Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Contest

Hello! I am officially bringing The Elegant Wardrobe off of hiatus just in time for the new year! And what better way to celebrate the end of '11 than a contest! All you have to do is post in the comment section your email address, and what your New Year's resolution(s) will be, lolita or not. Each person can enter one time, and three winners will be selected at random. Of course, feel free to re-blog/facebook/tweet about the contest as much as you want! The contest will end at midnight EST on the 8th, and the winners will be announced on the 9th.

The prize? It's a handmade, Chocomint-inspired two-way clip! If you win, you get to choose the color(s), shape, and decorations for your one of a kind clip. There are some samples in the pictures, but if you have an idea for something different, I can try my best to make it. There are circles (doughnuts), stars, and hearts available, in pink, blue, white, or rainbow
pastel yarn. So I hope there are bunches of entries and everyone has a happy new year!

Left: decorated white star
Right: Pink doughnut, split star (pink/blue)
Above: Blue stars/hearts, rainbow stars

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Short Hiatus

Hi everyone!
Unfortunately, I'm going to be going on a short hiatus. Before, I was preparing a fashion show for a con and getting ready for Thanksgiving. Now, I'm preparing for the end of the semester by writing tons and tons of papers and taking tests. I haven't had any time at all to write here, and I won't have any time for the next two weeks. But as soon as this semester ends, I'll be back to writing here as much as I can. I'm so sorry to have to do this, but school has to come first. I hope to be back to writing soon and I'm terribly sorry for the inconvenience.
See you all soon!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baby the Stars Shine Bright Winter Releases!

BABY and Alice and the Pirates are my favorite Japanese brands. I'm always watching for their newest releases! And this past week has been a flurry of releases from them. Three new sets have been released for reservation, and they're all quite different from each other.

That sure is a mouthful. What a ridiculous name. But this print is quite lovely in my opinion. It features delicate angels flying around with crosses and candelabras. The series has two jumpers, a skirt, a bonnet, an Alice bow, some socks, a blouse, and plenty of jewelry to match. The designer used delicate chiffon fabric to give the jumpers a light and airy feeling, like they could float away. Both jumpers also feature bustle backs, which I'm a big fan of. The skirt is simple, a great piece to fit into almost any wardrobe. The blouse has princess sleeves, which seem to be back in style. None of the pieces are over-designed in my opinion and would work well in many different styles. It went on sale on the 11th, but most everything is still available for reservation!

This is my favorite of the three. If I had the funds for it, I'd be tempted to buy it. It's perfect for Christmas! This is an Alice and the Pirates design based off of a Christmas classic, The Nutcracker. I don't know why, but I associate this type of plaid print with Christmas. The border has toy chests, nutcracker soldiers, rocking horses, stuffed bears, and all sorts of other classic toys one might find in the ballet. It comes in four vibrant colors: yellow, blue, green, and red. This series also has two jumpers, a skirt, a one-piece, two tops (one blouse and one vest-bustier sort of hybrid), an Alice bow, a hat, and some socks. I wish they had made this into some stuff for boy-style too, since the hat would be perfect for a military-inspired coordinate. I'm not a big fan of the blouse at all, but the Mary jumper and one piece remind me of the sorts of Christmas dresses my mom would make my sister and I wear for church. The reservation period starts on the 16th, so if you want to get this, be ready. I think it will be popular.

This set is a collaboration with the popular vinyl doll, Blythe. The series has one dress, a headbow, a pair of tights, and some jewelry. The print is of the night sky, full of constellations and different types of stars. The back of the dress has an enormous bow complete with smaller bows as decorations. It has a bustle front, princess sleeves, and a scalloped hem, making it a very opulent one piece. The cost reflects this, at over $600 US (that's around 450€ or 387£ for European readers)! Also available for purchase is the matching Blythe doll, complete with her own, tiny version of the dress and headbow. This reservation starts on the 18th, and does not include the doll with any purchase.

The first (crazy long name) and the last of these three series can be seen here in the videos from the Hoshi no Namida Princess Tea Party held in October in Tokyo. Make sure you get the right videos though, as they also have ones of their tea party held back in February. I'm not sure why the Nutcracker print isn't in the show, since they use it on the video at the beginning. I love that BABY made their own YouTube channel and is taking film of their shows in Japan for all of us that can't go to their shows over there. I hope they continue to do that in the future~ Will you be buying any of these? Which is your favorite?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happy Bloggiversary!

Well, it's been about a year since I started writing The Elegant Wardrobe. I started this blog as a re-route for people that come to my lolita panels. It's become more than that though. It's not just the basics anymore. I'm pretty happy with the direction it's been going recently, but there are a few things I'd like to change. I'd like to be posting more, but I don't want to post fluff. If that means that my post count stays low like the past few months, then so be it. I'd like to change the layout again soon, so look forward to that. Finally, I'd like to do more as far as giveaways, contests, promotion, and stuff like that. So look forward to all that, tell your friends about this blog, and thank you so much for reading and supporting this blog for one year!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Style Spotlight: Fairy Lolita

I hate to be late to the party, but I'm becoming a huge fan of fairy kei and its inspiration on Lolita fashion. Maybe this is going out of style now with OTT sweet lolita on the decline, but I love it more and more. I've always been more of a bittersweet fan, and so this really goes against my personal past trends. But the soft pastels and lack of rules attracted me to fairy kei. Which is funny, because I'm a big fan of the rules in Lolita fashion. I'm still learning the intricacies of fairy fashion, and it's actually pretty easy once you get the general idea down.

This is how I think about it. Its easy to be a good lolita if you have three things: 1) Information, 2) money, and 3) confidence. If you have the money for it, you can simply wait for a brand to release something you like and then buy all the items in the series. Then all you need to add to the outfit are matching shoes. The items in the set are all made to go together and will look good together. Once you've gotten a few items and you get the hang of it, you can start mixing and matching. Fairy kei (and pretty much every other J-fashion style) doesn't have the same concrete rules about items, silhouette, accessories, and color coordination. This gives these styles a lot of flexibility, but at the same time, it makes it somewhat hard to "get it right" when you're just starting out.

Fairy lolita is, well, a combination of the lolita aesthetic with fairy kei ideas. It incorporates
sweet lolita with the vintage-fabulous fairy kei. It can go from the VERY casual end of the lolita spectrum to a more formal style, but it's overall not as formal as strict lolita style. I think the biggest difference between the two styles though is the emphasis in fairy kei on hand made items. Which I personally, love. And you can say that there isn't a stigma on handmade in lolita fashion, but in reality, there is. Mostly because lolita is a tricky thing and if it isn't made absolutely perfectly then it just looks off. But in fairy kei, it's more about getting plain things and making them your own. There are a few major brands, Spank!, Nile Perch, and 6% Doki Doki are the most popular ones. Items from Angelic Pretty, Chocomint, and other shops associated with lolita fashion are also incorporated into the style often.

In this style, there's a big focus on the 80's and children's toys/tv/clothing of the 80's. Now, I had a very traumatic experience with Care Bears when I was young and I really can't get on the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic boat (actually I can't stand MLP at all). These are two of the mecca's of this style. Furthermore, I wasn't even born in the 80's! I have all these things going against me, but it's okay. My fairy kei taste is just a little more my own and a little less conventional. I'll probably write more about it some other time though. If you want more info on fairy kei and incorporating it in your lolita wardrobe, check out these links below~ I'm by no means an expert on fairy kei style, but I hope this short intro to the style inspires you to find out more information!

An Article on Nile Perch (a fairy kei shop) - I got most of the pictures in this article at this site
This Wardrobe Post by Kyandichan - She has a fairy lolita style wardrobe!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lolita Obsessions: School Bags

Midterms have come and gone and I finally have some time to write again! With my adventure into Lifestyle Lolita, I came across a major flaw in my wardrobe. I have very few purses, and only one of them is useable in a school setting. I take notes on my laptop and I also carry a few other things with me on a daily basis. My day-to-day backpack is from when I was in High School and is green and black, it doesn't match my lolita wardrobe at all. A lack of a matching school bag was driving me crazy! Here, I've found a few options for you to use if you want to wear lolita to school, but still need to carry a larger bag for your supplies.

Laptop Bags
My personal favorite option, maybe it's because I take my laptop (his name is Ringo) with me everywhere, is the laptop bag. They're commercially available in cute prints and styles and if you don't have a laptop, you can use them for folders and notebooks. This one on the right is my favorite one I own. It's got a cute Alice in Wonderland pattern and the White Rabbit charm is removable! I got it at ShopKawaii.com, which also sells Sanrio and San-X merchandise and bunches of other cute things perfect for a lolita life. They do online shipping all over the world, and everything is just so cute! If you're looking for something a little less sweet, I really like some of the options from Modcloth. Their items are a little country and a little classic, like this deer print bag. If you're feeling crafty, you could make or get a plain colored one and decorate it to your liking!

"School Bags"
I know I've talked about these before on here somewhere, mostly because I adore them. Sometimes you see Japanese students with these briefcase-like bags for their books, both in Anime and in real life. The lolita fashion movement co-opted this bag style and made it fit into the lolita aesthetic. They are sort of like the above laptop bags, but usually they are styled more after briefcases. Both brands and off-brands (like Taobao shops) make bags in this style. However, as you probably can imagine, the Japanese brands charge far more for one. The price ranges from $100 - $250 for a bag like this, it's a little much for a purse. However, some Taobao shops make their own versions. They're far cheaper, at around $40 US. However, they are also often smaller, and "not meant for heavy items." So it just depends on what you're looking for and what you're planning to use the bag for.

This is what I really needed for school. If you have a sweet style or you wear things inspired by decora and fairy kei, then it's extremely easy to find backpacks. Sanrio sells a whole bunch of them that range in size and style. However, for other styles, it's a little more tricky. For gothic and punk styles, there are bags like the coffin one on the right that have backpack straps attached. The only problem is that they aren't always the right size or shape for school books or a laptop. In the way of backpacks for classic, there isn't really much. You're much better off getting a school bag to match. And all the sub styles. I have this theory that every sub-style in lolita can be made by combining two or more of these main styles. For example, country is just sweet combined with classic. But more on that later. As long as it works with your outfit and is functional, go for it! 9/10 times, no one is going to notice that your backpack doesn't quite match your clothes.

Do you have a bag that you like to use the most? I have this black purse with a bow as the snap closure that I use pretty much everywhere. It's big on the inside and blends into my black-based coordinates well. It's also cheap and durable! Thanks for reading~

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Week in the World of Lifestyle Lolita

This past week, I decided to do a little experiment. I wanted to see what being a lifestyle lolita was like. And I have to say, it was a lot different than I expected. I wore lolita six days during the past week, I had to skip Sunday because I can't wear it to the job I have on Sundays. I'll talk about some of the really fun parts of the week, as well as some of the problems I had.

Getting Up and Getting Dressed
I am not a morning person. At all. I get up and catch the bus less than 20 minutes later. Which made dressing in lolita particularly miserable. I decided on my outfit the night before, but even with that, I was still missing the earlier bus and nearly late to class a few times. If I could manage to get up even 15 minutes earlier, I wouldn't have felt so rushed getting ready to go. If I could have gotten up an hour earlier, I would have actually felt awake when I was getting dressed.

Wearing lolita, while fun, is terribly inconvenient. I'm not used to wearing clothing without pockets. And only one of my dresses actually has them. It was difficult to carry my ID and phone with me. I have a bright green and black backpack that I use regularly. When I was wearing my frilly clothing, it felt out of place and, well, just plain ugly. So I couldn't use it. I have a few laptop bags that I used, and while they worked, they didn't really match either. What I really needed is a school bag, but more on that later.

Reactions: Good and Bad
I prepared for the worst. I prepared for the usual stares and the negative comments. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Fellow students ignored me, professors didn't make comments or make me explain myself. The people working at the two coffee shops I frequent were so positive and I received lots of complements. One girl told me to check out the PGH_Lolita group, where I'm a moderator. I politely thanked her for letting me know about this.

Working my week-day job in lolita was pleasant. I work in retail, so it was quite easy to wear lolita to work. However, it was also somewhat difficult to work in lolita. It was cramped and hard to move around a lot to help the customers. I've worn lolita to work before though, so this is not something new to me. My bosses really liked it though, and were very positive.

There were a few random reactions that I got in other places. A lady in the grocery store said she liked my dress and asked me where I got it. My little cat, Nia, was actually afraid of the dresses. There were a few people asking about it on the bus and on the street walking between classes and work. But overall, most everyone just ignored it.

Wardrobe Difficulties
I have a pretty decent sized wardrobe. I have seven skirts, seven jumpers, four blouses, and three cutsews. I've been able to make a myriad of coordinates thus far, but six days in a row took a toll on my wardrobe. I simply do not have enough dresses to make coordinates that interest and excite me every single day. Skirts were pretty-much unusable, because I only had a few tops I could use with them. This was a real eye-opener for me. I had always thought of each piece in my wardrobe being important. But truthfully, many pieces stay on their hangers in the closet. It may be time to do a bit of evaluating in my wardrobe, especially if I plan to become a lifestyle lolita.

I was quite surprised by myself. For the past two years, my life has become more and more lolita-centric. I've wanted to become a lifestyle lolita for past year almost, and that has been what I've been moving towards. After this experiment, I'm not so sure anymore. It's very difficult to wear lolita all day. Perhaps it's just me, but wearing lolita becomes exhausting after awhile. I learned that I would need to own enough cutsews to match my skirts, and while I have four blouse options, not one of them has long sleeves. How did that happen?

My conclusions
I think that it takes a lot of confidence and energy to wear lolita by yourself. A friend complimented me on my outfit one day, saying that she "doesn't have the balls to wear her lolita to school." I didn't feel that way before this experiment. I also feel that my wardrobe is not in a state to be used daily. I can barely make enough outfits to wear something different every day for a week. Finally, there are just some impracticalities that come with wearing lolita. It would be important for me to keep some "regular" clothes around to deal with these situations in. For more on these, check out my post from a week ago on this subject. Still, I don't think you have to wear lolita every day to be considered a "real lolita." Even if you just wear the style to meet-ups, conventions, and occasionally other times, like I do usually, you're still a lolita in my book!

It's almost been a year since I started writing the Elegant Wardrobe. I know I don't have a ton of readers or internet fame or anything. But I'm still happy with how this is going. So I'll be doing a one-year bloggiversary give away, starting later this month. Also, I am proud to announce that The Elegant Wardrobe now has a Facebook page! Please feel free to subscribe to it to get the latest updates right on your Facebook. Until next time~

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lolita Obsessions: Publications

Welcome to another edition of Lolita Obsessions! This time, I'll be talking about the newest collection in my life, Lolita Publications. What is a lolita publication, you may ask. Well, basically it means anything printed published with a lolita fashion focus. Mostly this means brand catalogues and magazines. For example, there are magazines like KERA and Gothic & Lolita Bible. There are catalogues that Japanese brands put out at the beginning of each season (twice or four times a year) that show the newest items from their brand as well as some modeled outfits. There's also at least one book on lolita fashion, Misako Aoki's Kawaii Revolution. If it's printed on paper and it's about lolita, I'll put it in my collection. These items can range in price, from around $30 US for a new G&LB to $10-$25 for a KERA or a brand catalogue.

What's the allure of this collection, you may ask. After all, $50 will get you a range of items, including Bodyline dresses, brand socks and accessories, and plenty of jewelry. But these published items, while not wearable, are a part of the Lolita culture. The magazines are straight from Japan, and are in fact, in Japanese completely. But because they're from Japan, you get to see what the latest trends are on the streets of Harajuku. Often, brands will also buy up ad space in these magazines (or Mooks - magazine/book hybrid) to showcase their newest items, before they even go up on the internet.

KERA is the premiere J-fashion magazine available. It began in 1998 and has been publishing monthly ever since. KERA features lolita style as well as other J-fashions like Hime Gyaru, Mori Girl, Dolly Kei, Ageha, Pop Kei, Visual Kei, Decora, etc. It's still a mostly picture-based magazine, and still in Japanese. There are ads for lolita brands as well as other shops that sell the aforementioned non-lolita styles. Street snaps, make-up and hair tutorials, articles on musicians in the fashion world, and so much more. There are a bunch of other spin off publications from KERA, including Maniax, BOYS, Snap, and the ever-so-popular Gothic and Lolita Bible. The articles are in Japanese and often feature fashion icons such as Misako Aoki, Nana Kitade, and Ana Tsuchiya on their covers.

Yes, they really are all in Japanese. And no, I can't read it, not a bit. So then why would I buy it? I can't read anything in it, so what's really the point? Well, the pictures of course!! Taken by professionals, photoshopped beyond recognition, and finally decorated with oodles of sparkles and hearts. There really isn't another magazine quite like the Gothic and Lolita Bible (GLB) in regards to their photography. In addition to the actual pictures with models, GLB acts as a seasonal catalogue, showing the latest series from Japanese brands. There are also hair and make-up tutorials (with step-by-step pictures, no translating necessary!) and crafting/sewing patterns. The sewing patterns do need to be translated, but often someone will post that information up online somewhere.

However, there is one option available in English. A few years ago, Tokyopop decided to release a version of the Gothic and Lolita Bible in English with content designed specifically for western Lolitas. They completed five volumes before canceling the project. These are somewhat rare now, but every once and awhile, one will pop up for sale somewhere. The English version contains similar content to the Japanese one. Both have street snaps, advertisements for Japanese brands, catalogue sections, patterns, and hair/makeup tutorials. The patterns and sewing instructions are in English for these, making them an excellent resource for DIYers.

While the Japanese bible contains articles related to places in Tokyo, events in Japan, and other things Japanese girls might want to check out, the English bible created content for the American and European readers. They covered a few conventions and events held in America and Europe, and spotlighted designers that have become known as the "American Brands" (Megan Maude, Candy Violet, Sweet Rococo). Some content was directly brought over from the original, but the editors of the English version of the bible were quite successful in writing original content for their bibles. For example, the one above on the right is the "flower issue." It contains recipes for flower-themed sweets (candied rose petals!), a tutorial on making roses out of ribbon, and a quiz to see what flower you are. Because the English bibles were all published in 2008 and 2009, they're somewhat outdated now. But they're still fun to flip through occasionally and worth their inflated prices.

Here's my current collection of publications. It's still quite small. The first English GLB got a little cut off, and I have the newest KERA in the mail. I keep them in a plastic box to protect them from getting bent, dusty, and being nommed on by kitties. I most recently acquired my first Japanese GLB, and I have to say, I've really missed them since Tokyopop stopped making them. Even though I can't read it, the pictures tell the story of Lolita in Japan, which I just love. If you're looking to get some Japanese magazines for yourself, there are a few different places to look. If you live in a very big city that has a Japanese book store then you're really lucky! You can probably get it there! I believe Kinokuniya has these in stock. You can also order from Tokyo Rebel or through a shopping service in Japan. Finally, you can buy old editions of KERA, GLB, and brand catalogues on the EGL Comm Sales, though they may not come with the stickers/patterns/other goodies that are sometimes in these. In fact, all of my Japanese brand catalogues are from EGL comm sales and are secondhand.

Does this make you want to start collecting these items? Maybe not, but that's okay. There are plenty of better things to spend your money on in the world of Lolita. Still, I hope I've given you a better understanding and appreciation of these items and why they exist. Feel free to email me at theelegantwardrobe@gmail.com or let me know on my Formspring with any questions or comments you've got!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10 Things to Avoid in Lolita

I don't know about you, but I love wearing lolita out pretty much everywhere. To work, to school, to the grocery store, on the bus, out shopping. However, there are just some scenarios where dressing your frilly best is not only impractical, but inconvenient and, quite frankly, a nuisance. I did a post like this awhile back, but to be honest, I wasn't satisfied with it at all. So I've been re-working it and here's a better list (and a more practical one) of things to not do in lolita.

1. Shopping (For Clothes)
I hate trying clothes on. I hate it! It's such a bother. But it does help you decide on your purchases, so I do it anyhow. Wearing lolita to a shopping trip where you're planning to try stuff on is just plain bothersome. If you're shopping for "mainstream" clothes, do you really want to be pulling layers upon layers of frill covered items off, for not even five minutes of trying stuff on? Not only will you have to set your nice items on the floor or the bench, it'll just make the whole process take EVEN longer. Save yourself some time and go in your jeans.

2. On an Airplane
I've done this before. I wore lolita onto a plane, in the United States. It. was. a. nightmare. First of all, the TSA agents are extra suspicious of you because you look different and stand out. Secondly, you have to take your shoes off and I don't like getting my nice socks dirty. Third, no wigs, period. Finally, once you get on the stupid plane, the seats are really cramped and you're super uncomfortable and the petticoat doesn't fit in the little bathroom so well. It's miserable.

3. On a car/bus trip
This also goes for a car ride, though less so I think. I drove back from Ohayocon in lolita this past year. It wasn't terrible, because I'm used to driving in my dresses. But if the car ride had been much longer, it would have gotten really terrible, really fast. It's that uncomfortable, cramped car factor that makes this an awful experience. If you have to do it (like I did), then I suggest planning a more casual outfit for that day and perhaps taking the petticoat off.

4. Getting a Haircut
Getting a haircut is so nice~ They make it look so much better than I ever can manage on my own. But there are a few reasons not to wear your lolita to your haircut. Most of the time, they will wash your hair before they cut it. Lolita and water don't really mix, so why risk exposure to it? Also, all those little bits of hair and whatever products they use on your hair, they can get on your clothing (even with the protective covering). If you want that just-cut look for a meet-up or other event, schedule your hair cut in the morning and then put your lolita on once you get home.

5. Prolonged Exposure to Children under 3
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against kids. I work in a nursery and I'm in school to become an elementary teacher. But kids... are sticky. They sort of leak fluid from, well, everywhere. And they love to put their sticky little hands wherever they aren't supposed to, especially right on your pretty clothes. Don't babysit in lolita, don't hang out with your niece/nephew/baby cousin/sibling in it, don't go to work in a day care in it! Better safe than sorry.

6. Amusement Parks
One of my favorite places in the whole world is, in fact, Disney World. And up until recently, I wanted to wear lolita to the park and pretend I was a princess while I was there. But then I realized the logistic difficulties of wearing lolita to a theme park if you're planning on riding anything at all (and let's face it, that's why you're there in the first place). The seats are dirty from thousands of people going on and off the ride, many are also outside and exposed to weather and animals. You'll have to leave your purse in the little area before you get on the ride, and it could get scuffed up or stolen. If you like to wear heals in lolita, imagine walking around and standing in lines all day in those shoes. As fun as it would be, I've given that idea up.

7. Cooking
Sure, it would be adorable to bake some cupcakes in a cute dress and a frilly apron. And sure, the apron would protect your dress from some harm. But! I highly recommend changing out of expensive, irreplaceable clothes while you cook. Stuff happens in the kitchen, and you look down and you're covered in flour or whatever you're working with. The un-washable nature of lolita makes it a poor choice for cooking in. If you are making something simple (like pasta, the only thing I know how to cook) then you're probably going to be fine. But much more than that, and your outfit could get damaged quite easily.

8. Messy Arts & Crafts
I've been trying to think of crafts for a crafting meet-up for about a year now. And I can't seem to come up with anything other than sewing and deco den that's completely safe on your clothing. And even then, deco den uses a bunch of glue. Scrapbooking is probably okay too, but mostly what I'm talking about here is painting, paper machét, clay-based crafts, decoupage, and pretty much any other craft that involves liquids. Most of these materials won't wash out of regular clothes, much less lolita. And just like with cooking, an apron won't protect all of you.

9. Napping
I must confess, I've fallen asleep in lolita before. It happens, mostly after long meet-ups or at conventions. While this isn't the absolute worst thing you can do to your clothing, it's not great. First of all, it's not too comfy to sleep in a blouse and a petticoat. Second, your clothes will get wrinkled very easily when you sleep in them. You'll have to iron it (again) and it just takes time and effort. If you want to carry the lolita aesthetic over into your
pajamas, there are a few options. There are vintage or vintage-styled nightgowns or dressing gowns. You can either make your own or buy one. I looked around at a few online shops and this one seems to have a good variety of styles and sizes. You could also go with just regular sleepwear with cute motifs. There are tons of pajama sets featuring Hello Kitty, My Little Pony, Snoopy, other Sanrio characters, and whatever other cute things you like. The third and final option is to wear bloomers and some top to bed. I like babydoll-style t-shirts for this option the best, and bloomers are so comfy!

10. Cleaning
I hear all the time about people cleaning their house in lolita. And I always think "how much did they really clean?" Because I just can't imagine doing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, or doing laundry in lolita. Sure, sweeping, picking up, and maybe dusting would be easy enough, but if you're going to be moving around a lot, using chemicals or soap, or lifting a lot then maybe throw on some of those pajamas I mentioned above.

This is a great introduction post for the next week in my life. For the next week, I will be delving into the complexities of lifestyle lolita. Whether I'm going to school or work, on the bus or driving, I'll be wearing lolita. Every day. So please look forward to finding out how I do!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Recent Releases

I'm late! I'm late! I've been meaning to do a review of some of the newest Japanese brand pieces and with school and work I've just completely forgotten to do it! Here we go, a whirlwind tour of the newest fall pieces!

First, we'll start with Angelic Pretty. They have Petit Patisserie and Royal Palace out so far this season. Petit Patisserie features vertical lines of various cakes and ribbons. It's quite different from Angelic Pretty's famous border prints, and I rather like it. It comes in two jumpers, what appears to be a coat, a mini skirt, a hair bow, and socks. One of the jumper skirts is pictured on the left, in Ivory. It's quite a delicate look, and this version is still in stock in a few colors. Next, is Royal Palace. It's a floral printed dress with a bustle in the back and plenty of subtle details. It seems to come in ivory, brown, and pink. It only comes in a jumper so far, and only the brown is listed. This dress also very subtle, and I personally like this. It's on the right in the ivory, but is in stock in the brown.

Next on the tour, we have Innocent World. Another two dresses from this brand, Delft Jumper Lotta and Stained Glass Rose. I'm really not sure what "Delft Jumper Lotta" is supposed to mean, but it's quite lovely. The print has little deer and other woodland animals in little scenes together. It comes in three colorways, blue/green x cream, pink x brown, and bordeaux x pink. And like many of the other IW releases, it comes in a regular length and a long length. The print also comes on a skirt, socks, and a matching bag. The short version of the blue jumper is pictured on the left. I love how the designers used the print to make the detail, there's very little lace or other decoration. Second, the Stained Glass Rose. It was the feature of a F Yeah Lolita article a few weeks back, and it's something you just don't see everywhere else. It also comes in three colors: blue, bordeaux, and apricot, and in both short and long styles. In this series, there's a skirt, a hair bow, socks, and a rather plain looking blouse and bag. The picture on the right is of the short version in the Apricot color, and my sister actually ordered this dress. I can't wait to see it in person!

Finally, the designers over at BABY and AATP sure have been busy. In the last month, they have
released seven different series, not to mention their fall coats and shoes. I can't possibly talk about them all in enough detail without this article being entirely too long. Starting with Milky Rail Train, this is a special series in conjunction with KERA magazine I believe. Make sure to check out the clock-themed accessories, striped details, and the matching pullip dolls! Black Cat, Witch, and Apple Tree is AATP halloween-themed print. I love the border print, reminiscent of Vampire Requiem.
The big miss for me is the full-size witch hat. It's just too costume-y for my tastes. BABY's print, released around the same time as the AATP one,
is Marchin' Cookie Flavour. It's something I would have bought if I hadn't already seen BABY's most recent dress in KERA magazine, and something I would like to own in the future. It has a diamond pattern with a border print of cookies and tea cups. The pieces are pretty safe, and I like that about them. The VANTAN collaboration sets are not something I really get. I believe Vantan is a fashion design school in Tokyo, and they had students work with both BABY and AATP designers to create these two dresses. The Tales of Xillia sets are based off a video game for the PS3, released in Japan on the 8th of this month. I don't really understand why BABY made these outfits. They're cute, but I don't see them working in a lolita wardrobe. Putamayo also worked with this game to create their own looks.

And now we're to the set I wanted to talk in detail about. Clockwork Tea Party is the dress that kept me from ordering Marchin' Cookie Flavour. I saw it in the KERA scans a few weeks ago, and instantly fell in love. It becomes available for reservation on the 30th. The series has two jumpers, a skirt, a head bow, a bonnet, a blouse, socks, and some jewelry. Whew! Unfortunately, the reservation page doesn't have actual pictures of
the items, just sketches. The print has teddy bears and tea cups with butterflies, cookies, and other tea party stuff. It comes in five colors too, ivory, pink, red, navy, and black. On the left, there's the only picture I can
find of the actual pieces. That's the first jumper skirt, head bow, blouse (princess sleeves!), and socks. According to the KERA magazine that the scan on the left came from, Alice and the Pirates will be releasing a series called Lock the Pandora's Memories, but I can't tell much from the ad (on the right).

If I've missed or forgotten something, please let me know and I'll add it! Did you purchase one of these dresses or are you planning to? Which is your favorite? I'm so excited to order this Friday! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Transitioning from Summer to Fall

The season change between summer and fall is perhaps the most drastic one of the whole year. It goes from unbearably hot and sunny to cold and dark in a few short weeks. However, Lolita is a fashion that requires layers year-round, making fall and spring perfect for coordinating. Since it's cooler, you have many more options than when it's warm out. There's a world of options that become available from fall through mid-spring or so.

A bolero is a sort of sweater that's much shorter than a cardigan. For
lolita, it's usually frilly around the neckline, bottom, and cuffs. They come in long or short sleeves and in a wide variety of colors. Many brands and off-brands make boleros for all seasons. In the summer, there are chiffon ones that are translucent and let air in. In the winter, there are knit ones that keep you a bit warmer. Boleros are a replacement item for a blouse, in other words, if you're wearing a bolero then you don't need to wear a blouse. In addition, boleros are commercially available and many work well in Lolita fashion. When looking on Lolita clothing store websites, check under the "cut and sewn" or "knit" sections to find them.

I love cardigans! They are just the best. A cardigan is a long sweater that buttons up at the front. They're comfy and also commercially available. Cardigans are perfect for more casual styles. Many cardigans specifically made for Lolita fashion have decoration on the sleeves and up the button area. They often come in cute prints, like hearts and polka dots. Cardigans are also easily made at home. And by this I mean you can get a fairly plain one from somewhere like Target or a second hand store and add decoration in the form of bows, cute buttons, embroidery, etc. Use pictures from your favorite fall coordinates and pieces from lolita shops as inspiration!

Blouses & Cutsews
As you probably know, blouses come in long and short sleeves. But what if it's still warm in the daytime and cools off at night? Well, there's such a thing as detachable sleeves. This is a great solution if you want the more formal look of a blouse but with the options that sleeves offer. I know this sounds a little bit tacky, carrying around detached sleeves in your bag. It sort of reminds me of the zip-off pants they make for men. But it's practical and it's not like the sleeves don't match the blouse. All of the above also goes for cutsews, as they come in detachable sleeve styles as well.

Skirts & Jumpers
Skirts are just not something that I wear a ton of. I own them, I occasionally buy them, but for some reason I just don't wear them often. Skirts for cooler months are not so different from other months. The big difference is in materials. In the cool months, items made with heavy fabrics such as velvets start popping up. They give your coordinate a luxurious look, and I personally associate them with Christmas! This also goes for jumpers. If you're finding that you are getting cold easily, try wearing a plain colored underskirt for an extra layer.

This is the big change from summer to winter. Many Lolita companies sell coats specifically designed to accommodate the petticoat shape without crushing it. They come in a variety of styles and shapes. It's easy to get caught up in the options when it comes to coats, but remember, you should build up your wardrobe before you get into this sort of unnecessary but nice item. Many coats are plain color, but you'll often find one or two with a pattern. Usually it's a simple print made to go with lots of different things. Polka dots are the most popular by far. In addition to female styles, many companies that make menswear also make coats for men. Coats are very expensive items, ranging from $100 to over $500.

For fall and winter, there are a lot of new accessory options available. In addition to winter-themed bags and jewelry (think gingerbread houses, snowmen, and candy canes) there are plenty of items to keep you warm. Gloves with bows on them, earmuffs, hats, and scarves are all options! There's also this thing called a hand warmer muff, sometimes you see them in period films. It's the furry-looking thing that the ladies carry around in the winter. Innocent World makes a really cute one, but I haven't seen too many others made specifically for lolitas. There are also removable collars, made from faux fur, that you can add to your coat to dress it up.

Finally, I made a coordinate to illustrate just how to take an outfit from summer to fall.

For this example, I went with the Chained Berry Memoir print from BABY. Why? I don't really know. The summer coordinate uses a headbow with berries and knee socks, as well as a short-sleeved blouse with shirring. The socks keep your legs from overheating, and the short sleeved blouse is a must during the hot summer months. For the shoes I chose these sandal-esque ones from Bodyline. The strawberry bag is a little more casual and brings the red to the center of the outfit. Both coordinates use the same strawberry earrings, ring, and necklace. Over on the fall side, you'll see that I swapped the blouse for a cardigan. I also swapped the strawberry bow for a simpler one. In fact, I took all the red accents out of the coordinate. Thick tights replace the socks to keep your knees from getting cold, and I replaced the sandal-style shoes with normal ones. Finally, a bow bag with rhinestones adds a little sparkle and is perfect for storing gloves and a scarf in for the evening.

So with that, you're all set to take on the cool months! Stay warm!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Con Report: Fan Expo Canada

So I went to Canada about two weeks ago with a friend before she moved away. We had the best time ever and Canada was such a great country. Did you know that in Canada you can get a waffle on the street and it's delicious? Or that there's a thing called "icing sugar" that's just powdered sugar? Or that there are crepes everywhere? Or that milk comes in a bag? We learned all these things about our great neighbor to the North. But this is not my personal journal blog about the super fun times I had at a con. I'm here to talk about Lolita fashion.

I went to the fashion show on Sunday morning to see two friends walk. I have to say, I did enjoy the show. It was worth staying a little longer at the con. I took so much video of the show, but I've decided not to include it here. The reason being that they were so short and I need to edit them together, but I want to get this article up quickly. I'm going to talk a little about my favorite outfits in the show. All the photo credits go to Tony Pags. I met him at the show and he was kind enough to let me use his photos here.

This was one of the very first outfits, and a strong start to the show. It's cute and sweet without being over the top. I like that she used the pink as well as the red and white from the dress. The print is the French Cafe print from Angelic Pretty earlier this year, and the parasol is from BABY.

This is one of my favorite dresses from Innocent World! She also has the book-shaped purse~ I think I'd rather have had her wear a more cream colored blouse with this, but overall I was thrilled to see this outfit!

Another beautiful classic coordinate! This one looks like it might have been made up of lots of vintage pieces. I love how she did her hair with the hat! She looks like should be in a forest~ I'm not
entirely positive where the dress came from, but
I think it's a piece by Mary Magdalene.

This was I think the only pirate coordinate in the show. I was impressed! I love that she had the hat and vest, it really drove the pirate theme home. I wasn't such a fan of the eyepatch though. Overall, I was really pleased with this
outfit; the blouse and skirt are just perfect.

Chess Chocolate twins! So cute! I like how they matched with the print, style, and color, but their accessories were slightly different. I was glad to see this print here, since it's pretty new. And what a huge
Usakyuma! I've never seen such a big one!

And here's one of my friends! Isn't she cute? We met last summer in New York City for a doll convention, and it was so nice to see her again, even for just like a minute. I love the straight wig with the falls~ She's wearing Milky Planet in pink and I believe the Milky Planet hair bow too. When she came out with the balloons, my first thought was that I hope she doesn't let
those balloons go accidentally! But she didn't, thank goodness!

And here's my other friend! We met in Japan actually two years ago and another girl, San, and I were the ones who introduced her to lolita fashion. Where better to get started than in Tokyo? She walked in the show as well, but this picture I took of her was my favorite. She's wearing the new release of Vampire Requiem and a vintage blouse. Curse you for making me want this dress!

This is the last one, I promise. I really like this Ouji-style coordinate! The striped pants are just perfect, I wonder where she got them. The rose at the jabot adds a touch of elegance, and the little hat is the right scale for the outfit. The classic outfit on the left is simple, but coordinated well. I like the trim on the dress very much, it looks light and airy. The shoes are simple, as is the headpiece. Overall, a solid coordinate great for any occasion.

I had a lot of fun at the show, but I really really wish I had had some business cards to give to the models and organizers. Next time I cover this type of event, I will have them for sure. Thanks again to Tony Pags for these photos, this article would not have looked half as good as it does now without them. When I edit the video together, I'll add it back in here for reference. Thanks for reading, as always!