Help me Swingify my wardrobe.
April 14, 2014 4:22 PM   Subscribe

I've been taking a Lindy Hop class for about a month and I'm really enjoying it. I'm keen on eventually going out to social dances and events when I feel more confident, but I have no wardrobe to back it up right now. I have a vague idea of what swing era fashion is like, but I'd like to do more research on what's hip, cool, and appropriate. Can anyone suggest sites, blogs, pinterest boards, online shops, etc so I can get a sense of what I should deck out in?
posted by xtine to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Funny I came across this the other day - some 'swing' highlights from the Sartorialist.

Everyone fits the mood but doesn't look too fancy dress. Very cool
posted by stevedawg at 4:37 PM on April 14, 2014

You need ModCloth in your life! Just searching for "swing" brings up a lot of swingified dresses but basically just look at the best-selling dresses and skirts there and you'll find a ton. Like this dress for example.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 4:38 PM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: swing dance fashion blog: Swing Dandies: Modern and Vintage Swing Dance Fashion

1930s/40s/50s repro clothing Etsy shop: Jitterbuggin'

If you are looking for dresses/skirts: Key Looks of the 1940s

hair tutorials from Jazz it Up With Jo
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:55 PM on April 14, 2014

What people wear at dances will likely vary based on where you live (and whether it's a weekly dance or a special event), but where I dance most people just wear whatever they would wear normally as long as it's comfortable for dancing. Shoes would be the one exception (leather soles are your friend).
posted by kbuxton at 4:59 PM on April 14, 2014

Best answer: Lindy Shopper is a blog on exactly this topic.

I can also highly recommend Trashy Diva as a source of authentic and high quality vintage reproduction clothing, a lot of which would be great for Lindy Hop. One of the Trashy Diva shop girls is a professional swing dancer and wears their clothes in competition.

I think a lot of ModCloth dresses would be too short for this kind of dancing given how much you will be twirling around!
posted by RubyScarlet at 5:45 PM on April 14, 2014

Best answer: My tips to swing-ify your wardrobe:

- seamed stockings
- red lipstick - many people swear by MAC Russian Red, or if on more of a budget I've heard from dancers that Revlon is good too.
- I love to use movies set in the 1940s as a guide (Movies that are actually from the 40s are great too of course -- I just like that recent movies set in the 40s are done with a slightly contemporary eye, and therefore might be easier for you to recreate the looks from them). Some I like for the fashion are Swing Kids, A League of Their Own, The English Patient, Pearl Harbor & The Notebook.
- There are a TON of Pinterest boards... here's a good one...and another.
- Keds or Aris Allens with suede bottoms for dancing
- Remix Shoes
- 40's silouettes in stretch fabric that won't rip when you move
- twirly skirts vs. pencil skirts (which are tricky to move in)
posted by Shadow Boxer at 6:18 PM on April 14, 2014

These are all awesome recommendations, but really all you need is a pair of dancing shoes to go out dancing, especially on weeknights. Dressing up vintage is fun but absolutely not required pretty much anywhere. I say just wear something nice you can move in and go out to a weekly dance, and then start working on a wardrobe.

Mind you, I say this as a male dance slob- I barely dress up for dances. Jeans and t-shirt are completely normal for guys and girls at the weekly dances I've frequented.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:14 PM on April 14, 2014

When it comes to shoes, just find some that you think are cute and comfortable. Then buy a pot of rubber cement and a piece of thick suede (you can get it from shoe-repair places, or some craft/fabric stores). Put the shoes down on the suede, mark around them, cut the pieces out, and glue them to the bottoms with rubber cement. You can even trim around the edges when it's dried to get a nice clean look. Custom, sueded shoes — perfect for dancing in — on the cheap! I did this about six years ago and my shoes held up until I wore a hole in the toe.

(As a short-term fix, you can also just cover the bottoms in duct tape, but then you have to deal with getting it off again.)

As for clothes, I've gone to lindy exchanges and weekly dances in many different cities, and it's pretty rare for people to dress up unless it's a specifically costume-oriented event. You can, of course — no one will look at you funny — but it's certainly not expected. Regular jeans or a skirt (depending on your normal preferences) will fit in everywhere.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:23 PM on April 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the great suggestions so far! To clarify I'm in the Los Angeles area and there are girls (and guys for that matter) that dress up for intermediate and advanced classes even... not all of them but some of them. Pictures of local events show a lot of people out in nice dress and I am planning on getting some dancing shoes first before getting more fashionable threads. I know I can be casual and not have to go all out, but I really do enjoy dressing a bit for the occasion if I can! :)
posted by xtine at 9:09 PM on April 14, 2014

Where I am (Phoenix) the women in the swing-dance crew tend towards a hipster/semi-vintage look, more than period authenticity. So get a couple full knee-length skirts, some tights and brogues and a cardigan to whip off when you start to sweat and you're pretty much good.

Red lipstick and fun hairstyles never hurt anyone either (but the hair will be destroyed if you're actually dancing, anyway.)
posted by celtalitha at 9:54 PM on April 14, 2014

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