Friday, November 8, 2013

LBC: How I Got Into Lolita Fashion

For this week's lolita blog carnival, we're discussing how we began to wear lolita fashion, which I'm really excited about, because I'm always so curious! Most average people coast by every day completely unaware of how many alternative subcultures exist around them - how is it that so many people (particularly girls) in the Western world found out about this random Japanese street fashion?

The story of how I got into lolita fashion:

The first time I witnessed lolita, I was fifteen years old and on my second trip to Tokyo. I spent a week and a half living with a host family in... Meguro or Minato, one of the neighborhoods outside the main bustle of the metropolis, and attending an elite Japanese all-girls private school. For my first weekend there, my host family took me shopping in a few of the bigger fashion centers - Shinjuku, Shibuya, and... Harajuku, of course. This is when Gwen Stefani was at the height of her reign of terror, in 2005 or so, and despite her obsession with "Harajuku Girls" (or maybe because of it), I found myself totally unprepared for what I found there. Walking down Takeshita-Doori, the main drag for alternative fashion, was like tumbling down a rabbit hole; the girl working the counter at Seven-Eleven had green hair and five facial piercings (I counted), teenagers in visual-kei sat at tables in the McDonald's window, and outlandish clothing styles stared down at me from store windows stacked three or four or five on top of each other.

One of these buildings, two or three floors above me, featured a mannequin wearing set I don't know if I'll every forget: it was a blazer with sharp, pointed ends, a skirt that was basically tiers of ruffles, and a janutily-cocked mini hat, all in bubblegum pink. Next to it was something deconstructed visual-kei coordinate in black and purple plaid, but I barely noticed it: that pink monster was like nothing I'd ever seen before, and it was like a magnet.

"Haitte mo ii desu ka?" I asked, my eyes glazed.
My host, Asuka, rushed to agree, but her mother gave a shudder and shook her head.
"Demo... kawaii desu...!" I defended plaintively, in my second-grade-level Japanese.
Ms. Aihashi shuddered again. "Kawaii? Kowai deshou."

So we were whisked away down the street, and I was placated with my first taste of bubble tea in an outdoor foodcourt that has been long since converted to more shopping complexes. I was captivated by lolita, but every time I saw anyone wearing it for the remainder of the trip, all I could hear was my host mother's voice in the back of my head: "Cute? I think it's scary."

It wasn't until lolita got a foothold in the American convention scene that I found my way to actually wearing the stuff. After casually experimenting for a few years, I started amassing a wardrobe of altered blouses and handmade skirts the summer before my senior year, and the first day of school saw me in knee socks and mary janes. There were all of ten days my senior year that I didn't wear lolita or some derivative (I know; I counted). For the most part, my school was fairly accepting; sure, I got bullied a little for my clothing choices, but really - what high schooler didn't? More often, because the magnet program in my school was renowned for misfits, I was just considered one of the other weird "artsy" kids who could occasionally be poked fun at but was mostly accepted, tolerated, or ignored.

On one of the days sanctioned by the school for practical jokes, a friend and I switched clothes for the day, to the outrage of my classmates. One girl gasped when she saw me. "Child, what are you wearing??" she demanded. I looked down: an Abercrombie polo shirt and a denim mini skirt. So what?
Hanging out with my fellow art kids in my first brand dress; senior year of high school.
"No, no!" the girl insisted, appalled. "Man, what'd you put THAT on for? You always look like you be going to a ball or something. You gonna go back to the dresses tomorrow, right? Because I don't think I can HANDLE more than one day of this!" And then the entire class went on to discuss how elegant my clothes usually were, how different it was, and how.

And that was probably the best day of my high school career, and I can only thank lolita fashion for it - or at least the hackneyed "lolita-inspired" wardrobe I cobbled together over the course of my senior year.

So that's probably longer than what most people will have to say about it, but I have lots more I could share. And I probably will, eventually - this was an off-the-cuff pieces written in a few minutes and one sitting between projects at my job, but it's a topic I really enjoy sharing my experiences about. Until I get the chance to do that, though, take a look at these other lolibloggers as they share how THEY got into lolita fashion!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Meetup Ideas for Fall, Winter, and Cold Weather in General

Winter and Fall Lolita Meetup Ideas

a list of reason why winter is awesome
For us in the Northern hemisphere, fall has settled comfortably down around us like little hillocks of leaves, and it won't be long before snow drifts replace them (well, at least here in the Frozen North, that is). But unless your local community plans on going into hibernation, there's no reason to let the cold winds scare you out of your petticoats and bloomers! Here are some ideas for lolita meetups for the chillier parts of the year.

Cold Weather Lolita Meetup Ideas

  • Ice skating! Always a classic for colder weather, and who doesn't love the look of those ravishing plastic rental skates?
  • A crafternoon, preferably in front of a fire with cups of hot mulled cider, and afghans for laps if it gets chilly.
  • Photoshoots- it may be too cold to spend a lot of time outdoors, but imagine a photoshoot with a bunch of lolitas walking through a red and orange park in the afternoon sun, or through crystalline snow drifts... Sigh! Utterly picturesque.
  • Similarly, organize a lolita fashion Stitch 'n Bitch for all you knitters out there! Get started on a scarf or a new pair of mittens while catching up on all the best gossip from your local community.
  • Shopping day, because obviously. Hit the mall or an indoor shopping arcade and load up on chintzy accessories.
  • Cookie swap - this holiday classic entails everyone baking cookies beforehand, typically their favorite season recipes, and everyone sugar-binging while swapping recipes. It's an adorable bonding activity that could be great for a newly-founded community - plus, getting a ton of lolitas high on sugar has statistically never gone wrong, ever.
  • A tea-sampling party. I know it's pretty unrealistic, but I love the idea of having a whole bunch of teapots being kept warm by Sterno candles (like the kind caterers use), and everyone gets espresso cups to sample the array of teas and tisanes, with little treats to nibble that coordinate in flavor with each of the teas. Alternatively, a tea swap would be lovely as well- everyone brings a box of their favorite tea to share. You could provide cute cellophane bags and attendees could make their own goodie bags of their favorites!
  • Video game day - One thing I know about lots of lolitas is that they're often pretty big on console games, so load up your favorite multiplayer game and have an afternoon in with local ladies!
  • An evening at the theater, be it opera, ballet, or even just the movies. Again, movie outings are another great activity for a budding community, especially if it's followed by dinner or coffee- talking about what you just saw means awkward silences will be far fewer and easier to dispel.
  • A candlelit dinner party - maybe I'm just a weirdo on this, but the idea of getting together my most fashionable friends and serving them a beautiful, multi-course meal makes me absolutely giddy. Just me?
  • Tour a museum or local historical building, especially if it's decked out in its winter finery. My local group is going to road trip to see The Breakers in Newport this year, but even most small towns at least have a historical society. These establishments often don't get a lot of traffic except for school groups, so you're also supporting your local community with this one!
I'm a huge baby when it gets cold out, so in the winter I'm always tempted to sit home drinking tea or cocoa all day. It's hard to get all dolled up only to have bitter winds biting at your knees! Hopefully if the same is true for you, these meet ideas will inspire you to layer up, pull on those mittens, and plan a lovely day with your local community.

{PS- the image above wasn't made by me! I found it on Pinterest and then edited it further myself.}


Related Posts with Thumbnails