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Vintage Style In A Modern World

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Gail Carriger Wears Silver Sparkle 1950s Cocktail Dress at Phoenix Comic Con 2018


This is one of my very favorite dresses, Gentle Reader, and a marker of why I love real vintage so much. The details and the design.

Gail Carriger Wears Silver Sparkle 1950s Cocktail Dress at Phoenix Comic Con 2018

I love a sparkle cocktail dress. Just love it. I can't remember what vintage shop I bought this from, but is sure is a winner. It is a bit low in the front, even after reduction, so that's why I have the silver flower pin at the decolletage.

Outfit Details!


Silver Turban: $7
Vintage 1950s cocktail dress: Vintage shop
Silver flat sandals: Aerosoles, no longer available, similar
Stacked fake pearl necklace, similar $10
My new bright pink lippy.
(I don't like with the silver. I'm going back to the wine.)
Teapot purse: $69+ etsy
Platform sandals, by Sofft, no longer available.

Gail Carriger Wears Silver Sparkle 1950s Cocktail Dress at Phoenix Comic Con 2018

Teapot purse was a grand discovery! There are other colors!

Gail Carriger Wears Silver Sparkle 1950s Cocktail Dress at Phoenix Comic Con 2018

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

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


Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I get a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Gail Carriegr Wears a Grey Ruffled 1930s Evening Dress at Phoenix 2018


Most of the evening dresses I brought with me to Phoenix did not require proper foundation garments (although they look better with corsetry, of course, everything does).  Turns out I likely would have been OK, as inside the convention center in Phoenix it wasn't really hot at all.

Gail Carriegr Wears a Grey Ruffled 1930s Evening Dress at Phoenix 2018

I wore this in the evening so the photos are kinda dark. I've wore this dress before but this is the first time with the silver belt and I REALLY like it so much better with the belt.

Gail Carriegr Wears a Grey Ruffled 1930s Evening Dress at Phoenix 2018Gail Carriegr Wears a Grey Ruffled 1930s Evening Dress at Phoenix 2018

Somehow it looks more ruffly and vintage with the belt. (Yes they did wear belts like this at the time, and no this dress isn't vintage.)

Outfit Details!

Gail Carriegr Wears a Grey Ruffled 1930s Evening Dress at Phoenix 2018

Silver Turban: $7 (I love both the metallic and the waffle style from these people)
Silver shrug: Consignment shop, similar $16
Silver Belt: elastic, comes with a gold version for $12
Grey/gray not-vintage 1930s ruffle gown: Consignment shop
Silver flat sandals: Aerosoles, no longer available, similar
Jewelry (likely going to give this set away to the Chirrup soon, the earring are too long for me).

Gail Carriegr Wears a Grey Ruffled 1930s Evening Dress at Phoenix 2018

I'm wearing my new bright pink lippy with this dress and I don't like with the grey. I'm going back to the wine for this pallet.

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

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


Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I get a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Gail Carriger in Retro 1930s Silver Flapper Cocktail Gown at SDCC


For Friday evening of SDCC I wore one of my more comfortable dresses - a late 20s style flapper number.

Gail Carriger in Retro 1930s Silver Flapper Cocktail Gown at SDCC

Because it's not fitted and I'm a curvy lady, this isn't the most flattering of gowns, but it sure is comfy. There isn't much like it out there to recommend you buy (if you see something like this and it fits, my advice is to snap it up, always elegant and timeless.) However, there are a whole lot of fun 20s style dresses lurking about Amazon these days, here are some options. If I were in the market for a new cocktail dress I'd go for one of these.

Gail Carriger in Retro 1930s Silver Flapper Cocktail Gown at SDCC

Outfit details

Gail Carriger in Retro 1930s Silver Flapper Cocktail Gown at SDCC

Next up... more from SDCC!

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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

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.

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 Silver Sparkle 1950s Cocktail Dress at Phoenix Comic Con 2018 Gail Carriegr Wears a Grey Ruffled 1930s Evening Dress at Phoenix 2018Gail Carriger in Retro 1930s Silver Flapper Cocktail Gown at SDCCThen & Now ~ Soft Grey GownThen & Now ~ Gray Silk DressThen & Now ~ Speckled Grey DressCrudrat Kickstarter Photo Shoot with Gail Carriger Gail Carriger Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Then & Now Coats Then & Now ~ Grey Evening GownGail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

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