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Vintage Style In A Modern World

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Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions or Gail Loves Green

I recently returned from my annual pilgrimage to Santa Cruz. This ritual has to do with high school affections, graduate School memories, and a new romance with a wonderful B&B. It also has to do with vintage clothing.

Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions or Gail Loves Green
New dress from Moon Zoom, $28

Time was once that Down Town Santa Cruz boasted not only several excellent thrift stores but a veritable cornucopia of vintage shops. Sadly, Moon Zoom appears to be the last honest vintage hold over offering really good options (by which I mean before 1970 and nothing new retro) and the thrift stores have gone decidedly down hill ~ those that are left.

Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions or Gail Loves Green Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions or Gail Loves Green
 Vintage gloves from Moon Zoom, $6 each

Still, Moon Zoom remains standing strong, and I showed photos of self in the I Mag black & green dress, because they might not remember me but they certainly remember that dress!

Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions or Gail Loves Green
 The I Magnum from Moon Zoom last year.

And then I waltzed out with several pairs of gloves and a pretty summery flowered number.

Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions or Gail Loves Green
I paid about $18, here they are on Amazon for $12. Sigh.

I also bought some long green opera gloves to go with said green and black dress for a different shop, and some new green shoes as well (from the infamous shoe store next to the hat shop). So cute and 1940s these are Chelsea Crew, a new brand for me.

Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions or Gail Loves Green


$60 They are a 7, and I usually wear a 7.5 so I think Chelsea Crews run a little large. 

I know, I know, such a risk trying something not Miz Mooz or Via Spiga. But they are green and I kind of have a thing for green.

I did try on these Miz Mooz in 7.5, which seem to be running true to size this season. (You never know with the Mooz.)

Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions or Gail Loves Green

Miz Mooz Women's Scarlett Pump (comes in blue, red, black brown, and purple)

I loved them in blue but they will probably end up coming home with me in red. I'm going to need a replacement for my well loved and much worn Miz Mooz red pumps in the not too distant future. My old standbys are on their last legs ~ so to speak.

Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions or Gail Loves Green

I will be sad to see them go to the great shoe store in the sky.

Anyway, so that's the loot from Santa Cruz.
  • 1 dress I didn't need, but fit too beautifully to bypass
  • 2 pair of gloves vital to replace
  • 1 pair of gloves that I wanted
  • 1 pair of gloves that were too cute to resist
  • 1 pair of shoes I'll probably get my money out of
 Now, of course, I'm thinking about a new green blouse. Since I have the shoes . . .

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

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats

<--------------- Poll still going, although I forgot about the Book Inspired Outfit posts. I hope you guys like those because they are probably going to continue.

With winter here, I'm still plugging away on these posts I prepared on Fall Essentials. So put the custard in the trifle, my dear Fashionable Reader, because you're getting them regardless of the poll results.

You will find a fashionable coat this year if it's the last thing I do! My recommendations are mostly from Modcloth, I really liked their selection this year. I wish I could comment more on their fit, but I've only gotten accessories from them. So if any of you do decide to buy from Modcloth, or have in the past, would you please let me know how they handle the Rack?

First of all, what is the one coat can't you can't wear with a Rack? Puffy.

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats

 Good, now that we've got that out the way. Here we go . . .

If you like the idea of a slim black frock coat that emphasizes the waist, you can pair it with retro looks ranging from the 1930s to the 1960s. And black really is quite sensible. Just remember you made need a nice colorful scarf near your face as black isn't kind to most complexions.

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats
1930  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats
1940 Elsa Schiaparelli  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats
New York  Christian Dior, 1950-1951  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This jacket is my pick:

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats

If you want to mix it up and not go with black, blue is a good alternative. I avoid navy, I'm just not a big fan but soft grey-blues are very vintage looking.

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats
1939  The Meadow Brook Hall Historic Costume Collection

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats
“Handsome Is” Elizabeth Hawes, 1948  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

That said, my choice is this amazing intense royal blue colored coat. It still has a nice vintage shape but the color is more modern, and it's one that looks good on almost anyone. Less harsh than black.

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats

Cream is another good option. I always think it very brave to wear cream, it's so easy to get dirty. But it certainly stands out against the sea of black at most events.

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats

I love the one above, but it is a very daring option. So far as the Rack is concerned, the short puffed sleeves draw attention away and down to the wrists, normally the most slender parts of any female form. The details at the hem also draws attention down, and there is a nice belt to emphasize the waist, and a complex collar to put some focus on the face. It actually is a really good design for the top heavy. However, unless you are a very gregarious person, I'd say this is more a second fun coat if you have the extra funds, not the daily wear beastie.

If you are tired of blue, green is also a great option. I happen to adore green.

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats

This coat design is particularly good if you are quite top heavy like me. I run 8-10 on top and 4-6 on the bottom, so a coat like this balances me out but pulling all the volume down low.

But if you are after a neutral colored coat and black is too harsh while cream is too easy to get dirty, I always suggest grey. I feel like I never see enough grey around. It comes in so many lovely shades and variations that suit basically any complexion. It's very vintage too!

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats
Pauline Trigère, 1960s  Timeless Vixen Vintage

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats
Norman Norell, 1955  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Here are two lovely options if grey is your thing, both from Modcloth.

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats

A floaty light weight number with sash belt, and a tweedy heavier coat with multiple close together buttons, yes! We with the Rack salute you!

And now, something for the characters!


For Prudence in the Parasol Protectorate Abroad series:

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats
1894 Coat, Evening, House of Worth

And for Primrose:

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats
1895-1900 Embroidered velvet coat Marshall & Snelgrove Ltd

And for someone with a bit more daring, perhaps the Queen of the Wimbledon Hive.

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats
Evening coat by Worth Paris, Shelburne Museum


And, from the upcoming Etiquette & Espionage we have the first appearance of an oufit for Bumbersnoot to wear!

Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats
1920  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger

For some reason I have been obsessed with green lately. It should come as no surprise that I wore green for two of my recent book tour events. I wore an old favorite 1940s style forest green dress at Mysterious Galaxy and one of my newer acquisitions a black dress with green fuzzy roses for Powells.

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger

The Portland outfit included an octopus necklace, typewriter key earrings, small velvet hat, and shoes with little teapots on them. I'm on the hunt for some quirky emerald green pumps.

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger
For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger

I paired the forest green with white and gold for my San Diego event. This is in contrast to previous outings when I wore it with brown, but that was fall, and this is almost Spring. The weather certainly seems to think so.

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger

I seem to be perking up and paying attention every time I see green on the runway and in the fashion magazines these days.

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger
 Egyptian Revival Necklace  1910  1stdibs.com

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger
Vanity Case  Chaumet, 1925; Vanity Case  1925; Vanity Case  Mauboussin, 1925 all Christie’s

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger

Other lovers of green . . .

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger

For the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger

For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger

I haven't done an outfit post in a while, Fashionable Reader, and I am procrastinating packing for The Move. So I thought I might do one on an old favorite . . . the green dress!

For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger

This dress looks deceptively simple and a little conservative, but that's why I love it. It has a real 1940's feel to it, although I have a sinking suspicious it's probably from the 1980s.

For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger

It's by All the Jazz and is %100 acrylic, which makes it very warm, and reminds me of the wonderful Meryn Cadell song.

Forest green is difficult (both for many complexions because it can be quite harsh, and to find matched accessories) so I tend to pair mine with chocolate brown. Although I might go for cream if all my cream accessories weren't so spring/summer. And this is definitely a fall/winter dress.

For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger

Here's the accessories I wore for the signing with Patrick Rothfass early this year.

For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger
LAMB stiletto booties, Nordstrom Rack, $50; Vintage purse Hubba Hubba, LA $35
For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger
Pen necklace, gift. Wrist muff, Chirchmouse Thrift Store, Sonoma, $15
For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger
Gloves, self-dyed; the infamous tarantula hat, from Decades of Fashion, Haight Street, $30

Sadly, one of the downsides of doing author events is that the primary interest is not (surprise, surprise) my outfit, and if I forget to take a full picture (which I often do) all I generally unearth are half shots. So here you are, wish I had full shots for you.

For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger

I adore wearing green, I'm a brunet with a sallow complexion and green eyes, so I tend to think it suits me. I also consider it "safe." Its' not as shocking or a daring as red, nor as dull and non-committal as black. Yet at any given event, almost no one else will be wearing this color (rather like royal blue). This makes green of any tone a wonderful choice if you are attending a birthday party or a wedding or a black tie event.

That said, this color and style of dress is also very very vintage. Perhaps most iconically on Jane Russell in the marvelous Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953) or Liz in Cleopatra.
For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger

But there are plenty of vintage fashion spreads and shots with this style and color.

For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger

And it's showing up for modern retro as well.

For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger
Queen Dita in two takes on green.
For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger
The Hours BBC show.

And not willing to commit to that much green? There's some amazing green based jewelry out there.

For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger
1920s jabot pin via Christie’s

What to read while wearing fashionable green? Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold.

For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger

The precursor to her Vorkosigan saga, this is an omnibus of two books featuring Miles's mother, Cordelia. It is amazingly well written and not only a wonderful sweeping Space Opera but quite romantic and sweet. The first installment is essentially a survival story on an alien world with enemies forced to survive, and uncover treachery, together. The second half is more political as Cordelia, now an outcast from her own culture, enters Vor politics in her own fierce and indomitable way.

Cordelia is witty, snarky, and tough, with an innate sense of right and wrong and true grace under fire. I'm more interested in her character than in the events leading up to Miles' birth, as I've never had the time or inclination to commit to the full (seemingly endless) Vorkosigan saga. Please don't tell me how sad this makes you, or how I should rush out and buy now now now, it's my retirement plan.

The true beauty of this omnibus is that it stands alone, and gives great insight into Bujold's brilliance.
Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions or Gail Loves Green Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats Then & Now ~ Green DressFor the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger

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