Instead of the Dickens Fair, Fashionable Reader, I managed a quick drop by at Borderlands
in San Francisco last weekend. They very kindly came to my rescue. Since I wouldn't actually be visiting Victorian London I elected to decline the planned steampunk cover look in favor of more sensible wear. I opted for purple, cream, and black.
Purple and I have a long and checkered history. I used to hate it. I associated it with the leggings and oversized sweaters my mother wore in the 80s. But now I've come around. I even did my nails to match.
My preference is for short, oval shellacs.
It was raining in the City, so boots were a must. Here's the outfit breakdown:
I use an app called StyleBook
to create my outfits. Someday we will talk more about that if you are interested, Fashionable Reader? Anyway, you can see from above that I use it to show all the possible combinations for a given outfit (for example I have three black skirts that work with this top, several different shoes depending on the weather, and different hats to make it more or less fancy).
From top down: Hat, Bon Marche Thrift Store, Sonoma, $7; jewelry set Dark Garden Unique Corsetry, Dickens Fair, $25; Madman signing pen, gift from a friend; shirt, Kohls (buttons sewn shut) $10; sweater Kohls, $15; belt Haight Street, $15; skirt Valencia St. thrift store, $7 (buttons added); boots, Miz Mooz, $100; gloves, vintage shop, $10.
That cream hat is quickly becoming one of my favorites. And how excited was I to finally trot out the Kohls sweater? Can you believe something so vintage came from the junior section of a department store, and goes over the Rack, and isn't wool? It reminded me of this set:
1955 Sweater Set Christian Dior The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Speaking of wool:
I picked this skirt up super cheep intending mainly to wear it with a corset of mine (hence adding buttons to match) but I find myself really gravitating towards it this winter.
Dark Garden Custom Corset c. $1000
Perhaps it's that the shape is very hip right now
yet still pleasingly 1940s. Perhaps it's that it seems to fit me really well. It is lined, except the waistband (a fault all to common in wool garments) so I do have to wear an undershirt (or a tucked in shirt) to protect my tummy from the dreaded wool rash but otherwise I love it. Some other ways I'm thinking about wearing it . . .
I also have an allergy to nickle earrings. Generally this means that I always buy danglings (rather than posts) so I can replace the hooks with silver or gold. Unfortunately, these ones are posts. They must be a pretty low alloy because it took several hours before my ears began to ache, but ache they did, so these earrings are out. (The clear nail polish trick doesn't work for me.) Sad, because I really liked the set.Now the hunt is on for new earring to match! Perhaps I will modify a pair of stemapunk earring to take the pearl drop part. Hummm. DIY plotting!
The shirt I chose is a bold purple rose print. If you, like me, are slow to accept purple print is a good entry point. Although, with the Rack, I might be better wearing a print on my bottom half.
1952 Mainbocher The Museum of the City of New York; 1960s Vintageous
Christina Hendricks in Vintage Carolina Herrera
The sweater over the shirt is a heather knit
Heather knit sweater; Trina Turk Belted Heather Tweed Dress
Purple, like most colors, has a wide range of shades from cool to warm, and from dark to light so it will suit any complexion. So saying "I don't look good in purple" isn't really a good excuse. It is perfectly fine to say "I don't like wearing purple." This is similar to not liking Brussels sprouts ~ own it baby! I feel it is perfectly appropriate to dislike colors illogically. I, for example, don't like yellow. Blech!
That said, I have gone out and found some temptingly beautiful purple pieces for your consideration.
Hermes leather bracelet at hermes.com
1914-1915 Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arketektur, og Design; 1910s Evening Dress Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arketektur, og Design
1900-1905 The Goldstein Museum of Design; 1900 Pendant 1stdibs.com
And if those last two images don't convince you to try purple, nothing will.
And now, for the characters!
For Sophronia after Etiquette & Espionage
1860s The Metropolitan Museum of Art
For Ivy Hisselpenny in Soulless
1872–75 purple dress by poteidia
For Rue in Prudence
1890s Kerry Taylor Auctions
For Primrose in Prudence
1896 Ball Gown Jean-Philippe Worth
Retro Rack is also on facebook
where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.