Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole

So I reported recently about the loss of my brown fur stole, it ripped while I was down in Palo Alto.

Since I bought it for about $15 at  Bon Marche Thrift store several years ago and almost never wore it I'm not too upset. Although it was lovely and warm. I'm not certain what bread of fuzzy animal it started out as but whatever it was it died a very long time ago., probably 1950s.

I actually prefer fake fur if I'm buying new, it's easier to clean and maintain, and doesn't shed on everything. Aside from a gift of a proper critter mink, inherited from a friend of my mother's grandmother... I believe this stole was my last piece of real fur.

As you can probubly tell I tend not to get wrapped up (snort) in the fur debate, but I do live in the Bay Area, land of PC for the sake of it, and I don't want to be covered in paint so I don't even wear the fake ones that much. 

 Still, here's an ode to my little fur stole, some modern ways I might have worn it but didn't.

And some vintage fur looks.

1944 Evening Cape  Charles James  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 1955  Norman Norell  The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Fur in Victorian Times 

From Godeys Dec 1872

Something for Ivy

1870  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Something for Felicity

1871 Dolman  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Something for Prudence

1890s  The Goldstein Museum of Design

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gail's Brain ~ Then & Now ~ Schoolboy

A glimpse into Gail's brain.

What I saw:


 What I thought:


Japanese Schoolboy  Rudi Gernreich, 1967  The Indianapolis Museum of Art

That is all.

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo Alto

For my last Etiquette & Espionage event I wore a plaid dress over a blouse with Very Big Sleeves. 

Dress is from Buffalo Exchange on Haight Street for $25, it's not vintage and has a nice bit of stretch to it. It also has pockets at the front, or more correctly one big pouch style pocket. I sewed on the clock buttons to add a little extra interest. Gloves are vintage brown leather, gift. Shoes are by Soft, but they were a dark pink color I had died brown.

This particular outfit has some steampunk notes and since the event was listed as a "Steampunk Reception" I thought I should nod in that direction. Normally, I use this blouse (1970s I think) for my Victorian recreation outfits, but I happened upon the idea of putting it under this pencil dress when watching How to Marry a Millionaire (for the millionth time).

Sorry I don't have a bigger screen shot. How to Marry a Millionaire is one of my favorite fashion movies of all time and I would like to own every outfit that each of the ladies wears. So good. Anyway where was I? Oh yes, plaid with steampunk touches.

You can kind of see the hair band. It's a big brown satin bow I got at Ross for about $4. I sewed a brass octopus to the center and added a little puff of brown feathers out the back. I'm wearing a vintage costume jewelry gold 1920s earring and brooch set, gift from my mother.

Since it was a relatively cool day I paired the dress with a vintage fur wrap.

Sadly the poor wrap ripped during the course of the day so it's gone off to Goodwill. It's pretty near impossible to repair fur and certainly more effort than I have time for. Especially as I've owned this one for three years and only worn it 2x. I picked up this wrap from Bon Marche Thrift Store for $15, so I'm not too upset about the loss. I'll do a little blog to morn its passing shortly.

 1929 Ensemble  Louiseboulanger  The Museum at FIT

However, back to plaid. I've written on a number of occasions about my love affair with this fabric. I think it goes back to my goth roots. It's one of those patterns that bisects both the alternative scene and the tweed toffy country set. Tally ho the nightclub and all that.

It's funny but even though I have a whole lot of plaid already in my wardrobe it's something I gravitate to whenever I am out shopping. Plaid and and color red. I'm powerless to resist.

Hope you all have lovely plaid filled days!
Plaid Punch Sept 1853

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

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi

So, for my two events in the Sacramento area I opted to wear my black maxi dress. This gown is pretty darn fancy, it's the one I wore to the Hugos a few years ago. I chose to wear it because I knew I could sit for hours in the car on the way there and it wouldn't wrinkle into oblivion, and it could go from being steampunk to normal with only a switch of the belt and hat.

So above is a comparison of outfit evolution. A steampunk version with silly hat, corselette, red gloves, and flats and then a retro look with a red velvet jacket, gold sandals, gold gloves, and a shell cocktail hat.

For the steampunk look I utilized bits of my Autumn steampunk outfit. I suspect you are all too familiar with these.

I swapped out hat, belt, and shoes for the Avid reader event. Just goes to show how switching a few accessories can change everything!

 A back view of the hat as I talk wildly with a reader.

 The hat, front.

The hat, side. 

The hat was a Christmas gift from my mum a little while ago. She picked up a whole selection at a silent auction. The label is very difficult to read but it think it says, ├Źnarthe 12, Rue de la Paix, Paris. I have managed to dig up a few similar in museum collections.

 1935  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

 Cocktail Hat  1950s  The Victoria & Albert Museum

 1964  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Flowered version from a still of Mad Men

The dress I bought from Held Over on Haight Street for about $40. I think it's 1970s (because of the fabric), despite the 1930s feel. The last thing I needed was a long black dress but I have a weakness for tears and pussycat bows. This one fits me so beautifully, despite the Rack. Now that I know it works as a steampunk option, I'll probably wear it more frequently.

Being top heavy, I like dresses with the weight on the bottom. Here are a few more for the 1930s.

 1930 Coco Chanel  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1931-1932  Evening Dress  Elsa Schiaparelli The Philadelphia Museum of Art

 1937-1938 Evening Ensemble Coco Chanel The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1930s The Frock

Something for the characters . . .

For Sophronia, perhaps for an infiltration operation. 

1850 Mourning Dress  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Beaded Cap 1850-1875  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

And for Alexia.

1870 Mourning Dress  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

Monday, February 18, 2013

Gail Carriger LA in Navy & White with Red

Well, Fashionable Reader, I am lodged on the couch with a wicked head cold so please forgive that this post is a tad scattered. Anyway, last Sunday I went down to LA for a signing at Mysterious Galaxy in Rhodondo beach.

Hat Bon Marche $15; necklace + earrings Buffalo Exchange $15; belt Target $15; dress from Moon Zoom $30 (1950s-1970s); Miz Mooz shoes $50 (they're old, the new ones I have my eye on are here.)

Since I was flying in and out in one day with the event in the middle I wore my navy and white polka-dot knit. This one doesn't wrinkle in flight. I added red accessories.

Lux De Ville Sin City Patent Vinyl Handbag, 1940s wool sweater (on back of chair) $20 (can't remember where I got it); vintage gloves inherited from my grandmother.

I like navy and white with red, although it is rather flag-like. I've worn this dress before with white accessorizes, on my last tour when I was in Austin.

I can't decide whether I like it with the red or the white better.

While down there I got to play with this amazing parasol.

And my friend who was taking the photos, and knows me too well, spotted these fantastic shoes.

Fluvog it looks like. Aren't they fun?

Left is from Tuppence Ha'penny by Charlotte

Another angle on the hat. I do love it so. That teacup pin a gift from a reader.

And now something for the characters . . .

1903  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Walking Dress Charles Fredrick Worth, 1885  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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