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Vintage Style In A Modern World

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Gail Carriger at Bookfest in Red Pedal Pushers with Black and White


Barnes & Noble and their teen book fest this last weekend. It was pretty last minute and I agreed to do a thing because I happen to already be in the area for a morning event, so I figured it was no big deal to hop over.

Gail Carriger at Bookfest in Red Pedal Pushers with Black and White
photo taken by Maude Lynne @the_maude_lynne

Sorry this is the only picture anyone posted of my outfit as I forgot, as always, to take any myself.

I'm wearing a fitted button up black and white striped blouse (yes it goes over the Rack without a gap, it's one of those magic ones).  I got it years ago, likely from Nordstrom Rack. But I've no ready source of good button downs for girls with a large Rack, aside from going custom on eShakti. Recommendations welcome. The sleeves on this one are a little tight but because the rest fits so well and it's vertical stripes I can't get rid of it.

I've paired it with high wasted red cotton pedal pushers (similar $50), black and white Via Spiga wingtip spectator peep toes pumps (similar $60), black vintage leather gloves (similar $30), and a little red headband (similar $10), and red bead necklace and earring set (similar $20).

I'm never sure about pedal pushers, but I like having a few pairs of trousers about, just to remind myself that my legs do, in fact, go all the way up.

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You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
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Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

So, there are those who say that for those of use with a Rack, horizontal stripes are out.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

Well, I kind of adore the horizontal striped top. I blame Coco, she just made them look so chic and French.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

I think that there are ways to get away with this look and not emphasize the rack. A good fit and the right kind of stripes makes all the difference. Here are a few from my collection.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

The first is an undershirt, it's a good option if you don't want to draw too much attention, wear something like this under a cardy or a nice fitted blazer so the the stripes are only around your neck drawing attention up to the face.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top
A vintage 1940s knitted top.

This next shirt works on my rack because of the insubstantial almost textured nature of the strip, a scoop neckline, and details on the sleeve.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

I also am always looking for striped shirts where the white is less than the color, as it were.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top
Cool cotton blouse 1956

This shirt works because the fine nature of the stripe, it's almost like a horizontal pinstripe, from far away it just looks grey and up-close it sometimes makes people seasick.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

Some of my favorite tops are those that break up the stripe, again this helps to draw attention away from any possible widening effect while still giving that French feel.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top
Light cashmere from Max Studio, sorry about the wrinkles. $40 each (I caught a sale)

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

And here is a retro take on the concept.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

Sometimes I will opt for a tight striped vintage sweater to take advantage of the Sweater Girl look of the 1950s. For example I picked this one up at a thrift store for $4 because I couldn't resist the Grease meet Cry Baby appeal.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

Of course Coco's classic look was boat neck, more white than dark and very narrow in strip. It was taken from menswear of the day, as was her aesthetic. This is not my personal favorite cut, partly because boat-necks seem to broaden my already over-broad shoulders.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

Although I used to have this kind of sweater, I'm not as big a fan of the bold stripe either. I think it's too 80's for me, or perhaps just too much of a statement.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top


The fashion these days is also to mix stripes and other patterns, which I must say is difficult for me. I think it works OK if you are a skinny little thing going for tough and punky, but on someone of my preportions strips and plaid would look ~ how do I put this? ~ rather vulgar.

So what would I wear stripes with instead? Well for that French chic I keep talking about, just a nice simple black skirt does the trick, if you ask me. Or if it is a navy stripe, how about blue? Or for a little more edge, red.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top
1970s Sonia Rykiel ensemble via The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

If you are too scared of the horizontal stripe, the vertical stripe is there waiting for you, just as chic, and generally more flattering. Just do be careful with horizontal knitwear it can stretch in an raher obvious manner around the rack thus drawing attention to it.
Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

Of course you could always accessorize with stripes instead.

And lastly, I leave you with one for Alexia.

Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top
1878-1880 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gail Carriger at Bookfest in Red Pedal Pushers with Black and White Gail Carriger Struggles with The Striped Top

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