20th Century

Swing Noir! Windy Lindy 2013

It’s that time of year again: the season when I lay aside historical costuming for a little while and turn to vintage frocks and dance until my feet hurt.  In other words, it’s Wellington’s Windy Lindy weekend.

This year the theme for the big ball (and more or less the weekend as a whole) was ‘Noir’, which I was SUPER excited about as I love film noir and neo-noir and Guy Noir.  In fact, I love them all so much that I’ve been campaigning for a Noir theme for two years.

I had visions of femme fatale costumes, all tilted hats with little face veils and broad shoulders and dark sequins, and even got one patterned up, but unfortunately I was sick in the run-up to Windy Lindy, and it fell the weekend after exams and projects were due at Massey University, so I was too busy sleeping or answering student emails to whip up anything fabulous.

Instead, I resorted to my wardrobe – it’s not like there isn’t enough in it!

Friday night was competition night – with a lot of social dancing as well.  I wore it with the Rodeo & Wrangle & Ramble in Style skirt.   There was another dancer with a fabulous Mexican themed skirt – all dancing senoritas and fiesta banners.  So gorgeous!

Rodeo & Wrangle 1940s skirt thedreamstress.com

After a late night Friday I hauled myself out to lessons with the visiting teachers on Saturday, and then got dressed up for the big ‘Noir’ ball Saturday evening.  I wore the 1924  Hula Goddess dress because it’s always fun to wear something new, and I’m about to send it off to my sister in San Francisco.  It might be the wrong period for noir, but it definitely has a femme fatale vibe!

Hula Goddes 1924 dress thedreamstress.com

Hula Goddess 1924 dress thedreamstress.com

Hula Goddess 1924 dress thedreamstress.com

The lighting was terrible for frock photography, and I’m not thrilled with any of the shots I got, but this one has a nice early ’20s movie star vibe

Hula Goddess 1924 dress thedreamstress.com

There were some pretty awesome costumes at the ball, but the best one was definitely the ‘silhouette’.  Not only was it amazing, but he managed to dance all night in it!

Hula Goddess 1924 dress thedreamstress.com

Hula Goddess 1924 dress thedreamstress.com
I made a stupid timing mistake, and missed my Sunday dance lessons (boo), but still had a fantastic, if rather tired, time at the Sunday night ‘Whodunnit’ ball.  I went Marlene in vintage tails – with a short sleeved shirt for danceability!


Sadly, my camera ran out of batteries after only a few photos, and I didn’t manage to solve the murder mystery in time (Was it Frankie Manning in the Cotton Club with the gramaphone?  Or Ella Fitzgerald at Herräng with the cravat?  Or maybe ‘Shorty’ George Snowden did it with a fascinator at Venice Beach! (question: how exactly do you kill someone with a fascinator?))


I was really impressed by how comfortable the vintage tails were to dance in.  I’ve always felt bad for me in their wool suits, but take off the jacket and I danced all night and stayed amazingly cool.  Also: pockets.  I think I need to make myself more vintage inspired menswear!

And now, back to my usual programming, with lots of sewing (stays!  And Edwardian blouses!  And the top half of the Chinoiserie outfit!), and lots of marking, and hopefully a bit more regular blogging as I’ve been rather remiss this last week.


  1. Claire Payne says

    Looks marvellous. Glad to see the Hula Goddess dress had an outing.

  2. I imagine it would have to be the pin for the fascinator? But I love the historic clues! Ft Worth Jitterbug Jam II had a Murder Mystery Dance but I *think* the instructors were part of the clues (we didn’t make it to the dance, the lessons wore us out, so we stayed in an played Settlers of Catan)

    • My theory on the fascinator was that you shoved it down their throats and choked them. This is all rather macabre!

      Some of the songs were clues, and other dancers had clues and you only found them out if you danced with them.

    • Are you thinking of the knitted scarf fascinators or of the mini hat fascinators? Because this was definitely a hat, and they aren’t usually big enough for strangling!

  3. You slay them with style. Although, Phillip Treacy has declared the fascinator Dead to Fashion or some such thing, so perhaps it really was the victim? 😉

  4. Lauren says

    It was Cab Calloway with a gramophone at the Majestic Ballroom 🙂

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