Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gail Carriger in a Seersucker Cream Pencil Dress in San Antonio, WorldCon 2013 Outfit Report: Day 1

The first outfit I wore was also the easiest, and, I thought would be the least well regarded. It's a basic 1950s Nelly Don pencil dress made out of a seersucker cream and grey stripe fabric.

via Christopher Gordon @FlashRPh on Twitter

I've worn it once before to a Houston signing and had some trouble with the front closure At that time. So it went in for repairs and modifications and emerged in time for this event for three reasons:
1. It's seersucker so it travels well without wrinkling. (Seersucker is more commonly seen, these days, in upholstery and the like, but I think it a very underused fabric. It's so durable and chic.)
2. It's a great transition fabric managing to be cool when needed and warm when needed.
3. It's a neutral color so it goes with most accessories.

It proved to be wildly popular, which rather surprised me. For while I love it for all the reasons stated above, I wouldn't call it the best dress in my collection by a long shot. It even won a hall costume award! Which amuses me vastly, because while I might not go all out with makeup and matched accessories in regular everyday life, I do tend to dress like this on a regular basis. 

I wore this dress with cream accessories because I thought in Texas it would harken to the gentile southern belle ideal. The hat and gloves are vintage but the bow belt, bow earrings, pearl necklace and Soft heel sandal shoes are not. I ended up wearing the earrings constantly, they seemed to go with everything. I do love my bows. The bow belt is a new favorite, because it is stretchy I can use it for my waist or my hips, which (with an 11 inch difference) is pretty darn near to a miracle.

via David Wohlreich @wallrike on Twitter

I ended up having to add the cashmere cardy because it was so very cold in some of the panel rooms. I had intended to repeat this dress later on in the event cycle, because I thought no one would be there on Thursday to see it, boy was I wrong! Attendance was way up on the first day of the convention. So many people saw me in it, I ended up re-upping a different look from evening to day, instead.

1946 Striped Long Sleeve Day Dress

While this dress is 1950s, I'm pretty darn certain, it harkens back to various looks from the 1940s. Which, of course, I love. It even has a three inch hem which could let down to a more 40s length, but I like it as it is.

Seersucker is considered a summer fabric and early on in fashion was often used for sportswear. The 1885 tennis gown pictured bellow isn't seersucker but it's the kind of thing that would have been made from seersucker in the past.

Tennis Dress  1885  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
More outfit breakdowns from WorldCon to come. I'm havign so much fun with this, I do hope you are too.

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


  1. "pictured bellow" - that gave me the giggles. Thank you Ms Carriger!

  2. Makes me want to own something in seersucker! I'm not surprised the dress was popular--the little gray stripes are lovely.

  3. Oh how I love thin stripes. You rock this cut and I love your mix of vintage and vintage-inspired accessories. It's always lovely to find things now that are inspired by the outlines of things past.


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