Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Retro Head Scarves ~ How to Tie & What to Buy (Square!)


I've been going a little crazy in the head scarf arena recently, Fashionable Reader.

Rosie the Riveter
I affixing the scarf just in front of the ears with (weirdly hard to find) Oval Metal Snap Clips (not the common triangular ones, you'll need something longer and stronger). The clip can be tucked under a fold of the scarf, so they aren't visible.I don't like bobby pins for this, I feel they don't hold well enough.

At first I thought that a 20" square scarf would be big enough (standard cowboy kerchief size) but it really isn't, that size only works as a neckerchief. I think one needs at least 23" to get that classic little bow at the front (and I have a pretty small head). I've discovered that about 35" square is ideal for any more complicated style or if you want one that wraps back about and ties back behind the neck, knotted for security.

First piece of advice? Find a square scarf between 25"-35" inches when possible.


Here is a great YouTube on 10 different ways to wear this size scarf on your head (from turban to headband style).

 This look is my personal favorite: it's started as you would for the Rosie look but instead of a knot, I twist the longer ends about each other so they are going back on themselves and tie behind my neck.



Here are some other ways I tie a scarf like this:

The scarf side pony, very flapper 1920s - 1930s

The mini mouse bow, very silly but I kinda love it.

This size scarf is also good as a regular neck scarf:


 And for the classic kerchief look to protect hair from wind:


Here's the other thing I do with these scarves, pack:



I'm leaning more and more towards hair scarves for events (particularly short one-off activities), because it's much cheaper in time and money than getting finger waves put in. Also my waves are pretty ruined by the end of a convention weekend so you'll start to see me in a scarf on those last few days sometimes too.

As a result, and banned from any other shopping while the Rack continues to mend, I went on a headscarf purchasing binge.

Here are my results...


Corciova Designer Silk-Like Square Women's Hair Scarves 35 X 35 ~ $10


There are two lines (here and here) with a total of 78 designs, so you can spend a lot of time looking.
I like the range of designs quite a bit on this line. I purchased 4 of them.


Both reds were pinker then they appeared on Amazon, the Crimson on the right was actually fuchsia and the Wine on the left was more of a purple color. I returned the Crimson as it didn't go with anything in my wardrobe and put the Wine in with my steampunk stuff.


Knowing the line leans pink, I ordered the grey (and yes, it has a pinkish tinge) and the leopard (which is exactly as you see it). The leopard has already got a lot of use. I've been feeling very leopard this summer.

Aside from the size, the silk-like feature is actually a plus: it has they nice sheen but doesn't wrinkle and isn't as warm as real silk. We shall see how they wash.

However, they are all patterned and what I really need for my wardrobe, because I wear a lot of pattern vintage is solid colored scarves. Also the silkiness means the knots work loose slowly throughout the day, so clips are needed.

Women's Solid Color Pure Silk Scarves Indian Accessory 39 X 39 ~ $10


These come in a range of sizes. I went with the 39 X 39 because I was afraid 30 X 30 would be too small. They are the opposite of the Corciova in that they are very plain indeed.


Because it's silk it does wrinkle a bit and it is a little thin but I really needed a cream one for my wardrobe and this was the only one I could find in the right color. It's too big as it turns out, I'd go with the 30 X 30 instead.

Square Satin Striped Scarf in Assorted Colors, 42" Square ~ $7


All the colors are true to screen and the red was exactly what I was looking for. Because I do a  triangle fold I don't have to worry about the stripe showing the messy hair underneath.


I also got this in bright white. I was thinking of investing in a few more of these, but they really are way too big. I'm on the hunt for a good solid colored scarf ina true red, as always it's the read that gives me stick.

Soft Satin Square Scarf Multiuse for $7.50


So I tried this one, which is a little over 23" X 23" AKA 60cm*60cm comes in 15 differed solid colors.

Soft Satin Square Scarf Head Neck Multiuse Fifteen Solid Colors Available 60cm*60cm

This is exactly long enough to tie about the head with the little ends dangling at the front, Rosie Riveter style. All the colors are pretty much exactly as pictured.


In addition to these new ones I already had the following:

Latrec scarves picked up at a museum in France years ago.  One has red in it, the other does not.

Vintage black and white cotton.

Right! That's enough with the head scarves. (Hope this helps, Suzanne.)

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

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Acquisitions & Losses


I've been starting to shop a bit more now, the Rack is still not up to final dimensions (could be as long as two years) and I don't get to wear proper bras until 2016, but I can't resist.


These two I purchased in Charleston. The first I got in a panic from Forever 21 the day I landed. You see it was so hot and I was worried that I wouldn't survive YallFest in the dresses I had planned. This was like $10 on the major sales rack. I'd already surmised that my eShakti cream day dress was not tailor-able (not cheaply anyway) so I don't mind a replacement. As will all things F21 it doesn't fit great, but I took it in on the go and its fine. I didn't end up wearing it, however, because the weather was cooler the next day.

The grey dress I found at a consignment shop and it had such a lovly chic feel I bought it for $25. Fully lined but not vintage, it's a mixed blend that travels very well although it is a bit warm. Close up it has a tweed look to it that I love.

What are they replacing?


Cream and Purple eShakti. After much consultation it seems too hard to tailor these dresses in at the bust, at least not with my guy, and would likely cost me what I paid for them from anyone else.  I did love the back and sleeves (I had full short ones put on) of the cream dress, but I feel that the Forever 21 will be a fine substitute. And I won't worry so much about staining it. So far as the purple is concerned: I really never thought it my color (I got it for the Prudence tour), the grey is more practical and versatile in the end. I'll miss the pockets. It's already gone to consignment.



This pink lace Ann Taylor cocktail dress dress came from Nordstrom Rack, again on super sale, for $20. This isn't one I needed, and frankly, I didn't expect it to fit. But it did and its had some lovely details like a keyhole back. I'm making my peace with pink, and lace does pack well.

The teal is a pretty sexy draped number that I love. It's modern, rayon, and has a bit of a ruffle down one side. I need a slip under it and it's kinda warm, but it is lovely. I do love the color and it will pack small, wrinkle free, and looks good without corseting.

What are they replacing?


The pink one will sub in for this beauty. It breaks my heart to let her go. She's up for consignment and if she doesn't sell I might bring her back and fork out for bust tailoring.  I just don't know. I so very much loved this dress.


The teal will do to replace these three.

I'm not so heartbroken by the plain turquoise because, while I loved the cut, the fabric wrinkled really badly.

However, the teal velvet is vintage 1960s. I bought it in London to fit the rack and it was always a bit loose elsewhere. It pretty much looks like what it is, a size too big for me. I might keep it in storage for when I put on weight, unless it fits one of my friends who really wants it.

I am quite cut up by the loss of the laser cut color block. I loved how light it was and how it went from vintage to modern. But it really is IMPOSSIBLE to tailor because of the overlay among other things. Right now it has a bit of a stain so I'll try to wash it, then, likely consignment. Sigh.

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

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Manners & Mutiny Tour ~ Black Coat Dress with Red Trim


The first thing I wore on my tour is the last to be discussed, sometimes life works out that way, Fashionable Reader.

Coat dresses are hard on a top-heavy girl, let's just put it out there right away. This is because, most of the time, they have a button top with a full skirt. And a button top is going to be tough over a Rack, no matter what you do.

Yet, I love me a coat dress.


Why? OK, first of all, they almost always come with sleeves. I prefer dresses with sleeves. Second, the day dress cut (fitted top, full skirt) looks good with both flats and heals. Third, because they unbutton and unzip, as a rule, coat dresses can be climbed into rather than pulled on over the head (no worries about makeup). Fourth, they often have pockets! Finally, there is an intrinsically vintage aspect to a coat dress.

Tailored Junior fashions, 1952 via theniftyfifties tumblr

Called a coat dress for obvious reasons: they look a lot like coats of the day.

 1950s Coat  1stdibs.com & 1950s Cocktail Dress  Jacques Faith  Whitaker Auctions

Ecarlate Christian Dior, 1955 The Victoria & Albert Museum

I've always felt that the concept may actually have spawned from the carriage dress. Which was a durable travel gown originally designed to button up the front so it could be worn over a completely different outfit and would protect everything underneath from the dust of the road.

CARRIAGE DRESS Violet cloth pelisse of a peculiarly fine texture; tight corsage, and sleeves made moderatrly wide. The corsage and the front of the skirt is ornamented with fancy silk trimming to correspond; sable myff; hat of écru rep velvet, trimmed with an ostrich feather and ribbons to correspond.

THE WORLD OF FASHION. 1838

For my event at Books Inc I wore my black coat dress, which is a vintage 1950s thick matte satin (so it doesn't travel well) with red trim at the cuffs and pockets (similar for $30, but I would suggest waiting for something similar to come up on eShakti and ordering custom from them instead, that way you can get pockets and a good chest fit: right now they have the Isabel dress for $59.95 plus whatever coupon deal they're running, that you can get with a different length skirt and add sleeves so it would be very like mine). I wore my coat dress over double petticoats for a nice full look. I got this dress back in early 2000's from a vintage store in Santa Cruz. I want to say it's called Moon Zoom? Blue Moon? Something like that.


I paired it with red accessories.


I wore it with my red draped hat (vintage felt), wide red belt (similar $30, multiple colors), red peep toe Via Spiga stiletto sandals (similar $25, multiple colors), gold deco earrings (gift from a friend, similar $20), and a Gothic meets deco gold and ruby necklace (gift from family, similar $20), and vintage red leather gloves (gift from a friend, similar $16).


Here I am wearing the same dress with a different petticoat and accessories at one of my very first readings, for Soulless, back in 2009.


The coat dress was particularly popular in the early to mid 1950s.

Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly theniftyfifties tumblr

1951 Dior Haute Couture, Fall 1951 original

Ivy Nicholson wearing a dress by Jacques Fath, 1951.
Photo by Philippe Pottier. via theniftyfifties tumbr

1Suzy Parker on the cover of Glamour, June 1952 via suzyparker twitter

Zelie  Christian Dior, 1954  National Galley Victoria
1957 Day Dress Button Front Spinner Hat
Glamour, 1959 Photo by Sante Forlano

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.
You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Manners & Mutiny Tour Navy Polka Dot Dress


I packed this dress at the last minute, Fashionable Reader, because I wanted something really easy just in case something went wrong my other outfits.


This is vintage but I think it may be 1970s not 1950s, from the stripes as well as dots and fabric (a kind of knit polyester). Don't knock it, it packs like a dream. I don't love how the stripes broaden my already broad shoulders, but it is a great dress. Here, at Porter Square Books in Boston, I am wearing it with short vintage leather gloves (gift from a friend, similar $20), slim red belt (similar $10, multiple colors), drop earrings and stacked red beaded necklace (similar set $23), the obligatory pen necklace ($19.50), red kitten heel Mary Janes, and a red felt draped hat (vintage).

Earlier that week I wore this dress with slightly different accessories.


You can see I had the necklace long (it's the same necklace both times just wrapped once around my neck, instead of twice), lazy girl hair (AKA a scarf), and I'm wearing the dress looser (AKA without the proper foundation garments). This is because in the first picture I just got off the plane and in the second I'm Prepared to Impress.

But wait, there's history...

Primrose actually wears the dress below in a pivotal negotiation scene in Imprudence. In fact, her choice of color causes a bit of a snafu for Rue. But you'll have to wait until July 2016 to find out.

Gustave Beer, 1895  The Kyoto Costume Institute

1950s  Mill Street Vintage

Lindy Bop 'Juliet' Classy Blue Polka Dot Vintage Ww2 Landgirl 1940s 1950s Pinup Retro Tea Dress $48

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.
You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.