Friday, July 30, 2010

Current Jams: July

July is the quintessential summer month for me, so I've been making a point to indulge in my favorite summery things all month... lemonade with a touch of vodka, sand between my toes, and, of course, the following songs:

The Decemberists: Summersong
My favorite Decemberists song, ever since I first heard it. The lilting flute and haunting melody always strikes me as very summery, like a flag waving in a July breeze. It makes me think of summer in New England, and my home beach its view of the old-fashioned lighthouses and the islands in the distance.

Iron & Wine: House by the Sea
Another ocean-themed song with a haunting, lilting melody, this song reminds me of driving from sundown to the early hours of the morning in the sticky summer night, with only the Buck Moon as my companion. The scent of roses and raspberry leaves... can I have a perfume made of that, please?

Regina Spektor: Two Birds on a Wire
This fun, poppy piano number is a huge departure from the rest of the music I've posted on these lists so far, but the bubbly effervescence of Regina Spektor is the antithesis of summer with friends for me. Maybe it's because I bought the album Far right before Otakon last year, and spent the entire twelve hour round trip drive blasting it out the open windows with one of my closest friends of all time. Either way, Two Birds is a great track that suits days lying on the beach, where sweat sticks sand to your biceps and calves even before you set a single toe in the surf.

For the record, I was totally looking forward to posting July, July! by The Decemberists on this list, but I couldn't find a track with good audio on Youtube, so you'll have to live in suspense instead.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Rallying Cry: Darker-Skinned Lolitas!

Don't get me wrong, I love porcelain skin as much as the next girl, and there's a certain ethereal beauty about skin that naturally looks like it's never been kissed by the sun. However, since it's summertime, that's not realy a luxury all of us can afford while still enjoying our time off (if you're lucky enough to have it - I'm still in school and of course working, sigh), and what about those girls who just don't naturally have pale skin? They're just as beautiful and inspirational, and I love seeing pictures of girls with all different skintones in lolita. So I'm making it official, an official call to the universe: Where are all my tan lolitas, my girls with naturally mocha, caramel, or espresso skin? Granted, I may not fall into this category myself, but dammit, I'm sick of monotone lolita! Let's see some variety~

All of the above photos from my wonderful facebook friends (or creeper'd from their daily_lolita accounts): Aria, Jesi, Amber, Angela, and Rashanda ♥ Keep being beautiful and inspiring, girls! Readers: Do you have any pics of amazing tan or dark-skinned lolitas? Post them in the comments!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Epic Date Day: Alice's Tea Room

This weekend Stefan and I trekked out to Manhattan to meet up with mah gurls Victoria, Dalin, Crystal, and their boys for an epic quadruple date at Alice's Teacup. We were lucky to get reservations in last minute on Sunday, which is very busy for them (the only openings were at 8 AM and 2:15 - clearly we chose the latter!) and we monopolized a corner booth for about, oh... two hours of tea and debauchery. We happened to get there on the tail-end of their weekend brunch, so we had some lovely cocktails and mar-tea-nis to sip with our tea sandwiches and scones.

Crystal and Victoria both got Queen of Hearts inspired mar-tea-nis of vervain tea, raspberries, and mint with a touch of Vodka, while Dalin's sweetie Sean and I both opted for brunch classics: a peach tea and champagne Bellini for me and a Bloody Mary for him. The other boys and Dalin herself were both satisfied with their teas.

And the food! Oh, the food! While not horribly impressive in taste, the presentation was really very sweet. The two teas that were ordered were very lovely, coming served on three-tier tea services. My curry chicken salad sandwich came on thick, sweet multi-grain bread with a generous pile of greens (or french fries, if that's more suiting to your tastes). All of the prices are fine for what you get - I think I paid about 9 or 10 dollars for my sandwich and side salad - moderate-low price for a sit-down restaurant in Manhattan, and that's about how it tasted: moderate-low quality. Priced indicatively, so if you're looking for a really special meal, it's probably worth it to get the higher-priced items. This suited me just fine for the casual date-day.

Afterward, we all went to the Sanrio store in Times Square, and then we split up: Crystal and John headed off to a prior engagement, Victoria and Matt started home, and Dalin, Sean, Stefan and I all went to check out the new 4-floor Forever 21 store and Midtown Comics (though I had just given up on the corset and between the cinching, heat, and allergies, I wasn't really up for shopping and mostly just floated around observing. An iced green tea from Starbucks care of Stefan helped, though ♥).

Then we all headed back to Magnolia to get some noms for the ride home (a vanilla bean cheesecake for Stefan, a small serving of chicken Tikka with naan for me, and a beverage for Sean - Dalin, did you get anything? I can't remember now, I was so dead by then!). During conversation, we discovered that Sean would be taking the same train as Stefan and I for about half the trip, so we had a conversation buddy for most of our trip home, which was a nice change of pace - normally he and I just take turns falling asleep on each other's shoulders, because we are, in fact, secretly old people. He has an excuse - he's from the country, the Big City tires him out. I'm just a wuss.

Thanks so much to my counter-couples for an absolutely amazing Sunday afternoon! It was so wonderful to get together with everyone and spend a whole day together. We should make a habit of these!


After we got home, Stefan and I collapsed on the couch in out PJs with cups of tea. Clearly I'm five years old and can't drink anything without spilling it on me, as the spot on my Hello Kitties show.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Exercise Advice for Fellow Princesses

I've done a good amount of discussing body image lately, as has the entire lolita blogosphere, and I think I've beat the mental side to a pulp by now. While I'll always have more to talk about as far as the evils of society goes, for now I'm going to turn to the lighter side: ways to get healthy.

Whether you're overweight or underweight or average in your body type, most of us could probably use a little push in the fitness depratment - at least, I know I always can. Even if your weight is healthily maintained through metabolism alone (you're one of those girls who can eat an entire pack of Oreos in one sitting with no regret, aren't you!), it's still important to exercise and eat right, and here's why. Getting your blood pumping improves general health by improving bone density, sleep quality, and reducing your risk of heart disease, as well as improving your mood and relaxing you; eating right will increase your life span and lower your risk of obesity and other conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure. It's very important to view exercise as a way of loving your body and doing what's right for it, with weight loss being a happy side effect - if it happens, it happens, but even if it doesn't, it's improtant to remember that it's a nessecary part of a healthy life. That's the reason I find people who give up after two weeks and no visible results to be failed attempts - not because the participants gave up, but because they gave up for the wrong reasons. If you feel like you're gaining asbolutely nothing from your workout, there's no shame in giving up and finding one that's more suited to you. If you find the right activities, getting healthy can be a lot of fun instead of a chore - which I found very surprising!

I've never liked exercise. A slew of physical problems has always made it more uncomfortable for me than for most people, and not gonna lie, I'm also pretty lazy. I've never been the type to go the gym or go jogging, because it's too high-impact and, let's face it, boring to keep my attention long enough for it to work. I've always been on the lookout for more interesting ways to get moving, and since I'm a goddamn princess I needed any workout routine I do to be low-impact, quaint, and moderately lacking in the sweat department. Here are my solutions:

  • Hooping: Hooping will always be my number one workout. It's low-impact, interesting, and you probably won't break a sweat with it unless you're getting really crazy. That's part of the fun: it's entirely customizable. You can just stand in front of the TV with it revolving around your waist, or for a little more of a workout you can use it on your arms by rolling it over the back of your hand with your arm held out to the side or in front of you. There's also a crazy amount of creative leeway, in that there are hundreds of different tricks you can learn. My favorites are using it on my hips or thighs instead of waist, over my head with my hands (this move being aptly called the Halo or Lasso) while alternating between my right and left hands, passing it from hand to hand in front of my midsection and around my back in a circle, and the aptly named "booty bump," which I don't think needs much explanation. If you're planning on working out your torso with a hoop, leave the poof aside for now and go for a tanktop and shorts - Victoria Suzanne pointed out to me and I agree that the less clothing you're wearing, the easier hooping seems to be. As far as effectiveness goes, I'm famous among my friends for swearing up and down that I saw improvements in my waist after only ten minutes of hooping (dammit, I did!), but hooping is really great for working out your torso and legs just by using it around your waist, and it's really easy to target specific areas, too - just hoop with them!

  • Dance: Of course - this one should be obvious. I danced for a good portion of my life and my entire childhood, and it was only because of skeletal problems that I stopped at all - it was too hard on my knees and hips, and I have bad genetics as far as joint pain go which weren't helped by an accident as a child. However, I know plenty of people who've had amazing results with ballet, jazz, or tap. It not only works your muscles, it is varied on levels on intensity, so you can take a beginnger level ballet class once a week or turn to dance-themed exercise programs a few minutes a day (I know a lot people who've had great success with both). Not interested in your standard regime? Try ballroom dancing, or if you're feeling exotic, bellydance is a fun but very challenging alternative. Similarly, gymnasitcs or tumbling are also wonderful if you can find a really good class/studio.

  • Video games: I know, I know, video games are villainized as contributing to the obesity epidemic here in America (which I don't argue with at all) - however, for years companies have been trying to get gamers up and moving, with varied results. While games like those offered on Wii Fit are criticized as being repetitive and boring, the ultimate and first fitness game I've seen is and always will be Dance Dance Revolution. It's so effective and fun, in fact, that there are schools in America (specifically in West Virginia schools; Caltech also supports it, even counting it as a PE alternative) and Norway it's even been registered as an official sport! I know family members who've used DDR to substitute a more structured exercise regime and have lost eight to ten pounds after a month with no over changes to their activity levels and diets. Wikipedia even says that people have purportedly lost a max of 85-150+ pounds! It's also fun, satisfying, and competitive, which is something that all weight loss regimes strive for.

There are really so many fun, captivating ways to exercise - just get creative and you'll realize there's really a lot more to it than lifting weights or doing crunches - clearly evident from the length of this post, and these are just the things that I myself have found to work! After writing this, I think I'll talk about ways to lolify your healthy food selections in another post.

So, girls, what do you do to keep in shape?

(image care of we heart it)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fighting for the Sisterhood

I believe in the Sisterhood.

You know what? I really do. I believe that we all could be united, that as lolitas, we could be a subculture brimming with positivity: we could be a unified force fighting the status quo, a force to be reckoned with battling a world dressed in gray powersuits and smart black pumps and nude nylons. There's no reason we shouldn't be one. We're thousands of girls brought together from all parts of the globe, united by our love of beauty and little else. I guess that means we should expect the cattiness, the rudeness, the backstabbing, but I just can't. I can't believe that people who have come together in a way only made possible in the last ten years solely by our love of and search for beauty could be so ugly to each other. I guess I'm an idealist. I just don't see the point in having entire websites devoted to calling people ugly, or stupid, or naive, or fill in the blank with whatever these communities have decided is taboo en vogue today. And you may that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. There are plenty of fabulous ladies who leave the scene all the time because they're sick of getting beaten down for being themselves in an alternate fashion (crazy, I know - here I'm in this fashion because I just LOVE to look like everyone else!).

Some people say negative communities are necessary. They say they need to discuss scammers, they want to laugh at mainstream media's perception of lolita whenever it rears it hilariously ugly head, they need to blow off steam about people who annoy or anger them. Well, the first two I agree with - I enjoy reading both of them. However, I don't see why these things can't be posted to the main community; they can be, and they are. Think back to the belle_bete drama, or Jessica Simpson's The Price of Beauty episode. Everyone knew about them, even if egl was the only lolita website they read. Therefore, these are moot points. (Also, I would like to add that I have no problem egl, and agree that the main community and most of its subsidiaries are pretty much harmless, as far as these things go - my problem is not with the positive communities that the fashion has spawned but with the negative.)

The last part, however, always amuses me. I snicker a little whenever I see that the only way for the people who participate in these communities to blow off steam is to post the offense in question. I get annoyed too, guys - I get frustrated when I see someone doing something offensive in lolita, I get righteously angry when I see people flagrantly throwing the rules away and still calling themselves lolitas. I'm human - it grates my cheese too. However, when one of these things happens, guess what I do? Get out my cellphone. Phone a friend. Rant. Friend counter-rants. We rant together. Steam is blown off, peace is restored, and no one's feelings got hurt. No one needs to know that they pissed me off unless the offense is so unpardonable that I absolutely cannot bear to see it go unprostested. Here's a doozy: when that happens... wait for it... I tell them. I know, I know, it's crazy! I send them a private message on facebook, or livejournal, or whatever it was, and I say "Listen, I know you were just stating your opinion about ______, but it really offended me. Maybe I misunderstood, but it seemed like you were saying _______. Would you mind explaining to me what you meant instead? I'm sure I just read it wrong." It's simple and effective: if they're mature enough to respond intelligently, they'll either explain the misinterpretation or tell me that what I understood was correct, and they're sticking to their opinion. In either case, I thank them for their time and put the incident out of my mind, bearing no bad blood. If they're children, they'll either ignore me or respond with something like "You know what? I'm entitled to my opinion and I don't need YOU coming out from nowhere and criticizing it, who the fuck ever are you, I don't know you at all, you don't know me or anything about me, how dare you judge me on what I say..." and that's usually when I stop reading. Either way, the situation is over. Something offended me, and I did something about it. I was the big kid and they proved their utter immaturity, and I can let the situation go knowing that I did the right thing.

Why am I talking about this? Well, I've pretty much always felt this way - I never read wank or spam communities, or if I do it's once in a very blue moon, and I don't think it's a habit I've ever adopted nor do I plan to. However, it was this article by The Ugly Ducking that really got my gears grinding about it, and after typing up a novella of a comment I decided I had enough to say about the topic to warrant my own blog post. One of the points she made is one that I've wanted to discuss for a long time, anyway: taken from some survey results from Ramble Rori:
"An eighth (12% / 52 people) of those surveyed say that they themselves, or someone who they know have developed a mental disorder of some kind related to online bullying."
I'm personal friends with Christina of Ramble Rori; up until a few weeks ago I was her roommate at college, and therefore we discussed the survey results heavily as soon as they were gathered. When she told me this statistic, I kind of wanted to throw up.

Now, Miss Rosie makes an excellent point in her article: We can't shield new lolitas from the big, bad, scary world. Of course we can't. And if they can't even deal with negativity from their peers, they will not be able to take the kind of abuse they'll get from people on the street. And who wants to censor themselves? That's so 1950's! Free speech! Fuck the man, and all that jazz! Of course we live in a world where Freedom of Speech is almost universal... but is that a good thing? I'm a Taurus - I'm all for justice. Fairness and equality are practically my middle names. However, we have become a global society where our speech is so free that words no longer have meaning to us, their originators. Unfortunately, those are pretty much the only people they don't have meaning for.

I've heard all the tired excuses. "Lol, it's the internet!" "Someone call the WAAHmbulance!" "It's not real life!" "She broke the rules - she was asking for it!" Sure, it IS the internet. Sure, the people who are saying these things are usually cities or states or countries away from the people they're about. And sure, someone who would get upset that people they have never met and probably never will don't like them must have a pretty thin skin. However, you can never know what underlying, deep-seated problems a person might have, and you never know what could set off a relapse or be "triggering" (as wary as I am to use that word, with all of the negative connotations this exact situation has created for it). Things have happened to me and those who are close to me that make me uncomfortable about rape jokes, and that is a hard battle to fight when the entire world seems to think it's peachy keen to talk about "Superman-ing a ho." It gets even harder when my friends or the people whose opinion I care about make those jokes. The same could be said about people fighting eating disorders: if she's already in a fragile mindset about her appearance and then she sees that someone said "lolz fatty put down the cheeseburger" on some wank community, do you think it matters who the poster was? No. All that matters is that when she was trying to fit in and follow along and do something right, the very people she thought would accept her want to spit in her face too.

The point is... no. There are so many points here that I don't even know where to start. Were you bullied intensely as a child, so you think this kind of thing is normal and acceptable? Weren't you raised right? Weren't you ever told "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?" Have you really become so callous from our society that you don't think there's anything wrong with making someone feel worse than dirt?

Sure, maybe they should lighten up. Maybe they're making a mountain out of a molehill and maybe you didn't mean anything by it and maybe you shouldn't have to walk on eggshells because you might hurt someone's precious, delicate ~feelings~. But you know what? The statistics don't lie, and one-eighth seems like a pretty small percentage, but in the end, of almost 450 surveyed, that's fifty people. Fifty human beings, fifty human souls who have become mentally ill over some flippant little response you don't even remember making: fifty girls burning their esophagus with their own stomach acids or adding another tally-mark to their wrist with a razor blade or chasing a bottle of Advil with a bottle of vodka because goddammit, just when they thought they finally found somewhere to fit in...

This is something we can fight. This doesn't have to be the truth. The amazing, blessed thing about statistics is that they change with the mindset of their targets. We can still be that sisterhood. I don't think it's impossible; I don't even think it's hard. All it takes are baby steps: instead of posting a picture to 4chan, give it a sentence-worth of constructive criticism instead. Don't respond to getoffegl posts. Don't be that girl at meet-ups who's whispering behind her hand; engage your fellow lolitas. Get to know them. You might be surprised to find yourself actually caring. With International Lolita Day just passed, I think this is the perfect time to open up to your fellow lolitas. This isn't a solo fight, but I think we can do it. Be strong, fight the fear, and kill this hatred once and for all.

Look out for my follow-up post to this, "The Curse of 'White-Knighting'" in which I will discuss the horrors of giving a shit.

POST SCRIPT: It was pointed out to me that this article excludes our male population, who may or may not be keen on joining my little feminist tirade. It could be said that I was thinking in a sexist manner when I wrote this article, but the term "sisterhood" was actually not coined by me; I first saw it used to refer to lolita in an article from Lolita Charm. To quote:

"Lolitas are so different from the mainstream, and so small a percentage, with such a sensitive interest. There is a sisterhood there; there is something we all yearn for that we try to taste with ruffles and bows and ribbons."

That said, I don't think that this idea of "sisterhood" necessarily excludes men- I know that sounds stupid, but hear me out. This fashion is devoted to the feminine side of life; therefore, regardless of sex, it seems to me that anyone who engages in a feminine fashion could identify himself as of the female gender whenever he dons those clothes while still being of the male sex (remember, 'sex' means biological identity and 'gender' means social identity). I also imagine that someone who is so comfortable with femininity that he will wear lolita would not be adverse to considering himself one of a sisterhood, whatever he identifies his gender as.

In this article, I'm not also talking to those who wear masculine versions of lolita such as kodona or dandy simply because I haven't exposed myself to their side of our world enough to have the knowledge to comment on them- this goes for broli's as well. I don't want to label the men in our community as catty if they aren't, or hold them up as an example of sweetness if they don't suit that term either. I don't like to talk about things I don't know well, because that's always a recipe for disaster, especially when you're commenting on the thoughts and actions of an entire group you don't know well. I stayed away from discussing it, but if there are any male followers of our fashion who would like to add their two cents, please do so - I'd love to get a better understanding!

(image found via tumblr, original source unknown)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lumpy Gets Personal: Reprise

I received so many amazing comments on my post about body image that really inspired me - it's so amazing to see people sharing their stories. One comment in particular stood out to me, so much that I felt it deserved its own post to address it.

That then said:
I'm glad you've conquered your problems and you've become healthier and happier for it. You've always seemed so ethereally perfect, both in Lolita and just as a person, to me! Truly you are beautiful; think no less of yourself.

I'm sorry, though, Miss Lumpy - sorry that I have such a negative story to tell, and that I couldn't post this under my usual alias. I couldn't bear it.

I feel stronger too when I read these stories. I feel better that I'm not alone. People understand, out there. I want them so much not to feel the pain and the shame of it. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But it makes me feel better to see others who recovered.

Lolita was my catalyst out of eating disorders. One day, all dressed up, I looked in the mirror and realised: I'm fine as I am. There's no point punishing myself for what nature gave me; if anything, it's selfish and insulting to the girls who starve and die to get what nature gave me to believe that it's not enough. I recovered. I developed a long-needed sense of self-worth that I hadn't ever had. Lolita's a goal always dancing a little out of my reach, like a soap-bubble, and that should be a beautiful thing. Constant, positive self-improvement, isn't that a wonderful experience?

It's so painful to say these things, but I'm so afraid. I'm afraid of myself and afraid that Lolita will be not just the thing that dragged me out of my ruins, but the thing that dumps me back in there. These worries always come back to me at low times, at night and when I feel lonely or afraid: I feel so beautiful and confident in it but I'm not sure that deep down, it isn't worming holes in the sediment of my consciousness.

Isn't it ridiculous? I know that it won't do me any good. I know I'm not fat and I don't need to lose weight. It will only hurt me. It will make my loved ones worry for me. I can't get it out of my head; I'm scared about how my 'big, fat' 25" waist gaining that one fatal inch more will take me out of brand territory.
The stupid thing: I know it won't. Clearly it won't, why do I still believe it? Why do I tell myself that I won't fit any of my clothes if I have that yoghurt after lunch, and so on, to stop myself? I have so much higher standards for myself than for other people. I am the only one for whom I feel that I need to hurt to deserve beautiful clothes. I am the only one for whom I think that it's not about dressing for my shape: it's about losing weight to get the perfect shape. I am the only one who will never quite be pretty enough or perfect enough for this fashion. What a special snowflake I am.

You talk about self-love a lot, Miss Lumpy, and I've always liked the thought and wanted to seek it. I know one thing for sure: if you love someone, you want the best for them. What will I do to myself, taking all these little steps that seem so like I'm helping myself? Exercising more? Eating salads and refusing anything fatty? Feeling so guilty over my love of baking cakes? Drinking glasses and glasses of water before every meal to stop myself eating so much? They all sound so benign. They're the sorts of things that will lead me back down into anorexia.
Last time, I stopped myself before I could do myself any real damage. It was years in the making but only a few months in the performance, and I caught myself in time. Can I stop myself if it happens again?
Will I even want to stop myself? Starvation is euphoric. The power of it.

The worst thing: I write this and it makes me want to be anorexic again. There's a part of me that wants to hurt myself.
Even if you didn't use your usual alias, I am so happy &proud that you could share this story. It really is a huge step in getting better, and you should know that I'm here if you ever need anyone to talk to as you continue your journey into recovery. Your fear is a natural reaction to the hell you've been going through, and it is the one thing that can drag you back down after the progress you've been fighting for. Acknowledge that fear - it's an important reminder of how far you've come - but know that you can beat it.

You ask about those steps you're taking to eat healthier - will it be a help or a hindrance? This is something I've been thinking a lot about, too, and here's the conclusion I've come to: if you're eating healthy because you want to cherish your body and treat it right, you're eating healthy out of love. If you're doing it with this idealized body in mind as your goal, you're doing it out of hatred. It's hard to tell the difference at first, but there is a difference, and if you can harness that love then there's nothing unhealthy about making those choices.

There's a part of all of use that wants to hurt ourselves; it's the only way we can think to react to this world we've found ourselves in. There are so many people out there who succumb without even realizing it, so the fact that you're acknowledging its existence already puts you leagues ahead of others. I's an uphill battle, but I know you can do it. The fact that you gathered the courage to share your story is proof that you know it's wrong and want to get better. It's a tough fight, but I know you're strong enough. This goes out to all of the amazing, beautiful, intelligent, all-around fantastic girls who are struggling with body image: you can do it, I promise ♥

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Giveaway WINNER Announcement!

So some of you have already seen this, due to a glitch on the computer I had originally typed it up on. BUT! Here is the announcement for the winner of my Lumpy Loves You giveaway!

The winner is...

Stardust-halos! Specifically, the winning entry was a facebook screencap.

Thank you all for playing! Jenny, please e-mail me at, or by clicking the link in the sidebar. Please e-mail me within a week from today (by Thursday, July 15th); if I don't hear from you by then I'll have to pick another winner!

This was so much fun - I hope I can host another giveaway soon! Again, thank you to everyone who participated!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mini update: Schedule Change

Hey everyone, just letting you know that my computer has utterly and horribly died. Until I get my new laptop, I'm going to change my posting schedule from Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to only Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thanks for your patience!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Importance of NOT Being Lolita

Recently, Victoria Suzanne (a crazy-ass lifestyler - her words, not mine!) and I were invited to a wedding. I was chatting with her about it, and she said, "So what should we wear?" I said what seemed only natural to me: "Well, it's a wedding, so even though she loves lolita, her friends and family might be uncomfortable. I'm going for more business casual and you probably should too." Silence on the other end. We were texting, actually, so that silence was more of a five-hour gap in conversation where, I assume, she tried frantically to understand this concept and breathed deeply into a paper bag.

I know the lifestyle stereotype is that we wear lolita all day, every day, and even sleep in our bloomers. Well, on that last part I've been known to be guilty as charged, but it's really quite a misconception that lifestyle lolitas wear nothing but poof. Even Victoria has plenty of other clothing in styles like gyaru, mori-girl, and fairy-kei. However, one thing that I've realized is that even the most perfectly-coordinated lolita will often go from doe-eyed to deer-in-the-headlights at the thought of going on a job interview, out for dinner with her S.O.'s parents, or any situation where "presentable" means more than a nice sundress but still not Angelic Pretty.

So yes, that means that this article is not about lolita. Does that mean it's not still something lolitas should know about? Of course not! Therefore, I find it not only relevant but necessary to talk about the lolita outside of lolita.

No matter what fairytale we build for ourselves, real life always finds a way to creep into it. There's nothing wrong with that, but it is a fact of life for us daydreamers. Plenty of lolitas have full-time office jobs or are business majors or are dating someone with conservative parents, and they know exactly what I'm talking about. Sometimes it's important to put the fantasy aside and play "normal" for a little while.That's a fun little dichotomy; if your real life exists in a fantasy world of your on creation, then the daydream you indulge in occasionally can be the reality of everyone else. I put on my nice slacks and smart knit tops for work and giggle at my reflection; it's kind of like playing dress-up for me, a dress-up that I do every day but still feels like impersonating someone else's life.

Contrary to popular belief, the world of fashion is not cut-and-dry: it's not like you're either lolita or you're in a black pantsuit. It's not only possible but actually very easy to combine a feminine aesthetic with corporate casual attire; my good friend Crystal of Pretty Wonderland is iconic in my mind for wearing sweet, princessy yet entirely appropriate outfits to her office job, and I know plenty of other girls in the same situation. It's easy to throw on black slacks and a white button-down, and there's nothing wrong with that; but for those of us who are used to more of a fairytale existence, there are other options.

First up is my entirely office-appropriate classic-inspired look. Gray is one of my favorite colors, and usually when one puts it into business casual, it translates dully, but here I've combined it with silver, cream, and feminine motifs like roses to really femme it up. A ruffled sweater and rose headband and lace tights could be ultra-loli, but the simple silver flats and understated gray skirt keep it mature and casual. You can really add personality with your jewelry; a fleur-de-lis ring, "love" bracelet, and quirky-quaint mirror necklace are classy and elegant but still cutesy.

Now a more sweet look. Instead of bubblegum or pastel pink, salmon is more understated and mature, and will go farther in a business casual look when paired with brown and cream than stark neutrals like black or white. Even though this outfit uses nice brown slacks, all of the other details are very feminine. The use of bows and pearls, both very popular in mainstream fashion these days as well as lolita, is a sweet way to tie the two fashions together. The bow-shaped watch and letter-inspired purse keep the look whimsical and fresh. This would be a perfect look not only for a day at the office, but even for a wedding or your S.O.'s family picnic or reunion.

Our gothic girls are not left out, either! As I've often said, I'm no gothic aficionado, but here I tried to use a darker palette and gothic motifs to show a darker but still classy and casual outfit. The main color of the dress is gray, not black, to lighten the look a bit and make it less stark while still being high-impact. The bow, motifs of chandeliers and roses, and a few understated brand items bring it back to lolita, while the simple-yet-interesting dress keeps it office-appropriate. The necklace is a very sweet detail; it features an Emily Dickinson quote saying that "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul." The heel might be a bit high for some work environments; if so, flats like those in the tights picture would be nice too. This would be a great outfit for a first date, too, if you don't think your guy will approve of lolita (if so, why are you dating him?)

But what about building your own wardrobe? Say you're just about to start your first office job. What should you buy? Here are my suggestions for a good weekday wardrobe:
  • Two skirts: I suggest one pencil skirt and one A-line, one black and one in a nice color understated or dark color that suits your wardrobe, like peach or royal blue.
  • Two pairs of slacks: Again, one black and one colored. What style depends on your body type, but I think a nice wide leg is great on everyone. Don't scrimp on quality here - a nice pair of slacks can last you years. I have two pairs of slacks from Express, one black and one light gray with dark gray pinstripes - if you go with Express, thier Editor trouser is amazing and looks great on everybody, I swear.
  • A few tops: Here is where you can be more whimsical. If you're really bare-bones-ing it, you really only need, oh... three or four, but since this is one of the areas where you can really get creative, I'd say go crazy, haha. Any color scheme or style is fine, but stay away from synthetic materials or anything too tight or revealing - I figure lolitas shouldn't have a problem with that, though!
  • One nice dress: A nice dress that can either be paired with flats and a cardigan for day, or heels and a clutch for night. This is important for joining your coworkers for drinks or going out for a nice dinner with the higher-ups.
  • An array of outer wear: Cardigans, shawls, boleros, or blazers are all great ways to diversify. The same skirt and blouse can get pretty boring pretty fast, but if you throw on a pretty shawl with a great brooch, you instantly femme it up and add interest.
  • Others: Shoes! Go crazy here - flats, heels, wedges, boots, whatever you want. A good rule of thumb is to keep them relatively understated in color, style, and material - this is not the time to bust out your cake shoes, but you might be able to pull off black tea parties with black pants and a colored top. Shoes are a great way to bring personality into an outfit, as well as jewelry. It's amazing how much a great pair of earrings and interesting necklace or a few bangles can change an outfit.
I've been looking forward to writing this article for years, probably ever since I started blogging about lolita. I feel like, by making our own little fantasy worlds, no matter how much it is NOT our intentions to hide from the world, it can happen if we're not careful. It was crazy, being hired for an office job and realizing I had no idea how to dress myself for the task, and I know plenty of other people in alternative fashions who have the same realization. I love lolita, and I probably always will; however, this is perfect proof that boxing yourself in to any fashion is not good and could have less-than-awesome consequences. And, sure maybe nobody wants to hear this, and maybe nobody has actually read this far. But either way, it's important to say and to hear, because you can never be sure when, like me, reality will storm the princess's castle and force her into a smart pantsuit - know that this is not the end of the world! It happens to everyone at some point; at least now you know how to handle it if or when it does.


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