Swing dancing is intrinsically linked to the time and circumstances that it came about. Dressing in vintage is by no means a requirement but it will enhance the look and feel of your dancing. Dax Hock has written a great blog on the importance of dressing well, basically stating that being well dressed will not only make your dancing LOOK better but will make you dance better to match your clothes. It also talks about the importance of swing as a social activity. Read it here.
The problem with this is that good vintage clothing is a) rare; b) expensive; and c) delicate. And doing physical activity in rare, expensive, delicate clothing is not the greatest idea. By all means, buy vintage. But be aware of the strain your movements may put on the garment and the damage sweat can do on delicate fabrics – remember, it’s not just YOUR sweat that will get on your garments! It might be best to save your best vintage threads for special occasions or nights when you aren’t planning on dancing too much. If you are interested in finding vintage in Brisbane check out the Woolloongabba Antique Centre for gems like Atomic Martini Vintage, the Paddington Antique Centre, SWOP in West End, Box Vintage (also in WestEnd), Retro Metro, and Ra-Ra Superstar. There are also quite often vintage fairs, markets and exhibitions to keep an eye out for!
Luckily, there are more and more places to get vintage reproduction so you can dress in your vintage best without the worry of destroying your 70 year old, one of a kind clothing. For the ladies: Evelyn Wood is a Brisbane dancer that hand makes vintage reproduction! Check out her great clothing here: www.evelynwood.com.au/. Kitten D’Amour is another Brisbane based company that makes fun vintage inspired clothing (www.kittendamour.com/), as is Trash Monkey (www.trashmonkey.com.au/ ). Atomic Cherry also has their warehouse in Brisbane (www.atomiccherry.com.au/). Retropec’d is based in Sydney and makes both men’s and ladies (www.retrospecd.com/). There are also countless other online stores to get your vintage fix such as:
Unique Vintage (www.uniquevintage.com)
Trashy Diva (www.trashydiva.com/ )
Stop Staring (www.stopstaringclothing.com/ )
Bettie Page (www.bettiepage.com/)
Bitter Root Vintage (www.bitterrootvintage.com/ )
Modcloth (www.modcloth.com/ ),and of course,
Dangerfield (www.shop.dangerfield.com.au/ - you can also find it in the Myer Centre in Brisbane’s CBD).
Laura Bakker (www.laurabakker-fashion.com/shop)
The House of Foxy (www.thehouseoffoxy.com/en)
Jitter Buggin (www.jitterbuggin.com/shop)
Loco Lindy (www.loco-lindo.3dcartstores.com/Vintage-Inspired-Dresses)
La Vie En Swing (www.lavieenswing.com)
Lindy Bop (www.lindybop.com)
It’s a bit harder to find repro vintage for the Gents but there are a few things around. I think a good pair of vintage style pants (note a higher waist and a more loose fitting than their modern equivalent) is a great investment for the gents: dress them down with a nice t-shirt for a casual vintage look or dress them up with a button up shirt and waistcoat or go the full suit. You haven’t been initiated as a swing dancer until you own something from Anton’s in Melbourne (https://www.facebook.com/Antons-Melbourne-141363892629417/timeline/), even if it is only some fancy button suspenders. Do note that Anton’s is quite ridiculously expensive! Retropec’d also have a small selection of men’s vintage trousers and Hawaiian shirts (www.retrospecd.com ). Chloe Hong can also does tailor made (http://www.fromchloehong.com/products/FROMMen/42/#none).
Here are some other places you might like to look for vintage style men’s clothing, but do note that men’s reproduction suiting is usually quite expensive:
The Prohibition Clothing company (http://www.prohibitionclothing.com/)
Revamp Vintage (www.revampvintage.com)
Magnoli Clothiers (http://www.magnoliclothiers.com/)
Cheetabee has suits for lindy Hoppers (http://cheetabee.com/)
As a lady, I find the best way to increase my vintage glamour is with some red lipstick and some vintage inspired hair styling – it’s amazing how styling can transform even a modern outfit so don’t underestimate this power! There are plenty of tutorials on youtube if you need to up your hair/makeup game. Remember, practise makes perfect with these things.