Thursday, December 25, 2014

“The Holly Green, The Ivy Green”: More Fashion-Inspired Christmas Décor

Last week I focused on some options for décor inspired by Lolita fashion. This week, I’m going to the other end of things with mori girl, dark mori, and dolly kei.

Mori Girl

While there are a lot of rustic Christmas ideas out there, my idea of a mori girl Christmas is informed by my own family traditions. I grew up with a lot of Scandinavian holiday influences, so when it came time to think of a mori girl Christmas all I could think of was my family’s shabby straw julebok with its red velvet ribbon and its little wheat beard.

Scandinavian-inspired décor is pretty perfect, though, when you think about it. Heavy on straw ornaments with red and white as the primary colors, this stuff is very mori girl. It’s rustic but still has an undeniable charm to it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Outfit of the Day: Otome-ish Outfit for Tree Decorating

As you may or may not have noticed, I rather enjoy Christmas. I also really enjoy decorating for Christmas. It's somehow become my job every year to put together the holiday decorations at my parents' house, and this year was no exception.

The tree you see there? That's this year's tree. And, because I'm me and rather fail sometimes at being "practical" in the traditional sense of the term, I decorated while dressed up. With all the Christmas decorations I've been posting, I thought I should share some of the pictures I've taken of decorating along with my outfit.

These are a couple of weeks old because I've been busy with the holiday season as a whole - decorating, family events, making gifts, and attending my cousin's wedding - but I hope you'll like them anyway.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

“Santa Baby, Slip A Sable Under The Tree”: Lolita Fashion-Inspired Christmas Décor

It's time for Christmas decorating! If you’re not into decorating, I hope you at least like looking at the pretty pictures. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, maybe a few of these will give you ideas for year-round décor.

Classic Lolita

Those of you who like a traditional tree? Classic Lolita is the place to go full tilt Dickens on your decorating. I probably don't need to go into too much detail with this one, because this is the sort of thing many people think of when they think of Christmas.

Classic Lolita Christmas

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Body Politics: On Weight, Weight Lost, and Identity

I know that today is the big day for overconsumption in America, but there is a thing that's been on my mind and I want to talk to you about it:
Weight loss is weird.

Almost a year ago, I decided I was going to lose weight. It started as a practical thing; I had gained a fair bit of weight since moving back in with the parental beings and starting a job that actually paid a living wage, and my pants didn’t fit anymore. Then I overshot my pants fitting and ended up in even smaller pants.

I didn’t go on a crazy diet or start an extreme exercise regime. I just started going on walks at lunch, bicycling when I was able, and eating less crap. I stopped putting sugar in my tea and ate only until I was full. I didn’t have any goal other than my pants fitting (too late!) and whatever felt healthy to me.

Sometime at the end of summer I realized that I was down from a size 18 at my heaviest to a size 12, meaning that I was the smallest I’ve been since high school.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Outfit of the Day: Ravenclaw Pride for a Book Tour

I’m going to preface this because I know the mere act of supporting an artist can be controversial. A lot of people really loathe Amanda Palmer, and that’s fine. You are more than entitled to do so. But that is not the point of this post.

Okay. Are we good?


This weekend I was up in the Twin Cities for an adventure with several friends. Friday night I went shopping and played card games with one of my best guy friends. Saturday I went out to lunch with him, then headed over to another friend’s house where I baked muffins, ate gyros, and swapped media files. Sunday my friends and I decorated cookies and watched silly web videos. It was a delight.

However, the actual reason for the trip was Sunday night when I went to Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking book tour stop at The Cedar in Minneapolis.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

For Love and Justice: Fashion and Magical Girls

Roses, magic, frills, cute talking animal sidekicks, and attacks that will blow you out of the water in a torrent of glitter and explosions. A lot of Lolita fashion aficionados love magical girl shows, and I can see why.

There’s a lot to love about magical girls, and with the DVD of the first redubbed episodes of Sailor Moon recently arrived in my mailbox, it’s time to talk about them!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Outfit of the Day: Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Despite the fact that few others in the office do, I always dress up for Halloween. After all, I get one day a year to dress how I want, put bats on everything, and watch scary movies. I am not going to waste it.

This is my Doctor Who shot...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Stylish on Halloween: Using Wardrobe Pieces to Create Fun Costumes

I love Halloween.

I have an excuse to make things ooky spooky in my office, which I have been doing since September 1 with pumpkin paper lanterns and other Halloween accessories. I can watch all the old horror movies I want, which means that I watch a lot of black and white thrillers throughout the month of October.

It's also the one day of the year when I am welcome to wear whatever clothes I like to work as long as they work with a costume concept.

That's where it gets tricky, of course, because I flat out refuse to dress as "a Lolita" or "a goth" or "a mori girl" for my costume. They aren't costumes, no matter how much the rest of the world might think they are.

And, in an effort to create something spooky before tomorrow - as if my long list of inspired-by-Austen coord weren't enough costuming - I'm pulling the age old costume-from-a-coord concept out of the closet (rather literally).

The added bonus from these outfit ideas is that they're usually pretty easy to put together. One or two accessories make the costume what it is, so they're low-cost.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Appearing to Much Advantage": Style Inspired by Austen’s Books

“Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday, went to the Lower Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings -- plain black shoes -- appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed me by his nonsense."
“Indeed I shall say no such thing."
-Jane Austen,
Northanger Abbey

I’ve been reading and watching rather a lot of Jane Austen recently (as you could probably tell from my last post), and I decided to take some of the ideas from that post and apply them to Austen characters. The leads specifically, though I do not love all of them equally and some have proved very challenging, indeed. And, with Halloween tomorrow, the timing seemed right to do another character-inspired post.

Austen Lolita - Catherine Morland

Catherine Morland is a delightful little creature. The youngest of the Austen girls and the most impressionable of the bunch, Catherine is a lover of gothic novels. She also is inclined to think well of those she meets (unless her imagination runs away with her).

With her love of gothic novels, the temptation to dress Cathy in gothic Lolita was great, but, frankly, it doesn't really suit the character. What does suit her are nods to the aesthetic she becomes obsessed with - a small castle black ring here, a book-shaped bag there, black as an accent color in a mostly white outfit. Catherine isn't particularly dark herself, though, so I wanted to keep things as light as possible.

For her hair, I chose something light and young. A lot of regency hairstyles were heavily coiffed and ornamented, but I wanted to keep things simple from our country girl. A white head wrap and loose updo suit the simplicity of the outfit and her character.

The shoes are historically accurate, and I included the black rhinestone shoe clips to keep the touches of black consistent. The clocked silk stockings, while not period accurate, are a great way to add a little more black.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

“A Very Useful Gown”: Regency Inspiration in Lolita

“I have determined to trim my lilac sarsenet with black ribbon just as my China Crape is …Ribbon trimmings are all the fashion at Bath, & I dare say the fashions of the two places are alike enough in that point, to content me. – With this addition it will be a very useful gown, happy to go anywhere.”
-Jane Austen, 5 March 1814

One thing that always disappoints me is that I will never look really well in a regency gown. The high waistline of the empire waist doesn’t particularly suit my frame. However, as it gets to be fall and I start looking for comfortable clothing to wear out and about, the regency calls to me.

And, because this is the sort of person I am, I did research. I watched movies (lots of Jane Austen). And I ended with a great desire to do a post about regency-inspired Lolita.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Outfit of the Day: Vintage Plaid

I wish I could say I had a special occasion that this outfit was for, but really I just decided that I wanted to wear something cute today.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Five Things To Keep in Mind When Accepting Constructive Criticism

Sometimes, things end up a little crooked.

Constructive criticism (often abbreviated as “concrit” or “con-crit”) is one of those things everyone should be aware of. Whether it’s editorial comments in writing or suggestions for how to make an outfit better, constructive criticism is something we will all have to face at some point in time. In the world of fashion blogging, that goes double.

I have seen a lot of Lolita ladies recently that don’t seem to accept constructive criticism, even in communities that are explicitly for giving and receiving constructive criticism. They shoot down all suggestions, use vague reasoning as to why they know better, or otherwise give reasons when kindly meant suggestions will not even be considered.

That is a problem.

That is not to say that  you shouldn't ignore people who are being jerks. They're out there, they are obnoxious, and they are not worth listening to. There is a difference between suggestions and someone ranting about how you're an ita.

But constructive criticism is an important part of improving, and I wanted to collect a few tips for accepting it and putting it into practice.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Outfit of the Day: Lolita on Laundry Day

If you were of the opinion that I live in a shining closet and spend my days sipping tea and blogging, allow me to unburden you of that thought.

Well, the tea part is pretty accurate, but still.

Today was one of those strange days where I wanted to dress up, but things needed to be done. It wasn't a day for dry clean only fabrics or anything too fussy.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Lines Get Fuzzy: On Labels, Fashion, and Strega


Last week, the lovely shortcuttothestars said that she felt uncomfortable with the idea of calling herself a mori girl because her version of the style veers so far away from the Japanese aesthetic. She also mentioned that she wanted to figure out a label that fit her style so she could stop worrying about whether her clothing was goth enough or mori enough.

And then, in her efforts to find a label that would work for her and others who feel the same way, strega fashion became a thing, somehow.

It has actually taken form rather impressively, like a witchy Athena burst fully formed from the forehead of the online community. It has a vague definition. It has a Tumblr tag with people trying out the look. It has debates on the name and whether it is offensive to the Italian pagan community.

And, of course, this got me thinking about the way that we label clothing styles.

Why Labels?

Ostensibly, labels become a thing because we want to classify what we're seeing. We wanted to find a word to describe this thing that we're wearing and to find other people who are also interested in the clothing styles we seek out.

And that's awesome.

I loved the moment when I realized that there was a word for the things I wanted to wear. I loved being able to go online and push a button and find other people dressed in a similar style. I still love that I can search for a name on the internet and find the fashions I want to look at.

When Good Labels Go Bad

Labels are also kind of terrifying when you think about it. Because fashion is as it is, styles splinter into substyles. Lolita splinters into sweet, gothic, and classic, which splinter in turn into substyles like bittersweet, sailor, country. Goth has splintered into so many substyles that a cybergoth and a romantigoth would seem to be unrelated but for the general darkness of aesthetic. Every splinter has its own ins and outs and they become increasingly difficult to classify as you go deeper.

That's kind of terrifying, especially when you're just getting into a style.

Labels are, of course, also a source of "that's not..." arguments. I mostly eschew labels for my clothing because of those arguments. Are my frills too retro to be Lolita? Are they too goth to be mori? Are they too simple to be dolly kei but too weird to be true vintage?

Also terrifying.

Labels can bring about a fear of fashion miscegenation, if you forgive the coining of a term. Instead of finding a label and using it as a starting point to finding a fashion unique to each wearer, labels suddenly become about defining what can and cannot be done because it might skirt the boundaries of a style.

The Thing I Love About Strega

 I really love that the vagueness of the lines between styles is built right into the definition of strega. You want to be witchy? You're welcome here. On the dark edge of mori girl? You can totally be strega. Dolly kei achieving high levels of witchiness? You, too, are welcome. Folklore inspired goth looks a thing for you? Come on in.

I really like the freeform nature of that because, as the lines between fashions get fuzzier, people fence their styles in more (especially in the western world). I see experimentation increasingly discouraged, and that's a shame.

I love it when styles offer the freedom for self-expression, and I love that when strega became a thing it very intentionally encouraged experimentation and a lack of firm rules. That's important to me because, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what style I'm wearing; it matters that I like it and am wearing it to be true to myself.

And will I take some inspiration from strega fashion? Definitely.

Some days, myself is a witch.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Princely and Plus Size: My Tips for Finding Boystyle and Dandy Fashion on a Larger Scale


Sometimes, I just want to wear pants.

I know that sounds a little weird, given how much time I spend talking about skirts, but I really do want to wear pants sometimes. Whether I want to look like a French aristocrat or want to channel the Goblin King, there are some days when I really just want to wear pants but maintain my frilliness.

Those days, I turn to boystyle or dandy looks. However, for some reason, I don’t see much for mentions of dandy or ouji fashion for plus sized women. There is a ton of Lolita or aristocrat information, but not for those of us who want to wear pants (or, in my case, those of us who occasionally want to wear pants).

So I’m writing a post of my own. Obviously, a lot of this information will be useful for girls who aren't plus size; the focus is on larger sizes because the information is harder to find.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Product Review: Paradise Rose

I finally caved and bought a rectangle headdress for an outfit I've had in my head for ages. My Meta JSK has been hanging in my closet because I've run out of summer-appropriate ways to coordinate it and, thus, have run out of inspiration.

And then I decided to create something a little bit old school.

While I could have made a rectangle headdress myself, I've been much more focused on getting a new skirt made. And, because I don't have the face or haircut for those massively oversized headdresses, I ended up getting this headdress from Paradise Rose on Etsy.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Product Review: Handmade by November

This is a bit belated, but I wanted to tell you about the pretty pin that I got!

I've been working on adding accessories to my collection that will work well when I'm in work drag, so when I saw this adorable needle felted owl pin I knew I had to have it. At $27.00 including shipping, she was less expensive than other needle felted brooches I've seen, making it even better.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Shoe-torials: Shoe Makeovers for Classic Lolita

As anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know, I’m a huge fan of DIY. Crafting and sewing are a big part of how I build my wardrobe, and I would really like to start doing shoe makeovers.

What better time to bring together shoe tutorials?

Most of these are geared toward classic Lolita. I might do another post for sweet Lolita or gothic, but for now I’m playing in historical end of things. Again.

Painted Wingtip Pumps

These are definitely a shoe for classic lolita, but I imagine you could easily incorporate them into other coordinates that tend toward the classic side of the spectrum. Done in ivory and pastels, they'd be a charming addition to a sweet coordinate. They would also be charming done in black and gray, for example, for a gothic coordinate.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tops For the Girl Who Doesn’t Like Cotton


Saying this makes me feel like a bad Lolita, but it’s the truth: I’m not a fan of cotton blouses.

Part of this is simply because they don’t fit properly. I’m busty and it’s rare for me to find a cotton blouse that doesn’t pull at the bust or gap unattractively at the waist. The fabric just isn’t forgiving.

That unforgiving nature is also part of why I don’t like cotton blouses in particular: it’s heavy and rarely feels any less than constrictive to me. I like to be able to move in my clothing, and while cotton skirts give me plenty of space, cotton blouses just don’t allow me to do that in the way I want to.

Of course, I have to wear something on my top half, so I’ve found a few alternatives that work well for me.

Sleeveless Blouses for Layering

The cotton blouses I do buy tend to be sleeveless. This allows me extra mobility, makes the blouses very easy to layer with boleros and cardigans, and still gives me the opportunity to have the crisp look of cotton. Most of my sleeveless blouses feature a bow of some sort, but collared blouses work well, too.

Chiffon, Lace, and Silk Blouses

I might not like cotton in most settings, but I love chiffon! Chiffon removes all the issues I have with cotton blouses: it breathes, it’s lightweight, and it isn’t stiff.  Lace blouses and sometimes silk blouses hold the same sort of place in my heart as alternatives to heavy cotton blouses.

The one disadvantage to these types of blouses is that they often need to be dry cleaned, and that can get expensive. Because of this, I am very careful about the blouses that I buy. I rarely buy blouses that are not machine washable, and those that I do are usually perfect in design and at a reasonable price.


I love cutsews. I love that, when designed well, they can be elegant when needed but they can swing more casual for everyday wear.

Several years back, Victorian-esque tops were fashionable. Most of them had lace yokes, high necklines, and textured fabrics. Needless to say, I stocked up while I could and am still working through that collection. It’s also a blessing that these tops are still available secondhand today.


When I say “turtlenecks,” I do not mean regular cotton turtlenecks. I’m talking about the embellished ones. Some turtlenecks are decorated with ruffles. My favorite options are either full lace turtlenecks or turtlenecks with lace accents. They swing far toward the casual side of things, but the details are what push them over to Loli-able.

What about you? What are your favorite blouse alternatives for Lolita, or in general?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lolita in the News: The Cut

I always take a look when Lolita (or other subcultural fashion, for that matter) gets noticed by the mainstream. Whether TLC is treating the fashion like an absurd addiction again or a magazine has gotten wind of the fact that there are girls dressing like porcelain dolls, I'm interested to see how the subculture and its adherents are handled. Are we, to borrow a phrase from The Lady of the Manners, Frills: The New Danger! or are we going to be respected as simply an alternative style of clothing?

This blog post got put up today on New York Magazine's The Cut blog. It's a pretty good first look at Lolita with brief mentions of other Japanese street fashion, the online presence of Lolita in Princess Peachie and Lovely Lor's vlogs, and a nod to the difficulty the subculture faces thanks to Nabokov's famous novel. I was pleased to see that they acknowledged that not all the girls in their slideshow were necessarily dressed in Lolita.

In general, I quite liked the post because, unlike so many that I have seen, it actually looks past the frills and takes a moment to listen to the people involved in the fashion. I don't see a lot of that openness in the media, and I greatly appreciate it.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

“Fairer was to sene/Than is the lilie upon his stalke grene”: High and Late Medieval Inspiration in Lolita

 Louis II le Bègue receives the Regalia.
France, 14th Century illustration of an event from the 800s
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen: Chaucer quote. We’re starting off this post with a punch of the vernacular.

The middle ages are a fascinating period, not the least of which because of the way fashion worked in society. Fashion was a way of communicating class, and its regulation was a way of dividing class.

In terms of time period, this post is going to focus on the style of the high and late middle ages (about 1000 to 1500). It’s a broad time period, I know, but information is more limited when it comes to the medieval world so this can’t be as precise as studies of more recent fashion.

And, really, medieval inspiration will end up a fair bit looser than other inspiration simply because the styles are very different. My philosophy, though, is that you need to start by pleasing yourself with a coord, whether people recognize the inspiration or not.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Outfit of the Day: Red, White, and Mint

"It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..."-John Adams
And thus, we have completed another Fourth of July here in the U.S.A. I decided to wear a very casual Lolita coordinate for the occasion both because dressing up for the day is fun and because I have the day off and am therefore not required to dress for work. I considered wearing my sailor dress, but that ended up being a touch too warm in the bright sunshine.

However, I was able to pull together an outfit that was summery and sweeter than my usual. I wish I'd had a cute straw hat to go with it, but I've not yet been able to find one that fits my head and suits my head.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Making Your Living Space a Little Fancier

The topic of interior decorating is something I've been thinking about, and I thought I would do a post on interior design inspired by lolita (and black forest mori and dolly kei). This is also a bit inspired by a post a while back on Les Fleurs Noires on mori kei and shabby chic.
Also, I love  pretty pictures.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What I Learned as a “Curler Girl”: Lessons from My Show Choir Days

I am a fairly girly character these days. I love floral prints and salmon pink and frilly skirts. I love lace and chiffon. I wear flowers on my head. But, when I was in high school, I wasn’t exactly what you’d call “girly.” At all.

I was terribly interested in historical fashion, but that interest hadn’t yet bled into my wardrobe. I almost didn’t buy an adorable top because it was simply “too girly” (puff sleeves, ruffled yoke, and textured white fabric –hardly revolutionary by my standards now). I lived in t-shirts and jeans. I only started getting my hair colored at my mother’s insistence. I didn’t wear makeup and I didn’t do much more than brush my hair most days.

And yet, one activity stood as a bastion of girliness in my life: show choir.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Oddball Tips for Lolitas: Crop Tops

Get your flinches out now, ladies, because I’m being absolutely serious. Crop tops can be an incredibly helpful piece of clothing for the Lolita.

The Dickey, The Fichu, and Me

Emma Thompson rocking a fichu
in Sense and Sensibility, 1995

Back in the day, it was considered socially acceptable to cheat with layering. Usually designed like a decapitated blouse, dickies were for layering under other clothing. Like the fichu before them, they were a way to make an article of clothing more modest. They also gave the look of layering without the bulkiness.

But the dickey seems to have gone out of style for the most part. I’ve seen a number of theories for this, from the dickey being seen as “dishonest” to the rise of more casual clothing in the workplace. The name might also have something to do with it. In any case, it’s become much less common to wear these practical little items.

Honestly, I would still use dickies if it weren’t for the fact that I’m busty and they absolutely refuse to sit still or lay flat. I prefer my necklines high, and it can be hard to find dresses that have both the neckline I love and the shape I need. Thankfully, I’ve figured out an alternative that works well for me and that is the crop top.

The Crop Top

I got this idea when I was looking at purchasing a dress from Modcloth that was a comfortable-looking knit. I wanted to add a bit more detail to the neckline without adding bulk to the waist; the knit, I knew full well, would definitely show a tank top shifting.

Crop tops are pretty awesome for those of us who want to decrease the bulk under our dresses and JSKs but still want the look of layering. I usually have many layers under my Lolita, from shapewear to tights to petticoats and underskirts. It helps me quite a bit to remove some of the bulk at my waist.

Crop tops also stay in place. As previously mentioned, dickies and fichus do not. I end up having to pin them to my clothes, which ends in puckering when they try to shift but can’t. Close fitting crop tops hold themselves in place without that insanity.

Wearing a Crop Top with Lolita

Summer is the most useful season for crop tops in Lolita because it gives the look of layers without adding too much fabric. I wear a lot of layers usually, so crop tops are a godsend. When I want to add visual detail to the neckline of an OP, I tend to gravitate toward sleeveless lace turtlenecks.  Something like this is my ideal:

It’s simple, it’s lightweight, and it adds the high neckline I love without adding the bulk of a full undershirt or a blouse.

Sometimes I wear a crop top with a JSK. Again, this gives the look of layering without adding too much bulk, which is a godsend in the summer. In particular, I prefer to wear crop tops that look like this

Of course, this type of crop top is a bit simple for the taste of most coordinates, but it’s easy enough to modify with the addition of a little lace or chiffon. It’s also a simple design to make, for those of you with a penchant for DIY.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m one of those people who enjoys pulling from a variety of influences and this is definitely one of the weirder things I've picked up over the years. Odd as it is, though, I hope this solution helps somebody.