Monday, April 29, 2013

Gail Carriger Teal in Santa Clara ~ Nova Albion Steampunk Convention Outfit Day 1, 2013

 For the first evening of Nova Albion I had intended to wear my Fancy outfit, but certain shoe-related issues meant that I swapped it for the teal, and bumped the fancy to Sunday. Shoes, as I am sure you are well aware Fashionable Reader, will do that to one's careful plans.

 Full teal outfit showing boot; and what's under the jacket

 My teal outfit is one of the few that I did not completely cobble together or make myself. The jacket and skirt were bought ready made. I know I know, shocking. I did order the jacket in a large and have it professionally tailored to meet the demands of the Rack. The satin teal jacket and draped bustle skirt are from Donna at Clockwork Couture. For those of you who don't know, Donna is the amazing proprietress of that establishment and also my model for the Orbit covers of the Parasol Protectorate series.

 Cover of Changeless & the dress of the same

The cover for Changeless is my favorite color combination of all the Orbit covers, I think. Lucky me the Science Fiction Book Club appears to agree, as they chose the same scheme for my first Omnibus cover as well.

Cover of Omnibus & silly Gail

The traveling gown as I have it is a custom color, but Donna does still have this dress for sale in Navy, Olive Green, Rust, and Wine. I love mine, it's more durable than my self-made steampunk outfits and fully lined. (Yes, I purchased mine in full, and I don't get a kickback for saying nice things, I don't approve of those kinds of shenanigans.) Donna did work with me as I needed a small skirt but a large top. Since each gown is made to order by Clockwork Couture, she is often able to accommodate this kind of thing. I do recommend being very careful with all your measurements, and if in doubt order a size up and pay a little extra to have it professionally tailored after you receive it, particularity if you intend to wear it with a corset.

Speaking of which . . .

Under the jacket

The Underdress: 

As a base, I wear a Max Studio silk chiffon cocktail dress with 1930's caplet detailing that I picked up from an outlet mall years ago and then accidentally shrunk in the wash to an unwearably scandalous length. I like the way the little cape floats over the top and back of my corset.

The Corset:

This Dark Garden corset is a fully customized Pointed Victorian with Straps in pinstripe suiting material with waistcoat points, hidden watch fob pockets, full back, and specialty buttons on the straps. It is amazing to wear, but I do require a bra for the Rack with it. 

The Accessories:

Over the corset busk I am wearing Ruby Blackbird's corset buttons. These are currently out of stock but I will surely let you know when she is in production again. They are a bit dear, but they are basically impossible to find or make yourself easily and in a manor that does not damage the corset. I invested in a several sets from her a few years ago, so that I have some that match all my different corsets. I like them because I think they are the refining touch that makes one's stays go from underwear to outer wear.

The hat is a mini black fedora ordered from a supplier online (here's a super cute similar pin striped one for $8) decorated to within an inch of its life. Those dangling beads are from an old pair of earrings. There are some vintage teal buttons, peacock feathers, and whatnot also in there. It's perhaps a bit messy, and heavy, but I love it.

 With the adorable John (who was mistaken for Lord Akeldama in this outfit)

Necklaces include my black octopus, which is sadly hard to see as the neckline of the dress is too high (I forgot to tug it down before putting on the corset). Similar but even cuter, Sea Devil Black Octopus Necklace $18. (Want more about the octopus jewelry?) I'm also wearing the hair clip and teal watch necklace I got at AnomolyCon at the beginning of April.

A black corduroy pocket belt is about my hips. I usually wear it with the floofy-ier spoon corset outfit. I'm going to have to tailor it in a little, with all the dangling bits-and-bobs it would keep slipping down the satin skirt. You can make your own pocket belt following these step-by-step instructions.

Speaking of dangles, I have the parasol holster and folding tilt parasol with me. And dangling from the belt are also my awesome tea strainer goggles from Brute Force Studios and some spoons and other useful items.

I'm wearing black cashmere Moe Munroe mitties. I talk about her work in this blog post on packing steampunk.

The outfit is finished off with Amelia Miz Mooz boots. I got mine about a decade ago but these boots became so popular you can still buy them online in a wide range of colors: black, brown, camel, green, and red. In my experience, these shoes run true to size, and my foot is average, not wide. (If it helps, I cannot wear Fluvogs because they are always too wide for me.) They are made of a garment leather, which is not too thick, so they conform quickly to the shape of the leg. I like this, but to some buyers  it comes off as inexpensive feeling. I've had mine resoled twice now, and I suggest upping the grade and thickness of the sole when you do, to add a bit of cushion.

And that's the teal outfit!

Something for the Characters

For Sophronia in the Finishing School series...

1854-1856  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Ivy in the Parasol Protectorate series...

 1872 Charles Fredrick Worth  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1905-1910  Les Arts Décoratifs

For Prudence & Alexia after the Parasol Protectorate series has ended (Biffy go hold of them both)...

 1885 Girl’s Dress  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1885-1886 Riding Jacket  The Victoria & Albert Museum

For Rue in the Parasol Protectorate Abroad series...

1895  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

And a gift from her dotting Dama...

1900s  Lang Antiques

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


  1. Parasol holster and folding tilt parasol? Please tell me more about these!

    1. The tilt parasol has many a photo here:
      And a whole DIY on how I made the holster from some cargo shorts is here:

  2. No kick-backs, but my undying love and gratitude for allowing me to provide to your needs, even though my seamstress still is in shocking disbelief of your amazing proportions. <3


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