Monday, 27 October 2014

A Wardrobe Challenge: And it was, indeed, a challenge

I told you we'd be back to normal lolita blogging soon!

Another wardrobe in need of assistance. Or, in this case, not so much. This Anon gave me the following picture and also said that they have more blouses, more shoes, legwear, bags, jewellery and other offbrand stuff.

So like the last wardrobe, but even more so, I was kind of stabbing in the dark with this one. And to be honest, that made me a bit lazy. With no idea what other pieces they had or what styles they were in I didn't bother too much with matching themes. A main example of this is that some of the hair accessories are floral, which doesn't necessarily match too well. However, as with every time I do this I'm seeing my suggestions as recommendations of types of items. I may have a black floral headpiece included, but any black headwear would work equally as well or even better.

Above are my suggested additions to their wardrobe. Again, as always, I'm doing this on the assumption that the colours do match in real life... Innocent World's stock photos never bugged me so much until I started doing these wardrobes!

Below are my outfit examples, with the exception of any coordinates for the Metmorphose military set. It's a gorgeous set, but limited, so my only suggestion for that is add black boots and rock it, which, based on the black boots already in Anon's wardrobe, is exactly what they already do.

First up is this cute JSK in the fairly obvious black-and-gold, white and the less obvious red-and-gold.

This is an example of me having no idea whether the reds would match in real life, but the great thing with a dress like this with a base colour and a bold, all-over print is that if your complementary pieces don't match the base colour perfectly it generally isn't as obvious anyway. But I ran with bright red, darker red and black to coord this JSK.

Much as I don't like bringing in pieces that only match one wardrobe item I added the IW beret and Metamorphose socks just to match this JSK.

I fell in love with this dress coming up with these coords. So gorgeous. I would have loved to have done a really opulent steampunk look with this, but retrained myself.

Another gorgeous dress. I really loved how this wardrobe featured so many gold details, and I hope that Anon's jewellery collection contains some stunning gold pieces, including something for her hair, that match.

I've mentioned it before but I'll say it again - I love solids in lolita. And this JSK to me is the bet of both worlds, the subtle print gives it some visual interest while the overall it's still monochrome and easy to work with.

Ahhh and I do love some traditional lolita as well. The far left look is an attempt at modernising this very old school dress.

And here we have another more traditional piece, which I've strung together a few different looks for. Again, the far left is the most out there coordinate while the other two are safer black and white affairs.

This is another dress where I had to incorporate some specific accessories in the form of the headbow and the tights.

We own this dress! And I think it's really cute ^__^ The capelet is detachable, so imagine the middle outfit without it.

Normally, onepieces are a bit of a challenge. But despite the long sleeves on this it was fair easy to work with! The far right outfit may or may not work in real life, it's something I can't quite tell from looking at these stock photos, but if it did work I think it'd be a great look.

It's hard to see when the picture is so small but there is a grey border print on this dress. Due to the simple colour palette it was really easy to coordinate in a couple of different ways.

After having encountered this OP in a previous wardrobe as well, I'm realising that I personally don't particularly want to buy dresses like this: that is, dresses that are phenomenal pieces on thier own, but don't have much potential for creative coordination. For me, the fun of lolita is in mixing and matching pieces and for my personal tastes things like this are way to limiting.

This is not a JSK, but a set. However, I like it better as a set so I didn't do outfits for the skirt alone. Also, I don't feel like the bodice would work very well on it's own without the skirt.

And lastly we have Anon's only skirt [that's not part of a set] and for these outfits I made use of the Chess Story bustier because, well, it's exactly how I'd wear it! I never blogged about it but I recently got my hands on an Innocent World Bustier that is a tad too small [weight loss goal!] and I am so keen to wear it with every single thing.

There we have the fourth instalment of the wardrobe challenges completed! I still have two more in the works, and after that I was actually planning on doing this to my own wardrobe as critically as possible.

Since I've gotten through two-thirds of the wardrobes, I'm also now open to taking on new ones, as it's nice to have them percolate in the back of my mind a bit before actually hunting down pieces and starting work. So if you like what I've been suggesting and would like to run your wardrobe by me [and it has under twenty main pieces] let me know!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Meal Prep #1

And now for something completely different... a really brief post about James' and my first bout of meal prepping. It's something we've been planning on doing for a while and today we actually did. meal prep Monday...on a Sunday ^__^

We made 24 meals in total, six each of four different ones, and have leftovers as well. I also made a gigantic fruit salad for breakfasts and snacks, and am planning on making egg muffins as well. We were intending to make a fifth meal [stir fry!] as well but I'll probably do that in a few days time. All in all we spent only three hours in the kitchen, around $50 each and now have a very well stocked fridge! I think that's not bad at all for a weeks worth of food.

Of course, since it was our first time, I had to document everything we made, and may make that a regular thing as well, because I like looking at other people's food and maybe people will like looking at mine!

First up we have two of James's tasty, tasty salmon cakes with herb rice, baby carrots and broccoli.

Second meal is about a 100g of chicken thigh, lemon and herb flavour, with cauliflower "rice", green beans and corn.

Third, and sorry for the kind of shoddy photo, is honey-soy chicken thighs, rice with a hint of curry flavour, sautéed spinach and baby carrots.

And lastly we again have two of James's salmon cakes with cauliflower "rice", corn and sautéed spinach.

I really liked what we came up with for this week. There's plenty of variety and it's all fairly healthy. Even though it was kind of tiring cooking for so long it was definitely worth it, and I'm looking forward to a. not cooking for the rest of the week and b. doing it again next Sunday!

If any of my regular lolita readers have made it this far, fear not! I'm almost done with the next wardrobe challenge and will resume my regular irregular lolita blogging soon. There just may be a few more meal prepping posts scattered amongst the flounces and frills.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Review #33: Bodyline

Taking a break from re-jigging people's wardrobes to share a brief review of my latest Bodyline order. Since I've started overhauling my regular wardrobe, I've realised that I needed flat shoes for everyday wear than aren't my three-year-old speakers. I got some, but was kind of eyeing off so lolita flats as well because I'm trying to transition my everyday style to be a bit cuter than it is now. Then Bodyline had their shoe sale, paired with free shipping and well... how could I not?

I got two pairs of Shoes251 in brown and black and the L380 skirt in cream. I don't remember the exact dates I ordered and received everything, but it took the usual amount of time to get to me, which is about two weeks from the Tuesday it was posted. For some reason Bodyline didn't send me my tacking number, but I discovered that if you go to the "tracking" tab on their website and type in your paypal email it will show your racking numbers. Handy, eh?

I'm really, really happy with the shoes I got. At my usual size of 250 they fit quite nicely and are fairly comfortable, though since they're a fairly hard pleather they dig in over the toes instead of flexing properly, if that makes sense? But I'm sure they'll soften up with wear. They are very accurate to the stock photo, even down to the black pair being shinier than the brown pair.

 As for the skirt, I'm also really happy! I have the JSK version of it in black and find it a really versatile piece, so I thought I'd grab the skirt as well. I really like plain coloured pieces in lolita and think this is definitely one of Bodyline's better works. Except the detachable flower-bow-pearl thing. That's kind of tacky, and now lives in my box of detachable things.

My phone didn't want to get the colour quite right, this is darker than it is in real life. It's a lovely soft ivory colour in person. And it will also look a lot nicer once it's ironed.

Again, it'll be nicer when ironed but I thought I'd grab a close up of the embroidery [or whatever it is] down the bottom.

Not pictured at all but I also got four flower crowns. The stock photos look a little sparse but I have a biiiig collection of fake flowers so I'm going to be doing some DIY-ing and filling in the gaps. I may post a tutorial sort of thing up, not that adding additional flowers is really that difficult. Maybe more a before and after kind of thing...

Anyway, all in all I'm really happy with my newest wardrobe additions! Did you buy anything during the most recent Bodyline sale?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Wardrobe Challenge: The primarily accessories edition

Another day, another wardrobe to play with. This one presented a few challenges. Firstly, the first set of pictures anon gave me were of fairly low quality and they just described some of their offbrand pieces, so I requested better ones to work with. They gave me higher res images of their main pieces, but left out the offbrand things from their first collage. But I wanted to include those things, because what if I ended up just suggesting exactly what they already had? So I went on a hunt, using some of the low res images to reverse image search and searching for similar offbrand pieces to the pieces that were dark/blurry/tiny and also trying to find things that matched their descriptions.

Here are the things I know for certain-sure are in Anon's wardrobe. IWs British Bear is there twice as they have the above colourway in the bottom style, but the colours were so off in the correct photo that I used the top image in my collages.

And these are my approximations of the remainder of their wardrobe. To be honest, I don't think I'd do this level of sleuthing again. It was fun, but also very time consuming, and I don't like the fact that even with my best guesses I may still have gotten this all wrong. They also mentioned that they have a red headbow and some berets, but I decided to not include them at all and made sure not to use them in my wardrobe additions.

Already you'll be able to see that this Anon did not have the previous Anon's problem of not enough blouses. The problem they did have was not enough main accessories and not enough matching pieces overall. From looking at their pictures it seems like they focused on working in a lot of offbrand pieces, which is a great idea, but can sometimes result in a wardrobe that's not quite there.

Another thing I noticed is that while most of their wardrobe is black, white and warm colours they then have the navy BTSSB set and the pale blue IW dress which really don't match the overall colour palette. Depending on what direction Anon wants to take their wardrobe I would possibly suggest selling those pieces unless the wanted to eventually work more blues into their wardrobe, because as it stands they are the odd pieces in an otherwise fairly cohesive wardrobe. Since they are a minority, I didn't focus too much on finding pieces to match them specifically as I tried to keep my suggested additions as versatile as possible.

Speaking of my additions, here they are...

As you can see, I mostly focused on adding a variety of main accessories and only a few main pieces. I would have loved to have added more shoes, but given that Anon already had quite a few pairs that work, though they're not exactly the shoes I'd choose, I couldn't really justify it. Based on the pieces Anon had in their original collection, I didn't get the feeling they were much of an ankle sock person, so I didn't include any of those this time around, and I did feel that solid colour tights would suit their wardrobe. And I know that the fawn fur collar isn't really that versatile of an inclusion, but fur collars in general can add so much to a look I thought it was a good thing to add.

Since this Anon's wardrobe isn't too big, I put together three outfits for each skirt or dress. Onwards!

I love solid colour dresses in lolita because they are so easy to style in different ways, these are just three of many combinations Anon's wardrobe could yield.

This JSK was great to coord because of all the colours in the print. In the third outfit, Anon could customise it further by replacing the bowler hat ribbon with a pink or ivory one.

Again, another fun to coord JSK. The hints of gold in the leftmost outfit should be accentuated with gold jewellery, and I thought the orange on the far right was epic, though I'm not sure how well it would look when worn.

Old-school! I stuck to black and white only for these outfits, but as you can see there's a lot you can do even when only working with two colours.

This is one of the hard-to-match pieces, due to the limited amount of blue in Anon's wardrobe. However, I think I still gave them several different options without resorting to pieces included solely to match it.

Surprisingly, I also found this JSK a little difficult to work with, but I still gave Anon three very different looks.

As I mention at the beginning, this is not he cut of British Bear they have, so imagine it with a plain black bodice.

Another OP which is gorgeous, but limited in scope. I should also mentioned here that Anon has the non-embroidered version of this dress. Smaller accessories, and one's specifically bought to coord this dress, would definitely make these outfits pop.

Short-sleeved OPs are much easier to work with! I think these are actually my favourite outfits that I came up with for Anon and they show again how solid coloured main pieces can provide a blank canvas for a wide range of outfits.

This skirt [and the matching jacket] is again, an odd one out in Anon's wardrobe. Oddly enough, while I found the skirt a bit hard to coord I had a lot of use for the jacket on its own.

In grey-and black, this skirt was also a bit of a mis-match with the rest of Anon's classic and old-school style wardrobe. However, given grey's neutral nature it was easier to work with than the navy. A grey hair accessory would probably help these outfits, preferably a mice fascinator or small hat.

More old-school! I adore skirts like this and coorded it in three outfits I'd love to wear myself... though I'd have huge platform with the middle look, just to really get and old-school vibe.

Lastly we have this skirt. I'm not sure if the suspender portions are detachable, but these outfits work whether they are or not.

With that, this is the third Anon wardrobe completed! It's interesting to see the different styles people have in their lolita wardrobes, and also what pieces they have and what gaps they leave. I hope this has been helpful, and there are still more to come!

Monday, 20 October 2014

A Wardrobe Challenge: Needs more blouses...

After my last blog post where I gave suggestions to an anon from CGL about how to improve their wardrobe versatility, I shared the post and mentioned that if anyone else wanted a similar round of suggestions, I was more than happy to.

Well, this post you're reading is now the second in what is going to be an ongoing-ish series unimaginatively called "a wardrobe challenge". I have another four anon wardrobes saved, and I think a couple more are yet to post pictures for me to work from. So many clothes, so much fun. I will be being a more active blogger for a bit! Yay!

Anyway, this Anons wardrobe was a bit more difficult as it was a lot larger than the first...

Anon posted these dresses, skirts and tops as well as saying they had gold heels, brown heels and pink tea parties, so I found some examples of those to include. They also have matching headwear to each of their printed AP pieces and a variety of AP socks and tights. However, I chose not to hunt pictures of those down and instead focused on bringing together some versatile pieces with generic designs they could use to round out their wardrobe.

It was immediately obvious, as Anon herself said, that she is lacking in blouses [and shoes!]. Here she has six blouses and two pieces of outwerwear to eighteen main pieces. I personally think unless you're very specific in your lolita style that until you pass twenty main pieces you need about as many tops, be they blouses and cutsews or boleros and jackets, as you do main pieces, so that is one main area I focussed on when hunting down additional pieces. I also bulked up her shoe collection and included a big range of headwear, legwear and several pairs of wristcuffs.

Six new blouses and three pieces of outerwear bring Anon's wardrobe up to what I consider a more balanced point, and the shoes definitely help as well. As I was putting together outfits I did feel like the wardrobe would benefit from things like another white blouse, a lavender blouse and more headwear and shoes in specific colours, but in the interests of not going overboard and also of keeping my suggestions actually attainable, I stuck to more versatile pieces. Though acquiring all these [or similar] pieces would still be a long and somewhat expensive venture, I hope they can at least give Anon an idea of what to get next in her wardrobe, though my definite suggestion would be to get a white blouse and shoes first!

And now onto the additions in action... lots of action. I hope I haven't broken anyone's internet. But anyway, in no particular order, outfits!

Gold jewellery would go great with these two outfits, and I repeat my suggestion from the last post that a set of gold, a set of silver and a set of pearls is a great thing for a lolita to have. 

This JSK is the main reason I needed to add more brown to the wardrobe! The boots aren't completely necessary, but since I needed something brown on the legs it was boots or OTKs... so I went with boots!

I thought using the jacket to create a more structured look was a fun idea with this free-flowing dress, and the other option is a simple summer look... no blouse, oh the scandal...

OPs are not my favourite thing to coord so here I went for two looks, one for warm weather and one for cool, that both played with the pink in the print.

This is where I was wishing I had included more lavender pieces, but they would only go with this and two of Anons other main pieces, so I opted to instead play with different textures and pick up on the secondary colours in the print.

I know, I know. The reds don't seem to match. But from what I've seen of this print online it seems to be brighter IRL, so the reds should match. And the leftmost OTKs are red and gold, it's just a dark photo.

I really loved playing with different colour combinations with this dress, though the outfit on the left is another example of where smaller accessories would be great to carry the red accents throughout the outfit. However, Is till think it's well balanced, if a bit simple.

Even though I'm not normally much of a one for multiple hair accessories, pairing a big bow with two smaller ones in both these outfits really made the looks a lot more cohesive.

Not too much to say on this one, except I really do wish I had bought this dress when it was still on pre-order, I love it more each time I see it...

I really found these navy ribbon OTKs to probably be one of the best additions to Anon's wardrobe that I came up with. Even though they have lots of more specific, for lack of a better term, legwear I really found these neutral patterned socks to be fabulous. A bit more interesting than solid colour options, but not overpowering at all. Also, with these outfits it'd be great to add a white necktie to the blouses to match the skirt better.

Pink and black is one of my favourite colour schemes, so I found these outfits really easy to put together. Tough now I look at the dress again... is it an underbust design or just a bit low cut? If it is underbust... pretend there's the short sleeve pink blouse on the left and the long sleeved one on the right.

To be honest, I really struggled with coording this dress. It's adorable and I love it but I had a lot of trouble with it. If Anon had more mint in their wardrobe it would have been easier, but I didn't want include stuff for just one piece and as mentioned earlier I didn't include many lavender pieces as they only had three of eighteen pieces in lavender. I'd actually perhaps recommend selling this piece [depending of course on how much anon loves it and if they happen to have headwear and legwear to match] unless they are planning on building up the lavender side of their wardrobe.

I love this skirt. I just have a thing for stripes. And I loved coording it.

This was another dress I had a bit of trouble working with, since it's definitely a classic-classic lolita dress, and nearly everything else is sweet or sweet-classic. So these coords are both quite simple, and are examples of outfits where jewellery would definitely be a good finishing touch. Celestial jewellery in gold would definitely be my recommendation.

I love blue and brown. I really do and I'm not sure why. So I couldn't resist pairing the brown pieces with this skirt, but did a more typically sweet look as well.

For all I love the Royal Unicorn series I actually had a bit of trouble coording this as well [darn, that's three admissions of having coording trouble... it's only because I'm trying not to add new pieces that only work with one or two main pieces, I swear!] but I though mixing in navy was an interesting take.

These two coords are very simple, but I think they give two very different feels to the dress.

More black and pink, a great note to end on!

So there you have it, another wardrobe and my opinion on how to expand it. Even though I did add quite a few pieces I do think Anon could benefit from still more blouses [another white, lavender, sax and possibly gold] and more shoes [navy, lavender and sax] but what I've pictured definitely gives them a lot more options. Also, if they wanted to make their wardrobe more cohesive, removing either their red or lavender pieces would keep their colour palette more cohesive overall. However, once they've added a black and a white "base set" [blouse, socks, shoes, headwear and wristcuffs] they should still be able to wear any pieces of any colour even if it's in a bit of a basic way.