Thursday, November 26, 2009

True or False?

image from

They're pretty common in lolita. Perfect make-up is almost a necessity, and eyeliner & mascara will do wonders to your eyes, but sometimes there's just one final, absolutely necessary step. Is it the rhinestones at the corners of her eyes? Is it the glitter shadow, or the perfectly-manicured brow? All are great ways to add to your look, but there's one last thing, and despite the fact that they're sometimes glaringly obvious when worn, it is by far one of the best ways to make your eyes look doll-wide, and no, I'm not talking about circle lenses. If a butterfly flapping its wings causes a hurricane by the time it travels around the globe, you'd hate to think what one wink from these babies could do.

Yes, today we're going to talk about false lashes. They might be intimidating, but if you find the right style &apply them correctly they can be SO worth it. They will make your eyes stand out more and look wider &brighter, making you look more awake - like you have big porcelain doll eyes. First, let's talk about styles (examples from Shu Uemura):

  • Natural Lashes. These are usually black or brown and made to just enhance your natural eyes. Usually they're the same length as natural lashes or only a little longer and slightly thicker. These are good for daily dressups and non-lolita wear - they'll enhance but they won't POP like "fancy" ones will.
  • Individual Lashes. These are individual clumps of a few lashes each that you place manually wherever you need. Directions for use here - I have never used them myself, but they seem to be an interesting idea &something I'd like to try in the future.
  • "Fancy" Lashes. These are the lashes favored by most lolitas, in my experience. They are big &dramatic &impossible to ignore. They come in hundreds of styles, from feathered to jewelled to glittery to colored to lace to... basically, if you name it you can find it. My favorites that I've worn myself are these with little pearls stuck THROUGH the lashes. Unfortunately I left them at my parents house and found them "mysteriously" cut to pieces with all the pearls pulled off. I think I know who the culprits are...

These are the main styles - obviously, within each there are hundreds &hundreds of variations, so shop around. Speaking of, where can you buy them? If you're interested in lashes for everyday wear, I recommend going to a high-end cosmetics store like MAC or Sephora and getting a really nice, natural-looking pair. However, for the crazier once-in-a-while styles, I've had amazing luck with Halloween and costume stores like Party City. If it's out of season or you live in a country or area where Halloween isn't celebrated (poor thing!), you can find them online as well. My Diva's Closet is very popular and has a great selection, but I've never ordered from them myself. Another thing to think about is adhesive. Many companies include a small sample tube with their lashes, but not always - check the packaging to make sure. There are also self-adhesive lashes - I don't love them, but they work for some people &are good for beginners who don't wnat to have to worry about glue drying. I'd like to point out that most adhesive contains latex, to which many people (including myself) are allergic. I found latex-free adhesive at my local beauty store but I'm nervous to try it out because of the horror stories I've heard about it: I remember hearing about a lolita who wore used a supposedly "latex-free" adhesive, only to wake up the next day with her eyes swollen shut because it wasn't exactly as hypo-allergetic as the packaging made it out to be. My reaction isn't terrible, but it was only recently that I realized that my eyes aren't supposed to itch &sting the entire time I'm wearing my falsies, so pretty soon I'll probably bite the bullet and try the latex-free stuff soon.

Okay, so you have your lashes: now, let's apply. There are many companies that make eyelash applicators, but they kind of scare me - curlers are intimidating enough! Make-up is not supposed to need machines! I just apply them myself, by hand, the old-fashioned way. Everyone has their own method, but here's what I do:

  • Apply all other make-up except mascara first - your primer, shadow, liner, etc.
  • Before applying glue, take your lashes and put them against your lashline to make sure they're the right length- trim if necessary from the inside corner.
  • Apply a thin line of glue on the lash band.
  • Wait a few seconds to give glue time to "set". Once it becomes tacky, you can begin applying.
  • Start at the outer corner and lay the lash on your eyelid as close to the lash line as possible. Press it into place &scootch it down a little further to ensure it stays as low as possible. Continue in the same manner with the center and inner corner, then repeat the whole process on the other eye.
  • Apply mascara (black, brown, or clear for funky colors). If you want, you can apply some liquid liner over the band, but I've never found it necessary. Curl lightly with an eyelash curler so your natural lashes stick to the fake ones.

&you're done! They're a little strange at first, but you should get used to them in a minute or two. If they still feel uncomfortable or even painful, remove them &reapply. After removing them for the day, clean the band &lashes with a bit of eye make-up remover - whatever you're using on the rest of your eye should be fine. Depending on how healthy your natural lashes are, it may be good to rub some petrolium jelly/Vaseline on them, as mascara &chemicals in other makeup can dry out your lashes, making them brittle &weak - I've never done this myself but I've heard it helps others.

Besides that, there's not much to it. Just be careful - a well-timed wink from one of these babies and you'll be the apple of any onlooker's eye. Use with caution, &be careful where you aim these things!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Literary Lolita: Drawing Inspiration

So some of you may know or have caught on that I'm currently attending (real!) college. An even smaller number of people will know that I am an English major (insert ubiquitous English major joke here), &thus have to read lots &lots &lots of essays, short stories, and novels; I'm currently required to read about 250-300 pages a week, &it's just going to get worse - whew! Even the things you love get tedious after too long, &while I adore reading, I find myself slumping through my homework, leaving hundreds of pages unread until mere hours before class. What do I do to keep my interest? Well, as many before me have, I relate it back to something I love: lolita.

A while back, Victoria Suzanne wrote this excellent post about viewing your lolita coordinates as an art form. It talks about making up a story to inspire your outfit. Well, I'm going to expand on this - taking someone else's writing as inspiration for your outfits.

I'll provide two examples,fittingly by Edgar Allan Poe, one of my favorite poets.
If you aren't familiar with these poems, I suggest you read them from the links provided - it's not really necessary to understand the post, but they're lovely, so you should do it anyway. No, I changed my mind - it is necessary; not as a lolita or a reader of my blog/this post, just as a person. Do it. Trust me.

(Poetry will change your life!!! Can you tell I'm an English major?)

So, when you're taking inspiration from anything - books, poems, music - there are three things to take note of: mood, symbolism, and themes. I figured Poe would be a good example to illustrate these, because he uses all three heavily. For the mood, take note of the type of language the creator (which I will henceforth refer to as "he," because my example is a male writer) uses, and for poetry, note the cadence: choppiness can denote anger, while flowing, beautiful words can denote romance, etc. Symbolism is easy - what hidden undercurrents does he use? What symbolism does he use to make his point? Poe compares Annabel Lee's eyes to stars, so I played off of that a little. Symbolism is something that is alluded to or mentioned only once; anything repeated often throughout the piece is a theme. A specific animal (Romance mentions birds fairly frequently), a location (the seaside in Annabel Lee), or any other number of things would count as a theme. A mood can also be a theme - the heavy, mourning air of Annabel Lee is a good example.

Now that you've narrowed down the mood, symbolism, and themes in the piece you want to emulate, look for other things, such as allusions to color or specific clothing items. If you can find that, you're straight - otherwise &more likely you'll have to do a bit more detective work. Use your symbolism or themes for this one - I added shells &seafoam green to the outfit I used for Annabel Lee because of the repeated theme of the ocean.
For Romance, I skipped any deep, philosophical interpretations and just went with my feelings and thoughts when I read this poem. I thought of nature, the woods, springtime,  and a childhood sweetheart the older, more logical narrator is trying to forget. I tried to find other interpretations of the poem, but the internet failed me, so this is all I have to go on. I wanted an almost childish, Alice Deco-type look for the girl I got the impression of, so I went with lighter spring colors and floral themes, like a child wandering away from a picnic to go pick wildflowers. If anyone else has another interpretation I'd love to hear/see it!
Not going to lie, Annabel Lee is my favorite poem of all time, evereverever. It was the first poem I read of Edgar Allan Poe's, and it's stuck with me strongly ever since. Again I wanted a childish air, since he flat out states that Annabel Lee was a child when she died. Pearls, seafoam green, and the sailor top all allude to the seaside kingdom in which the lovers lived, whereas the contrasting dark colors &veil imply mourning. The necklace has a cherub in it, referencing the angels ("not half so happy in heaven"). The stars are a a reference to the celestial symbolism in the last stanza of the poem.

We all get into our slumps- no one can avoid it, no matter how much you love x, y, or z. And whether it's your homework, your wardrobe, or your literary choices, I will always believe that beauty can help pull you out of it- whether that beauty is finding sartorial inspiration from a poem, imagining what the characters in that Nella Larsen novel are wearing, or doing your make-up as described in your Ancient Egyptian history homework a la Cleopatra. But don't think of inspiration as only something to rescue you when you're not your best - taking inspiration from the things you read, hear, or see is a great way to keep you connected to your environment &can be a great way to mesh your love of __________ with your love of lolita.
(Also, I might be starting a series called the Literary Lolita, relating the things I'm learning from my English classes back to lolita. It won't be a scheduled thing - just whenever I encounter something post-worthy. What do you guys think?)


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