Thursday, 21 June 2018

Taking a little break

Hi everyone! I'm just a bit busy at the moment and don't feel up to making the time for blogging so I'm going to take a little break from posting regularly. Nothing's wrong and I will probably be back very soon but wanted to post rather than just going AFK for a bit.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

A white gothic capsule wardrobe

Currently on CGL there is a capsule wardrobe thread. Now, as you know, capsule wardrobes are kind of my thing, so I leapt on and said I'd try and take a crack at requested lolita wardrobes. And then, to my despair, this first request came in, for "a white main piece goth lolita capsule wardrobe. I like creams and blood reds and blacks too. If possible, no prints."

Oh dear.

But I gave it a shot anyway, and I think I am slowly starting to get the hang of gothic lolita a little bit more. I didn't adhere to the idea of no prints, and instead selected prints that are on the more minimal side. I will admit that I found the colour scheme a challenge as well, however it was a really good opportunity to try out something new. So, here's my attempt at a white/ed/black gothic lolita capsule wardrobe!

As you can see, it's very strictly tri-colour with the exception of the stained glass print. This is very much not me...even in wardrobes like this with limited colour schemes there's normally more hints of additional colours going on in the prints. And I normally include a lot more prints! So I found it a little challenging to put together properly unique outfits for each main piece. But I did my best and you can see the outfits below.

I love this print. I'm not really a Moitie fan, but man do I like this print. It was fair easy to coordinate, though I did find it challenging to incorporate the red pieces in these looks.

And oh my goodness. I've never really paid much attention to Atelier Pierrot because gain, I'm not very into gothic, but this JSK is gorgeous. The layers, the bustling, the details. To me, this is a perfect solid coloured dress. But again, I found it hard to coordinate with red!

I had a much easier time with this OP all round. It's something I would never, ever wear (it's the most "never" piece in this wardrobe) but I still think it's awesome!

I actually want to get a stained glass print eventually so I really enjoyed getting to coordinate this one digitally.

And finally we have the sole skirt of the wardrobe. I'm assuming the reds would match in the real world! Much as I love this skirt and the variety it brought to the wardrobe I did find it challenging to balance in the example coordinates.

Overall, I actually enjoyed getting to foray into gothic lolita territory. I'll be honest, I think this is one of my worst hypothetical wardrobes but still, it was a learning experience. In order not to end on a negative note, I pulled out my favourite coords from the ones above and collaged them together to prove that actually yes, I can sometimes do gothic lolita right!

Monday, 11 June 2018

Buying lolita for Western bodies

Lame title is lame, but anyhoo, let's move on. This post came about because over the weekend I met a really sweet girl who is interested in lolita, but due to being a bit tall and broad shouldered (which is pretty common among Westerners) has not bought anything due to concerns of fit. I said I'd message her a list of indie brands so she'll know what some of the options are. And then I thought, well, it's going to be a really long message so why not actually put my thoughts into coherent sentences and just do a blogpost instead!

So there are going to be two parts to this post: tips on what to wear and how to wear it, and I list of brands that I think provide good options for people who do not fit the standard Japanese body shape. So this is partially aimed at the fat lolitas, the tall lolitas, the buff lolitas, the busty lolitas, but equally as well to people who are just...not Japanese. Because we all deserve to look amazing in lolita, and sometimes just buying brand off the rack is not the way to do that. ]

First of all, some tips on what to do when you can't just look good in everything. As always, this is just my personal opinion. But as a tall-ish, fat, big framed lolita I think I know what I'm talking about ^__^

A picture of the body my experience comes from; five foot six and currently a size AU16.

The biggest tip is to know your measurements. More stuff will fit you than you think! However, you will need to pay attention to the skirt to bodice ratio; generally if you are taller or broader than the intended body things will fit but not quite as intended. Know what length of skirt you are comfortable with. Most of the time straps are adjustable in length (and you can always extend them or alter to a halter neck) but if the shoulder measurement is very much smaller than yours they may flare outwards rather than go straight over the shoulders. To me, if something is great other than the straps, just wear a bolero or cardigan, especially because that solves any issues with blouse fit. Speaking of blouses, you can wear a JSK with a blouse that doesn't close over the bust. If it's nice in the neckline and the sleeves but your boobs get in the way, what does it matter with a JSK? Of course, it's better to have things that fit properly but still that was worth mentioning. As a last point on picking your clothes, remember that underskirts can be a godsend but that if they don't match well they can look lazy. Use with caution.

Enough of tips, here are my suggestions on where to shop if you're not standard Japanese size!

Lady Sloth does great blouses and a lot of unique main pieces. I think her prices are fair and I have liked the things I have bought from her in the past (and intend to buy more in future, have you seen the preview for her new berry print?). She has a range of standard sizes and also offers many things custom sized.

A recent (and lovely) series from Lady Sloth

For blouses and boleros, both Glitter Tale and Bunny House are apparently also quite good, though I have not bought from them myself. But like Lady Sloth they offer good standard sizes as well as custom options. I used to also love The Floral Notebook for blouses too, but they don't seem to be active any more.

Bunny House also does petticoats, but my number one recommendation for pettis is Me Likes Tea. She also does phenomenal bloomers! Lately her stories on Instagram have also featured pretty dresses, so she may be going to expand her offerings in future.

I also recommend The Black Ribbon - I have cutsews from her that immediately become wardrobe favourites. I haven't seem any of her main pieces in real life, but if the cutsews are an indication they're top-notch too.

The Black Ribbob keeping it gorgeous.

As far as standard off the rack goes, I do actually have to recommend Bodyline as well. I have not have fit issues due to my big old Aussie frame in any of the pieces I have bought from them. I will say though, I haven't bought any of their releases from the last three or so years, so I can't vouch for their newer stuff. But the older things have definitely been good. As we all know, Bodyline can be a bit iffy on quality, but it's easy enough to find worn photos and reviews of most of their items before you buy.

If you do want to go full proper brand, I find Metamorphose temps de fille has also been great. The only issue I've had with clothes from them is one blouse being very tight around the neck but it did have a high collar so eh. But Meta dresses with full back shirring are very forgiving (up to a 110cm bust easily in my experience) and the shoulders fit fine. And their socks are amazing!

Meta socks are best socks <3

With longer lengths on offer, Innocent World is also sometimes a good bet...provided you don't have a particularly large bust. I'd cautiously recommend them, because it really depends on your frame. However, like Meta, their socks are phenomenal on chunky legs.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of lolita indie brands (or big brands that are good for a wide range of body types) but just the ones that first come to my mind when thinking of recommendations for someone with curves and nicely built shoulders.

Do you have any suggestions to add to what I have here? Any disagreements?

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

AYWI30C #6: Channel a specific lolita era

For this prompt I was initially going to take the easy route, and go old school or OTT sweet. But I’ve already done the latter in this series and I just wasn’t feeling old school right now, so I did a bit of googling to try and figure out what was another noticeable “era” and eventually decided to make a coord like it was 2008.

It seemed appropriate; it’s exactly ten years ago and while that late-00s time is not as memorable as the previous old school or the later OTT sweet it’s a very interesting look. It was a transitional year where things were starting to ramp up to OTT; we’re seeing some big hair and prints are coming into fashion. But at the same time there’s a lot of simplicity and “minimal” coordinates without much going on in the accessories department and a lot of simple colour schemes, of the dress colour accompanied by either black or white. There’s also still a bit of a punkiness to the fashion, and a lot more crossover with goth. The whole scene could still be called “gothic lolita” back then and it showed.

My tartan JSK from Baby, the Stars Shine Bright (or at least, another version of the same dress, which is close enough) was released in 2008 so I thought I’d use it for this coordinate. I combined it with my AP polka dot parka – this was released in 2012 but Angelic Pretty was putting out hoodies in 2008 so I think it still manages to suit the vibe.

Overall I wanted to go for a cute but a little punk sort of look, not that I can ever manage to do something so properly effortlessly distressed as punk truly should be. So I went more “punk” by having disconnected, but overall coherent elements. Like my clashing red tartan bag!

A single large headbow seemed to be one of the common hair accessories at the time so I used a black and white one (a bit anachronistic but oh well). I kept the accessories simple overall, with just a big plastic bow bangle. I would have loved to have added some arm warmers, but alas, I no longer own that later-noughties staple.

Speaking of thing I would have love to use but don't own;  this look would be perfect with some of those plain Demonia platforms but alas, I can’t own all the shoes I admire in life. I would also love to do this kind of coordinate with a pair of Converse sneakers, but mine fell apart years ago. So my plain black platform heels had to do the job!

For socks, I thought a patterned OTK was the way to go, even though I do have black with white lace UTKS that would have also been perfect. But I felt that a black and red sock with a pattern not seen anywhere else in the coord was the best choice; it adds another jarring note which I felt the coord needed.

I have to say, I am absolutely loving this challenge so far because I’m trying all kinds of new things. I may not love this coordinate as much as I loved the last one I did for the challenge but still, wow, it’s not something I would normally have put together at all. The challenge is working! And I am so damn happy about it.

As a final note, I really found La Carmina’s 2008 blog archive super helpful for seeing what people were actually wearing around this time!

Friday, 1 June 2018

Lolita Blog Carnival: What Keeps Your Interest In The Fashion

I haven’t been into lolita fashion for a long time, necessarily. But I’ve definitely been in it for a while, so this prompt was an interesting one. Because I had never actually sat down and thought what, in particular, keeps me interested in lolita fashion year in and year out.

First of all, it’s so pretty! I love big puffy skirts and elegant blouses, detailed prints and dramatic shoes, lovely hair accessories and gorgeous socks. I’ve always had a weakness for alternative fashions in general, and have worn everything from mis-matched rainbows to dapper Victorian to patchwork skirts to wannabe emo. Clothes have always been my thing. In a way, lolita is actually the most mainstream alternative fashion I’ve ever worn! I also love the coordination aspect of the clothes, of balancing colours and themes and coming up with new combinations rather than just buying a new outfit or wearing the same look over and over. I mean, I do tend to wear the same outfits repeatedly, but I also experiment a lot more in flatlay form.

Everything is just so lovely!

Segueing from that mention of flatlays, I love that lolita for me, is a solo hobby. Much as I love wearing it, I don’t have to get dressed up in order to enjoy the fashion. I really enjoy just playing with the clothes, daydreaming about my wardrobe, and of course…keeping up this blog! I also enjoy looking at new releases and even doing some sewing and crafting of my own. For me it’s a very unique hobby that I can engage in entirely on my own terms, for my own enjoyment, and do not need any involvement from anyone else. I am in to a whole bunch of different things, but lolita is the one that’s the most “me”.

One of the many hypothetical wardrobes I've put together for this blog.

However, much as I love the just me on my own aspects of lolita, I also enjoy the community, online and in real life. I only realised recently that the lolita community is the only one I’m really involved in online. That’s not a bad thing, but I was more active in different online circles in my teens and early twenties and no longer am. I mean, if I’m honest I’m not even all that active in lolita outside of this blog. But the community is there, even if I’m mostly a lurker. Similarly, I don’t go to many meet ups, but the community is there for me to participate in, and that’s good. Especially for a socially anxious dweeb like myself, hobbies with pre-made communities are a godsend. Going new places! Meeting new people! It’s a good thing.

From my first meet with the Newcastle community.

But to circle back to the actual prompt, what “keeps” me in this fashion is basically that I love it. I enjoy all the aspects of it and it brings me a lot of pleasure. I like seeing the style change, and I like experiencing that same growth in my own personal style. If I ever fall out of love, I’ll leave, but for now it’s a relationship I fully intend to continue.

Read more from other bloggers:

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Lolita Blogpost Roundup: May 2018

I think I'm in denial that May is over. Five months of the year gone already (and three to go until I get married!) is just surreal. But let's not think of that and instead enjoy some of the lolita blog pots from the past month.

Japan 2018 * Day 5-9 * Kyoto + Uji + Osaka from Puppenschloss
I really enjoy reading travel reports when they align with my interests; I very much want to go to Japan at some stage but until then I like to read about other people's experiences. 

Thana Lilvia from Sanakanin
Follow the link for a picture of Thanos in Innocent World - the crossover you didn't know you needed until you saw it. Also a cute outfit, but mostly Thanos.

Angelic Pretty Doll's Tea Party from Ruban Rose
I get very excited whenever this blogger buys a new dress because it always means fabulous detail photos and a cute coordinate as well!

Angelic Pretty Romantic Rose Letter Special Set 2018 + Sunny Shopping Tokyo SS from Saxon Blues
Oh my goodness, the RRL special set was so cute. I was tempted to buy it in lavender, but resisted...even though I'm not being as good at not spending much as I wanted to be I am being somewhat good! But that doesn't stop me from vicariously enjoying other people's purchases.

In memoriam of the amazing time we had // 10 day Lolita Challenge from Poppy Noir
As a pretty introverted person, I really enjoy reading about people's experiences at events and this was a nice two in one reflection.

Back from Hiatus, 2017 in a Flash~ from Bonniviwii
I'm always happy when bloggers return to their blogs, so I couldn't not share this post. Also, she shares soooo many cute outfits it's a feast for the eyes as well.

365 LLC Days 138 - 140: Of Unloved Dresses, Spots In Town, & Unique Accessories from The Bloody Tea Party
I don't remember if I have shared any of these posts before, so just in case I want to start with saying...oh my goodness, someone is actually doing the year-long lifestyle lolita challenge! That's blogging dedication, just wow. And for some reason, this three-day post just really grabbed by attention.

Weekend Double Bill from Cupcake Kamisama
Two meets in one weekend? I think I died a little just reading that! But it sounds like a lot of fun too, and it was great to see this blogger try a new style as well.

So that's May done and dusted...bring on June!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

How much will your first lolita coordinate cost?

It's been a while since I've done one of these kind of posts, which is all just rambling and thoughts and beginner advice and theory. I'm not even sure what to call this kind of post! But naming it doesn't matter, I really enjoy just analysing aspects of this fashion. So here I'm turning my mind to the question of how much money your first lolita coordinate might cost.

I’ll start this post by disclosing the unfortunate reality – there is no single answer! A lolita outfit can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be, though unless you’re get very lucky you won’t tend to be able to get much lower than $100 for all the necessary components. If you want to see what a $100 lolita coordinate (approximately, and without a petticoat, a bag, or shipping included) looks like, please view one of my earlier posts which has three examples.

The reason why price varies so wildly is that there are so many options and sources to buy lolita items from these days; the big Japanese brands, indie brands from all over the world ranging from singles seamstresses to full on shops, Bodyline, the many stores of Taobao, handmade, offbrand pieces that still work as lolita…and from all those sources pieces can be bought new or secondhand. However a lolita outfit tends to be on the higher side is because a coordinate contains more individual components than more casual, regular fashion looks.

For a lolita outfit you need the follow items:
  • A main piece (onepiece dress, jumperskirt dress, or skirt)
  • A blouse (not needed if wearing an OP)
  • A petticoat
  • A hair accessory
  • Socks or tights
  • Shoes
  • A bag
Then in addition to the above, there are the following optional items:
  • A bolero or cardigan (can be used instead of a blouse with a JSK)
  • Wristcuffs or a bracelet
  • Other jewellery
  • Additional accessories if desired
  • An ouji boyfriend (I kid, I kid…)
So you already have 6-7 things that you definitely need to make up a lolita outfit, and options to add a bit more if you want a fancier or just more complete look. I honestly tossed up whether to put wristcuffs in the required or option because I do think you need something to stop your arms from looking bare, but it really is a personal decision.

To refer back to my example $100 coordinates in the post I linked the reason why I could keep those to that price limit is that I excluded the petticoat and bag, and the supplementary pieces (most notably legwear and headwear) are non-lolita specific items, mostly from eBay. I do love me some offbrand cheap accessories, but the can often take your overall look in a slightly less “proper lolita” direction. I’ll be clear; I have absolutely nothing against using offbrand items in lolita coordinates, and do it a lot myself! But since this post is directed at someone who is new to lolita I would honestly recommend sticking to items that were made for lolita when you first start out.

I digress. The point of this post was to give a guide of what you could reasonably expect to spend on a complete lolita outfit, so I will do just that. Prices will be in AUD (converted from whatever currency they are originally in) and will exclude shipping and any other fees. For ease of showing just how much this can vary, I’m going to “shop” for three fictional personas: the girl who just wants brand-new brand, the girl who wants things new but is watching her budget, and the girl who wants some brand but is happy to shop secondhand and buys things that work regardless of source. In the interests of complete thoroughness, I will “buy” an outfit for each persona in the three main substyles; sweet, classic, and gothic lolita. I’m going to try and keep the outfits sort of just regular lolita; not too simple and not too OTT. Prices are listed below the photos from left to right

The first set of example coords are for a sweet lolita buying a onepiece dress.

$352 + $140 + $30 + $178 + $45 + $115
All Angelic Pretty
Total Cost $860

$46 + $51 + $6 +  $18 + $8 + $20
Dress and headbow Magic Tea Party, petticoat Me Likes Tea, tights Mu Fish, shoes Sosic Shop, bag Loris
Total Cost $149

$215 (includes socks and headbow) + $51 + $21 + $20
Dress, socks and headbow Metamorphose special set, petticoat Me Likes Tea, shoes Sosic Shop, bag Loris
Total Cost $307

As far as price for a one off coordinate goes, an OP will be the cheapest choice. However, for future wardrobe building they are less versatile. That aside, I would still probably recommend a onepiece dress for someone's first lolita coordinate - they're easier to work with and while they tend to be more expensive than skirts or JSKs, not needing to also buy a blouse mean they still work out cheaper!
The average price of these three example coordinates is $439.

In the second round of coordinates, the classic lolita is buying a coordinate where the main pieces are a skirt and blouse.

  $182 + $208 + $129 + $33 + $195 + $61 + $169
All Innocent World except BTSSB shoes
Total Cost $977

$49 + $38 + $15 + $9 + $22 + $28 + $62
Skirt Bodyline, blouse and bonnet Infanta, petticoat Leg Avenue, tights eBay, shoes Sosic Shop, bag Axes Femme
Total Cost $223

$41 + $37 + $55 + $33 + $54 + $6 + $62
Skirt and socks Innocent World, blouse Angelic Pretty, petticoat Me Likes Tea, shoes and bag Axes Femme, hairclip Sweet Dreamer
Total Cost $251

In terms of price, skirts tend to be cheapest main piece to buy and can give you a nice range of coordination options. However, colour balance can sometimes be tricky to get right with a skirt. That said, I personally like skirts a bit more than OPs even though they would be my least recommended main piece for a beginner due to the increased difficulty of coordination. The average price of these three coordinates is $484, a bit of an increase from the onepiece examples.

Lastly we have a set of coordinates for a gothic lolita consisting of a jumperskirt and bolero combo. As I mention basically ever time I try and do something goth-y, goth anything is not my strong suit so these probably aren’t the most gothic gothic lolita coordinates you’ve ever seen, but oh well.

 $461 + $195 + $182 + $30 + $195 + $72 + $208
JSK and headbow Moi-meme-Moitie, everything else Alice and the Pirates
Total Cost $1343

 $86 + $58 + $24 + $2 + $37 + $26 + $7
JSK Soufflesong, bolero and headdress Sweet Dreamer, petticoat Classical Puppets, tights and bag eBay, boots Sosic Shop
Total Cost $240

  $105 + $57 + $55 + $6 + $21 + $15 + $80
JSK and bolero Alice and the Pirates, petticoat Me Likes Tea, tight and headdress Sweet Dreamer, shoes Sosic Shop, bag Restyle
Total Cost $339

I have no idea why the gothic coords turned out the most expensive...they just did! The average price for these three example coordinates is $641. To me, JSKs are the most quintessentially lolita main piece and are both the easiest to coordinate, and the best for wardrobe building.

Obviously, this is a very limited sample but we can draw the following conclusions:

  • Coming in at an average of $1060 for a full coord, buying all new and all brand is quite expensive.
  • However, if you buy secondhand brand (or special sets) and supplement with Taobao and indie items the cost drops dramatically to an average of $299. 
  • Buying new, but not brand, items is the cheapest option but not much more than including some secondhand or discounted brand items - the average price here is $204. 
  • Onepiece dresses will lead to the cheapest outfits, but are less versatile for wardrobe building overall.

I mean, a lot of this is probably obvious, but again, this post is aimed at the new lolita. I know that when I was first starting out I succumbed to the myth that all brand is expensive and thus out of my league. If I had known then what I know now, I probably would have bought from places that weren’t Bodyline a lot sooner. Not that there’s anything wrong with buying from Bodyline or Taobao but the best thing about lolita is the huge variety of options, so why limit yourself due to misinformation about costs? However, seeing the sheer jump in price between buying from a range of sources versus buying all new brand has further cemented my desire to continue as I have, which is to buy brand new only rarely. Because my wallet cannot handle that!

Honestly, after doing this post my actual recommendation for a new lolita's first coordinate would be to buy a brand onepiece and socks (unless you want ankle socks or lacy tights, buy those things offbrand!) preferably secondhand, get a petticoat from a reputable indie, and finish the coordinate off with offbrand shoes, bag, and headbow, probably from Taobao. To me that strikes a good balance of economy and quality while giving you a full, proper lolita look so you can try the fashion well. My second suggestion would be to go full Taobao since there are some many good options, but with the price jump from Taobao to secondhand brand being so small I think it's worth spending a little more.

And, in answer to the questions that’s in the title of this blogpost, an average cost for a basic full lolita coordinate without a lot of extra pieces is $521. However, it’s probably better to say that you could reasonably assume that the cheapest you can buy a full lolita outfit for (without bargain hunting) is around $300 and from there they sky is really the limit!