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Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
Photographed by the incomparably wonderful Vanessa Applegate

Saffron, Marigold, Yellow Gold, Bright Mustard, whatever you wish to call it this is a dress that only 5 or so years ago I would never have purchased. I was very much against yellow and orange, but particularly yellow. For no good reason, Fashionable Reader, I just was. I have a rather sallow complexion and I tend to feel that yellow makes me look jaundiced. In fact, this particular shade tends to make me a little on the pink side. Shocking in a freckled individual who can not blush.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
Deanna Hoak, Eddie Schneider, Gail Carriger at the REno WorldCon Parties

Don't tell, but possibly the most shocking thing about this dress as that due to the nature of the scoop neckline, I cannot wear a bra with it. But the bodice is well lined, stiff, and structured, so I like to hope you can't tell. Initially I am very self conscious in such a condition, with a Rack like mine, braless is a near sacrilegious term. But it works.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

This dress has become one of my very favorite. It's one of those on the long list of "save if from fire!" I can't remember where I bought it or how much I paid (knowing me, no ore that $50) and it has no label, but my guess would be late 1950s early 60s from the silhouette and pleating. However, the length of the skirt might push it back in time.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Of course, I have discussed gold previously, but this dress is such a different tone and style from the Flobért. Here is a little retrospective on the this color . . .


Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
A dress for Alexia 1880 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1939 Valentina dress via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1950s dress via Timeless Vixen Vintage
Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
1956 Norman Norell ensemble via The Indianapolis Museum of Art

I like to pair mine with cream, and a little faus fur cape I picked up from H&M for $15 a few years back.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Here I am boosing it up at Reno (and a suggested scent for the occasion, Manderine Tea Perfume). It was Saturday party night so I went a little eccentric and paired the dress with my orange plaid glasses, yes, you read that right, and a velvet shell decorated evening hat my mother purchased for me from an auction for my birthday last year.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
The label is very difficult to read but it think it says, Ínarthe 12, Rue de la Paix, Paris.

The peachy orange velvet is not a color that I have in my wardrobe, but it went well enough and I wanted to wear something a little outrageous for the big party night. Back to the cape. Adding it gives the dress a particularly reto feel.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011
Knit cape from 1964, and 1950s dress via Timeless Vixen Vintage

 Especially as, right now, this kind of cut (only shorter) is considered quite modern and the color is very on trend.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011



So, what to read with the marigold dress?

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Sharon Green's Hellhound Magic, is the second book in her Far Side of Forever series. Sadly, the series was never finished (so far as I can tell) but this book has a satisfactory ending. It is written from the first person perspective of Laciel, one of the most powerful sorceress in existence, who is a bit of an unreliable narrator. Like many of Green's books the complex fantasy world (or, in this case, worlds) is interwoven with an equally complex love affair. It can get frustrating – if the two only communicated once in a while! – but I can't help but adore Rik and root for this shape-changer to win over his stubborn all-powerful love. You all know I have a weakness for big gruff shape-changers and the stubborn women they adore. I'm not saying my adoration of this trope is sourced in Green, but she certainly colored my formative High School years.

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011


So, on Saturday night at Reno WorldCon, Fashionable Reader, I wore my Fashioned By Flobért gold robe dress.

 The dress is stained and slightly faded, in a heavy satin. This makes it only suitable for low-light late evening events, and warm, and in ever great need of ironing. But it is super comfortable. I bought it on sale for $10, it needed repairs and new buttons all up the front. I have a great source for vintage buttons in Petaluma and I sourced 32 abalone shell replacements for $10 plus narrowing every single button hole. It was quite the task. I do like the architectural details in the bodice. I'm inclined to want to find a nice wide brown belt for it at some point.

It actually has a bit of a train, in that the front is shorter than the back, showing off the shoes. I was going to wear it with t-strap dark brown shoes, to highlight the 1940's feel, but these sandals were more comfortable with my blisters from the first day of WorldCon.

Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011
Soft brand t-strap shoes, started life pinky-red had them dyed brown, and Calvin Klein wedge sandals, my staples this summer. Both from Nordstrom Rack, probably about $35 each.

I call it a robe dress even though it doesn't have the requisite sash tye, mainly because of the length and the sleves, which remind me of a bathrobe. To me it has a very 1940's feel, but I'm not certain that is the correct time period, it might be more early 1950s.

Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011
1941 short winter robe dress; 1944 Charles James dressing gown

Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011
1950s robe style dresses.

I paired it with my favorite tarantella brown netted hat and a vintage brown bag from Hubba Hubba and some retro drop golden pearl earrings.

Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011

This style of dress is pretty flattering on more figures. And it has been around a long time, since the 1930s. I tend to feel pairing it with chocolate brown tones down the over-the top glamor of the gold.

Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011
Left is a Madeleine Vionnet dress ca. 1932-1934 via The Victoria & Albert Museum

 This tone of gold, the more muted rose gold or old gold is more versatile to different complexions. I think anyone from pale blonde to brunette to red head to African American to Asian to . . . . can wear this color and look very very elegant. It's a great alternative to a boring old black evening dress.

What to read when you are wearing your gold gown?

Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011

The equally elegant and incomparably well-written Freedom's Choice by Anne McCaffrey. This is the second book in her series started with Freedom's Landing. The series is not about the invasion and conquering of Earth. Like Douglas Adams, McCaffrey essentially blows up Earth in chapter one (well not completely, but Earth is basically irrelevant). The point is, a group of earthlings and other conquered sentients are dumped on an alien world to see if it is habitable, in other words, to survive to be conquered again or die. The main character is a brilliant tough Nordic lass and her hero a disgraced member of the conquering aliens. The books are fun space opera but in a Land of the Lost survivalist vein, with a wonderful romantic element and great alien species. I adore them. Next time I have a real vacation this series is coming with me for a reread. I think there are 4 books total, but you can stop after the 3rd.

Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011
Just because it's funny.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion

And now, for your viewing pleasure, Fashionable Reader, the day-by-day outfit log from Reno. I'll do a breakdown of outfits as soon as more photos start to filter in, and I did miss photographing one dress from the first night, but all-in-all I remembered to pigeon-hole someone to take a full body picture ~ hat to stilettos ~ every time. Of which I am inordinately proud. I have learned that it is best to ask a female to do it (remembers the shoes) or when someone approaches me to photograph for themselves to thrust my camera upon them.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Thursday, Day

Sorry for the blurry. Red dress with white acessories, photographed by Francesca Myman of Locus Magazine with senior editor Liza Trombi photo-bombing me ~ much to general giggles. I like to start out a convention with red, it makes a nice powerful impression. However, the shoes were a mistake, especially without stockings. I had blisters to baby for the rest of the con. Sigh, always go with leather.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Thursday, Evening

Briefly put in an appearance at the Girl Genius ball, mostly to play homage to Phil & Kaja.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Friday, Day

Switched out what I had planned to wear as these are my most comfortable shoes when blisters are in play (yes, better than flats), and because I was going to be interviewed for SF Book Club. Red pattern reads better on film than white knit, particularly on The Rack.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Friday, Evening

For the parties I slipped on my 1940's robe dress. I substituted my favorite sandals for the dark brown 40's style T-straps, again because of the blisters. The dress was a little warm for the parties, but they weren't all that crowded, so it worked out fine.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Saturday, Day

I tend to call this my pea green dress, but we realized that night it was actually wasabi green. I opted for flats, as this was my busiest day, which I really will only do for dresses with full skirts.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Saturday, Evening

This is one of my favorite dresses of all time. It's a little tight over the rack and requires I go (gasp) bra-less, but sometimes a girl's got to sacrifice for such a rich color and amazing cut. I didn't wear this to the Hugos, but I wanted to put my best foot forward on the last night of parties.

Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention Fashion
Sunday, Day

This is a modern skirt, nice because it's synthetic and doesn't wrinkle. Skirts I can buy modern, it's tops and dresses that never fit me. This one has a faint blue pinstripe. While it is a little boring, I keep it in the closet because it travels so well and has a matched jacket and pants, all of which fit! The knit top is vintage.

Today's secret tip?

As I did in the above outfit, you can fasten your blouse to the waistband of the skirt (from the inside, of course) at the seams of both sides with safety pins. Then you don't have to spend all day tugging and rearranging.

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: Tweed Skirt!

I know it's the middle of summer, and if there is any fabric that is a winter fabric, it's tweed! However, I'm going over old WorldCons and one of the skirts that turns up more often than not is my tweed. Probably because it packs and travels well.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!
Here I've paired it with red for WorldCon in 2008 with Amy, Prannish, & Paul at the Tor party.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!
Mine is modern, not vintage (fortunately this means it doesn't smell). It's a Liz Claybourne from Marshalls, I probably paid about $30 for it. It's lined and not wool, contributing factors to me buying it. Vintage tweed is almost always wool, which I can't wear to my sadness.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!
1940's stylish tweedy ladies

Tweed has a very 1940's feel to me, but it's been particularly popular from 1930s on. It has a definite reputation in England for being associated with the gentry (or countrified aristocracy). It was worn for hunting and riding and other sporting pursuits. "Getting into the tweed" is a colloquialism for getting ready for a country jaunt. Also it's irreparably linked to both a boy's public school education (for the yanks this means private school ~ don't ask) and the House of Lords.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!
The ladies of Gosford park, in the tweed zone.

I tend to pair mine with a knit bow top.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!

Or a pussycat bow (see future blog). As we have discussed before I love red, so most of the time this outfit ends up with red accessories, as discussed in a previous blog. But sometimes I pair it with brown for a more fall look.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!
Photo by Lori Nyx

Here I am doing a reading in the skirt on the Blameless book tour. I'm wearing a little fur and velvet net hat which I adore (affectionately referred to as the tarantula hat) and some brown shoes.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!
 Hat from Decades of Fashion on Haight Street. $30
Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!
T-strap pumps by Soft from Nordsrtom Rack $25, and peep toes by Aerosoles from source $35. 

Both shoes started life pink and have been dyed brown. I seem to always end up dying shoes brown because I can't find a pair I like in the shade I want.

In adition to the skirt I have two jackets in tweed as well. Or rather one coat and one jacket.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!
Coat from Banana Republic outlet mall $60, American Eagle check jacket from thrift store $10.

I've had the winter white coat for ages, it seems terribly impractical but I can't seem to get rid of it. Every time I think, I have too many coats, this is the one I end up reaching for when it's cold and I don't want black. The jacket, sadly, doesn't quite fit the rack and is wool, although lined with a lovely red pinstripe, so it has been (rather aptly) retired to the countryside (AKA my mother's). It's a tweedy fabric, but with a brown hounds-tooth check. It's very equestrian, and I LOVE equestrian so I haven't been able to completely get rid of it.

But where was I? Oh yes, tweed! Like the black pencil skirt the tweed skirt often shows up on the fall winter runways. Here are some examples from both future and past.

I think you can dress tweed modern, as in the last two pictures above, but it will still have a vintage look to it. Particularly if you are wearing a pencil skirt form. I suspect this, combined with the country equestrian nature, is why I love it so very much.

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!
Joan on Madmen sporting tweed, and a 1940's tweed suit paired with what? Oh yes, red!

So what book do I suggest with the tweed?

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!

Patricia C. Wrede's The Raven Ring. Set in Lyra (a world in which Wrede has written many books) this one stands entirely alone. It features a tough mountain lass, who just happens to be a bad ass fighter, and is basically a murder mystery with magic. Eleret must figure out who murdered her mother and what that has to to with the magical Raven Ring that is her only inheritance. It also features two marvelous love interests and a fun ending.

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check

The summation of the following post, Gail = pro black & white check!

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check

Check and gingham often come off as very vintage.

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check

This is my piece, a sheath and matched jacket from Moon Zoom in Santa Cruz, CA. Probably $40. I love it. I've worn it often.

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White CheckGail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check
Wearing the suit down in Australia at World Con 2010.

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check
1950s

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White CheckGail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White CheckGail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check
Alexander McQueen, queen Dita, 1950s dress via Timeless Vixen Vintage

However, it is hard to modernize. I'll probably be taking mine to Germany this October and have to use it for both the event and street wear. I'll parse out the jacket with slacks and a bright top for a mod look, and wear the sheath with opaque tights and chunky shoes. Hope it works.

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check
Peggy in Mad Men

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White CheckGail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White CheckGail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check
Some more classic vintage check from the 1950s.

Alternatively, one could go for some black & white check accessories.

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White CheckGail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White CheckGail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check
Houndstooth on Fall 2011 runway, bold windowpane from 1948, & Art deco earrings ca. 1930 via Christie’s

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White CheckGail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check
Both from 1958.

Or you could wear is as a foundation garment.

Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check

Of course, I like to pair my black & white with red. Because I love red.
Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check
And to read with your black & white check?  I suggest Soulstring by Midori Snyder. 
Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check
Playing with various fairy tale and Greek mythos this story begins with the classic trope of evil sorcerer father killing the suitors for his daughter's hand. But our young heroine doesn't remain passive for long. We are, instead, taken on a courageous journey with a powerful female protagonist. Soulstring pulled on my heart strings with its sweet hidden love story and an utterly charming conclusion. 
Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check
Have a great weekend!
Gail Carriger in Vintage 1950s Brown Gingham Pincil Dreass and Retro Royal Blue, New Rack REVEALEDGail Carriger Sage Suit in San Antonio, WorldCon 2013 Outfit Report: Day 4Gail Carriger WorldCon 2013 Outfits In RetrospectGail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011Gail Carriger Reviews Reno WorldCon 2011 Renovation Convention FashionGail Carriger Talks About Shoes, Flats, Heels, & WorldConsGail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Tweed Skirt!Gail Carriger Talks About Her Love of Black and White Check

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