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Getting a Vintage Shape with a Modern Bra by Gail Carriger (Blog Post By Request)


One of the questions I get a lot is where to find and buy a new bra (with modern measurements) but that will give the conical pointed shape of the 1950s.

Well darling fashionable reader, I am here for you.

Getting a Vintage Shape With a Modern Bra


First there is a vintage bra re-creation company out there called What Katie Did. Their bullet bras run small (I've never managed to fit one so gave up) and have little to no stretch to them. But they even have a circle stitch one for $64. Their return policy is draconian. Try at your own risk.

Getting a Vintage Shape with a Modern Bra by Gail Carriger (Blog Post By Request)


Second, one of my personal favorites is the Freya Dotty Nursing Bra ($72 30D-40G). Yes I know, it's a nursing bra, but the design means that it's a good shape for vintage. However, the band is a little narrow and unsupportive, so it can cut in at the ribs. But this is the single biggest range bra for those of use with tiny rib cages and want a retro shape.

Getting a Vintage Shape with a Modern Bra by Gail Carriger (Blog Post By Request)


However, if you are going to buy one vintage style bra for multiple purposes it should probubly be a neutral color. Plus $72 is pretty steep for a show bra.

So I went on a tear recently looking for a good one and here are a few options I found and tried out. (Keep in mind I run at about a 32DDD - 34DD these days) which means large boobs and small ribs...

Exquisite Form Fully Women's Original Full Support Bra #5100532 


Getting a Vintage Shape with a Modern Bra by Gail Carriger (Blog Post By Request)



This puppy is only $15 (in my size) and honestly it is the most like an actual vintage bra that I have found made modern from material to design. For $15 it's obviously not very well made but it will certainly do the trick for light use. For me it ran a whole size too big in both band and cup, and unfortunately it doesn't come in a 32. I now have the 34 D to wear on the tightest band setting and that's OK. But still sizing is kind of a pain with this one.

The vintage shape once you get the fit though? That is spot on.

$9-28 Comes in white, black, and light beige. 34B - 48DD Cup sizes only go up to DDD. But like a said, runs large.

Playtex Women's 18 Hour Original Comfort Strap Bra #4693

Getting a Vintage Shape with a Modern Bra by Gail Carriger (Blog Post By Request)

Great support and good shape but the lace edging is HELLA sharp. Seam line is rather prominent, but really hard to beat this kind of support PLUS a good vintage shape. Also a silky material is nice, things don't cling to it. I ended up keeping it as a fall back, despite the lace. Mostly because in my size it was only $18. Oh yeah it ran true to size. 

 $11-95 Comes in multiple colors. 34D - 54DDD Cup sizes up to G. 

Carnival Women's Full Figure Longline Camisole Strap Soft Cup Wire Free Bra (no lace)


Getting a Vintage Shape with a Modern Bra by Gail Carriger (Blog Post By Request)
This one is VERY vintage but the cup sizes run larger. I found it more comfortable than the lace version (see next) and so I returned this one for the smaller size cup. Because it is a long line it is a bit warm. The support is great though. This is the first bra I've owned in a long time that really doesn't rely on straps AT ALL. In fact, this could easily be a strapless on me.

$25-112 (I paid $42) Comes in white, black, and champagne. 34B - 48DDD Cup sizes only go up to DDD.

Carnival Women's Full Figure Longline Padded-Strap Soft-Cup Wire-Free Bra (Lace)


Getting a Vintage Shape with a Modern Bra by Gail Carriger (Blog Post By Request)

Oddly enough, this one, while the same company and size as the previous long line, ran exactly true to size on me. I like it and it looks lovely on, BUT the lace is a bit sharp. Also the support isn't awesome, so if you need a lot of help, this bra isn't for you. Finally I had to wear the straps on the very shortest setting, rare for me. So if your boobs are high, this may not have short enough straps for you. Although the shoulder padding is nice.

I gotta say this bra does one thing REALLY well, it gives GREAT sweater.

Getting a Vintage Shape with a Modern Bra by Gail Carriger (Blog Post By Request)


So if "sweater girl" is the look you are after, hard to do worse than this. Very little over-boob seam line showing on my lightest weight knit top.

$25-112 (I paid $41) Comes in white, black, and blush. 34B - 48DDD Cup sizes only go up to DDD.

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


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Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Black Pencil Skirt, mid length, kick pleated back, black & white lining.
Cashmere poly blend, Tahari, Nordstrom's Rack $75.

The infamous black pencil skirt.

I know, it's wrinkled in the picture, but trust me, this skirt is great. I am a huge advocate of the black pencil skirt. In fact, I would say it is almost more important to a wardrobe than the Little Black Dress. If you are of the pear shape and self conscious about a pencil, then by all means go for an A-line instead (I have one of those too, future blog in the works).

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
World Fantasy San Jose, Soulless Launch Party, 2009.

So perhaps this skirt is a little tight. But my goodness I love it. And honestly, I'm in my 30's I've made peace with the dreaded girl tum. Frankly, I'm a chick and I'm curvy and I have a tum because I'm not an airbrushed model. Besides, I don't want to be one of those crazy razor sharp Hollywood women who do 800 sit-ups a day and look like they not only live on endives but might actually turn into an endive at any moment.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Gail & Marilyn, real women with girl tums. A model who is not.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Katy Perry with Girl Tum

 So while I can still zip up the darn thing, I'm going to wear it. For World Fantasy in 2009 I paired it with a pink blouse (which I no longer own) to match the cover of Soulless, and some Irregular Choice shoes.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Jet tassel necklace from Dark Garden at Dickens Fair, $30; matched earrings $10 PantheaCon dealers room; black simulated leather opera gloves, inherited from Grandma; Irregular Choice shoes, Haight Street San Francisco, gift.

Irregular Choice makes the most wonderful looking shoes on the planet . . . and possibly the most painful. Mine are wedges (unlike the ones above) and I love them, but I can't wear them for more than a few hours even with inserts. Sadness.

However, Fashionable Reader, this is meant to be a WorldCon retrospective and so here I am, in the black pencil skirt at WorldCon 2008 . . .

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Gail and Lawrence Person in the Con Suite.

This time I wore it with a gray silk sailor blouse and gray spectator pumps.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Vintage gray blouse, possibly 1940s Thrifted $15, Via Spiga spectators, gift

I have several other black pencil skirts but this one sits apart because of the length. Normally, I do not go for a mid length skirt, in this case several inches below the knee. Nor do I recommend it for any but the very tall. For that reason I always wear this skirt with the highest heals possible.


Vintage wise, this length is best suited to a 1940's Dior look. That said, the black pencil is a staple that always seems to show up on the fall/winter runways and this year was no exception. I even spotted a few in this, a more vintage, length.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Fall 2011 runway; Sarah Jessica Parker in Marc Jacobs; Christina Ricci

More on the black skirt in future, I have several different versions and I intend to go into the relative merits of each.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt

Gail Carriger Has FEELS and Thoughts on Banana Republic's Mad Men Line

In which Gail goes of on a bit of a fashion rant . . . you have been warned.

So, Fashionable Reader, Banana Republic announced recently that they were coming out with a Mad Men inspired RTW line. I went in to their San Francisco flagship store to inquire and the salesman seemed to think the earliest we could expect it to hit shops is next Spring, but I'd be shocked if they weren't shooting for the holiday season.

Gail Carriger Has FEELS and Thoughts on Banana Republic's Mad Men Line

 Here's my main question: Banana Republic, why would I buy a faux-vintage line? It's not going to fit those of use with real vintage curves because you're still using your flat-chested butt-less size models. It doesn't have any of the basics we like ~ hello, sleeves? It's clearly not tailored for anything substantial up top or down bellow. The model doesn't have very much yet it isn't fitting even her tiny little Bs properly.

Gail Carriger Has FEELS and Thoughts on Banana Republic's Mad Men LineGail Carriger Has FEELS and Thoughts on Banana Republic's Mad Men Line

The lengths aren't quite long enough, and the colors are, frankly boring.

Gail Carriger Has FEELS and Thoughts on Banana Republic's Mad Men LineGail Carriger Has FEELS and Thoughts on Banana Republic's Mad Men Line
It's not tailored to the natural waist, a hallmark of 1950s fashion. Instead it's coming in about the ribs. Put my rack in there and it'd practically be a baby-doll.

Gail Carriger Has FEELS and Thoughts on Banana Republic's Mad Men Line

I bet the fabrics are synthetic, the seams sewn only once, and half the stuff isn't lined property. I'll take real vintage any day, at half the price. Of course, I'll probably still go and investigate the outlet mall in a few months, just to be sure. But I lay good money that not a single thing will fit this retro rack better than any one of my $15 thrifted real 1950s dresses, that's for darn sure.

Gail Carriger Has FEELS and Thoughts on Banana Republic's Mad Men Line

So am I annoyed? Yes, Fashionable Reader, I do believe I am. And I'm not anti-Banana Republic as a general rule. I happen to own and love one of their winter white overcoats from several years ago. However, the only BR tops I've ever managed to squeeze into were stretch jersey (and I prefer tailored and structured fabrics).

I suppose, in the end, I feel like they are basically poaching a vintage look without giving me what I want from vintage clothing ~ proper fit.

I can guarantee you one of the people this Banana Republic Mad Man line won't fit . . . Christina Hendricks.

Gail Carriger Has FEELS and Thoughts on Banana Republic's Mad Men Line
Getting a Vintage Shape with a Modern Bra by Gail Carriger (Blog Post By Request)Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger Has FEELS and Thoughts on Banana Republic's Mad Men Line

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