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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.

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's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 Adia Kibur crystal bulb ring at shopbop.com
Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 Amorir+Sunglasses+2
Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 london-skyline-tights
Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 McQueen-Resee
Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 Cold Comfort Farm
Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 Norman Norell, 1960s  The Goldstein Museum of Design; Sarmi, 1960s Vintageous; Schiaparelli evening dress, 1938-39

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 Mae-West; stylish ladies

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 Oscar de la Renta stone-embellished bib necklace at theOutnet.com; ombre tights
Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 Prada-Gendarme-Stripe-Canvas-Covered-Pushlock-Tote
Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 Marlene Dietrich

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 rupert-sanderson-dieppe Mary Jane Wingtips

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 These Trasparenze Nairobi zebra patterned tights from AlexBlake.com; 1950s

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
Amazing Cake; Merle Oberon

 And for some of my characters?

A corset for Alexia:
Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
1880-1885  The Royal Ontario Museum

And the dress to wear over it:

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
 1866-1869  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A corset for Prudence:

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
1900  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

 And the dress to wear over it:

Gail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White Retro
Evening Dress  1902  The Chicago History Museum

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 Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way

Darling Fashionable Reader, while I await more pictures from Reno I present to you the latest of my occasional series on seasonal trends. The idea is to take a look at some of the styles presented on the runway and suggest how they might be adapted to a retro pallet and more womanly figure.

Trend #1: Bright Trousers
I don't wear trousers very often. Contrary to popular belief I do wear them, but generally only to travel or when I am moving house or working in the field. I would take this trend and translate it to a bright colored pencil skirt, possibly a leather one.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
L ~ R: Street Style in San Francisco blog; runways 2009; Tuppence Haypenny blog
I've shown three different lengths. As you can see, the above-the-knee is worn with flats, which I believe is fine, but the bellows are with heels. The first skirt is a marigold color and velvet, two other 2011 Fall trends.

Trend #2: Working Girl Dress
I might, from my retro perspective, call this a Day Dress, but Working Girl works well enough. I love this trend. I'm a big fan of this kind of dress ~ sleeves, nice slightly flowing skirt and a belt of cinch. It's flattering on any figure. If you are going to go for a print, opt for something smaller and geometric, as seen above, that's universally more flattering than a larger more complicated pattern.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
It's a quintessentially vintage style. I don't really have a dress like this, not one in a pattern or light color. Perhaps I should at it to the shopping list?
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
A slightly fuller skirt gives a more 1950's look, while an A-line is more 1940s or 1970s. In both of the above images I'd go for an inch or so shorter skirt than pictured ~ especially if you are a curvy girl. With the skirt a little shorter you can wear flats and it doesn't look dowdy. In the left image above, she paired her day dress with a felt hat and a skinny belt giving the look a slightly modern twist without loosing the vintage appeal. Also, the felt hat takes what is essentially a Spring pattern into Autumn.
The best thing about investing in this trend? You have a dress you a bling up with some metallics and wear to a wedding. Double duty = always good.
Alexia's version?

It's a little early in time for Alexia, but this is a classic Victorian Day Dress. (The term Day Dress early on covered both Walking and Visiting Dresses. These later became separated as the popularity of displaying oneself by sashaying through Hyde Park and along the promenades of Bath gave way to ever fancier Walking Dresses and then Promenade Gowns. The term Day Dress evolved to describe a dress that was rather more sober and plain, but in a good elegant way. Ladies of the church, for example, favored Day Dresses.)

Trend #3: Choker Necklaces
This one is easy to make vintage. Vintage jewelry trends are fascinating. I can say, as an archaeologist, that the choker is one of the first necklaces we ever see. While necklace design shifts along with everything else over time, the length is often all over the place. A deco style necklace (for example) will be made to go with a range of different necklines and so vary in lenght, also, if valuable it is kept and worn much longer than a dress, and it can be both shortened and lengthened as required.
I tend to think you can't go wrong with pearls. And don't feel you have to buy the real deal, most of my jewelry started life in Target. It could get lost at any time, why pay out bank? Save your money for good shoes.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
That said, my favorite choker pieces are all inherited and authentic if not Real.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
A choker is a great excuse to put a nice pop of color near your face (as is a scarf, for that matter), particularly if you are one of those ladies who opts for black often. Black washes out almost everyone, it's terrible for the complexion. A nice bright choker brings color to the face and attention away from the rack.

Trend # 4: Old Gold
Or in some cases marigold (which has a bit more orange/yellow to it).
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
This is already a very vintage color, what I think is difficult is how to make it modern. Many struggle with how to pair accessories with a metallic or a strong yellow dress. Most are accustomed to fielding gold as an accessory, not a main. You don't have to do it as a full dress, you can combine this trend with Trend #1, and use gold as your bright bottom half, particularly if you aren't certain whether the yellow tones will work with your complexion and hair. (I tend to wear my marigold dress only when my hair color is a dark brown or chestnut, anything lighter and I feel it doesn't work well on me.)
Marigold is a very strong color that not everyone can wear. I tend to think solid black with marigold is too harsh and favor cream or white.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Cream will give a very vintage feel to the outfit. Steel grey or blues, patterned tights, sharp industrial silver jewelry, will all work to modernize an outfit, but can be risky if the tones are off.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
In the end, if you're (understandably) leery of this color but still want to give it a try, stick to accessorizing with it.
And now moving swiftly on from the yellow family, which so many find so trying, we come to a far more acceptable color for Fall 2011 . . .

Trend #5: Jade Green
I myself tend to wear a forest green, but I actually believe jade green is a much better color on most people. Forest green can be very harsh, I usually have to pile on the make up. I don't happen to own any jade green, but I wouldn't say no, that's certain.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Jade green has a clean clarity too it, but it isn't a very vintage color. I hunted about for images and while I found a wide range of greens nothing came up that I would qualify as jade.
Even if you can't find a jade, I support green! And I think you can do the whole dress in this color. You can accessorize it with cream, most shades of brown, white, gold, silver, even marigold if you feel very daring.
The next trend is one that has been hanging out for a while now but it must be addressed regardless . . .

Trend #6: Maxi Skirts
Whatever you do DON'T wear it like it's pictured above on the runway. The very last thing a curvy girl needs is all that extra material and bulk paired with an over-sized chunky knit! I don't know about you, but I end up looking like an Earth Mother Type whose wandered off of a commune or Mormon compound or Amish farm or Convent or something. All that's left is Birkenstocks and rice cakes and hemp cord belts and shell jewelry and . . . oh the tragedy . . . the horror . . . flames . . . flames around my eyes . . . burning . . . Sorry, I was spiraling there.
Here's one late 1940s maxi I managed to track down. Retro look? Yes. Good for curves? No. Again, too much fabric down below and don't even get me started on boxy tops, that's a whole other rant.
So what to do if you have the rack or the hips and you want to rock a maxi skirt? Go further back in time, Fashionable Reader, to the 1930s and early 1940s.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Keep the fabric to a minimum and go for something less full and more A-line. If you are shorter in stature avoid hems that brush the floor, it'll just look like you borrowed your mother's skirt, try something that just shows your shoes, ending at the top of the foot. Similarly, if you are very tall, go in the opposite direction and sweep the floor, baby. Tall ladies, be careful not to pick an ankle length skirt, it'll look like you need to let down your hem. Here are a few modern options.
We're just looking at the skirts, mind you, not the rest of the outfits. Shudder. Pair with a nice fitted jacket, retro knit top, or tailored blouse that ends at the waist for the most proportional maxi look. It'll seem like your legs go on for days. You can do a fitted tunic as well, for that flowy alternative 1930s thing, but for the love please not a baggy top or boyfriend blazer as seen in the first two images above. I also rather like the maxi with a few soft folds, hides all sins . . .
But not too many folds and not too stiff a material, and please pair with a very fitted top. The 1930s also gave us the maxi satin evening skirt. Satin is always a risk as it can show every little bump (try velvet instead) but this kind of skirt is a nice alternative to having to hunt for a formal dress for a wedding.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
In velvet or satin this skirt is the height of formality. Wear it with a little cropped blazer (even a ladies tux coat for the Madame Lefoux touch) or a wrap jacket and it is entirely appropriate to any formal event, including an evening wedding. Bonus: you can get away with ballet flats AND you don't have to shave your legs!
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
I did end up buying a black jersey maxi skirt this year, mainly for slouching about the house in, and possibly for airline travel. It's very comfy. Mine came on sale from Max Studio and has a slight a-symmetricality to it. It's tight at the top and looser lower down making it the love child of fish-tail and an a-line.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
There is something to be said for comfort and elegance when traveling.

Trend #7: Tartan!
Plaid! I love plaid. Plaid is good. I have discussed my love of plaid before. For Fall 2011 we see tartan is all over the runway. But Miss Gail, you may well ask, how is tartan different from other plaids?
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
The Check Family: Windowpane = tones of 2 colors, fainter stripes; check = two bold colors, little or no striations or heathering; tartan (usually) 3 or more colors, multiple stripes.
Now where was I? Of yes, love of plaid.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Here's that dress I love so well from a shoot for Locus Magazine. Someone wanted to see it with the big sleeves, here it is!
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Now and then: 2011 Burberry Prorsum and 1950s wiggle dress
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Of course I'm going to recommend a cape. Were you somehow in doubt of this?
Moving on, only 2 more to go!

Trend #8: Slits
Yes there is some retro connection to the slitted pencil skirt, but I tend to avoid this look. Frankly it comes of as kind of trashy.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
I tend to prefer a kick pleat.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
A very retro option is to go for a slitted tunic instead. Just an idea. Here's a lovely version from J. Peterman.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way

Trend #9: Maxi Coat
Otherwise know as the duster, because it dusts the floor. In my world there is no better coat. If you can find a nice, slim cut, fitted, single-breasted duster, in a good quality material you have your Investment Coat. This is the coat you drop bank on and keep for the rest of your life. I have a New Zealand lamb-leather duster that I adore, soft as butter and incredibly La Femme Nikita (major thrift score brand new $50). I also have a very warm pale pink fish tail duster I picked up on Height Street for well over $100, but it's gorgeous and so warm.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Maxi coats have been around a long time, beautiful velvet one.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
So far as the rack is concerned, I would tend to avoid double-breasted, too much additional material up top. However, it is a more retro feel. The first coat above, while begin a double, has the button rows very close together and a smaller collar which makes it far more flattering.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
And, you don't have to go with black. Not everyone risks pink the way I do, but a nice camel or cream or dove grey makes for a great neutral alternate, and then you can wear everything else black without having to worry about looking like you are off to a funeral. Or you can be daring and go with red.
I can't let the duster go without putting in a steampunk mention. While I generally don't like a double-breasted coat, changing out the buttons for metallics can give a relatively plain jacket some real steampunk / pirate flare.
A word on maxi swing coats. Very dangerous, you can look like a tent. Be werry werry careful . . .
In the end, if you can find the perfect duster, of all the Fall 2011 trends, this is the one you should invest in. But make certain it is the perfect maxi coat for your figure and climate. These coats will be around forever, you can wait to find the right one.
Want to have fun with your winter coat this year and stay on trend? I'm going to say it, you know I am, opt for a cheaper fun cape instead. So much cuteness.

In addition to the fashions discussed above, I also spotted the following on the Fall 2011 runways:
  • lots of leather and black
  • opaque tights
  • shorts with tights and boots
  • capes 
And now, my darlings, I am exhausted. Have lovely weekends, and I hope I have inspired you to play with some of the up coming trends.
Gail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro Way
Still want more? Runway Daily's report on Fall 2011, and Fab Sugar's take. Both Prada and Miu Miu are going retro for Fall! Yes!

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown

 I had a recent blog on tea dyeing, a middling success as you may recall Fashionable Reader. One of the things I do a good deal more, is chemical dyeing. I find it's an excellent way to get a second use out of my clothes. If the fit is good, but I'm bored by the color, a dye bath livens things up. Also, for making steampunk outfits I'll dye the trim so that everything is in the same tone, if not exactly the same color.

Some things to be aware of when dyeing . . .

  1. You still need salt as a binder even with a Rit (a professional grade dye often uses soda ash fixer)
  2. Different fabrics will take the dye differently, sometimes the thread used to sew a fabric won't take when the fabric will
  3. Some fabrics just won't dye
  4. Wash according to instructions
  5. I only needed the gloves for the rinse
  6. Wear black
  7. Run your washing machine on rinse cycle empty after washing the dyed fabric

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown

Of course dyeing requires a very large stainless steel pot, and a take-over of the kitchen for several hours. I have an old wooden spoon re-purposed and a set of rubber gloves and I have a back patio with a drain (right now) which is excellent for rinsing. With the weather improved I decided to finally get rid of the stacks waiting to be dyed and did one brown and one black.

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown
Items waiting for the brown bath. Mostly steampunk trim, a shirt, some long socks.

Back when I was a far more dedicated costumer I used to hit up Dharma for powder dyes and soda ash fixer spend a half a day dyeing large amounts of fabric to the exact shade I desired.

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and BrownIn Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown
Dye and salted water heating, the items rinsing before the bath.

These days I use Rit with salt instead. I know, terribly lazy. I've had good results with their Dark Brown before, and I love the chocolaty warmth of the color.

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown
Dyeing in progress.

 As ever, part of the fun with dyeing is seeing how the different fabrics react. I was pretty pleased with the results.

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown
Got a little excited photographing the dangling trims.

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown

So, there we have it. Quite a range. I'm not certain what outfit they will decorate but they'll certainly show up on something. As ever, I'm pleased with the brown, black on the other hand . . .

Black is the hardest color to dye, Fashionable Reader. Yes I'm certain there is some scientific explanation for this, but that is irrelevant because I'm winching here. Black is also the most useful color. I've never been as huge a devotee of black as many of my Goth friends, but I do find it makes for an excellent accessory and tends to be something I reach for more than should.

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown
 The big bow in the middle got discarded when it became evident there was no way the dye would take.

I had a collection of items I really wanted to be black with very specific intentions: some socks and tight which were the victims of laundry bleeding and so needed to be less dingy, trim for a dress, a hat that was the Wrong Pink, and a navy jack that I loved the fit but never wear.

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown
The black dye bath.

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown
The final results.

Not a success on the black. The socks are OK, gray + black + cream is a nice combination. And the tights, possibly the thing I will wear the most as I live in tights in the winter, came out fine. But the trim was more mauve, and I've no use for that. The hat is a pretty color, but not the color I want. However, as it is a hat, I'm thinking I can hand stain it, so that's the next challenge. And the jacket. Woe to the jacket. It's cotton so I thought it would take the dye (even black dye) well, but all that happened was it became a darker navy. I'm not certain what to do about it. I love the cut and the retro blazer style, it fills a gap in my wardrobe, but only if it is black. I'm considering doing another dye professional grade, but that is a lot of work for one jacket. Sigh. Rest assured, I shall keep you abreast of the situation. (See what I did there? Abreast? Retro rack? Oh, I'm soooo amusing.)

In Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and Brown

Gail Carriger: Dress her fore her Heartless Book Launch Events!

My dear Fashionable Readers, I have two local events celebrating the launch of Heartless coming up which means there is a style decision to make!

Gail Carriger: Dress her fore her Heartless Book Launch Events!

I simply can't decide between three dresses. One will be for an event this Friday in San Francisco and the other for a Thursday night reading/signing down on the Peninsula next week. Here are the candidates . . .

Gail Carriger: Dress her fore her Heartless Book Launch Events!
A salmon pink number, made of cool twilled raw silk with a funky edgy neckline. It's deceptively simple but a nice summery color and I haven't worn it much so I'd like to give it an airing.

Gail Carriger: Dress her fore her Heartless Book Launch Events!
Light jersey teal dress that I bought for the Changeless book tour. I haven't worn it since then. It has a bias cut swingy skirt and a diminutive pussycat bow.

Gail Carriger: Dress her fore her Heartless Book Launch Events!
An old favorite I've worn a number of times, the check black and white suit. The sheath dress underneath has a sleeveless cap boat neck. This one travels well and is one of the first vintages pieces I ever owned, so it shows up a lot.

Gail Carriger: Dress her fore her Heartless Book Launch Events!
 I wore this check when I first attended a WorldCon as a professional author. I met my publisher and my agent face to face in this suit. I took my very first head shots wearing it. It went down to Australia with me. Ah, good times.

Gail Carriger: Dress her fore her Heartless Book Launch Events!Gail Carriger: Dress her fore her Heartless Book Launch Events!Gail Carriger: Dress her fore her Heartless Book Launch Events!

So what do you think? Perhaps the salmon for SF this Friday and the teal for suburbia next Thursday?  Then again the salmon is cooler, so perhaps the teal is better for foggy San Francisco. But the salmon has a bit more SF edge to it. Or should I substitute in the check for old time's sake? It has the little jacket in case it's too air conditioned, but I have worn it a lot. If I do substitute, which event does it suit better (pun intended)? Oh, decisions, decisions!



Heartless book launch party at Books Inc, Opera Plaza at 7 pm on Friday July 8, 2011 in San Francisco, CA.

Heartless book launch signing at Kepler's Books at 7 pm on Thursday July 14, 2011 in Menlo Park, CA.

Gail Carriger: Dress her fore her Heartless Book Launch Events!
I know I know I should rightly be wearign purple. But all my purple outfits are very much cold weather centric. I should have timed everything more seasonally!

Gail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans

I have returned from New Orleans, Fashionable Reader, I what I lost in water weight due to the heat I regained in fat from all the fried food. Orbit put me up at the Sheraton on Canal Street and here's the view from the bedroom window, such a  beautiful city!

Gail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans

On Friday evening, after recovering from a rather hectic plane ride, the AB and I headed out for nibbles. Following instructions from a fan, we sourced Maspero's fried calamari, which was indeed delicious. The AB was also favorably impressed with the draft beer.

Gail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans

New Orleans if full of the nicest people! I often get compliments on this red dress, which suits well enough but I feel is rather basic. However, never before have so many lovely ladies said how much they liked it. The AB suggested this was the Marilyn effect, as the top is quite boobilicious.

Gail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans

On Saturday for speeches, panels, and a publisher dinner I chose something a bit more conservative. It turned out to be a fortuitous choice for that was the "coolest day" and it was the warmest of my three dresses.

Gail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans

 I did learn, however, that stilettos and humidity are mutually exclusive with blisters popping up instantaneously. Sadly, I consigned my peep toes back into the suitcase.

Gail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans

I ended up wearing my oxfords the entire rest of the trip. For these first two outfits, which involved a lot of walking around in the sun I also wore a white straw hat as well. I had alternating flowers for the hat to match each outfit (expect immanent blog on the subject).

Gail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New OrleansGail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans
Oxfords are BP from Nordstrom and they are very light-weight and great for travel. I think a shelled out good money for them, $60. It was worth it. I like them so much I bought the second pair in a darker mushroom color which I am going to stain to be brown two tones (again, expect a future blog).I LOVE millinery ~ one of my favorite hobbies. The hat is from my usual Bon Mar Thrift store, $10. I did entirely redecorate it, though.

I know, I know, white and cream, but sometimes a girl's just gotta protect her skin. For Sunday, however, I was inside all day, so I switched hats to a cream mini topper. It was the hottest day and luckily I wore my lightest dress. Still, because of the AC, I regretted not packing a light shawl.

Gail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans

Note that the bra straps are invisible? Success! Although, the hat kept falling off (when I talk I get very animated and gesticulate wildly and wiggle around a lot). I had a nice hat pin but it broke, time to invest in another stronger one.

Gail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New OrleansGail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans

I paired all three outfits with crocheted gloves (from Bon Mar Thrift Store Sonoma, CA ~ $2) and a vintage cream purse (from Moon Zoon in Santa Cruz, CA ~ $20) with added octopus bling (gift).

Gail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New OrleansGail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New OrleansGail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans

So, coping with humidity and avoiding sweat blisters. Any advice or thoughts, ladies?
Gail Carriger at Comic Con 2012 Outfits ~ Day Four Red GinghamBook Outfits ~ Changeless by Gail CarrigerCloset Staple ~ The Black Pencil Skirt with Gail CarrigerGail Carriger's Lust Objects ~ Black & White RetroGail Carriger Lust Objects ~ Retro NeutralGail Carriger Talks Spring 2012 Fashion Trends #4 ~ RetroGail Carriger Talks Fall 2011 Trends: Runway to Retro WayIn Which Gail Carriger Gets Crafty: Rit Dyeing, Black and BrownGail Carriger: Dress her fore her Heartless Book Launch Events!Gail Carriger OUtfit round Up Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans

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