Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Ultimate Dream Dress

Let me be the first to say I am so ridiculously sorry for this (several month) delayed post! Excuses excuses, I know, but it's my last year of college and I only just moved into my first apartment. Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in some posts here and there!

Now I know the subject of wedding lolita dresses has been talked to death over at EGL. It's an important subject for a lot of girls; marriage has been crowbared into their heads since childhood. My rant on how marriage is simply an industry and is in every practical sense useless can wait for later, but it's because of those views on marriage that I never really cared to think about a wedding. Therefore, I have never thought about my perfect wedding dress.

The moment I saw Chemise a la Reve for regular sale at Candy Violet, I knew that if I were to ever get married, it would be in that dress. And despite the lack of pink in my regular wardrobe, it would have to be with the pink sash. This dress just appeals to all of my tastes; three quarter sleeves, a healthy amount of ruffles, delicate materials, historical value, similarity to things I've seen Keira Knightley wear, and an overall dreamy appearance? I would be all over that in a heartbeat if I had the money. The white fabric matched with the modest cut really make it ideal for a wedding dress, though.

I wonder if this is how brides-to-be feel when they see the dress of their dreams? Though this one isn't worth a mortgage payment and a half. I won't go into the subject of wearing lolita to a wedding, whether you're an active participant or merely a guest, but it is fun to imagine an entirely lolified ceremony. The fun thing about our time is that people feel the need to customize their lives, and that includes things like weddings. All sorts of dresses are being used now, why not a lolita one?

So what dress do you think you could see yourself getting married in, lolita or not? Right now all I can think is that I need to find a boy who will marry me just so I can buy this dress!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Own Hat Collection

Sorry for the delay in posts! I'd love to give some excuse but the fact is I was lazy. Yesterday I finally dragged my stuff down from temporary storage and took photos of my most beloved hats.

This hat is the only brand hat I own (so far), from BABY the Stars Shine Bright. I bought it used from Closet Child, and I'll just say that I really love their service. This hat looks like a cross between a homburg and a fedora, with a thin netting covering the entire surface and trimmed with a delicate lace. It's endowed with a large bow on the back, a trailing veil also trimmed with lace, and my personal favorite - the dangling chains and crystals. The chains are removable, which is great because they weight down one side of the hat quite a bit. This hat is actually much larger than I thought it would be, but I really do love it. I hope to buy more of BABY's hats in the future.

This is a cloche hat that I bought for $7 on clearance at Target. I really love cloche hats, as they're one of the very few types of hats I can happily wear without looking silly on a daily basis. They are excellent for a sophisticated but casual look. I have another one in a dark red, and I'd love to keep expanding my collection. The best part about them is that they can go for quite cheap! One day I'd like to put together a casual coordinate with this hat.

I'm in love with these hats! I can't wait for the day when I can wear them with the perfect sailor or pirate coordinate. I commissioned both of these mini tricorns from Sakurafairy, and I'd love to get more from her. They are so darling, with adorable details and the perfect shape! I desperately wish I had something to match them with. I think I'll order another one from her in all black, though I believe that navy blue and dark red are the best colors for pirate lolita.

This is my sole mini top hat, a steal at $5 from Forever21. I love all things black and gold, so I thought this might be an inexpensive but handy addition to my wardrobe. It came with a feather but it seems to have fallen out, but it's really not much of a hindrance. I still haven't thought of the right coordinate for this, though.

This is the latest addition to my collection, a large black velvet tricorn from Rainy Pass Trading Company on etsy. I fell in love with it from the moment I saw it. The only thing that bothers me is how small it is. It barely fits on my head normally, but with a wig it's simply a matter of balancing it on my head. I'm not even sure a hat pin would help. But I love it so, I should see if there's a way to expand the circumference of a hat. It would be perfect for a dark pirate coordinate. The large feather and fluffy trim are so dramatic, I wish I could wear this hat every day!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Head Coverings and You

I love hats. I love them beyond a shadow of a doubt. The are functional and (can be) adorable. And for lolitas, they add a great interest piece to a coordinate. In the land of bows and headdresses, a hat can be a welcome breath of fresh air.

Mini Top Hats
These are probably the most common form of hat in lolita. You can find them pretty much anywhere; Forever 21, Claire's (for our American viewers), overstock.com, Bodyline, and various legit brands have sold their fair share. Go to any craft store and I'm sure you can find a plain one to be decorated at your discretion. The only problem with mini top hats is that construction means everything - a hat covered in bad/mismatching lace and under qualified fake flowers will torpedo any good coordinate straight to ita-ville. There are many great places to buy them though, if you're willing to comb through a lot of muck. (Hat shown is from Victorian Maiden)

Tricorn Hats
My personal favorite. Tricorns go with a lot of styles, mostly classic and pirate. I have seen bubblegum pink tricorns used very effectively in sweet coordinates, however. They have a regal flair that can be attributed to their use in royal fashions throughout the centuries. I'm very fond of their naval ties, and I've never seen a pirate in a tricorn I didn't like. Either mini or full-sized, these hats can make a lot of coordinates very dramatic. I have a lot to say about tricorns, so I might just save it and do a whole post on them. (Hat shown is from Alice and the Pirates)

Now I know these don't necessarily fall under the "brim" of hats territory, if you'll forgive my awful pun. However, they do tend to cover the full head, so I thought I'd lump them in here anyway. A bonnet is a strange beast, one that can be either very demure and simple, or dramatic and demanding of attention. A lot of it has to do with the size of the brim and the accessories and trimmings. I've seen a lot of bonnets dripping with flowers and delicate laces, pleats, and even wildly patterned fabrics. They can be very stunning and are suited for just about any lolita style. Certainly not for the faint of heart. (Bonnet shown is from Mary Magdalene)

Mini Crowns
Again not really hats, but a head covering other than a head bow. These are particularly popular among sweet and gothic lolitas. A crown made of pastel beads or small crystals? Perfect for a lovely hime coordinate. A crown swimming in spikes, black feathers and constructed of real leather? Gothic all the way. Crowns are just as versatile in style as the different types of hats, and they can add a little fantasy to an outfit. Try to stay away for the more costumey types though, as you can end up looking like you just got out of a Burger King. (Crowns shown are from Suppurate System)

Cake Hats and Other Head Sculptures
This is a much-discussed area of lolita head coverings. What is too much? What makes a hat part of a costume? What's just downright ugly? Even though I can't wear these things myself without feeling really odd, I love OTT masterpieces that people put on their heads. Full carousels, cups of tea, and full cakes piled onto an already massive hairdo? Sounds fantastic! My favorite hats in this style are always handmade ones. (Cake monstrosity shown is from Angelic Pretty)

So there's my very bare-bones overview of several styles of head wear suitable to lolita! I hope that I can soon show off my own collection and share some great places to buy gorgeous handmade hats, as well as offer up some suggestions for less popular types of hats.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Just Be Yourself: The Body

Hello, internet. Today I'm going to share with you some personal information. I'm 20 years old, 5'4" tall, weigh 171.5 pounds, and my measurements are 39/30/40. That's who I am. And I can't be anyone else.

Recently there's been an onslaught of Lolita blogs writing about one big issue; body image. My favorites are this lovely and thoughtful post by Victoria Suzanne of Lolita Charm and Miss Lumpy's very personal post. So I thought this might be a good opportunity to do another post in the Just Be Yourself series.

There is one thing in this entire world that lets you enjoy fashion of any kind. One thing that, if you didn't have it, you wouldn't be able to even put on a shirt. Obviously I mean your body. The reason we enjoy fashion is to decorate and flatter our bodies, not to starve and mutilate the very things that let us live. And yet we do it anyway. Constantly trying to push ourselves in a direction we were never meant to go down. Telling ourselves that we're not beautiful/sexy/cute/small/good enough for anything we want. Personally I've been in this rut for a while now. I think a lot of women are very good at ignoring or debunking compliments directed at them, thinking they're patronizing or pitying, even though the vast majority of them are certainly sincere. But we transfix our imaginations on the image of the perfect body, an everlasting goal that only gets harder and harder to reach with age.

Women come in a lot of shapes and sizes. To compare yourself to one of the starlets in a movie or magazine cover is near suicide, but unfortunately those images are bombarding us at ever hour of the day. But I've noticed that more often, I'll be envious of the bodies of normal women. They don't have the money or time for personal trainers and strict diets, but they look perfectly fine. Why can't my tummy be that flat? Why can't my arms be that thin? That woman over there probably knows how to handle her body. But the truth is, you'll never know what that woman goes through every day. Her body is not the same as yours. She could be thinking the same thing about you at that very moment. Why aren't my boobs that big? Why don't my calves curve like that? Why is her butt so cute when mine isn't?

I sat down last week and just wrote out the things I like about my body. I had spent so much time thinking about the things I'm not satisfied with that I didn't even bother with my positive attributes. It turns out I have at least two and a half pages worth of good physical characteristics, and I'm sure most girls could think about that much if they tried. It made me realize that a lot of what I'm focusing on isn't a big part of me overall, it's just the negative part. The list of things I want to change is much smaller.

Being a big comic book and movie fan, I recently read an article about the new Jonah Hex movie coming out. In the article, it was mentioned that Megan Fox wore a corset during the filming that brought her waist down to 18". She said that during action scenes they loosened it because the crew was afraid she would faint, and that when she took it off her midsection ached and deep grooves were imprinted into her skin. I'm personally a big fan of corseting, I think it's a fun and lovely way to achieve a beautiful silhouette, and it can sure make you feel sexy. But I don't think an 18" waist is safe in the slightest for someone who hasn't trained her body for it. Megan Fox is already incredibly skinny, I can't understand why anyone thought it would be even sexier if she was that unnaturally thin. I'm at least glad that her pain was brought up in the article though, rather than just a bunch of people oohing and aahing at her tiny waist.

So internet, what will you do now that you know my heavy secret? (and that pun was intended) I feel pretty fierce. And I know sometimes I watch what I eat more carefully than others. And I try to work out an hour every other day. But what I really want is for my body to be healthy. And if my textbook hourglass figure is what my body considers healthy, then I am more than happy to oblige it. If you listen, your body talks to you a lot. Mostly it's just telling you to just be yourself.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Style Icon: Keira Knightley

This month's theme on EGL is style icons. Who inspires you? Whose look do you try to emulate? Who do you admire?

If I could pick one woman in the entire world to be like, it would always be Keira Knightley. Not only is she an immensely talented actress, she is also incredibly beautiful, sharp, and can hold her own against any man. But strangely enough, whenever I tell most of my male friends that I adore her, all I get in response is an "eh." They don't find her beautiful. But I do. I think she is the most beautiful woman in the world. And one of the things I love about her is that she just doesn't care what other people think.

She's most well-known for her period films (and the amazing costumes in them). I know it's not a big favorite, but the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice is the movie that made me fall in love with her. Before that I'd obviously seen Pirates of the Caribbean, and most recently, The Duchess (weep). I think The Duchess is her most extravagant film in terms of fashion, and the first image in this post is my favorite outfit I have ever seen her wear. Brass buttons and military-style coat? Check. Large brown curls? Check. HUGE dramatic hat covered in fox fur? Check. There is nothing about that outfit I do not love.

She isn't afraid of her body. She isn't afraid to play a tough role. She is charming, funny, and fierce. I have never admired someone more in my life (aside from Conan O'Brien, but his fashion sense involves purple pleather suits and rhinestone-studded jackets, so I won't say he's a style icon for me). I think she's extraordinary.

And besides, how could I not love a woman crowned Pirate King?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lolita Snap - June 16, 2010

My dress arrived! You remember, the one I posted about months ago. I ordered the dress and blouse from Qcute, and their service was really fantastic. The dress is adorable, I'm so glad I got it. The details are fine and it's so soft. I'm hooked on Taobao. It fits like a glove, a factor that always worries me when I buy online.

I'm also wearing a wig, because my hair is fairly thin and IMPOSSIBLE to curl. I'll do a review on wigs soon, since right now it's a bit of a hot topic.

JSK and Blouse: R-Series
Socks: BABY the Stars Shine Bright
Shoes: Secret Shop

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lolita in the Sky With Glitter

Today is another art day! This was a piece I did for the Lolita in Wonderland show in London back in February. It murdered me, but I was so happy to get it done. I was determined to draw a black lolita, wearing black and gold. Which is a pain in the ass, but I had to do it! I really want to make a post about race and lolita, because it is an important subject to me. In any case I hope you like this, since my entire heart and soul went into it, and I had plenty of homework to do at the time too.

Sorry about that moon, though. It was very last minute and very silly looking.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Right Decision

Image courtesy of Penny and Aggie

'[My clothes] don't talk...but they do tell me things. Like, sometimes when I go to Baby's boutique and see a dress I really want, it'll whisper, "You aren't ready for me yet. Come back when you've got some more strength of character, and I'll be waiting for you."'
-Momoko (Shimotsuma Monogatari)

You know the feeling. You see a piece you absolutely adore. It's everything you've ever dreamed of in a piece of lolita clothing. It's perfect in every way. But the moment you receive it your dreams are shattered - it doesn't fit, or it doesn't suit your style, or you have nothing to wear it with.

This scenario has probably happened to the majority of lolitas, and to the majority of fashion shoppers in general. I know I've seen plenty of pieces I've fallen in love with but been sorely disappointed by. The feeling is definitely doubled when you add in the cost of something you'll never wear, the time spent getting it to you, or not being able to wear it when you had planned. It's a step away from being a real heartbreak.

There are a lot of reasons why a purchase can go wrong like this. The first is fit. It's difficult to get a piece of ready-made clothing to fit when you don't have a chance to try it on first. When you click the checkout button on a brand website you're basically praying to the powers that be that it will fit you. When it fits, it's amazing. When it doesn't, your heart sinks. There are a few ways around this problem. First, make sure the measurements are entirely accurate. Brands tend to list their measurements in centimeters, so make sure you have your own measurements down correctly. It's also a good idea to make sure that the brand your ordering from lists their measurements accurately. I had my own experience with Innocent World when ordering a size L blouse I thought would fit, only to find that the measurements listed on their site are several inches smaller than the actual garment. Searching through EGL can usually help a little with this, but if worse comes to worst it's perfectly all right to ask the community's advice. Another way around this problem is to forgo ready made clothing altogether and order custom made clothing from independent seamstresses. This is my personal favorite method, as there are some very talented seamstresses in the lolita community with an excellent eye for detail. It's also a good way to get a one-of-a-kind design that suits you perfectly. Of course, it's a good idea to be familiar with their practices first.

Another problem lolitas run into when it comes to buying dream items is that sometimes they really are too good to be true. I know I've seen my fair share of sweet items I thought were darling, but I knew that they would have no place in my wardrobe. I just don't suit sweet. But I'd be lying if I hadn't imagined myself in a full Cherry Berry Bunny coordinate. A good way to deal with this is to think a purchase out logically; what does your wardrobe look like? Is it full of mainly just a few colors? Is it all one style, such as just gothic or just sweet? What items do you wear the least? If an item you're thinking about buying is completely irrelevant to your entire wardrobe, whether it be in color or style, or simply an item you'd never think to put on, it's best to leave it be. Try to think up several different ways you could use a piece, and with which pieces you already own that it could go with. The more ways you can use it the better the investment. I use this tactic to help whittle away at my wishlist. It will keep those pieces that just sit in the back of your closet out of your wardrobe entirely.

Sometimes there will be pieces that suit you perfectly, that look amazing, and that you can most certainly afford. But you simply can't think of how to wear it. This is where Momoko's quote comes in. Sometimes you're just not ready. Maybe your wardrobe isn't complete enough to help support the piece. Maybe your hair doesn't look right with it. Maybe you just feel silly going around in it. That's where experience comes into play. If you build yourself up, little by little your confidence will allow you to get away with anything. Over time you'll inevitably start thinking up new ways in which to use an item, and you'll start wearing it more often. If you don't have all the faith in the world about a piece, don't sweat it. Maybe over time you'll think of it as a necessity.

Hopefully this post will help with some decisions! Happy shopping!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

So many shoes!

I'm not terribly girly. I like dude things. Action movies. Leather. Batman. But if there is one thing that is very, very girly about me, it's my love of shoes. And when you think about it, there are very few style staples for lolita shoes. Sure the platforms, knee high laced up boots, rocking horses (that is an entirely other post, I'm afraid), tea parties, and mary janes are lovely in their own ways, but it's always so much more fun to see how other shoes mix with lolita! Obviously not every style of shoe works, but I thought I would share some of my favorites. I hope to make this a regular feature as well, since I'm always finding so many shoes I want!

I love mid-calf boots. Especially with a mid-calf length dress. The style is very reminiscent of a Victorian child's clothing, and is apparent in the costume design of Tim Burton's Alice. Pleaser makes a boot like this for a very nice price. I feel like these would look best with a classic coordinate, obviously because of the Victorian influence, but I also think they would look stunning with pirate or gothic!

One of my favorite pairs of shoes right now is my pair of oxford heels by Rampage! They are ankle high, have a large, flat heel, and are totally cute. They're also great for everyday wear, which is about as economical as you can get with shoes. These are nice for a casual-to-classic coordinate, but are also suited to kodona due to the masculine oxford style.

If you're more into brand shoes (which I am, but man that price tag is just not worth it for something that's gonna touch the gross city pavement), here's an incredibly cute pair of shoes by BABY the Stars Shine Bright! These are styled wonderfully for summer, with open, airy sides and a fun polka dot pattern. And while I think the black and pink are cute, the red just takes it for me, since they match my favorite bathing suit.

But I gotta say, these are the shoes I want the most right now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Alice and the Pirates Tribute Illustration

Today I figured I would post up a piece of lolita artwork I've done! This piece was done in July 2009 for the opening of the BABY the Stars Shine Bright store in San Francisco. On EGL there was a group of people putting together a scrapbook of images to give to the BTSSB staff as thanks for opening the store. I only own some socks and accessories from BABY, which I really love, so I figured I would draw something.

That said, Alice and the Pirates is one of my very favorite brands. I made a coordinate that was both piratey and Alice-y out of items I found on their website and drew my interpretation of the brand's vision of Alice. This is probably one of my favorite images I've drawn. It was so neat to see it in the scrapbook!

I'll be doing a (multi-post) write-up on pirate lolita soon, so keep an eye out! Just one, since the other is probably covered by a patch. Arr!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Just Be Yourself: Makeup!

Now I know what you're thinking. Why would I start a series about being yourself with makeup, something that masks and camouflages your real face? Well, I revealed my real face to the internet for the first time right up there. The first photo is me having just woken up and brushed my hair. The second is after taking a shower and putting my makeup on. There was zero photoshop interference with those pictures, minus sizing. And I will tell you right now, I feel like my real face is the one on the right.

A lot of girls don't like makeup, and I can totally understand where they are coming from. It is a mask that you put on your face to hide your flaws or to accentuate your best qualities. And in my opinion the same can be said about dressing for your body type! The social views on makeup are complex. It can both draw attention and make you blend in, depending on how you wear it.

Lolitas view makeup the same way as any other women. Some think it's a necessity; why would you spend all that time on your lovely outfit and leave your face plain and boring? Some think it's to be avoided, a crutch that keeps the world from seeing your true beauty. Some just use the basics; concealer, mascara, maybe a little eyeshadow. It's all a matter of personal opinion! And in the end, you should just be yourself. Don't listen to what others think you should do with your face. Do what you think is best. Granted, if you go the makeup route it's a good idea to understand the products and use them to their best advantage, but in the end it is entirely your decision.

One of my personal role models is Doe Deer of Lime Crime Makeup; she started the company from scratch and lovingly crafts her products. Her goal is to integrate bright colors into the makeup industry. To the right is one of her lipsticks, My Beautiful Rocket, a bright orange. You can look through Lime Crime's lipsticks here at her webstore; she has purples, pinks, red, even a bright blue! Her products show that not only can makeup be bold, but it can be fun and vibrant. My personal favorite is Styletto, the gorgeous black. I want to wear it all the time.

Eyeshadow is always a fun splash of color to compliment your outfit. My very favorite brand is Urban Decay, which can be bought at Sephora.The colors are rich and bright, and have really good staying power. If you can't afford $18 shadow though I also recommend Maybelline, a drugstore brand that has a wide variety of colors. The staying power isn't as good, but the shadows last a long time in the compact and only cost about $5 a piece, so you won't have to worry about wasting it.

My own routine involves covering up a good deal of acne, as you can tell in the photo. It honestly looks as though I'm wearing a different skin! I've had to perfect my routine over the years, but it currently consists of foundation, concealer, and finishing powder. The concealer that has saved my life up to now is Clinique's Advanced Concealer. Unfortunately it only comes in two (very slightly different) shades, and doesn't cater to many skin tones or colors. It does show up a little orangey on my face, but that's taken care of by finishing powder, and it hides my acne like nothing else. And to me, my mask actually shows people what my face should really look like if it wasn't covered in ugly red bumps.

So in order to effectively wear makeup with lolita, you don't have to go full-out Mana style blue lips with a pure white face and thick lashes. I mean sure, you could if you wanted, but it isn't required or necessary. Find what works best for you, what you like, and overall what makes you happy. If it goes against your personal beliefs, that's fine. If you can't leave the house without it, that's fine. Experimenting is always fun though, so don't be afraid to give anything a try! Go crazy, have fun! And don't forget, just be yourself!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Dream Dress

I believe this is a good starting article for a new blog. It's a subject every lolita has interest in - the dress she's wanted since the beginning, the dress she caught a glimpse of and couldn't get off her mind, the dress she keeps as her wallpaper on her computer and stares at longingly. Some lolitas have that one dream dress that they would go to hell and back for, some get a new dream dress every couple months and have a few old ones piled up in their closet.

As much as I would love to own a closet brimming with dresses it's unfortunately not my reality. I haven't been a lolita very long - it's been two years now and I've only just been able to start collecting interest pieces like dresses. I've been focusing on basics like socks, petticoats, and blouses till now, which takes a lot of time and money. The fact of the matter is that lolita does eat up a lot of cash, especially if you have other (expensive) hobbies. So for many lolitas, a dream dress is just that - a dream.

A dress can be a really beautiful thing to see on a person who loves that dress. One of the saddest things is loving a dress, buying the dress (usually for a princely sum), and not having the dress fit or look right. The whole business is a gamble; whether or not you'll fit the dress, you'll have the money, or you'll be even be fast or lucky enough to get it. But in the end, the chase can be just as exciting as opening up that package.

The first image in this post is a dress I just bought from Qcute's site, the R-Series Taisyou Romance Camellia JSK. This is my first dream dress I've been able to purchase, despite the Mary Magdalene design in the second photo being my ultimate dream. I can only hope that one day I'll be able to get my hands on that baby.

Back for some real fun!

Well summer is here again. And I've decided to completely revamp this blog. Especially because I haven't written anything in it for months. So I've decided to make this blog entirely fashion-oriented, with a huge focus on lolita! I'll get around to whipping up some graphics later, but for now I think I'll just introduce the subject matter.

I hope to start writing about things that are important to me personally, and actually putting up articles. I'm more of an offbrand and custom-made lolita, so there won't be much about brands. I'm also not sweet; my favorite style by far is pirate, but I'm also an avid adorer of classic and gothic lolita, so a lot of the content will be about those styles. I'll also continue to post my lolita art, since it does kind of dominate my work. Hopefully I'll be able to put my own unique twist into the sea of lolita blogs that's drowning the internet. And hopefully I'll be able to keep up with posting to Enfant de Pêche! I have great expectations, and a lot of them are multicolored.

Time to get to work on those graphics!