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Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons

I'm still in Reno, Fashionable Reader, and about to set out but I thought I might say a little word on the subject of shoes. 

Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
I have skinny feet. Which is to say: narrow (but not _that_ narrow) but also not very thick, so shoes with straps always require extra holes. The end result is that most shoes made for the American market I simply can't buy. I opt for Italian 90% of the time and leather if at all possible. I need to be able to break a shoe to fit my foot, and man made will break my foot (with blisters) to fit the shoe.

I've ended up with two mandates . . .

1. spend good money on shoes and bras, get everything else cheap
2. invest in shoes that will last for a long time

Currently most of my shoes are: Via Spiga, Miz Mooz, modified dance shoes, (%50 of the collection) with a few Me Too, BP, and Franco Sartos. I have one pair of Lambs and one pair of Irregular Choice both of which I love but which KILL ME to wear. I just can't get rid of the cuteness.

If you are not a skinny foot like me, consider Fluvogs (expensive, but you can at least try them on to see), Clarks, Blowfish, or Aerosoles. If you have an average shape, Me Toos are a good between option, but, of course you will have plenty to chose from.

Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons

Word on the street is Irregular Choice, no matter how wonderful they look, are never comfortable. Same holds for Lamb, allthough I will say my sky rockiting booties might be painful but they sure are the most stable 7" stilletos I've ever owned.

Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons

One of my biggest tips as a high-heel aficionado to those more cautious with their feet, is to try dancing shoes. They can run very expensive but they break easily to mold to your foot. I have a lovely Shoe Guy I visit regularly who not only puts on walking soles to dance shoes and makes repairs but dyes shoes for me at a very reasonable rate ($5 ~ $10).  I figure if I am going to get more wear out of the shoe with a few adjustments it is worth the money.

I learned the lesson at the Denver WordCon that I should have both flats and heels in all accessory colors. That way, I wear flats to walk to the convention center and then heels once I have a arrive. I have one of those little collapsible totes so I can carry the heels there, then I fold up the tote and the flats. I buy flats small enough to fit into my handbags and handbags large enough to hold both the flats and one mass market paperback.

Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldConsGail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
Via Spiga & thrifted flats; Via Spiga & dance shoes.
Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
Haight St fancy & dance shoes & Aerosoles & Me Too flats.
Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
BP flats & fancy pumps & dance shoes & Via Spiga
Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
Miz Mooz & Via Spiga & Via Spiga & Miz Mooz & flats
I arrived in good time and wore red with white accessories all day Thursday. Unfortunately, I did not take into account the fact that it was so warm I did not wear stockings. This, even with flats, results in blisters when the shoes are not leather. It's hard to find good white patent leather.
Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
I suppose this is basically a defense of stockings. I ended up spending the rest of the weekend in them, despite the heat, and also blister band-aid (which I buy in bulk). The secret, by the way, is to cover the blister band-aid with an industrial strength fabric band-aid.

Some have asked me before but I don't wear vintage shoes as a rule. They tend to be in very poor condition and, unlike clothing, that's not something I have the skill to do anything about. I do modify my shoes though, with attachments and dyeing, expect a future blog on the subject.

Pictures of the Reno outfits to come, I promise. I remembered to take a full length shot of all six! I'm ridiculously proud of this accomplishment. Trust me, I can barely remember my brain at a convention. I left my room key in my room three times! Taking a photo of each outfit (for which I have to pigeonhole some unsuspecting patsy once I hit the convention) is like presenting a dissertation it's so complicated.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Black Pencil Skirt, mid length, kick pleated back, black & white lining.
Cashmere poly blend, Tahari, Nordstrom's Rack $75.

The infamous black pencil skirt.

I know, it's wrinkled in the picture, but trust me, this skirt is great. I am a huge advocate of the black pencil skirt. In fact, I would say it is almost more important to a wardrobe than the Little Black Dress. If you are of the pear shape and self conscious about a pencil, then by all means go for an A-line instead (I have one of those too, future blog in the works).

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
World Fantasy San Jose, Soulless Launch Party, 2009.

So perhaps this skirt is a little tight. But my goodness I love it. And honestly, I'm in my 30's I've made peace with the dreaded girl tum. Frankly, I'm a chick and I'm curvy and I have a tum because I'm not an airbrushed model. Besides, I don't want to be one of those crazy razor sharp Hollywood women who do 800 sit-ups a day and look like they not only live on endives but might actually turn into an endive at any moment.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Gail & Marilyn, real women with girl tums. A model who is not.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Katy Perry with Girl Tum

 So while I can still zip up the darn thing, I'm going to wear it. For World Fantasy in 2009 I paired it with a pink blouse (which I no longer own) to match the cover of Soulless, and some Irregular Choice shoes.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Jet tassel necklace from Dark Garden at Dickens Fair, $30; matched earrings $10 PantheaCon dealers room; black simulated leather opera gloves, inherited from Grandma; Irregular Choice shoes, Haight Street San Francisco, gift.

Irregular Choice makes the most wonderful looking shoes on the planet . . . and possibly the most painful. Mine are wedges (unlike the ones above) and I love them, but I can't wear them for more than a few hours even with inserts. Sadness.

However, Fashionable Reader, this is meant to be a WorldCon retrospective and so here I am, in the black pencil skirt at WorldCon 2008 . . .

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Gail and Lawrence Person in the Con Suite.

This time I wore it with a gray silk sailor blouse and gray spectator pumps.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Vintage gray blouse, possibly 1940s Thrifted $15, Via Spiga spectators, gift

I have several other black pencil skirts but this one sits apart because of the length. Normally, I do not go for a mid length skirt, in this case several inches below the knee. Nor do I recommend it for any but the very tall. For that reason I always wear this skirt with the highest heals possible.


Vintage wise, this length is best suited to a 1940's Dior look. That said, the black pencil is a staple that always seems to show up on the fall/winter runways and this year was no exception. I even spotted a few in this, a more vintage, length.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt
Fall 2011 runway; Sarah Jessica Parker in Marc Jacobs; Christina Ricci

More on the black skirt in future, I have several different versions and I intend to go into the relative merits of each.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil SkirtGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt

Interviewing Myself About Fashion from Gail CarrigerGail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldConsGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt

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