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Vintage Style In A Modern World

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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.

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole

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.

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole

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. 

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole

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

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole

And some vintage fur looks.

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole


Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole
1944 Evening Cape  Charles James  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole
 1955  Norman Norell  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole
1960s  1stdibs.com


Fur in Victorian Times 


Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole
From Godeys Dec 1872

Something for Ivy

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole
1870  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Something for Felicity

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole
1871 Dolman  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Something for Prudence

Gail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur Stole
1890s  The Goldstein Museum of Design

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

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.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi

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.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi

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

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi

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

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 A back view of the hat as I talk wildly with a reader.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 The hat, front.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
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, Ínarthe 12, Rue de la Paix, Paris. I have managed to dig up a few similar in museum collections.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 1935  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 Cocktail Hat  1950s  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 1964  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
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.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 1930 Coco Chanel  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1931-1932  Evening Dress  Elsa Schiaparelli The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 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. 

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
1850 Mourning Dress  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
Beaded Cap 1850-1875  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

And for Alexia.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
1870 Mourning Dress  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

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.

Gail Carriger LA in Navy & White with Red
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.

Gail Carriger LA in Navy & White with Red
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.

Gail Carriger LA in Navy & White with RedGail Carriger LA in Navy & White with Red

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

Gail Carriger LA in Navy & White with Red

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.

Gail Carriger LA in Navy & White with Red
Fluvog it looks like. Aren't they fun?

Gail Carriger LA in Navy & White with RedGail Carriger LA in Navy & White with Red
Left is from Tuppence Ha'penny by Charlotte

Gail Carriger LA in Navy & White with Red
Another angle on the hat. I do love it so. That teacup pin a gift from a reader.

And now something for the characters . . .


Gail Carriger LA in Navy & White with Red
1903  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger LA in Navy & White with Red
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.

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco

Instead of the Dickens Fair, Fashionable Reader, I managed a quick drop by at Borderlands in San Francisco last weekend. They very kindly came to my rescue. Since I wouldn't actually be visiting Victorian London I elected to decline the planned steampunk cover look in favor of more sensible wear. I opted for purple, cream, and black.

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San FranciscoGail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco

Purple and I have a long and checkered history. I used to hate it. I associated it with the leggings and oversized sweaters my mother wore in the 80s. But now I've come around. I even did my nails to match.

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
My preference is for short, oval shellacs. 

It was raining in the City, so boots were a must. Here's the outfit breakdown:

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco

I use an app called StyleBook to create my outfits. Someday we will talk more about that if you are interested, Fashionable Reader? Anyway, you can see from above that I use it to show all the possible combinations for a given outfit (for example I have three black skirts that work with this top, several different shoes depending on the weather, and different hats to make it more or less fancy).

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
From top down: Hat, Bon Marche Thrift Store, Sonoma, $7; jewelry set Dark Garden Unique Corsetry, Dickens Fair, $25; Madman signing pen, gift from a friend; shirt, Kohls (buttons sewn shut) $10; sweater Kohls, $15; belt Haight Street, $15; skirt Valencia St. thrift store, $7 (buttons added); boots, Miz Mooz, $100; gloves, vintage shop, $10.

That cream hat is quickly becoming one of my favorites. And how excited was I to finally trot out the Kohls sweater? Can you believe something so vintage came from the junior section of a department store, and goes over the Rack, and isn't wool? It reminded me of this set:

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
1955 Sweater Set Christian Dior The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Speaking of wool:

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco

I picked this skirt up super cheep intending mainly to wear it with a corset of mine (hence adding buttons to match) but I find myself really gravitating towards it this winter.

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
Dark Garden Custom Corset c. $1000

Perhaps it's that the shape is very hip right now yet still pleasingly 1940s. Perhaps it's that it seems to fit me really well. It is lined, except the waistband (a fault all to common in wool garments) so I do have to wear an undershirt (or a tucked in shirt) to protect my tummy from the dreaded wool rash but otherwise I love it. Some other ways I'm thinking about wearing it . . .

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San FranciscoGail Carriger Purple & Black In San FranciscoGail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco

I also have an allergy to nickle earrings. Generally this means that I always buy danglings (rather than posts) so I can replace the hooks with silver or gold. Unfortunately, these ones are posts. They must be a pretty low alloy because it took several hours before my ears began to ache, but ache they did, so these earrings are out. (The clear nail polish trick doesn't work for me.) Sad, because I really liked the set.Now the hunt is on for new earring to match! Perhaps I will modify a pair of stemapunk earring to take the pearl drop part. Hummm. DIY plotting!

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco

The shirt I chose is a bold purple rose print. If you, like me, are slow to accept purple print is a good entry point. Although, with the Rack, I might be better wearing a print on my bottom half. 

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San FranciscoGail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
 Second image is Giovanna Battaglia

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San FranciscoGail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
 1952 Mainbocher The Museum of the City of New York; 1960s Vintageous

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
Christina Hendricks in Vintage Carolina Herrera

 The sweater over the shirt is a heather knit.

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San FranciscoGail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
 Heather knit sweater; Trina Turk Belted Heather Tweed Dress

Purple, like most colors, has a wide range of shades from cool to warm, and from dark to light so it will suit any complexion. So saying "I don't look good in purple" isn't really a good excuse. It is perfectly fine to say "I don't like wearing purple." This is similar to not liking Brussels sprouts ~ own it baby! I feel it is perfectly appropriate to dislike colors illogically. I, for example, don't like yellow. Blech!

That said, I have gone out and found some temptingly beautiful purple pieces for your consideration.

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San FranciscoGail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
Hermes leather bracelet at hermes.com

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San FranciscoGail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
Giovanna Bataglia; H&M Dark Purple Coat

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San FranciscoGail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
 1914-1915  Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arketektur, og Design; 1910s Evening Dress  Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arketektur, og Design

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San FranciscoGail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
 1900-1905  The Goldstein Museum of Design; 1900 Pendant  1stdibs.com

And if those last two images don't convince you to try purple, nothing will.

And now, for the characters!

For Sophronia after Etiquette & Espionage

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
1860s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Ivy Hisselpenny in Soulless

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
1872–75 purple dress by poteidia

For Rue in Prudence
Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
1890s  Kerry Taylor Auctions

For Primrose in Prudence

Gail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco
1896 Ball Gown Jean-Philippe Worth

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.
Gail Carriger Sage Suit in San Antonio, WorldCon 2013 Outfit Report: Day 4Gail Carriger in a Flowered Day Dress and Silly Velvet Flower Hat in San Antonio, WorldCon 2013 Outfit Report: Day 2Book Outfits ~ Parasol Protectorate Omnibus Vol. 1 by Gail Carriger Gail Carriger's French Outfits: Brown Gingham Pencil Dress VariationThen & Now ~ Oxblood DressGail Carriger Bids Goodbye Fur StoleGail's Brain ~ Then & Now ~ SchoolboyGail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi Gail Carriger LA in Navy & White with RedGail Carriger Purple & Black In San Francisco

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