The story of the swing dress

The story of the swing dress

Swing dresses

In Mondo Kaos, we love a good swing dress, and it's one of them dresses we always have many of them in our range. There must be swing dresses and swing skirts in several colors and patterns, and in sizes from small, medium and large to Plus size.

Harlem and Lindy Hop

To tell the story of the swing dress, one has to go back to the 1920s and 30s Harlem and Lindy Hop culture. Lindy Hop was a swing dance inspired by tap and Charleston and the jazz music of the time, and it had to be danced with partner and was almost acrobatically full of jumps and lifts. 

It started small in Harlem's clubs, and became so popular that it moved into the large Savoy Ballroom in New York, where it even had employed dancers and musicians to perform with the new swing style. The performers came to form a troupe that went on tours around the United States, and it was from here that the popularity of swing dance spread.

Frankie Manning: 

One of the great Lindy Hop dancers of his time was Frankie Manning. He danced as an employee at the Savoy Ballroom and was on tour throughout America with the troupe from Savoy. The dance company also starred in films, and was incredibly popular throughout 1940s og 1950s

When Lindy Hop was no longer in vogue, Frankie Manning got a job at a post office where he worked for 30 years, until the 1980s when an interest in Lindy Hop was rediscovered. At the age of 72, Manning started teaching and choreographing again, he won a Tony award for choreography in Black and Blue, and participates as a consultant and dancer in Spike Lee's Malcolm X.

Rock'n'Roll and swing revival

While during the war years the dance was turned down a bit, the swing dance was still popular, and had long since reached outside Harlem. Dance film was big, and made the swing dance famous far beyond the borders of the United States. 

When Rock & Roll broke through, swing dancing was adapted to the music, and Jive stayed 50s favorite swing style. When R&B replaced Rock and Roll, the swing adapted again and transformed into a variant called the West Coast Swing.

It was first with 60s twist that the swing style went out of fashion, but it reappeared in the 1980s in a revival such as. so the aforementioned Frankie Manning make a comeback. Today, the various swing dances are still found in an active dance and retro environment, but you can luckily use the beautiful vintage swing dresses for everyday and party, even without dancing. 

What is a swing dress? 

Just as the term "swing" came to represent a variety of styles in the field of dance, the swing dress itself also covers different dress cuts. 

Although you can find swing dresses with sleeves and without, shorter and longer, fully rounded circle dresses and those with pleats at the top or further down, the common denominator of a vintage swing dress remains the same; It gives the wearer great freedom of movement while giving a flattering fit around the waist. Today, the swing dress is one of the most popular summer dresses here in Mondo Kaos, but there are also plenty of reinterpretations with warm fabrics and slightly longer lengths that make it perfect for the cold months of the year. 

It is the epitome of a feminine dress og skirt, a style both we and our customers in Mondo chaos love. 

The classic swing dress 

The one we probably know as the most classic swing dress is 1950s the dress, or skirts, which sits completely into the waist but has a fold at the top so that it stands out slightly below the waist and gives the perfect hourglass shape. We know it especially from 1950s where it also kept its entrance on the fashion scene thanks to Dior's New Look, where he took this form and turned it into a fashion statement that paid homage to the female figure. 

Food but swing dress in black
swing dress in teal
Shirt dress swing style black


We have, for example, the beautiful Milan from Heart of Hauteor Stop Staring Mad Men dress with sweetheart neckline which is another of our absolute favorite swing dresses which can be used again and again for an incredible number of occasions. 
That is why we also always have a large selection of vintage style swing dresses all year round.

swing dress in black with small dots
Checkered swing dress in 1950s style
Delores swing dress out sleeves

Vintage swing skirt 

A cut that is especially known from skirts and precisely from the dance world is the 'full sun', or full circle skirt. It makes sense that it originated with the swing dance, as this dress really allows for swinging legs and hips, and the dress gives the beautiful 'full sun' effect when you turn quickly around on the dance floor. In addition, the fabric falls beautifully and flatteringly around the hips and legs. 

swing skirt in jade green
Whirlaway red swing skirt
Black swing skirt in a classic cut

Style your vintage swing skirt 

We love the options available when styling a vintage swing skirt. We always have lots of beautiful vintage styles shirt blouses, and depending on how neutral a color you have chosen skirts in, you can adjust the top so that it is either a strong color, or patterned for a navy or black bottom, or vice versa. 

In the cold months, one can advantageously add a beautiful cardigan or knit sweater, which we always have in the correct waist short length. You can use beautiful stilettos for a festive evening, or flat shoes for an everyday look.

Black shirt with tie bow
emmy cardigan in green ice skates
red shirt in vintage style


In addition, you can style a swing skirt in 50s style with a Mondo Kaos T-shirt and a pair of nice ones sko. It gives a nice everyday vintage look. When you style your swing dress, you can rejoice that with a dress, you already have the full look, now you can concentrate on the details, your sko match or perhaps be contrasting? Can you possibly match sko and hat (in the cold months), or shoes and jewelry such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces or brooches? It gives an exciting and at the same time stylish vintage look.

Set with glitter earring and bracelet in retro style
Miss L four gold shoes
mondo chaos t-shirt with retro print


If you have been inspired to find your very own swing dress style, or add a new vintage swing dress to your wardrobe, stop by and be inspired by the many beautiful dresses and swing skirts in the store.

The best greetings,

Team Mondo Kaos ❤


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