25 March 2017

Lolita Tag Update

Kat's recent lolita tag video inspired me to do the same. You can watch her video here. I don't remember if I ever did this specific tag, since there are many different lolita-specific tags, but I figured it was time to do an update regardless!

You can watch my video down below, but I've also answered all the questions here in case you prefer to read/don't like my voice. I won't judge.

Original Questions:

1. Since when do you wear Lolita?

My first coordinate (which was awful and I never want to see it again) was when I was 11 years old. I didn't seriously start wearing it until I was 15 or 16 because I could save up my allowance and then get a job to actually pay for lolita. 

2. How did you first come across Lolita?

I don't remember how I first heard of lolita, but I do know it was through my then step-sister. It was during the days of DeviantArt and Tokyo Pop, so it was probably through that somehow.

I was re-introduced to it around 2010 through Tumblr and a few friends who wore it.

3. What did inspire you to wear Lolita?

What really inspired me to wear lolita was how ladylike and feminine it was. I loved scouring lifestyle blogs and the princess handbook. I loved movies like The Little Princess and Secret Garden (still high favorites of mine). I loved the English versions of the Gothic & Lolita Bible that were published when I was starting out. 

4. How did you start? What was your first item?

My first item was a handmade skirt made from vintage white and green border fabric. A lot of my first pieces were from Anna House. My first brand item was a black teddy bear pochette from Innocent World, and I still use that purse.

5. When did you go to your first meet-up?

Aside from the one I went to when I was 11, my first real meet up was a Halloween tea party in San Francisco. I wore a red and blue tartan jumperskirt that my mom made. It is a "replica" of a really old Innocent World dress that I ironically found for sale a few months later.

6. What is your favourite style and why?

My favorite style is sweet-classic. I've always loved pastels and pinks, but my style has evolved from less bright, sweet things to more classic cuts and designs. I still buy traditionally sweet main-pieces, but then I'll tone them down with classic accessories. And vice-versa.

7. Who is your favourite brand and why?

My favorite brand is Innocent World. Baby, the Stars Shine Bright is probably a close second. I love how comfortable and wearable Innocent World is and how I can easily dress up or dress down any piece of theirs. I've worn a few of my jumperskirts from them with plain cardigans for family gatherings before, and they fit right in. 

I also really love how it fits. Some people complain because of how it is designed for larger busts, but I really appreciate that!

8. What is your favourite dress and why?

I don't have a favorite dress, but I feel obligated to talk about the two dream dresses I actually own. 

One is BTSSB's Cinderella Jewelry onepiece in ivory. I've loved it for years, but the cut and color never showed up anywhere. Finally some kind lady messaged me after seeing my WTB on Facebook where a second-hand shop was selling it. A few weeks later she also miraculously found a Lacemarket seller that had the matching headbow. I've only worn this dress once so far because it is pretty dressy, but I love it a lot.

The second one is AatP's Elizabeth Bride of Death. I have the JSK II in ivory (which is more of a frustrating grey-ige) and the socks in black. I am so incredibly happy that they rereleased this print in the cut and color I originally wanted! My shopping service was able to order me the JSK I in black and the socks in ivory. Now I have two matching sets. This is the first time I've bought the same print in different colors...

9. What do you friends and family think about it?

I feel very fortunate that my friends and family are all okay with Lolita. They mostly think it's pretty, modest, and interesting. My dad has even bought me a BTSSB dress for my junior prom. I've had mixed feelings about it from significant others, but currently everything is dandy. 

Considering most of my friends I've met through lolita, they're all obviously just as in love with the fashion as I am!

10. Think of something you wouldn't have experienced, if you weren't a Lolita?

For sure, it would be the friendships I've made and the modeling I've done. They kind of go hand-in-hand. A lot of "normal" modeling is hard to get into, and my body/face shape is not the kind conducive to Western modeling standards. Being in shows and shoots is really fun, and helps my self-confidence. I've also met some really great friends through modeling. I've been in a show with my best friend three times, and it was fun every time. 

In general, I don't make friends easily. Lolita has really helped in that regard - giving an instant common hobby to break the ice with. 

11. Who is your inspiration?

I already made a post about lolitas who inspire me - it was a Lolita Blog Carnival theme. To make a long story short, I really draw most of my inspiration from the friends around me, whether they're the ones I see on a regular basis or just admire online. 

12. Something beginners should think about:

I think beginners should really be aware of the amount of gossip there really is. Knowing yourself and your ability to handle criticism is something you should really think about before posting in online lolita communities. I see a lot of newbies who don't handle con-crit well on outfits they post to Closet of Frills. People will always have something to say, whether it's good or bad.

13. What are your future plans with Lolita?

I don't have any particular plans in regards to the fashion itself, except maybe to continue re-framing my wardrobe to be more cohesive and in tune with my current style. I've really been into pure white with pastels lately, so those are the pieces I want to curate.

I also want to continue blogging regularly - it's really fun and makes me feel productive. It really is a creative outlet that I love doing. I also want to get back into making Youtube videos. I feel like I'm going to be making more vlog style videos about my life in lolita and fashion. Of course, I'll still make event vlogs and unboxings and makeup videos, but I think my days of coming up with unique tutorials and stuff like that is over.

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11 March 2017

Swap Meets 101

If you've never been to a swap meet before, this is the post for you. However, if you have, you'll also find some printable tags and some tips from my good friend Shannie about what swap meet hosts appreciate from attendees.

So what exactly is a swap meet? A swap is where a group brings a bunch of things to sell or trade/swap and to buy new things. People also come just to buy things because you can find great deals at swaps. Lolitas can be much more willing to lower a price if they don't have to ship it out and it's going to a friend.

There is often more snacking, socializing, and selfies than there is selling. This is a problem I've noticed after years of attending swap meets. I think the problem is just a matter of variety. Lolitas have many different aesthetics, wish lists, and budgets that limit what they are looking for at a swap meet. The more attendees, the better the chance you'll find something to take home and someone to take your things home.

Who Can Come

The answer is really quite simple: anyone can come!

If you're new to the fashion and don't have a full wardrobe yet, swap meets are the best place to try different styles on and get items for less than you would online. You don't need to wear lolita to go to a swap; even experienced lolitas are lazy and just want to wear something casual and comfortable for hauling all their stuff.

I have also seen significant others of lolitas who come to swap meets. Always check with the host if bringing an SO is alright, but they are usually welcome.

Preparing For The Swap Meet

Being prepared is key to buying and selling effectively.

  • Determine your budget ahead of time for any purchases, this will reduce impulse buys that you can't really afford. Seeing beautiful pieces in person is really tempting!
  • Gather up what you plan on selling and tag them the day before to avoid forgetting the things you need to clean out of your closet.
  • Remember to put contact information (i.e. your name, phone number, or photo) on your tags so potential buyers know who to inquire about. The more work it is to find a seller, the less appealing the purchase is.
  • Wear something comfortable. Swap meets are generally hubs for socializing in standing or sitting groups, so casual coordinates or regular street-wear are good. 
  • Bring extra hangers, tags, safety pins, plastic bags, and small bills to make change. These things always seem to be in short supply at swap meets, and it's always nice to be the person to help someone out.
  • If you have a portable clothing rack, bring it! There is never enough hanging space.
  • Ask the host about parking and directions to get to the space if it's at a complex. Trying to check the event page while carrying a load of dresses isn't easy.
  • Keep a checklist of what you bring, and check off what you sell. This will make it easier to collect everything leftover when the meet ends.
  • On that checklist, write down your asking price and your lowest offer price. Haggling is expected, and it's good to come prepared.

Printable Tags

If you're not the DIY kind of person, here are two really great printable files.

Feel free to download and print them as you like, but please only use them for personal, non-commercial use.

This first set of tags is made by Shannie Bee. Download the PDF here.

This second set of tags is made by Mari. Download the PDF here.

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Why I Stopped Posting to Closet of Frills (Mostly)

This is going to be a deeply personal, wordy post.

If you're a lolita, you know exactly how cruel and shallow the internet can be, especially anonymous websites such as cgl and behind the bows were half the content is negative criticisms about other lolitas. And if you've ever posted a photo of your coordinates online, you've probably been dissected and reduced to a non-human image of clothes and physical features. Not all criticism is hurtful, and not all discussion is negative. But a lot of it is.

I'm not immune.

I've had plenty of secrets posted about me, from drama that is partially my fault to very personal things that were never connected to lolita fashion. I've had plenty of my coordinates that I posted to Closet of Frills criticized on cgl. Luckily I have had many years of experience in the fashion, so secrets are thankfully rarely about my outfits. But they are about physical and superficial features about myself - such as my teeth that have been warped by wisdom teeth and a small jaw, my eyebrows when I don't religiously wax them, and my chest when a dress squishes unflatteringly.

I'm not here to complain or to draw attention to things that have hurt me in the past - I'm here because I wanted to write about something that bothers me about lolita and society as a whole.

I stopped posting to CoF because people would criticize and gossip behind my back. I stopped posting because I am a product of the culture I live in. In the internet age of self-marketing and social media, I have unfortunately grown up valuing my looks by how many likes I get. It's hard when an Instagram photo of a good outfit without my face gets 300 likes but a selfie gets a fraction of that. This is a toxic, destructive way of seeing the world, and when we discuss this issue we tend to talk like we don't do it ourselves. Well, be honest. You probably have as well at some point in your life.

The distinction of "mostly" is because I do occasionally post to CoF. But only when I am 100% confident in how I look in an outfit shot and can't find anything that makes me conscious. This has been both a good and bad decision. It's good because it helps me not worry so much about what others think of me and my coordinates, but it's bad because it still shows how much of a perfectionist I am in regards to photographing myself.

It also makes me sad to hear from my friends that private photos of them and their friends have been plastered all over places like cgl without their consent. It's one thing to recognize that sharing an outfit on CoF will almost inevitably get cross-posted to cgl, but it is another to take photos from lolita's private, personal Facebook accounts. This isn't okay, and it makes me a little wary of where photos on my personal account have been spread.

What was the point of this blog post? To share with you something that nobody talks about because of the fear of being seen as shallow and vain. To help myself (and hopefully you) remember that we are all human beings with feelings and complex personalities beyond physical beauty.

Credit Spencer on Lolita Humor

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04 March 2017

Creative Storage Solutions For Small Spaces

I know it's tough not having enough space to display your precious items the way you want. Fortunately, there are ways to creatively use small spaces to store lots of items. I've curated ideas from around the internet and paired them with photos of my own storage and those of a couple of friends.

I hope you can find new ways to store your lolita items that work for your room.

Find unconventional storage opportunities.

Not everything needs to be in a dresser or wardrobe. I happen to have a desk that has two deep cabinets. I store more practical things I don't need often in the back and use the front space to store my socks and berets. While it is a bit more effort to remove the trays every time I need something, it really is a space-saving way to store my socks.

Utilize the back of your door.

Especially if your door opens to a corner, hanging things on the back is a great way to use the vertical space. I bought an inexpensive hook rack and hang my lolita purses on the back. Not as easy as pulling them off of a shelf, but the extra effort to remove and replace the layers of bags is worth using the space. Other lolitas use the back of their doors to hang pockets that store a variety of small objects.

Fold pieces instead of hanging them.

It seems that hanging up dresses and blouses is the most obvious and commonly practiced method of storing lolita. If you only have limited space, this may be frustrating and chaotic. Blouses and cutsews are the easiest to fold and stack in drawers, on a shelf, or in a box. Some of my more creative friends fold their dresses and skirts and store them under the bed. How they have time to iron out wrinkles all the time, I will never know...

Speaking of under the bed...

Storing items in that seemingly always-empty space under a bed is a fantastic option. Unfortunately my bed is an inch too low to store anything under there but lost socks and dust bunnies, but if you can you should invest in buying some short storage bins. You can even store your shoes under the bed, either in the bins or just in rows for easy grabbing.

Wall space is storage space too!

If you live somewhere you aren't allowed to use nails or sticky hooks, this might not work for you. But if you can, use that vertical space! Since I hang my bags on the back of my door, I don't need to hang them on wall hooks, but you can do this easily. I hang my long necklaces on nails, I used to hang hats on nails as well, and I've always stored my parasols on the edges of shelves or wardrobes. Both pretty and practical.

Other ideas include hanging up some long ribbons (or tie them to a hanger if you have extra closet space) and attaching your clips, brooches, and bows. If you have a wall that doesn't get a lot of harsh sun light, you can hang up dresses or whole outfits on your walls for coordinate planning, display, or just to ease your bulging closet!

Boxes, bins, and baskets - Oh my!

Boxes, bins, bags, baskets, and other containers are great opportunities for storing things. You can stack them and shove them into spaces that would otherwise not be useful for efficiently storing. Stuff petticoats into a container and close the lid - trust me they will survive for a while. Stack hats and berets into the same hat box. Stuff accessories into stackable boxes (It's not as pretty as displaying them but a better use of space). You can put anything and everything into storage containers if you need small-space solutions.

I sincerely hope these storage ideas and examples inspire you.

Let me know in the comments how you store your lolita. Do you use any of these ideas already?

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03 March 2017

My Favorite Social Media Platforms To Use For Lolita Fashion

This week's Lolita Blog Carnival topic is sweet and simple. I look forward to reading other contributor's lists because we all use social media for different reasons.

To get inspiration: Instagram

I used to mainly use Tumblr as my source of outfit and aesthetic inspiration, but I don't go on as much nowadays. However, I am on Instagram several times a day to browse through the accounts I follow and see what interesting things pop up on my suggested posts feed.

Not only do I follow friends, but I like to follow other lolitas, indie brands, and generally inspiring accounts. I get inspiration for new coordinates, better content ideas, where to eat near me, and just to feel more connected to the online jfashion community. Whenever I feel unmotivated to get dolled up or uninspired with my wardrobe, Instagram is my go-to source for revitalizing my love for this fashion.

To unwind and relax: Youtube

While I haven't been uploading videos myself lately, I still watch Youtube every day. It is an integral part of my morning routine. I watch vlogs, makeup videos, and product updates when I am doing my makeup. Even if I'm going bare-face, I like to relax with my coffee.

Because I don't really need tutorials or look for jfashion advice videos, I really just watch to unwind and catch up with what people are doing.

To post my outfits: Instagram

I don't really post my outfits to Facebook or Tumblr much anymore, only occasionally to my public page. If you've been on this blog for a while, you've also probably noticed I don't really post outfits here either.

Instagram is by far my favorite way of posting coordinates. It is really nice for me to scroll through my profile feed to see my past outfits in one spot for future inspiration or to show someone what I wore to an event. I can reach a much wider audience thanks to the photo-only format and suggested posts feed. Not all of my friends check Facebook all the time and they can easily miss when I post in the vast sea of Facebook.

To catch up with friends: Facebook

Like my other social media, I'm on Facebook all the time. Social media is actually part of my real-life job, so I can't really ever detach myself from this world.

I don't post about my personal life much because in the past "friends" have used information to hurt me - and I still don't know who. You could say I'm a stalker because I mostly use this platform to keep tabs on my friends. Live vicariously through their travel photos, make sure their health is okay, and really just communicate with the people I care about.

People outside of jfashion communities say that Facebook is dying and no longer cool. In university classes, if a professor asks who uses Facebook regularly or who thinks it is still cool to use, maybe only a third will raise their hands. Everything is about Snapchat and Instagram now. However, in lolita fashion we use this a lot for our community pages and groups, so we just use FB a lot more than the cool kids apparently.

What social media platforms do you use for lolita?

Other blogs who participated:

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