Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mesa Arizona in Red Check at LepreCon ~ Gail Fail


This was my least favorite outfit at LepreCon, but I am posting it for you to see anyway. See how honest I am, Fashionable Reader? I even show you my mistakes.


I still love this jumper but with the blazer open like that it's super frumpy and shapeless. I swear, I have a waist! Look, see?

In 2012 at SDCC ~ only 2 years ago

Amazing what a difference two years and one jacket can make, no?

The outfit possibilities.

"Still, it is bad taste to go to the dinner-table in ungenteel and unbecoming habiliments—such as a figured or party-coloured mousseline-de-laine, a thing which always has the effect of calico, and, like calico, gives an unlady-like look even to the most decided lady. In fact, what is it but woollen calico? And if it is accompanied by a very thin, flimsy collar, so small and narrow as to be scarcely visible, the neck and face will look dingy and ill-coloured for want of sufficient white to relieve it. No collar at all, but merely a coloured silk handkerchief, or a coloured dress, coming immediately against the neck, is disfiguring to all women, and men too."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

Packing

Despite my dislike of this outfit, I still love gingham, read and white, and even drop waists, when fitted properly.



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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mesa Arizona in a Blue Dress at LepreCon


I wore this dress for the book release of Curtsies & Conspiracies, with black accessories (as that was winter). It cost me $10 at a Vintage fair and it's great. Pleated skirt. Travels well. Very light weight. Although, it does suffer the blousing problem.


I paired it with a wide cream belt to give myself some shape, Sofft sandals, vintage cram bag, vintage gloves, multi-strand fake pearl necklace, and my favorite leather flower hairband (I wish I could find more of these, it's one of the few that doesn't give me a headache). Vintage cream jacket over the top.


I don't have much to add on this outfit. You can see I've invested in one of the pen necklaces in silver as well as gold. I love the gold one so much I decided I needed two, one for every possible occasion.

"It is ungenteel to go to the breakfast-table in any costume approaching to full dress."
~ 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.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Then & Now ~ Black Silver Overlay


Then


Evening Dress  Jean-Philippe Worth, 1906-1908  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Now


via artschoolglasses tumblr Monique Lhuillier, Pre-Fall 2013

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

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mesa Arizona in a Pink Gown at LepreCon


 For LepreCon I also took a newer acquisition of mine, this sort of 1930's gausy bright pink maxi dress I got at the BCBG outlet store last year.


Because this dress is bloused and filmy it isn't the most flattering gown on my figure ~ tailored is always better on me. But I have an odd love of this gown despite that. I didn't wear pink at all until my 30's and now I dive into it rather enthusiastically.

"...have little to say to a woman who is travelling without a companion, and whose face is painted, who wears a profusion of long curls about her neck, who has a meretricious expression of eye, and who is over-dressed."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)



In order to give me some kind of figure, I paired it with a wide belt to cinch in as much as possible. (I swear, I have a waist!) I don't have a lippy to match, so I went with a dark wine color.


I wore it with white gloves, my shell fan earrings, and a bow hairband. Two misses, I'm afraid. The shell earrings are much heavier than I like which means I can really only wear them for evenings (read: shorter lengths of time). The bow hairband is too tight. I'm trying to stretch it out right now but I think I'm going to have to either deconstruct it or replace it. It was a super cheapy from Ross anyway.

 The up side of a maxi dress is I feel I can sneak in flats for the day. With this dress I wore my newest acquisition (shoe-wise) a pair of blush pink flats. They are Mia's Nomads and I spotted the in black patent at Nordstrom Rack, then went and found them online in a color I actually needed for my wardrobe. The blush is so close to nude as to basically be a neutral which makes them pretty darn serviceable.


They come in 7 different colors (not cream, which was what I really needed) and I must say I am tempted to get them in a few other shades (blue snakeskin, squee!) but I have to be good. They fit my foot well, not to high int he back, slip off for TSA, and are comfortable. Plus, I love a pointed flat with a bit of detail and interest.

Two more outfits to report on! I'll be back soon.

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

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mesa, AZ in Striped Seersucker at LepreCon


I love seersucker, Fashionable Reader. It used to be hugely popular but seems to have fallen off as a fabric these days (except for some menswear suiting and nautical inspired sportswear). As a result, when I come across a piece for women it's almost always vintage and it intrinsically comes off as vintage because of the fabric.

Tennis Dress  1885  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
 This is the kind of thing that would have been made of seersucker in the past.

Why do I like seersucker so much? Well the fabric itself is already wrinkled so it packs and travels beautifully. Because it's cotton it's nice and light and yet it's not so thin that I can't wear full foundation garments underneath. These days foundation garments and their viability concerns me a great deal, possibly more than it should.

with Melody via Melody's FB
This dress is fun, if tight across the rack. I had to add several hooks and eyes to keep it from popping open. It's grey striped white seersucker and has an asymmetrical thing going, and only one pocket, weird but kinda funky.


While I was in Mesa, AZ at LepreCon I caught some of those cable TV bride shows. (Follow me here, I'll get to the point.) They always seem to be on Fridays and I always seem to be dressing for a convention in a hotel room right about then, so I put them on for company. (The only time I watch trash TV is in hotels when I am working or home sick, it's kind of like a reward.) Anyway, I have this obsession with wedding attire. Possibly because, for most women in our era, it's the most they will ever spend on a dress yet often they make exactly the wrong choice for complexion and body. It's a hypnotic train wreck and I can't not watch. Anyway, while I had it on in the background, one young lady opted for a seersucker wedding dress with a blue stripe And it was so so cute!


Because seersucker is stiffer than many fabrics the style really has to be a fitted and not flowy. The one in the TV Show wasn't quite the same as this above, it had a little side bow not buckle, but close enough. Anyway, I was charmed, especially as I was about to don a seersucker dress of my own.


Aside from the asymmetrical thing and the one big button, I love the neckline and sleeve length of this dress. I've considered shortening the hem, an inch or so up would be more flattering on my height, but it's so well made, even at the hem, it'd be more bother than it's worth. It is lovely and cool, although for elegance sake I might consider seeing if I can wear the corset under it. Not in Arizona heat, of course.

 This is what my dress should probably look like...

 Dovima for Mari, 1957 via myvintagevogue tumblr; Vogue Fashion Plate

I never had Dovina's figure not even at my skinniest, so I can't expect to look like her. Kind observers would call my curves generous and, frankly, the rack has recently tipped the scale into ridiculous. Since I'm hoping for a breast reduction next year, I've decided to stop worrying about the darn things and embrace them while I have them. Be prepared for some serious va va voom at the events over the rest of this year as a result.


Outfit as planned, you can see what I chose to wear from the cornucopia. I must say I've developed a love of nude fishnets. They are the best in sandals and not as slippy as regular nylons in terms of the shoe relationship. Must order more. My favorites right now are Capezio Women's Studio Basics Fishnet Seamless Tights in Caramel. I find that dance-wear company nylons tend to last longer.


The shoes are Soffts. I've kind of fallen in love with this brand. I think they are an Aerosoles competitor. Their 7.5 fits me great (I have slightly narrow feet), with the only flaw being a lot of their shoes come up to high over the heel rubbing on the Achilles. These sandals I actually just cut down the leather at that part. It's not even noticeable. I'm keeping an eye on them for cute styles, which is where they fall sort. They tend to be very basic, although these peeps with the flower are cute.

More outfits from Mesa to come!

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Then & Now ~ Mint & Turquoise


Then


Evening Dress  Jean-Philippe Worth, 1900s  The Kyoto Costume Institute

Now


via artschoolglasses tumblr Monique Lhuillier, Pre-Fall 2013

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

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Colorado Springs in a Long Black Skirt at Pikes Peak


I didn't realize there was going to be a fancy dress dinner, make that two, at Pikes Peak Writers Conference until a few days before I left. Accordingly, I simply threw into my bag that skirt. You know that skirt? It's the one that always looks good. It's body con yet flows. I can wear with flats or heals. It's stretchy enough to be forgiving on the bad days. It always makes me feel elegant. It packs without wrinkling.

Every girl should have that skirt.


I don't wear mine all that often because it is overly elegant and a little Goth. But it is still that skirt, and frankly, sometimes it is nice not to have to think too much about an outfit. I can relax into know the lower half of my body is entirely taken care of. I'm wearing it with two tunic-cut shirts because I intended to wear a corset underneath. However, the altitude at Colorado Springs got to me so I elected not to corset on the first night with the burgundy. I am wearing it on the second night though. (Can you see the difference?) I got my that skirt very cheap off Haight Street because the waistband needed repairs (easy ones, as it turned out).

To make it steampunky for the Friday Night theme I paired it with a BCBG silk burgundy wrap shirt, cashmere mitties with black beading, a little steampunk hat with a big feather out the back (not visible), and a beautiful jewelry set (earrings and necklace) with octopus detail made for me by a fan.

Gail & Kristin

Saturday night I wore it with a lace blouse ($20 from T.J.Max), my new multi-strand pearl necklace, my favorite vintage lace evening hat, and long back gloves. Here is an image that inspired this look...

1904 Gimbel Brothers day dress ca. 1904  From the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Both times I donned this skirt I paired it with flats. I recently discovered footrollupz.


I bought these black ones and I am thinking about ordering them in other colors as well. They have enough padding, which my previous roll flats didn't (solemates). Not enough to walk for miles, but enough to give me a break from heels as I wander back to the hotel after a bar con. Plus: what's the thing Gail loves more than anything these days? They pack super small and light.

numanbaba Tumblr  The End of the Evening, William Breakspeare

"In dressing for a hotel dinner, it is not well to adopt a full evening costume, and to appear as if attired for a ball; for instance, with a coloured velvet gown; or one of a splendid brocade; or a transparent gauze material over a satin; or with short sleeves and bare neck in cold weather; or with flowers or jewels in the hair. Such costumes should be reserved for evening parties."
~ 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.