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!