Thursday, August 27, 2015

Gail Carriger in Vintage 1970s Navy Crinoline with Striped Top and a 1960s Marigold Cocktail Dress

So, Fashionable Reader...

On the second day of WorldCon, your Gail brings to you, one striped top, one navy skirt, and a marigold dress with leopard access-or-ies!

The top is a navy and white striped sailor top which I think is from the 1970s. I paid about $15 for it. I prefer my stripes vertical, if at all. The skirt is from eShakti (similar $11). I mostly use it as an underskirt and I don't love it. I wanted it in black, but it is the right length and look so it's working right now. It's no longer for sale. Again, I am carrying my new bag (Charming Charlie Everyday Bag-in-bag $30), and I paired it with vintage navy gloves (similar $14), steampunk earrings (similar $6, I bought at a convention a few years ago), a brown cardigan ($20 thrifted, although I do love this cute knitted shrug $14). My hair was misbehaving so I put it up in a scarf and did not wear either of the two straw hats that I had packed. I'm wearing my flats because my feet hurt.

Not sure I really dig this outfit, it didn't feel entirely me. Although I'm getting into Navy which I always have avoided. 

That night I wore my marigold dress, which hasn't been out and about in years. It's my favorite cocktail dress but I must face the fact that it just doesn't fit 'em like it used to.

I paired it with my leopard accessories. Those are Calvin Klein wedge sandals from ages ago, I likely paid about $60 for them (these are the ones I would buy now to replace them, if they needed it). That's a studded knuckle clutch from TJ Maxx (similar on Amazon for $25) although what I am carrying is a leopard wine carrier $18. Don't flinch; it works great and it keeps stuff cold in transit. I use it for my lunches on the go, and I like how multipurpose it is, how light, how easy to pack, and the size so I might get another one), leopard gloves from Ross (similar $12), leopard hair clip (similar $10)  and a jet jewelry set from Dark Garden at the Dickens Fair (I love tassel necklaces, here's one like it for $18).

Sautoir  Van Cleef & Arpels, 1927  Sotheby’s

Now on to the dress.

Yes, I love this dress but it just isn't fitting right anymore. The shoulders keep falling off, even with keepers. It no longer looks quite right from the back. As I age I'm redistributing my fat, and yes, putting on a bit as well. I'm not begging for compliments or whatnot, I know what I look like and how much I weigh. I'm not upset with myself. I just want to dress what I got correctly, and show off what I should. I'm not sure this dress does that right anymore.

What it looked like about 5 years ago. From a professional photo shoot I did with Vanessa Applegate. Look how long my hair was. Crazy. I was practicing vintage poses.

Plus it wrinkles like a mofu if you sit in it for any length of time.

Anyway, I'm not sure I'm ready to entirely retire it, but I am giving it the jaundiced eye.

In other news, on the advise of a young lady at WorldCon, I'll be trying a new face powder for my next event. I'll let you know how it works & photographs.

It's Besame Cosmetics Brightening Violet Powder, and I had a gift card to Sephora from family, so I figured I'd give it a try. Right now I use MAC (Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation - N3) over a smoothing serum (Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum). It gives good coverage, but my skin hates MAC. I'd love to switch to my preferred daily tinted SPF moisturizer (Aveda Inner Light Mineral Tinted Moisture Spf 15 02 Beechwood) with the new powder over if it works for a good vintage look.

More to come on that soon...

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

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gail Carriger in Vintage 1950s Brown Gingham Pincil Dreass and Retro Royal Blue, New Rack REVEALED

So, here we go, what you have all been waiting for, the great reveal...

The new figure!

I know I know, kinda anti-climactic. It doesn't look that different, but trust me, it is and it certainly feels different. All light and airy and stuff.

The last time I wore this was 2013 in Epinal, France so here's a bit of a comparison. Not the same pose but...

So... WorldCon, Spokane

Amazon has the Darice Protect and Store Organizer, 12inch square for $9

Discovered this great new way to pack hats. It's a craft box from Beverly's cost me $7 (JoAnns has it for $5). Worked great and is very light so adds next to nothing to the suitcase. Lid is wider than base to I'd pack it flipped. Of course, I bought it for the two big hats and then never ended up wearing them. I thought I'd be walking between hotels in the sun, but I ended up using the shuttle and there was no sun... smoke being the reason behind both. But I'm still pretty pleased with the notion and I'll be using it again when I next check luggage (which isn't often, frankly).

Here is another way to pack a bigger even more challenging hat from LifeHacker. The Best Way to Pack a Fancy Hat In a Suitcase So It Doesn't Get Crushed.

Thursday Daytime

Brown gingham pencil dress, vintage 1950s in a medium weight cotton. 

As you can see, I subbed out the peeps for close-toed shoes. Turned out to be a not great decision as the inside leather on these brown pump double-strap MJs is disintegrating so they need liners. But I did get lots of compliments on them. Also I switched hats.

That hat is a tan buckram fascinator ($15 comes in three other colors) and the shoe clips are fluffy chiffon flowers ($13 comes in so man colors!). They can be clipped other places as well, like the neckline or whatever, but these just live on my pumps as the pumps were always a bit plane for my taste. I finished the look with my new bag(Charming Charlie Everyday Bag-in-bag $30), necklace watch (similar $6), steampunk earrings and brown leather gloves (both gifts).

Thursday Evening

Blue silk dress, stacked pearl necklace, pearl drop earrings, and gold accessories.

I adore this necklace, even though it laps the collar of the dress. That's not uncommon in similar vintage looks.
Queen Margherita of Italy via antique-royals

The flower is from Amazon ($8 and looks it), necklace I picked up at a vintage fair, gloves are modern (similar), as are the gold sandals (no longer available). Of course I am also wearing my obligatory pen necklace ($20).

Much more to come!

P.S. If you like my style and you are curvy like me, you have to follow Wendy of justjewels4u, it's my new favorite blog.

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

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions ~ Bags, Scarves, and More (Off to WorldCon)

Here, Fashionable Reader, are some new acquisitions added to my collection over the last few months...

Charming Charlie Everyday Bag-in-bag $30

This little bucket bag isn't perfect: it doesn't have a good top closure but it's exactly the right size, and stays firmly upright. It also is the two tones brown AND tan I've been looking for. Plus it has a vintage-enough look for me. I already own a little vintage brown crocodile bag that is very cute and garners lots of compliments but it is not practical. It has some wonderful qualities that I love, like a tan vinyl interior (cleanable and easy to see) but it has a fateful flaw... it's slightly too small for conventions and so darn tipsy.

It's in great condition so it may end up going off in a goodie bag via a Newsletter contest or something. Since, frankly, a bag fits everyone! Because my new bag is both brown and tan I also decided to get rid of an old tan one as this new baby can do most of that ones work. A two for one replacement! Closet goal met.

Found this cute red cardy at T.J. Maxx on super clearance and couldn't resist the fact that it now fits me without a button gap. It's a solid fire-engine color, perfectly matching an old H&M knit top I have and turning that, effectively, into a sweater set. Matched reds, amazing. It's a lighter weight than my 1940's wool one, and the wool is more cherry color.

Speaking of outer wear, I dyed this sage green jacket brown recently.

The sheath dress part of the suit was irreparably ripped last time I wore it. The jacket now fits beautifully, after the reduction. I had no use for a sage colored one, much as I love the color, but I do need a brown one so... I dyed it. Taking this one to WorldCon, too. Yes it needs a good iron (I'll do it in the hotel after I land), but it should be nice looking after that. Although, it's going to be hot, so I might not get a chance to wear it.

I got this $11 silver leather hair clip/pin because it was too lovely for words, I was druggy and not resistant to Amazon's wily ways.

See above on this $15 fascinator. Cute, I love the color, I needed a brown hat thing that wasn't so close to my hair color (it also comes in pink, lavender, and navy). This is coming with me to WorldCon too.

So these $7 100% silk scarves are a new thing for me but I am addicted. I needed them for the surgery (complicated explanation) but they also work for hair covering (when I am too lazy to do it proper) and for that quintessential stewardess meets sexy librarian neck scarf vintage look.

I got this $60 steampunk skirt because it was just too fab. I wanted it to go with my black and grey corset, but now that corset will need adjusting. I didn't have a long skirt to go with that corset and I was planning on making one, or I have been, for about 10 years now. I finally decided that was too long to wait and I should just buy something. I may add some trim and modify this one a bit but it works just as it is. Very sexy yet elegant and a single piece easily packed for conventions.

Hoping to see some of you at WorldCon. Fashion shots to come when I get back, or you can follow me on Instagram, and you will finally get to see the new Rack.

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

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Then & Now ~ Wine Gown


Christian Dior, 1957  The Metropolitan Museum of Art


2014  S_S Atelier Versace

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

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Shoes of Prey ~ Custom Shoe Shopping Experience

So, at the recommendation of a reader, I recently tried Shoes of Prey. They are kind of like the eShakti of the shoe world. There you can custom design (from their selection) and then have them make shoes to your specifications. The cost runs something along the lines of $120-$300 per pair. That's relatively reasonable considering my shoe habit.

I began by ordering flats: these oxford wingtips, to be precise. They came in at about $120.

I found the process of ordering relatively simple. I designed mine with the cap and sides of patent (water resistant) but the upper section leather (for comfort and workability). They give you several pairs of laces so you don't have to use red (that's what I chose, but they sent black as well).

I had to send these back because they were too big around (the laces closed to an overlap). I took photos of the ill-fit and included it with the return. Returns are not free, but cost can be counted toward the next order.

What I liked:

  • Custom fit
  • Custom design
  • Choice in fabric and pattern
  • Interface with company felt fine. They understood my issues and redid the shoe accordingly

What I did not like:

  • Soles ~ only option is a flat nude tread-less dancing style sole. I really don't like this for walking, too slick. I'm going to have to take them in and get them soled over with something more rubber. (For this reason alone I won't be ordering flats from them again.) I might as well get dance shoes instead.
  • Pattern memory ~ they did not store in their system the measurement adjustments I needed for fit (the reason I had to sent the shoes back). This means, if I order from them again, I will likely have the same issue. And have to go through the return process.
  • Heels ~ I don't love the style of heel options for their high heels. There is nothing super vintage. 

Final thoughts...

Frankly, my narrow skinny little feet do fit many Italian-designed shoes. Since I only buy leather, most will break eventually. I just don't know if this site is something I need in my life. I will keep them in mind if there comes a time when I require a very specific color shoe (emerald green, for example, is often hard to find) and might try a pump, but until they get better soles for their flats I'm out. And it is usually flats I am struggling to find.

Addendum, 2 Years Later

I never did learn to love these flats, although I still have them and am still trying t break them in. Out of desperation I also ordered these pumps:

While stunning they had to be sent back once (I ordered same size as flats but they were way too small) and they still don't fit right. They are a little loose and they just aren't comfortable. I wouldn't want to spend more than a few hours in them.

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

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Then & Now ~ Red Dress


Christian Dior, 1956  The Indianapolis Museum of Art


2014  S_S Christian Dior

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

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gail Carriger Talks Post Breast Reduction Surgery Part IV ~ Tailoring

So, Fashionable Reader, here are the dresses that I am going to have to have tailored now that I have a smaller rack.

1960s Teal Velvet

I don't have a whole lot of evening dresses so it's worth it for me to take this baby in. I could probably do it myself. It's vintage, lined, and very well made, though, so I'll take it to a professional. It's all over big now, since it never fit me but in the bust anyway.

eShakti's I Really Need To Fit Again

OK, so need is a relative term. The above two dresses, though, are just wonderful because they are COOL! Not in look (although that too) but in temperature. The laser cut color block may be my most favorite eShakti dress. I love the way it looks, it can be both modern and retro, it packs well and it is very lightweight. The dot is just adorably rockabilly.

This lavender one is prioritized because of that evening attire thing. Since I wear a day dress and then an evening dress at conventions, I am always in need of evening wear. I know, I know, there's that word need again.

eShakti's I Really Want To Fit Again

So these are all day dresses (although the dark navy laser cut could be both). They aren't as vital to my wardrobe. The purple fills a color corner (it's the only purple dress I own). The navy is super cute but not vital. I have a black day dress that fills the same niche, but I'd be sad to see it go. Lastly, there are oddly frequent Hawaiian print themed events in fandom, so I'd likely get some use from the Hawaiian although this puppy might fit me again now:

eShakti's I Like But Don't Need

The cream is of that fabric that just doesn't travel well. I already have a cream dress which works fine instead of this one (although it is modern, pencil cut, lace, and has no sleeves). Still, the cream lace fits beautifully on the smaller rack and zips up the back. In fact, the mere act of typing this may have convinced me to put the cream day dress in the discard pile.

The blue pattern was a whimsy purchase and I kept it because of the durability of the fabric and the fact that the fit was so spectacular. But it doesn't fill a niche in my wardrobe, so it might not be worth it (or even possible, given the cut) to get it tailored.

I do have a tailor I love, who has done some zipper replacements for me, but I don't know if they will be able to handle these dresses. To remake the chest area requires a certain level of skill and measuring I'm not certain they are up for. Plus cost could be prohibitive. I'm not paying more than the dress is worth to have it taken in. I'm not a loss leader type, yes I put money into buying these originally, that doesn't mean I need to thrown money after them if I won't get full use out of them int he future.

Right now my plan is to wait another six months or so, then take in something like the dotty that I love and think would be a good test of their skill but not be devastated if they messed up, and go from there.

I promise I will let you know how it goes.

~ Miss Gail

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

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.