Friday, July 30, 2010

Style Inspiration from Vintage Vogue

Putting together looks is much easier when you’ve got great examples from which to draw. I follow a couple photographers, blogs and Tumblrs that I look at most days, saving the photos that make a big impression on me.


Try to tell me that Humphrey Bogart doesn’t make an impression on you; I won’t believe you. (Photo by Ned Scott).


It’s always interesting (to me at least) to notice the subtle cycles in men’s style through the years. There is rarely anything “new” when it comes to men’s style, only variations in proportion. Notice the true 3-button stance, wider lapels (compared to today), and nice hats.


Some cool (in multiple senses of the word) Spring/Summer shoes.

These photos are from My Vintage Vogue, a website with scans from pages of (you guessed it) vintage Vogue magazines. The website focuses on scans of women’s fashion, organized by decade and model/movie star, but there is a page dedicated to men.

You can also see the scans on the My Vintage Vogue Flickr.

A huge thanks to the always-brilliant Swing Patrol blog for sharing their post about My Vintage Vogue. This is a great blog that posts dance clips and gems like this website very regularly.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Billy Reid Sale - Up to 75% Off

(Originally posted on Lindy Shopper. This sale is so good that I had to post it here too).

It’s about the time of year when designers begin to clear out their Spring/Summer inventory to make room for their Fall/Winter line, which means this is a great time to look for sales. These sales make it possible to get deals on clothing that might normally be out of reach.

Billy Reid is having a huge sale; up to 75% off.

Gentlemen, have you heard of Billy Reid? Billy Reid is a “Southern-bred luxury” brand whose designer has been referred to as the “Ralph Lauren of the South.” Named Best New Men’s Designer in America 2010 by GQ, Billy Reid mixes refined and classic style with a bit of Southern ruggedness. The brand is based in Florence, Alabama, but has stores in Dallas, Nashville, Houston, Charleston and New York. The clothing is trim, well-made and will last for years (physically and style-wise).

I first “discovered” Billy Reid for myself a couple years ago during a trip to Dallas to visit my parents. I was wandering through NorthPark mall while my little sister was doing some shopping and stumbled onto what looked like a well-decorated saloon. The walls were adorned with oil paintings, faded photos, gilded-frame mirrors, and assorted taxidermy. The clothing was impressive: hand-made suits and jackets, slim shirts in an impressive assortment of fabric, drawers filled with bow ties and -the best touch- bowls filled with vintage handkerchiefs and pocket squares . Unfortunately, it was all a bit out of my price range (except for a few of those pocket squares and bow ties).

This sale puts it all into reach (relatively… the best deals are in the jackets and suits). (The sale also includes the ladies Spring/Summer line. I like the dresses, but they’re mostly mid-thigh length, which don’t really work for dancing unless you like to show off your bloomers. If you do, then by all means…) Here are a few of my favorites.


"Charleston" Short Sleeved Shirt - White with Stripes - $83 from $165

It’s like a classic tennis sweater in short-sleeve shirt form.


Scout - Light Blue and White Linen - $88 from $175

The pleated front pockets and button-able rolled sleeves makes this very casual.


Pride - Aqua Linen - $42 from $165

A very sharp sport shirt.


Charleston - Purple and White Check - $78 from $155


Jonathon - Double Faced Khaki Linen - $169 from $675

The big patch pockets make this a very casual jacket.


Windbreaker - Black and White Stripe -$74 from $295


Martin - Grey Plaid - $298 from $595

It’s got a ticket pocket that you can’t really see in this photo.


Ruston - Patch Pocket Blue Pincord - $238 from $595


Jonathon - Blue Seersucker - $149 from $595

What’s up with this guy’s posture? Sweet jacket, though.


Savannah Bubble-toe Wingtip - $210 from $350

These are shoes that you could beat to hell and they’d still look great (maybe even better).


Indianola - Suede Chukka Boot - $99 from $395

Please remember that the fit (especially in some of the jacket models) is cut trim, so size accordingly. I really like that blue pincord jacket. Hmmm.

Happy Hunting.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Breathable Leather Shoes: Allen-Edmonds Strawfut

If this blog from Slevehead is true, then heritage American shoe brand Allen-Edmonds is bringing back a version of the Strawfut design back for Spring 2011.

According to the Sleevehead post, the Strawfut will be a “combination linen (or mesh) and leather” shoe. In the original shoe, the upper was partially constructed out of nylon mesh.

Information on this shoe is scarce and what can be found is only on blogs and men’s style forums. So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that these could be my ideal Spring/Summer dress shoe and possibly my ideal dance shoe. The soles are constructed out of leather, which are hard wearing, repairable and will conform to shape of your foot. The upper is partially constructed out of a highly breathable nylon mesh, which is a godsend of a design feature in warm months (and especially on the dance floor). I would really appreciate the breathability, my feet get really hot when I dance.

This is a correspondent wingtip, also known as a spectator, where mesh has replaced the part of the upper that would normally be leather, linen, suede or canvas. I think these would look killer under a seersucker, cotton or linen suit, but I’d even wear them with rolled chinos or jeans (sans socks, of course).


This photo is from the blog of Allen-Edmonds' CEO.

The shoes in the image above were repaired by Allen-Edmonds for blogger, Fedora Lounge moderator and menswear designer, Matt Deckard.

Matt recounts the repair of his shoes in this post. It’s a neat story that highlights great customer service and the importance of leadership that has personal interest in their products. (According to the story, AE’s CEO frequented the forum where Matt first posted about these shoes, where were in dire need of repair at the time).

My friend, Bradley, has a pair of nylon mesh dress shoes that I’ve always found interesting and I’ve been looking for a pair ever since. If these are really coming out next Spring, count me in for multiple pairs in whatever colors they’re providing.

You see vintage pieces on eBaby, occasionally, but they’re never in my size. Actually, there’s a black pair of 8E’s on sale at the moment.

Well, if anybody ever wants to give me a pair to review, I wear an 8.5E.


This is an image of an 8E pair in black on sale on eBay.

Here’s a link to the most recent forum thread on the A-E Strawfut on the Fedora Lounge.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jazz Age Lawn Party 2010 (first look)

It’s one of my favorite moments of the summer; The Sartorialist’s photos of the Govenors Island Jazz Age Lawn Party have started to come out.

This is a jazz age themed dance party on Govenors Island in New York. You may remember that I mentioned it earlier this summer.

Best of all, there are two dates for this party this summer. You can find more details on this thread on Yehoodi.


Behold the power of a well-fitted white dress shirt. I’m digging the panama hat and the cuffed seersucker shorts. The jury’s still out on that neckerchief. (ok, he pulls it off, but I don’t think I could). Lose the cigarette!


I would definitely ask her to dance. I love their hats.


Dang. That’s a beautiful, slightly rumpled, white, four-on-two double breasted linen suit. The pleated patch pockets make it slightly more casual. The collar pin, cane and cocked boater are just icing on the cake. I probably would have gone with a different colored pocket square, for a little pop of color (not that you can really tell in this monochrome shot). You should also notice that his jacket and shirt sleeves are tailored so that an inch or so of cuff is visible.


It’s Voon! Seriously, this guy is one of the best dressed dancers you will ever meet; always vintage or vintage inspired.

You can find more photos from this event here:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Turning your passion into a career

Anyone who knows me knows that I love lindy hop and other swing dancing. I would dance every day if I could. So now and then, I wonder what it would be like to be an instructor who travels around the world to teach lindy hop. Would I do it? Actually, this boils down to a more basic question: Would I pursue any of my passions as a profession?

Dax Hock posted an interview on that very subject. Check it out; it’s very well thought out.

I found his second point on mistakes to be the best insight of the article. Basically, one must be professional. It sounds very simple and obvious because it is simple and obvious. If you want to turn your passion into a career, you must treat it like a job, not a hobby. This means working hard and pursuing success. As Dax answer later in the interview, “Never stop developing your craft and your business will never die.”

I don’t think I’ll ever be a professional international swing instructor, but I think it’s fascinating to see what takes to get there. It’s good advice either way.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ninjammerz at the Montreal International Jazz Festival

This video is blowing my mind.

It’s a video of Max, Annie, and Thomas of the Ninjammerz plus Natasha performing at the Montreal International Jazz Festival with the band Caravan Palace for tens of thousands of people.

I’m not at all familiar with Caravan Palace, but I’m intrigued. (Think of a cross between Django Reinhardt and Daft Punk, complete with gypsy jazz instruments and turntables).

The choreography is entertaining and hits all the right breaks, highlighted by well-timed lighting effects. My favorite part is when Thomas and Max “scribble” a break after sailor walks. Hilarious.

I'm so excited that such a huge audience was able to enjoy a fun Lindy Hop performance.  (Could you imagine this at ILHC? How would people respond?)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Walk Like an Egyptian Animal

Last night, I spent an hour working on camel walks; driving myself crazy trying to figure out some unfamiliar footwork variations.

Camel walks are a jazz step that I used to look at and wonder “how the heck do they make their legs do that?”

Here is the video that first inspired me to learn them. It’s from the 2009 Old School dance battle in Sweden pitting jazz dancers (the Harlem Hot Shots) versus hip hop dancers (Streets R us). One of the gals from the Harlem Hot Shots enters the arena by doing some very slick camel walks at :53 seconds into the clip, then breaks into some mean squat charleston (which is next on my list to learn).

I recommend watching the rest of the series too. It’s a great battle.
It’s that “how the heck?” feeling that inspired me to watch this video over and over (and over) until I could do it myself.

The problem with this video (besides the music) is that you don’t get too much instruction; you have to figure it out by watching him. (Just remember that no matter what it looks like, you step one foot after the other. right, left, right, left... ).

Here’s the video that had me camel walking around the room for an hour this time. It’s Stefan and Bethany’s routine from the Jump Session Show at Camp Jitterbug 2010. I’ve always loved their choreography. They have such a loose, relaxed quality to their movements.

I had to watch it over and over (and in slo-mo to be honest) to figure out what they were doing. The camel walks start at 1:38.

Here’s what I figured out: they did 8 counts to the right, then 8 counts to the left. They shuffle and shift their feet a bit differently than I’m used to, which is what took me so long to figure out.

Now that I think about it, it’s that “how the heck?” curiosity that keeps me on the dance floor and keeps me motivated to continue learning. I love to watch videos of great dancers in order to steal fancy footwork, odd figures and swingout variations. I’m constantly inspired by (read: steal from) all the dancers on the floor around me at dances.

The best part about stealing (and learning in general) is “owning” the material and then varying it to make it your own. I’ve spent entire dances with friends coming up with different (and often silly) camel walk variations. In fact, I spent the entire evening before this year’s DCLX figuring out how to do them backwards, just so I could one-up my friends during our camel walk showdown. I think I was beat by KF, who showed us all up by doing an opposing shoulder isolation with her camel walks. (It looks as weird as it sounds).

Now I have to figure out something new by the next time I see them!