Scott Cupit's book 'Swing Dance' is a great companion for new dancers wanting to practise the key moves they learnt in class. It's also a visual and storytelling feast for anyone interested in swing dance fashion, music and culture. You can buy the book from Swing Patrol by clicking here.
The book also has lots of tips and hints on how to 'Get the Look', and that's where we help out. Revival Retro supplied many of the pictures for the book; pictures of the dresses, shoes and accessories we sell in our shop that many dancers wear. Swing dance fashion is our business!
Swing Dance Fashion 'Essentials' includes an overview of some of the styles of dress favoured by dancers. Here at Revival Retro we have many gorgeous vintage style dresses, a few of which are pictured in the book. Whether you seek a 1920s flapper look for Charleston, a classic vintage style for Balboa, or 1940s Dresses for Lindy Hop - we have it all.
On the left is an example of a classic 1940s style dress; a shirtwaister, in a beautiful vintage style fan print. The bodice buttons up like a shirt, and the dress features an A-line shape skirt that not only gives a good range of movement for dancing, but is also very flattering on almost every body shape.
This dress is from a past collection, but every season we offer new and different patterns, prints and colours.
The 1920s Flapper Look
Many of the dancers in the book are wearing dresses from Revival Retro. Take a look at the Charleston section of the book showcasing our sensational Gatsby 1920s Dress,
Every single strand of this 1920s Dress is hand-beaded and those beads catch the light as you move making this a stunning dress to dance in! There is so much intricate detail in this dress, and we are told that each one takes a painstaking 6 weeks to make. This dress is one of the most expensive ones in the shop, but it's worth every penny. We adore it. Those are the Ritz 1920s Shoes she is wearing with the dress by the way.
You can see more of our 1920s shoes and dresses in our video below. See how we styled dancers Nancy, Sharon and Vicci for their solo charleston routine.
The Perfect Heels for Dancing.
The Balboa section of the book has guidelines for choosing shoes for swing dancing. At Revival we sell an impressive array of new vintage style shoes, but our staff and every dancer will tell you there is one overriding favourite: The perfect vintage style shoe to swing dance in is ReMix Vintage Shoes Balboa style- click to read our blog to find out why.
For us at Revival Retro, it's all about the shoes. In fact, that iconic shoe shelf pictured on page 22 of the book form the shelves in our London shop, full of our beautiful vintage shoes for sale. It's a seasonally changing array with a few favourites that we restock again and again, often in an array of exciting colours.
The 1940s Look
We arrive at owner and founder, Rowena's, favourite era.
"My interest in swing dance was ignited one Sunday afternoon. Walking down the street, the refrains of some magical music came floating out of a club most commonly known for its late night rock concerts. Of course I had to stick my head in, and see what was going on and wasn't I surprised! Up on stage was a Big Band, the venue had been transformed to resemble a 1940s dance hall, and on the dance floor were dozens of dancers dressed in fabulous vintage style clothing. I was enthralled. I love music, I love dancing and I love dressing up. I had discovered what soon came to be one of the biggest passions of my life, the fashion; the music and the culture of swing dance." - Rowena Howie, Revival Retro.
This is the Raileen Dress that follow dancer Paula wears in the 'Learn to Dance Lindy Hop' section of the book. It's a beautiful vintage style dress with a fishtail skirt and a lovely lace collar and details.
The 1940s was a decade of extremes; the privations that war exerted on everyday life, and the glamour and allure that Hollywood distracted people with. Clearly, this creates an interesting diversity in 1940s women's fashion. The 1940s look is almost always revived with a certain amount of glamour. Even in a simple tea dress; a red lip and a coiffed curl sets the look as feminine, classy and well turned out.
Perhaps because modern day life is so casual we are inspired by the idea of taking care to dress well and look good. This applies to the guys as well as the gals.
Revival Retro used to sell a choice range of reproduction 1940s Mens Clothing. Sadly we no longer do any menswear.
The Lindy Hop changes peoples lives. Scott describes it as "the mother of all swing dances". The history of this dance is amazing and the book is a great starting point from which you will want to learn more.
So, grab yourself a copy of Scott's Swing Dance Book, find your local swing dance class and make sure to visit Revival Retro Boutique next time you are in central London. Meanwhile, have fun perusing our website.
The Revival Retro Boutique
30 Windmill Street, London, W1T 2JL (Goodge Street, Tube)