunately, was not at my local Target. Check out the twirl of the skirt on the model!

These tuxedo pants were well-tailored. Matching jacket optional.

The model doesn't do this retro-inspired bathing suit justice - add curves to make this gold swimwear a vintage piece.

This dress fit like a dream, but after yesterday's shopping trip to Winston-Salem, it could not come home with me. The photo does not do this dress justice, it is more vibrant in color and has gold threads running throughout. Wear this at the next Swing and Soul and you'll look gorgeous, like one of the Supremes.

This skirt was not at my Target location, but given the flirtiness of skirts present in the collection, I'd say this has definite swing potential.

This tiger print dress flows beautifully and, upon closer inspection, has details that you would normally not see in clothing sold at Target.