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Vintage Style In A Modern World

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Gail Carriger at NCIBA in Black & Green

Friday I made a brief appearance at the NCIBA.  (That's the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association.) I was going to wear the marigold cocktail dress, but as it was the evening in San Francisco I thought it might be too cold. Then I thought I might wear the forest green drape dress, but I thought that might be too hot inside the event.

Gail Carriger at NCIBA in Black & GreenGail Carriger at NCIBA in Black & Green

 So I ended up choosing the black with green roses cocktail number.

Gail Carriger at NCIBA in Black & Green

Paired it with black (or black and green) accessories and my Timeless pumps.

Gail Carriger at NCIBA in Black & Green

I was delighted to see some familiar faces, and to meet new people. Writing a YA book opens up all sorts of new bookstores to a girl, and that was truly exciting.

Gail Carriger at NCIBA in Black & Green

It turns out the forest green would not have been too hot, because it was quite cold in the NCIBA room (and later out in SF). But I do love this dress, so in the end I'm happy I wore it. After NCIBA I infiltrated SF in SF to meet up with Ken Scholes & Andrew Mayer for some writer schmoozing.

Sadly, the dress may have died the good death for this one last appearance. The zipper went as I was undressing later that night. I don't do zippers, I just don't. So I am passing it off to the Mum to see if she can perhaps fix it over the winter months. We shall see.

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

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green

After a day spent in the cream, brown and blue dress, I changed into my black and green i.magnin for the Eisner Awards ceremony.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & GreenGail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green


Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green

I paired it with black, as usual, for I still have not found the perfect green shoes, clutch, and gloves.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green
Proenza Schouler Tiki stingray clutch at barneys.com


I'm looking, but that emerald green is scarce on the ground. I did, however pick up an adorable feather green and black headpiece at the Alameda Vintage Fair a few months back and with the addition of a broach to one side am rather pleased with the resulting look.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & GreenGail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & GreenGail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green

The necklace is hanging woonky, but its a lucite piece I found on my last trip to london at a little fleemarket near St. Charles. I'm not happy with my current earring options to go with so that might have to get added to the list.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green
 Hair Ornament  Mid-19th century  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Back to the hair feather thingy. Above is a vintage look that kind of had the same feel to me. Almost cabaret, or something.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green

This black and green dress is a tulip style, which can be flawed as it often adds bulk to the hips. Since I'm top heavy I rather like this feature as I think it balances me out. It's better with heels though.

And for the characters?


Something for Sophronia in the Finishing School series. 

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green
1850-1855 Evening Dress The Metropolitan Museum of Art

And this could be a drawing of her.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green
Toussaint Fernand-The_Green_Dress

Something for her friend Dimity, who is a bit more flashy and loves velvet.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green
1855-1857  The Victoria & Albert Museum

That's it for now! Still more Comic Con outfits to come.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & Green

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 in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

I never considered green one of my colors, but I was never offended by it either. I spent many years violently opposed to pink, yellow, and orange and simply not wearing green. But a few years ago I picked up this green dress.

Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

I tend to call it my Pea Green, but during Reno the boys dragged me to All You Can Eat Sushi at which it was decided it was really Wasabi green.

Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

I can't remember where I got it or how much I paid for it, possibly 23 Skidoo for about $25. For Reno I paired it with cream, and wore it with flats. Again, me and the swingy skirt rule (flats with a full skit, heels with a pencil). And I donned my crochet gloves and cream hat with the magnetic attachment allowing for a blue and green flower.

Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
BP shoes from Nordstrom $70, cream snake textured belt from Target $15, net gloves from Bon Marche Thrift store $2.

In the past I have paired this dress with black. It's amazing how different the dress looks with just a switch in accessories. Here I am at Literary Orange at UC Irvine with the Kollin brothers.

Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Green, particularly a nice bright green like this, is another one of those colors I would urge you not to be frightened of. There usually is a tone to suit any complexion. It has a lovely cheerfulness about it without being as cheerful as yellow, as aggressive as red, as cutie as pink, or as safe as blue.

Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
Christian Dior 1947 via The Victoria & Albert Museum; 1941 Fashion plate; late 1950s picnic dress; Vogue 1960 cover.

As you can see (above middle) this bright green is sometimes paired with red. I'm not certain I would have the courage to do that. I tend to be rather safe with my accessories and go for neutrals with a bright main, only pairing red accessories with neutral dresses.

Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Green, it's not just for redheads anymore . . . Joan on madman sports green relatively frequently.

Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
Alexia's version! 1868 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

And now, back to work with me.

Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011


Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
Gail Carriger's French Outfits: Green Day Dress VariationGail Carriger's Office Inspires FashionGail Carriger at NCIBA in Black & GreenGail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Night Two Black & GreenThen & Now ~ Green Day DressThen & Now ~ Green DressThen & Now ~ GreenFor the Love of Wearing Green by Gail Carriger For Love of a Forest Green Dress by Gail Carriger Gail Carriger in a Green Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

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