Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Manners & Mutiny Tour ~ Black & White Check with Red Accessories

As someone correctly noted on social media, I had given thought to getting rid of this outfit. Fortunately, Fashionable Reader, I merely put it into storage in the vain hope that it would fit me again after my breast reduction surgery... and it did!

So this is a very light weight cotton black and white checked sheath 1960s dress suit. Here I am wearing it for my signing event in Saratoga Springs paired with red accessories: a vintage felt fold over hat, vintage red leather day gloves, Miz Mooz red pumps. Photo courtesy of Peter V. Brett.

And below is what the sheath along looks like, at YallCrawl at YallFest in Charleston. The skinny red belt is from Target (similar $5), that's my obligatory pen necklace ($20), and a new stacked red bead set (similar three strand with matched earrings $24), and those are Predictions kitten heel Mary Janes (similar, full pumps, $25). I don't often wear a Kitten but I knew I would be walking a great deal at YallFest.

Later that same day I put on a red cardigan (modern) because it started to get chilly (similar $25).

I have a real weakness for a dress suit, there is something very retro about it, and I like an outfit I can parse out. Although I rarely wear the jacket part with anything else, the option is there.

Sweater  Elsa Schiaparelli, 1935  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

It does wrinkle a bit if I sit in it for a long time, but that's a small price to pay for such light weight material which is hard to find in vintage.

Here's a few shots of what the suit used to look like on me:


 Similar graduated size beaded necklace here for $13.


And here are some black and white checks through time...

For Lord Akeldama:

1770  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Sophronia:

1840-1845  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1860s Boots Augusta Auctions

For Primrose and Prudence:

1900 Ephemeral Elegance @drapedinhistory 
Fresh off the boat! C.1900 summer fashions- look at the ombré roses on the sherbet lady's straw hat

For Gail:

Gilbert Adrian, 1946-1948  The FIDM Museum

1950s Raincoat  1stdibs.com

1Suzy Parker wearing dress by Balenciaga
Vogue, 1952 via soleil-de-matin tumblr

Norman Norell, 1955  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Geoffrey Beene, 1960s  1stdibs.com
Geoffrey Beene, 1960s  Timeless Vixen Vintage

On the modern runways and in fashion spreads:

2012 Moschino Check Coat

2012 Shoe Add

Carolina Herrera Pre-Fall 2013


Vogue Japan March 2013 via Graphics-Gone-Wild

2013 Vogue Black White Suit

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Love Half Length Sleeves

I have a real love for half length sleeves, Fashionable Reader. Sadly, they don't seem all the popular in this day an age. I like the ending at the elbow, I think it's super flattering just to show the lower half of the arm. (Apparently so does Joan from Mad Men, or at least her costume designer.)

Dresses in Avisco fabrics by Vicky Vaughns, 1957 via theniftyfifties tumblr

That said, I didn't realize how addicted I had become to this style until I started combing through my wardrobe. Here is a sample in blue.

Shirt dresses.

In purple.

Flowered dresses.

Day dresses.

fashionsfromhistory-tumblr Cocktail Gown Jacques Fath Mid 1950s Kerry Taylor Auctions

Of course, the down side is this style is hard to wear anything over it but a cape.


Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

All Finished Young Ladies Have Chatelaines

I'm back from my whirlwind tour for Manners & Mutiny (more on that to come). I'm hoping some of you have managed to read the new book because it's time for one of the patented Gail Carriger Fashion Insight Extras. (OK, not patented, but I've decided they are now! Ha.) One of the tools Sophronia and her friends often wear is a chatelaine. This is particularly prevalent in the Final Finishing School book, Manners & Mutiny. I used it as a kind of Swiss Army knife.

Chatelain artemis2apollo-tumblr

From Wikipedia: A Victorian Lady’s finishing touch—the chatelaine.

A chatelaine is a decorative belt hook or clasp worn at the waist with a series of chains suspended from it. Each chain is mounted with a useful household appendage such as scissors, thimble, watch, key, vinaigrette, household seal, etc.
Chatelaines were worn by many housekeepers in the 19th century and in the 16th century Dutch Republic,where they were typically used as watch chains for the most wealthy. Similar jewellery was also worn by Anglo Saxon women, as seen from the burial record, but its function is uncertain. The name chatelaine derives from the French term ch√Ętelaine . 

same source as above
Victorian Chatelaine Silver
Teaspoons etc
Sterling silver Victorian chatelaine
I love looking at these and thinking about what a female spy would carry instead. Poisons or defensive fluids instead of perfume (or as well as) for example...

Perfume bottle

Chatelaine c 1895
Kaatherine Kohrs wore the above ornamental chatelaine at her waist. It provided this young Victorian woman with a penknife, button hook, perfume, and note cards. It was handed down to her granddaughter Patricia Nell Warren, and bears the initials PNW.

French fashion doll 1865 carte de bal

CAretDuBal1 - finished Ebay sale

Specifically mentioned in the final Finishing School book, Manners & Mutiny, is the Carte de Bal. Essentially, the Carte de Bal is a Chatelaine specifically designed to go to a dance.

CarteDeBalArtNeauvuChateline ebay sale
same as above
Carte de Bal  1890s  Sotheby’s

 Let's play Spot That Chatelaine...

Lace (via Dennis A. Waters Fine Daguerreotypes)

   (via Standing Women Dressed Alike | Photograph | Wisconsin Historical Society)
c. early 1900s

In addition to the chatelaine Sophronia utilizes a number of hair ribbons in the final Finishing School book. I found these two quotes to go with...

"High-coloured ribbons, flowered or figured, are decidedly vulgar."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

"Low-priced ribbons, for instance, are generally flimsy, tawdry, of ugly figures, and vulgar colours,—soon fading, and soon "getting into a string."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

November 1856 fashions

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.