27 September 2018

What Lolita Wardrobe Posts Don't Show You

I get asked a lot to film an updated wardrobe tour. The last one I did was a few years ago. Why do I keep procrastinating? Because I have a daunting amount of lolita to photograph or film. Recently, in trying to motivate myself to finally do it, I had a thought.

Wardrobe posts are glamorized and polished into a perfect photogenic humble-brag. But a wardrobe post isn't going to show you what my wardrobe really looks like. Why? Because...

They don't show you what it looks like every day.

If you can look me straight in the eye and tell me that your wardrobe looks immaculate every single day, I would have a hard time believing you. Blouses aren't buttoned, socks aren't folded, dresses aren't zipped. Shit gets disorganized. It's okay, you're not alone!

It starts with saying yes to going out to dinner with some friends after a meet, coming home exhausted to throw everything in a pile and passing out. Then you get busy and forget to clean up. Then the next time you go out, you think you might as well put everything away at once and leave your lolita on the floor next to the first. Then you get busy or depressed and let the clutter pile up.

It adds up.

But it sure feels good once you finally do wash and put everything away, and you fall in love with your wardrobe again.

They don't show you the guilt, disappointment, and regret.

I always aim to plan my purchases. I don't buy pretty things just because I can, because maybe it will fit if I just lose those few holiday pounds, or because it's popular. My parents raised me to think about something a couple days before I buy something to make sure I still want it, and I do practice this. Most of the time. But every once in a while I feel...

The crushing disappointment when you order a pair of shoes from a new brand, and they are too small despite being your usual size. 

The hot tears bubbling up from your eyes when an item gets lost in the mail or damaged by the postal service. 

The pang of regret when a dress arrives looking different than the stock photo, and you wish you'd ordered the other colorway. 

The disbelief when you stop to think about just how big your collection is - "Do I really have that many pins?"

They don't show you the forgotten pieces.

When I was just starting out in lolita, I balked when people said they would lose socks, blouses, or headpieces. "Lolita is so precious, how could you possibly lose something like that? Do you just throw everything around like your normal clothes?" Yes. Yes we do.

When you have limited space to store everything like I do, some pieces get forgotten for months at a time. Sleeves and skirt folds cover up other dresses when you shove it onto the rack. Shoes get left in the car or accidentally shoved under the bed. Socks get stuck in a laundry loop (this started happening when I moved in with my boyfriend whose job is to do the laundry but never quite washes everything at once). Rings get left in different purses.

We all have pieces we like and pieces we love. We have favorites that get worn much more than others. Some of those lesser-worn things are left to collect dust because they are reserved for rare special occasions or specific holidays, and sometimes they get forgotten because you simply have too many things. 

Honestly, it's embarrassing to admit, but I spilled champagne down the front of Day Dream Bed (and since it was clear, I forgot all about it and didn't wash it after... you know where this is going). A whole year later, I thought to wear it only to discover in horror a giant brown stain! It took me a while to remember when was the last time I wore it to figure out what the stain was from. In the end, it came out easily from a simple soap wash, but the ordeal was an epiphany for me.

They don't show you the memories.

To me, each piece brings up memories of the good times I've had in them. The vacations, birthdays, tea parties, new friends, old friends, good food, and laughter.

When you look through someone else's lolita wardrobe post, you can see their style. You can see their taste in fashion and aesthetic. You could even guess their financial capabilities (although you shouldn't, sometimes you catch yourself assuming). But you can't know how a dress makes them feel or all the adventures they walked in a pair of shoes.

Because let's be honest, no matter how much we tell ourselves (or people on Rufflechat) that lolita is just clothes, our clothes means more than something to cover our bodies with. We choose to wear what expresses our creativity or identity, what makes us look good, and what makes us feel good.

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  1. I agree a lot with this. What wardrobe posts also don't show you is how much time and effort went into producing the post itself - and some people literally persevere through chronic illnesses and physical pain because they want to display their clothes in a particular way.

    But especially the backstories of dresses are quite important. Like you said, in that sense they are more that just clothes: it's memories and emotions (positive and negative) associated with them that a simple photograph or video footage will not tell. And if someone was to share the stories of each piece, then either no-one would go through such a lengthy post/video or it would never get finished because that's *even more work* than just documenting these.

    While I really like having an up to date wardrobe post, I'm really not sure if I'm willing to put in the effort to make one this January. Granted, I said the same thing last year and then did it (seeing other people's just inspired me). However, I'm not even sure where will I physically be when January comes (jobhunting atm with the prospect of moving out) and while I could just update the current post and gradually take more photos, it took so much time and effort to set that up last time that I'm not sure I could do it for just a couple of snaps. So yeah, might happen, might not, we'll cross that bridge when we get there :P

    1. Good luck with your job hunt! And yes, I wish I had thought to include the time and effort it takes! I agree nobody would watch/read so much backstory, but I would feel a little more connected with the poster if they shared story tidbits about pieces that stood out to them or about how they keep things organized, you know?

  2. I totally understand your reasoning behind putting off a wardrobe post. Isn't it funny that lolita fashion seems to be one of the only fashion styles where cataloging and showing what you own is seemingly ingrained in the very culture of it? We all like to say it's "just clothes" but imagine filming or writing about each normie blouse and distressed jean we own every time January rolls around lol Personally, I love wardrobe posts because I use it as a way to scout for items that I may like or already want and need a closer look. Admittedly, I also have a small wardrobe so a post is quite easy for me to do although I have only done it once. I can't imagine how exhausting it must be for someone with an extensive lolita wardrobe.

    1. Thank you! That is pretty interesting to think about actually, especially since when people DO do normie closet tours (mostly youtubers I've noticed) they talk about why they love each piece. I sadly don't see that in lolita wardrobe posts. I personally would love to learn more about them as people. But it is also 100% the best to look through for inspiration, I love doing that too!

    2. You're right and to be honest my plan since my first wardrobe video this year was to write a blog post about each of my pieces for next January with quick descriptions of what they mean to me. I would love to see that from more lolitas even if they only choose to do that for their favorite pieces and not their full wardrobes.

  3. I absolutely agree with you. Even if I have never made a wardrobe post (yet), I know how much of the commitment it has behind it. It's not only dealing with clothes. It's dealing with all with you said, specially memories, for me, which people who are fragile atm can be a overwhelming feeling whether good or bad.

    However, I love to see them.

    1. Oh, it is definitely still really fun to see them! I think people would appreciate them a little more if the posters talked a little about the effort you know?

  4. So true! I still remember how outrageous it seemed to read that people loose some of their lolita stuff back when I was starting, and here I am today.. I just discovered a skirt I forgot I had last week, when looking for a dress I didn't remember where I shoved but wanted to wear after a long time.. nice surprise though, like buying new item but without need for the money :D

    1. Hahaha, that is a nice surprise! I was actually inspired to write this because I did the same as you - I found a dress somehow behind a purse I was looking for on the floor of my closet ^^;