Thursday, 28 May 2015

Lyris Design outfits aka brown underbust for the win

I really, really, really love this dress. It's flattering, the colour is great and though it may not look it it's one of the most versatile pieces in my wardrobe. You'd think the underbust cut and slightly military detailing below would make it a bit of a one-look wonder but it really isn't.

I've put together my usual three outfits to experiment with a few different looks, but could have easily come up with twice as many or even more... that's how awesome this dress is! Brown is the neutral that goes best with my wardrobe and nearly every blouse, sans black ones, I own would match with the dress. But enough talk, on with the outfits!

First up I tried a blouse-and-dress combo that's been kicking around in my head for a while and it works out amazingly well! You can't see so well here but both the blouse and the JSK feature similar styles of floral lace which means that they look like they're made for each other. I though the socks were a good match and to tie them in further I have a selection of flowers and bows for the hair. Some kind of up-do would be gorgeous for this, I think. I love this outfit, it's subdued at first glance but is really cohesive and has a lot of details that go together well.

Then for something completely different I wanted to try making a very casual look using one of my newest offbrand blouses. This is something I'd definitely wear to uni and is toned down in a very comfortable way but still cute.

Lastly, I wanted to see if I could make it work with my gorgeous Floral Notebook blouse and I can! I'm a bit unhappy that I wasn't able to tie in any more off-white to match the trims on the JSK but the socks were such a perfect match to the blouse I couldn't pass them up, and I thought it was more important to have the headwear match the tan base of the socks than the dress trimming. However, I'm still quite happy with this outfit; it's definitely the most eye-catching of the three but hey, I love bright colours ^__^

Monday, 25 May 2015

Lolita 52: My favourite lolita brand

Short answer: Metamorphose temps de fille.

Long answer: Picking a favourite lolita brand is hard. I don't own much brand, and I don't like stores like Bodyline enough to declare them my favourite. Aesthetically there are lots of pieces from all the main brands that I adore and in my limited experience quality is relatively comparable across the board. So from what I've experienced there is no clear best brand in my books; every brand has stuff I'd love to own and I love all the brand I do own, as well as all my indie, Bodyline, F+F, handmade and toabao.

Dim Light is one of my favourite Meta prints.

Then why is Meta my favourite brand? This is going to sound really vague but the brand just has a friendly, welcoming feeling that I don't get from any of the other brands. Meta always seems to enjoy this fashion and playing around with it. Sometimes this results in some... odd... pieces, but to me Meta has a spirit that other brands don't come close to matching.

 Their kimono prints are always gorgeous!

They also seem to want to make lolita accessible. Their lucky packs and special sets are both cheap and frequent, and recently they even added a plus-size section to their website where you can easily browse their larger clothes all in one place. In my experience their customer service has been fantastic; it's a very limited experience, but still. Their clothes also don't tend to sell out immediately like popular Angelic Pretty releases, which also makes them easier to get. They also often extend reservation periods and restock popular items, which I think is really good.

The most recent special set, which came in three colours.

Aesthetically, as I said before, there are pieces from every brand that I like, and if I had to rank things purely on that level Meta would probably come in third behind Innocent World and Angelic Pretty. But picking a favourite brand isn't just about aesthetics. It's about how the brand makes me feel and Meta always makes me feel excited and happy about lolita.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Florina Rose Outfits

I've been quite busy lately [and sick] and haven't had the time nor the inclination to put together lolita outfits for what feels like absolutely ages. But yesterday, I finally had a good play around with my newest dress; the Florina Rose Chest Ribbon JSK by BTSSB.

I made four outfits instead of my usual three because I'm not 100% happy with how they all turned out, so I wanted to work at it a bit more than usual. The problem with this dress is that the flowers are actually both quite dark and quite cool in tone, so it doesn't match so well with most of my pink items. I'm also not particular pleased with how my photos turned out; my head's still muzzy from being sick so they're not as neat and the light was bad hence the instagram edits and also the bottom layers of the chiffon ruffles come out a different colour to the rest of the dress. But regardless, it was good to see what coordinate possibilities my wardrobe held for this gorgeous dress.

First up I put together a fairly simple, elegant outfit. It looks nice laid out but I have a feeling the necklines won't work well together when worn, so I kind of felt like this was a cop-out outfit, which is one of the reasons I went on to make a fourth one ^__^

I don't know how I got by before I made this bolero; it's not perfect but damn it's useful! This is an outfit I think I'd be very comfortable wearing because it's pretty but not very fussy. Also, though the filter is throwing the colours off a bit that flower crown is a pretty much perfect match for the darker flowers in the print... see why it's hard to match?

Then I tried putting together a much more typical sweet lolita look. The pinks don't match up perfectly, but I think it works well enough overall. It's a really cute look and though it's not one I'd wear outside of a photoshoot, I would love to do a photoshoot in this! How cute would it be with some amazing flowering trees in the background?

Lastly, I tried bringing in a few hints of burgundy instead of trying to match the pinks and came up with my favourite outfit so far. This is a very typically classic lolita look which I feel is very understated yet elegant. It's also a very brand-heavy outfit for me with my adorable Innocent World blouse and favourite Metamorphose socks. I'm really pleased with how this one turned out, and glad I pushed on and made a fourth outfit.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Lolita 52: My wardrobe turnover

So far my lolita wardrobe turnover has been pretty continual. Ever since I've started I've pretty much always had something up for sale or at least that I've been intending to sell. Sometimes stuff has come out of the to-sell pile and entered back into my wardrobe, which has been good.

I removed one row of shirring from this OP and rescued it from the "to sell" pile.

Wardrobe turnover, for me, happens for several reasons. The first, and sadly the most common, is when I've bought something without actually thinking about how it would look and me and how comfortable I would be wearing it. For example, it took me a while to realise that though I loved straight up sweet lolita on other people it was not something I was comfortable wearing myself. Fortunately, the longer I spend in the fashion the rarer these mistakes become.

The other main reason I sell items on is because of fit issues. A prime example of fit was my Loyal Rosette JSK. I adored that dress and it was perfect in every single way except how it fit on my body. So I sold it on. Unfortunately, fit is something you can't know until you have the item in your hands. Even if you have experience with a brand and get the hang of which of their cuts generally fit well on you you still can't be totally sure.

Lastly, issues of quality also lead me to get rid of items. By now I mostly have fairly good quality items that I'm happy with, but especially when I started out I bought and made a few things that weren't the best. I have a better eye for quality, and more experience, but again when you buy online you can never be totally sure of quality until you have something in your hand.

For the rest of this year [and for all the rest of my lolita-wearing years] I'm hoping to mostly add keepers to my wardrobe. I have a large-ish to sell pile at the moment, but once that's gone I'm going to try to be very selective in what I add to my wardrobe and hopefully get it to a state where it's a great collection for everyday as well as special occasion clothing.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Lolita 52: Favourite thing to put on my head

Berets! I didn't even need to think about the answer to this; I just adore berets!

I think my love of berets mainly stems from two reasons. The first is that I tend to wear lolita quite casually [except for photshoots, but I don't count those outfits as "real" outfits, you know?] and find that berets are the headwear that best suits a casual look over big bows, small bows, floral clips, flower crowns or anything else. The second is that putting anything to big and unusual on my head just makes me feel uncomfortable and for me "big and unusual" includes the typical lolita headbow. Similarly, even smaller bows feel too cutesy on me, even though I adore them on others.

I also adore how versatile plain coloured berets can be. A flower or bow clip at the front can really change it up and you can have your hair in a variety of different styles under it; my favourites are plaits!

A casual uni outfit from earlier this year, featuring a beret decorated with a small bow clip.

Currently my beret collection features mostly plain ones with the exception of one black beret I decorated with green trim and my fawn fur beauty. However, in future I'd possibly like to get some more structured, decorated and perhaps even more military styled berets. I may even try my hand at making my own!

Not sure how good this would look on me, but it's definitely cute!

My second-favourite thing to put on my head is pretty much any kind of hat, just in case anyone was wondering. What's yours?

Friday, 8 May 2015

Fourteen blog post ideas for lolitas

Lately there's been a bit of discussion in online circles about lolita blogs. By and large there aren't that many that update regularly with really good content. I think part of that reason is that there doesn't seem to be much, on the face of things, to blog about. "What I bought" and "what I wore" are the two main topics that lolita blogs focus on. While things like the Lolita 52 challenge I've been doing and the Lolita Blog Carnival are definitely helpful at providing topics to talk about I thought it was still a good idea to share some things that I think would make for interesting blogging.

So, here are some ideas a lolita could blog about that are less common than reviews, event reports and outfit posts. Not that those topics are bad to blog about at all [I love reading event reports!] but these are some options to potentially broaden your blogging horizons.

1. Post about your favourite outfits you've seen online this week, with proper credit on the photos, of course.

2. Make a certain number of outfits with each of your main pieces. For me, with a wardrobe of currently eighteen main pieces I'm doing three outfits per main piece. For a larger wardrobe more would be good, for a smaller one, less. Doing this has the added bonus of helping you identify any gaps your wardrobe may have. I always find it easiest to do this sort of thing as flat-lays; that way you don't have to bother about dolling up and can just focus on the clothes.

One of my current favourite flat-lays from this post.

3. Take very detailed photos of your main pieces, like Anza does. We've all experienced inaccurate stock pictures and dresses that look way better in real life so posts like this would be a great reference for everyone.

4. Something I do a lot, but don't see anyone else do much of, is make hypothetical wardrobes. Come up with a collection of items that fit a particular theme, colour palette or budget, or even do something like the a Project 333 capsule wardrobe but for lolita.

The first wardrobe challenge I did! Those posts come under my "hypothetical" umbrella.

5. Blog about recent releases and your thoughts on them. Bonus points if you are consistent and blog about every release of a particular brand, including non-print series. I'll follow you in a heartbeat if you do this for Metamorphose. Disclaimer; I got this idea from Luna Rain, who often talks about new prints and whose discussion I always enjoy.

6. Do a photoshoot... it's easier than it seems! Even a parent, friend or partner can take decent photos and there are various online photo editors that produce good results, or so I've heard. Scope out your town and find a few interesting places to take your photos. If you're game, sign up from a site like Model Mayhem and model for a local photographer. Remember though, always be safe when working with people you don't know! Or be the photographer for some of your lolita friends, like Rosalynn from Lolita Wonderland did recently.

One of my shoots with James aka The Enthusiast behind the camera.

7. Sew or craft and post about it. This is a more commonly done than anything else on this list but I guess I'm more angling towards sharing even the little things you make. Made a basic flower crown or a simple rectangle skirt or added lace to an offbrand blouse? Show us how it looks, how you made it and how it works in an outfit! A craft project doesn't have to be huge, perfect or even particularly unique to be worth sharing.

8. Share offbrand finds, either ones you've bought or even ones you've seen on an online store. Thrift store finds are also good blogging material!

9. Feature other blogs, or do blog post round-ups. Or interview the people behind other lolita blogs.

10. Discuss current trends in lolita and where you think they'll go, or perhaps examine current mainstream fashion trends and what influence they may have on lolita.

11. Post about commercial sewing patterns that you think have potential for lolita, and the changes you'd have to make in order to get the perfect lolita garment out of them.

12. Try out some typically lolita lifestyle things, like baking or drinking fancy tea or listening to classical music or whatever, and share your experience. Even if it's not actually part of your everyday life it could be fun to try on the persona of the mythical "lifestyle lolita" and blog about what it was like.

13. Write up features, or interviews if you can, of lolita indie brands. Or, if your blog is popular enough, perhaps even some of the big brands would be interested in answering a few questions!

14. Post about your lolita goals, and then review them. These can be like New Years resolutions, or monthly goals, or whatever time period you want. The thing that makes it interesting blogging is your follow-up of how you went with actually achieving them.

Some of these ideas are definitely more involved than the others, but there should be a few ideas in there for everyone. And of course, just because you blog about lolita doesn't mean your blog has to be 100% lolita content. Blog about what you like to blog about!

As a final point I have three pieces of advice for anyone looking to start a lolita blog. The first is take advantage of scheduled posting! Write a bunch of posts at once and schedule them up so your blog updates regularly even if you don't write regularly. Secondly, don't feel like every post you write has to be a masterpiece. I would prefer to follow a blog that updates once or twice a week where  two thirds of the posts are fairly quick [think a few hundred words and a couple of pictures] than one which only updates every two months with a big, in-depth post. Lastly, try to keep your blog fairly nice with an easily readable font, clear pictures and write as well as you can.

Do you have any good ideas for what a loltia blog would write about or do you have a lolita blog? If so, let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

I got lucky in an op shop!

I rarely find loli-able pieces when I'm op shopping [or thrift shopping, for non-Aussies] but last week when James and I went shopping to escape a four day blackout I got lucky on the blouse front!

The pink blouse will be really nice for some more casual classic looks. It's not particularly lolita but it'l be great for toning outfits down. I really love the lace yoke at the top.

But this gorgeous beast is truly the crowning glory. It's so amazingly Romantic Goth. This is the kind of things I loved when I was a teenager and evidently still do. It's just gorgeous and I am so happy I found it. Just look at those sleeves! I honestly have no idea what I will wear this with but wow... it just made me so happy.

We also found an Asian blouse which was perfectly lolita, but it wasn't finished nicely [think very cheap taobao/eBay quality] so it's fraying all over the place after being washed, but it will make a perfect distressed steampunk blouse so it's still good. We also found some beautiful dresses and skirts for the model wardrobe, which I will steal if I slim down enough to fit them. I just couldn't resist sharing my two new blouses here ^__^

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Lolita Sewing: Cherry skirt

Yesterday I made a skirt, which is without a doubt the best skirt I've ever made. Possibly the best garment ever. Even with the few mistakes I always seem to make when I sew this is the best constructed and most professional looking thing I have ever made, and I am very pleased with myself.

Ta-da! I know the fact that this is a satin fabric takes this a step away from typical lolita towards perhaps a pinup or rockabilly style and if it wasn't for the dual facts that a. I had this in my stash and b. my actual surname is Cherry and until now I haven't owned a piece of cherry-patterned clothing, I'd have used something more typically lolita. However, I think it has a much more casual vibe this way which I do like and which will make it very easily wearable. I also found a lovely lace for the hem, which I'm really happy with.

It's a very simple skirt all told but it's the neatest piece of sewing I've done, ever. I mean, look at that hem! I overlocked the lace to the fabric first then turned the hem up so there's only one line of stitching on the outside. The skirt is also fully lined, which is something I haven't done before. I'm particularly proud of how neat it looks in the inside.

The white overlocking isn't a mistake, it was me deciding that I didn't care enough to rethread the machine! The mistake I did make with this was that the bobbin on my main machine was still threaded with dark green and since it's been rainy and gloomy all week and our craft room is pretty dark I didn't notice until I was finished. It's not really noticeable at all through, so I don't mind.

This is also one of the first times I've sewn something and not encountered something I hadn't thought about. Normally, even when following a pattern, I think it all through and go "yep, I've got this, I know what's got to happen" and then I always have a moment where something doesn't go how I thought it would. Sometimes this is a minor stumble; sometimes it means [especially when working without a pattern] I have to completely redo something. But this time I had no such problems. Yay!

I know it may seem a bit odd to be exited about how well a rectangle skirt turned out, but I'm really proud of how this turned out. This week I want to maybe try making some matching head thingies, and I definitely want to put together some outfits to show of my newest wardrobe addition [after I iron it properly, it really shows wrinkles in photos!] as well ^__^