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Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco

So Etiquette & Espionage (my new YA book and the first in a four book series) launched into the world on Tuesday night. The organizers of the event said they woudl love it if I would wear something steampunk. I was left with a bit of a quandary. With Nova Albion around the corner, a local steampunk event thus allowing me to pack and wear ALL my favorite steampunk outfits and ALL their companion parasols (YES!!), I didn't want to wear one of those to this event. Too much repeat in too story a time. Plus I needed something I could drive in that was a little more casual. I'm rather chuffed with myself for concocting this outfit:

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San FranciscoGail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
Outfit front & back

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San FranciscoGail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
 Outfit side shots

I started with my Fashioned By Flobért gold robe carriage dress (which might, more properly, be called a coach dress) with buttons all the way up the front.

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San FranciscoGail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
 The dress hanging, and at World Con in Reno in 2011

The dress is stained and slightly faded, in a heavy satin. This makes it only suitable for low-light late evening events, and warm, and in ever great need of ironing. I bought it on sale for $10, it needed repairs and new buttons all up the front. I have a great source for vintage buttons in Petaluma and I sourced 32 abalone shell replacements for $10 plus narrowing every single button hole. It was quite the task. I do like the architectural details in the bodice. I'm now in possession of a nice wide belt, which I'll be wearing with it in future when it's not all steampunked. It did steampunk nicely though, didn't it?



Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco

It actually has a bit of a train, so the front hem is shorter than the back, which shows off the shoes and looks ever so slightly bustle-like with the waist cinch. It's very robe like, not surprising as it turns out Fashioned By Flobért was mainly a boudoir designer.

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San FranciscoGail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco

Similar styles:
Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San FranciscoGail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
 1930s Elsa Schiaparelli  Kerry Taylor Auctions; 1970s Halston  1stdibs.com

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
 1940s Dress  Charles James for Elizabeth Arden  The Frock

I paired my Flobert with patchwork boots and long dark red vintage gloves inherited from my Grandmother.

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
The boots, Kenneth Cole, from Buffalo Exchange, Berkeley some 20 years ago, $20. 
I was so poor at the time my best friend bought them for me.

I also wore this little octopus necklace. I like to have octopus on my person somewhere.

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
Adorable octopus necklace, gift from a reader

The hat from my Autumn steampunk outfit, and when I'm not facing a windy San Francisco night I susually perch it far forward on my head.

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San FranciscoGail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
Signing with the hat and a perched spinner from VivianWestwood SS runway

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San FranciscoGail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
Christian Dior Haute Couture 2010 and a very cool hat on one of the guest!

I was reminded of this recent photo shoot in Restoration Hardware.

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco

Along with the accessories I wore my custom stripped Dark Garden pointed waist cinch as a Swiss Waist with Ruby Blackbird Corset buttons to make it look more belt like. I was drawing on this kind of thing for inspiration.

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San FranciscoGail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
 1910-1915 Motoring Ensemble, The FIDM Museum; 1896-1899  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San FranciscoGail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
 1900 Ball Gown  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; screen cap from the Pallisers

So there you have it! Another event, another outfit.

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco

Before you ask, the waist cinch is 22" but I don't have it laced fully down.

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco

Something in this vein for the characters?


For Professor Briathwope in Etiquette & Espionage:

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
1850s Men’s Dressing Gown  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Ivy:
Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
1885  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Prudence:

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
1895 Dress  Museo del Traje

Gail Carriger Gold Steampunk in San Francisco
By Cake Central member CakeDiva11

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

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs

I love cuff bracelets, particularly the ones you can squeeze shut. 

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs

I have these little boney wrists (the only thing boney about me ~ well, and my nobly ankles) and bangles never ever fit me. I know I could take links out but I'm terribly lazy. A nice flexible cuff is wonderful and I'm seeing these fab graphic styles all over the place.
Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
 Pierre Hardy cuff via vogue.it

 I'm hoping the style trickles into Target and JC Penny and the like in the not too distant future. (I am very fickle in my jewelry taste, so I tend to buy cheap and costume so I don't curse myself for the expence when I suddenly go off a piece, loose it, or get bored with it.)

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
 $15 from a consignment shop

In fact, I have a mad passion for those cheep elasticized bracelets because they are the only ones that fit properly. I also love the stretchy rings because I can wear them on my bare hands or over a glove.

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
Ring, $6, It's a Wrap, Burbank

 But we were talking about cuffs. I also think they are very elegant and slimming and make for a great unexpected statement piece. So many opt for the necklace for an event but I think a cuff can make for a very nice touch.

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs

I tend to think a solid shine cuff is a little too wonder woman, and you shoudl be wary of wearing one on each wrist for the same reason.

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs

So I like the cut through better, and one large one, on one wrist.

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
Jessica Ricci Abundant French Lace Cuff Bracelet at jessicariccijewelry.com

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
Pamela Love cuff visit pamelalovenyc.com

And some cuff inspired other jewelry:

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
Watch.

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
Boot thingies from the runway.

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
Shoes.

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
Earrings. 

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
Marc by Marc Jacobs

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
Necklace.

And something metallic for Sophronia to wear.

Gail Carriger is Currently Craving ~ Cuffs
Afternoon Dress  1848  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger
 I like this photo because you can also see me taking it. Gold necklaces, cloak clasps, and bracelets from the Iron Age.
British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger
Some amazing Torques from Iron age Europe, most hoard recoveries. I like the last ones in particular, they look like they might make for some very nice candlesticks.

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger
Silver from the same time and place. This reminds me of my preferences in jewelry when I was around 10.

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger

Amazing gold cloak, I kept the bottom of the image in so you could see someone wearing it. I would imagine it was worn over a cloak.

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger
More amazing gold jewelry, the ancients sure loved their gold.

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger
Some pretty beaded items from the Egyptian collection.

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger
Islamic broach.

I was so inspired by my trip that on the walk back to the tube after tea that afternoon I just might have spotted a little open air vintage market. And I just might have wandered in and found a rather chic 1960s mod almost Egyptian inspired Lucite necklace.

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger

I also went through my collection to select a few that reminded me of my BM visit.

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger
Fake gold costume jewelry from the 1950s earrings and broach (earrings used to be twist clips I replaced with hooks)

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger
Lapiz necklace, gift from my Grandmother, possibly from the 1920s.

British Museum Jewelry: Gold Torques and so much more! from Gail Carriger
Beaded necklace from the 1980s.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
Photographed by the incomparably wonderful Vanessa Applegate

Saffron, Marigold, Yellow Gold, Bright Mustard, whatever you wish to call it this is a dress that only 5 or so years ago I would never have purchased. I was very much against yellow and orange, but particularly yellow. For no good reason, Fashionable Reader, I just was. I have a rather sallow complexion and I tend to feel that yellow makes me look jaundiced. In fact, this particular shade tends to make me a little on the pink side. Shocking in a freckled individual who can not blush.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
Deanna Hoak, Eddie Schneider, Gail Carriger at the REno WorldCon Parties

Don't tell, but possibly the most shocking thing about this dress as that due to the nature of the scoop neckline, I cannot wear a bra with it. But the bodice is well lined, stiff, and structured, so I like to hope you can't tell. Initially I am very self conscious in such a condition, with a Rack like mine, braless is a near sacrilegious term. But it works.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

This dress has become one of my very favorite. It's one of those on the long list of "save if from fire!" I can't remember where I bought it or how much I paid (knowing me, no ore that $50) and it has no label, but my guess would be late 1950s early 60s from the silhouette and pleating. However, the length of the skirt might push it back in time.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Of course, I have discussed gold previously, but this dress is such a different tone and style from the Flobért. Here is a little retrospective on the this color . . .


Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
A dress for Alexia 1880 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1939 Valentina dress via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1950s dress via Timeless Vixen Vintage
Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
1956 Norman Norell ensemble via The Indianapolis Museum of Art

I like to pair mine with cream, and a little faus fur cape I picked up from H&M for $15 a few years back.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Here I am boosing it up at Reno (and a suggested scent for the occasion, Manderine Tea Perfume). It was Saturday party night so I went a little eccentric and paired the dress with my orange plaid glasses, yes, you read that right, and a velvet shell decorated evening hat my mother purchased for me from an auction for my birthday last year.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
The label is very difficult to read but it think it says, Ínarthe 12, Rue de la Paix, Paris.

The peachy orange velvet is not a color that I have in my wardrobe, but it went well enough and I wanted to wear something a little outrageous for the big party night. Back to the cape. Adding it gives the dress a particularly reto feel.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
Knit cape from 1964, and 1950s dress via Timeless Vixen Vintage

 Especially as, right now, this kind of cut (only shorter) is considered quite modern and the color is very on trend.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011



So, what to read with the marigold dress?

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Sharon Green's Hellhound Magic, is the second book in her Far Side of Forever series. Sadly, the series was never finished (so far as I can tell) but this book has a satisfactory ending. It is written from the first person perspective of Laciel, one of the most powerful sorceress in existence, who is a bit of an unreliable narrator. Like many of Green's books the complex fantasy world (or, in this case, worlds) is interwoven with an equally complex love affair. It can get frustrating – if the two only communicated once in a while! – but I can't help but adore Rik and root for this shape-changer to win over his stubborn all-powerful love. You all know I have a weakness for big gruff shape-changers and the stubborn women they adore. I'm not saying my adoration of this trope is sourced in Green, but she certainly colored my formative High School years.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way

Darling Fashionable Reader, while I await more pictures from Reno I present to you the latest of my occasional series on seasonal trends. The idea is to take a look at some of the styles presented on the runway and suggest how they might be adapted to a retro pallet and more womanly figure.

Trend #1: Bright Trousers
I don't wear trousers very often. Contrary to popular belief I do wear them, but generally only to travel or when I am moving house or working in the field. I would take this trend and translate it to a bright colored pencil skirt, possibly a leather one.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
L ~ R: Street Style in San Francisco blog; runways 2009; Tuppence Haypenny blog
I've shown three different lengths. As you can see, the above-the-knee is worn with flats, which I believe is fine, but the bellows are with heels. The first skirt is a marigold color and velvet, two other 2011 Fall trends.

Trend #2: Working Girl Dress
I might, from my retro perspective, call this a Day Dress, but Working Girl works well enough. I love this trend. I'm a big fan of this kind of dress ~ sleeves, nice slightly flowing skirt and a belt of cinch. It's flattering on any figure. If you are going to go for a print, opt for something smaller and geometric, as seen above, that's universally more flattering than a larger more complicated pattern.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
It's a quintessentially vintage style. I don't really have a dress like this, not one in a pattern or light color. Perhaps I should at it to the shopping list?
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
A slightly fuller skirt gives a more 1950's look, while an A-line is more 1940s or 1970s. In both of the above images I'd go for an inch or so shorter skirt than pictured ~ especially if you are a curvy girl. With the skirt a little shorter you can wear flats and it doesn't look dowdy. In the left image above, she paired her day dress with a felt hat and a skinny belt giving the look a slightly modern twist without loosing the vintage appeal. Also, the felt hat takes what is essentially a Spring pattern into Autumn.
The best thing about investing in this trend? You have a dress you a bling up with some metallics and wear to a wedding. Double duty = always good.
Alexia's version?

It's a little early in time for Alexia, but this is a classic Victorian Day Dress. (The term Day Dress early on covered both Walking and Visiting Dresses. These later became separated as the popularity of displaying oneself by sashaying through Hyde Park and along the promenades of Bath gave way to ever fancier Walking Dresses and then Promenade Gowns. The term Day Dress evolved to describe a dress that was rather more sober and plain, but in a good elegant way. Ladies of the church, for example, favored Day Dresses.)

Trend #3: Choker Necklaces
This one is easy to make vintage. Vintage jewelry trends are fascinating. I can say, as an archaeologist, that the choker is one of the first necklaces we ever see. While necklace design shifts along with everything else over time, the length is often all over the place. A deco style necklace (for example) will be made to go with a range of different necklines and so vary in lenght, also, if valuable it is kept and worn much longer than a dress, and it can be both shortened and lengthened as required.
I tend to think you can't go wrong with pearls. And don't feel you have to buy the real deal, most of my jewelry started life in Target. It could get lost at any time, why pay out bank? Save your money for good shoes.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
That said, my favorite choker pieces are all inherited and authentic if not Real.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
A choker is a great excuse to put a nice pop of color near your face (as is a scarf, for that matter), particularly if you are one of those ladies who opts for black often. Black washes out almost everyone, it's terrible for the complexion. A nice bright choker brings color to the face and attention away from the rack.

Trend # 4: Old Gold
Or in some cases marigold (which has a bit more orange/yellow to it).
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
This is already a very vintage color, what I think is difficult is how to make it modern. Many struggle with how to pair accessories with a metallic or a strong yellow dress. Most are accustomed to fielding gold as an accessory, not a main. You don't have to do it as a full dress, you can combine this trend with Trend #1, and use gold as your bright bottom half, particularly if you aren't certain whether the yellow tones will work with your complexion and hair. (I tend to wear my marigold dress only when my hair color is a dark brown or chestnut, anything lighter and I feel it doesn't work well on me.)
Marigold is a very strong color that not everyone can wear. I tend to think solid black with marigold is too harsh and favor cream or white.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Cream will give a very vintage feel to the outfit. Steel grey or blues, patterned tights, sharp industrial silver jewelry, will all work to modernize an outfit, but can be risky if the tones are off.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
In the end, if you're (understandably) leery of this color but still want to give it a try, stick to accessorizing with it.
And now moving swiftly on from the yellow family, which so many find so trying, we come to a far more acceptable color for Fall 2011 . . .

Trend #5: Jade Green
I myself tend to wear a forest green, but I actually believe jade green is a much better color on most people. Forest green can be very harsh, I usually have to pile on the make up. I don't happen to own any jade green, but I wouldn't say no, that's certain.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Jade green has a clean clarity too it, but it isn't a very vintage color. I hunted about for images and while I found a wide range of greens nothing came up that I would qualify as jade.
Even if you can't find a jade, I support green! And I think you can do the whole dress in this color. You can accessorize it with cream, most shades of brown, white, gold, silver, even marigold if you feel very daring.
The next trend is one that has been hanging out for a while now but it must be addressed regardless . . .

Trend #6: Maxi Skirts
Whatever you do DON'T wear it like it's pictured above on the runway. The very last thing a curvy girl needs is all that extra material and bulk paired with an over-sized chunky knit! I don't know about you, but I end up looking like an Earth Mother Type whose wandered off of a commune or Mormon compound or Amish farm or Convent or something. All that's left is Birkenstocks and rice cakes and hemp cord belts and shell jewelry and . . . oh the tragedy . . . the horror . . . flames . . . flames around my eyes . . . burning . . . Sorry, I was spiraling there.
Here's one late 1940s maxi I managed to track down. Retro look? Yes. Good for curves? No. Again, too much fabric down below and don't even get me started on boxy tops, that's a whole other rant.
So what to do if you have the rack or the hips and you want to rock a maxi skirt? Go further back in time, Fashionable Reader, to the 1930s and early 1940s.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Keep the fabric to a minimum and go for something less full and more A-line. If you are shorter in stature avoid hems that brush the floor, it'll just look like you borrowed your mother's skirt, try something that just shows your shoes, ending at the top of the foot. Similarly, if you are very tall, go in the opposite direction and sweep the floor, baby. Tall ladies, be careful not to pick an ankle length skirt, it'll look like you need to let down your hem. Here are a few modern options.
We're just looking at the skirts, mind you, not the rest of the outfits. Shudder. Pair with a nice fitted jacket, retro knit top, or tailored blouse that ends at the waist for the most proportional maxi look. It'll seem like your legs go on for days. You can do a fitted tunic as well, for that flowy alternative 1930s thing, but for the love please not a baggy top or boyfriend blazer as seen in the first two images above. I also rather like the maxi with a few soft folds, hides all sins . . .
But not too many folds and not too stiff a material, and please pair with a very fitted top. The 1930s also gave us the maxi satin evening skirt. Satin is always a risk as it can show every little bump (try velvet instead) but this kind of skirt is a nice alternative to having to hunt for a formal dress for a wedding.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
In velvet or satin this skirt is the height of formality. Wear it with a little cropped blazer (even a ladies tux coat for the Madame Lefoux touch) or a wrap jacket and it is entirely appropriate to any formal event, including an evening wedding. Bonus: you can get away with ballet flats AND you don't have to shave your legs!
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
I did end up buying a black jersey maxi skirt this year, mainly for slouching about the house in, and possibly for airline travel. It's very comfy. Mine came on sale from Max Studio and has a slight a-symmetricality to it. It's tight at the top and looser lower down making it the love child of fish-tail and an a-line.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
There is something to be said for comfort and elegance when traveling.

Trend #7: Tartan!
Plaid! I love plaid. Plaid is good. I have discussed my love of plaid before. For Fall 2011 we see tartan is all over the runway. But Miss Gail, you may well ask, how is tartan different from other plaids?
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
The Check Family: Windowpane = tones of 2 colors, fainter stripes; check = two bold colors, little or no striations or heathering; tartan (usually) 3 or more colors, multiple stripes.
Now where was I? Of yes, love of plaid.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Here's that dress I love so well from a shoot for Locus Magazine. Someone wanted to see it with the big sleeves, here it is!
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Now and then: 2011 Burberry Prorsum and 1950s wiggle dress
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Of course I'm going to recommend a cape. Were you somehow in doubt of this?
Moving on, only 2 more to go!

Trend #8: Slits
Yes there is some retro connection to the slitted pencil skirt, but I tend to avoid this look. Frankly it comes of as kind of trashy.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
I tend to prefer a kick pleat.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
A very retro option is to go for a slitted tunic instead. Just an idea. Here's a lovely version from J. Peterman.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way

Trend #9: Maxi Coat
Otherwise know as the duster, because it dusts the floor. In my world there is no better coat. If you can find a nice, slim cut, fitted, single-breasted duster, in a good quality material you have your Investment Coat. This is the coat you drop bank on and keep for the rest of your life. I have a New Zealand lamb-leather duster that I adore, soft as butter and incredibly La Femme Nikita (major thrift score brand new $50). I also have a very warm pale pink fish tail duster I picked up on Height Street for well over $100, but it's gorgeous and so warm.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Maxi coats have been around a long time, beautiful velvet one.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
So far as the rack is concerned, I would tend to avoid double-breasted, too much additional material up top. However, it is a more retro feel. The first coat above, while begin a double, has the button rows very close together and a smaller collar which makes it far more flattering.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
And, you don't have to go with black. Not everyone risks pink the way I do, but a nice camel or cream or dove grey makes for a great neutral alternate, and then you can wear everything else black without having to worry about looking like you are off to a funeral. Or you can be daring and go with red.
I can't let the duster go without putting in a steampunk mention. While I generally don't like a double-breasted coat, changing out the buttons for metallics can give a relatively plain jacket some real steampunk / pirate flare.
A word on maxi swing coats. Very dangerous, you can look like a tent. Be werry werry careful . . .
In the end, if you can find the perfect duster, of all the Fall 2011 trends, this is the one you should invest in. But make certain it is the perfect maxi coat for your figure and climate. These coats will be around forever, you can wait to find the right one.
Want to have fun with your winter coat this year and stay on trend? I'm going to say it, you know I am, opt for a cheaper fun cape instead. So much cuteness.

In addition to the fashions discussed above, I also spotted the following on the Fall 2011 runways:
  • lots of leather and black
  • opaque tights
  • shorts with tights and boots
  • capes 
And now, my darlings, I am exhausted. Have lovely weekends, and I hope I have inspired you to play with some of the up coming trends.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Still want more? Runway Daily's report on Fall 2011, and Fab Sugar's take. Both Prada and Miu Miu are going retro for Fall! Yes!

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion

And now, for your viewing pleasure, Fashionable Reader, the day-by-day outfit log from Reno. I'll do a breakdown of outfits as soon as more photos start to filter in, and I did miss photographing one dress from the first night, but all-in-all I remembered to pigeon-hole someone to take a full body picture ~ hat to stilettos ~ every time. Of which I am inordinately proud. I have learned that it is best to ask a female to do it (remembers the shoes) or when someone approaches me to photograph for themselves to thrust my camera upon them.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Thursday, Day

Sorry for the blurry. Red dress with white acessories, photographed by Francesca Myman of Locus Magazine with senior editor Liza Trombi photo-bombing me ~ much to general giggles. I like to start out a convention with red, it makes a nice powerful impression. However, the shoes were a mistake, especially without stockings. I had blisters to baby for the rest of the con. Sigh, always go with leather.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Thursday, Evening

Briefly put in an appearance at the Girl Genius ball, mostly to play homage to Phil & Kaja.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Friday, Day

Switched out what I had planned to wear as these are my most comfortable shoes when blisters are in play (yes, better than flats), and because I was going to be interviewed for SF Book Club. Red pattern reads better on film than white knit, particularly on The Rack.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Friday, Evening

For the parties I slipped on my 1940's robe dress. I substituted my favorite sandals for the dark brown 40's style T-straps, again because of the blisters. The dress was a little warm for the parties, but they weren't all that crowded, so it worked out fine.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Saturday, Day

I tend to call this my pea green dress, but we realized that night it was actually wasabi green. I opted for flats, as this was my busiest day, which I really will only do for dresses with full skirts.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Saturday, Evening

This is one of my favorite dresses of all time. It's a little tight over the rack and requires I go (gasp) bra-less, but sometimes a girl's got to sacrifice for such a rich color and amazing cut. I didn't wear this to the Hugos, but I wanted to put my best foot forward on the last night of parties.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Sunday, Day

This is a modern skirt, nice because it's synthetic and doesn't wrinkle. Skirts I can buy modern, it's tops and dresses that never fit me. This one has a faint blue pinstripe. While it is a little boring, I keep it in the closet because it travels so well and has a matched jacket and pants, all of which fit! The knit top is vintage.

Today's secret tip?

As I did in the above outfit, you can fasten your blouse to the waistband of the skirt (from the inside, of course) at the seams of both sides with safety pins. Then you don't have to spend all day tugging and rearranging.
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