Monday, July 30, 2012

Then & Now ~ Mint


1868  The Victoria & Albert Museum


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

Friday, July 27, 2012

Then & Now ~ Cherries


1898 Evening Dress  Jean-Philippe Worth The Metropolitan Museum of Art


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

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DYI Special Bonus ~ Gail Carriger Makes A Silly Hat out of a Crochet Petit Fours

So when I was in Portland on book tour a little while ago, I had two signings back-to-back in the same location, Fashionable Reader. Don't ask. Some adorable young ladies met me the first night and we got to chatting about knitting and crochet. Well, off they went and the next night returned only to present me with the cutest little crochet petit fours.

Well, I loved them and they made appearances at several tea events as decorative table elements. Then I saw this advertisement:

I was inspired! What else to do with a fiber art petit four but turn it into a hat!

So I took the larger of the two, some button thread, and a hairband I picked up for cheap at Ross and just stitched it on.

I must say that the hat was very much admired at Comic Con and this is my new favorite thing. I have a whole collection of headbands from Ross and my new instinct whenever I see a silly object is . . . can I make a tiny hat out of it? I'm getting very Ivy-ish in my old age in wanting to put everything on my head.

See a silly object? Just ask yourself. What would Ivy do? Forget Tim Gunn's "Make it Work." Make it into a hat!

And then drink tea wearing it, of course!

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

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Four Red Gingham

Gingham always seems to have a bit of a retro feel to me, no matter what you do with it. It says homey country kitchen, apple pie, picnics.

Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,
I've got a wonderful feeling,
Gingham is coming my way.

Sorry, getting a little carried away there. Where was I? Oh yes, gingham. A member of the check family, I believe. Most often seen in black and white, red and white, or blue and white.

But I really came around to gingham when I spotted this adorable tennis dress in a local vintage shop. It was muslin and looked very cool and light, and something that woudl pair with flats. All top concerns for my wardrobe and upcoming Comic Con.

 It was labeled 1970s but I think it might be more late 1960s.

It's actually meant to be tighter and shorter on someone a bit larger than me, but I liked it so much as a more 1920's loose feel (and this way it fit the Rack). I walked away from it the first time and then went back after contemplating it for a couple weeks, luckily it was still waiting for me.

I wore it with cream accessories and cream flats. I made a silly little hat out of a knitted pettit four that a reader gave to me in Portland. (More on that in a separate DIY blog to come.)

As I said, gingham as been around forever. Here's a little retrospective . . .

Before the turn of the century:

 1840-1845  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Next up, silly DIY hat. I leave you with self much appreciating a lovely cup of tea at Comic Con mid day. Small pleasures make all the difference.

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Three Blue & Black

After a day spent in steampunk garb I changed that night for my easy royal blue dress. This is the one I put to the vote for the documentary. It's not vintage but it fits well and with the full skirt it looks good with flats.

With the AB off and about on his own I sadly got very few pictures of this outfit. But i paired it with black and fake white diamond accessories.

I like blue and black as a color combination, I think it's quite classic but with just enough edge. Wine or red with black is so popular in goth culture, that though I love it blue and black feels fresher to me.

To make it ultra modern I like to go for blue leather, or mix it with neutrals.And my retro cut JC Penny printed one is an old favorite. Apart form anything else, it packs great. Although, I am thinking of putting a crinoline under it to make it more poofy.

Something for my characters to wear.

 Something for Sophronia in the Finishing School books . . .

1850-1852  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Something for Alexia in the Parasol Protectorate books . . .

1875  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

And something for Ivy after the Parasol Protectorate books . . .

 1880  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Three Steampunk

Since Saturday was steampunk invasion day at Comic Con I rejected my normal retro attire from something a little more appropriate.

By Rebecca Rowan

I paired my spoons corset with a lighter skirt, vintage raw silk that I'd added a ribbon and ruffle on to. The skirt was a gift.

Over that I added a slip I'd made for a Mina Murray costume.

This slip that was comprised of the top part of a velvet 1930's dress combined with the bottom part of a 1920's dress. Both cannibalized from ripped items I'd been given by my mother's friends. Sometimes it helps to be known as that girl with all the period costumes.

The resulting look with striped tights and a little straw hat was rather cheeky can-can looking and not really my style, but cute and cool enough. As we milled about outside for an hour or more I found myself quite grateful to have the parasol!

I wore basic flats from my days working the Dickens Christmas Fair. These flats with a foam insert have seen me through nine years of four long weekends or more standing on my feet on cement for 8 to ten hours.

I was please to have them as the third day is often the worst. I only though to wear them at the last minute. Of course this outfit woudl have been much cuter with my button high heel boots.

But these flats worked fine and boy were they comfortable.

And the thing I always forget it that most of the time when someone take a photo, they forget the shoes, or are simply too close in a crowd. My partner is good about trying to get the shoes, but that's a rare thing in a photographer I find.

So to this combo of vintage slips, tights, and flats I added my black pocket belt carrier from the spoons and teal outfits. It's the same style and creation as the tan DIY one I blogged about before, made from a pair of cargo shorts.

The color pallet for this particular steampunk outfit is a bit classic goth and somber for my taste.

I prefer less black in my steampunk but the outfit was dictated by necessity and the original one, from the color pallet of the spoon corset itself.

Although, lately I have been thinking about mixing it up for my next steampunk event and pairing this corset with the fancy iridescent's trimmings.

But, I'm getting distracted, back to Saturday's Comic Con steampunk day.

I was certainly not the only lady there dressed in garb. Here, for your pleasure and inspiration, are a number of others in some amazing outfits! Enjoy.

I also got to meet Bruce Boxleitner there to talk about his new Lantern City steampunk project, but that's a story for the author blog, you Fashionable Reader are here for the clothes.

Don't worry, I have plenty of pictures of the gentlemen in steampunk garb as well. I'm prepping a blog post on the subject to run after I'm done with the Comic Con roster.

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

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green

After a day spent in the cream, brown and blue dress, I changed into my black and green i.magnin for the Eisner Awards ceremony.

I paired it with black, as usual, for I still have not found the perfect green shoes, clutch, and gloves.

Proenza Schouler Tiki stingray clutch at

I'm looking, but that emerald green is scarce on the ground. I did, however pick up an adorable feather green and black headpiece at the Alameda Vintage Fair a few months back and with the addition of a broach to one side am rather pleased with the resulting look.

The necklace is hanging woonky, but its a lucite piece I found on my last trip to london at a little fleemarket near St. Charles. I'm not happy with my current earring options to go with so that might have to get added to the list.

 Hair Ornament  Mid-19th century  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Back to the hair feather thingy. Above is a vintage look that kind of had the same feel to me. Almost cabaret, or something.

This black and green dress is a tulip style, which can be flawed as it often adds bulk to the hips. Since I'm top heavy I rather like this feature as I think it balances me out. It's better with heels though.

And for the characters?

Something for Sophronia in the Finishing School series. 

1850-1855 Evening Dress The Metropolitan Museum of Art

And this could be a drawing of her.

Toussaint Fernand-The_Green_Dress

Something for her friend Dimity, who is a bit more flashy and loves velvet.

1855-1857  The Victoria & Albert Museum

That's it for now! Still more Comic Con outfits to come.

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