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Gail Carriger Black & White Check Pedal Pushers at Phoenix Comic Con 2018


I have a long and contentious relationship with capris (or in this case pedal pushers). It's well documented in this blog.

I've settled on them being OK, but for me only with high heels. Rather like pencil skirts and dresses.

So here I am on the final day of Phoenix Comic Fest in my favorite pair.

Gail Carriger Black & White Check Pedal Pushers at Phoenix Comic Con 2018

I paired them with a knitted octopus pinned to my head, some black & white accessories, and my new teapot bag!

Outfit Details


Gail Carriger Black & White Check Pedal Pushers at Phoenix Comic Con 2018

Octopus knitted facinator: Gift
 Velvet top: made it myself
Gold Pen Necklace: No longer available. Similar
Mesh gloves: $16
Teapot purse: $69+ etsy
Check pedal pushers: TJ Maxx, similar $30 or so
Via Spiga wingtip peeps: Long gone, similar from Chelsea Crew

Gail Carriger Black & White Check Pedal Pushers at Phoenix Comic Con 2018Gail Carriger Black & White Check Pedal Pushers at Phoenix Comic Con 2018


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Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

I had so much fun at FenCon, even though I was only wearing one outfit a day! Usually I try to pack two (one for day and one for evening), but I wanted to travel with only carry on (and managed it!) which meant only four pairs of shoes, one extra bag, and a few outfits. This is what I wore the first day . . .

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

I had a class to teach so I went for the librarian look.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
Felt cream hat, vintage 1940s, recondition and modified with teapot button. Bon Marche Thrift Store $7. 

This hat is a relatively new acquisition, and this was its maiden voyage into the public eye. I love the slightly beret feel of it, but it fits my head perfectly, and stays on, so I can also wear it well to the back if I like, or tilted in any direction.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

Pearl and silver choker. Gift when I was a child, this is one of the very first pieces of jewelry I ever owned. I love the length, and the clasp. The earrings are from an epic score from a thrift store in Ohio. They are modern (well, relatively, probably the 80s) and I love the little bows. All are fake pearls ~ I prefer costume jewelry tot eh real thing, I'm less stressed about it.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

Jean Paul Richard knit top, modern. A lovely soft drapey knit, with nice detailed sleeves, which I have said before, I love. I got it at a consignment shop for about $15. I'm really into teal these days.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

My ubiquitous cream bag. I usually pin an octopus broach over the bow, because, why not? It's ubiquituous because I often wear cream accessories, and it's a very good shape and size. It is vintage, but labelless. It has a bright plaid interior with working zipper pocket and very few stains. Can't ask for much more out of a vintage leather bag, can you? I got it at Moon Zoom in Santa Cruz for $30. Worth every penny.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

Textured patterned Via Spiga peep-toe pumps, Nordstrom Rack $40. I adore these shoes. They were the first Via Spigas I ever owned and launched my love affair with the brand, and a general preference for Italian shoes. Italian shoes seem, on the whole, to be slightly narrower with more arch support than those made in other parts of the world. I like to say that most of me is either British or Danish but somehow I got Italian feet.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

BCBG fish tail pencil skirt in a light weight material window-pain plaid, grey with teal and blue accents. The paid is faint enough to be almost neutral and it's basically grey, a color I adore. BCBG made several of them in various different materials. I bought this one and a brown-based plaid. I paid good money for them at an outlet mall, around $50 each. But they are fully lined, fit me beautifully, and do amazing things to my bottom, even though I don't have much of one. Fish tails are like that. Unlike a vintage skirt, this skirt sits below the waist, not at it, so tucking in a top is out (even if I were a tucker, which I'm not), hence I often pair it with knitwear. The plaid pattern on the bottom can widen and emphasize so best to avoid if you are pear shaped. Since I am top heavy, I prefer to place the emphasis down bellow, pulling attention away from the Rack.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

Teaching in the outfit. I move around a great deal when I teach, so I kicked off my shoes. I know, I know, bad form. But I get excited about these things.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid SkirtGail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
Early 1940's plaid skirts.

I am a huge fan of grey as a neutral. People so often go for black when grey can be such a lovely and softer alternative. Like black, grey goes with practically anything, but unlike black you can find different tones of grey to suite any complexion from dove (which is soft with slight spring blue tints) to steel (which is darker with a harsh winter feel).

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
Jean Dessès dress ca. 1949 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
Jean Dessès dress ca.1953 via The Victoria & Albert Museum

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
1960s Norman Norell cape via 1stdibs.com

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
Dior grey skirt and knit top and early predilection for the LA-based teeny-tiny dog accessory.

Finally we have a couple of dresses for Alexia ~ one in plaid and the other grey.

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
1878 via The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt
1870s walking suit via The Indianapolis Museum of Art

Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid Skirt

Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons

I'm still in Reno, Fashionable Reader, and about to set out but I thought I might say a little word on the subject of shoes. 

Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
I have skinny feet. Which is to say: narrow (but not _that_ narrow) but also not very thick, so shoes with straps always require extra holes. The end result is that most shoes made for the American market I simply can't buy. I opt for Italian 90% of the time and leather if at all possible. I need to be able to break a shoe to fit my foot, and man made will break my foot (with blisters) to fit the shoe.

I've ended up with two mandates . . .

1. spend good money on shoes and bras, get everything else cheap
2. invest in shoes that will last for a long time

Currently most of my shoes are: Via Spiga, Miz Mooz, modified dance shoes, (%50 of the collection) with a few Me Too, BP, and Franco Sartos. I have one pair of Lambs and one pair of Irregular Choice both of which I love but which KILL ME to wear. I just can't get rid of the cuteness.

If you are not a skinny foot like me, consider Fluvogs (expensive, but you can at least try them on to see), Clarks, Blowfish, or Aerosoles. If you have an average shape, Me Toos are a good between option, but, of course you will have plenty to chose from.

Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons

Word on the street is Irregular Choice, no matter how wonderful they look, are never comfortable. Same holds for Lamb, allthough I will say my sky rockiting booties might be painful but they sure are the most stable 7" stilletos I've ever owned.

Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons

One of my biggest tips as a high-heel aficionado to those more cautious with their feet, is to try dancing shoes. They can run very expensive but they break easily to mold to your foot. I have a lovely Shoe Guy I visit regularly who not only puts on walking soles to dance shoes and makes repairs but dyes shoes for me at a very reasonable rate ($5 ~ $10).  I figure if I am going to get more wear out of the shoe with a few adjustments it is worth the money.

I learned the lesson at the Denver WordCon that I should have both flats and heels in all accessory colors. That way, I wear flats to walk to the convention center and then heels once I have a arrive. I have one of those little collapsible totes so I can carry the heels there, then I fold up the tote and the flats. I buy flats small enough to fit into my handbags and handbags large enough to hold both the flats and one mass market paperback.

Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldConsGail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
Via Spiga & thrifted flats; Via Spiga & dance shoes.
Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
Haight St fancy & dance shoes & Aerosoles & Me Too flats.
Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
BP flats & fancy pumps & dance shoes & Via Spiga
Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
Miz Mooz & Via Spiga & Via Spiga & Miz Mooz & flats
I arrived in good time and wore red with white accessories all day Thursday. Unfortunately, I did not take into account the fact that it was so warm I did not wear stockings. This, even with flats, results in blisters when the shoes are not leather. It's hard to find good white patent leather.
Gail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldCons
I suppose this is basically a defense of stockings. I ended up spending the rest of the weekend in them, despite the heat, and also blister band-aid (which I buy in bulk). The secret, by the way, is to cover the blister band-aid with an industrial strength fabric band-aid.

Some have asked me before but I don't wear vintage shoes as a rule. They tend to be in very poor condition and, unlike clothing, that's not something I have the skill to do anything about. I do modify my shoes though, with attachments and dyeing, expect a future blog on the subject.

Pictures of the Reno outfits to come, I promise. I remembered to take a full length shot of all six! I'm ridiculously proud of this accomplishment. Trust me, I can barely remember my brain at a convention. I left my room key in my room three times! Taking a photo of each outfit (for which I have to pigeonhole some unsuspecting patsy once I hit the convention) is like presenting a dissertation it's so complicated.

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

Gail Carriger Black & White Check Pedal Pushers at Phoenix Comic Con 2018Gail Carriger in Dallas in a Plaid SkirtGail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldConsGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1940s Black Pencil Skirt

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