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Vintage Style In A Modern World

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DYI Special Bonus ~ Gail Carriger Makes A Silly Hat out of a Crochet Petit Fours

So when I was in Portland on book tour a little while ago, I had two signings back-to-back in the same location, Fashionable Reader. Don't ask. Some adorable young ladies met me the first night and we got to chatting about knitting and crochet. Well, off they went and the next night returned only to present me with the cutest little crochet petit fours.

DYI Special Bonus ~ Gail Carriger Makes A Silly Hat out of a Crochet Petit Fours

Well, I loved them and they made appearances at several tea events as decorative table elements. Then I saw this advertisement:

DYI Special Bonus ~ Gail Carriger Makes A Silly Hat out of a Crochet Petit Fours

I was inspired! What else to do with a fiber art petit four but turn it into a hat!

DYI Special Bonus ~ Gail Carriger Makes A Silly Hat out of a Crochet Petit Fours

So I took the larger of the two, some button thread, and a hairband I picked up for cheap at Ross and just stitched it on.

DYI Special Bonus ~ Gail Carriger Makes A Silly Hat out of a Crochet Petit Fours

I must say that the hat was very much admired at Comic Con and this is my new favorite thing. I have a whole collection of headbands from Ross and my new instinct whenever I see a silly object is . . . can I make a tiny hat out of it? I'm getting very Ivy-ish in my old age in wanting to put everything on my head.

DYI Special Bonus ~ Gail Carriger Makes A Silly Hat out of a Crochet Petit Fours

See a silly object? Just ask yourself. What would Ivy do? Forget Tim Gunn's "Make it Work." Make it into a hat!

DYI Special Bonus ~ Gail Carriger Makes A Silly Hat out of a Crochet Petit Fours

And then drink tea wearing it, of course!

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

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger


I always called them skimmers, although I understand a more common term is boaters.

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger

 Made popular by the Oxford and Cambridge set these hats had their heyday in menswear in the 1920s.

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger

I own this cute little navy straw one, sadly I don't have much occasion to wear it.

Women have often donned this pretty little straw hat. Here are a few examples.

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger
 1905 summer day dress of pin-striped cotton

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger
1930 Grey Skimmer

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger
 1940 Elsa Schiaparelli The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger
 1940s Skimmers (via Tuppence Ha'penny by Charlotte) worn two different ways pushed to the back and perched forward.

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger
1945

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger
Audry in a skimmer

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger
1955 dress

How about a few retro takes?

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger
 Charlotte of Tuppence Ha'penny in two pencil skirt looks.

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger

The cool thing about the skimmer? It's back in fashion right now and it can be worn with any look you'd like.

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger


The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger


The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger

The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger The Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger

More on the history of skimmers.

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

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

Some new hats have come into my life recently, Fashionable Reader. They are very silly.

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies
No, not quite that silly.

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies
This one is hard to see when it's not on but it's one of those follies (or fancies) that is on a band, has net, a silly bow, and black feathers. I look forward to wearing it soon with one of my black and white outfits. It looks a little bit like this when it is on:

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

I'm strangely excited about it. It may come to ComicCon with me.

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

Here's one that started out black and white but I changed the dots to red, I thought it would be more useful that way. It's very spiky and outrageous. Both of these were gifts from my Mum, I believe she found them at Ross.

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

For this one, the tiny hat portion was a gift and the decorating and feather poof were my own additions. It has an almost Renaissance noblewoman feel to it. I think it's going to become one of my steampunk hats, it will travel better than the tiny top hats and so be more useful for distance conventions.

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

Speaking of tiny, this one is about two inches wide. It's on a little hair clip and was made for me as a gift from my grade school art teacher. (She is one of the teachers I thank in my forward to the first Finishing School book.) I love it because, apart for the emotional connection, it really will pack well. These days, everything is about packing. Here is one about the same size:

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies





And here are a few other silly hats, just because . . .

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies
 1943
Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies
 1949
Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

Happy four day work-week to all the US readers. I hope you had lovely weekends.



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

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting

I kind of love netting on a hat. I've no logical explanation for this, I just do. It's the veiled mystery, or something. Anyway, they've been showing up on the Fall runways. Jill sander put a netted beenie up on hers. Which, honestly, is a little too peculiar even for me. But I adore a vintage or retro hat with a bit of netting for style. I get used to the slight obstruction to my vision pretty quickly. But then I spent the 80s with that deep side part hair over one eye look, so . . .

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting
1938 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I have only two netted hats in my collection, and one can be worn with or without the netting. I do have the netting to add to some of the other hats, but this is strangely difficult to do, much harder than one would think.

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting

In the "Tarantula" hat. It's made of three prongs of brown fur and a velvet bow, and looks a little like part of a fuzzy spider perched on ones head, with netting. I love it, of course. It's a vintage find from Decades of Fashion on Height Street in San Francisco. They aren't cheap. I think I paid about $40 for this tiny thing.

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting

I do sort of love the idea of a tiny follie of a hat with netting coming off of it. Or even, no hat at all.

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with NettingGail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with NettingGail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting

Of course it is more common to have a larger follie, one that perches forward with the net coming off of it. Netting shows up on vintage hats of all different shapes and sizes. Here are some 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s examples.

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with NettingGail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting

And lastly, one for Prudence to wear . . .

Gail Carriger Talks Hats with Netting
Riding Hat 1905 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger

I love hats. I know there aren't many of us hat lovers left in this world, Fashionable Reader, and this makes me sad. Often I yearn for the days of matched hats, purse, and gloves, when a lady didn't go out in public without looking her best. Of course, this also meant hours in the salon and an, essentially, useless life. But the hats!

What commenters have asked me in the past is to write more about when and where a hat is appropriate, and how to pair them with outfits. This is hard information to impart, but I shall do my best.

I'm starting with my felt hat collection because it is winter and it is easier to get away with a felt hat in winter. Felt hats, in general, are better for evening wear and late afternoon to evening weddings. Color and decoration also plays a role, and the different hat styles give an aura of different retro time periods. Selecting a hat shape is a little like choosing glasses or getting a haircut.

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger

The Cloche

Definitely a cold weather item. You have to be cautious with the cloche, many face shapes have a hard time carrying off this much head coverage. Trust your instincts. I tend to think heart and oval shaped faces can carry this hat off best. If your face is too round, you can end up with a lamentably bowling ball look. But not always, this will also ride on your facial features. Also whether the cloche has a brim or not. Color is also key as there is little hair between the hat and your complexion, so choose with care. I rarely wear my black cloche without a lot of makeup.

An undecorated cloche, like the ones above is more casual and day wear, I wouldn't wear one to a wedding unless heavily decorated. The best thing about a cloche? It's your solution to a bad hair day.It will give you a 1920s ~ 1930s look.

Pair this hat with menswear-inspired looks or classic 1930s style knitwear.

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger


The Pork Pie

This hat has certain advantages. It can be found big or small, and it can be seated towards the front or the back of the head, tilted at a jaunty angle or worn straight on. It works for either day or evening (although if black I'd pair it with a bright color for day) and is formal enough for a wedding. It will, as a rule, elongate the face, so keep that in mind. If you have a long oval face this hat is probubly not for you. However, it does have a very retro feel, and it has yet to be embraced for any kind of modern aesthetic. So wear it and you will have the aura of the 1950s - 1960s about you. Also your hair should be done, it doesn't look good with long loose hair (with the exception of the utterly mod pixie cut). You'll probubly need a hatpin.

Pair this hat with girly 1950s full skirt dresses or prim pencil skirts and pencil dresses for the Mad Men secretary look. 

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger

The Beret

Berets, even with Prince in on the action, will always give one a bit of the French chic, if you ask me. I vastly prefer a felt beret to a cloth one. I like the more sculpted look and because my hair is short, felt hats stay in place better. I almost always wear mine tilted. And I am just as likely to wear it with a modern outfit as a vintage one.

I think these hats are timeless. The are cold weather hats, though, and they don't actually provide much warmth. They are a little casual for a wedding or evenign event but paired with the right formal attire one might get away with it.

Pair with a-line skirts (not too short or you head into school-girl territory!) and striped tops for ultra French chic, or with wide sailor pants and metal buttons for a slight military table. Also looks nice with print and knit dresses.

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger

The Drape

The best thing about this hat is that is sticks close to your head, like a hairband, and thus I believe most any face shape can carry it off. It comes in a range of sizes, I prefer one that hugs the crow so it won't fall off.

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger

I tend to think of this hat as ranging over time, but most of the images I found were from the 1950s. I wear my red one a lot as it also packs easily, and I love red accessories. I adore this hat so much I don't confine it to any season or time or occasion. I don't wear it when it's really hot, it is, after all it is felt. But that doesn't stop me from wishing I could!

Pair this with anything girly, not the best hat for menswear or pants.

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger

The Drape (with Corners)

This is one of my favorite hat shapes. It has a crown section that fist tight to the head and then a curled and corner front brim that is almost beret-like in feel. Like the beret, I think it looks best worn at a jaunty angle and not right on top or at the back of the head. Again I feel this style has a certain French chic, but they are quite 1940s-1950s in feel.


Good for day or night, and the occasional special occasion. I've never seen one worn with long loose hair, but I imagine it would be nice. The triangle corns are not for everyone, again you have to watch the fact shape with this hat. I can't advise since I've only seen it on my own head or in pictures.

Treat it a little like a beret to be on the safe side, when pairing it with looks. Although I also use it where I might use a pork pie.

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger
1960s Hubert de Givenchy hat via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Lady's Fedora

A friend of mine once said that there is nothing sexier than a woman in a man's hat. I've never felt I could carry off the fedora, so I don't own any, but I do tent to agree with him.

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger
Late at night, Hugo Loosers Party, Melbourne in Mur's hat, 2010.

My guess it that this suits a round or a square face best, and larger features. But I know many a small pert little thing who can rock the fedora, so in the end, it's just a difficult hat. Be careful, it can be hoochie rather than retro if not paired properly.

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger

This hat has come in and out of fashion for women almost as often as it has men, 1940s and 1960s in particular, and there there was at 1990s debacle we won't talk about.

Wear it with coverage menswear (not too much skin or too tight!) or with structured shirt dresses for the best retro look. Think film noir. 

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger
1961-1963 Hubert de Givenchy hat via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art


The Sun Hat

Or the felt floppy hat, became suddenly popular recently. I blame Rachel Zoe. Women who like to hide behind their hair love this hat. (Was that catty? Oh well.) It's got a very 1970's flavor. I do love the idea that you can get protection from the sun in winter with this hat, and that's when it's appropriate ~ sunny winter days.

Pair it with maxi dresses and skirts, long and flowing, boho chic. Not my thing and likely to be out of style soon. I've tried it on more than one occasion. But when I wear modern clothing, I still prefer structure, and this hat has never worked with my look. Odd, as I have plenty of floppy straw sun hats. The same rule for straw sun hats apply to this one, if you don't have the head shape and features to carry off big with aplomb, no amount of hair or massive glasses are going to make up for it. Nash.

Want something like this to wear to an outside winter wedding? Go for the stiffer and more highly decorated version, like so . . .

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger
1920 Half-Mourning Hat (worn with a veil) The Meadow Brook Hall Historic Costume Collection

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger
1930's Follie

The Follie, Fancy, or Small Perch

Don't be mistaken, this hat is silly. Which is possibly why I love it. I'm looking for the perfect emerald green felt one to add to my collection. I have a few modern straw follies, but no felt vintage as yet. You can find them in places like Ross, cheap, attached to headbands. You can make them yourself quite easily out of shoulder pads. I like them best perched far forward on the head. This hat will work for a wedding, tea, prom, any special occasion.

Pair it with a cute flirty dress or a full skirt and knit top.

All About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger

Just a reminder, extra images and my thoughts on current street fashion and runways show up between blog posts on Retro Rack's Facebook Page.

DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt Hats

I haven't done a DIY post in a while, Fashionable Reader. Partly this is due to the fact that many of my projects got donated or put into storage when I moved (as did my dressmaker's dummy).

But I did go into a mending phase recently where I decided some of my vintage hats needed help and repairs, thought you might like to see what I did . . .

Cream hat, 1940s, beret style, felt, repaired & cleaned

DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt Hats
Cream felt hat bought at Bon Marche Thrift Store in Sonoma for $15, original state.

DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt Hats
Cleaned with lint brush, old netting removed.
Brim stuffed and reenforced with tissue and sew back together.

DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt Hats
 All decoration removed.
DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt Hats
 Tried it with new netting, didn't like it.
DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt Hats
Finished product, added teapot pin.


Navy hat, 1940's beret style, velvet repaired & cleaned

DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt Hats
Navy velvet hat bought at Bon Marche Thrift Store in Sonoma for $15, original state.

DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt Hats
 Roset detail, cleaned, flattened and sewed down.

DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt Hats
DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt Hats
Interior stuffed and repaired.

DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt Hats
Navy hat, final product. Haven't had a chance to wear it yet, I just don't wear a lot of navy. Soon, I hope.


I do have a blog planned at some point discussing felt hats in general, how to keep and maintain them. I do hope hats are something that interest you, fashionable readers. I certainly adore them. I wear them for most of my events and I wish I wore them more often. 

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit

I love millinery Fashionable Reader. No, really love.

There are few things in life that make me happier than hat decorating. Perhaps tea. Maybe the perfect macaroon. But I digress . . . hats!

I have a number of hats of the Victorian persuasion that I have attacked with a hot glue gun and way too many feathers and ribbons over the years. They survived my attacks and I wore them with a smile. Yes, I have a bit of the Ivy Hisselpenny in me. Well, maybe more than a bit. (Here's a blog on doing it steampunk style.)

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit

But what troubled me was ~ how to trim a neutral colored hat to match several different outfits? I wanted to be able to switch out the trim depending on the dress. Inspired by the magnetic badges at Literary Orange 2011, I sourced some strong rare-earth magnets and Got Creative.

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any OutfitIn Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
The magnet off of my Literary Orange badge. The metal going into place on a hat band.

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any OutfitIn Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
My weapon of choice, the hot glue gun,. The metal in place on my wide straw hat.

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
The magnet in place on the straw topper. Make sure you "line up" your magnets positive to negative.

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
The hats and trim awaiting action.

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any OutfitIn Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
Blue/green hat trim ~ used a strip of binding tape glued over the magnet. The blue flowers were sourced from a thrift store $0.50 and the metal flowers were off of an old pair of shoes.

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any OutfitIn Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
The trim on the two hats. Magnet to magnet seems to work better and be more secure than magnet to metal.

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any OutfitIn Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
The cream trim. Cannibalized an old decorated hair elastic (my hair is now too short).

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
The double magnets made it stick out a bit so I added some extra flowers behind, adhered to the side of the magnet.

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
The final cream flower.

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
Pink flower off of a hairband from Ross, $2.50. Has the advantage of being already curved.

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any OutfitIn Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
The finished pink in place.

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit
The finished product!

So excited. I now have plans to make more to go with other dresses. I'm a magnetic hat flower maniac! Be assured, Fashionable Reader, I will tell you all about it here.
Then & Now ~ Perch BoaterDYI Special Bonus ~ Gail Carriger Makes A Silly Hat out of a Crochet Petit FoursThe Skimmer or Boater Straw Hat with Gail Carriger Gail Carriger's New Hats and FolliesGail Carriger Talks Hats with NettingAll About Felt Hats by Gail Carriger DIY with Gail Carriger: Repairing Vintage Felt HatsIn Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit

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