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Retro Rack

Vintage Style In A Modern World

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Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger


Every one of us hates swimsuit shopping, Fashionable Reader.

I don't know a single curvy girl who enjoys it.

It's the worst of bra shopping, meets the worst of size matching (no, actually my bottom is a medium and my top is a large), meets the great fear of Cellulite in Public.

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger

I go on holy grail hunts for companies that do bra-sized tops with bottoms I can buy separately. That's if I dare risk a bikini, which I mostly don't. Plus, I know I'm out $80 for a bikini that fits well, but it still won't fit perfectly.

 I have one tankini with a zipper front but it's so very sporty-looking zipped (and so very not sporty-looking unzipped) that it rarely gets an airing.

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
Wearing a reto leopard tankini top (from Target) as a top.


I came to a realization (odd it took so long for a girl who wears so much retro off the beach) that perhaps I should try vintage bathing costumes. Why not? The past produced dresses better for curvy girls, why not swimsuits? One good part being that, without chlorine and with different fabrics, vintage swimsuits seem to last longer than modern ones. Also, they have such interesting patterns and necklines.


I started the hunt some eight years ago and have ammassed a collection of suits since then, perhaps not of the colors and patterns I might wish, but I'm willing to take a color risk in order to wear a good, supportive, nicely-shaped suit.

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger

I will admit, I was afraid they might look a little, well, granny-like. However, vintage suits seem to be all over the fashion blogs and runways for summer this year. So what do you know? I'm on trend for a change.


Vintage suits seem to dictate a specific look ~ full make-up, heels on the beach, matched robes or little jackets.

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail CarrigerSwimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
(left ~ yellow form the 1960s, right ~ Carolyn Schnurer bathing suit ca. 1952 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

However, I think you can go beach chic with a vintage suit and not have to go all the way retro. Here are my three paired as possible outfits.

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
 (Maxine of Hollywood suit thrifted $20 a long time ago, gold ballroom Very Fine dance shoes from It's a Wrap in LA $10, sailor shorts from Crossroads in San Francisco $12)
Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
 (Labelless suit from Bon Mar Thrift store in Sonoma $5, Union Bay cargo shorts thrifted a while ago $15, Miz Mooz sandals recent score from Crossroads in SF $25, silver cuff probubly around $10 can't remember source)
Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
 (Roxanne turquoise tie-side skirt suit from Bon Mar Thrift store in Sonoma $5, H&M shorts $25, thrifted Apepazza flats probably from Buffalo Exchange around $20)

So there you have it, why not give a vintage suit (or a vintage inspired retro suit) a try?

Here are a bunch of retro suits on Amazon. They can get expensive. 

Please do check your vintage and thrift stores because suits do sometimes turn up. Often they are in the lingerie section.

You'll stand out in the right way. And I believe such suits provide the kind of support and coverage that gives a curvy girl those most necessary of feelings when wearing a swimsuit ~ confidence and courage!

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger


Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
(Claire McCardell bathing suit ca. 1957 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)


Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.


Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger

You can shop my recommendations via the following lists:
Steampunk, Retro Jewelry, Makeup, Retro Clothes, Lifestyle


Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I get a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Gail Carriger Things I'm Picking Up for Prime Day


So I keep a long list of items that interest me, Fashionable Reader, but that I'm not sure if they are worth it or not. Prime day, for me, is an excuse to try out some stuff at a lower price point.

So here is what I am picking up...


Gail Carriger Things I'm Picking Up for Prime Day

Angerella Vintage Retro Pin Up Halter One Piece Swimsuit Monokinis for $9.99 comes in four different patterns, sizes are kind of restricted. I'm trying the L & XL (6 & 8) respectively. (I know, right?)

Gail Carriger Things I'm Picking Up for Prime Day

Pretty Polly Womens Nylon Backseam Tights for $14. Like all other denizens of the nude with black back seam (who can't wear Leg Avenue), I used to buy American Apparel. They discontinued their version years ago. I've been hunting for a replacement since. We shall see how these fit.



Things on sale that I have, love, and recommend...



Gail Carriger Things I'm Picking Up for Prime Day


Life's perfect silk head scarf for $13 There is something about this scarf, the colors just seem to always go with everything in my wardrobe and its thick enough to be full cover, but still light-weight, and it's the right size to tie in pretty ways without too much excess.

Gail Carriger Things I'm Picking Up for Prime Day



Life's perfect sleep mask $9.99. Super-smooth with the all important Two Straps.
Retro Rack is also on Facebook and Pinterest where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger

Today, Fashionable Reader, I present to you outfits, vintage pieces and retro looks that match the cover of the fourth Parasol Protectorate Book, Heartless.

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger

 This cover has Alexia looking very girly in front of Woolsey Castle wearing a fetching purple combination the background mostly greys. Here are a few picks from my closet to go with this cover.

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
A casual look pairing a plaid BCBG fishtail pencil skirt ($50) with a jersey cowl top (Marshalls $20) my favorite cream textured Via Spiga peep toe stilettos (Nordstrom Rack $50) a vintage green bag (Hubba Hubba $35) and a jellyfish bracelet, gift.

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
A more formal option with a print blouse (Kohl's $20), floaty Donna Karen skirt (now gone), bow earrings (can't remember), Miz Mooz boots (Nordstrom Rack $75), cream hat (Bone Marche $15), a vintage vinyl purse (moon Zoom $20), white gloves ($20), and a silver chain rose necklace, gift.

A few little pieces to go with this cover.

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
 Retro bathing suit. Very flattering.

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
 Ombre tights. I really want some of these. 

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
Prabal Gurung Spring 2012
Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
 1940s Dress Clips  Sotheby’s

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
 1939 La Sirène  Charles James  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1910s Earrings   1stdibs.com

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
Octopus tentacle handkerchief, gift from a reader.

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
Flower arrangement from Mum's tea party.

And now . . .

Something for the characters to wear!

For Lord Akeldama...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1770s  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

For Alexia pre-Biffy...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1872-1876  Manchester City Galleries

For Alexia post-Biffy...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1878 Charles Fredrick Worth,  The Kyoto Costume Institute

A gift for Alexia from Conall...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1870s Bracelet  Sotheby’s

For Ivy after Timeless...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1883-1889  The Goldstein Museum of Design

A hat to go with it...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1909 Dinner Toque  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Some sparkles...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1880s Suite   Christie’s

And a fan...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1885-1895 Fan The Metropolitan Museum of Art

And for Evilyn...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
 1885  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
 1900  Toque  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 Something Prudence to wear...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1899  The Victoria & Albert Museum

And for underneath...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1890s  Augusta Auctions

Something for Lady Linette in the Finishing School series...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1840  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Something for Sophronia...

Book Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger
1860s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.
Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail CarrigerGail Carriger Things I'm Picking Up for Prime Day9 Things The Fashion World Loves That Gail Carriger Doesn't GetBook Outfits ~ Heartless Purple by Gail Carriger Then & Now ~ Cherry Bathing SuitsThen & Now ~ Ruffled White Bathing Suit

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