Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Then & Now ~ Ribbon Gown


Then

Lucien Lelong, 1928  The McCord Museum

Now

2014 altuzarra_fall2014_4_tig

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, May 26, 2016

New Acquisitions ~ Staples, Bras and T-shirts


My dear Fashionable reader, here are a few things I have added to my wardrobe recently...

Black Pussycat Bow Blouse (similar $18)

I found this blouse at Nordstrom Rack and since my previous one had died I added this to my collection. For me it's a staple as I can use it for both regular and steampunk events.

The Power Broker- 30s Vintage Style Retro Double Button Skirt $35
This red trumpet skirt also comes in black (and I found it in blue/teal too). I'm a size 4-6 and I got the small, which fits nicely. It's the same maker that did my grey fishtale steampunk baby, so I was worried it would be too high waisted but this one is perfect. There is just enough detail around the tummy to camouflage a bit, and it will work with both regular and steampunk. I think I may wear it with my Class Five corset to my San Diego steampunk event this year. 

I went to the Alameda Vintage Fashion Fair last month and picked up these leather gloves. The more I wear gloves (which I try to always do for events now) the more I gravitate to leather. It's just way easier to function in. I'm fortunate that I have relatively small hands so I can usually find something that fits. I found two small white pairs, one with tiny bows and the other in a tux style.

And I found these black leather ones. They are lined, which my other ones just like them are not, so these should last better and stay looking nice longer.  

I'm pretty happy with this score although they weren't cheap at $20-$30 a pop. 

Fantasie Women's Lois Underwire Side Support Bra $50

Got this Fantasie bra, which is a style I also had before my surgery. I had it in black and nude, but this time I ordered the red. I have one very low cut red pencil dress that needs a good bra and this seems to be the only one that would work. I ordered it in a 30G which fits fine, although I likely could have done the 30FF. I actually cut out the mesh part to turn it from full coverage into balcony (that's what I did with the previous ones too). 

b.tempt'd by Wacoal Ciao Bella Balconette Bra $38

On the balcony bra hunt I also got this one. I have a Wacoal lace set that this basically goes with, since Wacoal isn't offering it anymore I couldn't simply re-buy the original bra. I got this in a 32DDD which fit fine (first time I've worn a D in a decade). The band is a little lose (I have to wear it on the tightest setting) but this bra is mostly for show, not function, so it doesn't matter all that much. 

 Rosme Women's "Grand" Balconette Bra $21

Buoyed by the success of the 32DDD wacoal, I ordered this bra in the same size. It turned out to be slightly big in the cups (if you would believe) but I kept it anyway (for that time of the month). It's also not as low in the larger cup size as it appears in the photo, but still a pretty bra.

With a great deal of travel coming up (the July book tour is looking to be 8 cities in 10 days) and a t-shirt sale I invested in some more of my own wares. I usually wear t-shirts when flying. I kind of adore how I can pick and choose the color and everything, it really allows me to fit it into my wardrobe.

Team Oxford Comma

I took my own advice and ordered this one in the American Apparel men's small and it fits great.

Oh dear, did I kill that character?

I'd rather be drinking tea

These two I ordered in the standard off brand t-shirt that Zazzle offers, mostly because I wanted specific colors. We shall see how they turn out. 

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.


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 do this blog without sponsors.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Then & Now ~ White Gown With Black Lace Overlay


Then

Afternoon Dress  1867  The Museum at FIT

Now

2013 D&G

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, May 19, 2016

Then & Now ~ Turquoise Pattern

Then

1950s  Timeless Vixen Vintage

 Now

Kate Spade via nymag.com

Matched Merch

Did I kill that character? Author

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, May 17, 2016

Old Corsets and a New Rack ~ Steampunk, Modification, Rack Reduction


So, Fashionable Reader, those who know me well know I am a huge fan of Dark Garden's corsets. Those who know me really well know I worked retail for them at the Dickens Fair for years (many years ago, now) and I was paid in corsetry. 

Thus I have a pretty extensive collection of custom corsets. Half of dozen of which are over the bust, which means, after my Rack Reduction, they no longer fit.

All of these are fully custom. That is, they were done to my exact measurements with special fabrics and added straps and fancy things like that. So they really are art investment pieces worth well over a thousand dollars each.

Corsets on the move in my special waterproof tote bag. Liliput investigating.
 So I took them in for a consult with Autumn (the proprietress of Dark Garden, and a dear friend) about which ones could be modified and how, which ones would be worth salvaging, and so forth.  

Here's what happened...


The White Sweetheart


Sweetheart Victorian in white silk duchess (my main foundation garment for the past few years) originally commissioned for a She-Ra cosplay that I never did. 
Conclusion: The sweetheart is the most cup modified of Autumn's corset designs, like a full bra you are supposed to sit down and be totally encased by cups. Thus this would be very hard to downsize. Plus I've worn it so much it would also need a tune up. So I have put it in the Dark Garden Annual Rummage sale July 17, 2016.

Photo courtesy of Dark Garden

I've ordered an Adelaide to replace it as my main foundation garment for events. I chose a pale peach flowered brocade that's very close to my skin tone as this will be mainly an undergarment. Mine will be strapless and have a slight vintage conical shape to the bra. It will take several months to make and several fittings but I promise to show you when it's done. You may even get a photo of me in it!

The Cream Classic

Classic victorian straight across in a champagne brocade, the second corset I ever ordered custom with extra boning, intended for a tight lace foundation garment for historical reenactments.
Conclusion: This one was too small in the waist (tight lacing is no longer my intent) as well as too big in the bust, but it is modifiable. Autumn is going to put in a second busk set with a different fabric (plain cream satin) so that there is a new 2 inch panel at the front. Hard to describe. I'll let you know more as I do.

The Fancy

Alycia scoop neck with princess straps in custom iridescent fabric with raspberry edging (AKA The Fancy). I had this one designed as a bodice, which is to say not overly tight so it fits great, except for the bust.
Conclusion: Autumn thinks she can take both this one and the Cyber (see below, same design) in at the sides to fit better at the bust. The raspberry straps and neck line will get replaced and there will be a raspberry stripe down the side with new boning casings to hide the place where the corset gets adjusted.

The Class 5

Baroque style (Discontinued) red brocade with black leather and red leather applique from Oberon Design with wide cross back straps (AKA the Class 5). This is the first custom corset I had made and at the time I was working for both Oberon and Dark Garden so I wanted a corset that was a show stopper representing both artists. The Class 5 was the result. 
Conclusion: Thank heavens, no modifications needed! It was made to really push up the Rack (so I haven't worn it to any Steampunk events, as it's a bit risque for public) and as a result the top was small on the old me, so it STILL FITS. Actually now I think it may fit better, because the Rack is a little less on display, shall we say. You'll likely see me in this puppy at the Gaslight Gathering this year.

The Mina

Sweetheart Victorian with batty modification points on the top and bottom, burgundy satin with black lace overlay (AKA the Mina)

Conclusion: I just haven't worn this corset very much, and being a Sweetheart it's pretty impossible to change the bust, so it also has gone into the Dark Garden Annual Rummage sale July 17, 2016. If you happen to be AT ALL my old size (large bust say around a 30H small ribs and waist, say around a size 4-6) this is a steal. It's practically new and quite lovely.

 The Cyber

Sorry, crap photo, but the only one I have.

Another Alycia scoop neck (my favorite style) with contrasting panels of soft grey wool and black satin.

Conclusion: Autumn thinks she can take both this one and the Fancy (see above, same design) in at the sides to fit better at the bust. This one will be easier because it has boning casings and no straps.

Final Tally!

  • Two corsets into the Rumage sale, bye bye babies. 
  • Three corsets in for modification, two adjusted side seams to tightened over the bust, one adjusted and modified a the front to add width. 
  • Two new corsets on order (one custom foundation Adelaide) and one Ready-To-Wear Cupid for my up-coming book tour.

Result: I have blown my clothing budget for the rest of the year... but what a way to go.

A Note on Corset Modification


Dark Garden will only modify their own corsets (frankly it would be quite rude to ask them to fiddle someone else's workmanship, like asking me to edit someone else's book ~ shudder). Re-sizing any high-end corset is a complicated tiresome process, so you will pay a fair price for the artist's time. Even so, as you see above, not all corsets can be modified (up or down).

But wait there's more!


The Dark Garden shop itself is pretty amazing and well worth a visit (321 Linden St. San Francisco, CA 94102 ~ 415.431.7684). Here are some pretties I photographed while wandering about.

Stunning white ready-to-wear sweetheart victorian with blue embroidery.

Selection of ready made corsets on the rack and on display.
A men's corset

Fans for Sophronia
A hat for Alexia
A hat for Ivy

And a hat for Gail!

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, May 12, 2016

The Evolution of the Slip (Petticoat, Undershirt, Underskirt, Chemise, Shift)


I'm sort of a fan of the slip, Fashionable Reader. I'll often wear them under my vintage items and they serve double duty on the road as night gowns. Here is a bit of a retrospective on the lowly slip...

Chemise  1876  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Early on, very early, a full coverage long shirt like this could be called a petticoat (yes, see the source of the word? petti _coat_ ?), underskirt (even if it had a top part over torso), undershirt, chemise or shift. Although as language progressed the chemise meant a finer fabric with lace or embroidery, usually worn under a corset, while shift mean simpler without decoration favored by young girls and peasants.

Slip  1900-1908  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Petticoat  1909-1911  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Underskirt  1910s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chemise  1920s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chemise  1925  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Half Slip  1930-1935  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Slip  1940-1959  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail's Favorite 1950s Slip

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, May 10, 2016

Then & Now ~ Black & White Pattern Dress


Then


Odette Christian Dior, 1953  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Now


2014  S/S Reem Acra

Matched Merch


I'd Rather Be Drinking Tea T-shirt

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.