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Vintage Style In A Modern World

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Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi

So, for my two events in the Sacramento area I opted to wear my black maxi dress. This gown is pretty darn fancy, it's the one I wore to the Hugos a few years ago. I chose to wear it because I knew I could sit for hours in the car on the way there and it wouldn't wrinkle into oblivion, and it could go from being steampunk to normal with only a switch of the belt and hat.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi

So above is a comparison of outfit evolution. A steampunk version with silly hat, corselette, red gloves, and flats and then a retro look with a red velvet jacket, gold sandals, gold gloves, and a shell cocktail hat.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi

For the steampunk look I utilized bits of my Autumn steampunk outfit. I suspect you are all too familiar with these.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi

I swapped out hat, belt, and shoes for the Avid reader event. Just goes to show how switching a few accessories can change everything!

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 A back view of the hat as I talk wildly with a reader.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 The hat, front.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
The hat, side. 

The hat was a Christmas gift from my mum a little while ago. She picked up a whole selection at a silent auction. The label is very difficult to read but it think it says, ├Źnarthe 12, Rue de la Paix, Paris. I have managed to dig up a few similar in museum collections.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 1935  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 Cocktail Hat  1950s  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 1964  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
Flowered version from a still of Mad Men

The dress I bought from Held Over on Haight Street for about $40. I think it's 1970s (because of the fabric), despite the 1930s feel. The last thing I needed was a long black dress but I have a weakness for tears and pussycat bows. This one fits me so beautifully, despite the Rack. Now that I know it works as a steampunk option, I'll probably wear it more frequently.

Being top heavy, I like dresses with the weight on the bottom. Here are a few more for the 1930s.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 1930 Coco Chanel  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1931-1932  Evening Dress  Elsa Schiaparelli The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
 1937-1938 Evening Ensemble Coco Chanel The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1930s The Frock

Something for the characters . . .

For Sophronia, perhaps for an infiltration operation. 

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
1850 Mourning Dress  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
Beaded Cap 1850-1875  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

And for Alexia.

Gail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi
1870 Mourning Dress  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions

Well, Fashionable Reader, I ran a poll recently. Almost as many people who follow this blog actually voted, which is amazing! I am truly grateful for all your input.
Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions

 The New Year seems a particularly good time to make a few alterations, shall we say?

 For a long time, Gail's Outfits was in the lead but near the end Fashion History came from behind (as it were) for the win. (Oh, I'm so droll.) I'm not surprised, as Fashion History posts are by far the hardest and most time consuming. Naturally they'd be the winner! I will do my best to give you one a month. In the interim: May I direct your attention to the following blogs with a fashion history bent?


Gail's Outfits came in for a photo finish in second place. (Yes, I am going to keep with the puns!) And of course will continue so long as I remember to get photos taken at events. I have at least one gig a month but many of these feature multiple outfits, so you can expect at least three or more posts on this subject a month.

Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 ResolutionsGail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 ResolutionsGail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions
 In LA; in San Francisco Timeless Launch; on the Timeless tour


Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 ResolutionsGail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 ResolutionsGail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions
 Europe tour; World Steam Expo; first day of Comic Con


Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 ResolutionsGail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 ResolutionsGail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions
 Last day of Comic Con; NCBSA; Nimrod


Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 ResolutionsGail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 ResolutionsGail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions
 Sword & Laser; NCTE; Borderlands

Retro Inspiration came in third, which is one of the areas I'd enjoy to do more of, so I'm glad you liked those posts. They are partly dependent on what I run across around the internet so some of them take a bit of consideration and time. Still, I have a few almost ready to post, so look for the number of these to hopefully ramp up in 2013.

Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions
 From the movie Roberta

Then & Now came in for a surprise forth, it was way behind for a while there. These are probably the easiest on me so probably will run about one a week, barring events.

Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 ResolutionsGail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions
 Then: 1700's Roses; Now: 2012 Runway Suit

Fashion How Toos fell in the middle so I'll probably be a bit lax about these posts, and only do them when I feel like I really have something to say on the subject. Otherwise follow RetroRack on Facebook where I tend to post links to other peoples posts on care and repairs and the like.

Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions

 Then we had Sins Against the Rack, these only happen a couple times a year when I have enough red carpet fodder to be catty. I think that's OK, as I like myself least when I'm catty, although I do have fun with the sinners.

DIYs also only happen when, well, I have a DIY to do. These days that works out to be only a couple times a year anyway. My newly completed steampunk parasol holster is incoming, probably to drop sometime before the LINK Nova Albion Steampunk convention.

Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions

Book Inspiration, one of my personal favorites pulled a dismal forth form the bottom. I have some of these stocked piled and ready to go, so you will still get them for all the various books that have already come out, but after that things should dial back to only one or two a year, as that's my schedule and foreign publishers keep opting to use the same covers as the US.

Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions

Lust Objects came out near the bottom as well. One of my favorite, and easiest to do, but frankly, it's easier not to do them at all so these posts will probably be one of the ones to get canned.

Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions
 Charlotte Olympia Domino Clutch

Seasonal Trends Translated for the Rack is what I've done a lot of over the last few weeks. They are considerable work. If there's something particularity retro and Rack suitable on the runways expect to see them pop up here at the beginning of that season, but only as one or two posts, rather than a whole series on trends. I am going to put my faith in your ability to translate the trends for yourself from here on out.

Shopping was dead last. I might still rec a few products that I love, but I didn't do many of these anyway so weeee. In that vein can I bend your ear about this liquid liner?

Gail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions

 I hate liquid liner it is such a pain and I'm so bad at applying it but to get true vintage cat's eye look you really need it. Well, have I found the best thing EVER? Yes I have! It's the pen applicator version and it works just like one of those old felt tip artists pens from when I was a kid. So good! I've been using the one from Maybelline New York Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner, but there are others out there. I'm not sure how long it takes to dry out, and I only use mine about twice a week, but I'll let you know how it goes.
Then & Now ~ Pink Indian InfluenceBook Cover Inspiration ~ Green from Germany's Blameless by Gail CarrigerThen & Now ~ Cream EmbellishedThen & Now ~ Pink Sari InfluencedGail Carriger's French Outfits: Black & Blush 20's Dress VariationGail Carriger's French Outfits: Flowered Pencil Dress VariationGail Carriger in Sacramento in a Black Maxi Then & Now ~ See ThroughGail Carriger 2012 Fashion Retrospective, Poll Results & Blog 2013 Resolutions

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