My Best Deal

The best deal I’ve personally gotten on a Lolita garment was on an old school Meta skirt from Closet Child in Harajuku. It was ¥3,000 (around $27 USD) and is one of my most worn pieces.

The skirt is made of denim, which I love for its weight and because it’s atypical and adds interest. It has a small built-in petticoat (I didn’t wear an additional petticoat in the photo below), and its autumn colors work well with my wardrobe, which leans heavily towards brown, ivory, and burgundy. it’s also easy to wash, making it ideal for regular wear. It is, without a doubt, my favorite “everyday” main piece.

A slightly tweaked version of my chocolate bar coord.

How Lolita has Changed Me

I’ve been dreading this Lolita 52 topic to tell the truth, mainly because it’s impossible to tell how much Lolita has changed me when compared to how much I would have changed on my own had I never gotten involved in the fashion. But I’ll try.

A coord from May 2016, roughly one year before writing this post and one year into wearing the fashion.

There are some ways in which I’ve changed that I can definitely attribute to Lolita, but they’re superficial. For example, the way that I dress even outside of Lolita had been affected; I give more thought to color balance, and I now have a tendency to overaccessorize. That’s definitely due to my love of Lolita. Additionally, my skincare routine has changed quite a bit and I give more thought to my hairstyle and makeup as parts of an outfit. But these are things I’ve learned from Lolita more than they are ways in which I’ve changed or grown as a person.
I do feel that Lolita fashion and my involvement in it has contributed to changes in my personality and lifestyle as well, though these are harder to pinpoint. For one thing, since I’ve been involved in Lolita and started attending more meets, I’ve definitely become more outgoing and comfortable around people I don’t know well. Having a hobby that gets me out of the house and about which I’m passionate has made me feel happier overall, too. Also, while I love spending time with my husband, I think that having something that is purely for me has fostered a sense of independence that I really value, and that I might not have really nurtured otherwise.

While it may not be easy or even possible to say with any certainty how much Lolita has influenced my growth, it has undoubtedly had a positive influence on me. I’m glad to have a passion; something that speaks to me and resonates with me, and I’m grateful that it comes with a community that is, at least in my limited experience, positive, supportive, and friendly. My desire to give back to that community is a large part of what drives me to challenge myself and improve, which I find extremely fulfilling.

Despite my initial feelings towards this topic, I actually found it interesting to explore this side of the fashion, something that I’ve never really done in the past. I’m curious to hear about other experiences as well. How do you feel Lolita as a fashion and as a community has influenced you or contributed to your growth as a person? I’m looking forward to any comments this might get in the future, so feel free to respond below 🙂

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck/Tips for Creating Functional Everyday Coords

A Hello Kitty Cafr truck was recently in the area, and a friend and I decided to make a day of it. I felt that the occasion called for a Sweet coord, but there were a few things to keep in mind that required balancing beauty with function. Usually, meets are planned with the understanding that attendees will be dressed impractically. However, adjustments often need to be made to wear Lolita in other situations, and I felt that this was the perfect opportunity to hilight that.

  1. Layers – Since we’d be outdoors, and since the Spring weather has been unpredictable, I opted to wear a light jacket over a short-sleeved cutsew. Both are made from a comfortable knit fabric and are easy to clean, making them ideal choices for everyday wear. In contrast, many Lolita garments are made with delicate lace and fabrics that are dry-clean or hand-wash only, and so aren’t as practical for regular use.
  2.  Flat Shoes – I wore oxfords because I expected to be on my feet for a long period of time. The line was even longer than I’d thought it would be (we were waiting for about 3 hours), so I was very grateful for my comfortable shoes, even though I would have chosen cute heels in a Sweeter style were this coord for a meet.
    This is only a small section of the line. It wrapped around the building.
  3. Parasol – I consider my parasol to be indespensible in situations like this. We were outdoors in the afternoon sun for hours and there wasn’t any shade available most of that time. As you can see in the photo above, many people brought umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. However, most Lolita parasols block UV light while most umbrellas don’t, making them a better choice. Not to mention they look much cuter (^^)
  4. My Real Hair – There are two major reasons that I don’t recommend wearing a wig for functional daily Lolita. First, they can get hot, itchy, and uncomfortable when worn for long periods of time, as I’m sure most of you know. Second, they come off as costumey, and I find that it’s easier to explain to people who ask about it that Lolita isn’t a costume when I use my real hair.
  5. Low Poof – Finally, when wearing Lolita as a regular fashion, I suggest wearing a low-poof petticoat. Try to use one that’s just large enough to achieve the basic sihlouette. Anything beyond that tends to be impractical in a lot of public spaces, can get in the way of doing some normal everyday activities, and can be uncomfortable after a while.

    Im glad I had a friend with me, because the time went by quickly enough. When we got through the line, we decided to each choose one thing; it was unreasonably expensive, but I can live with that once in a while.

    She got the macaron box and I had the petit 4 cakes. Both were super cute, and tasted fantastic for being boxed food truck food.

    That bright yellowy orange one was mango-and-lemon-flavored and was my favorite of the ones that I tried.

    We bought them together so we could also get the free tote bag, but I don’t need any more reusable shopping bags. I have like a zillion laying around and don’t know where they all come from. So she took that, and I forgot to get a photo of it. It was cute though! With all said and done, I had a great time and I’m glad we went. 

    LBC: Creating a Cohesive Coord

    This week’s Lolita Blog Carnival challenge actually tied in well to a post I had been writing already, so it was just the push I needed to get my butt in gear and finish it by the deadline: today! I’m sorry that it’s so long, but I felt I had a lot to say on the subject and just couldn’t bring myself to cut any more than this (^^)

    Cohesion is an essential part of Lolita fashion. A coordinate without cohesion isn’t, well, coordinated. Luckily, I feel that achieving balance and harmony is more science than art, so it can be explained. There are three major elements to unifying a coord: color, style, and theme. These three elements, when working together, bring pieces together to create cohesive outfits.

    Color

    The easiest way to unify a coordinate is through color, especially with regard to matching both shade and pigment and to balancing the colors throughout the coord. In the above example, the mismatched reds give a disorganized effect which is emphasized when they are all presented in a solid block of color on the torso. Additionally, the colors in the first coord are out of balance. The accent color, red, is only found in the top half of the coord while the lower half is entirely ivory. Luckily, color balance is usually easily achieved with just a few tweaks and added accessories. Think of the coord as being divided into five sections: the skirt, the upper torso, the head, the legs/feet, and the arms/hands. A fairly foolproof method of achieving balance is to choose one to three colors from the skirt, then to ensure that those colors are represented in roughly equal proportions in the other four sections.

    To rectify these issues, I started by removing the most clearly mismatched reds; the cutsew and the headbow. I replaced them with neutrals to break up the remaining red blocks thus deemphasizing the difference between them. Next, I designated an accent color based on my availabile accessories. I chose chocolate brown in this case. The headbow I had chosen already had a fair amount of brown on it, so my color was already represented on the skirt and head. I switched the shoes out for brown ones to add my accent to the leg area, then I chose a matching chocolate necklace and ring from ShinyStuffCreations to cover the upper torso and hands, respectively. The result is a much more unified and balanced coord.

    Style

    Every Lolita item will be (at least) one of the major styles: Gothic, Classic, and/or Sweet. One of the most frequent beginner mistakes that I encounter is incorporating an item of the wrong style into a coord simply because the colors match. It is essential to a coord’s cohesion that each item match the overall style. Personally, I find it especially jarring when one very Sweet piece is incorporated into a Gothic or Classic coord, like black tea party shoes paired with a mature Gothic JSK, for example. I find that the more juvenile Sweet item throws off the elegance of the rest of the pieces involved. In the coordinate above, I illustrated this by pairing it with a very Sweet Angelic Pretty purse in a black color way. The result is disjointed, despite the black working well with the coord’s other colors. By replacing the bag with a Classic-styled one, the coord becomes unified.

    Theme

    An outfit’s theme can manifest in several ways. Most obviously there are themes which are so frequently seen in Lolita that some people classify them as their own styles (sailor or princess, for example). It’s easy to understand why a crown could work for a hime coord but might seem out of place in a sailor coord even if it matched in color and style. However, there are more subtle variations on this scenario. In my example above, I’ve used the Chocomint star clip that everyone seems to own and paired it with two Sweet JSKs; Blooming Garden and the Ticking Clock. I wouldn’t recommend pairing the clip with Blooming Garden even if the coord incorporated gold accents because a night star seems strange when paired with the dress, which invokes images of a Rose garden on a Spring afternoon. On the other hand, it pairs perfectly with the Ticking Clock, which already has star details throughout the dress. In fact, considering these sorts of repeating motifs when accessorizing can work wonders in unifying a coord, especially if it uses more than one accent color. When working with a printed main piece, consider the theme of that print. Often the theme can be repeated in lace (lace on Lolita blouses usually contains motifs like stars or flowers), headwear, and jewelry. Continuing the same pattern in many places throughout the coord can add subtle dimension and is excellent for this detail-oriented fashion.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on other ways to create cohesion and balance in a coordinate, since I’m sure I’ve missed at least a few things. Feel free to comment below, and read through this week’s other posts for different perspectives!

    Cupcake Kamisama’s Lolita World

    Lolita 52: An Item that was a Gift

    I’m lucky enough to have several items to choose from for this Lolita 52 prompt, and I’m grateful for all of them. However, I decided to focus on what might be my most-worn piece: the Innocent World Ribbon Pocket Coat (black) that my husband bought for me on our honeymoon. The coat itself is beautiful for its age, but what I especially love are the memories that I associate with it.

    When we were planning the honeymoon I let Sean, my husband, choose the destination. I had only two requests: I wanted to go somewhere neither of us had ever been, and we had to use our passports. Of course I had no complaints when he chose Japan. We divided the trip pretty evenly; we spent three days in Tokyo doing things he wanted to do, then we spent a day in Tokyo Disney Sea before taking the Shinkansen to Kyoto doing things that I liked. I enjoy history and hiking, so Kyoto was much more my speed. However, I did insist on hijacking about three hours of Tokyo time for Closet Child’s Shinjuku and Harajuku locations. It wasn’t nearly enough.

    Anyway, we landed in the early afternoon, checked in to our hotel, and started wandering aimlessly around Shinjuku. It wasn’t long before I realized that this was my perfect opportunity and made my way to CC. When we walked in, I was immediately stupefied by the number of Lolita garments just crammed in to the shop. I had planned to buy outerwear (and announced that plan on the way over), but one of the first things I saw was the Little Squirrel button-down JSK in green, so I lost focus immediately. After all, that was high on my wish list and still pretty new.
    Luckily, Sean was there to reign me in a bit. But I knew that I wanted Little Squirrel, so I had to choose between two outerwear pieces I’d been eyeing; the coat, and a BTSSB capelet. I decided on the capelet, but Sean tried to buy the coat for me afterwards. It was very sweet of him, but I still tease him about what happened next.

    Now I know we were both still tired from the flight, and it was our first few hours in Japan, but apparently he gave the cashier ¥1,000 thinking that it was ¥10,000, which resulted in some confusion between them. He called me over saying that the woman was trying to cheat him, and I used Google Translate to get it all sorted out. I thought the whole thing was hilarious, truth be told. Being from the Bay Area, I’m pretty used to dealing with awful tourists, so it was funny for me to see it from the other side. The girl was very sweet about the whole thing, and he apologized profusely. I doubt she understood his accusations, but it was embarrassing all the same.

    All’s well that ends well. And I got a very nice gift from Sean, so I can’t complain (^o^)

    Thoughts on Losing the Gothic and Lolita Bible and Answers to the Harajuku Fashion Tag.

    I’ve been struggling with writing about the end of G&LB for a while now. I can’t seem to articulate my feelings on the matter in a way that hasn’t already been done to death. There seem to be two major camps within the EGL community: one is in a panic, predicting “the death of J-fashion” and waiting for Lolita to go the way of Mori Kei, while the other sees it more as a blow to print media than to its intended audience. I fall somewhere in between. I do think that the end of G&LB will have an effect on the fashion and it’s community, but I also agree that it likely signifies a change in the way we get our information more than it does the end of the fashion. My favorite part of the magazine, the street snaps, are easily replaced by Amino and Instagram. Brand news is available online, both from the brands themselves and from the Lolita Updates Facebook group. Blogs more or less cover the rest. But G&LB was the definitive source for all things Lolita. It was, as the name might suggest, Lolita Canon. Losing that will take some adjustment.
    Since the facts of the situation have already been covered by nearly every loliblog out there, I’ll assume that most readers are already at least somewhat familiar with the announcement that the magazine will be closing and why. Instead of focusing on that, I’ve chosen to focus on remembering what it has done for me by participateing in this project from MagicalGirlMe.:

    1. I’m most passionate about Lolita fashion, of course ^_^
    2. I was first introduced to Lolita through a friend in high school (probably around 2005), and then more thoroughly by the TokyoPop English-language Gothic and Lolita Bible, but I had only a casual interest until about 2015. At that point I discovered Lace Market and I’ve been broke ever since.
    3. I love the way that wearing Lolita makes me feel; elegant, feminine, and dainty, but simultaneously strong and confident. Those should never be mutually exclusive but sadly they often are.
    4. What strikes me as unique about Lolita fashion is that it’s feminine without invoking sexual appeal, as most women’s fashions do in some way. It encourages it’s wearers to be beautiful without being exposed, and that appeals to me a great deal.
    5. There is so much I’d like to say to people who are interested in starting out in Lolita that it was one of the biggest motivations for starting this blog! Typically though, when I’m talking to an individual I tailor my response to their needs. I suppose if I had to offer just one piece of advice it would be to get a high-quality bell-shaped chiffon petticoat before anything else. It’s a generic, boring answer, but I don’t know who I’m talking to QQ

    In closing, since the Lolita community is losing our definitive source on our fashion, we’ll need to work harder to create cohesion as trends change and evolve. With that said, I don’t believe that this is the death of J-fashion. There are so many other mediums through which we in the alternative fashion community can express our love of our styles of choice. If we continue to share our thoughts (and our coords!) with the world, our fashions need not stagnate, and as long as they continue evolving, they’ll never really die.

    Lolita 52: My Signature Outfit

    My next Lolita 52 prompt is my signature outfit. I’m not sure I have one but I definitely have a signature look, so I put something together that showcases that:

    Coord rundown:
    Cutsew and UTKs – Innocent World

    Skirt – Bodyline

    Hat – Fanplusfriend

    Parasol – Alice and the Pirates

    Purse – Loris

    Jacket – Yolanda

    Shoes and jewelry – Offbrand

    I’d say that my signature style is a casual-ish Classic look, with lots of brown and pearl accessories. I had to include the ivory UTKs since I wear them frequently despite their being somewhat unpopular in contemporary Classic style. I also felt I should include the Loris bag. I have other Lolita purses but you’d never know it. This is definitely my favorite. Finally, my signature look absolutely had to use my real hair and understated makeup. I also incorporated some nature-inspired details, most notably by choosing a floral theme that runs throughout the coord and by adding this deer pin from LolitaPop:

    It might be fun to revisit this prompt once in a while to see how my personal style changes. I’ll try to remember that in the future. In the meantime, keep an eye out for my week 7 post in the next few days. I’m trying to get caught up in a timely manner. See you soon!