Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Love Half Length Sleeves from Gail Carriger (Gettign a Retro Look)

I have a real love for half length sleeves, Fashionable Reader. Sadly, they don't seem all the popular in this day an age. I like the ending at the elbow, I think it's super flattering just to show the lower half of the arm. (Apparently so does Joan from Mad Men, or at least her costume designer.)

Dresses in Avisco fabrics by Vicky Vaughns, 1957 via theniftyfifties tumblr

That said, I didn't realize how addicted I had become to this style until I started combing through my wardrobe. Here is a sample in blue.

Shirt dresses.

In purple.

Flowered dresses.

Day dresses.

fashionsfromhistory-tumblr Cocktail Gown Jacques Fath Mid 1950s Kerry Taylor Auctions

Of course, the down side is this style is hard to wear anything over it but a cape.


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, November 17, 2015

All Finished Young Ladies Have Chatelaines from Gail Carriger (Finishing School Extra)

One of the tools Sophronia and her friends often wear in my Finishing School series is the chatelaine. This is particularly prevalent in Manners & Mutiny. I used it as a kind of Swiss Army knife for my delightfully deadly young ladies.

Chatelain artemis2apollo-tumblr

edwardian-time-machine-tumblr Silver Chatelaine, 1892

From Wikipedia: A Victorian Lady’s finishing touch—the chatelaine.

A chatelaine is a decorative belt hook or clasp worn at the waist with a series of chains suspended from it. Each chain is mounted with a useful household appendage such as scissors, thimble, watch, key, vinaigrette, household seal, etc.

Chatelaines were worn by many housekeepers in the 19th century and in the 16th century Dutch Republic, where they were typically used as watch chains for the wealthy. Similar jewellery was also worn by Anglo Saxon women, as seen from the burial record, but its function is uncertain. The name chatelaine derives from the French term ch√Ętelaine. 

same source as above
Victorian Chatelaine Silver
Teaspoons etc
Sterling silver Victorian chatelaine

I love looking at these and thinking about what a female spy would carry instead. Poisons or defensive fluids instead of perfume (or as well as) for example...

Perfume bottle

Chatelaine c 1895
Kaatherine Kohrs wore the above ornamental chatelaine at her waist. It provided this young Victorian woman with a penknife, button hook, perfume, and note cards. It was handed down to her granddaughter Patricia Nell Warren, and bears the initials PNW. 

shewhoworshipscarlin-tumblr  Chatelaine with calendar, late 1700s, France.

French fashion doll 1865 carte de bal

CAretDuBal1 - finished Ebay sale

Specifically mentioned in the final Finishing School book, Manners & Mutiny, is the Carte de Bal. Essentially, the Carte de Bal is a Chatelaine specifically designed to go to a dance.

CarteDeBalArtNeauvuChateline ebay sale
same as above
Carte de Bal  1890s  Sotheby’s

 Let's play Spot That Chatelaine...

Lace (via Dennis A. Waters Fine Daguerreotypes)

   (via Standing Women Dressed Alike | Photograph | Wisconsin Historical Society)
c. early 1900s

More on the history of the chatelaine: Show & Tell: A 19th Century Chatelaine

Chatelaine (USA), ca. 1860; silver, gold wash, ivory, enamel, glass. Cooper Hewitt/Smithsonian Institution

In addition to the chatelaine Sophronia utilizes a number of hair ribbons in the final Finishing School book. I found these two quotes to go with...

"High-coloured ribbons, flowered or figured, are decidedly vulgar."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

"Low-priced ribbons, for instance, are generally flimsy, tawdry, of ugly figures, and vulgar colours,—soon fading, and soon "getting into a string."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

November 1856 fashions

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Finishing School: But What Were Bunson's Boys Wearing? with Gail Carriger

Upon the launch of Manners & Mutiny, here's a little glimpse for you, Fashionable Reader, regarding style for men in the 1850's. These are the kind of things that Felix Mersey and the Pistons were wearing.

 Suit  1845-1853  The Victoria & Albert Museum

shewhoworshipscarlin-tumblr Men’s fashion plate, 1891
Men’s fashion plate, 1856 via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

 Cravat  1850  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"I tendered my resignation because I could not see eye to eye with his lordship in his desire to dine in dress trousers, a flannel shirt, and a shooting coat."
~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Stock  1840  The McCord Museum

Stock  1840s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dress Shirt  1850  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Evening Vest  1850-1855  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Vest  1845-1860  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"What absolute rot!"
"Very good, sir."
"Perfectly blithering, my dear man!"
~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Dress Boots  1845  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
 Pocket Watch  1840  Sotheby’s; Pocket Watch  1850  Christie’s

Pocket Watch  1855  Sotheby’s

Memorial Cufflink  1852  Christie’s
"Men didn’t mourn as thoroughly as women did simply because men had things to do.  Their mourning attire was limited to a simple black armband and hatband, and perhaps a piece of memorial jewelry like a ring, watch fob, or cufflinks." from OMG that Dress tumblr

1861 British walking and sporting costume-era_com
 And for Vieve and the sooties:

I often think about the young boy in Cranford.

Image from The Rush Blog.

Daguerreotype portrait of the Norton brothers, c. 1850′s. By Mathew Brady via chubachus-tumblr
Old Photos & Bacon @photosandbacon  Launch of the Great Eastern in 1858, London

And 40 years later? 
1890s man via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

"Oh, Jeeves," I said; "about that check suit."
"Yes, sir?"
"Is it really a frost?"
"A trifle too bizarre, sir, in my opinion."
"But lots of fellows have asked me who my tailor is."
"Doubtless in order to avoid him, sir."
~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

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

quotes Gail likes

Goodreads Quotes