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Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Four Red Gingham

Gingham always seems to have a bit of a retro feel to me, no matter what you do with it. It says homey country kitchen, apple pie, picnics.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Four Red Gingham

Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,
I've got a wonderful feeling,
Gingham is coming my way.

Sorry, getting a little carried away there. Where was I? Oh yes, gingham. A member of the check family, I believe. Most often seen in black and white, red and white, or blue and white.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Four Red Gingham


But I really came around to gingham when I spotted this adorable tennis dress in a local vintage shop. It was muslin and looked very cool and light, and something that woudl pair with flats. All top concerns for my wardrobe and upcoming Comic Con.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Four Red GinghamGail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Four Red Gingham

 It was labeled 1970s but I think it might be more late 1960s.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Four Red Gingham

It's actually meant to be tighter and shorter on someone a bit larger than me, but I liked it so much as a more 1920's loose feel (and this way it fit the Rack). I walked away from it the first time and then went back after contemplating it for a couple weeks, luckily it was still waiting for me.

Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Four Red Gingham

I wore it with cream accessories and cream flats. I made a silly little hat out of a knitted pettit four that a reader gave to me in Portland. (More on that in a separate DIY blog to come.)

As I said, gingham as been around forever. Here's a little retrospective . . .

Before the turn of the century:


Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Four Red Gingham
 1840-1845  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Next up, silly DIY hat. I leave you with self much appreciating a lovely cup of tea at Comic Con mid day. Small pleasures make all the difference.
Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Four Red Gingham

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

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

So, Fashionable Reader, I am procrastinating terribly and have decided to post one of my occasional book outfit posts. Today, we will take a look at Changeless.

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

Book the Second of the Parasol Protectorate is all greys and black and teal. I've two outfits influenced by this book and formal one, as you see above and the flowing, which is more casual.

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

I love Alexia's dress on this cover, it's probably my favorite. In fact, I had it made up for me from Clockwork Couture.

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger


Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

 One of the things I really love about the Changeless cover is the range of teal to turquoise in both the dress and an script background slashes.

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

Here are some Retro Rack friendly images I've collected inspired by this cover, starting with some fun vintage pieces.

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger
1912 Tunic dress Museum Purchase

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger
 1930s Timeless Vixen Vintage; 1932  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger
 1940 nov; 1953 Norman Norell  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger
 1960 Hubert de Givenchy  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1961 Roger Vivier for Dior,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Here we have some retro images.

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger


Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger


Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

And here are a few modern takes on this color pallet.

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

Some interior design inspiration from this color pallet.

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

Something for Sophronia to wear in the Finishing School Series

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger
1860s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Something for young Prudence to wear, in between the Parasol Protectorate and the Parasol Protectorate abroad books.

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger
1885 Girl’s Dress  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

And I will leave you with . . . cake!

Book Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail Carriger

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

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

I don't know if I've posted in the past about how, before I was published, I had this dream about flying to New York. I think every wannabe author has a similar dream. Only mine was very specific and very fashion orientated. My dream was that I would go to New York to meet with my agent and editor and I would be wearing a black and white skirt.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

It's not often dreams come true.

In 2009 Orbit flew me to BEA in New York, before anyone had even heard of Soulless, to present the ARC to the unwitting masses. While I was there I would meet, you guessed it, my agent and my editor! I was understandably excited. I was also, as you probubly might have guessed, in a veritable shopping frenzy looking for the perfect black and white pencil skirt.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

I hunted, I searched, I looked everywhere. I tried all my favorite stores both vintage and modern. I did the Height Street treck. I visited Santa Cruz. I couldn't find one I liked.

Crisis!

But low, my darling Mum came to rescue. She is a fabulous seamstresses and offered to make me the skirt from a vintage pattern and we could choose whatever fabric I wanted. Well I found this great black on white irregular spotted fabric, and she made me this wonderful fish tale pencil skirt.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

Did I wear it to BEA in 2009 and meet my agent and editor? You bet your booty I did!

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
Ah, look how young and innocent I look. Lee sigh.

I paired it with red for that occasion. I do like black and white with red.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

Sadly the skirt hasn't had much play since then. I guess I felt like it was meant for the dream, and the dream had been satisfied. But I rustled it out of my closet last weekeend to take down to Sunnyvale for a little event at the library there.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

Here I am posing with the lovely young lady dressed as Alexia from the over of the Soulless manga. For this occasion I kept the whole outfit black and white.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

So, with an eye towards wearing this skirt more often I've collected some inspirational images of how to wear a cute black and white skirt.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
 With red, retro and modern

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
 With teal or turquoise.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
 With pink or blush.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
 With olive.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
Just pure black and white with modern touches.

Inspired I put together these two outfits which I intend to wear soon.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
 A retro take with blush, silly shoes, a chunky necklace, and olive bag.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
Modern take with some mixed patterns and steampunk ankle warmers.

Both looks require high heals and I'm off them for the moment, but I can't wait to try them out soon.

Here's a evening idea, going with golds and neutral accessories.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

It doesn't have to be a skirt these days, either. I've seen some patterned trousers turn up too. I'm not certain this look is really for me, but I have seen a few who could carry it off. And, of course, I'm on the perpetual hunt for the perfect black & white check pedal pushers.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White SkirtGail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

While I adore my dotted skirt, the one I want to buy did finally hit the stores a mere two years too late, in fall of 2011. I'm hoping some day this Marco de Vicenzo will turn up in a consignment shop in my size. A girl can dream, right? After all, dreaming is what started this madness.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

How about something black and white for Prudence to wear? Since I'm working on the Parasol Protectorate Abroad series right now my life if filled with 1890's dresses.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt
1900-1902  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This one is a little late period for her, but so pretty, I couldn't resist. It won't make it into the books though.

What to read when wearing black and white? How about Jane Yolan's marvelous Sister Light, Sister Dark and White Jenna?

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

The best thing about this lyrical almost mythological two part series is the world building. I've not seen anything like it before or since and it's, simply put, amazing. The writing is definitely on the side of strong and empowered women (showing feminist 1970s roots, I believe). I think the world and story are complex enough for any reader, although I believe the target audience is YA. (When she wrote it I'm not certain there really was a "YA" concept yet.) Anyway, I love it, it's brilliant! I've kept these two books since I first read them over 20 years ago. It's a rare series that travels with me, as I move every 2 to 4 years.

Gail Carriger in Sunnyvale in a Black & White Skirt

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

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

White it is mid summer for most of us, the runways are showing Fall/Winter. So, Fashionable Reader, I thought I would visit my favorite closet staple for the up coming season ~ the black pencil skirt.

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

I have several. In fact I have even posted bout my longer wool middi length in the past. However, the knee length skirt is more flattering on all figures, and less difficult to style.

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

 I have had mine for so long I can't remember where I first got it. It's not vintage, but modern, it has a bit of a stretch, a little slit at the back, and nice wide reinforced belt, and, best of all, pockets! I do love the pockets.

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

Strangely enough, I don't wear it all that often. I usually have the pin stripe that's part of a modern suit or the velvet that's part of a vintage suit with me when I travel. They just parse out to more outfits. Or I take the 1940's because it's more esoteric or the striped fish tail because it's more quirky. Inf ace, just writing about it makes me feel guilty. Poor neglected skirt.

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger
Regardless, this is a closet staple I think more ladies can wear. Particularly if it is tailored properly. And it is so incredibly versatile. Plus I always think it's a good idea to put black away from ones face.

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger
 Vintage, Retro, and Modern takes on the black pencil.

Of course, my favorite thing to do with a black skirt? Yes, you guessed it, pair it with red!

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger


Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger
Queen Dita

So let's think about how to style it for different occasions. How about a glamorous evening look?

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

I'd add a nice silky blouse. Not necessarily cream with The Rack, but perhaps a jewel tone blue or green for the fall and winter and a nice coral or sage for summer or spring.

And for day?

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger
 First is from the What I Wore blog

 A nice cool printed blouse, shake it up with fun accessories.

If it's really warm this skirt can even work with a tank for summer. Although, tanks are always difficult with the Rack and I, again, try to avoid white. If not possible throw on a jean jacket to break up the up top volume.

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

 Pencil skirts can be worn with flats but I tend to think heals work better, unless the skirt is a few inches above the knee.

The black pencil is also good for business attire.

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

If the black skirt doesn't come as a suit you can still pair it with a black blazer. Just pick a blazer that is a completely different pattern or texture than the skirt. That way the miss-match look intentional.For example I might pair my black skirt, which is a basic matte stretch, with a black shiny brocade, a black lace, a black tweed, or a black leather blazer. Alternatively you can match the shirt and the jacket, rather than the skirt and the jacket.

A word on boots with pencil skirts. I suggest ankle boots, and then only with a shorter (two inches above the knee) skirt. The same applies to pumps with an ankle strap. Boots can cut of your legs oddly. You can do a knee high, but pair with black tights so that there is no weird flash of skin. Otherwise stick to oxford style booties, Mary Janes, or regular pumps.

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

 There are also many ways to style this skirt for fall and winter.

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

Mix it up with jewel tones and neutrals like camel and grey, or make is trendy with a navy top and army green jacket, or turn it serviceable for travel with a belted trench, collared shirt and ballet flats.

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

Lastly a few more fun retro ways to style the black pencil. With spots and splashes of red and with a nice cross front flutter sleeve top, peep toe pumps and a flower in the hair.

And something for Alexia to wear?

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger
Dinner dress  Emile Pingat, 1877-1880  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

What to read while wearing your black pencil skirt?

Closet Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail Carriger

Tumbler by Brand Gamblin is a fun story of the classic loner western. A stranger rides into town with nothing, saves the day, wins over a community, and has a happy ending. Except that this happens to be set in space. And the stranger is a tough woman. I found Libby an engaging main character and the supporting cast was fun. A nice quick read.

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

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral
 1952 Valentina  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

Bondage purse. How fun, the bits all move around and can go on the purse or one the wrists. It's like a transformer bag! (The good transformers, the ones from the cartoons.)

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro NeutralGail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

These tights are very like a pair I used to own, there were gifted to me by a bride afer her wedding. I was 10. It began my life-long love of hosiery.  I adore the dress, I could see it on many different figure types. No certain about the belt but it is lovely.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral
Graphic print neutral peep toe pumps? Yes please.
Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral
 1920  Christies
Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral
Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral
 Infanta  Charles James, 1950  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral


Neutral Mary Janes are nice and practical.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

Adorable pink blazer. I already have one of a different cut but I love the retro color wit the slightly modern cut.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

I have a passion for clutches, although I rarely use the ones I have and they aren't practical because the occupy a hand.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral
 By We Love Yan's Cakes
Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro NeutralGail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

I love love love this printed dress, although the cut isn't great over a Rack. And the grey peplum jacket with the military detailing works multiple duty for everyday, event, and steampunk.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

1950s faux book bag.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

This season's retro look.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

Fantastic cherry blossom nail art. I've never had or done nail art on my nails but the more I see it the more appealing I find it.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

 I am on the active hunt for this slip. I have one already like it but it's about to die and it is endlessly useful.
Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

Cutest most impractical little purse ever!

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro NeutralGail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

I've been hunting for and craving the perfect cream colored suit for a very long time but the blue sure is lovely. Perhaps I shoudl switch loyalties.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

Not in my size but so adorable.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

Perhaps better in ideal the actuality, this kind of ring gets caught on everything.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral
 By Melania's Exquisite Cakes
Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

Such a cute little spare stool, I'd like a whole little collection for company. Except that we rarely have company because out apartment is so tiny.


Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral


Too expensive for what it is, but the idea is sound. I'd like something like this for travel, would work for both the computer transport for convention events and for tourist trotting about foriegn climes.

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral

I covet these scissors. How amazingly cool are they?
 

And, something for Prudence.


Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral
 1890  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral
 1906  The Indianapolis Museum of Art


From the Mum's Lady's Tea. 

Gail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro Neutral


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

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro

 Odd, but there it is, Fashionable Reader. Here I prep this blog on how to do Spring Fashion Trends in a retro manner and one of the fashion trends is ladylike retro. It's all very circular and slightly surreal. So what I did for this post is select some of my favorite images and think more in terms of which ones will work with the rack, as well as give that retro look.

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro

What I like about the above options is that all the tops show can be worn with a full coverage bra. Also, if you are top heavy, shorts with embellishments will pull the eye downwards. Although these woudl add a bit of volume I might go for sailor shorts with brass buttons or something made of lace, not ruffles. Darker colored cardigans slenderize slightly. And a full coverage bathing suit! (One of the very best things about this trend is its consequence in the bathing world. If you dread shopping for swim suits this is the season to do it.)

A word of caution on modern retro. They still use the same modern size models. So if you have a curvy figure, the clothing still won't fit properly unless it has a nice lot of stretch to it. You're better of going to vintage in the end, plus that way you get something unique.

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro

Here's an excellent example of a Retro based add campaign. I like how the green one has some shape to the jacket (even if the model under it does not) but the yellow is far to boxy. I might take a cue from those lace collars, that would be an easy add on to any jacket and give a lovely vintage feel. One could even get a collar cheep from a thrift store on a different jacket and make the switch to a favorite blazers.

I've been seeing a number of Peter Pan collars about too, which are likewise easy to add to a favorite t-shirt.

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro

Another quick mod take away from the season's retro looks is a belted blazer. It can make the jacket you already have quite retro looking in one easy step. At a broach to the collar or lapel and you're there.

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro

I do love the full skirt print day dresses, knee length, also. They come off as so very lady like. Add a pop of contrasting color with shoes or belt to make it a little more modern looking. The great thing about a full skirt is it pairs well with both flats and pumps, unlike the pencil which really requires a stiletto.

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ RetroGail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro
 Kathryn Artz & red carpet red

If you prefer something shorter in the skirt there are ways to hark back to the 60s and still show a bit of leg with this style. Go for a mod look with a narrower but still full skirt (the tulip, for example) in a slightly stiff fabric, that can be quite retro but still quite short.

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ RetroGail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro
1962 Cristobal Balenciaga  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Separates, of course, can also be very retro. My favorite is always the pencil skirt and if you are heavy on the top it pays to invest in something with a little bling around the bottom. Draws attention to the legs (and, of course, shoes).

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ RetroGail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro
What I like about the above images is that the skirts (print in the first, lace in the second) draw the eye, not the tops. In both cases I might go with fitted knitwear or jersey instead of the white button down. The which button down and the rack are uneasy partners at best. I don't like the tomato shaped pink cardigan not flattering to curves, but the yellow pea coat look like it might have a bit of shape to it. And those white shoes are so adorable.

Of course, one of my favorite things about this trend is that it completely covers a girl up, from head to toe, and yet can still be both sexy and elegant. I love a look that doesn't show too much.

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ RetroGail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro

In the first I love the big black buttons, although it doesn't fit her over the rack quite properly.  Buttons are a great thing to switch, adding a contrasting color or metallic button can have a very retro effect on the plainest of cardigans. In the second I like the belted cardigan, a variation on the belted blazer I discussed above. And windowpane plaid, I do love the plaid.

The easiest way to go retro? Ultra ladylike accessories. Jason Wu for target did a great line but by the time I had gotten round to my nearest it was mostly sold out.

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ RetroGail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro

But you can find ladylike accessorizes all over the place, from your local thrift store to (these days) the Prada in Beverly Hills.

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro

I suspect you, Fashionable Reader, are in no doubt that Retro is one Spring trend I am wholeheartedly in favor of!

Gail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ Retro

Gail Carriger in a Red Skirt at Reno WorldCon 2011

One of things I love about this skirt is that it not only works for retro but it is on trend for Fall 2011. Well, to be fair, bright pants are the real trend, but why wear pants when you can don a cute pencil skirt instead?

Gail Carriger in a Red Skirt  at Reno WorldCon 2011

So the hat is a vintage piece (more on felt hats to come), but everything else in this outfit is actually modern. Well, reasonably modern, as in a few years old. I believe both the skirt and top are Ross scores, and the shoes are my favorite Miz Mooz. I'm actually not hugely happy with the fit of this shirt but I'm too lazy to tailor it and it is, I believe, one of only three button up shirts I own that I actually didn't have to sew the buttons closed over the Rack. A rare thing indeed. What do I love most about it? The cherry print.

I love wearing cherries. It's almost as much fun as wearing bows. I have no idea why. I suppose I am obsessed with food, and fruit in particular. I even like to smell like food, so why not wear it? And, before you ask, yes that certainly does influence my descriptions of Ivy Hisselpenny's hats.

The difficult thing about a red skirt, and mine in particular, is that they can leak into sex-pot easily. That's fine if you are shooting for a vah-vah-voom look, but, most of the time, I'm not. When one has the Rack of a stripper one should try to avoid dressing like a stripper, least people start throwing money at you. Wait a moment . . . I may be going about this the wrong way.

My inclination is to go for a less sexy but still retro look by pairing a red skirt with something slightly prim and librarian ~ a button down shirt, pussycat bow shirt, or a knit sweater top.

The cool thing about the red skirt right now? It's a great transition piece. It'll go from summer to fall and back again with no issues at all.

The other good thing about a red this intense is, if you don't like reds for your skin tone, this skirt is far away from your face and can work with black tights, so you don't have to concern yourself with complexion issues. Come to think on it, that holds true for any brightly colored skirt. This trend means you can add an intense pop of color to your outfit for fall without fear! That said, a bright will draw attention to your bottom half, so if that is your problem area best to put your brights on your top or as accessories.


A Quick Word On Black Tights

TIGHTS, mind you, NEVER leggings. Shudder. Leggings. Ugh. Give me a moment. OK, I'm better.

I do love me a nice pair of opaque black tights, and they are very slimming. I shell out good money to get mine from dance stores ($20-30). They tend to have better quality, more comfortable fits, and last for years. Look for tights that have a seam that goes all the way up the back of the legs and stays divided over the but (that is, one seam over each cheek, not to be crass). I don't know why but it is a sign of a much more comfortable fit.

And what to read in your red pencil skirt? I'd be remiss if I didn't suggest my recently launched first ever self-published short story. I know, I know, but this is my blog. I can shill sometimes, can't I?

Gail Carriger in a Red Skirt  at Reno WorldCon 2011


Cover Copy:  
The warrior Mithra must repel a Roman legion alone and armed only with a very peculiar weapon. To protect her lands and her tribe, Mithra comes up with a sticky solution to an impossible problem. 
Written in 1998, this short story was New York Times Bestselling author Gail Carriger’s first professional sale.

Gail Carriger in a Red Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Oh so many times, Fashionable Reader, I have discussed my love of red.


Generally speaking at least one day at a convention will see me in a red dress, and one other with red accessories. I can't help it, I'm a brunette with green eyes, a sallow complexion, a full figure, and attitude. It's practically a recipe for falling deeply in love with red.

Gail Carriger in a Red Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
The incomparable Sophia Loren, another lover of red.

So, for my first full day at WorldCon in Reno I opted for one of my favorite red dresses.

The dress on the hanger, you can see the slight cross over double breasted detailing. 
It's a Sue Leslie of California probably around 1952. This designer seems to specialize in sun dresses and cocktail dresses.

Gail Carriger in a Red Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Red Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
At BEA in 2009 launching the ARCs of Soulless, paired the dress with cream. And in Reno, pairs with white.

Why do I love this dress so? Well, it's not only the color. It's light weight, a day dress, it has 3/4 sleeves, it fits like a dream, and, best of all, is a pencil dress. I adore pencil dresses.

Gail Carriger in a Red Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

I tend to wear my red with cream or white. I think it gives a more vintage feel. However, it also works with black and gold for evenings, although I have another, wiggle dress, I usually wear under those circumstances. I don't usually do it with brown, unless I'm going for a modern street feel. I'm not one for all red either, it's tricky, but also very vintage.

Gail Carriger in a Red Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

For one thing, it's really difficult to match reds, there are so many different tones.
The classic red pencil dress has been around since the 1930s, in some version or another. What's not to love about it?

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

I happen to like mine paired with a little counter-color belt. I think it sets of the narrowness of the cut better.


I don't think you need be scared of the color either. Different shades of red are out there and there is generally a tone or a print to suit everyone's needs, even if you are a red head or a pale blonde. You could go for cream or white with a red dot, or black with a red flower, a muted knit or tweedy red. Options, options!

Gail Carriger in a Red Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

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

I happen to like fire-engine, cherry, bright, and true reds. But I know they aren't for everyone.

Just please, avoid something like this? Us curvy girls just aren't allowed to go too modern, it doesn't work.

Gail Carriger in a Red Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

And now for a pallet cleanser.

Gail Carriger in a Red Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
Helen Mirren rocking it, baby.

Gail Carriger in a Red Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Gail Carriger in a Red Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

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

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