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Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger


Thank you so much for joining me on my belt retrospective, Fashionable Reader! We have talked about decorative belts, matched belts, sash belts, and the Swiss Waist. I've touched on a few others as well.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger
1908 Jacket  Jeanne Paquin, 1908  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger
1966 Yves Saint Laurent, 1966  Kerry Taylor Auctions

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger
2014 Alberta-Ferretti
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger
1906-1908  Museo del Traje

Now I'm going to take this last post to blog a bit about my own relationship with belts.

As a girl with a 10 inch or more waist to hip to Rack ratio the belt is often not an option, otherwise I would have no waist at all! On the other hand it can cinch in such a way as to make the top and bottom bulge out in a most egregious manner. Here is a bit of a retrospective on my own relationship with the belt. You can plainly seem my bent is in favor of skinny belts, as a rule.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger

Cream belt with green dress, same belt with red dress, red dress with different white slim belt. Note how the same belt looks different with different cut and color of dress? And how the same dress with a different thickness of belt has a slightly different silhouette?

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger

 Decorative belt that is also matched to my long maxi dress.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger

 Tan belt with pencil dresses: patterned and plain.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger

White belt in a layered look with a tailored turquoise shirt; same belt with a navy dot dress (that has a matched belt); the same navy dress with red belt.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger

 Three matched belts: the silver, the red dot, and the bow flowered.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger

Black bow stretch belts worn with two more blowsy dresses. Notice, slightly frumpy in the Rack area?

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger

Same black bow belt with two different blush pink dresses. On a day dress with a fitted top the other a more 1920s dress that I used the belt to cinch in.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger

Two examples of a belt with a skirt top combo. (Note how good Kate looks in that wide belt? She's taller and slimmer than me. Sigh.) That same black belt again, and the ubiquitous white. I do have other belts but I didn't realize how often I wear these two and the cream. Particularly for travel I usually have white (rainy snowy = my only non-leather water resistant pumps are white); cream (my most useful bag is cream and some of my more comfortable shoes); black (because hey, it almost always goes with everything) and red (again the bag is good and pumps are comfy). I am so neglecting brown and tan, leopard, and gold. And I have such good belts for those! I also have other cream ones (wider) white ones (a bow) and leopard ones (waist cinch) but I just don't wear them as much.

Ah, belts, such a complicated relationship.


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

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard

<--------------- Poll still going, although I forgot abotu the Book Inspired Outfit posts. I hope you guys like those because they are probably going to continue.

Well, Fashionable Reader, I just returned from Vegas. As one might be expected I went with leopard black and gold.

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard

I flew Spirit Airlines (I know I hadn't heard of it either.) The seats were comfy, the clientele were Vegas-bound and excited, and they only allow one carry on. No really only one, and it has to be "personnel item sized." I was dully please to discover my last minute decision to do this trip with only one base piece allowed me to fit my leopard bag into the top of my carry-on rolly.

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard

And my carry on-rolly was exactly the limit size. I'd like to claim skill and forethought but that's be a lie. I got flying luck, which doesn't happen often, so it was nice I ended my travel season on an up.

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
Necklace, vinatge gift; dress suit Haight St. $30; steampunk bracelet, ring, and earrings, gifts from fans; belts $5 ea, scarf $2, hat $7, and shirt $5 all thrifted from Bon Marche in Sonoma; bag from Chruchmouse in Sonoma $15; tights and nylons, online $10; gloves, H&M $12; earrings Teslacon Dealer's Room $15; shoes Nordstrom Rack c. $30; glasses frames, Alameda Vintage Faire $60 + lenses.

Essentially, I took my best basic LBD suit and dressed it up with leopard accessories. Yes, I realize, I need to find some leopard flats.

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & LeopardGail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & LeopardGail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
 The suit in full, the dress underneath, the teaching outfit version for the next day.

Sorry, the photos aren't so good. This last idea, of putting the pussy-cat bow shirt under a dress, is my latest big thing. I know, Gail, not all that much of a revelation, but I have been looking at my whole wardrobe with new eyes as a result.

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard

I love this suit, I bought it from Buffalo Exchange on Haight Street for a song years ago. It doesn't fit me as well as it used to. (That Rack of mine!) In addition to the leopard shoes and bag, I paired it for evening with a gold belt, a vintage necklace I inherited from my family, and some steampunk filigree earrings that were a gift from a reader.

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard




Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard

I don't have a leopard hairband for evening either, and my pork pie hat is very daytime, so I wore a little flower instead.

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard

Leopard and black is such a classic combination I almost feel silly talking about it. Here's the Curvy Fashionista in an amazing modern take. Here's more ideas:

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
Vogue fashion shoot.

Some retro pieces:

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
 1930s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
 1940s  Timeless Vixen Vintage

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard

I do have a leopard bathing suit, but apart from that I don't really have the courage to wear base leopard, I strongly prefer simply to accessorize with it. So here are some picks of leopard accessories I love:

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
Wide calf hair belt at jcrew.com

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
Topshop leopard collar

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
Valentino Rockstud leather and calf hair gloves at net-a-porter.com
Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
H&M Leopard Gloves (available in stores, these are the ones I have)

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
Christian Dior, 1950  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard 

Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
 Loafer Style Pump, very sexy librarian
Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
 Adorable Miz Mooz pumps that I WANT but I can't find for sale
Gail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & Leopard
 Stiletto pumps for a 1950s look from Stuart Weizman


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

Gail Carriger in Red & Leopard on Sword & Laser

So on Tuesday, Fashionable Reader, I gussied myself up and drove north for an interview with Sword & Laser. As ever I tried to follow the rules set out for me when choosing an outfit for film. However, this time around I did ignore the no red rule. I can't help it, I like red too much.

Gail Carriger in Red & Leopard on Sword & Laser
From left to right in rows: dress, Moon Zoom, Santa Cruz $35; hat Bon Marche Thrift Store, Sonoma $7; Red & Gold vintage 1920s necklace, gift from AB; vintage broach & earring gold set, gift from Mum; steampunk earrings, Teslacon dealers room $20; black octopus necklace, gift from reader; metal belt Bon Marche Thrift Store, $5; glasses vintage frames with new lenses; Calvin Klein wedge sandals from Nordstrom Rack $40; black gloves; Bamboo black oxfords Marshalls $10; gold gloves, Haight Street.

The outfit board above includes flats for driving, and various jewelry options. As you can see, I went with the octopus necklace and the steampunk earrings. I also added my steampunk bee hat pin, but it's impossible to see in the photos in detail.


The completed outfit. As you can see, I forgot the gloves. However, I was out shopping after the interview and picked up this awesome pair from H&M.

Gail Carriger in Red & Leopard on Sword & Laser

So I am ready for next time I need leopard. (Yes, sometimes leopard print is indeed a need.) I also got a leopard print belt as I wasn't happy with the way the metal one cut in on this dress. The wardrobe, she is ever evolving.

Gail Carriger in Red & Leopard on Sword & Laser

But back to the outfit!

I also carried my vintage tilting fold-able black parasol.

Gail Carriger in Red & Leopard on Sword & Laser

We hadn't planned at what point I would put it away so I eventually just did it during the interview. Meh, something interesting to watch, I suppose. While it was up it did make the hat pop, that black backing. I'm ridiculously fond of this leopard hat. If I'd known I would be sitting I might have chosen a different dress, this one poofs, looks good standing, not so much sitting, but too late now.

Gail Carriger in Red & Leopard on Sword & Laser

After the show we took some publicity stills.

Gail Carriger in Red & Leopard on Sword & Laser

And I kissed Lem the dragon:

Gail Carriger in Red & Leopard on Sword & Laser

And then I accidentally photo bombed the Giz Wiz show while I was touring the amazing studio facilities. Some confusion ensued.

Gail Carriger in Red & Leopard on Sword & Laser

Red with leopard is a pretty classic combination. It can get very va-va-voom so I suggest trying to be pretty demure about it.

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

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

Just a simple DIY, Fashionable Reader for this month. I try to do mending and small sewing projects regularly but copy edits really derailed me in September. So last night I got a bee in my bonnet about being mending pro-active! I've been meaning to switch out the buttons on my favorite 1940s red sweater for ages.
DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

The task was finding acceptable buttons. It is so difficult to match reds and get the right size. I like the black ones but I found myself limited in what I could pair the sweater with and I wanted to wear it with more outfits. You know me, I like to match everything ~ very old fashioned. So I needed to loose the black to open up creams and whites.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look
$12 for 7

I hunted all over for the right buttons ~ something vintage, not the chintzy modern plastic buttons one finds at supply stores. Eventually, I found what I needed in Petaluma. It's hours away from me, this small farming town, but it has a crazy drag of antique stores one of which is a consortium that hosts an antique button specialist. Called Summer Cottage Antiques it hasn't the best clothing selection, and it's a bit spendy, but when it specializes, it really specializes. And the buttons! Oh the buttons. Occasionally I pilgrimage there just for buttons. If you don't have a source like this, I suggest visiting the dealers room of a local costumer, maker, or steampunk convention. Sometimes, if you are lucky, a button person turns up. And sometimes you don't have to buy a pass just to shop. There are online resource as well. I tend not to use these, as I like to handle the buttons in person before I purchase. I know, frisky of me.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

I hate hate hate widening button holes, but I don't mind narrowing them, so I always shop for buttons that are as much the same size as the original as possible, and if not, then slightly smaller. These turned out to be slightly smaller, so I did have to go over and close down all the holes, but I love the finished effect.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

Of course, now I'm confined to gold jewelry with this sweater, but I find that less restrictive than the black.

So there you have it, not much of a project for this month, but I also repaired this hat, which needed TLC:

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

Because I want to wear it for my Sword & Laser video interview next week. Squee! More on that outfit later. Now that I have done all the research on what to wear on film I feel much better equip to chose this time around, I shan't keep you in suspense long, I promise.

I hope you all have a lovely and fashionable weekend!

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

I don't have a photo of me wearing the new version, but here's the old one... 

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

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

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print

So leopard print is everywhere at the moment, Fashionable Reader. I was just glancing through my fashion blog feed (on a break from packing) and what did I see?

Keiko Lynn sporting, quite possibly, all of the fall trends in one outfit. Oddly enough, I own a cape just like that, in raincoat material, and those shoes in black. But not that hat, I sport many hats but bowlers aren't for me. Still I rather love this outfit, and I may do my own take on it with army green trousers and a black cloche.

But it's the pants I was struck by. Yet again with the leopard! I wouldn't go that far (leopard pants . . . not for me) but I have recently invested in two very leopard accessories.

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print
 Pork pie leopard hat from Bon Marche Thrift Store, Sonoma, $15.

How could I resist? It reminded me so much of this iconic photo:

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print
Tuppence Ha'penny by Charlotte blogs about the leopard pillbox hat, here as well. Thredbanger on how to make a pillbox.
Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print
Leopard print hide & leather bag, Church Mouse Thrift Store in Sonoma, $20.

I also scored this more subtle leopard scarf and a skinny gold belt.

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard PrintGail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print

The thing about leopard is it is very vintage. Yet it reminds me, when it is in anything clothing (rather than accessory) of the 1980s. And I just . . . can't. I feel very daring having even strayed into bag, scarf, and hat territory. I haven't had the courage to wear them yet, but I will soon. They are too cute to resist for long. Somehow I simply find leopard accessories more manageable.

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print

Although, that said, I do have a leopard bathing suit I've worn on several occasions, so I guess I'm not that scared.

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print

Leopard is so iconic of the 1950s that I believe I really must rise above these negative 1980s associations.

So I thought, with so many leopard bits and bobs surfacing, I might explore a few ways to buy leopard now, and make it look like it was from the past, but not the 80s past. Here we go!

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print

You can wear full shirts, coats, dresses, trousers, or skirts of leopard and still look retro.

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard PrintGail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print
Queen Dita and Amber Heard for Guess Fall 2011
Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard PrintGail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print
Dior's Mitzah Bricard Collection and the lady herself

I owned a beautiful pair of leopard peep toe pumps but they sadly got destroyed by an encounter with a street grate (ah the hazard of stilettos). It was very traumatizing, and, if you don't mind, I'd rather not think about the loss.
For a quick vintage take, I think the simplest is actually to add leopard trim onto a dress, hat, or coat.

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print
Marilyn Monroe
Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print
Christian Dior coat dress ca. 1947 via The Kyoto Costume Institute
Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print
Dolores del Rio

But if you haven't the time or the sewing skills? Leopard accessorizes. I never think of combining leopard with color, btu now I might do it for fun.

Also,  I'm kind of dieing to try these:

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print
Lastly, one for Alexia to wear . . .

Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print
Jacques Doucet dress ca. 1880 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gail Carriger's New Acquisitions in 2014Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 5 On Gail Carriger Gail Carriger's Latest AcquisitionsGail Carriger in Las Vegas in Black & LeopardGail Carriger in Red & Leopard on Sword & LaserDIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look Gail Carriger Talks Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print

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