Tag Archives: vintage

Letter Sweaters

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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One of the classic swing dance looks is a “collegiate look,” a youth culture of the jazz age and swing era (and beyond, really), who had their own trends and fads, like any youth culture – one option to add to this look is a classic letter sweater.  Last year All Balboa Weekend had a limited number of ABW patches made up, so of course I snagged one because I love the look, love the concept and I lettered in a couple of sports when I was in high school, so I’m partial to that nostalgia – I mean, of course I’ve lettered in Balboa by now, my 10th ABW, right?

But my ABW letter patch has been sitting on the dresser in my guest room since then, waiting for the perfect sweater.  I had hoped to find a vintage one, but finding one in the right color and in my size proved to be a non-starter.  I ran into New York dancer/instructor/performer Adrienne Weidert at Camp Hollywood in September sporting a Miss Camp Hollywood letter sweater and she (and several other former Miss Camp Hollywood title holders) had purchased theirs online.  It makes sense, I had a letter jacket in high school, those classic items can still be purchased, why not sweaters?

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A Neff letter sweater with all the bells and whistles

A quick internet search directed me to Neff, a company still making classic letter jackets and letter sweaters, but the absolute best part is that these sweaters, made from acrylic, are customizable – 16 different colors to choose from, decide what you want each color to be for the body of the sweater, the neck/placket, the pocket trim, the buttons, and if you want stripes on either sleeve.  I designed a sweater and submitted it for a quote, which came back at $94.95, which is cheaper than any vintage sweater I had found that would work.  Then we had to get our roof fixed for the impending hurricane than never ended up coming, and the sweater quote email sat in my inbox, I’m sure you know how that goes, and I never got around to getting this…

Then, dancer/instructor/organizer Andy Nishida tagged me on Instagram for a kelly green 30’s/40’s wool letter sweater being sold by @mrartdeco, and I had to have it – exactly my size, my favorite color, maybe it would look good with the ABW letter, and if it didn’t I’d still have a ton of things to wear with it.  It arrived and it is WARM and HEAVY – like I don’t know if I’d need a coat if I had it on, which I think was the point (that you’d want everyone to see your sweater and not cover it up with a coat).  There’s no way I could dance in it, so I decided to look for something more…3 seasons than 1 season.  But never fear, the green sweater will be out in its own glory, it really needs no embellishment and you will all see me coming a mile away.

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Harlow cardigan – a good choice for my climate and needs

I had a birthday coupon for J Crew and went to look at their cardigans – I don’t buy a lot of things from J Crew, but their Jackie cardigan is my go-to classic cardigan (good weight cotton, lovely finish, stays nice through washes, nice shape/length, etc.) so I went to check on any new colors they may have for the fall season.  As I’m perusing the cardigan page, I notice the Harlow cardigan, which looks like a letter sweater in shape – merino wool, pockets on each side, trimmed in grosgrain ribbon, but it looks like a lighter weight wool.  Of course ordering things online is tricky and I was fully prepared for this sweater to be a total failure of modern clothing, like most things from mall retailers are for me these days.  It arrived today and it’s perfect – great weight for a little nip in the air, light enough to be a middle layer, I prefer natural fibers for breathability, and just enough space to sew my letter on.  I can’t wait to wear it out and about!

Thus ends this letter sweater story – if you are on a search for your letter sweater, I hope some of this information will be helpful.

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SJC Update: Workwear Chambray Separates/Suiting and 40% Off Summer

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I will continue to sing Simon James Cathcart’s praises – his fall releases thus far consist of matching separates in salt and pepper or Dutch blue chambray, inspired by nineteen teens, 20’s, and 30’s workwear, and I think the concept of purchasing mixing and matching pieces you like is brilliant, not to mention all of these could be worn separately or together as a suit.  And all the pieces are great – two jackets (belt back or Norfolk style), two styles of trousers with proper buttons at the fly and for braces (narrow or wide leg), a waistcoat in each color, and a dart cap in each color.

But what to wear with your new workwear?  How about a work shirt in 4 different colors, two stripes and two solids?  SJC gives you a great jumping off point for many different workwear inspired looks.  Add some work boots or oxfords, add a tie to dress it up, add a henley to dress it down…

ALSO, there’s a 40% off sale on those magical chinos that everyone keeps looking for on my blog (high waist, wide leg, breatheable, danceable), as well as the summer weight flannel trousers (which I think would be more perfect for fall around these parts), the signature zig zag neckerchief, and the vintage style polos in bamboo fabric that every dancer needs as part of their wardrobe of comfort and style.

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Action back is ready for action.

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It’s a cinch!

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Love this rust 1930’s work shirt, also available in a cream stripe, charcoal solid, and Dutch blue solid.

 

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.

 

 

 

Re-mix Now Offering Women’s Size 5

d6605d6d-42cd-40e9-87fe-7db791c7598eThis post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This will be a very brief post, but I felt it warranted a full-fledged Lindy Shopper post because I know it will make some people very happy – Re-mix Vintage Shoes is now offering U.S. women’s size 5 in the following styles: Anita, Balboa, Charleston, Emily  and Emily 2.0!  These are all popular styles for swing dancing, which I’m sure is more than a happy coincidence. 🙂

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.

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.

SJC Spectator Crusade: Women’s Sizes & Small Men’s Sizes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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As you may have read in a post earlier this week, I wept tears of infinite sorrow that there were no Simon James Cathcart spectators in my size that I could order through SJC’s wonderful summer shoe Kickstarter, BUT THROUGH THE MAGIC OF THE INTERNET I have spoken with SJC and he has offered to make this shoe available to us sizes 7-8 US women’s/sizes 5-6 US men’s/sizes 4-5 UK men’s (I wear a US women’s 7) on one condition: he needs 8 of us to back the shoe at each size in order for it to be cost-effective for the factory to produce this size as a part of this run.

I wasn’t sure if could rustle up enough support from people wearing these shoe sizes, but this is such a quality, unique shoe that I thought there might be enough lady dandies or gents with smaller feet that we MIGHT be able to pull this off.  It can be any of the three colors, we just need 8 people to back the SHOE at each SIZE.

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Can I find 16 people who love this shoe and need it in their lives?  I know you’re out there!

A few more details on this marvelous shoe:

  • They are made by hand in Northampton (the shoe capital of England) on 1930’s lasts, so the shape is there from the start.
  • They will last a lifetime. How? They are “Goodyear Welted” (the gold seal of quality) which means as the soles wear out they can be easily replaced while the shoe remains totally intact.
  • The shoes are lined in soft calfskin for comfort, with a super comfortable cork footbed so your feet breathe.
  • They come in three gorgeous shades; Navy, Oxblood and Acorn – order whatever color you like, we only need 8 people to order a particular SIZE.
  • The real bargain here is they are going to be 2.5 times this price out in the real world and if we don’t do this, the real tragedy will be they will never be in our size.  NEVER AVAILABLE TO YOU EVER AGAIN.

As per usual Kickstarter, you don’t pay until the end of the project and you only pay if the project is funded.  If you are ordering a size 7  US women/ 5 US men/ 4 UK men OR for size 8 US women/6 US men/5 UK men, SJC has added a special early bird spectator reward/pre-order option just for us – you can see it if you scroll down “Lindy Shopper Deal” – click HERE if you want this shoe as much as I do!

 

Lindy Focus 2015 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Get your LF merch on day 1 or they will sell out on day 2!

In many ways I am still recovering from Lindy Focus 2015, the swing village that camps out at the Crowne Plaza in Asheville, with all manner of dancing and services that pop up to cater to a population that would prefer not to leave the hotel, lest they miss too much dancing, live music, performances, and classes.  To help with our self-containment of joy, 2015 saw service providers such as massage therapists, shoe repair, tailors, the Jack and Jill Salon for hair cuts and styles, a caricature artist in the lobby, and two hotel room pop-up restaurants (Midnight Di-Noshery and Taco Focus) to serve food after the main dance that were, after two nights, axed by the hotel administration and replaced with food trucks, arranged by Lindy Focus to fill the void and the empty bellies of the masses.

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I love the smell of retail in the morning….errr, afternoon.

There were retail vendors, as well!  Let’s start with the Savoy Shop, a mix of consigned clothing from campers, vintage and thrifted duds with dancers in mind, and the home of the shoe repair service at Lindy Focus.  Michelle Morrison has run the shop for the past several years and has this down to a science.  I love seeing things in the Savoy Shop one day, then seeing them on the dance floor the next!  I even spotted one of my own consigned dresses in the crowd one night and it made my heart soar to know it had found a wonderful new home.  Of particular note this year, the Savoy Shop offered the largest selection of tie clips I have ever seen in one place – surely something for everyone!

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Artist in residence Ryan Calloway.

Dance instructor and artist Ryan Calloway was on hand this year, not only throwing down in the Superheroes of Swing finals, but also selling his wonderful jazz dance and music prints, offering giant, colorful books of his prints to flip through while you chat with the artist himself.  Rather than having to worry about crushing your brand new artwork on the flight home, Ryan offered to ship the prints you purchase for free to your home starting on December 28 and ran the special through January 4 in case you decided you wanted a print after all.  If you missed out on decorating your walls with his signature style, you can order his glorious prints online from his Etsy page.

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A gorgeous feathered headpiece from Forties Forward

I’m going to give a shoutout to Forties Forward, making another appearance on this blog as my most prolific vendor – perhaps it’s because we are both from the Southeast and travel to the same events, or perhaps it’s because they have a great product and the get-up-and-go to make it to some of the best events in the USA.  I imagine they do a great business at Lindy Focus, particularly around New Year’s Eve, for the perfect fishing touch to an ensemble.  This year feathers were a trend at Lindy Focus and they offered some great feather options with sparkly jewels as the attachment piece, in addition to their signature blooms.

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Zoe’s hands at work.

Revive Fashions made, I believe, its debut this year at Lindy Focus, with the crafty Zoe Lechucita creating “custom made hair pieces, feather corsages, and tie pins” on site, while you wait or while you dance and come back to check on it later. 🙂  It was so great to see Zoe picking up the custom torch from Sharon Crawford, ensuring that you can have something custom made to match your ensemble for New Year’s Eve.

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This is the cutest, right?

Another newcomer to the vendor program this year was Juniper Jewelry Designs, the work of Maddie FitzGerald, who was interviewed this year for the Lindy Focus blog about her jewelry designs, so I’ll direct you to the blog post for everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Maddie and her jewelry.  Maddie’s sense of humor is evident in her notes left on the vendor table (see photo at left) and her collection is serious, with an extensive line of bracelets, necklaces, earrings, small and large, simple and intricate, a little something for everyone (as I like  it!). You can check out her work on her Etsy page, which is really only a small sampling of the large display she had at Lindy Focus.

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Mary Jane wingtip in a new color combo!

Last, but certainly not least, I was so happy to see Dancestore.com return to Lindy Focus, thanks to the efforts of Laurie Gilkenson (aka Nina’s mom).  At any event there are shoe casualties, and Lindy Focus is, perhaps, well-equipped to deal with some repairs, but sometimes there are catastrophic shoe failures that only a new pair will fix and you only have so much room in your suitcase.  At an event with 1,000+ dancers, it is critical to have a vendor like Dancestore.com present and on site, not just to fulfill wishlists and fill out shoe basics, but to turn a tragedy into a happy ending!

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I’m also going to insert a shameless plug for Beastly Beauties, who was not a vendor this year at Lindy Focus, but who made my feathered headdress that I wore on Ellington night – I am in awe of and eternally grateful for the efforts of this wonderful Raleigh-based designer.

And there you have it!  I hope I have not missed anyone, as I didn’t have as much time this year to shop and hobnob with all the sellers.  If I have missed anything, please let me know and I will amend this post.  Happy hopping and shopping, everyone!

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The mannequin display never held anything for long before it was snatched up from the Savoy Shop!

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A tailcoat and trousers ready for New Year’s Eve, at the Savoy Shop.

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This isn’t even all of them!  SO MANY TIE CLIPS

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Vintage and gently used shoes as the Savoy Shop.

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A color print for the burgeoning clarinetist in your life?  Artwork by Ryan Calloway.

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Who can resist a good Billie Holiday print?   Artwork by Ryan Calloway.

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Dancestore maximized their space!

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A luscious bloom from Forties Forward.

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Ties, hats, and blooms at Forties Forward.

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Feathers, fans, lights, and a screen at Revive Fashions.

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Ready-made blooms with sparkle at Revive Fashions.

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A necklace fit for a New Year’s Eve ensemble, at Juniper Jewelry Designs.

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Tree of Life pendants and clusters of beads and pearls, at Juniper Jewelry Designs.

1940’s Reproduction Overalls by Nudeedudee

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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A definite trend at ILHC 2015 was overalls, sported by both male and female dancers alike. While typically associated with more rural endeavors (and perhaps costumed, in some instances, as a nod to such), overalls are comfortable, typically a bit wider in the leg and the seat by design, and create a nice long line from your soles up to your chest. Anything that makes me look taller is good in my book!

I purchased a fantastic pair of 1940’s reproduction overalls from Nudeedudee last year and I am in love – the styling is a bit softer than your standard modern overall, with a torso shape that is more akin to a sundress (flattering!), and buttons with button holes instead of a metal button and metal loop. I get so many compliments every time I have worn them! Style a la Rosie the Riveter to complete your swing era workwear look. Available in denim and engineer stripe, as well as a denim romper if you are looking for shorts.

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My pair, styled for OcTieBer with a vintage bow tie and flannel shirt.

My pair of Nudeedudee overalls, styled for OcTieBer with a vintage bow tie and flannel shirt.

OcTieBer Starts Tomorrow!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

One of my favorite outfits from last year's OcTieBer.

One of my favorite outfits from last year’s OcTieBer.

Now in its fifth year, OcTieBer is “a month long sartorial celebration of quality neckwear worn in a traditional style” – in reality, it is much more than the sum of this description: it is the encouragement of people of all walks, creeds, and genders to embrace classic style (or modern twists on classic style); it highlights accessories that we don’t often consider in our modern lives, unless you happen to be a lawyer or just really like wearing neck scarves or ascots; it encourages you to dig deep into your closet and pull out those neglected ties or challenges regular tie wearers to create new ensembles and be inspired by others; it may cause people to notice you in positive ways; it creates a sense of camaraderie within the OcTieBer Facebook group where novice and even professional dressers can share their creativity and efforts for the day or every day of October.

OcTieBer IS inspiring. The challenge is to wear neckwear every day for the month of October, but even if you only join us for a couple of days, I invite you to join us for the fun of dressing, learning from and being inspired by others, and being supported in your endeavors by a wonderful group of people.

Here are the official rules, from the Facebook group:

“How to participate? It’s simple:

1. Wear a collared shirt and tie each day (be it a long tie, bow tie, ascot, cravat, bolo, western double string tie or any other traditional neckwear that expresses your personal style). Preferably your outfit will be paired with a jacket, sweater, vest or other accessories that suggest why you’ve chosen that day’s tie.

2. Upload an image of your fine outfit with an optional description of the designer, type of knot, fabric, etc.

3. Share the love by encouraging your friends to admire your statement of personal style.”

Phineas Cole by Paul Stuart Spring 2015 Tie Collection

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

More than a nod to Art Deco, the Phineas Cole Spring tie collection is so expressly Art Deco that the word Deco is used in most of the tie names. These ties are gorgeous in their geometric simplicity, just vintage enough to be convincing, yet modern enough that they might even go by unnoticed as a throwback (but certainly noticed for their loveliness!). A sample of the goodies:

Line Deco Silk Tie

Line Deco Silk Tie

Deco Dot Silk Tie

Deco Dot Silk Tie

Deco Fans Silk Tie

Deco Fans Silk Tie

Deco Swirl Silk Tie

Deco Swirl Silk Tie

Deco Triangle Silk Tie

Deco Triangle Silk Tie

All Balboa Weekend 2015 – Shopping and Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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All Balboa Weekend celebrated its 15th Anniversary this year and I celebrated my 9th anniversary of attending ABW. This Balboa homecoming/family reunion is one that I look forward to every year for the friends, the amazing dancing, and the wonderful vintage shopping that is available in Cleveland. This year, my report will combine shopping inside and outside the hotel, since some brick and mortar stores set up booths at ABW and other remain in their brick edifices. All are worthy of mention and this year’s shops and vendors did not disappoint!

My partner in crime this year was Berkeley, California dancer Alisa Szatrowski – I’ll give an honorable mention to Jack Flaps, a wonderful brunchy place she discovered and where we fortified ourselves before a day of vintage shopping.

1940's rayon blouse at Sweet Lorain

1940’s rayon blouse at Sweet Lorain

Our first stop is my always first stop, Sweet Lorain, and the owner Redwin Lewis welcomed us with open arms and escorted us back to the 30’s and 40’s area, where he showed us they had pulled additional racks of 30’s and 40’s clothing out just for ABW. *squee!* Soon, Alisa and I were lost in a jungle of clothing, amongst the close and very full racks, calling out to each other as if we were playing Marco Polo to try to find each other to show off choice garments. Sweet Lorain did not disappoint and Alisa and I soon had a dressing room full of things to try on, with another helpful employee pulling additional garments based on our selections. Seriously, an A+ for customer service. We both left with some wonderful pieces and warm fuzzy feelings about everything at Sweet Lorain.

1940's dress with appliqués at Chelsea's Costumes

1940’s dress with appliqués at Chelsea’s Costumes

Next stop was Chelsea’s Vintage Clothing and Costumes, which is an impressive warehouse full of clothing, and particularly has a large selection of menswear, which I wrote about more in-depth last year. We ran into dancer and DJ Bill Speidel and we did a quick run through the menswear, as I’m always shopping for certain dudes and the hubs. I left Chelsea’s empty-handed, but Alisa had great luck with late 30’s/early 40’s dresses in velvet and faille – dreamy!

The vendor market at ABW opens at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday and we were there even a little before that, with anxious vintage lovers already hovering over the booths.

The Gabriele, Re-Mix Vintage Shoes

The Gabriele, Re-Mix Vintage Shoes

The first booth you come to is Re-Mix Vintage Shoes and this booth was abuzz all weekend, with ladies buying shoes, trying on many more, and ogling the beautiful wares. The big hit this year was a new style, Gabriele, which is a low heeled 1930’s shoe with a t-strap, an alternative to the Balboa Style, with a slightly different shape and different colors. I would love to hear some reviews from the ladies who bought them and wore them this weekend – I did see Valerie Salstrom try them on the first day and then didn’t take them off as she continued to set up for the event!

A wonderful display of hats from Flower Child

A wonderful display of hats from Flower Child

Next in the line of vendors was Flower Child, which is comprised of several individual vendors that make up part of the brick and mortar store, and which takes up most of the hallway. They are always good about bringing in new inventory every day, taking requests, and having a nice selection of clothing, accessories, and some novelty items and knickknacks from the swing era. My favorite ABW find for this year came from Flower Child’s booth, a fully functional scales brooch, perfect for me as both a Libra and a lawyer – for serious, the scales have tiny chains and you could actually put things in the bowls and the scales would tip, SO COOL.

Ready to shake it

Ready to shake it

New to the vendor list this year was Sugar Shakers, the handiwork of Joanna Kassoulides Thibault, who got her start stitching chorus girl costumes for a troupe of the same name in Toronto and decided, after accumulating a wardrobe of costumes, that she would sell some of these versatile pieces. I love a good trumpet skirt and Joanna had a nice sampler of trumpet skirts, polka dot wrap blouses, bakelite-inspired earrings, as well as sharing a table with her husband Mike Thibault‘s handmade earrings and Vintage Jazz Art prints.

Cherry blossoms abound!

Cherry blossoms abound!

Next in the vendor lineup is ChatterBlossom, aka Jamie Sturdevant, who is local to me, but for ABW everyone can see her amazing handiwork up close, with flowers and headpieces made from vintage millinery flowers and jewelry made from vintage buttons. Seeing in person is even better, as I noted people running to their rooms for garments, trying to match a bloom to a dress, and (I know I’m a broken record on this, but) the colors in the vintage flowers are just so right for vintage clothing, for obvious reasons, and they are so much more exquisitely detailed than most modern artificial flowers I have seen. Jamie does custom pieces, too, so you can find the perfect bloom for that one of a kind vintage dress.

1940's ties at The Cleveland shop

1940’s ties at The Cleveland shop

Holding down the end of the hallway was The Cleveland Shop, which had a nice selection of men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, and jewelry. The owner would also bring in new items daily, and even brought in some divine tropical rayon fabric one day, that was gone before it could hit the market (I can’t wait to see that blouse, Jamie!). Oh, to have a warehouse full of endless vintage things to sell!

Each year the vendors at ABW are one of the things I look forward to most about the event and I truly appreciate the effort the vendors put into setting up, displaying, being there to sell, breaking it all down, and sometimes traveling great distances – I think Philip Heath, the owner of Re-mix Vintage Shoes, wins this year by flying in and shipping shoes from California, though past ABWs venders have flown in from as far away as the UK and Australia. We love that you do it and we’ll keep buying all the beautiful things. 🙂

Here are some more photos of all the lovely things:

Who knew the Cotton Club had a soda?  At Jack Flaps.

Who knew the Cotton Club had a soda? At Jack Flaps.

1940's jumper with fringe and embroidered pockets at Sweet Lorain.

1940’s jumper with fringe and embroidered pockets at Sweet Lorain.

1940's rayon dress at Sweet Lorain.

1940’s rayon dress at Sweet Lorain.

Another 40's number in cotton from Sweet Lorain

Another 40’s number in cotton from Sweet Lorain

A cool summer jacket from Chelsea's Costumes

A cool summer jacket from Chelsea’s Costumes

Headbands in all the colors from ChatterBlossom

Headbands in all the colors from ChatterBlossom

Divine orchids from ChatterBlossom

Divine orchids from ChatterBlossom

A selection of goodies from The Cleveland Shop

A selection of goodies from The Cleveland Shop

A closeup of the detail on this 1940's dress from The Cleveland Shop

A closeup of the detail on this 1940’s dress from The Cleveland Shop

Trumpet skirt, Sugar Shaker style

Trumpet skirt, Sugar Shaker style

Vintage Jazz Art prints

Vintage Jazz Art prints

More options to grace your walls, from Vintage Jazz Art

More options to grace your walls, from Vintage Jazz Art

More of the man spread from Flower Child

More of the man spread from Flower Child

Gorgeous 1930's dress from Flower Child.

Gorgeous 1930’s dress from Flower Child.

Gold bathing suit and the biggest sun hat I've ever seen, at Flower Child.

Gold bathing suit and the biggest sun hat I’ve ever seen, at Flower Child.

Levi’s Historic 501

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Digging the 1933 with the cinch in the back.  Braces optional.

Digging the 1933 with the cinch in the back. Braces optional.

Continuing an exploration of vintage workwear and denim, I’ll thank David Lochner for directing me to Levi’s Vintage Clothing website, which features reproduction jeans with the fits, fabrics, and details of the past, based on Levi’s own archives. I think the greatest thing is the spread of photographs denim styles from 1890 to 1978, and you can see the differences and tweaks in the cut, proportions, and details just in the 501 style. The website also sets out the history of these changes, so you can read about each style’s history and design details. Unfortunately, you can’t order them directly from this website, but they do provide a list of retailers.

So, would you prefer a 1922, 1933, 1937, or 1944? 🙂

Mesh Oxfords for Summer

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Warm weather is here and I’m always on the lookout for men’s mesh inset oxfords because I believe they are immensely practical and neat. Here’s a few pairs, ranging from reasonably priced to a bit of a hit on your wallet:

This is definitely my favorite of the bunch, size  10, BF Goodrich rubber heels.

This is definitely my favorite of the bunch, size 10, BF Goodrich rubber heels.

Reasonably priced, 9 1/2 C

Reasonably priced, 9 1/2 C

This size 8 pair was on Boardwalk Empire.

This size 8 pair was on Boardwalk Empire.

The modern version - Allen Edmonds "Strawfut" in size 9.

The modern version – Allen Edmonds “Strawfut” in size 9.