Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Gail Carriger Loves Tweed & Cold Comfort Farm


I love tweed, Fashionable Reader, here I am in a tweed pencil skirt in 2013, early on in my career as a public speaking authorbeast...



Today I made a big decision and got rid of this tweed pencil skirt. I've been doing a lot of purging recently and I just wasn't wearing it enough. (I still have that shirt.) It's sad really, it was one of the last tweed items in my closet.

Symptom of begin a California girl, I suppose. Not much use for tweed.

Still in honor of its demise I though I would post a few tweed-related images:

For Prudence

Walking Dress  1893  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Primrose

1895  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

For Gail

Ensemble  Utility, 1942  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Suzy Parker; photo by Nina Leen, 1951

If you want to be inspired by tweed I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the movie Cold Comfort Farm. This is hands down one of my favorite movies of all time and I want every single one of her outfits.

Cold Comfort Farm






And here is a fun new bit of merch!

Teapot in an Octopus Cameo Steampunk T-Shirt
Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Outfit In Detail: Black Velvet and a Red Trumpet Skirt with Leopard Accessories


Hello Fashionable Reader!

Here's my most recent event outfit. I went to Borderlands for their Mass Signing 20th Birthday Celebration!

(And then stayed for the Sponsor Social.)


The funny thing about this outfit is that I was having such a hard time deciding what to wear, I had Twitter vote on it.


Here's the break down of what they chose and how I put it together.


The velvet blouse is part of a 1940s suit (the skirt is no more). Like all black velvet, it photographs poorly, but it has tons of lovely little details like buttons and cuffs. You'll just have to trust me that they are there.

The bag, gloves and shoes are all modern but I bought them 10 years ago. The bag came from a thrift store, the shoes are aerosoles, and the gloves H&M.

However, still available are...


Next to the amazing Katherine Kerr (I was a little star struck). 


I'm afraid, since it was at night, the light wasn't awesome
 
Finally here I am in my special Borderlands Sponsor sweatshirt...


Take a good hard look, this is the only time you will ever see Gail Carriger IN A HOODIE.
Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Degas Was All About the Hats, So Is Gail


Hats make me happy, Fashionable Reader. I hope this comes as no surprise.

Image taken by Gail Carriger, do not share without attribution


Apparently Degas was a big fan, too. This exhibit I went to included others who were fans of hats, as well as some hat making displays, and of course the hats themselves.








This last is a double whammy of Gail's loves: hats & parasols!

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

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.

Fancy Dress Costumes ~ The Victorian Halloween



"And yet here he was, if one could credit one's senses, about to take part in a fancy-dress ball, a form of entertainment notoriously a testing experience for the toughest. And he was attending that fancy-dress ball, mark you—not, like every other well-bred Englishman, as a Pierrot, but as Mephistopheles—this involving, as I need scarcely stress, not only scarlet tights but a pretty frightful false beard."
~ Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

via gravesandghouls tumblr, Victorian costumes c. 1880s (Source: vintagegal)
Fancy Dress, 1874

Fancy dress costumes were very popular in the Victorian era, Fashionable Reader. There were follies, masquerades, fancy dress balls, not to mention a variety of other events that might call for a costume of some kind or another. I feature a fancy dress ball in the Finishing School books and I'm contemplating what might happen if Lord Akeldama decided to throw one. However the Victorian approach to fancy dress was quirky to say the least. Here are a few examples...

folly  costume via realhistoricalpatterns tumblr

Classic jester costume, also the domino were both, extremely popular in the Victorian era.


  antique-royals-TUMBLR 1860s 

via Bizarre Victorian fact of the day…

A traditional Halloween custom which was practised across Britain (particularly in rural areas) in the Victorian period was for groups of people (of all ages) to don strange costumes and go door-to-door in the hopes of receiving food or gifts, or of causing a bit of mischief. This custom had a huge number of regional variations. On the Shetland Islands the ‘skeklers’ wore tall pointy hats and voluminous costumes made of straw. In Montgomeryshire in Wales men dressed themselves as ‘gwrachod’ (an ancient Welsh hag-like monster) by putting on ragged clothes, sheepskins and masks. They went through their neighbourhood frightening children and being rude to adults. Young people in Glamorgan cross-dressed and went from house to house singing riddles, while ‘guisers’ in Scotland with masked, blackened, or painted faces chanted rhymes like:

    Tramp, tramp, the boys are marching
    We are the guisers at the door,
    If you dinna let us in, we will bash yer windows in,
    And you’ll never see the guisers any more.


Source: victorianfanguide


gardener costume via realhistoricalpatterns tumblr

Aristocratic Victorians loved to play the poor, particularly the romanticized country poor. In addition to gardeners, milk maids, peasant girls, shepherds and shepherdesses were quite popular.

page costume via realhistoricalpatterns tumblr

There was also and interesting take on cross dressing that occasionally appeared. There's a certain romantic notion and of the beautiful page boy, almost gender neutral and certainly gender bending that made this archetypal character open season for men or women. Maxfield Parrish capitalized on this with some of his work using a female model for many of his pages and princes etc...

rose costume via realhistoricalpatterns tumblr

Objects were also open season. And an idea I kind of love. Above we see a young lady dressed as a rose garden, or rose bouquet. Bellow is one dressed as a... waste basket. I may have to put that into one of my stories.

waste basket costume via realhistoricalpatterns tumblr
via eccentric victorian on tumblr
“Scrap Book” 1890 National Gallery Victoria
“The Dirigible” via OMG That Dress tumblr

Other cultures were also popular, as were historical figures. Always keeping in mind the Victorian silhouette. You'll not that while masks were popular grotesque make up was not. Victorians might theme a masquerade to a particular place or time period or even a famous author, Shakespeare characters, for example, might be a theme.

Fancy Dress Costume Charles Fredrick Worth, 1870 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

via weirdvintage-tumblr Bird girls of Szegeden, Hungary, 1880s (via Vintage Photo)


via Old Photos & Bacon☣ @photosandbacon


I have a lot of fun imagining how a costume party in my steampunk Victorian era might look. Can you imagine people coming dressed as trains, or dirigibles? Or werewolves or vampires for that matter. I may have to write a short story about this at some point.
White Witch Costume 1885 Kerry Taylor Auctions

“Folly” fancy dress costume 1890 The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

And something a little more to my personal taste...


Halloween Bombshell Veronica Lake

Halloween Bombshell, Myrna Loy
Myrna was best known for her role as Nora Charles
in the 1930's The Thin Man movies
Bollywood Steampunk


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

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.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Victorian Riding Hats Are Cool


Normally, Fashionable Reader, I avoid all things riding and horse related in this blog. Because people who ride horses troll. I know, right? But yeah, they do. [Gives horse-related chip-on-her-shoulder scabber who came trotting over here via a google search the royal stink eye.]

Anywhoo, but I took a photo of this wonderful hat at the Degas exhibit and I couldn't resist sharing so I'm gonna take the risk.

Image taken by Gail Carriger, do not share without attribution


I'm gonna pretty much leave it at that. Victorian riding hats are cool. I love how they are inspired by menswear. 


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

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.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

1890s Fashion in Video: Around the world in 1896







Look at the fashions in this amazing video! This is the 1890s, exactly the right time period for Prudence and Primrose and the Custard Protocol books.

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

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.

Presentation Outfit ~ Why I wore Red & Black, 1950s Flowered Sheath


I recently did a Business of Writing presentation. I don't do this often, but I feel like I'm getting to the point in my career where I should pay it forward. A kind of, "Let me tell you what I have learned from my mistakes so you don't have to."

Anyway, this is what I chose to wear for my presentation:


I always think of red and black as power colors

I'm not sure there is any scientific reality to my assumption, or if, instead it's just that I feel more powerful when I'm wearing them. I blame Star Trek. Red makes me feel in command.
Also this is a pretty comfortable and cool outfit, it's light weight and simple, and doesn't wrinkle easily. It's one of my go to outfits in general, and for autumn in particular, I think, because of the color profile.

This outfit, from the 1950s, is in two parts: a black cotton shift dress with red & orange applique flowers that perfectly matches a stiffened georgette jacket.


In 2012 in just the sheath in Spain, before my publisher there folded
In 2012 at a romance event in LA

The jacket has been a bit of a problem over the years, because it is georgette with a fused backing from the 1950s it's actually pretty fragile. I've repaired it a number of times. Fortunately, the pattern is so busy it's hard to see the repair stitches. It does, however, mean that a presentation is a much better venue then a convention (where I am doing a lot more risky stuff).


Wearing this dress at a convention before I promptly ripped the jacket. 
I love this dress because it feels faintly Spanish influenced and it reminds me of this one on Joan in Madmen:


I keep waiting for eShakti to do a run on this style of dress but I suspect the fabric is hard to come by as is, and no one wants to do that kind of applique anymore!
I'm wild about this swim suit:
Bathing Suit  1950s  Timeless Vixen Vintage

For the characters!


For Mrs Barnaclegoose in the Finishing School series...

1855 Kerry Taylor Auctions

Countess Nadasdy in the Parasol Protectorate series...


Charles Fredrick Worth, 1878-1880  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

And the countess later in Romancing the Inventor...


1885  Kerry Taylor Auctions

Boots  1885  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art


Vintage velvet hat with applique leaves (gift), vintage glasses (gift from a reader) with my prescription, necklace vintage heirloom, dress & jacket 1950s, modern CK wedge sandals from several seasons ago (similar $15-30).
Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

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.