Friday, April 30, 2010

Get That Style: Victoria Suzanne

I'm toying with the idea of a new series. F Yeah Lolita's "Lolitas Who Break the Mold" series has really inspired me to start talking about all of the amazing girls I observe in the fashion. Since Miss Carolyn is already doing the people behind the clothes, I thought I'd take these opportunities to dissect certain inspirational coordinates by the same lolita. Mostly it's an excuse to fangirl over how awesome my style icons are. For my first, I figured I would look at someone who has always been an inspiration for me and whose style I've had a first-hand look at for quite sometime. Also she's first wife and would be pissed if I chose someone before her :P Yes, of course, I'm talking about Victoria Suzanne of Lolita Charm!Name: Victoria Suzanne
Zodiac sign: Cancer
Location: Connecticut, USA
Styles: Sweet lolita influence by gyaru, mori-girl, and fairy-loli
Definitive trends: PINK! First and foremost, Victoria's most recognizable trend is bubblegum pink hair. While she plays with different colors and styles, it's been a standby of hers for a few years now, and it's definitely the first thing you notice about her. She also seems to have made it her personal mission to make her entire life rose-colored. Another trend of hers is BABY, the Stars Shine Bright. While Vix experiments with a wide variety of brand and off-brand items, BABY definitely has a strong loyalty with her and almost all of her coordinates feature at least one item from the label.Stand-by pieces: Merry Sweets Castle skirt in mint by BABY, the Stars Shine Bright, pink bustier by BABY, the Stars Shine Bright, and Starry Night Theater in pink by Angelic Pretty are three pieces Victoria goes back to time and again. Other themes to her style are understated shoes, kitschy accessories like huge pink glasses and suspenders, and handmade floral corsages. Items popular in mainstream fashion also make appearances, such as peasant blouses and heeled booties.
To achieve: dye your hair! No, not necessarily, but as Victoria Suzanne is known for her rosy locks, so if you're looking to take some style tips from her, I recommend buying some good-quality clip-in extensions (I know Vix herself had some glittery pink ones for a while) or a wig. If unnatural colors aren't your thing, go down to Claire's or Icing and buy yourself a few understated bow headbands or floral corsages and wear them with a cutesy updo or cascading curls. Go for pastels with pops of primary brightness in prints, and the more candies on an item the better! For accessories, class it up with multi-string pearl bracelets, charm bracelets, or necklaces with delicate chains and dainty pendants. Make-up should be natural with a hint of glamour - pink lipgloss and fake lashes are a must!

In summary: Unnatural hair in a color that speaks to you is a plus, but even without (remember when she was blonde?!), Victoria's style is whimsical and spunky with just a touch of elegant, understated glamour.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Daily Outfit 4/26/10

Sorry guys, not much of interest- just a comfy casual outfit. Here's what a wore for extra help with my math teacher and lunch with the ever-sumptuous Victoria Suzanne.
  • Blouse: Anna House
  • Cardigan: Offbrand
  • Hairbow (can't see it :( ): Angelic Pretty
  • Socks: Offbrand
  • Boots: Bodyline
I was like, "Oh, I'll take this picture in front of my closet! My loli will make a cute backdrop!" and didn't realize that all you can see is my huge fluffy bathrobe, a saucepan, and my roommate's jeans. Ultra non-loli! Backdrop fail!

(Also, new layout! Not sure how I feel about it yet, but I think it works nicely for now)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Classic vs. Sweet: Making the Switch

Surveys always amuse me. Not only do they give an interesting look at its target participants' lives, but they often tell me things that surprise and inspire me. I read the results of one of the surveys at Ramble Rori (which is an awesome project being conducted by my roommate and you should all check it out!) and was amused at one of the results I saw. I've been involved with lolita fashion for a few years now, actively dressing about four years, and I've recently been noting my personal tastes changing rapidly from sugar-sweet to the more subdued, grown-up classic for various reasons. Apparently, I'm not alone: according to the survey results, about 75% of beginner lolitas wear sweet lolita, and this group also makes up the majority of fashion-wearers. Of the 17% of lolitas who are considered “seasoned,” 15% are classic. Amount of years dressing lolita? Four or more. Something tells me I'm a walking stereotype, and I don't care. The actual results:
"Of the 17% of Lolitas who answered that they have been involved in Lolita longer than 4 years, 15% of them answered that they consider themselves Classic Lolitas (9% of the 16% Classic Lolita total).

Of the 76% of Lolitas that have been involved less than 4 years (not including those not involved), they made up 13% of the 14% total Sweet Lolitas, and 12% of the 14% total Gothic Lolitas.
The 5% Aristocrat and Hime Lolitas have been involved with Lolita for at least 2 years."

Once lolitas pass this four-year mark, most of the beginners start leaning away from classic and towards sweet. Now, there are plenty of speculative reasons that newbies are drawn to sweet. My theory? Sweet is easier to get a hold of, if you consider that both Angelic Pretty and BABY, the Stars Shine Bright have been reaching out to the international markets for a good amount of time now. I also think we have more of our lolita "celebrities" who wear sweet lolita than most other styles (Victoria Suzanne and Ashlee, for example) so newer girls have an easier time finding inspiration as well. Before Alice Deco and Gothic Lolita Ensembles, it was also easier to find sweet lolita in print than other styles.

But the research doesn't lie, and the research says that most girls switch to classic after they've been in the fashion for a few years. I'm finding this to be true for me too, personally - while I was always drawn to brands like Innocent World and Mary Magdalene, it was just so much easier to get my hands on Angelic Pretty and BABY that I found myself dressing more in sweet styles. Now, though, I have accepted the truth that I knew deep down the whole time: I am just not a sweet lolita. But now what? I had no idea how to transfer from one style to the next. I had invested so much time and money perfecting my wardrobe, accessories, even hair and make-up techniques that I was kind of at a loss at first. Would all that go to waste?

It's always intimidating to start a new fashion style. I felt kind of like I had, years ago, when I first decided to wear lolita;I had a newly-embraced aesthetic for how to dress, but no way to actually go about dressing it! But this time I had an advantage. My closet may have been full of pastel pink when I really wanted cream and brown, but at least I had all of my foundations and a good amount of pieces that could go between styles.

That's your first step: Figuring out what can stay. I recommend:
  • plain colored pieces such as a plain black skirt or plain knee-high skirts, without a huge amount of embellishment.
  • Understated blouses. Ditch the AP version with rainbow rhinestones for buttons, but keep the black BABY one with pearl buttons and a few rows of lace.
  • tights, especially plain-colored ones. Lace is fine, but say, cherry-print or flowered ones might need some more consideration.
  • simply-designed shoes. I'd count tea parties here, I'd say, but anything above that might be too much.
  • Understated prints. Merry Sweet Castle by BABY, for example, has more subdued tones and can be coordinated with a broader spectrum of colors (including classic staples like cream or brown) than Toy Parade, for example.
Get rid of:
  • Bright, loud or overly-childish prints
  • Overly-decorate shoes
  • Sweet prints
  • Laced-topped knee socks
  • Huge hairbows
You'll notice that all of my suggestions focus on the old mantra of "less is more." The thing about classic that I think puzzles most newbies is that it's a mix of understated and interest pieces, an understated mix that can beguile a beginner. Also, please note that I am a huge believer that almost any pieces can be made to fit either style, so if you see promise in something, trust your judgment and keep it. The few exceptions to this are, I think, probably huge, head-eating bows and loud prints but hey, I'm open to being surprised!

A note on colors: Just because a color you have a lot of and love is not hugely popular for classic doesn't mean it can't be used! If your closet is 80%hot pink, you may have a problem, but I think that with enough know-how any color can work. Pair sweet pastels with cream is a great way to really soften and mature the look, and bright reds go lovely with brown, in my opinion.

There, so now your closet is all set- but really, are clothes the only part of lolita?! Of course not! There's still the entire rest of your look: hair, nails, make-up, the works. This is probably the hardest part, in my opinion - what do you MEAN, my huge teased pigtails won't work anymore?! (and again, remember that I'm always open to being surprised!) These extras you add to your look are probably the most iconic parts of the style, so it's important to learn how you can take the styles and tricks you've already mastered and apply them to classic lolita instead of sweet. For example:
  • For those huge, teased pigtails, instead tie the ponytails at the nape of your neck, curl the ends with a large-barrel curling iron, and fingercomb/fluff a bit. Or if you want to add some country sweetness, try french-braiding them from your crown to the bottom of the ears, tie them off there, and do the curl-fingercomb routine.
  • If you like those Minnie Mouse-style hugely teased buns, affix pigtails at the base of your neck, but instead of pulling the hair all the way through, allow the ends to be caught and fluff out the top a bit near the elastic, to make sort of a messy bun. Top with rose combs or cream bows.
  • Another classy look is to do a deep side-part near your ear, comb with gel it a bit over your crown to keep it nice and frizz-free, then twist it into a low chignon behind your ear.
  • Sausage curls can be worn in classic lolita as well as sweet, but may be overly immature, depending on your coordinate. For a more mature version, wear your hair down with a small sidebow. Tease a bit behind the hairband (not a lot! Just enough to give a bit of volume - we're not looking for a hime bouffant here), then, with your large-barrel curler, either curl your hair into large, loose waves or just curl it under, like a reverse flip.
These are just a few ideas. There are so many more beyond this, but they're simple enough and play off of looks and techniques that you already mastered in your sweet lolita coordinates. Make-up is important, too - as a rule, leave behind candy-colors for more neutral, natural shades, such as coral for bubblegum lipstick, cream for white glitter shadow, and peachy blush instead of cotton candy pink.

Like everything, switching styles is a fun way to shake up what you know about a fashion and expose yourself to new things. Be that as it may, it can also be frustrating and confusing, though hopefully you won't have quite such a looming fear of "doing it wrong" as you did when you started wearing lolita all together. If you're still nervous, find some style icons- my personal favorite is Rizzell of Aristocratic Maiden (pictured above), and searching "classic lolita" on tumblr always yields a treasure trove of inspiration.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ill-Met by Moonlight: Part II

In my last entry, I waxed poetic about my love of Shakespeare (as I am wont to do more often than I probably should, considering how often I skip my 9:30 AM Shakespeare class) while showing off a circlet I made for a fairytale-themed photoshoot. I mentioned that I would be portraying Titania in the shoot but purposely didn't go into much into the outfit I planned on wearing so I could let the pictures speak for themselves.

Circlet in action:
Don't you adore my dress? It was custom made for me by the amazingly talented Kelsey of I Do Declare, on short notice and for a very reasonable amount because she's just that awesome and I'm just that lame that I contacted her a week and a half before the shoot for a dress to wear to it.
Close-up of the detailing:
As for styling, I was trying to channel the vintage circlet I based my headpiece off of with a more retro style - big, soft curls with a side-parted bang (not exactly a side bang, but pretty close) and an attempted allusion to a smoky cat-eye with the make-up. Kelsey gave me some extra ribbon from the waistband, and since I meant to bring a choker (fun fact, I actually did but I thought I forgot it, so it languished in the bottom of my purse) I tied it around my neck in a poofy bow. I think it worked fine here, but next time I wear this dress I might make some really nice ornamental piece to wear around my neck instead.

So, fellow Shakespeare lovers, do you think I did the Queen of the Faeries some justice?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ill-Met by Moonlight

I don't care what anyone says, Shakespeare is and always will be one of my favorite writers. I have not once in my life enjoyed drama as literature as much as I enjoy Shakespeare. My fellow literature-buffs may be shaking their heads right now; much of the controversy over Shakespeare is that his plots are recycled over from his and other playwrights' popular works at the time, and that they're the Elizabethan version of today's soap operas. Well.... yes. I can't argue that- the latter is their charm, why they still resonate with people today, and the former... I guess everyone needs to draw their inspiration somewhere?

I have no excuse for that one, really. But the point is, the Bard's my bro. I haven't read anything by him that I didn't like (Well, Henry IV part 1 was borderline, but...), and one of my first readings is still to this day my favorite: Midsummer Night's Dream. When I accepted a slot in the Ballet Fairytale Photoshoot (details and photos coming soon!) and saw that Titania, Shakespeare's queen of the faeries, was one of the available characters to portray, I must admit I jumped out of my skin a little with excitement. Not necessarily the most dynamic or feminist-minded roles the Bard has ever written, I consider Titania to be, if nothing else, one of Shakespeare's best-spoken female roles, and obsessing as I do over words, this builds a strong affinity to her in my heart. I did spend a few days waffling over which role to choose, because there were some excellent ones, but in my soul I knew that I would end up selecting Titania. And I did.

As far as my actual dress goes, I'm not giving any details, except that I've been, as Victoria Suzanne says, fervently texting my atelier for the past week or so. You'll have to wait and see for that one! But here's a preview of the headpiece I made to match it:

From the front:



It was easy, once I figured out what I wanted to do, too - I just went to the craft store and bought a bough of fake hydrangeas and a blue rose (my favorite! If only they really existed), then used their flowers and leaves as well as some heart-shaped blue rhinestones I already had, and attached together. I fretted about how to attach it for a few hours, then had a stroke of genius and used a vintage circlet I'd never worn as a base and made a "crown." What do you think - befitting of a Faerie Queen?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Posing for Photos

So at Anime Boston this year, as I mentioned in my post about it, I was nursing a newbie lolita - not new to the scene, as I've been introducing her to it since I started myself, but it was only her first or second time wearing lolita out to an event where there would be other lolitas and, more importantly, non-lolitas who may want to take her picture. Now, Marrisa isn't camera-shy, but when someone asked her for a picture, she got a little "deer-in-the-headlights." I've heard a lot of girls saying they aren't sure how to pose when it comes to lolita, so giving Marrisa a little bit of coaching inspired me to write up a full-length post on the topic!

First of all, it is totally not weird (and, to be honest, pretty necessary) to practice posing in front of a mirror. There's nothing worse than photo-regret: Coming home from an even and realizing that none of your pictures are salvageable simply because of bad angles and unflattering poses. The first thing to do when you're practicing poses is to make sure you're looking at your full body in good lighting, or at least lighting you think will be similar to that of the event you're heading off to (stand near a window to emulate natural light for a picnic, or fluorescent lighting if you think that's more likely, such as an anime convention or many other indoor events). Start with your feet and go up - are your socks straight? Bows tied? Make-up blended? Check to make sure all the components of your outfit is showing- are you covering up the print on your cutsew with how you buttoned your cardigan? Maybe your lace sock topper is tucked into your boots, or your hair clips are hiding in a sea of curls. All set? Good! Now start posing. Tilt your face to different angles to see which catches the light best. It sometimes helps to chose an "image" to portray, like a porcelain doll, an elegant young lady, or a spunky fairy-loli sprite. Practice a few different poses that you think portray that - folded hands for elegance, say, or pop a heel and a peace sign for a little extra moxie.

Here are some components of a good pose, in bullet format by body part:
  • First off, remember that your extremities (hands/arms and feet/legs) are your biggest assets as they're most noticeable and mobile. Just a little something to keep in mind!
  • Feet: pigeon toes are common, but be careful here. First off, they conform to a certain child- or doll-like image, so they're great for most sweet and some classic, but can look odd for other classic and gothic. They're great for showing off your socks if they have designs up the sides, but with tights it can look odd because the toes will draw attention to your feet and legs - if you have fancy shoes or patterned tights that's fine, but be careful of drawing attention to places that aren't interesting. Better to try and direct attention to other parts of the coordinate.
  • My favorite foot-position is to put one slightly in front of the other, turn my heels out slightly to allude to pigeon-toes without actually looking disjointed (or to just turn out my front heel &keep the back foot straight), then rest my weight on my back foot. It's much more flattering for almost all body types than to have your feet set far apart, because a wide base will make your entire body look wider.
  • Hips should tilt slightly forward- your poof will probably hide it, but it'll help your posture by keeping your back straight.
  • Shoulders back! Just like Mom used to tell you. It does wonders for your posture &will draw attention to your upper body, which is important when you're wear a nice neckline or some other detail that otherwise may not stand out.
  • Arms: Putting them behind your skirt will emphasize poof and is cute if you're not wearing bracelets, rings, or nails that you want to show off. Be careful about resting your hands on your hips or the front of your skirt as it can de-emphasize your petticoats &make you look slightly flattened.
  • To draw attention to a purse, there are a few things you can do. My favorite is to channel my poupee girl and sling it over my elbow, curling my fingers ever so slightly. If you're wearing a shoulder bag, pull it in front of you and rest your thumbs where the strap connects to the body of the bag to frame it with your hands. For handbags with smaller handles, I think it's really sweet to hold it in front of your skirt with both hands - your arms will make a sort of arrow that says "look at my cute bag!!".
  • A note on hands: They're important! You'll get the most freedom of pose in your hands. Isolate your fingers to make your hands more dynamic - as in, spread them a bit so you can see each individual digit. Match your hands to your "mood"- A cute sweet look pointing with your first finger toward your cheek, kind of like "Lookit how cute I am! :D," and for classic I really like simply framing the face with one hand (palm resting just under the chin, fingers spread over the jaw - great for close-ups) . A gothic classic is praying hands, but I do not know nearly enough about that style to discuss it!
  • Head: Chin up, beautiful smile (or moody gothic pout!), eyes wide. Don't look at the lens, as that gives the picture a creepy "staring into your soul" look - go above the lens and look and the photographer's hair; for LCD digital photos (where the photographer is looking at the preview screen instead of through the viewfinder), look at their face. If you look below the camera it will probably cause you to duck your chin, which is not flattering (the thing I need to work on most in my pictures, personally!). Turn your face slightly to the right or left, showing your good side (yes, they exist! It's not an urban legend!), as the three-quarter view if more dynamic than straight-on and makes for a more interesting picture. Also, make sure your hair is out of your eyes/face/lipgloss!

  • Pop your foot! This is a fun way to show off your shoes/socks or add a little whimsy.
  • Play with your expressions - pout, wink, or blow a kiss
  • Play with or flounce your hair
  • Pick a piece of your outfit and accentuate it. Pose with your hand near your face to show off nails or make-up, tip a hat, or grab the corner of your skirt like you're curtsying.
  • Most importantly, have fun!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Would Love You, if Only You Were Someone Else

Help! My boyfriend hates lolita!!

It's not a rare thing to see girls exclaiming this over the internet. Their boyfriend is sweet, funny, and kind, but he absolutely hates lolita! He won't look at it, talk to her about it, or even be around her when she wears it in private, and he can think of no greater embarrassment than being seen in public with her dressed "like that." Besides that, he's perfect! He shares her interests, he tells her she's beautiful, and they get along great with each other's friends and family. So, what does she do?

It's always important to remember that someone may have different interests than you, and that you don't always have to be perfectly alike for a relationship to work. And, if he's a perfect guy except for this one little thing, isn't it worth it to sacrifice? I mean, isn't that what relationships are ABOUT?

Well... yes and no. Granted, no two people will ever be exactly alike (and being TOO similar is a sign of catastrophe - imagine having to share your mirror while doing your make-up with your boyfriend who's straightening his hair!), and love is all about compromise. However, love is also about knowing when to say no and when something is too important to you to give up. If lolita is just clothes to you, this may be no big deal; just wear them when you're going out with your friends, or on days you're not going to see him. It would probably be fine with you, so if you just don't expose him to it, you'll probably have a long, happy relationship.

But for those lifestyle ladies, a warning bell should be going off. Here's why: if lolita is something that deeply affects your life and your boyfriend (or girlfriend, or husband, or partner, or...) think it's stupid, he thinks your lifestyle is stupid. If he doesn't like lolita, he doesn't like you. There's no other way I can say it. For girls whose life is not greatly impacted by their clothing choices, this could be entirely untrue, but for those of us with whom lolita is an intrinsic part of our mindset and lifestyle, this isn't the case.

It's like, my boyfriend is a musician; it's an inseparable part of his life that profoundly affects him. A lover asking you to stop wearing lolita would be like me asking him to stop playing guitar. It would rob him of something so him that he would be a completely different person than the man I fell in love with. Sure, maybe he'd pay more attention to me, or maybe he wouldn't spend money on things I may think are frivolous (for the record, I don't think they are!) but then he wouldn't have that important part of his personality. And if that were the case, if I wanted someone else, I would break up with him and get someone else - and that's the advice I give any man who likes his lolita-wearer but hates her clothes/lifestyle. Of course, talk to her about it to see if it's something she wouldn't mind doing without every so often, but if it's something that is deeply meaningful to her, I can tell you right now, either nut up &break up with her or shut up &accept it because it's not going to be a healthy relationship if otherwise.

And if your boyfriend thinks lolita is stupid, explain to him about the subtleties of the fashion and how is affects you. Does it make you feel like a princess? Tell him. Try to explain the utter joy you feel when you put together a perfect coordinate, or when you figure out the perfect way to do that hairstyle you saw in Alice Deco, or when your heart races with inspiration while looking at daily_lolita. If you do everything you can to explain why you love the fashion and the lifestyle and he still just can't handle it, trust me, you're better off without him.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Anime Boston 2010!

Now, I hope I don't offend anybody here, but Anime Boston never really impressed me. I fully admit that I never really gave it a chance, though - I went its first year and was so unimpressed that i never bothered to go back. Since my boyfriend was working the Artist's Alley all weekend and I had nothing better to do on Sunday, I recruited one of my oldest friends and ex-Bostonian for a daytrip up. Verdict: It was very quiet, but that's understandable for a Sunday. The dealer's room and artist's alley were both... okay, but they could definitely have been better. I bought an amazing phone charm from the artist's alley, only to have it break only a few hours later, and besides a display of almost entire wiped out wigs, the only thing that caught my interest in the dealer's room was a beautiful choker (which my boyfriend bought me because I didn't have the cash - love yooou!)

Marrisa and I, decked out in blue &pink sweet. A stroke of luck brought Marrisa into the beginnings of a lolita wardrobe, but it was oriented mostly in a color scheme she wasn't in love with, so I lent her some of the pinks I don't really wear anymore.
  • Cutsew: BABY, the Stars Shine Bright
  • Skirt: AYA
  • Purse: Innocent World
  • Boots: Bodyline
  • Socks: Secret Shop
  • Candy hairtie: bought off the comm
  • Nails: Bought in Artist's Alley

Et moi:
  • Cutsew: BABY, the Stars Shine Bright
  • Skirt: Mew
  • Socks: Metamorphose
  • Shoes: Bodyline
  • Parasol: Angelic Pretty
  • Tote: Hello Kitty
  • Hairbow: Bought at Otakon last year
  • Choker: Bought in the dealer's room
Also, that phone charm broke probably two hours after I bought it from Artist's Alley. NOT HAPPY. The girl didn't have cards for me to take, otherwise I'd be e-mailing her right now.

There weren't many lolitas around that day (Stefan assured me there were more on Saturday, which doesn't surprise me), but I did see the ever-svelte Carolyn of F* Yeah Lolita!
As well as Kathryn, who I met this past December at the New York City tea. Hi again!!
So, Anime Boston, I guess you're not as bad as I thought. I'm not saying I'll definitely return all weekend next year, but I'd consider going up for Sunday again.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Momoko Complex

We really live in an amazing time. With the Internet, information about everything imaginable is being passed all around the globe within seconds, and obviously our fashion is no different. There are so many communities to discuss lolita and everything related to it, as well as individual blogs (hey, how ya doin'?) and websites that are dedicated to discussing every single facet of our fashion and lifestyle, that it's hard to remove yourself from those influences. And when you're an active member of any community, it's assumed that you'll get close to people and make friends. It's good, it's normal, it's healthy. But is it necessary?

I'm pretty sure Kamikaze Girls is required viewing for any starter-loli. I know I personally made it my quest to see the movie before I really considered myself a lolita, mostly because it showcases and idea that our society generally doesn't like to talk about: the happy social outcast. The fashion hermit. She who lets nothing but the clothes dictate to her how they should be worn; no magazines, no books, and most importantly, no community. Momoko listens to her clothing and her heart and doesn't care what anyone else says. This is kind of glamorous, isn't it? It's probably why she's become so many girls' ideal lolita. She doesn't care. She does what she wants and doesn't let anyone else's opinions get her down. She lives her entire life around this idea of beauty and doesn't let anyone get in the way. And that's great.

But does anyone else see what it does to her life to be like that? She lies and basically steals money from her father, doesn't speak to anyone in her school, and lives in utter solidarity, except for her family (for whom she seems to have no respect; aside from her Grandmother, she shows contempt for both her father and mother). Sure, she meets Ichigo and gradually, reluctantly, changes her ideas, but if she hadn't, who knows how long she would have lived in solidarity? And, more importantly, is that healthy?

I'm going to say, as both a follower of fashion and as a human being, no. It is not healthy to completely remove yourself from society, because everything we do is important to the growth and development of our minds and souls. It is healthy to keep friends, especially friends interested in the same wonky alternative fashion as you, because they'll inspire you to do new things and explore new styles. I've said for years that my biggest fashion idols are my friends, and I'd hate to think where I'd be, sartorially and mentally, without them. They're my biggest resource, and therefore I can't imagine someone who would cast themselves away from people who could help them in any way.

(Note that, when I say “society” in this piece, I don't mean it the way I usually do. Here, society isn't “the man” that I'm so keen on rallying against; here, I mean society as it's meant to be: “an extended social group having a distinctive cultural and economic organization.” Therefore, when I say society, especially in the above paragraph, I mean the small lolita-based social group that spans livejournal communities to facebook pages to individual journals and websites.)

So why do people do it? Is it “special snowflake syndrome?” It could be. Maybe it's just that they think they can't learn anything from other people, or that they don't want to. Could it be that a pure mindset is one that doesn't take advice or inspiration from anyone else and finds guidance only in itself? Personally I totally disagree; I think that our minds are permeable membranes that were designed to absorb everything, keep the good, and filter out the bad, and that this idea of shunning other people and not needing friends who inspire you is entirely crippling to your soul. The idea that nothing in the world can affect you is, in my opinion, very nihilistic and disabling, not a strength that is to be praised.

Challenge: Make a new lolita friend today! Reach out to someone you've always wanted to but never did, for whatever reason.

(image c/o tumblr)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

When Too Much is Enough

Recently on the main community, someone asked if there was a point when one should be content with her wardrobe. She has the dresses, the skirts, the blouses, all of the accessories, and she doesn't feel the need to buy things anymore; she seemed confused as to whether this was normal. It reminded me of a comment my roommate made a few weeks ago; also a lolita, she was listing some things she had recently bought, and said something along the lines of, “I know it sounds like a lot, but I think I want a few more _______ and then I'll be done. My wardrobe will be complete.”

It surprised me; mentioning it to another lolita friend, she said “But... your closet is never done.” On the whole, I agree. As people, as fashion enthusiasts, I think that our style is never really “done.” Especially bloggers or readers of blogs; we're exposing ourselves to so much, so many different things, that it would be odd if we didn't absorb some of these things into ourselves and change our styles appropriately. Even just as people in our society; we're constantly being bombarded by advertisements, magazines, celebrity news, and it would be impossible for us not to absorb some of that and translate it into our ideals and mindsets. Some of this is on purpose; I recently subscribed to a beauty e-newsletter from a popular mainstream magazine so that I could stay in the know about make-up and other beauty news in the mainstream, because, as lolitas, we're often so pigeon-holed by our own media that we forget there's other stuff out there. Even if that other stuff isn't really catering to all of our interests, to expose ourselves to these things makes us more well-rounded people and, effectively, more well-rounded dressers.

At the same time, it's possible to develop and evolve your style without buying an entirely new wardrobe every few months. I still have the first brand dress I ever bought, years and years ago, and I think that, even though my style has changed a lot, it still has its place in my closet and hopefully always will. Therefore, I can draw the conclusion that most of the things I buy have the possibility of staying with me for many years while still feeling fresh and current to my style. So is it bad to stop shopping, to call it quits on checking the sales community?

In my opinion, I would say that the healthiest plan is a healthy mix; new lolitas will buy &buy &buy until they have their basics, but then it's time to put on the brakes. This is the “content” phase. Once you have everything you consider to be a basic (which I'm sure depends on the person; for some, a black blouse and a white one with a black skirt are the stepping stones, but for someone else it could be a cream blouse, a brown skirt, and a blue jumperskirt; I'm sure someone else would consider basics incomplete without at least one big-name brand – there seems to be another entry in this, tho!), you should be able to sit back and smile at your closet as-is. From there, I think the next step is casually browsing brand websites or the sales comm every so often, and buy a few things as “fluff”- this is where your accessories or new color combos come in. Then, once you've fleshed out your wardrobe so that you have a mix of colors and styles that appeal to you, it's time to stop; put it in park, if you will. You're not saying you'll never buy brand again, but maybe only hit the selling websites for a birthday present to yourself, or if you need a dress for a special occasion, or maybe if you want some retail therapy (caution – slippery slope!!).

It's also to note that even these three stages are still cyclical. For example, I'm currently around the second step, because when I was at the third stage about two years ago, I had some money problems, sold a lot of stuff, and didn't let myself buy anything for almost a year. Now that I'm back to the area I like to be, money-wise, I've started to casually buy again to get back the wardrobe-fluff I had to sell. Soon I'll probably go back to Wardrobe Enlightenment where I no longer have the earthly desire for more clothes, but for now I'm happy casually spending. :)

(image c/o

Friday, April 2, 2010

Daily Outfit 3/22/10

Today I took Victoria Suzanne on an eating &shopping tour of my Fairfield County. We started off with smoothies from Robeks, then hit the mall for Sanrio and a bunch of other stores Vix doesn't have. After that we did lunch at a diner near my house, and went to an old library to take pictures until we digested enough to get cupcakes at Crumbs! We took the long way home so we could check out the lovely architecture, where we pooped around my house for a little while. We finished up the evening with a homemade smoothie made of a combination of freshly-juiced spinach, apple, and celery combined with banana, almond milk, and peanut butter - don't let the greens fool you, it was absolutely amazing and exactly what we needed after a day of gorging ourselves!
  • Dress: BABY, the Stars Shine Bright
  • Blouse &Parasol: Angelic pretty
  • "Cincher": Forever 21 (favorite accessory EVER!)
  • Socks: Metamorphose
  • Boots: Bodyline
Aly contemplates The Changing Anatomy of Britain. Fascinating, truly.

And finally... the eyecandy! Well... eye-cupcakes?


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