Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Then & Now ~ Black Lace Overlay

Then

Evening Dress  Madeleine Vionnet, 1935  The Victoria & Albert Museum

 Now

2013 S/S Alannah Dress at darlingclothes.com

Matched Merch


Team Soap

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, December 15, 2016

Then & Now ~ Black Layered Dress

Then

Mourning Dress  1870  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 Almost Now

1952 Christian Dior  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Matched Merch


I'd Rather Be Wearing Steampunk

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, December 8, 2016

1940s Air Hostess Uniforms


There was a great display (at the International Terminal of SFO before we left for Singapore) on airline uniforms through the ages. I was particularly taken with this one:


It's the 1939 uniform for United Airlines. Isn't it adorable?

With Parasols! And look at the shoes!

Although, that said, I got mighty addlepated over the current Singapore Air hostess uniforms, because OH MY GOD. I nearly bought one for myself (you can in Little India) and then realized I am not an incredibly stunning Asian woman and it would look ridiculous on me.

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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Then & Now ~ Draped Red Gown

Then

1970s Madame Grès, The Philadelphia Museum of Art

 Now

2014 Catherine Malandrino

Matched Merch



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, December 1, 2016

Singapore Catch Up: 1880s Australian Lady, Fans, Parasols, and More


A few more Retro Rack things I encountered in Singapore:

At the National Gallery Artists and Empire exhibit:



Reading an article on the plane, this adorable thing:


Found a wall of fans for Spohronia in Singapore's Chinatown:


And a beautiful collection of parasols:


I also learned a lot about historical dress in Singapore, but I'm saving that in case I decide to put it in an upcoming book.




Wear it well, Fashionable Reader.

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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Singapore Cosplay: Alexia & Ivy On The Equator


Amazingly enough, at the Singapore Writers Festival two fantastic young ladies came dressed as Alexia & Ivy!

Gail Ivy Alexia Festival

Isn't that the coolest? LOOK AT THE HATS!

Although, not that cool in the literal sense of the word because it's like the surface of a very damp sun in Singapore (or feels that way to me). It's humid, and 1 degree off the equator, and they are wearing full coverage Victorian gowns!

By SG Yung

I saw them again the next day, in street wear and regular steampunk, and they re-introduced themselves to me as Alexia and Ivy. How adorable is that? (There were Irregular Choice shoes involved as well.)

By Sg Yung


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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

All About Trumpet (AKA Mermaid Meets Pencil) Skirts


So I have been into the trumpet/mermaid skirt recently, Fashionable Reader. Why? Because I liked the red outfit I wore at Gaslight Gathering so much. I figured it might behoove me to have more of this style skirt for away steampunk conventions. They go well with corsets and pack small.

Let the shopping trials commence.

Before we start, FYI: I'm a size 6.

First up, here is the one I have:


This one is listed as: The Power Broker- 30s Vintage Style Retro Double Button Skirt - USA Stock! in Small/Red and it is $30. The material is stretchy and relatively thick, I really love it. The buttons are sewn on well, there is a little black lace round the bottom and a back zipper. It also comes in black.


Because it would work with my accessorizes I went ahead and ordered (what I thought was) the same skirt in teal. However, this one is listed as VfEmage Women's Elegant High Waist Party Work Mermaid Bodycon Pencil Midi Skirt 120 BLU S 4/6 (size no longer available) for $24. Now this is listed as blue, it is absolutely teal. The Small 4/6 was way too small for me. Also the material was a great deal thinner (which gives nice movement), the zipper didn't go down as far, and the buttons not as well sewn on as my red version. Despite all of this I would have ordered the next size up but it's not offered.

Returned it.


I ordered the Partiss Women's Vintage High Waist Wear to Work Bodycon Mermaid Pencil Skirt $28 in Medium instead. It's a Chinese manufacture which means I can't make returns (it says you can but it's usually too expensive) so it's a risk, particularly on color. But the same skirt comes in white, and so if it works I have more future options. So I decided to take the risk.

It arrived in reasonable time. It's more blue than pictured, on the turquoise end of teal. The fabric is a soft cotton blend, slightly ribbed body-con. It's a tiny bit loose on me, but because of the fabric (which shows all sins) I don't mind that, although not sure how it will work with a corset. It's not nearly so flow-y as pictured above, looking a bit more like the skirt below with obvious hem seam. It's mid-calf (a bit longer then I like). It'll work for now, but it isn't nice enough for me to buy the white version.

I don't think it's worth the $28 price tag.


Next I ordered this Women's Vintage High Waist Wear to Work Skirts Wine Small $17. It's fine, fits well and very plain. I wanted something without black trim/buttons so I could wear it with my fancy corset. Unfortunately, it's better for the Spoon corset than the Fancy, which to say the color is more burgundy than raspberry (on the brown end rather than the pink end of the wine spectrum). It'll do for now and I'll keep an eye open for a pinker more special option going forward as I thrift hunt.

So there it is: one highly recommended, one difficult to deal with and lukewarm, and one recommended with reservations. 

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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Then & Now ~ Red Dress

Then

1950s Emma Domb  Timeless Vixen Vintage

 Now

2014 Martin Grant

Matched Merch



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 3, 2016

Gaslight Gathering, Meeting The Tunstells


A little shout out to a pretty fab cosplay: the Tunstells!


Tunstell's plaid pants! Ivy's crazy hat, you can't see but there is a very autocratic bird on the top of it and much more!


Bonus: if seen in direct sunlight will sear your retinas.


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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Become Madame Lefoux Yourself, Cosplay Give Away!


Hello, my dear Fashionable Readers!

It's Giveaway Time!


So at one point I myself dressed up as my own character, Madame Lefoux. In honor of the release of Romancing the Inventor I'm giving away the outfit that I wore!

It's a size 4-6. Definitely the smaller end of 6. So if you aren't around that size (or want to give it to someone who is) please don't play along. I'm sorry, I know, but it's what I have.

So what can you win?



I'm giving away:
  • 1930s grey wool blend women's riding suit. It has a long, 3-pocket jacket, and tight, high-wasted, jodhpur-style trousers with reinforced inner knee area. I am 5"7' and the pants are quite short on me (by design). I mention this so shorter ladies realized they would not have to tailor them. (People who might want to enter so they can resell, you should be warned that this suit has some damage that will drastically reduce resale value. So, uh, don't bother? Please leave if for my fans who really want to cosplay.)
  • Tan stripped pussycat bow blouse.
  • The boots, gloves, and vest are not included.


The suit has been repaired in several areas due to moth holes (that's the reason it became a costume piece). Here's one similar from a museum collection.

Riding habit, 1920-30 via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

 Not pictured but included are:
  • Pocket square
  • A signed copy of Romancing the Inventor
  • Signed wrap cover art of Heartless
  • Brian Kesinger octopus training books
  • Small paper parasol
  • Madame Lefoux's business card 
  • Steampunk octopus necklace & earrings
  • Assorted Gail Carriger swag 
  • Fake mustaches!

To enter fill in this form here and comment with your favorite scene from Romancing the Inventor, and please join my newsletter, if you aren't already on it.

You have until November 30!



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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

What did Gail wear at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego? Part 5 Fancy!


My last day at Gaslight Gathering I had one outfit planned to go with this corset which turned out not to work out. It was to go over a vintage dress that ripped asunder. Don't cry, I'll use it as an excuse to whittle down the wardrobe. Never a bad thing. So instead I wore my Fancy corset with this...


This is my other Alyscia Dark Garden corset. You can see it's different, there's princess cross over straps (I should have gotten a photo of the back). I gave this fabric to Autumn to use. That's how I have excess for the reticule, hat, and the shawl. Yes I made those three items. I can't remember where I got the fabric, but I know it was a pain to work with. It had to be fused. I love patterned fabric that has a geometric or Deco feel. I tend to go for that (where possible) over something like paisley or brocade. I had this corset made specifically with an eye toward evening fancy events, like the opera. It has a satin iridescent skirt to match, and a bustled overstrict for steampunk, but neither travel well. (At the time I was dating an opera singer.) I'll look into a wine pencil skirt for this in future, for ease of travel.

Here, I'm wearing it with the underskirt of the cream outfit from the night before. Which really DOESN'T travel, the crinoline got all squished and refused to obey me for the whole con. Won't to that again!


The choker was a gift from a fan, the longer necklace and earrings were purchased from the Dickens Fair years ago, and all the other accessories are custom except the gloves, which you can fine here for $15.

That hat kept falling off, I have to put a better clip on it.

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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What Did Gail Wear At Gaslight Gathering? Part 4 Cream!


For Saturday night's ball I wore my favorite cream outfit. This one doesn't transport easily so I rarely wear it away from home. I'm working on a travel modified version, you'll likely see me in that next year at Steampunk World's Fair.


This corset had to be made over because I used to use it for waist training and, frankly, I've given up on that malarkey. In other words, it was too small. Because Autumn knew I'd be using it for steampunk in the future she improvised a second busk which allowed her to widen it at the front and then she took a little out of the bust (rack reduction, you know?) and wha la! I'm sorry the picture is so bad. I promise to have better in future.


From the top down...
  1. Vintage 1950s lace applique headband, similar $17
  2. Matched pearl necklace and earring set, similar $30 
  3. Shrug, cotton and lace from Newport News years ago, similar knitted multiple colors $17 or lace and pearl small jacket $19
  4. Lace cami, similar $18
  5. Double breasted corset, variation on Dark Garden's Victorian
  6. Corset busk covers from Ruby Blackbird (discontinued)
  7. Brocade skirt, thrifted wedding dress modified by me with a crochet coverlet as trim, similar $80

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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What did Gail wear at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego? Part 3 Spoons!


Saturday of Gaslight Gathering I wore my spoons corset. Because it was warm I didn't use the usually undergarments. And because I had travels I wore it with layered skirts instead of my usually floof.


The above from Jerry was the best picture to capture the complete outfit.

From top to bottom:
  1. Straw doll hat from Michaels that I decorate with a hot glue gun.
  2. Octopus applique necklace with matched earring, gift from a reader. 
  3. Obligatory pen necklace.
  4. Dark Garden Sweetheart Victorian corset that I took to with some serious button and spoons modding. 
  5. Corset busk covers from Ruby Blackbird (discontinued)
  6. Parasol holster, instructions on how to make from a thrifted pair of cargo pants here
  7. Long fish tail maxi skirt, thrifted (similar $20)
  8. Rock Republic layered mini-skirt from Nordstrom Rack (similar $30)
  9. Nomad flats by Mia (discontinued) one pair in 6.5 or you can search etsy, $30


I ran into my very first Prudence cosplay from the lovely Debbie!



And, the Tunstells tracked me down! I do so adore seeing my characters come to life!


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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Spot That Outfit in Imprudence Answer!


So a little while ago I blogged about Rue wearing the following outfit in Imprudence. I asked you, Fashionable Reader, to tell me which chapter in order to win a special goodie box (winner was randomly chosen from all correct answers). The winner, Michelle, has been notified and confirmed her address so her box is in the mail.

The answer?

Rue wears this outfit in Chapter 10: Egypt


1890s  Nordiska Museet

Cutwork Leather Boots, ca. 1890 via Chicago History Museum

Aren't you made for these boots? I wrote the whole scene around them.

1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Apologies for those who did not win but there will be more contests in future.

I'm purging my costume collection which means I am giving away clothing and...

The next goodie box will be Madame Lefoux themed!


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, October 13, 2016

What did Gail wear at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego? Part 2 Red!


On the Friday night of Gaslight Gathering I pulled out all the stops. This is the first custom corset I ever ordered from Dark Garden, referred to as the Class 5.


Right! So from the top down I am wearing...
  1. A buckrum tiny top hat that I ordered wholesale with a group of friends back in the day, and modded. Similar for $14.
  2. Pen nib earrings. ($12 on etsy)
  3. Colorstay lipstick in Covergirl 507 Ever Red $8 
  4. Custom choker & matched bracers (I'll talk about a bit more along with the corset)
  5. Teacup, saucer, teapot necklace. (wide range available from $8-$30)
  6. Velvet shrug, thrifted. (Similar $28, you can add ruffle if you like)
  7. Corset, Dark Garden custom, similar to the Alexandra (more to come) 
  8. Corset busk covers from Ruby Blackbird (discontinued)
  9. Plain black thin vintage gloves (similar)
  10. Trumpet skirt, red, $30
  11. Button boots from Miz Mooz (similar $200)
  12. Black retro purse (similar $80)

The Corset


My Class 5 is a variation on Dark Garden's Baroque, which they no longer offer, but the Alexandra is very similar. You can tell it's an older style for DG as it's more long and lean and less hourglass. Autumn has taken the store more into the deep curve, shall we say, over the years. It has custom red stamped leather applique which match the bracers and the choker.



I used to work for Oberon Design and custom leather company at the same time as I was working for Dark Garden, this corset is an ode to that part of my life. 20 years ago now! I also have a matched belt and cuff. Because I was one of their managers, both companies made a lot of exceptions for me at the time. These days Oberon doesn't really do much in the clothing arena. Dark Garden, however, is usually happy to do as much custom as you like, couture is their specialty.



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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.