Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 3 The Sash

I love the idea of a sash belt, but unless I am wearing a foundation corset it rolls up and doesn't stay sash-like because I am so curvy.

1950s  Timeless Vixen Vintage blue

That said I have, in a pinch, and on a number of occasions used a skinny scarf as a belt. Needs must. I kind of like that look, I wish I could remember to do it intentionally rather than in case of emergency! The ribbon belt is a cousin to the sash and seems to be all over the runways and red carpet these days. Just take a bit of grosgrain and wrap it round.

2014 red carpet

So far as I can tell people have been wrapping a sash about their waists for simply ages. It's certainly true that early on in the Victorian era it seems tied to the military look.

1850s Major military uniform (Cranford still); 1850 Dressing Gown The Philadelphia Museum of Art

1888 Afternoon Dress  Charles Fredrick Worth  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1889-1890  The Cincinnati Art Museum

Oliver & Co. day dress ca. 1898  From the Drexel Historic Costume Collection; 1900-1901 Tea Gown Jean-Philippe Worth, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 1910 Evening Dress Lucile, 1910-1915  The Victoria & Albert Museum; 1910-1911 Callot Soeurs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 1912 Evening Dress Jeanne Paquin The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1930 Louiseboulanger,  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

 1933 Evening Dress  Madeleine Vionnet, 1933  The Kyoto Costume Institute; 1937 Evening 1937 Dress  Coco Chanel,  The Metropolitan Museum of Artbelt

1950 Evening Dress  Madame Grès, 1950s  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 1950s  Timeless Vixen Vintage

1956 Model wearing an evening gown by Christian Dior, 1956 via the niftyfifties tumblr

 1959 Evelyn Tripp for Vogue, 1959 via theniftyfifties tumblr; 1961 Sophia Loren via jeanjeani961 on tumblr

2007 Katisha-San  John Galliano, 2007  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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

In Blue & Green at the Crudrat Wrap Party in Hayward

Hello Fashionable Reader! Today I have for you and blue & green patterned dress with brown accessories worn at the Crudrat Wrap Party. I first wore this dress in France but I haven't had a chance to wear it locally before this event. I chose it because it kind of went with the book's cover.

Book not available for purchase.

I paired it with brown accessories because I never have a chance to wear them. My browns don't travel well, so I don't wear them often. I went with a little neck scarf and a beret for a French look.

The wrist muff is s Thrift store score for $12 (yes it's real and it has a zipper with a secret pocket), the scarf is also Thrifted $2, vintage leather gloves were a gift, earrings I bought at a steampunk convention.
Miz Mooz boots in dark brown, no longer available

Stylebook: glimpse at my brown collection

The event was a blast and I had a grand time. For medical reasons I am also wearing fully corseted foundation garments. (I don't really post about it much but when you have size J boobs on a size 4 frame, the weight can really cause serious problems. Lately, I've been unable to wear a bra because I needed stitches on my back right where every single bra strap hits. When I can't wear a bra I can't really do anything, not even leave the house, people stare and I feel humiliated and awful. I can't exercise and I get depressed. Life with a Rack, mostly, is no fun. Sorry boys, but that's the truth of it.) Anyway, I could reschedule the wrap party so I went with my only other option, strapless corset. Like so:

Balmain dress and petticoat, circa 1950

Although I am using a Victorian style fully boned corset.

Mine is custom made from Dark Garden and I've tweaked it to make is as comfortable as possible and not laced tight. Unfortunately, most of my clothing doesn't really work with a corset, it hangs wrong. Even the vintage stuff. Not so this dress.

With Stephanie (instrumental in organizing) via FB
Women’s dresses in the Sears Catalogue, Spring_Summer 1958. via theniftyfifties tumblr

I'll have to wear the corset more in the future, I forgot how comfortable it is. All the weight is off my back and on my hips. And my hips can totally take it. It may not work with many of my dresses, but the ones it does work with, it makes them look so much better.

One of the things wearing the corset did was make me think about dresses I could add to my wardrobe that would go over a corset. Here are a few off the recent runways...

 2014 Burberry Prorsum; 2014 Jenny Packham

2014 Pamella Roland; 2014 Delpozo

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

San Diego in Blue & Cream at ConDor

For various complicated reasons I don't wish to go into here, Fashionable Reader, I was confined in my wardrobe choices for ConDor down in San Jose. Luckily everything went smoothly. For the first day of panels I wore this:

Sorry, it's a bit blurry. That's a royal blue dress from JC Penny with cream oxfords (starting to look a bit warn and sad), Juicy navy cardy, pen necklace, fan earrings made of shell, and a little bow hat. The earrings are relatively new, a gift from my mum, and they tie in to the next Finishing School book.

Later that evening there was an ice cream social reception at ConDor and it had gotten cold so I changed some of my accessories. 

 Photos by Jerry Abuan

I put on my cream cashmere sweater instead, a multi-strand pearl necklace, smaller earrings, and peep toe shoes. Jerry was the convention's offical photographer, he did a great job, but still cut off my feet in almost every shot.

  Photos by Jerry Abuan

  Photos by Jerry Abuan

This is normal, I've found. I'm beginning to formulate an rather obnoxiously biased gender theories about those behind the camera. I don't know what I have to do to get a photographer to take a picture of my shoes, but it clearly isn't "wear cute shoes." I don't mean to complain (OK, I do) but I pretty much have to say, to every person who takes a picture, "Don't forget the shoes!" Otherwise I'm footless in every single shot. And I spend so much time picking out my shoes, and so much weight and packing space transporting them, it hurts me to have them neglected?

Forgive my needling? I just love shoes.

Anyway, this evening outfit features one of my more recent acquisitions (OK it was last October or something, I got it at the Alameda Vintage Fair for $15) a multi-strand (fake) pearl necklace. I love it because it actually fits my scrawny chicken neck. It was a whim purchase but since I got it I've been seeing them everywhere, and it's remarkably warm.

Simone d’Aillencourt in white crépe dress by Nina Ricci, 1957 via theniftyfifties tumblr; Anna May Wong  miss-flapper tumblr 
  Photo by Jerry Abuan
 Dovima via myvintagevogue tumblr; Fashion for Glamour magazine, December 1956. via theniftyfifties tumblr

I love that I managed ot find so many vintage examples because it shows how it can be worn over clothing, partly over clothing or with a lower necked top. When I first got it I though I woudl be limited by just wearing it with low necked stuff, but these photos showed me it could be more versatile.
Necklace  Verdura  Sotheby’s

2014 Chanel

Tom Binns Pearls in Peril gold-plated Swarovski crystal necklace at

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

San Diego in Purple & Cream at ConDor

For the last day of ConDor, Sunday, I wore my favorite purple print blouse and my new-ish knit skirt (the one that is part of a set).

Here it is: with and without the cardy. (I feel it's OK to double the knits as the colors are so close and the skirt has that pleated look making it clearly its own piece. Plus I got cold.) The blouse is modern, cheap, I sewed closed the front. The look with the cream is a little hip-happy for me, but I'm a curvy girl, must accept this fact. And here is photographic evidence. I wearing a silver chain necklace with rose details and typewriter key earrings, a cream leather belt, via spiga peeps, and a little leather flower headband.

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

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 2 Matched

After a brief break for New York outfits I return, Fashionable Reader, to my previous series on belts. Having covered the decorative belt, now we are on to the matched belt.

Dovima for Lady Manhattan, 1957 via myvintagevogue tumblr

 Several of the dresses in my personal collection came with matched belts, although it's not necessarily something I look for in a vintage dress it does increase the value (and cost) if the dress has its original belt.

 Matched & decorative with the black 1930s maxi; plain buckle belt with a blue pattern dress

 Matched bow belt for the flowered browns, one of the reasons I bought this dress; and a tie belt for the knitted navy which I never use with the dress

 Tiny bow belt for the green (no picture available) and a matched buckle belt for the red dot, belt falling apart

Many of the matched belts I never wear because they are too delicate, or not wide enough for my taste. Sometimes I want to use a contrasting color belt to tie together my accessories. (The exception being the black maxi and the brown flowered above. For some reason I love those belts and always use them.)

Coordinating cream accessories requires the contrasting belt

So, without further ado, here is a retrospective on the matched belt in fashion...

1820  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1840  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Sophronia's older sister to wear, before the Finishing School books:

1850  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Agatha after the Finishing School series:

1865  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Countess Nadasdy in the Parasol Protectorate series:

1870-1875  Afternoon Dress  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Ivy after the Parasol Protectorate series:

1885 Ensemble  1885-1888  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Prudence and Primrose in the Custard Protocol series:

 1897 Visiting Dress  1897-1900  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1898  Augusta Auctions

 1897-1898 Walking Suit The Metropolitan Museum of Ar; 1900-1905 Evening Dress  Jacques Doucet, Les Arts Décoratifs

The turn of the century and beyond...

1903 Jeanne Paquin, 1903  The Kyoto Costume Institute

 1905 Summer Day Dress  The Victoria & Albert Museum; 1905-1906 Evening Dress Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arketektur og Design

 1910  Kerry Taylor Auctions; 1910s  The Goldstein Museum of Design

 1913 Evening Dress  1913-1914  Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arketektur, og Design; 1915  Antique Dress

1937 Evening Dress  Coco Chanel,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
 1950 Hawaian Day Dress; Ensemble  Christian Dior, 1952  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

1954 Model wearing ‘Haiti’, a cocktail dress by Dior. Photo by Mark Shaw. via theniftyfifties tumblr
1960s  Whitaker Auctions
1970 Halston, 1970s; Yuki, 1987  Kerry Taylor Auctions

The Modern Take...

 2012 Burberry-Prorsum; 2013 Chado Ralph Rucci Fall 2013 collection

2013 Olympia Le-Tan Fall 2013 collection

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

San Diego in Kelly Green at ConDor

Kelly green. Not a color I would wear except as a retro look. But I really love this dress. I requires ironing or I woudl travel with an wear it more often.

But I do love this dress. I think it is so flattering. I suspect it of being a bridesmaid's dress, lucky bridesmaid.

By Jerry Abuan cia FB

 By Jerry Abuan

I paired it with a vintage faux gold broach and earring set that has a steampunk feel, and cream accessories.

Here's a bit of a retrospective on kelly green...

For Lord Akeldama:
1810 Vest  1810s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
 For Mrs. Loontwill:
1872  The Victoria & Albert Museum
 For Primrose:
1902 Virot, 1902-1903  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
 On Gail's wish list:

 1944 Swimsuit and Skirt  Cole of California, 1944  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

1953 Sunny Harnett for the Simplicity Spring Pattern Book

1955 Hubert de Givenchy, 1955  The Victoria & Albert Museum
The last time I wore the kelly green dress at WorldCon:

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