Tuesday, July 7, 2009

the great shirt quest and My Baby Jo's

by frédérik sisa

I’ve been taking dance lessons with my wife and, after a few months of waffling over which style I prefer – not really a good question since I tend to like everything not called merengue – have come to something approximating a decision: rumba/waltz and swing. Yeah, swing; if it ain’t got it, it don’t mean a thing. So what, you may ask, does this have to do with my ongoing quest of finding great shirts? Answer: swing brings to mind not only syncopated rhythms and rock steps but also a sweet, sweet retro/50s style (I don’t want to use the word vintage) that can work on its own or definitely add flavour to a modern wardrobe. Pleated pants, bowling/lounge shirts, front panel shirts, fedoras for the gents – full circle skirts, dungarees, tie tops for the ladies. That’s just the tip, and doesn’t even touch on the ground tread by los pachucos y las pachucas.

The problem, of course, is finding the goods.

There are a few websites out there that can hook a fellah (and lady) up with the proper attire to swing dance the night away or jazz up the daily wear. As it happens one of them – My Baby Jo - has a brick-in-mortar in my general vicinity. Full of optimism and hope for a nice new shirt, I went. I saw. I left empty-handed. Sniffle.

But first, they do have a lot of cool stuff from 40s to rockabilly – online and off. For the ladies, dresses, blouses, capris, shoes, accessories…oh yes, they have good stuff. And for guys? The selection is good too – bowling shirts by the likes of Tarantula and Da Vinci, jackets, trousers. And hats. Lots of hats. Fedoras. Porkpies. Panamas. Contoured caps with or without boning. They even offer a rebel trousers customization service – hand-painted cuffs, made to order.

If you’re online, have at it 24/7. If you’re in LA, this is a good place to visit in person, which begs the question as to how I managed to leave without getting anything for myself. Part of the problem was simply that they didn’t have shirts in my size, a problem that goes beyond stock to the frankly strange fact that some brands, like Da Vinci, don’t make shirts in size small. Medium? You’re gold. XXXL? You’re covered. But small? Sorry, bub. No better luck at internet store Daddy O’s, whose depressingly impressive medium+ shirt selection is greater than My Baby Jo’s. One other thing: not a great selection of belt buckles. I mean, c’mon, not even a belt buckle I could dig?

Oh well. My quest for great shirts and a bit of retro styling continues. But don’t let my setback deter you from checking out My Baby Jo’s.

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