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Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves


Its happened again, but this time with feeling. Time for a closet purge.

Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves

My darling Fashionable Reader, can you believe it's been 10 years?

Well not in this exact blog but pretty much I've been talking about retro fashion and my love of it here on the interwebs for a decade.

And something has happened. I've changed shape.

Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves


I not going to shilly-shally around the point, I'm not precisely happy about this. However, I cannot expect to stay the same size that I was at university. I've become settled and I'm content with my life. But the life of being an author and is largely a stationary existence. I'm not tromping around the Andean Highlands anymore.

And I do love the occasional cream puff.

Perhaps more than occasional.

All these things have added up to a widening in certain areas. Not to mention the fact that I got a breast reduction several years ago. My shape, such as it is, has changed.

Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves


I am not going to substantially alter my lifestyle anytime soon. And even if I were, I am a believer in:

 never keeping clothing in one's wardrobe that doesn't fit


Quite apart from everything else, losing weight is an excuse to go shopping. And sometimes that makes it a motivation. Keeping too small clothing, on the other hand, is just depressing.

So accepting all these truths as self evident, I went through my closet recently and took a good long look at those dresses that really don't fit me anymore. Without too much surprise most of them are pencil dresses with no stretch to them.

Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves

Which leads me onto the next point:

I am also at a stage in my life where I want to change my style slightly. 


So I am shifting away from bodycon, tight, bombshell outfits towards things that are a little bit more relaxed and comfortable and that travel well.

Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves


I've been doing fewer events over the last couple of years, in an effort to protect my sanity and improve my production, but when I do travel it does tend to be greater distances which means the clothing that I have for events needs to pack well, not wrinkle, and pack small.

With all these restrictions in mind, here are a few of the items that I'm going to be getting rid of...

Black Velvet Jacket 1980s (1930s revival) CLAIMED


Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves

You have never seen me in this jacket because I've never worn it.

What? 
Beautiful black silk velvet swing jacket, with feather cuffs, 2 large velvet buttons at the top only.
Why?
It still fits. But it's still isn't right over the boobs. I thought if they were smaller it would look better, but it just isn't suitable for someone the my rack, the next owner needs to be less endowed and probubly taller too.

Has gone to a new home.

Grey Check Pencil Skirt (modern) CLAIMED


Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old LovesGail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves

What?
Windowpane plaid, grey with teal stripe, fish tale kick pleats. BCBG size 4. (I originally owned 3 of this skirt in different patterns, this is the last one.) Modern materials, lines, has stretch.
Why?
Too tight in waist and hips, doesn't photo well, just never seem to wear it.

Claimed to a new home by my lovely Z.

Red & White Suit 1980s


Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves

What? 
Two piece cherry red suit with white birds, peplum top with button front, pleated fitted skirt, silk.
Why?
Too tight at waist, shirt is really for someone with a short waist and smaller boobs. Doesn't pack well.

Red Dotty Dress 1950s


Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old LovesGail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves

Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves
1958 Red Pencild Button Front Dress

What?
Fitted and pleated red pencil dress with tan spots, silk, wonderful vintage seaming in neck and sleeves, matched belt. Satin wash poplin, no stretch.
Why? 
Too tight at hips, doesn't pack well.

Black & White Check Suit 1960s CLAIMED


Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old LovesGail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves

What? 
Check sheath dress with matched crop jacket, skirt above the knee, flattering cut, bit of stretch.
Why? 
Too tight at hips and waist, too short for my taste.

Claimed to a new home by my lovely Z. 

The Pink Floral Maxi 1960s


Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves


What? 
Maxi dress with chiffon top with tiny pink bows and train, linen skirt with hand painted flowers. Probably bridesmaid. No stretch.
Why? 
Too tight in torso, requires assistance to get into, linen doesn't travel.

The Marigold Cocktail 1950s

Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old LovesGail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves

What? 
Dupioni cocktail dress in a marigold color, low neckline, bra strap keeper, very flattering cut and seaming. No stretch.
Why? 
Too tight in shoulders and hips and sleeves, bit too long, needs someone taller than me with less broad shoulders.

I'm checking with local friends to see if they want 'em. If not then I'll probably consign them.

If you're super interested in buying any of them, you can ping me via my website calling card and Kelly and I will see what we can do for you. The usual warning about these being vintage.

I am sorry but it's too complicated to ship clothing overseas, given manifold troubles with customs and the high expense of postage, not to mention Kelly's time standing in line at the Post Office.

Be aware most of these are a size 2-4 and I'm 5'7" in flats and almost always wearing high heels.

Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old Loves


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Steampunk, Retro Jewelry, Makeup, Retro Clothes, Lifestyle


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Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black Dress

This was one of those dresses I bought on a whim with absolutely no reason or purpose, Fashionable Reader.

This usually bites me in the proverbial bottom. I have a suit and two dresses in my closet right now I can count from memory that I bought on just such a whim and have never worn. I purchased this dress because I loved it and if fit like a dream and despite being black and a cut I would never normally go for, it managed to minimize the boobs.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black DressGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black Dress
Black poly dress with a teared skirt. No Label. 
From Held Over on Height Street in San Francisco, c. $50.

I think the dress is from the 1970s, from the condition and the fabric type, but it has a 1930s feel to it.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black DressGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black DressGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black Dress
Left to Right: 1932 Coco Chanel dress via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 
1935 Paris fashion plate; 1930s teared skirt dress

When I was nominated for the Campbell Award in 2010 I was almost as excited by the opportunity to wear this dress as I was with the excuse to visit Australia.

After the awards, photo by Joxer

I think I love this dress so much because it has a pussycat bow a detail drawing interest up to the face, and away from the rack. It nips in at the waist with a diamante belt tight enough to require no tailoring. And the multiple tears at the bottom balance me out (I tend to be top heavy).

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black Dress
I know, I know silly face, several glasses of champagne in at the Hugo Losers Party. I'm trying to show you the bow.

So I wore it to the Hugo Award Ceremony in Melbourne in 2010 (I didn't win the Campbell but I was in a wonderful dress, and that's what counts, in my world). I paired it with gold accessories because of the dress's built-in belt.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black DressGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black Dress
Gold Gloves from Piedmonts on Haight Street, San Francisco $15, and designer earrings, a gift.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black DressGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black Dress
Gold ballroom dancing sandals by Very Fine, from It's a Wrap in Burbank, CA $10, and 
little leather embossed bag inherited from my grandmother, probably 1930s.

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 and makes repairs but dies 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 some adjustments it is worth the money.

Here are some fashion ideas to get a more modern look out of a long dress or skirt like mine. Maxi dresses and skirts are all over the street and the runway both for summer and fall, alas not exactly of this style.

I do think this dress would make for a great wedding dress style for a larger chested lady. But that is a whole other discussion.

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch

I ended up choosing the salmon dress for the Books Inc Heartless Launch in San Francisco.

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch

My mum, in a rather more dignified manner, called the dress coral dahling (and so did the nail salon) but I still think of it as salmon. Call a fish and fish, as the saying ought to be. The Popster's response? "You do look rather sushi-like." Is there any question which side of the family I get my sense of humor from?

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch
 Coincidentally, we went out and ate salmon sushi after the event. Yes, it matched my dress! 

So I chose this dress because I was feeling very madmen. Periodically, I am taken over by the spirit of Joan.

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch

I used to hate pink, but since Mad Men aired I find myself the proud owner of far too many pink dresses. It's very girly, but also very vintage, so I am slowly making peace with myself on the subject.

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book LaunchGail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch

I love my salmon dress because it has a very peculiar neckline ~ sort of a reverse sweetheart. Although my dress is clearly 1950s, research suggests that the shape of the neckline is one more closely associated with 1940s dresses, so my dress is probably quite early 1950s. It's unlined and labeless, so I wonder if it might be a modern bridesmaid dress made from a vintage pattern.

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch

I accessorized it with the following:

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch
Tan & gold belt from Target $14, and my Mod Cloth drivers $52 (I splurged for Christmas last year)

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch
 Hat by Mr. John for Remsohoffs San Francisco 1955 possibly later. Gift.

This amazing velvet and bead flower hat was a gift from my Mum for my Birthday this year, along with two others (a feathered number by Jane Morgan New York which is damaged and I will probably never wear, and an amazing evening shell and velvet with an indecipherable label, possibly "Marthe" 12, Rue de la Paix, Paris, future blogs pending). This one is a Mr. John for Remsohoffs San Francisco. You'll forgive me if I divert for a moment? John Pico John, the milliner known as Mr. John, died in June of 1993. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on his death that in the 1940s and 1950s Mr. John was as famous it the world of hats as Christian Dior was in haute couture. His clients included the Duchess of Windsor, Gloria Vanderbelt, Lauren Bacall, and Joan Crawford. His hats appeared in Shanghai Express, Gone with the Wind, The Painted Veil, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Needless to say, I am rather chuffed to own one but, honestly, until I was looking for something summery to go with the salmon dress I never even considered wearing it.
Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book LaunchGail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book LaunchGail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch
Coral cuff from Three Sister's Consignment in Sonoma, CA $12, earrings from a set gifted me by an ex from Dark Garden at the Dickens Christmas Fair one year, and my obligatory Joan pen necklace, gift from my best friend one Christmas. I believe she got it from a Mad Men shop.

I wore my new Heartless sandals (I commemorate books with shoes, again I'm prepping a blog about this quirk of mine). They are pretty darn comfy for such high heels but I'm going to have invest in some pads for the balls of my feet if I keep wearing them as frequently as I have been.

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book LaunchGail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch
Calvin Klein sandals from Nordstrom's Rack c. $50.

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book LaunchGail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch
Ring from Target $4 and Camel Purse, vintage 1950s, from Hubba Hubba, LA $40.

Sadly, the two accessories pictured above died for the book launch cause. I busted the ring on the drive in, entirely my own fault. The purse simply fell apart during the course of the evening (the handle split, edges began to crumble, and clasp wouldn't stay closed). I'm going to watch my vintage leather purchases much more carefully in the future. Sad to see this purse go, but it really doesn't have the capacity it ought of its size so it wasn't really suiting my travel needs anyway.

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch

Lastly, I acquired one additional accessory upon my arrival. For there waiting for me on the podium was this lovely bouquet, and better yet, the smiling faces of two of my most adorable fans sitting in well dressed splendor at the front! As ever, they made certain to match the flowers to my dress. (Thank you Michael & John!) Of course, there is also Octavia for you all to meet, but that will have to wait until I have pictures.

In the meantime, here are some great ideas for taking a vintage peach/pink/salmon/coral dress like mine from Retro Way to Real Way . . .

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book LaunchGail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book LaunchGail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch
From left to right: Cora in Forever 21 oxfords + salmon floral print, Blugirl Fall 2011 RTW line, Paris street fall 2010

And the book to read with your salmon dress while you eat your salmon sushi and drink some fruity drink with a small parasol in it on the beach in some gorgeous foreign land?

Gail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book LaunchGail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book Launch

Why not try something a little tough and snarky like the excellent Valor's Choice by Tanya Huff? Military space opera, written by a woman who really knows what she's on about. Marvelous characters and alien races, extremely snappy dialogue, an endearing and tough heroine, and lots of fast action. Torin Kerr is one of my favorite main characters ever written, and I am a particular fan of this book (the first in the series) because it opens with a post sex pheromone hangover and ends with a battle based on the early Zulu Wars (late 1870s).

Gail Carriger in New Orleans in a Green Dress

So, as I said in the last post, I'm off to New Orleans and Baton Rouge this weekend, Fashionable Reader. At last report, I needed to be prepared for 95+ and should limit my makeup. (Crisis! I never limit my makeup!) Anyway, on the hunt for my lighter weight vintage dresses I unearthed this one for Saturday . . .

Gail Carriger in New Orleans in a Green Dress

This is a louder pattern than I normally prefer, but this dress fits me so beautifully and is such a lovely light weight duck cloth, I can't resist. It's extremely well made and in the best condition of any of my  vintage pieces, but label-less, I'm afraid. I'd guess around 1954. I got it at Bon Mar Thrift Store in Sonoma for a cool $15.


I will be wearing mine retro style, and I'll post the look when I get back from New Orleans. However, I've been seeing a number of similar print dresses all over the web ~ in some of my favorite fashion blogs and on the runways. I thought I'd include some street style shots of how to wear just such a vintage patterned piece in a modern way. Hope you enjoy.

Gail Carriger in New Orleans in a Green DressGail Carriger in New Orleans in a Green Dress
Right Bluegirl Fall 2011 RTW runway, and left from the excellent fashion blog What I Wore.

Gail Carriger in New Orleans in a Green DressGail Carriger in New Orleans in a Green Dress
Left some runway or another and right

I'll be at the American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, (June 25 - 26, 2011), wearing this patterned green dress Saturday to speak at the YA Luncheon at noon and on the Science, Fantasy & Information Science Program from 4 ~ 5 pm. I hope to see some of you there.
Gail Carriger's Great Closet Purge of 2018: In Which Gail Lets Go of Old LovesGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: 1930s Long Black DressGail Carriger Wears Salmon in San Francisco for Heartless Book LaunchGail Carriger in New Orleans in a Green Dress

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