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Retro Rack

Vintage Style In A Modern World

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Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger


Every one of us hates swimsuit shopping, Fashionable Reader.

I don't know a single curvy girl who enjoys it.

It's the worst of bra shopping, meets the worst of size matching (no, actually my bottom is a medium and my top is a large), meets the great fear of Cellulite in Public.

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger

I go on holy grail hunts for companies that do bra-sized tops with bottoms I can buy separately. That's if I dare risk a bikini, which I mostly don't. Plus, I know I'm out $80 for a bikini that fits well, but it still won't fit perfectly.

 I have one tankini with a zipper front but it's so very sporty-looking zipped (and so very not sporty-looking unzipped) that it rarely gets an airing.

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
Wearing a reto leopard tankini top (from Target) as a top.


I came to a realization (odd it took so long for a girl who wears so much retro off the beach) that perhaps I should try vintage bathing costumes. Why not? The past produced dresses better for curvy girls, why not swimsuits? One good part being that, without chlorine and with different fabrics, vintage swimsuits seem to last longer than modern ones. Also, they have such interesting patterns and necklines.


I started the hunt some eight years ago and have ammassed a collection of suits since then, perhaps not of the colors and patterns I might wish, but I'm willing to take a color risk in order to wear a good, supportive, nicely-shaped suit.

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger

I will admit, I was afraid they might look a little, well, granny-like. However, vintage suits seem to be all over the fashion blogs and runways for summer this year. So what do you know? I'm on trend for a change.


Vintage suits seem to dictate a specific look ~ full make-up, heels on the beach, matched robes or little jackets.

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail CarrigerSwimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
(left ~ yellow form the 1960s, right ~ Carolyn Schnurer bathing suit ca. 1952 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

However, I think you can go beach chic with a vintage suit and not have to go all the way retro. Here are my three paired as possible outfits.

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
 (Maxine of Hollywood suit thrifted $20 a long time ago, gold ballroom Very Fine dance shoes from It's a Wrap in LA $10, sailor shorts from Crossroads in San Francisco $12)
Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
 (Labelless suit from Bon Mar Thrift store in Sonoma $5, Union Bay cargo shorts thrifted a while ago $15, Miz Mooz sandals recent score from Crossroads in SF $25, silver cuff probubly around $10 can't remember source)
Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
 (Roxanne turquoise tie-side skirt suit from Bon Mar Thrift store in Sonoma $5, H&M shorts $25, thrifted Apepazza flats probably from Buffalo Exchange around $20)

So there you have it, why not give a vintage suit (or a vintage inspired retro suit) a try?

Here are a bunch of retro suits on Amazon. They can get expensive. 

Please do check your vintage and thrift stores because suits do sometimes turn up. Often they are in the lingerie section.

You'll stand out in the right way. And I believe such suits provide the kind of support and coverage that gives a curvy girl those most necessary of feelings when wearing a swimsuit ~ confidence and courage!

Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger


Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
(Claire McCardell bathing suit ca. 1957 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)


Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger
Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.


Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail Carriger

You can shop my recommendations via the following lists:
Steampunk, Retro Jewelry, Makeup, Retro Clothes, Lifestyle


Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I get a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Gail Carriger in 1950s Retro Red Pedal Pushers and Leopard


For the second day of San Diego Comic Con I wore my coolest outfit (literally and figuratively). For this one I went pure pin up.

Gail Carriger in 1950s Retro Red Pedal Pushers and Leopard

I like red and leopard together, but then I love red, so... Leopard is so very versatile.

Here is another way to do Leopard, although, not in Canada. (One gets mistaken for local comedic talent, as it turns out.)

Gail Carriger in 1950s Retro Red Pedal Pushers and Leopard

And here is the last time I wore red and leopard together, on the Sword & Laser podcast & video.

Gail Carriger in 1950s Retro Red Pedal Pushers and Leopard

Right, now where was I? Oh yes... Comic Con.

Gail Carriger in 1950s Retro Red Pedal Pushers and Leopard

Outfit Breakdown

  • Turban style hat. I've gotten really into these lately and am planning on buying more (I already have red, white, and leopard). They come in quite a range of colors, styles, fabrics, and prices, this one is $8. I want to try one of the ones with a bow next.
  • I paired it with a leopard flower hair clip (similar $8).
  • Steampunk earrings (similar $17).
  • Red sunnies $9 (they seem out of the red, but the red and black are killer). 
  • I'm wearing the Bumbersnoot necklace from Badali jewelry that they SOLD OUT at Comic Con. There are more on their website, $23-48 depending on material. (I'm currently giving one away to a lucky winner via my newsletter, The Chirrup.)
Gail Carriger in 1950s Retro Red Pedal Pushers and Leopard

Next up, more from Comic Con!

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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.
Swimsuits: Come to the Retro Side, We Have Support from Gail CarrigerGail Carriger in 1950s Retro Red Pedal Pushers and LeopardThen & Now ~ Black Bathing Suit

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