Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lolita in Winter: Why Aren't Flannel Petticoats and Underskirts a Thing?

Petticoats (Flannel)—These are not only useful, but indispensable articles of dress. Fine flannel is the best, as it is most durable, and keeps its color best in washing. The length of the petticoat is regulated by the height of the person for whom it is intended; and the width ranges from three breadths to one and a-half. The bottom is hemmed with a broad hem; and the top is gathered, and set on to a strong band of calico, or jean, leaving the front nearly plain. Sometimes a button hole is made, about two nails from the ends of the band, to which strings of tape are attached; these are passed through the opposite holes, and the parts thus brought over each other form a kind of bustle, which makes the garment sit more neatly to the figure. A slit of about four nails is left on the back which is hemmed round, or bound with a strong binding.

—Lady's Work Table Book, 1846

Living in Minnesota, and not even "Up Nort," it gets cold in winter. As such, much of my lolita gets put away when the snow blows through and the temperature drops below freezing because it's simply too cold. However, as I was trying to figure out which fabrics should come home with me now that winter fabrics are finally going on sale, I stumbled upon a question:

Why aren't flannel petticoats a thing?

I know that, every year, people sell polar fleece bloomers to keep the legs cozy. That makes perfect sense to me because it gets cold. I do, however, wonder why we haven't taken the extra step of making flannel underskirts for even more coziness when we're donning our frills.

As you can see from the quote above, this isn't exactly a new idea, but it's one I've not often heard in lolita circles. We hear about layering skirts under a skirt if we don't have a petticoat yet or wearing underskirts to add length, but I feel like we don't talk about the most practical aspect of all that fluff: we can add warmth very easily if we need to.

I know some people will argue that flannel isn't as elegant as the chiffon and lace froth that props up our skirts in the summer, and they might be right. But, really, I cannot help but wonder why this isn't something more lolitas in northern climes pursue.

If it was "indispensable" in 1846, I can't help but think we should look into the idea.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What Do I Wear on Non-Frilly Days?

I know I talk a lot about lolita fashion, but sometimes wearing Lolita just isn’t practical. And, other times, I don’t feel like it; it’s a lot of work to get myself all dolled up and petticoated. Some days I don’t feel like being frilly (or as frilly), and on those days I turn to my other styles.

This is a set of outfits to give you a feel for how I dress when I'm not stem to stern frilly.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Valentine to My Favorite Plus-Size Fashion Bloggers

I'm a plus sized girl. I am also a girl who enjoys fashion. It's been years since I felt like my size was holding me back from developing a style that I love.

However, I also have friends who are around my size or larger who still feel like they can't dress beautifully simply because they have larger bodies. I can't tell you how many times I've heard something like...
"If I were smaller, I'd dress cuter."
"I just don't think anything looks good on me."
"I can't be fashionable; I'm fat."
"They just don't make cute clothes in my size."

Well, I am here to tell you that that is a big pile of crap. Ladies of any size can be fashionable. There are cute clothes out there. And it's your confidence that makes the outfit really look good. In celebration of that, this year's Valentines are going out to a few of my favorite plus size fashionistas and style bloggers.

If you're bigger and need a boost to get your style moving, these ladies' blogs are a great place to start. If you're not plus sized but still want to get a bit of inspiration, I hope you can find it in their blogs because I certainly do.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Growing Up in a Sceneless Small Town

The lovely lade who runs Les Fleurs Noires and Spooky University posted a video about goth scenes (or the lack thereof) on her YouTube a while back. I’ve been sitting on the topic for a while, and thought I should put in my two cents.

I grew up in a similarly small town in Minnesota (south rather than north). As much as I love my town, there weren’t exactly all that many people who were into subcultures of any sort. The closest thing we had to a scene when I was in high school was one lunch table filled with alternative folks. It was a crazy mishmash of protohipsters, Japanophiles, punk-ish folks, babybats, gamer geeks, and socially awkward spooky kids. There was no scene, really; there was just a small group of people who inhabited different subcultures who came together out of mutual strangeness and out of a need to find community in a social bubble that considered us the other.

When I went away to college, I was just barely 18 and ended up at a small Midwestern private college in small town Iowa. While it wasn’t exactly a haven for subculture, there were a few folks who embraced weirdness in a subcultural direction. One professor was a self-confessed goth. One of my good friends wore stompy boots and coveted Moitie dresses. Another friend spiked his hair, dyed it pink, and wore a Russian greatcoat. Still another friend listened to a good deal of heavy metal and industrial. But, while there wasn’t really a scene to speak of, we weren’t othered like my friends from high school. We wandered fluidly through our weirdness and found friends who accepted us as we were. Really, I miss my college friends terribly because they were some of the strangest, most accepting people I have ever known.

Now that I’m back in the area where I grew up after some time in the Twin Cities, I’m really beginning to realize just how tiny the presence of subculture is. There are apparently a few Lolitas in the next town over, but I have not met them yet. I haven’t seen a single black-clad soul. There have been no frills. I saw one gentleman who was either cosplaying or LARPing and I very nearly shouted out after him about how much I liked his armor. One of my younger friends let out a squee when she realized that I knew what Lolita was and could direct her to websites to learn more.

Honestly, it feels lonely. I miss having friends nearby who understand the chaos that is subculture.

However, through all of this, I'm glad that I’ve not been limited to a single scene. I have been allowed to play as much as I like. I haven’t faced cries of “this is not goth!” or “why are you listening to metal when you’re a Lolita?” I’ve been allowed to dabble in whatever styles I please, and be whatever person I want to be.

So, yes, It has been lonely and strange, but the lack of subculture does come with the occasional bright spot. And who knows? I might find a spooky or frilly underbelly to this area yet.