06 January 2018

7 Essential Outfits Your Collection Needs

Whether you're just starting out or working on building out your wardrobe, you might feel a bit lost about where to go - which pieces are most important to get?

Everybody knows the basic necessities for any lolita wardrobe: petticoat, loliable shoes, blouses, dresses, headpieces, cute socks. But what about what kinds of pieces? There's a smarter way to fill out your collection than just buying whatever you fall in love with. Work on building essential outfits using pieces that can mix and match together ensures that you have a coordinate for most occasions. Never feel under or overdressed again!

Each example I picked uses mostly unique pieces that can be mixed and matched for more possibilities!

1. The Casual Coordinate For Every-Day Activities

Would you believe I went hiking in this outfit? (It was less than two hours but still!) This coordinate is so casual and comfortable that I can hike, do my work at a cafe, run errands, and use as a last-minute idea for impromtu events. My dress isn't dry-clean only, my tights are cheap to replace, my boots are offbrand and durable for lots of walking, and my accessories are minimal for avoiding unwanted attention from curious normies. Of course, I can change out accessories to dress it up for different occasions!

2. The Themed Coordinate For Special Meets and Halloween

Notice how this coordinate uses a simple accessory to bring out an Easter Rabbit theme in the print of my dress. Having a print (or non-print too!) that has a motif or color combination that can be used for a themed activity is a great option to have! Lolita fashion isn't a costume per se, but a themed coordinate can easily double as one for Halloween if you want!

3. The OTT Coordinate For Formal Tea Parties and Events

I used a couple of the same accessories here that I did in the previous example for a reason. Having a complete OTT coordinate (or just something fancy if you don't like over-the-top shenanigans) will provide you with lots of accessories you can use to spruce up standard outfits. I personally don't like feeling underdressed at an event, so I make sure to keep fancy pieces as well as casual pieces.

4. The Comfortable Coordinate For Days You Just Can't

My local comm loves creative, out-of-the-box meetups. I really appreciated having an incredibly comfortable coordinate for an all-you-can-eat brunch meet, and I have definitely needed something loose for when I felt sick but still wanted to attend something. These shoes may have heels, but they slip on and are surprisingly comfortable. Innocent World socks don't fall down my legs. This headbow doesn't give me a pressure headache. And of course my sack dress feels like I'm wearing nothing and hides everything!

5. The Standard Coordinate For Easy Dressing and Normal Meets

I think it is a good idea to have at least one main piece that is extremely versatile. Whether it has lots of colors, complex motifs, or multiple neutrals, that one dress that can match the majority of your accessories is a must-have item! I can't tell you how many completely different styles I've created using this one dress.

6. The Cold Weather Coordinate For Outdoors in the Winter

Cold-weather accessories and thicker fabrics are more useful than you think. Even if you live in an area that is warm and fair-weathered most of the year, you don't want to regret only having chiffon and ankle socks that one day! I live in sunny California, and I still get plenty of use out of this thick coat and my many cardigans. This applies for rainy days, windy days, or meetups at ice rinks and other chilly venues. If you plan your wardrobe right, you can use gloves, scarves, hats, boots, and other items with both your lolita and your regular clothes too!

7. The Coordinate You Don't Mind Getting Dirty

Whether you want to dress exclusively in brand or have an addiction to Taobao, you'll want an outfit you can get down and dirty in! Machine-washable pieces are your best friend. You don't want to wear your dream dress to pick berries, eat spaghetti, pet animals, explore outdoors, or risk getting spilled on at a carnival. I love this sailor dress I got from Cookie Bear and was able to truly enjoy exploring an old military base without worrying about getting scuffs or dirt. If my beret fell off onto the ground, I wouldn't care!

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03 December 2017

Taking Back Daily Lolita

I recently joined a new lolita lifestyle group on Facebook called The Secret Garden. I love the concept, a place for lifestylers to share tips, trips, and general lifestyle conversations. Self-labeling myself as a lifestyle lolita, I love having this group to indulge my feminine hobbies that have long been abandoned by the international community at large.

I've written a few lifestyle related posts before, including 101 Lifestyle Lolita Ideas revisitedtelevision and films with a lolita aesthetic and bringing back the old school aesthetic... but never one about what I actually see as being a lifestyle lolita myself.

In its essence: I think being a lifestyler means wearing lolita for occasions more frequent and casual than meetups. Enjoying traditionally feminine hobbies isn't necessary to consider yourself a lifestyle lolita in my opinion, but I think it definitely represents a large portion of the lifestyle lolita population.

How I Personally Define My Own Lolita Lifestyle

Frequency: I wear lolita at least once a week. My best friend and I try to see each other every week, and I often have meetups or other opportunities to dress up with my boyfriend or other friends. We just run errands, work on our laptops at local cafes, and generally hang out.

I'm really lucky to live in an accepting area where people are relatively used to seeing weird people all the time. I definitely get stares, "secret" photos taken of me, and nosy questions when I go out, but I never feel unsafe or like a complete freak when I go about my life dressed in lolita.

I'm also fortunate that my boyfriend is so accepting of lolita - to the point he said he would find it concerning if I stopped dressing like this because it is such a big part of who I am. He doesn't bat an eye when I choose to wear lolita on our dates or when we go for a nice walk. Having an accepting and supportive partner really contributes to my lolita lifestyle. It normalizes it for me and in our relationship, it feels less like a big event or special occasion.

Hobbies: I fall into the category of lolitas who enjoy feeling like a princess or an elegant lady. I enjoy traditionally feminine activities, and wearing lolita for more than meets makes me feel like the world is just a little bit more wonderful.

Embroidery, letter writing, nature strolls, afternoon tea, ballroom dancing, journaling, cooking and baking, sewing, sketching, reading novels, picnicking, attending ballets - these are a lot of the things I consider to be hobbies of mine, and I can partake in them while wearing lolita!

Let's Take Back Daily Lolita

Do you remember the Daily Lolita group? This was the precursor to Closet of Frills, but it was much more geared towards actual daily coordinates. These days, Closet of Frills seems to have evolved due to competition for likes and uniqueness points. Photos have gotten more professional and outfits more OTT. Nearly every photo posted there ends up on CGL to get torn to shreds. I've already written about my feelings for Closet of Frills, so I won't repeat myself.

My point is that we should embrace our fashion roots and celebrate wearing lolita casually again. If you want to wear your frills to study in the library, have lunch in the park, or just to make a fancy dinner on a week night, you should! Lolita is expensive and we should all wear our carefully curated wardrobes as much as we want.

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11 November 2017

BB and B Review

Diamonds are a girl's best friend right? Well what about Swarovski crystals? That's what BB and B Premium Clay Confectionary wants to convince us, and I'm not mad!

I received a necklace from them to review, the Victorian Sugar Cookie necklace, and right off the bat I can tell you that I am in love with BB and B's quality.

First, a little bit of background: A few years ago I went to Rufflecon, and I bought a necklace from a boutique table I had never heard of before. This vendor was completely new to me, but their table blew me away. Absolutely gorgeous deco jewelry, head accessories, phone cases - and the prices were so inexpensive that I bought a necklace from them. I got this one from their table, and the quality was amazing for what I paid.

This time, two years later, I am still just as impressed.

The Quality: 

For how much they charge, which would be $28 for this necklace, the quality is outstanding.

They don't skimp on the small details. The jewels, pearls, and clay pieces feel sturdy and securely glued in place. Even the weight is a nice balance between feeling cheap and feeling burdensome.

One thing I really appreciate that is usually overlooked is the type of fastener. I always notice cheap versus quality fasteners when I buy jewelry, and I love that BB and B didn't just use a cheap spring or lobster clasp. They used an adorable heart-shaped toggle clasp - I love toggles more because they are so much easier and less painful to use!

There is some lint within the crevices of the clay, but you only notice this when your face is within a few inches of the necklace. For what's it's worth, I don't think it is a big deal at all.

The Details: 

Aside from the custom clasp, BB and B makes sure to really make the most out of normal things. On both necklaces, they attached a tiny lace piece to the under/back-side of the clay. When most jewelry companies would probably just leave this empty space blank, I like that they decorated even this spot!

I looked really hard to find fingerprints in the clay, and I found none on either piece. I don't usually buy cheap clay jewelry because fingerprints are unfortunately common and an easy mistake, so I was happy to find that BB and B's pieces are textured nicely without any prints.

A minor detail that irked me is that in the description for my Victorian Sugar Cookie necklace, it says "genuine pearls" and yet they are not genuine at all. They are plastic - which is fine! - but the description is a little misleading. Not a deal-breaker for me, but something to keep in mind.

The Website: 

Since I received this necklace for free and they are located in my own state, I can't really comment on processing or shipping times. However, I can comment on their website!

I really like the look and feel of their site, with easy-to-find pages and a pretty design. They have really helpful buttons and links to everything you need. For a small indie brand, I love that they have a wishlist feature!

My problem is with their system. You can't see any prices without creating an account. In order to create an account, you have to be approved before you can actually log in and see the prices. This seems unnecessarily tedious to me, especially if I was a first-time customer. Not knowing how inexpensive these pieces actually are, I would feel like they were really expensive for how detailed they are and not want to go through the effort of creating and account if I couldn't afford them.

Conclusions: Would recommend!

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14 October 2017

Gas Gas Gas! An Ode to Vintage Military Lolita

Thank Fear and Clothing for the pretentious title, a book I recently finished that appeals to my secret desire for unending, convoluted descriptions. Another secret of mine is my fascination for WWII and military history in general. I was that weirdo in middle school wearing 1940s wool pleated skirts, peddling to my classmates half a dozen USSR military caps that my mother bought for me off of Ebay because she thought I'd like one (emphasis on one yet six too-small caps came).

I know more about old tanks, airplanes, decommissioned military uniforms, Vietnam PTSD, and general history than I should for never really studying it in school beyond the basic stuff. This knowledge and hobby of collecting vintage military memorabilia also happens to be one of the ways I bond with my SO who is a serviceman, who so kindly helped me with this photoshoot.

He took the photos, posed me, coached me so I didn't look like a complete idiot holding a firearm, and even checked the 1953 American filter for a British gas mask I found at a surplus store that was issued in 1944 (and somehow they fit together?) so I didn't poison myself. So take this as disclaimer #1: I was supervised by a professional for safety and respect. No flagging here!

Now, when the oh-so-controversial Guerrilla Cats dress from Lyre Ivy was announced on Lolita Updates, it received strong mixed feelings. Many lolitas loved the adorable little cats dressed up as soldiers going off to battle a rat, but many others were disgusted by the theme and thought it was distasteful. "Not elegant" right... like the pizza or doge dresses are?

Of course, I knew I had to order it! I love cats and love military themes.

Now enough with the backstory! One more thing before we get to the photos. Disclaimer #2: While this firearm is real, all applicable laws and regulations were followed. Disclaimer #3: I am not a war-hawk nor insensitive to the tragedies the theme of this photoshoot brings up. I did it for the vintage, apocalyptic, totally strange but cool aesthetic of military lolita.

How did I choose my coordinate pieces?

Well, I debated leaving my hair down or putting it up. An up-do would fit the military style, but down felt more soft and feminine for lolita. I felt like a mademoiselle in the French resistance... or something. Plus it helped with the transition of putting on and taking off the gas mask.

The main pieces - jumperskirt, tights, brooch which I used on my beret - are part of the Guerrilla Cat series from Lyre Ivy. I thought about getting the light pink colorway which would match more of my wardrobe, but the army green just seemed to fit better!

The blouse is from Innocent World, the beret and boots are offbrand.

The green envelope hat is a Soviet hat I found in a lot with a uniform shirt and tie. I felt comfortable wearing it since the USSR doesn't exist anymore. The Green bag is Swiss also from WWII era. I already mentioned the gas mask (MK II Light Anti-gas Respirator if anyone cares), so I think I covered everything!

I really hope you liked the photos from this seasonally appropriate photoshoot (I don't usually get spoopy for Halloween) and enjoyed the aesthetics like I did.

If you're interested in how filters are stored, there's a short clip of me opening the totally cool and unique canister on my Facebook page. Go check it out!

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22 September 2017

Difficult Things To Deal With In Lolita Fashion

Difficult Things To Deal With in Lolita Fashion

Coming up with something to write about for this week's Lolita Blog Carnival theme was super easy. Hopefully this will jump-start my creative juices so I can finally finish a few original topics I have sitting in my drafts box... That's actually one of the things I'll be talking about that is difficult to deal with in lolita fashion!

Never Having Enough Storage Space

This is probably the bane of any lolita's existence unless they magically have a whole room or walk-in-closet solely dedicated to storing these clothes.

Even though my new apartment is a two-bedroom where one is dedicated to being our office/hobby space (translation: his school things and military gear & my lolita), somehow there just isn't enough storage space. He has the whole closet for his stuff that needs to be in a stable spot, and the booksheleves take up most of the wall space I could've used to put some kind of thing to store all the bits and bobs that come with all the frilly dresses.

Dresses, shoes, and blouses are not the hard part (yet!) with some rolling racks and an adjustable closet rod, but finding an effective place to store headbows and random parts to main pieces is always a challenge!

I did write a post on creative storage solutions, which helps, but simply having more space is always better!

Bank Account is Allergic to New Releases

Am I the only one who finds that I have spending money when there's nothing out I want, but I'm broke as soon as wishlist items and new releases I love pop up? It's one of the most aggravating things about lolita fashion (and shopping in general).

For example, I received a decent amount of birthday money this year from family who wanted to help me out with buying necessary items for my new place, but almost all of it was swallowed up by the inconvenient timing of my Bride of Death invoice from my shopping service and paying rent. I usually slide by fine financially through timing my paychecks and expected expenses, but it's like Mana-sama has it out for me some times. Most embarrassing behavior!

Trying to Find Good Lighting

If you don't care about taking photos of your coordinates and sharing them online, then you might nto be able to relate to this one. But I hate when I love an outfit I put together and can't find a spot to take an outfit shot that has good lighting and an ~aesthetic~ background.

My desire to get a good picture occasionally makes the outing feel like a chore, especially if I'm out with my boyfriend and not one of my lolita friends who understands what I'm doing. There's nothing like harsh sun shadows or grainy, dim lighting to ruin a photo of something I want to share on my Instagram. Believe it or not, I keep a folder on my phone of all my coordinate shots so I can look through what I've worn over the years and how my photo-taking skills have improved. Would you be interested in seeing this?

This test shot for a potential "photo wall" is ironically the only one without harsh shadows from my lightbox...

Feeling Like a Zoo Animal

I wish I was the kind of person who didn't feel like it was a waste to get dolled up and just stay home - then it wouldn't be such an emotional hassle going out and trying not to think about the stares and questions from strangers. These GIFs explain the experience perfectly!

The world does not revolve around me and what I'm wearing, but when random people do stare and take photos with or without permission, I feel like a zoo animal. It is definitely one of the difficult things to deal with in lolita fashion. There are groups out there dedicated to lolitas taking pictures of people taking pictures of lolitas. A mouthful I know!

Discomfort in the Name of Fashion

My style has evolved to be much more comfortable than I used to dress. False eyelashes, too-small tights, heels without padding, wig headaches, petticoat elastic, summer heat... what isn't uncomfortable? These are all difficult things to deal with, and I try to avoid them as much as possible.

Pro tip: wear a second pair of underwear or biker shorts over your tights. It's the best way to keep the infamous low-crotch phenomenon from happening.

Trying to Bounce Back From a Creative Slump

As a blogger and Youtuber (can I still call myself that when I upload once every six months now?) it's hard to find motivation to create content when life gets you down. Graduating from university, moving four times in one year, working two part-time jobs, and practically being both the breadwinner and the housewife for a boyfriend who has a demanding major really keeps me from spending as much time on these creative outlets as I used to.

Even just as a lolita, sometimes you lose your drive to dress up. Have you had these episodes? You aren't thrilled with your current wardrobe, not impressed with recent releases, too lazy or tired to wear lolita, and generally aren't feeling like the princess you want to feel like.

It's difficult to deal with creative slumps, and unfortunately I don't have any advice for you. Sorry!

But enough about me. What do you find difficult to deal with in lolita fashion? Do you relate to any of the struggles I feel?

Also, please check out the other participants in this week's theme.

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