As a Lindyhopper and a lover of all things “mid-century” vintage, I try to always show up at a dance dressed from the 1940’s or 50’s (even if it’s just pieces) but as easy as this is for me to do, I know that many dancers out there are a bit unsure of items they can add to their wardrobe that will help them build their own “vintage dance look”. I’m going to supply you with a simple list of items that you can buy online, at vintage stores or even at your regular mall that will boost your “vintage dance” look up by a 1000%
(Note: there are so many more items you can add to this list but I just picked the most popular for this post)
Here we go…
Swing skirt (OR a swing dress): I can’t tell you how many times I get “WOW I love how your skirt twirls when we dance”…it’s a must. If you want more fullness add a crinoline (always good to have in your wardrobe). There are many many stores online that you can find selling these styles (and everything listed below) just type in “vintage reproduction” in your search engine and happy shopping 🙂
Pencil skirt: My advice is ensure that it has a slit and/or stretch in it.
A-line skirt: Slim at the top with a bit of flare..best of both worlds and very easy to dance in.
Bombshell dress (slim pencil skirt dress): Once again same rule as above for the pencil skirt (and check the arms when you raise them for those turns. Too tight and your not going anywhere).
1940’s Shirtwaist dress: I have 3 of them and they are seriously the EASIEST way to get a 1940’s look in seconds and they are super comfortable to dance in.
Sailor pants for woman (wide legged trousers): With the below mentioned blouse tucked in, you will be looking like a 1940’s pinup in no time.
Blouse: Patterned or plain
Shoes: Good pair of neutral colour shoes will go with everything mentioned above. Heels, flats etc. whatever you feel comfortable in for dancing. Look for shoes that have a vintage feel (Remix shoes, Aris Allens are always a good purchase).
Accessories: Hair flowers, small hats (that don’t get in the way of dancing), vintage jewellery (or inspired), wide belt for those swing dresses/skirts.
Dress shirt: Neutral colours work the best for that vintage look.
Suspenders: Solid colours always look great OR add a bit of flair to your outfit and purchase brightly colored or patterned suspenders.
Dress pants (with cuffs if possible for that extra 1940’s feel): Add the dress shirt and suspenders for a quick easy look to head out to a dance in (see pic above).
Double breasted suit jacket (or a Sports Jacket/Blazer): Keep in mind this look works really well in an air conditioned venue, but for venues like the Dovercourt in the summer it might be too hot….sorry WILL be too hot 🙂
Tie (and tie clip): 1940’s ties were shorter and wider with bold prints (see the various pictures above for examples).
Fedora: Just ensure that you easily dance in it.
I hope this list got you started on thinking what you can purchase for that next big dance.