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

Advertisements

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.