Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Steampunk Inspiration ~ Comfy Shoes


Scouting about recently, Fashionable Reader, I discovered that hushpuppies has a line of steampunk style ankle boots. They aren't available in all sizes but they are cute, and I can speak from experience they are super comfy. Anyway, I thought I woudl just give you all a heads up!

Hush Puppies Vivianna Tan Womens Ankle Boots

Hush Puppies Erika Lonna Womens Ankle Boots

Hush Puppies Erika Lonna Womens Ankle Boots

Hush Puppies Vivianna Black Womens Ankle Boots
Hush Puppies Vivianna Black Womens Ankle Boots

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

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Waistcoats & Weaponry: Peek at Sophronia's Dress Design Process?


Waistcoats & Weaponry has been out for a while now, Fashionable Reader. I thought some of you would appreciate a little DVD extra moment.

I wrote this passage about the dress that Sophronia wears to her family's masquerade ball. I could see the dress so clearly in my head. I was taken by the ombré idea and I wanted to make it very steampunk and very useful with lots of pockets.

Here's the text:

    The girls around her murmured in distress as Sophronia began to dress.
    "You don't have to wear that do you?" said one, distressed.
    Sophronia had begged an old dress from Sister Mattie. It was black and severe and could be thought a mourning gown it was so plain. Over the last few weeks she had tailored it into a narrow silhouette, most unfashionable.
    "Sophronia, dear, it's so ugly!" remonstrated Petunia.
    Sophronia pulled it on. She looked well in black, and as a young lady with no deaths in the family, she rarely had the opportunity to wear it. It went on easily. Sister Mattie did not employ a lady's maid so all of her dresses fastened up the front. But what Sophronia, Dimity, Agatha, and Sidheag had spent their free time doing to that dress was ingenious.
    They had cut it in and down at the collar so that Sophronia wore it over a full white blouse. Both were low enough, however, so show a goodly amount of cleavage. Sophronia had very nice cleavage and was under orders from Mademoiselle Geraldine to take advantage of it. One never knows when one might need to hide or distract, décolletage is good for both. Hers were nothing on Mademoiselle Geraldine’s own considerable assets, but then, whose were? The bodice was tailored all the way to her waist, nipped in further with a wide stiff leather belt. The effect was almost like a blacksmiths apron, giving Sophronia a utilitarian masculine look. The white underskirt was full enough to disguise the fact that it was actually divided down the middle and could act as trousers if necessary. This was draped over with the skirt of the black gown, split up each side so it looked even more apron-like. To it they had sewn multiple pockets in shades of black and grey, in variable sizes, largest and lightest at the bottom, smallest and darkest near the waist, forming a pattern. Into those pockets Sophronia had stashed useful objects. Not that she expected trouble, but she had the pockets so she might as well use them.
    "Sophronia, what are you meant to be?" Petunia was disgusted.
    Sophronia pulled out her mask, it was an asymmetrical slash of black, like a large smudge. "I'm a sootie, of course."

Here's my sketch, drawn quickly for my editor so she could pass it along to the cover designer. 


Here's what it looked like on the cover:


Here's some inspiration!

Versache Dress



Concrete Necklace Vancouver-based jewelry studio Konzuk


Helmut-Lang-Shadow-Ombre-Asymmetrical-Skirt


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

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

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fashion Round-Up ~ All the Outfits from W&W Tour!


Here's what I wore for the Waistcoats & Weaponry Tour.




OK, so I lie. I am missing the last one, my forest green dress. You have seen it on this blog before. It's warm and packs beautifully so I saved it for the end and Chicago. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture.

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

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Teal eShakti Pencil Dress in Boston for the Waistcoats & Weaponry Tour


As noted in recent posts, for my Waistcoats & Weaponry book tour, Fashionable Reader, I tried to dress in outfits that matched my cover. On my first day in Boston I wore my teal eShakti pencil dress with the cross over front skirt and scolloped neckline. I love the fit and look of this dress but it wrinkles like a mofo. I'm really going to have to avoid the poplin from eShakti from here on out, it just doesn't travel well enough to suit my needs.


I didn't take a solo shot of the outfit (sorry) so here are a few with friends (Robin & Hanna). (That second photo if from via Hanna on FB, I hope she doesn't mind.) You can see I kept the pockets in this dress. One reason for me not to have pockets is that I tend to do exactly that, shove my hands into them in photos. Sigh. I must say I don't love how the seams do that nipple thing (that is the seams, not my nipples, I swear) so I'm not so sure about this dress in general. Would you believe I ironed the hell out of it? Yeah. I may not bother to tailor this one after the surgery.

I paired it with black accessories: octopus necklace, oxford stacked heel platform booties (similar), bow belt, my obligatory pen necklace, and some jet earrings (similar).

And a fan for Sophronia...


Fan  1830s-1850s  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Teal Velvet 1960s Cocktail Dress at the Spy Museum for the Waistcoats & Weaponry Tour


For my Waistcoats & Weaponry book tour, Fashionable Reader, I tried to dress in outfits that matched my cover, and this one was my favorite. On the Sunday of World Fantasy, I escaped for the International Spy Museum. The event space was amazing (and sneaky). This dress was tagged in the shop (Real McCoy in Exeter, UK) as 1960s but it must be pretty early. It's a bit big at the waist but I don't mind as the rest of the fit is so well.


As you can see I wore it with the teardrop hat with one of my magnetic flowers to match the dress, long black satin opera gloves (vintage ~ similar $5), a collar style necklace that a friend found at the flea market for me (similar $5), my pen necklace (of course), a broach pinned at the flower at my waist, and a massive flashy octopus ring.


Look at me, remembering to take a detail shot!

While I love my green rose dress the most, this one was more comfortable and really photographed better than I thought it would.


Not a perfect match but pretty darn close!

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rouched Black Cocktail Dress in DC for the Waistcoats & Weaponry Tour


For my Waistcoats & Weaponry book tour, Fashionable Reader, I tried to dress in outfits that matched my cover ~ except for this one aberration. On the Friday of World Fantasy, I wore my new black rouched cocktail dress with white accessories. It is a bit more modern than most of my retro pieces, but it's very forgiving and I knew the evening was destined to end with a lot of sitting (the mass autographing session and then the bar). This dress sits well in that, as it is already very wrinkled, it doesn't show further wrinkles. (I bet Victorian designers thought about this with Dinner Dresses. Must look into that.) It has this cool full back, I should have got a photo for you, which makes me very glad I do yoga in order to get the zipper all the way up.


I borrowed another flower from Whiskey Tango Fashion (I am, clearly, going to have to purchase several of my own for they are easier to travel with than hats, look great, don't give me headaches like most head bands, and I can get them in specific colors.) That is my beloved multi-strand pearl necklace (similar $12) with my pen necklace (for the mass autographing), and a sparkly brooch (similar), a beaded evening clutch (similar $18), beaded cardy, and the lovely sounding Via Spiga spectator peeps blogged of previously.


We found the retro phone in the hallway and thought it made for a pretty backdrop. Normally, I am not one for the LBD but this one was so easy to pack and I know it would sit well so I had to take it along. I would have preferred it were a color, but sometimes you have to go with what you can find that fits.

Lately I've been coveting these boots to go with this outfit as a more steampunk alternative. 

$48 but only in full sizes

A fan to go with, for Sophronia...

Fan  19th century  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Paisley Print 1950s Day Dress in DC & Chicago for the Waistcoats & Weaponry Tour


As noted in recent posts, for my Waistcoats & Weaponry book tour, Fashionable Reader, I tried to dress in outfits that matched my cover. On Friday of World Fantasy convention and on my first day in Chicago I wore this vintage 1950s paisley print dress in shades of green and blue. (This is the same dress that I wore for the launch party for Crudrat.)


In both the versions pictured above, I am wearing it over a Dark Garden sweetheart custom corset. The first (with the black accessories) is at World Fantasy and second (with the brown) is for Crudrat. The black accessories included my black teardrop hat with magnetic teal flower, steampunk fan earrings (similar), elastic black bow belt (similar $4), new black Born oxford wingtips, and, of course, my gold pen necklace.

Here is the dress later on the tour without the proper foundation garments...


See? Proper corsetry makes all the difference. Also when in the right underpinning, I tend to prance and twirl around the hotel room in my skivvies (since the corset and crinoline are both white and the latter made of copious amounts of tulle) singing "I'm a pretty ballerina." As if I were 8.


 The lovely lady pictured with me was wearing these boots, or ones very like. They are velvet and come in red (and used to come in purple) as well as the black ($81). I actually nearly bought some from Clockwork Couture but they don't come in half sizes and I am a pretty clean 7.5. Speaking of Clockwork Couture have you seen Donna's boot collection lately? Oh my goodness!



Not a perfect match to the cover but I did my best.

And here is a fan for Sophronia:

Fan  1620  The Victoria & Albert Museum

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

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Laser Cut Turquoise eShakti Dress in DC for the Waistcoats & Weaponry Tour


As noted in previous posts, for my Waistcoats & Weaponry book tour, Fashionable Reader, I tried to dress in outfits that matched my cover. On the first day of World Fantasy I wore my new eShakti laser cut turquoise, black, and white pencil dress. It is a bit more modern than most of my retro pieces, but I love it. It is VERY light weight (perfect for a mid summer wedding). I had intended to wear it again on the tour in Boston or Chicago, but the temperatures required that I only wear this the one day at World Fantasy.


I like this dress very much, although it certainly doesn't minimize the Rack. I also adore my teardrop shaped hat, it doesn't go on the road with me often because it is too big to travel well. But I was checking luggage for the first part of this trip so I packed it in a puffy envelope, well filled with socks, and crossed my fingers it would survive. (It did, both ways, thank goodness.) My favorite part of this outfit, though, is the spectator peep heels. These are old old Via Spigas, comfy and unique and cute, but they made the BEST sound on the parquet of the hotel floor. The perfect tack tack tack of stilettos. Made me so happy I kept walking through the lobby just to hear them click.


A fan for Sophronia to go with this outfit...

Fan  1920s  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Green Rose Print 1960s Evening Dress in DC for the Waistcoats & Weaponry Tour


As noted in the last post, for my Waistcoats & Weaponry book tour, Fashionable Reader, I tried to dress in outfits that matched my cover. On the first day for my launch event and on Saturday of World Fantasy I wore this vintage early 1960s I. Magnin print cocktail gown. It has green roses (they are fuzzy to the touch!), a slightly tulip shaped skirt, and half length sleeves. This has to be one of my favorite vintage dresses.



I paired it with long green satin gloves (they come in most any color you want for about $12), a green and black Lucite necklace, and a green feather hair band (both vintage).



Here are the two sides of the feather band. I bought it just with the feathers, they had fallen off one end so I sewed on that vintage gold and green scarf clip. I do love the band. As you can probubly tell, I am wearing my corset with this dress. It no longer fits the Rack without it. Thank goodness it still fits with it! (Although I do tend to spill a bit. Stop leaning forward, Gail.)

On my feet are my new black snakeskin platform Mary Jane stilettos (with the much coveted almond toe).

Similar in patent with a retro heel or with the super high stiletto.

With Howard Tayler & Vanessa A. of Whiskey Tango Fashion

I wore the outfit again Saturday for the Art Show reception at World Fantasy with a black octopus necklace and a black skinny belt. All in all this was my favorite outfit of the whole tour.


And a fan for Sophronia to go with...

Fan  19th century  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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