Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Dresses from eShakti

The new dresses have arrived!

I am delighted with...

3 of them.

Frankly, 3 out of 4 ain't bad.

I must say, this is a loosing proposition, money wise, with the returning and the sunk shipping costs and tariff and so forth, but in the end I struggle so much these days to find anything that fits the Rack that I'll take what I can get. With surgery in my future, however, this may be my last order for a while.

"Remember that in all American stores, the rule of "first come, first served," is rigidly observed. Therefore, testify no impatience if a servant-girl, making a sixpenny purchase, is served before you—which she certainly will be, if her entrance has preceded yours."

So what did I get?

Heather dress in coral

Custom Sized with short length sleeves rather than capped, and the skirt lengthened to mid-calf, and pockets removed. (I don't like pockets in pencil dresses.)

"But for travelling, have another pocket, concealed beneath your upper petticoat, and in that keep the main portion of your cash."

At first I was really unsure as there seemed something horribly off about the under layer over the Rack. Then I realized it had that strapless sticky stuff and wasn't attached to the overlay (nor meant to be). I shifted it around a bit and... I like it! I can wear a nude bra under without the straps really showing, and as I hoped bra seam lines don't show because of the overlay. It is nice and light and it will pack easily. I'm taking it in to the office to put a few keeper stitches in over the Rack, just for my own piece of mind. I'll probably wear it to Convolution in a few weeks.

Split neck tropical floral print dress

I ordered this one custom sized with added short sleeves and skirt to the knee. This one is darn near perfect. The zipper up the front actually works, although why I would need it? The fit is good. The fabric is thick enough to hide most bras, and I like the box pleated skirt. The one down side is that the fabric is super wrinkly ~ ironing in my future. I'm pleased I opted for the short sleeves because any longer it would be too much solid black on top. The colors will work really well with my accessory collection and the neckline isn't too low. This one is a real winner. I can't wait to wear it. But I need the right occasion. Tiki bar here I come! I may wear it on tour this November even though it's winter on the East Coast because it's that cute.

Laser cut illusion sheath dress

I got this one custom sized with cap-sleeves added, the skirt to below knee length and pockets removed.

The fit is a tad loose but still good enough. Luckily this dress has the under layer is sewn to the over-layer in the Rack area. Bra straps are not visible enough to worry me, and as I hoped bra seam lines don't show. I think I maybe should have gone for a knee length skirt, but despite that I really love it. It is super light weight (like a slip) and looks like it will pack like a dream. Unfortunately, the white underskirt is sewn in at the side seams or I would shorten just the underskirt for a slightly altered look. Still may do that at some point. Otherwise I am super pleased with this one too. It's not very retro, I was hoping for a early 60's mod thing. It might lean that way with the right accessories, but I'm OK with some modern stuff in my wardrobe. I know, shocking!

Side button wool blend dress in black/off-white

I got this one custom sized with short sleeves added.

Sadly this is the one I have to return. The fabric is not wool but it is really thick and very scratchy. The dress isn't lined and with the weight of the fabric I just know I'll be miserable. So this one I will be sending back, lesson learned: even wool-like isn't going to work for me. Glad I didn't get that plaid one as well. Frankly, this was the one I needed least so...

All in all I am pretty happy with this round, and like I say it's now time to stop.

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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

More eShakti & A Warning


First, I must tell you something important I only recently learned. There is also an import tax on clothing purchased via this website. After my various purchases before my trip, I was startled to find, upon my return, a Tariff for $40 on top of everything else. So please keep that in mind if you buy from them and are on a tight budget.

More Shopping

Anyway, I returned to find that the store has added new things for fall. There is a lot of forest green (which I love) but I had hoped for other autumnal colors. All in all there is much less selection than when I first visited the site which leads me to think that their biggest selection is probably for Spring and early Summer. Never the less here are a few I covet right now:

Chambray linear print sheath dress

You can add sleeves on to it. It's basically a  wiggle dress with a perfect cut for a curvy figure (front pleats may even work with a corset) and vertical, not horizontal, lines in a pattern that will disguise bra seams. So why didn't I buy it? I have a LOT of patterned blue dresses in my wardrobe already, it just doesn't work for my needs right now. Sigh.

Ruffle front wool blend plaid dress

I do love plaid. And this just looks like it would be so flattering, disguising all ones sins in all the right way. Unfortunately the description says the fabric is actually wool blend and even lined I'll probably turn into one big itch. They have the same dress in a pink and cream cotton check but I already have one very similar so I've given this style up. Still, so flattering.

You can get this one with sleeves too, and I do love emerald green. I have green eyes (I know, who knew under the glasses?) so I like to think green is one of my colors. Also I've been trying to add more swing skirted cocktail dresses to my collection, given that they can pair with flats or heels. Why didn't I buy it? I'm not confident that the neckline is flattering on my chest and even with the overlay I would worry about bra straps showing. Also that cut wouldn't work over my corset so...

"Except to ladies whose chief delight is in seeing things connected with dress, to go shopping with a stranger is usually very tiresome."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

So what did I use my return credit a coupons to order?

Why did I choose these? I think every girl should have the courage to add Hawaiian print to her wardrobe, just once. (Although I'm not sure about dudes.) This seemed one of the nicest ways to introduce it. It has a black background, green, pink, and cream, all colors I can accessorize well. And now 'll be prepared to honor Jay, or visit the Locus awards, or go to Hawaii ~ as needed. As for the second: I bypassed this laser-cut turquoise color-block twice already but I kept thinking about it. It's a good match to my next book cover, it was on sale, so I just decided to give it a try. Yes it has many of the problems of the emerald cocktail number so I am nervous. But I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Both of these are replacement pieces. The black and white check is to replace my much beloved checked suit. I really love the style of it, although I probably don't need this dress at all. I hope it packs OK. Although the title says wool the fabric description does not, so fingers crossed that it isn't wool. If it makes me itch, I will have to return it. The pink is to replace a peach sheath. I think this one will be much more versatile. The color will work better on my complexion and the lace overlay makes it much easier to wear foundation garments than my previous peach number.

Yes I did customize them all, but you'll have to wait to see what I chose to do. I know, I know, the tension is killing you! Yes I worried about the bra straps showing on the laser and the pink, but I think the overlay is tick enough on both to hide straps. Because of the bodice color on both, I'll have to wear a nude bra with each anyway.

I am hoping they all pack OK. We will find out as soon as the box arrives, wrinkles do not lie.

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Then & Now ~ Metallic Gowns


Evening Dress  Callot Soeurs, 1910-1914  The Metropolitan Museum of Art


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

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

13 of My Favorite Things Right Now

Well, Fashionable Reader, as I have been engaged in yet another epic copy edit battle I struggle to find things that keep me upbeat and happy. Here are a few of the things I am loving because of the fashion world and my own closet at the moment.

Amazon has way too many of these sun glasses in different colors from $5 - $10. I kind of just want them all. But I picked up this bright read pair and have been totally loving them. Would you continue to speak to me if I also got the pink?
 I got this thick stretchy crepe skirt at the Alameda Vintage Faire a little while ago. (Sad to be missing their next event as I am on book tour.) It may have started life as something else. It has a bit of a slit off each side with makes it one of the few pencil skirts I think looks OK on my body type with flats. Consequently I have been wearing it all summer any time I am not on the bike and have actually bothered to shave my legs.

 I have had these sandals forever (also in leopard). These are CKs Fanya and look deceptively boring, but they are so darn comfortable and super flattering. Each summer I rediscover the joy and basically live in them. I know I just talked about flats, but if I am going to wear heels in heat, it's usually these.I would give good money to have them in pretty much every color.

Pair of earrings gifted to me by one of my glob trotting friends, they just seem to go with everything right now.

I'm not usually one for long necklaces because they bounce around weirdly on the Rack but this one from Target has the knot in the right place. I like to break up the look of a high necked top (necessary to disguise the bra) on an over-sized chest with a necklace. I think it draws attention to the face, lengthening the line of the upper body, or some such rot. Unfortunately it is one of those that gets caught in the little hairs at the back of the neck. Annoying.

The weather is just starting to turn in favor of scarves again, and I have some lovely new ones to wear yet which one do I reach for? This parasol decorated beauty from Clockwork Couture. Sometimes a girl just has to return to her old favorites.

Speaking of which with autumn upon us here are a few things I am looking forward to wearing.

Tights. I love them. I wear them as soon as the California weather will let me.

W&W book tour is all blues, teals, and greens in DC, Boston, and Chicago this November. I'm already starting to  plan my outfits, and explore my wardrobe. This ring is one of those I'm really looking forward to wearing.

This hat is another one. It's a little big for me to pack as a carry on but for the first half of my trip I can bring checked luggage so I am packing lots of shoes and hats I don't ordinarily get to wear.

Speaking of up and coming, in my immediate future are two weddings to attend. Currently my plan is to wear the following to the first one:

I'm going to put a massive poof petticoat under it. Wha ha ha!

"Your dress need not be more showy than you would wear when dining at a private house, particularly if you are a permanent boarder."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

With these flats, or maybe those wedge sandals, but it's outside in a botanical garden so I'm not sure. I need to go find my old, good, faire hat to wear with. My regular cream one isn't nice enough.

"There is no use or beauty in a lady looking older than is necessary, by wearing a short-eared or round-eared cap, set back from her head, and exposing all her cheeks even beyond her ears, with the crease in her chin, and the deep furrows or wrinkles on each side of her neck—all which can be concealed by bringing forward the bow of her cap tabs."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

The second wedding is inside and a bit more conservative so I'm going to wear this:

I haven't worn this dress in ages so I am really looking forward to it. 

Miz Mooz Starla dress pumps (in cream, brown, black, red and green)

With my new cream pumps. This will be their first official outing.

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

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Then & Now ~ Sweetheart Back


Evening Dress  Coco Chanel, 1957  The Metropolitan Museum of Art



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

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fashion From England 2014 ~ Ketchup Squirt

Here, Fashionable Reader, is a collection of stylish images from my recent trip to England. Basically this is one of my Ketchup Squirt Posts, only over here on Retro Rack and not on the Author Blog. I hope you enjoy.

Cupcake Teacup Tiny Hat at 9 Worlds

1870s Dresses on display in Derbyshire

The smallest sewing machine I ever saw, for neck cloths

Self at 9 Worlds (via Twitter)

My Ritual Pilgrimage

The Infamous Real McCoy

"A store is not the place for social intercourse, and you may chance to say something there, that bystanders should not hear."
Real McCoy's display with Parasols & Fans

I bought a lovely new dress from Real McCoy for my upcoming Waistcoats & Weaponry book tour this November, but it's at the cleaners. I'll post a picture when I get it back. Very cute early 1960s teal velvet number with a draped waist to hide all my sins and a rosette. I also used my credit from those returns and some accrued coupons to order 4 more eShakti dresses. More about those when I get them in.

Here's a random fun link for you: An Illustrated Guide To The Galaxy Of Women's Shoes

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

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gail Answers 6 Fashion Blogger Questions

1. What made you want to start your blog?
I love blogging and writing. I spend the majority of my down time looking at fashion blogs and thinking about clothing. I wanted an outlet for that part of my creativity. My author blog is all about the writing business (though still fun) part of my life, this blog was a great way to explore my showmanship side. Also as I wended my way through various fashion street blogs I noticed the women were either ultra skinny fashion industry types or plus size stunners. There was nothing for people like me, average in general, top heavy in particular. I wanted to read a blog that gave me tips on where to shop and how to dress and couldn't find that blog. So I started it myself.

2. Do you have any specific fashion goals for the rest of 2014?
I wanted to find a really stunning teal dress by my November Waistcoats & Weaponry book launch, and I managed to score a velvet beauty while I was in England. I have a short list of items I'm always looking for, like replacement red pumps. But right now I'm actually trying really hard not to buy too much. I hope to have reduction surgery next year, and there's no point in buying lots stuff now that won't fit in the future.

3. Who was your first style icon?
The cast of Cry Baby.

4. What's the one wardrobe essential you can't live without?
The Stylebook fashion app informs me that the things I wear the most are: My black leather day bag, my studded leather motorcycle boots, and my typewriter key earrings. But I'm always willing to shop so nothing is irreplaceable.

5. When you can't think of anything to wear, what's your go-to outfit?
A cute ultra girly retro dress with a motocross jacket and motorcycle boots (for day) or mile high strappy sandals (for evening).

6. Who takes the majority of your photos?
When I’m at events and have a travel companion then she/he does it. If I'm alone at an event, when someone asks to photograph me, I ask them to take a picture with my iPhone for the blog. I always have to remind them to include shoes. If Locus is present, I tap one of the staff. If I'm local, which isn't often, it's the AB.

Above you can see two recent images both with the iPhone: the first taken by a professional press photographer the second is taken by a friend with minimal tech experience.

 Here's one taken by a traveling companion, and a second taken by a random person in the bar.

This last was taken by an ex-professional fashion photographer.

Can you see how several factors are involved in the quality of the photo, not just lighting and outfit? There's also angle and my own comfort level with the photographer to consider.

Anyway, Fashionable Reader, I do hope it goes without saying that if you ever have any questions for me you should please feel free to leave them in the comments. At any time, not just for this post.

And, just in case you like to read it, here's an article and interview in French about my fashion choices. 

Pip pip!


"Should you perceive that the dress of another lady is, by some accident, out of order—for instance, that a hook or a button has become unfastened; or that a string is visibly hanging out; a collar unpinned, and falling off; the corner of a shawl dragging along the floor; a skirt caught up; or a sleeve slipping down, immediately have the kindness to apprize her of it in a low voice, and assist her in repairing the mischance; and, if necessary, leave the room with her for that purpose."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Gail's Gold Hugo Dress in England

Yes, I did buy this gold dress thinking about the Hugo Award ceremony.  What can I say? I am a horribly shallow human being. Besides, where else is a lady author to wear a gold dress?

Gold Dress for Alameda Vintage Fair $30

Gold dress with flower op over (and the lovely Anne)

Hugo Awards outfit

For the Hugo awards themselves I paired with leopard hair bob, black velvet hat, jet tassel jewelry, black beaded cardy, long satin gloves, leopard belt, and leopard sandals.

"The fashion of wearing black silk mittens at breakfast is now obsolete. It was always inconvenient, and neither useful nor ornamental."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

Gold Dresses in Retrospect

1858-1859  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1880 Wedding Dress  1880  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1929  Musée Galliera de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

1933 Evening Dress  Jessie Franklin Turner,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1949 Pactole  Christian Dior, 1949  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1958 Evening Set  Traina-Norell, 1958  The Museum at FIT

Modern Perspectives on Gold Dresses

2014  S/S Christian Siriano

2014 Josie Natori

2014 Valentin Yudashkin

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