Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sparkles for Your Feet: My Enduring Love of Shoe Clips


A while back, one of the girls in my local Lolita community asked for constructive criticism on one of her first coordinates. One of her questions was about the color of her shoes. It was a black and pink coordinate, and she had gone with black tights and shoes.

Some of the girls suggested that she look for pink shoes, but I suggested shoe clips as an alternative. After explaining to her what they are, her response was quite enthusiastic:
“Oh. That is the greatest invention ever why haven't I heard of this? I am going to make myself some of those. Thank you so much! Great idea!”

Which got me thinking: why don’t people know about shoe clips?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Real Women are Sharks or Why I Don't Hate Skinny Girls

I’ve been doing the fashion blogging thing for about a year and a half now, with occasional breaks for body politics, and I feel like there’s something I need to address. Even though I don't have a ton of blog followers.

I’m plus-sized. I am a big, curvy girl with big boobs, broad hips, and a little waist. And as a result I’ve heard a whole lot of things from people who were trying to be helpful and body positive:
“Real women have curves.”
“I don’t want to date a little boy. I want to date a real woman.”
“Real women.” To all the people who use “real women” to describe your ideal mate, to describe me, or to describe any other human being on the planet:

You’re. Not. Helping.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My First Con: Planning, Femme Failures, and When to Enlist Help

I'm headed to my first convention this year!

Two of my friends and I decided a little while back that we would be attending Anime Detour this April in Minneapolis. While I don’t naturally gravitate to anime conventions – I enjoy anime but am much more of a science fiction and fantasy sort of girl – this is something my friends and I can enjoy together.

The planning stages for this are starting now because I need time to make a few accessories and to order a new pair of black Mary Janes. As such, I thought I’d share a bit of that planning with you.

To Commit or Not to Commit...

This year at detour, the Minnesota Lolita community is going to be hosting a panel. I don’t know if I am going to offer to participate, as I won’t be able to be a part of the planning and I've never been to a meet before. I'd feel awkward butting into a community activity when I'm not really a part of the community.

However, even though I am unsure about helping with the planning stages, I will definitely be attending the panel and dragging my friends along for the ride. I can’t wait to see what my fellow rufflebutts will put together.

I will also be dressing up. I would dress up even if there wasn’t going to be a Lolita presence at the con, but knowing there will be other frilly folk wandering about makes it an even more enjoyable thought.

If you're reading this and will be at the convention, I'll be the pudgy girl in black and gold (outfit planning pictures to come). Feel free to grab me and say hello, because I'd love to meet you in person.

I am Very Girly, but Sometimes not Girly Enough...

In starting to plan my outfit for the convention, I decided to go toward the OTT side of classic. And, since I'm branching out of my usual casual classic look, I decided that I needed to do up my nails for maximum girliness potential. However, I am awful at painting my nails.

Don't get me wrong, I can do nail polish. However, if I’m not careful my left hand will look delightful while my right will look like it was done by a blind five-year-old with a three-inch paintbrush. This is not a good look, especially when I’m planning to add touches like gold nail decals and maybe even rhinestones.

So I've decided to enlist help from my girls, who are much more talented at nail painting and, thankfully, willing to help me get my frills on. In convention planning, as in life, sometimes my own skills are simply not enough.

Food as Cute as I Hope to Be...

Yes, I plan to make these or something like them.
I know this isn’t actually about fashion, but I thought it would be of interest to any cute-loving readers of mine that I’m going to pack a large bento for the con. When I say “large,” I mean “large enough for three people to eat.” It’s essentially going to be a bento picnic.

I’ve made very simple bentos before, but doing one on this scale is a new development for me. I’ve got a large bento box, am working on making a bag for carrying that box, and am doing research on new recipes so it can be extra tasty.

I just love the idea of making cute food to share with friends on the day of the convention. Yes, we’re in our mid-twenties, but there’s nothing that says we can’t still enjoy a sandwich decorated to look like Totoro.

In all, the convention should be a fun new experience for me, and I’ll try to make sure there are pictures to show you after it’s done.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A New Look!

You may have noticed that I've updated my blog design.

I’ve been writing this blog for almost two years, so I thought it was a good time to freshen up my blog design a bit. Not, of course, that the old design was bad, but I am ready for a change

I don’t know that I’m ever going to get sick of headers with paintings of young women reading, though. This new header features Carl Vilhelm Holsoe’s “Girl Reading in a Sunlit Room. It's just such a pretty painting I couldn't resist. I made the header in GIMP.

The background for the blog now comes from this pattern set. I wanted something a little more grungy, but retaining a bit of vintage flair.

I hope you'll forgive me the lack of proper post this week; I was busy working on the design!

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Lolita Questionnaire: Part V

81. What is your “everyday” style?
Out of Lolita, whatever’s on the top of the pile. There's an upcoming post about what I wear when I'm not in frills.

82. Do you think twice about buying second-hand clothes? (Closet Child, Egl, etc.)
Nope! Provided I’ve seen good pictures and there is some manner of safety net for feedback, I’m usually pretty good with it. I mean, I have been living in hand-me-downs and thrift store fare for years; I don’t see why my Lolita life should be any different.

83. Has Lolita had any affect on your romantic life, meaning, have you been in a healthy relationship, since finding the fashion/culture?
My boyfriend thinks it’s frilly? How I dress doesn’t really have any effect on the health of my relationship. My self-confidence does, but that's a result of more than just fashion.

84. *Dreamily* What is your ideal of a partner?
Someone smart, kind, and reasonably attractive. I like menfolk with pretty hands and nice voices.

85. What is your “deal breaker”? (Does not have to be related to the fashion)
Dishonesty! If people aren’t honest with me, I can’t deal with it.

86. *Gossip* Do you currently have someone you admire but feel they would reject you simply for wearing the fashion?
Anybody who would reject me entirely based on my clothing is not worth admiring. There are many facets of me, and I should hope they would at least respect my choice on this matter.

87. Would you, or have you worn, Lolita on a date? What would be your ideal date print/coord?
I’ve worn Lolita on several dates. At one point this past fall, I wore Bodyline’s gingham strawberry print (in saxe) to go on a picnic with my boyfriend, and it was lovely. I think my ideal coord really does depend on the event, because what I’d wear to a picnic is very different from what I’d wear to the theater.

88. Tell us the Lolita you admire the most, and why(?)
It depends on the day. Really, the person I admire most is whoever has most recently created something beautiful and expressive with the fashion.

89. What coord are you the most pleased with? Are there coords you wish to improve?
None, and yes. I’m always hoping to improve, but I don’t really classify things I am “most” proud of. I just work for an upward trend in quality.

90. Assuming you wanted a family, would you like for your children to wear the fashion?
If they wanted to, yes. If not, then I wouldn’t make them. I’d want children who had a good sense of self, whether that involved Lolita or not.

91. Have you ever dreamed about having your own Brand/Off-Brand/Store/Shop? If so, how do/did you imagine it?
Not really. I’ve considered starting my own shop, but it’s not related to Lolita at all.

92. What is your favorite Lolita motif? (Gothic, Sweet, Classic, etc.)

93. Is there a sub-fashion you adore and wish was more popular or accepted? (Qi/Wa, Country, Cyber Lolita, etc.) 
I love country lolita, and I wish it was more popular if just because finding accessories is tougher. Qi  and Wa lolita are gorgeous when done right, and I wish they were more popular if just so we could have more examples of them done right. Otherwise, I generally wish people were more accepting of PLAY in the fashion, because sometimes the community doesn’t do well with constructive criticism.

94. Is there an element in a print that you’re drawn to and adore? (Carousel, Religious Imagery, Chocolate, etc.)
Books. Crowns. Fairy tale prints. Florals. Nature prints. Swans. Fine art prints (depending on the art). Stained glass.

95. Is there a limit to how much you are willing to spend on a given coord?
Nope. It’s about cost per wear. I’m budget conscious, but it’s not an outfit-by-outfit basis. It’s based on whether an item pulls its weight in my wardrobe.

96. What was your most expensive coord?
Anything involving my Meta JSK. It wasn’t expensive in the traditional sense of the term, given that the JSK was 90 dollars and in good condition, but that is certainly more than I usually spend. I also have to go more OTT with the coords because of all the detail in the JSK itself. It demands a more ornate presentation, and that by its very nature makes any coord more expensive.

97. What, personally, do you feel is symbolic of Lolita?
If I must pick something symbolic, I’d say a garden of flowers. Everything is different, but they’re all frilly and pretty.

98. How do you feel about character inspired coords? (Not Cosplay, based on a character) 
You already know the answer to this. I like them rather a lot.

99. Do you tend to shop with any Lolita Artist Shops? (Etsy Shops or other non Off-Brand or Brand shops)
Yes. Especially for my accessories.

100. top five favorite prints of all time!
  • Grazia Crown
  •  British Library
  • Mozarabic Chant
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Ruins Cathedral

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Lolita Questionnaire: Part IV

61. “There are rules in wearing Lolita”, how true is this statement to you? To what extent?
It’s true… ish. There are rules, but once you’ve got the hang of the style then I say feel free to bend or break a few.

62. Are you a crafty Lolita (Do you make your own accessories and/or pioneer your coords)?
Oh, heck yes! Apart from altering garments to suit my shape, I’ve made most of my own hair accessories and intend to start making clothing once my mother lets me use her serger.

63. Do you believe that there is an age limit to Lolita?
No, but I believe that everyone should consider both what is flattering and what makes them happy.

64. Finish this thought: Whatever you do, never…
Act with cruelty. Constructive criticism is one thing, but being a bully is another.

65. Is there an ideal image of what you feel a Lolita should be or that you aspire to be?
For me, I aspire to be the sort of person who is happy in what I’m wearing, generally put together, and kind enough that my clothing doesn’t matter as much as my personality.

66. What is your opinion of Brolitas?
Same as everybody else in the fashion: glad to meet you.

67. Has Lolita changed your life? If so, how?
Yes and no. Lolita has given me the confidence I needed in a lot of situations and allowed me to reclaim a few things I had lost over the years. I wholeheartedly believe that I would have gotten there eventually. Lolita just got me there faster.

68. What has been your friends and family’s general reaction to Lolita? How have you responded?
Positive, generally. I have only received one “You do know that’s a sex thing…” comment, which was just a terminology thing and was quickly shrugged off once I mentioned that there’s cultural and language differences that come into play in international fashion. Otherwise, everyone has been positive.

69. Does weather tend to affect you, while in Lolita?
Somewhat. Most of my clothes are either solid-colored or Bodyline, so running isn’t really an issue. Also, I have a massive umbrella collection that I must tell you about someday, so I’ve got a brolly to match almost every outfit.

70. Have you gone to school or work in Lolita?
Yes. I haven’t been to my current job in Lolita, but I’m working up to it.

71. Your top 5 Brands/and or Off-Brands?
  • Mary Magdalene
  • Juliette et Justine
  • Megan Maude
  • Krad Lanrete
  • Eat Me Ink Me
72. Do you tend to wear more Jumperskirts or One Piece Dresses? Do you have a preference?
I wear more JSKs because I haven’t found many OPs that fit over my bust. That problem should go away when I get around to making my own clothes, since I’ve got a few great patterns for OPs ready and waiting. For summer, I really do prefer OPs because of simplicity and decreased layering.

73. Have you ever used a shopping service?

74. Do you tend to look at the Japanese or English/Overseas Sites?
It depends on whether they HAVE an English site. I do check prices in Yen/USD and examine the conversion rate, though.

75. Is there a pair of  print OTK or UTK that you really want or love owning?
Nope. I’ve got chunky legs and they tend to distort prints, so I stick to patterned tights.

76. Do you enjoy or dislike prints in Lolita?
I like subtler prints. Some prints are too busy for my taste.

77. Do you have a coord you’re most proud of?
Nope. I’m always working to create better coords, so I don’t bother being “most proud” of any of them. I’m either proud or not proud, and I work from there.

78. Are you a savvy shopper? (Meaning, do you tend to wait for sales, find discounts and/or look to Etsy shops or non-lolita items to finish coords and cut costs?)
Oh, yes. Thrift stores, vintage anything, handmade… honestly, if I like it and it’s inexpensive, I don’t care if it’s not brand.

79. Do most of your coords turn out the way you initially intended?
Because I don’t dress for events most of the time, I don’t usually “intend.” I just sort of throw together what looks good and makes me happy at the time.

80. Do find yourself preferring one type of accessory over another? (Headdresses, Jewelry, Bags, etc.)
Hair accessories and hats are a huge thing for me. I also love brooches.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Lolita Questionnaire: Part III

41. Ladies: Lipstick or Lip Gloss?
Lip stain or lipstick for me. I prefer a matte color.

42. Have you ever pulled a ‘pit crew change’, while out in Lolita (changed clothes or transformed)?
Kind of. I did once do a stunning two-minute change from my fast food work uniform to casual Lolita while in a restaurant bathroom. I had to get dressed for singing at Ash Wednesday church services, and I was on a very tight schedule.

43. What is your impression on twinning (or group coords)?
Go for it! As long as you’re having fun, I don’t see a problem with the idea of twinning or group coords.

44. Are you a ‘Petite’, More to Love Lolita or fairly average in body type? 
Heehee. “more to love Lolita.” I like that. I’m a pudgy girl.

45. Do you feel composed when you wear Lolita in public, or do you generally find yourself nervous?
I’m composed until someone compliments me. Then I don’t know how to respond.

46. How much of your or your parent’s income would you say indulges your love for Lolita?
Very little, actually. I’ve got most of the basics that I want or need, so it’s just a matter of one piece here or there to reinforce that. I’ve also got plenty of fabric, so it’s just a matter of making clothes with it.

47. Was there a time lag between your learning of Lolita and purchasing your first item?
Ooh, yes. From Halloween 2003 to 2010 for my first actual purchase (before that, it’d been a lot of retro and Lolita-inspired looks).

48. What is your most expensive Lolita item?
You know, I don’t actually know. My Meta JSK, the skirt I purchased from Eat Me Ink Me, and a secondhand Megan Maude JSK were all about the same price.

49. It takes a lot of money to be a Lolita, Brand or otherwise. How do you save?
I’m a cheapskate. I save money wherever and whenever I can, so there’s almost always buffer in my bank account. Since my Lolita purchases have become few and far between as my wardrobe has grown, saving has become really easy.

50. If you could have any Lolita shop in your local area, what would it be?
In terms of Brand, I’d probably most like to see a Meta shop because the clothes fit me and, while some of their designs are warped, it’s often really cute.

51. “Man, what a rip-off!!” Have you ever thought that about a store?
Yes. Usually handmade shops where the maker hikes up the price without having the experience to make a quality item. Not all handmade shops, of course, but there have been a few that I’ve come across where the quality was horrible.

52. All tea, all shade: what really gets your ruffles riled up about the Lolita culture/fashion/community?

53. Do you tend to stalk EGL comm sales? Have you ever sold or bought anything? Share your experience.
Not really. I look occasionally when I’m in a mood, but since I try to keep my needs in mind I rarely buy these days. I’ve bought several things. I’ve had good experiences all around, though I have had to alter a few things to make them suit my frame.

54. Is there a Lolita Model, Community Celebrity or icon that you adore?

55. What Off-Brand(s) and/or Brand(s) do you absolutely detest?
None? I mean, there are some that I wouldn’t wear personally, but that’s not a brand thing; it’s a me thing.

56. What Lolita motif do you find distasteful? (ero, sweet, gothic, etc.)
None? I’m not big on sweet on me, but I find it adorable on other people.

57. What do you do with the clothes you don’t want anymore? Has this ever occurred?
I’ve sold one dress. However, with the way that I buy clothing, I usually stare at it for a long time before actually buying. I need to have a piece that can work for me, so I rarely just stop wanting the clothing.

58. Fashion or Lifestyle? (What is Lolita to you?)
Both. I have aspects of the lifestyle Lolita, but mostly it’s just clothing to me.

59. What is your most recent purchase? (Not necessarily Lolita)
I bought a new petticoat and a black ruffled chiffon blouse.

60. Is there an item you love that you can’t buy/seem to find? (Making EGL connections, for the win)
Yes and no. I’ve been having a hard time finding a blouse in the exact color that I want, but that’s not a particular item but rather an issue of fabric. I’ve got my eye on some fabric, though, to make it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Lolita Questionnaire: Part II

21. What is your personal feelings about yourself in Lolita? In one word/phrase, how would you express your style/image?
I love me in Lolita. I feel happy, and I think I look good.

22. Did you ever think about quitting Lolita? If so, what was the reason?
Not quitting. I do sometimes pull back and stop wearing it for a while, but I’ve never considered quitting.

23. How do you feel about celebrities in Lolita?
Just like other celebrities, they don’t really sway me one way or the other.

24. *The must ask question* What is your dream print/Lolita item?
Grazia Crown. It wouldn’t fit the size I am now, but it’s just so darn pretty.

25. What was your first item, pertaining to the fashion? (jsk, doll, magazine, otk, etc.)
A secondhand skirt from FanPlusFriend. I still have it.

26. Do you have a signature pose for photos?

27. What shoes do you feel best suit the fashion? (Dream V, platform, Mary Janes, etc.)
It depends on the outfit. For me, basic Mary Janes or Victorian boots best suit the style. However, that’s my style. The shoe depends on the outfit.

28. Do you wear tiaras or have an opinion towards hime and princess cuts?
For the most part, they’re not really for me. I’ve got a mini crown that I’ve been making, but it’s more about the historical reference than the princess thing. As for hime and princess cuts, as long as they flatter the girl behind the hair I don't have a problem with them.

29. Is Lolita the only J-Fashion/culture you subscribe to, or is there more?
I dabble in dolly kei and dark mori.

30. How do you feel about ‘Boys Style’, Kodona, Ouji and/or Dandy?
Love it! I’d like to get more into it if I can find the time to sew and find hats that work on my head.

31. What types of lace do you tend to prefer?
Soft lace. I’m not picky about the type of lace as long as it’s high quality.

32. Would you consider yourself a doll collector? (BJD, American, Pullip series, or otherwise)
Oh, yes. I have a growing collection of Monster High dolls, and I’ve got a broad collection of dolls from around the world that my grandmother gave me.

33. Are you satisfied with your wardrobe, or are you insatiable?
I’m mostly satisfied. At this point, I’ve got a few pieces that I want (brown and ivory underskirts, a new black vest, a blouse in plum, and skirts made from my fabric stash), but I’m not the sort of person who always needs more.

34. What is your favorite flower?

35. Right now, what is your favorite accessory?
Hmm. Honestly, I’m kind of obsessed with a rose gold pomegranate necklace that I got a little while back. I’m actually working on a Persephone-inspired coord to go with it.

36. How do you feel about cosmetics? 
They make an outfit look polished, but I’m not terribly offended by the decision not to wear them. My skin is pretty sensitive, so I often don’t wear makeup.

37. If this applies to you: what tends to be your make up routine, when you wear Lolita? Does it differ from your normal routine?
It’s usually the same. For events, I’ll wear foundation, but otherwise it’s just a bit of eye makeup and a light lip stain.

38. Is there anything you want to shamelessly plug (endorse)?
Not at the moment.

39. Do you have lashes that you are loyal to?
My own. I don’t usually wear falsies.

40. Would you say you are more of a Brandist or Off-Brand Lolita? (Based solely on preference, of course)
I wear off-brand because I can’t fit into brand. It’s not a preference thing; it’s a measurements and budget thing. As for preference, I prefer neither; my taste depends on the individual items.