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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.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

I had so much fun at FenCon, even though I was only wearing one outfit a day! Usually I try to pack two (one for day and one for evening), but I wanted to travel with only carry on (and managed it!) which meant only four pairs of shoes, one extra bag, and a few outfits. This is what I wore the first day . . .

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

I had a class to teach so I went for the librarian look.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
Felt cream hat, vintage 1940s, recondition and modified with teapot button. Bon Marche Thrift Store $7. 

This hat is a relatively new acquisition, and this was its maiden voyage into the public eye. I love the slightly beret feel of it, but it fits my head perfectly, and stays on, so I can also wear it well to the back if I like, or tilted in any direction.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

Pearl and silver choker. Gift when I was a child, this is one of the very first pieces of jewelry I ever owned. I love the length, and the clasp. The earrings are from an epic score from a thrift store in Ohio. They are modern (well, relatively, probably the 80s) and I love the little bows. All are fake pearls ~ I prefer costume jewelry tot eh real thing, I'm less stressed about it.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

Jean Paul Richard knit top, modern. A lovely soft drapey knit, with nice detailed sleeves, which I have said before, I love. I got it at a consignment shop for about $15. I'm really into teal these days.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

My ubiquitous cream bag. I usually pin an octopus broach over the bow, because, why not? It's ubiquituous because I often wear cream accessories, and it's a very good shape and size. It is vintage, but labelless. It has a bright plaid interior with working zipper pocket and very few stains. Can't ask for much more out of a vintage leather bag, can you? I got it at Moon Zoom in Santa Cruz for $30. Worth every penny.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

Textured patterned Via Spiga peep-toe pumps, Nordstrom Rack $40. I adore these shoes. They were the first Via Spigas I ever owned and launched my love affair with the brand, and a general preference for Italian shoes. Italian shoes seem, on the whole, to be slightly narrower with more arch support than those made in other parts of the world. I like to say that most of me is either British or Danish but somehow I got Italian feet.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

BCBG fish tail pencil skirt in a light weight material window-pain plaid, grey with teal and blue accents. The paid is faint enough to be almost neutral and it's basically grey, a color I adore. BCBG made several of them in various different materials. I bought this one and a brown-based plaid. I paid good money for them at an outlet mall, around $50 each. But they are fully lined, fit me beautifully, and do amazing things to my bottom, even though I don't have much of one. Fish tails are like that. Unlike a vintage skirt, this skirt sits below the waist, not at it, so tucking in a top is out (even if I were a tucker, which I'm not), hence I often pair it with knitwear. The plaid pattern on the bottom can widen and emphasize so best to avoid if you are pear shaped. Since I am top heavy, I prefer to place the emphasis down bellow, pulling attention away from the Rack.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

Teaching in the outfit. I move around a great deal when I teach, so I kicked off my shoes. I know, I know, bad form. But I get excited about these things.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid SkirtGail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
Early 1940's plaid skirts.

I am a huge fan of grey as a neutral. People so often go for black when grey can be such a lovely and softer alternative. Like black, grey goes with practically anything, but unlike black you can find different tones of grey to suite any complexion from dove (which is soft with slight spring blue tints) to steel (which is darker with a harsh winter feel).

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
Jean Dessès dress ca. 1949 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
Jean Dessès dress ca.1953 via The Victoria & Albert Museum

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
1960s Norman Norell cape via 1stdibs.com

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
Dior grey skirt and knit top and early predilection for the LA-based teeny-tiny dog accessory.

Finally we have a couple of dresses for Alexia ~ one in plaid and the other grey.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
1878 via The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
1870s walking suit via The Indianapolis Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
Gail Carriger WEars Steampunk Light, Outfits in New Zealand 2015Gail Carriger in Plaid in Palo AltoGail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

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