Tag Archives: women

Deck the Halls with Vintage Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Fa la la la la, la la LA LAAAAAA! *ahem*

I’m in a spirited mood this week and perhaps some more lovely shoes will get you feeling merry and bright. Here’s a bevy of vintage beauties from Etsy. Enjoy!

Burgundy 1930's shoes with crazy cutout details

Plum 1930's peep-toe shoes with lovely cutout/zig-zag design

Brown 1930's Mary Janes with embossed detail and tone on tone textures

Bone leather heels with cutouts in a wide (EE) width!

1930's/40's cornflower blue/salmon pink peep toe heels

1940's two tone black/tan platforms

Red 1940's perforated oxfords

Oh, love the detail on this shoe, like eyelet lace...

1940's lace up, sling back heels

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Dance Shoes for Wide or Narrow Feet

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

My most recent article for Yehoodi:

If there’s one thing we need to wear as dancers, it’s appropriate and comfortable footwear. Shoes that fit you well can make a positive difference in your dancing; conversely, shoes that are ill-fitting can negatively impact your dancing and potentially cause health problems. So what do you do when you can’t find a pair of shoes that fits because of the width or shape of your foot?

I’ve had a couple of requests about dance shoes for irregular feet widths, specifically dance Keds and Balboa shoes. While I wear a regular width shoe, I just barely missed the genetic gift of narrow feet from my father and paternal grandmother, who both have very narrow feet (Granny wears a AAAA). Finding narrow shoes in retail stores seems to be an extinct possibility for them, so both of them have had to order shoes from catalogs that offer narrow and wide width shoes. This can get pretty expensive, considering my dad had to wear a suit and dress shoes every day to work and my grandmother loves to dress up.

However, these shoes do exist! I’ll start with the Keds, because that is easy – Keds makes narrow and wide widths of their Champion Oxford, the quintessential Lindy Hop shoe of the past few years. Keds makes them in AAAA (super narrow), AA (narrow), B (medium), D (wide), and EE (extra wide) widths. You are a bit limited in the colors available, but the classic white and black are there, as well as navy, blue, red and tan.

The process to get them to dance shoes is the same – buy Keds and either glue the suede/leather sole them yourself or take them to a cobbler to be sueded/leathered.

You can buy the different widths from the Keds website, but I found that finding the different widths was easier and they were cheaper on the Maryland Square website (which is the catalog my Granny uses). Also, the EE width did not appear to be available on either website, but was available in the paper catalog, so if you are looking for this width you will probably need to place a phone order with Maryland Square.

Men, you can have these in two-tone or one color, with 13 different colors to choose from.

My suggestion for different widths of Balboa shoes and for men looking for an oxford for dancing is to buy a custom pair of tango shoes. Tango shoe makers tend to offer vintage-inspired styles of shoes and will create a custom pair for your feet using actual measurements of your feet. The cost is more than a pair of Aris Allens, but generally less than a pair of Re-Mix Vintage Shoes. I ordered a custom pair from Mr. Tango Shoes a few years ago and had a very positive experience. The fit of my custom shoes was unparalleled. On top of the width/shape, you can also customize the colors in both two-tone and mono-tone, the heel height and width/shape, the type of sole, the arch support, cushioning at the ball of the foot, and whether or not you want a platform. Another friend has had a good experience ordering custom shoes from Guaranteed Fit Tango Shoes.

Kind of digging this pair from Mr. Tango Shoes, maybe with a silver metallic and a wider, shorter heel

If you have narrow feet, the vintage shoe world is your oyster. I would encourage you to look for vintage shoes on eBay and in vintage stores. Always ask whoever is working in the vintage store if they have narrow shoes because they don’t always put them out, and ask your local vintage store to be on the lookout for your size – often, stores will turn down shoes that are narrow because they don’t believe they will sell. Let them know you are the person who will buy these shoes!

Also, if you have wide or narrow feet and have found something that works for you, please feel free to share your experience or source here – I know there are others who would like to have this information. 🙂

Shopping Locally for Swing: The Triangle, NC

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The Triangle Swing Dance Society has requested a post about where to shop locally for vintage or vintage-inspired swing dance clothing in the Triangle area of North Carolina (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill). In the spirit of shopping locally, there are a few places I would recommend to find garments, but keep in mind that this is never a sure thing – vintage shops have one of a kind items and you may have to visit a shop several times before finding anything; similarly for retailers, things that may be in stock one season will not be carried for another season. I’ll list some of the more consistent producers and some general ideas about where to look for these things.

Dolly’s Vintage

Dolly’s Vintage is in the forefront of my vintage shopping right now because my office is two blocks away from this delightful shop and I often (read: 2 or 3 times a week) stop by the shop to chat with Jennifer Donner, the amazing and talented owner of Dolly’s, and to soak up some of the cheerful atmosphere of the store. Dolly’s is also the most reasonably priced vintage store I have ever encountered. Where other vintage stores would charge $40-$100 for garments, or even more, Dolly’s keeps everything just below that range, with most items between $20 and $30. Jennifer stocks decades from the 1920’s through 1970’s (with a few choice items from more recent decades), but keep in mind that 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s garments will be much rarer and she may not have anything in stock, but you should still ask so that she knows how many people are looking for these garments. She will be more likely to purchase these items from people clearing out estates if she knows there is a demand. I can usually go into Dolly’s and find a few 1940’s items, and definitely a lot of 1950’s day dresses that are perfect for swing dances. For men, Dolly’s has a great selection of sport coats, pants, shirts, and an entire rack of 1950’s skinny ties. If you see something you like, you should either buy it immediately or ask her to hold it if you need to think about it or find something to match it – the clothes fly off the racks in that store and she stocks new items every day just to keep up with the demand. I know some of the Triangle dancers are already a fan of Dolly’s, as I’ve seen Elizabeth Tietgen pick up a 1920’s cloche, Holly Owens bought an adorable polka dot dress that she wore to a dance at the Century Center recently, and Jason Sager purchased a wig here for RDU Rent Party’s role reversal night.

For more information, here is an older blog post I did on Dolly’s Vintage: https://lindyshopper.com/2011/05/03/field-trip-dollys-vintage-durham-nc/

Beggars and Choosers

While not technically inside the borders of the Triangle, Beggars and Choosers should not be overlooked. It is a bit of a drive to Pittsboro and they are only open on some Saturdays, but this is the only place I know of in the Triangle that stocks clothing from the late 1800’s through the 1970’s and consistently has a few items from the jazz age and swing era. I see a lot of conflicting information about when this store is open, so it’s best to call ahead before you decide to make the trip. This is a gold mine for men’s and women’s vintage clothing, so I promise it will be worth the effort!

For more information and photographs, here is an older blog post I did on Beggars and Choosers: https://lindyshopper.com/2010/04/30/field-trip-beggars-and-choosers-pittsboro-nc/

Raleigh Vintage Collective

While they have no brick and mortar store, the Raleigh Vintage Collective has a lot of swing era clothing and accessories available for purchase through the web. They are a group of ladies who periodically have trunk shows around Raleigh and list their wares on Etsy (Raleigh Vintage and Time for Vintage). Most notably for dancers, they will have a trunk show at this year’s Eastern Balboa Championships, back by popular demand after last year’s trunk show, which featured only items from the 1920’s through the 1950’s – no digging through polyester to find what you want and no question about the garment’s decade of origin.

For more information about the Raleigh Vintage collective, see my post about their activities at EBC last year: https://lindyshopper.com/2010/11/08/ebc-vendors-the-vintage-collective/

There are a few other vintage stores in the Triangle, but my experience with them in finding garments for swing dancing has been unsuccessful, as they stock 1960’s or later garments. Men may find them more useful, as menswear has changed fairly little over the past century. For example, The Clothing Warehouse in Chapel Hill had a rack of men’s vests that looked promising.

Other random notes: Someone who designs for Urban Outfitters must have a penchant for vintage hats because I always seem to find great vintage-inspired hats at this store. I always make sure to stop in at the Southpoint Mall, Durham location when I am there to browse through the accessories. Also at Southpoint, Anthropologie is a store that has built its brand around vintage-inspired clothing and accessories. The prices may set you back, but they always have a good sale rack and, if you find something on the sale rack or in the store that is not in your size, they will locate your size in another store and have it shipped to you.

Gents, the best and cheapest place for you to look for things are your local thrift stores. When my grandfather passed away, most of his suits went to a thrift store – jackets and suits from the 1950’s forward, most of them only worn on Sundays so they were in great condition. I see a rack of suits and sport coats and every thrift store I go to and this can be a great place to pick up something cheap that you don’t mind sweating in. You may also want to check shoe repair places for vintage dress shoes, as people leave shoes or bring them there to sell them. Men’s shoes, for the most part, are easily repairable and able to be shined up to look as good as new. Main Street Shoe Repair in Durham always has several pairs of cap toes and wingtips that look dance-ready, at a fraction of the price of a new pair of shoes.

Finally, Remix Vintage Shoes, a company based out of California that makes gorgeous reproduction shoes, sells their shoes in a couple of stores in Durham – Magpie, a boutique in the West Village tobacco warehouses, and Cozy, on Ninth Street. Neither store carries the entire Remix line, but if you find a pair locally that you like it will save you about $20 in shipping from Remix in California.

Heyday! Revisited

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s been a while since I checked on Heyday!, my favorite UK retailer of heavenly high waisted trousers, but I see that they have been busy. They have expanded their line of women’s and men’s clothing and have some pretty impressive and hard-to-find pieces at not unreasonable prices. Men can pick up some more casual style jackets, like the gab jacket or the Hollywood jacket, or some elegant 1940’s trousers. Women who are looking for separates will find several styles of adorable reproduction blouses, 1940’s style suits, dresses that are great for dances and work, as well as those famous trousers that make everyone’s bum look like a million bucks.

Here are my favorites from the website:

How sharp are these! Get your Gene Kelly on in the Anzac trousers, available in 9 colors

You just can't go wrong with these swing trousers - available in 14 colors

Fleur wrap dress, available in 6 prints

Hollywood jacket, an alternative to the traditional blazer

Olivia blouse - stinkin' adorable, in 11 colors

Want this suit!

Steve Madden Wingtips for Women

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

For a more casual, menswear-inspired look to go with your Lindy Hop duds, check out Steve Madden’s series of wingtip-inspired shoes – with leather soles no less!

Melin Oxford in black - also comes in two-tone hot pink and black or white and black

Miltie Oxford - hit the links or the dance floor; also comes in all black and all white

Mistaa Loafer - also comes in black, tan, silver, and white