Thursday, May 3, 2012

Gail Carriger in Europe: Travel, Packing, Outfits, Events

I think, Fashionable Reader, I may finally be over my jet lag. I know, I'm tempting fate with that statement. I'm still taking it as a sign that I should put my wild trek through Europe behind me. You know what that means? A wrap up post about the outfits. What else?

I dithered for a while about how to approach this post. Finally I decided it'd be most interesting for you to see what I packed and how I then made up the outfits. I hope this is the correct choice. It does make for a pretty long blog post though, please bare with me? (Pun intended.)

I had only one small suitcase so I had to be very judicious in my choices. Here are the event items I packed . . .

 Three basic dresses. As ever when I'm on limited space and time I stuck with black, white, and red; day, transition, evening.

To this I added the top part of the check suit and a two piece red print number I thought could be parsed out easily. I think it's always a good idea to include something that can be used independently as a bottom or a top.

The biggest issue with packing for me is shoes. They add to the weight (which is so restricted these days!) and they are awkward and don't flatten easily. If I hadn't had the two steampunk events I would have left the red pumps behind but the others didn't work with that particular outfit. As it was, I had to pack one pair in my carry on bag.

I took some light weight tops so I could turn the dresses into skirts as needed.

I needed layers because I was going to so many different countries and different climates. Going from warmth to cold and back again is challenging to pack for, and means lugging lots of extra items.

I took the black steampunk blazer because it's just big enough to go over layers of everything else and my 1940's ultra warm red wool sweater. (I'm thinking of changing out the black buttons to red or metal to make the sweater more versatile.) I am allergic to wool, but if I keep it from contact with my skin the warmth is worth the risk.

This was the biggest item for me to carry, my winter coat. So big and so clunky it took up the same amount of packing space as all the rest of my clothing combined. But I can pop it on over everything and suddenly I look elegant. And I like that I stand out when I wear it, amongst everyone else's sea of black. So I took the risk. Strangely enough, I was most grateful on the flight over, it was freezing!

For me, the key to different outfits when traveling is lots of different accessories so that I can shift an outfit with as little added bulk as possible.

My black hat is the only one that really packs well, so I took the two hairbands instead of more hats.

This is a sample of the jewelry I took, since I packed many sparkles I won't show it all to you, because far more interesting, if you ask me, is how it all gets put together. There were also assorted gloves (red, black, white), tights, nylons, and so forth.

Previous outfits already reported on, Eastercon check black and white and the Steampunk outfit for Foyles & Nottingham Waterstones.

London, Booksellers Tea Meet & Greet

This is what one of my outfit lay-outs looks like, I don't wear all of the times at once, only what I have packed and what suits the occasion, weather, and foot blisters. But making these outfit boards reminds me not to forget anything, my memory is worse and worse in my old age. I believe I added some little black and gold steampunk erring to the mix.

Stockholm, Library Reading

You see what I mean about changing out the buttons on the sweater? The black didn't quite work with this outfit.

Budapest, Book Fair

Budapest was warmer than I expected so I shifted to this outfit because the black dress is the coolest I had, paired it with the white and red top.

Budapest, Blogger Meet Up

This outfit is a little bit more street retro than actually vintage. For the blogger event I substituted cream nylons to keep it as old fashioned as possible.

I'm very into turquoise these days. Getting in touch with my old 80s love of the Southwest, I suppose. This shirt is one I bought from a thrift store and then tailored down to fit my waist which gave it more of a peplum look. I liked it so much on the trip I'm thinking I will integrate it more into my everyday wardrobe this spring.

Barcelona, Book Fair

I thought the black dress with the flower details felt very Spanish so I just popped that on with a black jacket. I felt guilty for so much black, you know me, I try to avoid that, but this was nearing the end of my trip and I admit it, I copped out. I was pretty cold, who knew Barcelona could be cold this time of year?

Lastly here are a few street retro looks I styled for daily wear, out and about on my own. Because I had no traveling companion I don't have photos of me actually in the outfits, but I thought you mite like to see how the retro things I packed were made a little more modern.

I wore the boots on the plane (along with skinny black slacks and a loose jersey shirt). If there is any chance of rain, I always travel in flat riding boots. They are more versatile. I also always wear gloves when traveling, especially on public transport. I'm not paranoid, I swear, but I do believe the gloves keep me from getting sick. Plus my hands are usually cold.

I'm into this pale blush color right now. It's a risk with my complexion so I try to put a pop of bright color nearer to my face like a scarf or the turquoise jewelry.

I think that's enough for now, don't you?

Pip pip!

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

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