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Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger


I can't remember when I first heard about the Swiss Waist, Fashionable Reader.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
From my personal collection
Popular in the 1860s this was a boned belt, with at least one peak (either up or down). It usually laced like a corset, only up the front, sometimes is was exactly corset-like with a busk up the front and laces up the back. The Swiss Waist was worn in addition to the foundation corset. It is, so far as I can determine historically, the only corset-like garment that was worn on the outside of a dress.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
Daguerreotype from my personal collection
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1860s  The Victoria & Albert Museum Swiss Waist; my own version from Dark Garden

Here is a retrospective on the idea of the Swiss Waist. They aren't necessarily exactly this article of clothing, but they all suggest the peaks that I associate with this garment.


Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1829  Kerry Taylor Auctions
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1872 Godeys Sept 1872 Dicky
Described as: "Overwaist of blue silk, trimmed with black lace; it is to be worn over a black silk dress, and is very dressy and pretty."

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
Tea Gown  1875-1880  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
[stage costume] Leonora of Mantua (1873), Valentine Cameron Prinsep via British Paintings tumblr

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1880 Striped Princess Bodice

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1889 Evening Dress The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1890-1895  The Goldstein Museum of Design; Liberty & Co. dress, 1893-94  From the Victoria & Albert Museum

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1895 Golf Ensemble   The Kyoto Costume Institute

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1896-1899; 1900 Ball Gown  Driscoll both The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1900 Dress  Jean-Philippe Worth,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1900s Gustave Beer, Antique Dress

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1901 Ball Gown  Jeanne Paquin,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1900s  theoryphotoart tumblr; on our merry way tumblr vintage-impressions- Portrait, ca. 1906

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1906-1908 Evening Dress  Jean-Philippe Worth, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1940s Dress I. Magnin, Kerry Taylor Auctions

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
v-isfor-vintage tumblr 1950s style sass

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1950s  Timeless Vixen Vintage blue

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1950s  Timeless Vixen Vintage

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1950s Carrier airconditioning advertisement. via theniftyfifties tumblr
And now for the modern age...

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 2013 Aigner Fall 2013 collection via nymag.com; 2013 Ralph LaurenSpring-2103

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
2013 Nidhi Sunil in Jimmy Choo Over The Knee Boots. Vogue India, 10.2013 via Booted Up

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
2013 Willow cutout waist belt at theOutnet.com

(A quick note, I had a whole piece prepped for today on wide belts and why they do and don't work on us curvy ladies, but blogspot ate it. I was particularly proud of it, but one keystroke and it's gone, no recovery. Note to self, do not use keyboard shortcuts in blogger! Argh. Anyway, I am hugely overworked theses days and have neither the time nor inclination to rewrite it. So we skip wide belts entirely, sorry....)

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

Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo Alto

For my last Etiquette & Espionage event I wore a plaid dress over a blouse with Very Big Sleeves. 

Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo Alto
Dress is from Buffalo Exchange on Haight Street for $25, it's not vintage and has a nice bit of stretch to it. It also has pockets at the front, or more correctly one big pouch style pocket. I sewed on the clock buttons to add a little extra interest. Gloves are vintage brown leather, gift. Shoes are by Soft, but they were a dark pink color I had died brown.

This particular outfit has some steampunk notes and since the event was listed as a "Steampunk Reception" I thought I should nod in that direction. Normally, I use this blouse (1970s I think) for my Victorian recreation outfits, but I happened upon the idea of putting it under this pencil dress when watching How to Marry a Millionaire (for the millionth time).

Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo Alto

Sorry I don't have a bigger screen shot. How to Marry a Millionaire is one of my favorite fashion movies of all time and I would like to own every outfit that each of the ladies wears. So good. Anyway where was I? Oh yes, plaid with steampunk touches.

Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo Alto
You can kind of see the hair band. It's a big brown satin bow I got at Ross for about $4. I sewed a brass octopus to the center and added a little puff of brown feathers out the back. I'm wearing a vintage costume jewelry gold 1920s earring and brooch set, gift from my mother.

Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo Alto

Since it was a relatively cool day I paired the dress with a vintage fur wrap.

Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo AltoGail Carriger in Plaid in Palo Alto

Sadly the poor wrap ripped during the course of the day so it's gone off to Goodwill. It's pretty near impossible to repair fur and certainly more effort than I have time for. Especially as I've owned this one for three years and only worn it 2x. I picked up this wrap from Bon Marche Thrift Store for $15, so I'm not too upset about the loss. I'll do a little blog to morn its passing shortly.

Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo Alto
 1929 Ensemble  Louiseboulanger  The Museum at FIT

However, back to plaid. I've written on a number of occasions about my love affair with this fabric. I think it goes back to my goth roots. It's one of those patterns that bisects both the alternative scene and the tweed toffy country set. Tally ho the nightclub and all that.

It's funny but even though I have a whole lot of plaid already in my wardrobe it's something I gravitate to whenever I am out shopping. Plaid and and color red. I'm powerless to resist.

Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo Alto

Hope you all have lovely plaid filled days!
Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo Alto
Plaid Punch Sept 1853

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.
Then & Now ~ Blush Pink GownSteampunk Inspiration from Gail Carriger Gail Carriger in Mesa Arizona in Red Check at LepreCon ~ Gail Fail 2014Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger The Big Pink Moving Blanket Coat of Doom, Gail Carriger's Winter Coat Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 1 Decorative by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Parasol Protectorate Omnibus Vol. 1 by Gail Carriger Looks Inspired By Books ~ The Parasol Protectorate Omnibus Vol. 2 by Gail Carriger Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo Alto

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