Model J Vintage on New Year’s Eve Eve and on Metromix

New Years Eve Eve is a one of the highlights in every swing dancer and vintage enthusiast’s year. One of the big events on that evening is put on by The Salon, a Soluri brother operation here in New York known for their wonderful speakeasy style happenings. It is captured here by photographer Gabi Porter for Metromix.

Photo by John Russo

This year I attended to dance to the tunes of George Gee’s Big Band, see friends and generally have a wonderful time. I chose to wear a vintage silk 1930s gown that I have had since college days when everything vintage was easily found. It is a beautiful flower print. I sewed up a few seams as the thread is over 80 years old and periodically wears out.  I added a thin black belt in place of its missing belt and realized I can never wear it again without it. It was perfect! I added a pair of black retro-1930s satin shoes that I’ve had for years from a family wedding event

Silk I.Miller shoes circa 1980

and a purple orchid hair flower from My Heinies. To add even more I wore my vintage 1970s floor-length black velvet coat with cuffed and buttoned sleeves that I treasure and purchased many moons ago in Michigan. Despite the wide collar it has a very 1930s/1940s style about it and blends in very well. The absolute finishing touch is a black woven handbag from the 1930s/40s that I’ve had so long I don’t even remember where I got it.

Woven Fabric 1930s/40s Handbag

Velvet 1970s Floor Length Coat by Jacobson's Young Signature Collection

It is my go-to bag but, to my chagrin, seems to be more delicate these days. The zipper works but is torn and last year I spent a few hours weaving new thick threads into it to replace the old broken ones.

NY Eve Eve 2011

Photo by Gabi Porter for Metromix.

Well, it was a lovely evening filled with friends and dancing and homemade cookies that sat alongside Dawn Hampton in her place of honor by the side of the band.  Afterwards, a small band of weary dancers made our way to a diner for late-night food and giddy silliness before heading off in our separate directions. If any of you love The Fifth Element then you would have appreciated our replication of the “Gimme the cash” sequence. Good times!

Now vintage-wise, I have to say I put that outfit through the ringer. It was spilled on, sweated in, pulled and generally manhandled to the tune of busted seams, broken belt loop and alcohol stain.  I was able to hand wash it and remove the alcohol (whew!). The busted seams will have to wait but are definitely repairable. I feel lucky no tears developed (woot!) and have to say this dress will never be danced in again. While I am definitely of the school of thought that advocates use over mere collecting, I will save it for other evening gatherings. 80+ years is a long time and while vigorous swing dancing is a bit too much for it, it will remain in its honored place in my wardrobe forever.

I would love to hear your New Years Eve Stories too! Please comment below and share the highlights of your vintage outfits and swell times wearing them. Happy New Year to all!

Joy

Model J Vintage in the New York Times Style Section!

Me and my vintage outfit made it into the New York Times Style Section this past Sunday January 1st, 2012. I was swing dancing at the Plaza Atrium in Manhattan to the Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks big band. A lot of my fellow dancers and I came out dressed to the nines in vintage as we had all attended the Vintage Train ride together to dance on the platforms and on the trains to live music. Here is the link to Bill Cunningham’s NYT Evening Hours Column

Photo by Bill Cunningham

in the Style section and Bill Cunningham’s photo of me dancing in my 1930s felt hat with white trim, red wool 1940s dress with belt, front waist gathers, back buttons and decorative buttons down the sleeves, and retro mary janes circa 2008 from London. Those shoes were a must have purchased on the last day of my trip. They have served me very well, accenting countless vintage ensembles I have put together since then. My dancing partners are Samuel Coleman and Arturo Perez Saad.

Front view of red wool 1940s dress and ensemble

Here are some photos from the vintage train ride as well that occurred earlier in the day. It is so much fun to meet up with other vintage attired dancers and vintage enthusiasts for  hours of dancing on the platform and in the cars while the train is moving. This is my third year in a row attending this event and I wouldn’t miss it for the world! It is amusing to see the vintage advertising in the trains and ponder how much life has changed. The wonderful construction details of the old trains are always a pleasure to see as well. I personally like the old textured seats, the green color, the typefaces that were used for notices and all the exposed bolts. There was a tea party as well that was going on while some of us were dancing. Perhaps I will attend that next year as well. Bring your own tea cup! Musicians are Gordon Au Ensemble. Dancers in foreground are Michael Blank and Jeri Lynn Astra Herbert,

Vintage Train Dancing #2

Train in Background at 2nd Ave Station

Vintage Train Dancing #1

Swing Dancing on the Platform

Sales at Jam Circle

At Jam Circle this past friday two beautiful retro wool numbers were adopted by a lovely visiting Balboa Instructor. A bright red bias Chaiken and a wine colored bias Express with huge flowers around the hem. Some other items went  home with people as well but this Express skirt was the prettiest.

Swing For Japan

I attended Swing For Japan last night in New York City. I decided to dress vintage and represent Model J in all my finery for the evening. I ended up wearing a tulip print wrap dress in beige and black with a lovely satin tie, patterned fishnets, suede open toe pumps with bows and a vintage 1950’s velvet and mink headpiece.

At Swing For Japan in velvet & mink 50's headpiece w/Paolo Pasta Lanna.

The disparate eras worked very well together and I got a lot of compliments. One funny occurrence was that the hat blended in so well with my hair that it looked like I was wearing elaborate bangs instead of a headpiece. Hmmm. Too funny!

This was a wonderful event filled with great music and entertainment as well as excellent donations for some serious raffling. (I think I just made that word up…) It seemed like a sizeable amount was raised to help the Japanese relief effort and many raffle winners went home with boxes of chocolate, gift certificates to a host of establishments and services, as well as a cooking class for 8 as the grand prize. I was excited to find out that George Gee‘s son won my $25 Model J Vintage gift certificate that I donated, knowing that his wife Mutsumi would end up with it. I hope I have something she likes for herself.

Someone else donated some beautiful vintage clothing and I couldn’t resist trying things on. First off the hanger was a green wool skirt and sweater set from the 1930’s. It fit me perfectly. Uh oh. The sweater is cashmere with a wool neckpiece that matches the skirt. The skirt is long, with two front pleats, and curiously only lined in the front. Hmmm. I wonder why. I will have to take a closer look at that. The zipper is on the right side too which is unusual. Next I tried on two 1950’s dresses that were just too darn small. If one of them had been larger than the size “0” it seemed to be I might have bought it to resell. Lastly I tried on a plaid wool skirt that didn’t seem like much until I put it on. Ooh la la! It fit perfect and is a full circle skirt in a light tan color that looked, well, amazing.  I am not generally allowed to buy things for myself but these vintage beauties had to come home with me. They fill a gap in my personal collection: vintage daywear. I also took home a purse, entirely hand beaded and handmade in France.  I bought this to sell but who knows. It is so lovely it might have to live with me for a while before I can bear to part with it!

Last but not least, I spotted the beautiful blue satin asian themed 50’s wiggle dress with matching jacket and though it didn’t look like much on the hanger I knew it was a knockout outfit. It was in pristine condition. I spotted one of my customers across the room and just knew it would fit her. She tried it on and it was perfect. It was good to help make a sale for the Japanese relief effort and make a customer extremely happy 🙂

Photo Shoot a Big Success!

With the help of Makeup Artist Lani Barry to make the models even more lovely than nature I was able to photograph a lot of the vintage clothing that will be put up for sale. You can’t really see the clothes, how they fit, how they move without a person in them. Some of these unique outfits came alive on the models as I had imagined them in my head. What a world of difference to see them in motion on a live human. It points up the flaws in my current mannequins as well. I’m sure there are better ones out there but nothing does an outfit justice as well as a live body.

Many thanks go to the models I used; Emily DeWan of Emily DeWan Photography, who took time out from her own portrait photography of the models to model for me, Lani Barry, my makeup artist who modeled my one Victorian outfit at the very end, my sister-in-law, Kim Grad and her daughter Amanda, who I was able to photograph together for some sweet family portraits, and to New York City swing dancers Elaine Silver, Mimi Liu, Laurel Carpenter and Jeri Lynn Astra Herbert who brought a lot of sass and dancerly grace to the shots.

The models will get copies of their photos as well as a piece of clothing from Model J Vintage. Mimi picked out a wonderful retro 1950’s style jacket with an enlarged herringbone, almost puzzle piece pattern.  Jeri picked out a black velvet dress that really flattered her figure and is also great for dancing.

Most of this clothing will go up on Facebook and Etsy.com but some might be destined for eBay so stay tuned!

New skirts great for dancing!

I acquired some gently used skirts great for dancing, ladies. Some trumpet, a-line, full, cut on the bias and generally twirly ones in all sizes and colors are now available. I also picked up some sweet and sexy fishtail skirts that are great for our other non-dancing activities. Come check them out before they get snapped up at my excellent prices!

I will also have a box of free stuff from my closet for everyone to pick through so have fun with that 🙂