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Vintage Style In A Modern World

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Then & Now ~ Red & Black Brocade Dress


Then: For Sophronia

Then & Now ~ Red & Black Brocade Dress
1850 Evening gown of red silk brocaded with black rose, c.1850 pinteres

Almost Then: For Gail

Then & Now ~ Red & Black Brocade Dress
1959 Cocktail dress, 1959  From the Kent State University Museum Pinterest

Now

Then & Now ~ Red & Black Brocade Dress
2012 Tadashi-Shoji-American-Pie-Reunion-Madrid-Photocall

Matched Merch


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

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

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Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

I don't know if I've posted in the past about how, before I was published, I had this dream about flying to New York. I think every wannabe author has a similar dream. Only mine was very specific and very fashion orientated. My dream was that I would go to New York to meet with my agent and editor and I would be wearing a black and white skirt.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

It's not often dreams come true.

In 2009 Orbit flew me to BEA in New York, before anyone had even heard of Soulless, to present the ARC to the unwitting masses. While I was there I would meet, you guessed it, my agent and my editor! I was understandably excited. I was also, as you probubly might have guessed, in a veritable shopping frenzy looking for the perfect black and white pencil skirt.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

I hunted, I searched, I looked everywhere. I tried all my favorite stores both vintage and modern. I did the Height Street treck. I visited Santa Cruz. I couldn't find one I liked.

Crisis!

But low, my darling Mum came to rescue. She is a fabulous seamstresses and offered to make me the skirt from a vintage pattern and we could choose whatever fabric I wanted. Well I found this great black on white irregular spotted fabric, and she made me this wonderful fish tale pencil skirt.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

Did I wear it to BEA in 2009 and meet my agent and editor? You bet your booty I did!

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
Ah, look how young and innocent I look. Lee sigh.

I paired it with red for that occasion. I do like black and white with red.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

Sadly the skirt hasn't had much play since then. I guess I felt like it was meant for the dream, and the dream had been satisfied. But I rustled it out of my closet last weekeend to take down to Sunnyvale for a little event at the library there.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

Here I am posing with the lovely young lady dressed as Alexia from the over of the Soulless manga. For this occasion I kept the whole outfit black and white.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

So, with an eye towards wearing this skirt more often I've collected some inspirational images of how to wear a cute black and white skirt.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
 With red, retro and modern

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
 With teal or turquoise.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
 With pink or blush.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
 With olive.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
Just pure black and white with modern touches.

Inspired I put together these two outfits which I intend to wear soon.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
 A retro take with blush, silly shoes, a chunky necklace, and olive bag.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
Modern take with some mixed patterns and steampunk ankle warmers.

Both looks require high heals and I'm off them for the moment, but I can't wait to try them out soon.

Here's a evening idea, going with golds and neutral accessories.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

It doesn't have to be a skirt these days, either. I've seen some patterned trousers turn up too. I'm not certain this look is really for me, but I have seen a few who could carry it off. And, of course, I'm on the perpetual hunt for the perfect black & white check pedal pushers.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

While I adore my dotted skirt, the one I want to buy did finally hit the stores a mere two years too late, in fall of 2011. I'm hoping some day this Marco de Vicenzo will turn up in a consignment shop in my size. A girl can dream, right? After all, dreaming is what started this madness.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

How about something black and white for Prudence to wear? Since I'm working on the Parasol Protectorate Abroad series right now my life if filled with 1890's dresses.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
1900-1902  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This one is a little late period for her, but so pretty, I couldn't resist. It won't make it into the books though.

What to read when wearing black and white? How about Jane Yolan's marvelous Sister Light, Sister Dark and White Jenna?

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

The best thing about this lyrical almost mythological two part series is the world building. I've not seen anything like it before or since and it's, simply put, amazing. The writing is definitely on the side of strong and empowered women (showing feminist 1970s roots, I believe). I think the world and story are complex enough for any reader, although I believe the target audience is YA. (When she wrote it I'm not certain there really was a "YA" concept yet.) Anyway, I love it, it's brilliant! I've kept these two books since I first read them over 20 years ago. It's a rare series that travels with me, as I move every 2 to 4 years.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

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

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!

This is, I hope, the first of many annual summations of outfits of the past year.

I kind of like the idea of looking back at, not only what I wore, but the events that caused the outfits in the first place. I'm keeping an eye out, Fashionable Reader, as I do this blog, for  . . . 1. my favorite outfit, 2. the most retro, and 3. the most appropriate to the venue. I am also quite interested in your thoughts, and possible links to pictures of your own favorite outfit of 2012.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
1. March, SF in SF with Patric Rothfass. A humbling and unique experience. I wore forest green and some seriously spiked heals.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!

2. March, Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition in San Jose. The theme was Eastern Steam and I did my best by combining some of my old belly-dancing gear with my steampunk costumes. I'm not certain how successful the outfits really were and I wish I'd had more time and energy to finesse them.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
3. April, Literary Orange, with the Brother's K in Orange County. In a favorite spring green dress. A fun, caring, and very well run one-day event. I recommend it highly.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
4. April, the Romantic Times Book convention in Los Angeles. The plaid dress worn retro style for day one, and my favorite red Jessica Wiggle dress (post to come) with the Dior black jacked re-purposed from its normal suit for day two.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
5. April, Tea in Burbank. This dress was featured in the first fashion post I did for Retro Rack.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
6. June in New Orleans, two days at the ALA and one signing at Books a Million. This was when I really started chronicling my outfits, the red, green, and pink all got their own blog entries.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
7. July in the Bay Area, and the Heartless book launch. Peach for Books Inc in San Francisco, and Teal for the Keplers down on the peninsula. These outfits were selected by you, the readers.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
8a. August, WorldCon in Reno. Day one in red with Unwoman and dressed for the Girl Genius Steampunk Ball that night.
Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
8b. Day two of WorldCon I paired this cherry shirt with a red skirt for working the SFWA table and my SF Book Club TV interview, in a gold Flobert gown that evening.
Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
8c. WorldCon days 3 and 4 I pulled out some old favorites, the pea green day dress again, my adored marigold cocktail dress, and a knit cream top with a black pencil skirt for the last day.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
9. September, Fencon, the most fun I have had at a convention in years. There was just something so very right about the whole event. I wore a 1920s style black flippy dress with pink top for the day, which I changed out for evening, a teal top with plaid skirt, and a polka-dot skirt with black top on Sunday. I did this whole convention with only carry on luggage and I was pretty proud of myself.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
10. October, Frankfurt Book Expo. Three days and two night of madness. I was on really limited packing so I just brought my check suit, Jessica Wiggle red dress, a black cardy, and correlated accessories, including my much used black rain cape.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
11. November, Teslacon, wearing easy-to-pack steampunk outfits: the Spoon, the Autumn, and a thrown together extra that could convert for plane travel.

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!
12. December, Writers With Drinks, my last even of the year and I wore this purple outfit.

It's hard to pick a favorite from 2011. But I think the award goes to . . .

Gail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!

I just really loved this dress I wore on day two of ALA. It looked unexpectedly well with a big straw hat. I got to talk a bit about one of my heroes and hang out all day with librarians in this dress. Who could ask for anything more? My favorite acquisitions of the year were definitely the two capes, although I did get many other fun things.

Your thoughts? Anything you wore you loved in 2011? Anything you'd like to see me wear more of? Topics you wish it chat more about in this blog?

Immediate plans include: hounds-tooth, lust objects, caplets, the red Jessica Wiggle dress in review, DIY purse mods, the black Dior suit in review, DIY shirt from dress, black pencil skirts, retro makeup tips, pretty shoes, stylish retro menswear, jackets, more cloche hats, DIY hat follies, retro casual for everyday, Secret Project X photos from the video shoot, and Spring 2012 fashion trends done the retro way! I hope you're looking forward to it . .  I am.

Oh, and happy 2012!!
Then & Now ~ Red & Black Brocade DressThen & Now ~ Black Evening GownGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger's 2011 Fasion In Review ~ The Outfits!

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