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Retro Rack

Vintage Style In A Modern World

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Gail Carriger in New Orleans in a Red Dress

Gail Carriger in New Orleans in a Red Dress

I'm off to New Orleans and Baton Rouge this weekend, Fashionable Reader. The rumor is that it's hot, humid, and could thunder shower. So I scoured the closet for the most light weight candidates. Here is the winner for Friday . . .

Gail Carriger in New Orleans in a Red Dress

I adore this cotton dress. I bought it from JC Penny (of all places) some three or four years ago. Back then they had a whole spate of size 8 dresses with tops that managed to still accommodate my size 10 bust. (I haven't been back in a while, but I'm hoping they still follow this policy.) I probably paid about $30 for it. It's only flaw is the sash ties in a big bow in the back which makes it uncomfortable for driving or flying.

Gail Carriger in New Orleans in a Red DressGail Carriger in New Orleans in a Red Dress
On the left we have one of my fashion icons, Sophia Loren, rocking the perfect red dress, and on the right a 1950s dress via Timeless Vixen Vintage.

I remember reading once that colors send different messages, and that red implies power. I always rather liked this idea. I suppose whether it's true or not, I feel powerful in a red dress!

Gail Carriger in New Orleans in a Red Dress
Moschino Fall 2011.

I have ~ lemme count ~ 5 red dresses in my closet (not to mention shoes, tops, and a pencil skirt), but this is the only one with a full skirt. Here is a similar little number from J Peterman.

Gail Carriger in New Orleans in a Red Dress

Look for photos next week to find out what I wore it with, and whether it was the right choice for New Orleans!

I'll be at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, (June 25 - 26, 2011). Speaking at the YA Luncheon on Saturday at noon. On the Science, Fantasy & Information Science Program Saturday, 4 ~ 5 pm.  Signing at the ALA Hachette booth Sunday, 11 am ~ 12 pm. And signing at Books A Million in Baton Rouge at 3 pm on Sunday (there is a Facebook events page). All that and I still intend to eat my own body weight in crayfish!

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

My dearest Fashionable Readers, I'm working on a new steampunk outfit (the direct result of finding a matched over-skirt to one of my favorite corsets at a thrift store last month).

That's what's On The Dummy right now.

Unfortunately, the only shirt I have that goes with this corset is white. White doesn't work with the skirts.

So I decided I would try tea dyeing for the first time. I have dyed before, but not with tea. Why not? It is, after all my favorite beverage!

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

I had some old American Twinings lying around that I knew I would never drink so, the adventure was afoot!

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

In addition to the shirt, I added a pair of white gloves and a garter belt, both of which I felt might get more use if they were cream instead of white. I washed them all in clear water.

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

"Steam rises from a cup of tea
and we are wrapped in history,
inhaling ancient times and lands,
comfort of ages in our hands."
~ Faith Greenbowl
In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the DummyIn Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

I did have to forcibly stop my father from dipping a hopeful mug into the tea bath! Since there was a cup of salt in as well, it would not have been a pleasant experience. His comment was, "What a waste." There is some truth to that.

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

About 10 minutes in I began to see some discoloration and staining in the arm pits of the shirt and the fingertips of the gloves but proceeded willfully along. (The thing about salt is that it's a fixer, including the salt produced by your own body.) I simmered in the tea for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Nice to have the house smell like tea instead of dye chemicals for once!

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

Rinse and result! Sorry the photo isn't great, turns out I was dying the fabric the same color as my floor! The shirt (muslin) was somewhat stained under arms and in a few creases on the torso, the gloves (cotton) were badly and unattractively stained (chucked em), but the garter (polyester) came out beautifully.  I'm so used to polyester bring the difficult one!

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the DummyIn Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

All in all I liked the color: a little more rose than a standard cream. And how did it work with the outfit? You be the judge.

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the DummyIn Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the DummyIn Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

I'll do more blogging on this outfit once it comes completely together and gets more steampunk. I have plenty of time. I'm thinking its maiden voyage will be at TeslaCon this November.

Gail Carriger in LA in a 1960s Maxi Dress with Tulips





Who: Gail Carriger

What:
1960s maxi dress by Lorrie Deb San Francisco. Possibly a bride's maid's or prom dress. Bright pink chiffon overlay top with bow details at the waist and on the back with a mini train. Linen skirt with hand painted tulips in increasing size.

When:
Purchased March 2011

Where:
Bon Mar Thift Store in Sonoma, CA. Required minor repairs to the snaps. Total cost $15.

Why:
To wear to a tea, reading, and book signing in Pasadena, CA. April 2011.

To What Degree: Added a vintage 1960's white straw hat of the topper style, crocheted gloves, pearl button earrings, gold pen necklace, new Alfani cream bow peep toe stilettos, vintage cream bag, and cream parasol. More pictures from the event are here, from Pixie Vision Productions.

What Works: Dark color on top, lighter color on the bottom balances out the bust. Also wide boat neck draws attention up towards shoulders and face. Top is tightly fitted, skirt billows out slightly, also balancing. Here is a slightly similar coctail number from Mod Cloth.



A Manifesto: Being the Photo Diary of a Curvy Girl

My dear Gentle Readers!

This blog is intended as an ode to my love affair with vintage fashion, thrifting, and modification of clothing. This is an affair of long standing that began some time in the early 1990s when it became evident that mine was a shape better suited to the 1950s, or even, the 1850s than anything the modern world might provide.

A Manifesto: Being the Photo Diary of a Curvy Girl

This affair has persisted to the current day, partly because I adore the styles themselves, and partly because my figure has only continued a ~ shall we call it? ~ exaggeration of form.

Hence the title of the blog, Retro Rack.

My intent is to provide photos from various of my public events as an Author Beast, but also to show some of what retro was, as well as some for what retro can be with a modern twist. (This post is probably the wordiest I shall ever be on this blog.)

I do hope you enjoy.

You can also follow my Yelp Account for reviews of vintage shops (be warned I also review eateries and hotels.) If you are interested in a blog with sewing focus for ladies of a more statuesque proportion than myself, you can do no better than New Vintage Lady.


A Small Note On The Subject Of Racks

I love style. I follow many fashion blogs, but sadly very few of them are run by women who are ~ shall we say? ~ blessed. Mine is a rack that has been the bane of my existence since university. Every button down shirt in my closest has the mid buttons sewn together. I rate my blouses by the magic notion of "minimization." A new bra is a quest of nigh epic proportions. I am not ashamed of my size, but I have struggled with it.

A Manifesto: Being the Photo Diary of a Curvy Girl

I am hoping this blog provides inspiration and perhaps hope, to those of you frustrated by a contemporary world and a visual environment that forgets those of us with ~ what my less endowed friends once described as ~ aggressive boobage.

This is not a place for leering or lewd commentary or snide remarks, so please refrain. I am trying to take the stigma out of being large chested in a safe fashionable environment, without trivializing the matter.

To that end, here are my measurements:
  • 38 ~ 28 ~ 38
  • height ~ 5'6"
  • bra size ~ 32G ~ 30H (yes, H)
  • hat size ~ small
  • modern dress size 6 ~ 8
  • vintage dress size 12 ~ 16
  • modern top size 6 ~ 10, med ~ large
  • modern bottom size 4 ~ 6, small ~ med
  • shoe size 7.5 ~ 8
  • age ~ over 30 (you can't expect me to admit to everything, now can you?)
Gail Carriger in New Orleans in a Red DressIn Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the DummyGail Carriger in LA in a 1960s Maxi Dress with TulipsA Manifesto: Being the Photo Diary of a Curvy Girl

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