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

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.

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: 1 Main Piece, 2 Drastically Different Looks

I have a relatively small wardrobe and re-wear pieces frequently, so this week’s Lolita Blog Carnival topic is right up my alley. I chose to work with Innocent World’s Fairy Tale JSK. It’s one of my favorite pieces because of its versatility.

First, I put together a simple Sweet coord by pulling the red from the print and covering the more Classic-looking bodice. In retrospect, I should have also removed the brown waist tie.

I didn’t feel that this needed much in the way of accessories since it’s meant to be somewhat wearable, but a red or gold ring would really help to pull this look together.

Coord rundown:

KC – Angelic Pretty

Hoodie and tights – Baby, the Stars Shine Bright

Shoes – Bodyline
The second coordinate is a slightly more elaborate Classic look. For this coord, I pulled the brown from the print and added some pearl accents.

I would also wear a set of fake pearl earrings and a ring, but left them out as they were difficult to make out in the photo. There are also small pearl beads on the headdress.

I wanted to maintain the whimsey of the fairytale print, which is why I chose the UTK socks instead of more Classic legwear. I feel that the visible lace balances the lace in the top half of the coord, and that the slight sweetness of these socks helps to keep the overall look from being too mature for the print.

Coord rundown:

Headdress, bolero, and UTKs – Innocent World

Shoes and accessories – off brand

Other participants in this week’s LBC:

Poppy Noir

Vanilla Bear

Cupcakes and Unicorns

Queen and Commander

Gravelvet

Bloody Tea Party

Lolita 52: Week 1

Hello all!

Welcome to my Lolita 52 series! I’ve written each of the prompts from F Yeah Lolita’s Lolita 52 challenge on a slip of paper, and I’ll be drawing one to post about each Sunday. Today, I drew “What’s in my Closet that I Haven’t Worn Yet?” The super boring answer is “not much,”  but there are a few pieces that fit the bill.

My most recent purchase was the show model of AatP’s The Tiking Clock. I had wanted this JSK in the black colorway, but this one was available new for too good a price for me to pass up. Besides, the ivory and rose accents mean that it honestly suits my wardrobe much better. I’ve had it for about a month now, but I haven’t worn it yet because I like to get all the wear I can out of Drosselmyer’s Wonder Box during the holiday season, and I love putting Christmas coords together. Now that the holidays are over, wearing this will probably be my first order of business.

I bought this cutsew from Bodyline for $6 a couple of months ago. I love the color and it’s super comfortable, but it doesn’t match my wardrobe as well as I had thought it would. The stock photos weren’t very true to color, unfortunately. I have worn it, but not in Lolita. I plan to keep it though. Maybe someday I’ll get a main piece that I can coord it with, and until then I’ll keep wearing it with jeans.

I bought this BTSSB Juicy BABY Love Love Berry skirt from a friend in early November. It does have the waist ties and detachable bow, they’re just put away with my accessories. I have a few coords planned for this that I can’t wait to wear, but they’re all more warm-weather coords so I’m holding off until it heats up a little. I’m very excited about this skirt in particular because, though it’s sweeter than most of my wardrobe, the burgundy and chocolate brown in the print make it easier to coord with a lot of my classic pieces, so it should add some versatility (as soon as it stops raining).
I did mention in an earlier post that I’ve been gravitating towards Sweet lately, right? I wasn’t kidding. Looking over these pieces, I can’t help thinking that 2017 might be the year of Sweet, for me at least.

Day 24: A Picture of me From a Meet

Not exactly from a meet, but these pictures are from my bachelorette party back in October. All but one of my bridesmaids wears Lolita, so we did a sort of mini-meetup and I had a blast! My maid of honor hired a photographer and we had a photoshoot at the Japanese Garden in San Francisco, then we had high tea at the Grand Palace Hotel and went to Angelic Pretty.

Both full-body shots are by Oscar C Photography.