Tag Archives: wool

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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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.

Monsivais Caps

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

1920's reproduction one piece crown cap

1920’s reproduction one piece crown cap

I haven’t done anything for the gents in a while, so here we go – I have found myself shopping for menswear recently, as I assemble my golf outfit for the Jazz Age Lawn Party. I was on my high school’s golf team, so this is not entirely for show, and definitely about the love for the game and the clothes. That said, I’d more likely be dancing than swinging a club at the lawn party in August, so I’ll need something that can take the sweat and reduce the heat. I asked David Lochner, my favorite sartorialist and go-to for menswear advice, where I should acquire the perfect 1920’s-style golf cap and his immediate and only response was “Monsivais.”

Damian Monsivais, in addition to crafting superb caps, is a collector of clothing and accessories from 1900 through the 1930’s. From the website, a proper introduction: “Caps where all the rage during the early years but are so difficult to find in good sizes. All men of trades owned one, from farmers to the Prince of Wales. Mostly made of wool and lined with silk. Today’s modern caps are nothing like they made in the 1920s and 1930s so I took it upon myself to make some reproductions for myself and now I offer them here to the public whom share the same liking and want a period correct look.”

Right now Monsivais Caps is transitioning from an Etsy page to an independent website, so to get a bigger picture of the business, go look at both, then order from the independent website. The fabric selections are even broader than shown, so if you are looking for something specific, as I was looking for summer-weight fabrics in specific colors, simply start a conversation. You can also supply your own fabric and have it made into a fabulous cap.

Upon consultation with Mr. Monsivais and a mailing of fabric samples, we are going with a nice cream linen with a brown check in a “simple one piece crown” that I am very excited to acquire. I will do a follow-up post once I’ve worn the cap with the golf ensemble.

In the interim, I invite you to take a gander and these gorgeous cap offerings – oh, the seaming!

The Redline - 8/4 crown cap in denim

The Redline – 8/4 crown cap in denim

The Cooper - 1918 Reproduction 2 piece crown Cap with 2 top box pleats and short belt

The Cooper – 1918 Reproduction 2 piece crown Cap with 2 top box pleats and short belt

The Chamois - 1919 Reproduction 2 piece crown with 3 top pencil seams JUST GORGEOUS!

The Chamois – 1919 Reproduction 2 piece crown with 3 top pencil seams JUST GORGEOUS!

The Tradesman - 1910s- 20s Reproduction 2 piece crown Cap with center inverted box pleat and short belt

The Tradesman – 1910s- 20s Reproduction 2 piece crown Cap with center inverted box pleat and short belt

The Aviate - 1920's reproduction one piece 8 plaited cap

The Aviate – 1920’s reproduction one piece 8 plaited cap

Two Spring Sales: Prohibition Clothing Company and A Vintage Sole

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Two spring sales worth posting about! First, the Original Prohibition Clothing Company is offering a great sale dubbed the “Spring Made-to-Measure Event” – with a focus on spring/summer weight fabrics (hello, tropical weight woolens and linens), the following price cuts:

Unconstructed Jackets were $348, now $298
Full-Rise Trousers were $188, now $159
Fine Cotton Shirts were $88, now $75

Prices valid through March 31st, 2014. There are so many “3 season” suits and heavy suits out there, it seems that for dancing that the most practical splurge would be for a summer suit, no? If you don’t like ironing or wrinkling, my vote is for the tropical weight wool. Remember, wool is a natural fiber that breathes…

Buy these $78 early 1950's wedges and get 15% off with the Benzie code at 5% goes to a food bank!

Buy these $78 early 1950’s wedges and get 15% off with the Benzie code and 5% goes to a food bank!

Next, a wonderful sale from the I-can’t-believe-this-is-a-thing retailer A Vintage Sole, selling dead stock/never worn vintage shoes – here are the details:

“Enter ‘Benzie’ in the discount box at checkout and receive 15% OFF your entire order. By doing so, you’ll be lending a very helpful hand to those in real need.

When you use the Benzie code, we will donte 5% of your order to the Benzie Food Partners, our local all volunteer food bank.

Visit aVintageSole.com to learn more about our $hop-$ave-$upport program and the huge impact your purchase will make for those in Benzie County, Michigan.”

Buy some vintage shoes, help those in need!

Nofolk Jacket with Matching Knickers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This kind of thing shows up so rarely that I couldn’t resist posting this set of a Norfolk jacket with matching knickers – 2 pairs! If you happen to rip a hole in the seat of your pants doing something awesome on the dance floor, you’ll have a spare. The size of this is very small for men, a 35 chest for the jacket and a 28 inch waist on the knickers, but those are also pretty standard lady sizes, so this little suit gets filed under ladies and gents. Whoever wears this is going to look badass.

Belt-Back Norfolk Jackets in Tweed

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I know we’re reaching the end of tweed season, but when something rare pops up the season of acquisition simply doesn’t matter – here, we’ve got two jackets that popped up on eBay this week. First, we have a J. Peterman reproduction Edwardian style tweed Norfolk jacket, size 38, with the classic belted back, square front pockets, and a nice feature where you can actually button up the jacket all the way (those lapels are not just for show!). Second, a nice Pendleton wool tweed Norfolk jacket, size 40, with elbow patches and a nice rainbow fleck to the tweed. Prices: $20.00 starting bid and $39.99 Buy It Now, respectively – steals, I say!

Collar up + sunglasses means we are ready for the outdoors

Patches: Safety first

Lovely colors in this tweed

Norfolk Work Jacket

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This Norfolk work jacket, which the seller labels 1920’s/30’s, was made by Shenandoah Tailoring Company of Mt. Sidney, Virginia, and has some interesting bits of tailoring going on. From the front it looks like a work jacket, with pretty plain front, pockets, collar, and a big metal zipper. From the back, it looks like an elegant belt-back jacket, with tucks that look like they could be ironed out for definition. The jacket is also unlined, which I find odd, and the seams are piped with a trim so the fabric doesn’t unravel. There was a spot with threads (which can be pulled out) where the coat had a patch at some point…it would be interesting to know what was on the patch.

The jacket is labeled a 34, but the seller says he fit into it snugly at a 38, so it could fit a 36, with some fabric in the cuff of the sleeves to let out for tailoring. Starting price is $24.99, which is a great price for a coat, period; however, I don’t know what delusions of grandeur the seller had listing the Buy It Now at $1,200. I think I’d take my chances in the auction!

Plus Fours Suit and National Recovery Administration Suit

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Two interesting specimens popped up in my eBay searches this week. First, herringbone knickers/plus fours and a matching jacket, which the seller is dating 1930’s or 1940’s, but someone who knows menswear better than me might have a better handle on their decade of origin. In any case, knickers are awesome and here’s a whole suit for your day on the links, night on the dance floor, or the next tweed ride – 39 jacket and 31 waist.

Second, ignore the uncomfortable looking dude in the picture and focus on this blue Depression-era wool suit that the seller dates between 1933 and 1935 due to the National Recovery Administration (or NRA…not to be confused with that other NRA) label inside. This suit is exactly my husband’s size and he won’t have anything to do with it because it’s blue, so I’m beside myself with disappointment…but maybe it will fit one of you? 42 jacket, 32 pants, starting bid at $19.99.

1940’s Plaid Skirt and Vest

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Etsy seller Raleigh Vintage has an adorable matching plaid skirt and vest set from the 1940’s. While I’ve been pining for spring, let’s be realistic – it’s going to be cold for at least another month, which should give you plenty of time to get in a couple of wearings of this adorable set. I love the rhinestone-studded buttons, the pleats in the skirt, and the scoop neck on the vest. Pair with a pretty blouse and some wedges and you’re set for the dance!

Green 1930’s Vest

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I am intrigued by this vest. Most of the vintage menswear I find is in shades of gray and brown, so when something green (my favorite color) popped up, it got my attention. EBay seller johnsartifactorium is offering this rare dark green 1930’s vest with the original store tags still attached! It looks black in the photo, but the seller states that the photos are dark and the vest is a lovely hunter green. The seller has the vest listed as small, and the tags say 37, so I’d ask the seller for more specific measurements if you are interested in this item.

Incidentally, the seller is also listing a dress from the 1860’s…talk about rare!

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.

1930’s wool vest

While this may not be appropriate for the upcoming season, it is always appropriate to snag the perfect piece at the perfect price, regardless of season. This 1937 wool vest is listed on eBay with a $9.95 starting price!

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I really like the lines, the lapel, and the placement of the buttons on this men’s wool vest. There’s something a bit formal about it, but you could get away with wearing it with just about anything…except those acid wash jeans the seller has it pictured with…