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

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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!

Lolita Level Up!

I recently came across this post from Pale+Lace and it seemed like a lot of fun, especially for April Fool’s Day today, so I decided to play as well! Of course this is purely satirical and is just for fun.

The earliest version I could find is this 2010 post from Parfat Doll, so I’m assuming that’s the origin. If I’m mistaken please let me know!

Ever met another lolita who seems to know it all? Fabulous hair, mincing steps, and some sort of savoir-faire that you’re missing? Ever wanted to know how to ‘level up’? You’re not the only one. How do you jump from ita to lolita extraordinare? Well, you use this handy level-counter of course!

Each criteria is a level. Add up your total and then put yourself into a category. Repost this to your own blog, website, or journal, bolding the ones that apply to you, and then show your score/level at the bottom. The only rule is that you must add one lolita ‘level’ to the list!

*please note that this post is tagged as humor. satire only, dolls!

LOLITA LEVEL START!

You’ve been to egl.
You’ve posted on egl, without an onslaught of ‘USE THE MEMORIES’ and likewise.
You’ve bought a lolita mook.
You’ve picked a favorite brand.
You’ve ordered your first item.
You’ve worn a full outfit.
You’ve worn a full outfit out in public.
You’ve worn a full outfit and posted photos of it on the Internet.

You know what JSK, OP, and cutsew all mean.
You’ve bought your first brand piece.
You know your measurements.
You know you shoe size – in American, European, and Japanese.
You know who Mr. Yan is.
You know who Mana is. (+1 points if you know his band. +2 points if you know his brand. +3 points if you know why he’s featured in every GLB. +4 if you have a shrine to him in your closet.)
You know who Maki and Asuka are. (+2 if you’ve met Maki and Asuka).
You’ve watched Kamikaze Girls. (+1 if you know the real name of this movie. +2 if you know who wrote the book this was based on. +3 if you’ve also read the manga or novel. +4 if you love the author despite his criminal record).
You own a wig. (+1 if you own more than 2.)
You own a pair of falls.
You can identify lace on the spot.
You can identify an item’s brand on the spot.

You can identify the year a dress was made by a specific brand on the spot.
You can name several different dresses or prints.
You answer stock photo requests.
You mod a lolita community.
You decorate your nails. (+1 if you wear fake nails. +2 if you make fake nails.)
You own a pair of a rocking horse shoes. (+1 if you know their abbreviation.)
You’ve made your own rose corsage.
You’ve made anything out of your brand dress’s waist ties.
You’ve made anything out of a matching eco tote. (+3 if you were the first one to do it, you think).
You know how to apply false eyelashes.
You know how to pronounce shirring.
You know how to pronounce Moi-meme-moitie, or Metamorphose tempes de fille.
You know a reliable shopping service.
You bid on Yahoo!Japan or Mbok.
You’ve been to a meetup.
You’ve planned a meetup.
You’ve planned a meetup with catering or more than 20 attendees.
You’ve met up with lolitas while on vacation to foreign or faraway locales.
You’ve seen a lolita fashion show.
You’ve seen a brand fashion show.
You’ve modeled in a lolita fashion show.
You’ve modeled in a brand lolita fashion show.
You wear bloomers.
You know how to make bloomers.
You tell other people to wear bloomers.
You draw lolita art, write a lolita blog, or provide the community with some sort of creative services.
You’ve taken purikura in lolita.
You’ve decorated your room/house/apartment in lolita style.
You’ve listened to lolita music.
You’ve learned kana.
You’ve learned enough Japanese to read a magazine.
You wear or own circle lenses.
You’ve been called a princess by a young child.
You’ve dressed up a friend.

You’ve convert a friend.
You’ve been in media (television, newspaper, magazine). (+2 points if it’s Japanese media.)
You’ve learned a handicraft, like jewelry making, embroidery, or sewing.
You’ve become a lolita mentor.
You’ve attended lolita events at an anime or multi-genre convention.
You’ve organized or presented lolita events at a convention.
You’ve visited a brand shop.
Trip to Japan!

You’ve dressed up and gone out alone.
You’re prepared for inclement or colder weather in lolita (coat, parasol, boots, gloves, other climate-specific items.)
You’ve learned face contouring (Personal note: I don’t contour in Lolita and prefer a more naturally flawless look, but I do know how).
You’ve made a lolita valentine.
You’ve got a lolita pen pal or online lolita friends.
You have local lolita friends.
You know how to modify clothes that don’t fit you.
You know how to dress for your body type.
You’ve been in a street snap.
You’ve been to multiple world locations of the same brand store (BABY Paris, BABY Tokyo, BABY San Francisco, etc.)
You’ve created a makeup/hair/sewing tutorial.
You’ve sold hand-created lolita goods.
You have your own lolita fashion line.
You’ve gotten a lolita haircut, style, or color.
You’ve mixed other street fashions with lolita.
You’ve thrown a lolita party/had a lolita wedding.
You’ve dressed your child/small children in lolita or kodona style.
You’ve successfully cross-dressed in lolita style at least once (boystyle for girls and girls’ clothing for guys).
You’ve lolified or made sure all the contents of your purse are cute (wallet, lipgloss, keyring, etc.)
You have a lolita pet (small dogs, cats, rabbits, exotic birds, fancy fish) or have dressed/accessorized your pet (bows or pet clothes).
You’ve dressed your significant other or dated someone who dresses in J-fashion/alternative fashion.
You’ve read Alice in Wonderland. (+1 if you’ve seen the animated movie or other variations, +2 if you’ve seen more than one variation, +3 if you own more than one variation)
You’ve dressed as Alice or another Wonderland character in lolita style, or own Alice themed items.
You’ve made something from a Japanese pattern.
You’ve found, bought, or made lolita underwear (bras and panties).
You wear lolita daily, or have gone 7 days straight wearing only lolita.
You have lolita calling cards or business cards.
You play a lolita instrument (i.e., piano, violin, harp, French horn… well any instrument really.)
You can translate yen to your country’s currency in your head. (+1 if you can convert other currencies you shop with as well. +2 if you read the news to know how the yen is doing.)
You’ve sold lolita clothing online (secondhand, egl_comm_sales).
Your article or entry has been put into the egl memories.
You take photos of your outfits/daily outfit photos.
You’ve posted to daily_lolita.
You own a petticoat. (+1 if you own more than one. +2 if you wear three or more at a time) (Personal note: I have worn 3 at a time, but sadly most of my wardrobe can’t accommodate this so it’s not a regular thing).
You’ve bought a lucky pack.
You keep a style diary or look-book.
You can put together an outfit made entirely from offbrand.
You’ve bought offbrand or non-Japanese brand.

My Lolita level is: 64 or 71, since I’m not sure whether the (+1, +2, etc) parts stack or not. Either way places me in the same tier though.

Adorable Admirer (lvls 1 – 20) You’ve started studying or liking lolita but haven’t taken that leap of faith yet. Good luck!

Resplendant Rufflebutt (lvls 21 – 40) At home within the land of the rufflebutts and spilling frills from every edge.

Victorian Maiden (lvls 41 – 60) A classy lolita of taste and experience, who knows her way around the lolita social set.

Starry Celebrity (lvls 61 – 80) On page six of the lolita world, you’ve risen to the ring of the upper crust.

Pretty Princess (lvls 81 – 100) Lolita royalty, truly versed in the ways of the lacey ones, the lolita princesses have achieved a special level of enlightenment.

Ultimate Lolita (Boss Fight!) (lvls 100+) Wow, you’ve gotten over 100 levels? You’re the ultimate lolita with unlimited hitpoints. That’s actually a little scary…

Nails to Match my Favorite Looks

Today I drew a topic for Lolita 52 week 5, Nails to match my favorite Lolita looks. Since the majority of my wardrobe is Classic and Sweet-Classic, and since I tend to shy away from OTT styles, I typically keep my nails short and understated for Lolita fashion. Most of the time I’ll have shellac French tips because they’re so versatile.

That’s pretty boring though, so I decided to take a look around the Internet and find some more interesting options.

Fawn Nails from Lucy’s Stash:

http://www.lucysstash.com/2016/06/paint-all-the-nails-presents-animal-print-fawn-print

These fawn nails would go perfectly with some of my favorite forest-themed dresses, like Little Squirrel or Lotta, especially if the nails were shorter. I’m pretty sad that I don’t have the skill to be able to do something like this, because to be honest I’m completely in love.

Lace Nail Art from Lulus:

http://blog.lulus.com/beauty/manicure-monday-lace-nails-with-syl-and-sam/

This does seem like a lot of work, but it also seems like it would require less skill than the fawn nails. I’m tempted to give it a try, and I think it’d be gorgeous with a more sophisticated Sweet coordinate.

Black and Gold Nails from Aya 1 Gou:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/193544856/3d-nails-gothic-lolita-lolita-nails-egl

While it’s a little *more* than I’m likely to do, I absolutely love OTT Classic Juliette et Justine coordinates, and this set of false Nails brings that look immediately to mind. They would go well with this coord from Miss Caro Chan of F Yeah Lolita, for example:

So that’s that. I’m pretty likely to continue to stick to my shellac French tips, but I did have a lot of fun writing this post and looking for some new options. If I ever do branch out I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and write about how it all goes. Until next time!

Lolita 52: Whats in My Makeup Bag

It didn’t take me long to get off-track on the Lolita 52 challenge, did it? To be honest the reason I stopped was because I misplaced the slips with the prompts on them. I found them though, so I’ve decided to post more than one per week until I’m caught up. I believe I’m nine weeks behind as it stands. Whoops!

Anyway for the fourth prompt I drew “What’s in my makeup bag.” I’ve already done a version of this here, so I thought I’d change it up a bit and focus specifically on makeup that I like to wear to Lolita meets and what I use for my go-to look for most events.

The look I usually go for is somewhat understated and uses a lot of neutral colors, but I tend to go heavier on blush than I would for an everyday look. I also typically use different products on meet days than I do for my usual makeup, largely because it is essential that meet makeup photograph well.

The products I use (in the order I use them): 

Too Cool for School Egg Mellow Cream – I go through a full skincare routine when I get up in the morning, but I always moisturize again when I start to do my makeup. Egg Mellow Cream is probably too heavy for most people but my skin is very dry and I find that it works beautifully for me.

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector – This isn’t my usual everyday primer, but I really love it for meet days. Nothing moves or creases, and the matte, poreless-looking finish helps a lot with photos.

Urban Decay Anti-Aging Primer Potion – An eyeshadow primer is essential for event makeup.  I think that for Sweet and Classic styles, makeup should usually be understated and somewhat natural-looking, especially in photos. Using an eyeshadow primer helps prevent eyeshadow from creasing, and goes a long way in ensuring that it stays well-blended and perfect throughout the day.

e.l.f. Brow Pomade – This is from CVS and isn’t very good. I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone else, but I use it because my natural hair color has sort of a red tint and I have a tough time finding reddish brown pomade. That’s the only reason.

Tarte Tartelette Tease Pallette – I put Wink all over my lid, then use Whisper to hilight my brow bone and the inner corner of my eye. Afterwards, I’ll use First Kiss and Heartbreaker on my outer v and crease. The result is pretty light and subtle, but adds dimension.

Kat Von D Ink Liner – I line my upper lashes only, keeping close to the lashline, making the line thicker on the outer edge. I don’t do a wing or anything else that would draw too much attention most of the time. The idea is just to lift the eye and camouflage false eyelash application.

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in Dark Brown – I almost exclusively use drugstore mascara since it doesn’t last long. I prefer to stick to brown over black to avoid going too dark. Once I’ve curled my lashes and applied mascara, I put on false lashes. I use a variety, but typically stick to short, fine ones with criss-crossed lashes to achieve a natural-ish volume without overdoing it. The ones I used today are from Daiso, but I don’t think they make these particular ones anymore.

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation in Pearl – I’m more likely to use BB cream on a daily basis, but for events where I’m likely to have my picture taken I will use this foundation. It offers a fair amount of coverage without being too cakey and it photographs really well. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come in a light enough shade for me in the winter. Now that we’re going into spring though, it matches me perfectly. I pat it on with my fingers (I wash my hands well first!) and then blend it with a sponge.

Nars Radient Creamy Concealer in Cannelle – I love this concealer. It’s a new addition to my makeup collection and I can’t figure out how I got by without it. I just apply this under my eyes and blend with a sponge.

e.l.f Blush Palette in Light – Unlike the brow pomade, I actually love this blush palette. I typically use the top two shades. First, I blend the top left peachy shade from my temples to my cheeks, then I apply the pink shade on the apples of my cheeks and blend it out. The result is too heavy for normal wear, but perfect for Sweet-Classic Lolita.

Bare Minerals Mineral Veil Finishing Powder – I love the matte finish this gives. It photographs well. I also find that it sets my concealer especially well, doesn’t accentuate any skin dryness, and minimizes the look of pores.

Mac Lipliner in Spice and Lipstick in Velvet Teddy – My lip color changes depending on the coord, but since I actually only did my makeup for this post and not for a meet today, I decided to go with Velvet Teddy because it’s just a bit darker than a nude lip and so is probably the color I use the most. Sometimes I’ll wear Kat Von D Double Dare or something a little more peachy or brown, but this color works with almost everything.

So there you have it! Not exactly what’s in my makeup bag, but I hope it’s fun to read through all the same. I’ll be back soon with my Week 5 post (only 8 weeks late)!

Lolita Blog Carnival: Create a Cooord Based on your Favorite Chocolate Bar

My favorite chocolate bar is the Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar from Trader Joe’s. The bar itself is a pretty deep brown, and the packaging uses some very underused colors for Lolita fashion, so I was excited to participate in this week’s challenge.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t match the green/yellow color with pieces from my wardrobe, so I tried to just stick to the general palette instead. I felt those colors are best suited to Classic, as is the chocolate itself. It’s more bitter than sweet, and reminds me of more mature styles of Lolita.

Rundown:

Blouse- Victorian Maiden

Skirt – Metamorphose

Bolero, headband, bow, UTKs – Innocent World

Shoes – Random Item (eBay)

The coord I ended up with uses much more ivory than I would have liked, but that’s mainly because of the constraints of having a smallish wardrobe. Overall it still essentially captures the idea and feeling that I had in-mind.

This week’s participants:

Cupcake Kamisama’s Lolita World