Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fancy Footwear for Big Feet

You'll probably remember my list of tips for finding hats that fit larger heads. Well, this is the same basic deal, but with the opposite end of the body.

I have fairly large feet for a woman: size ten and a half wide, to be precise. As a result, it can occasionally be hard to find shoes that go well with my alternative fashion leanings. I don't really trust shoes that I can't try on, so Taobao and Bodyline are flat out. My only option, then, is to look for alternatives.

Where to Shop

Pleaser: I have two pairs of boots from Pleaser, and I cannot say enough about them. They are both Victorian style boots and fit beautifully. They are also incredibly comfortable.

Vintage: This is touch and go. However, I always check vintage shoes. You never know what you will find. I have a beautiful pair of ivory vintage granny boots that are labeled as a size eight but perfectly fit my size eleven feet.

Dance Shoes: Ever heard of character shoes? I was in show choir during my teenage years, and character shoes were a staple on that sparkly stage. Now, they're my go-to shoes when I can't find a new pair of Mary Janes that I like. While they usually only come in a few colors (tan and black, with more available if you're lucky), character shoes are an option that goes beautifully with Lolita and will never go out of style. Mary Janes are going to be the cheaper option, but the T-strap shoes are also gorgeous.

Regular Shoe Stores: If you are looking for certain styles (Mary Jane shoes, oxfords), you can actually find shoes that are perfectly appropriate for lolita when you're in a regular old shoe store. They are more available in the winter for some reason, so spring clearance sales are going to be your friends.

What to Look For

Style: As I mentioned before, Mary Janes and oxfords are much easier to find. Flats and wedges are also styles that you'll be able to find a number of options for.

Color: Choose colors that will go with as much as possible in your wardrobe. If you wear a lot of sweet, then your favorite color will probably be the way to go. I wear a lot of classic and a touch of gothic, so black, brown and ivory are the best colors for my collection.

Simplicity: The simpler the shoes, the easier they are to modify or add other things to. So, if you're stuck and unable to find something fancy right away, go with something simple and modify! Simplicity also keep shoes from going out of style as quickly, meaning once you've found a pair that fits you can keep wearing them for a good long time.

Alternatives to Fancy Footwear

So you can't find frilly shoes that fit your feet. Take a deep breath. It's okay.

Alter the shoes yourself: There are a number of tutorials floating around online on how to customize shoes. Over on her blog, kayzeekay has a tutorial on turning plain ballet flats into mock tea parties (though I'd recommend getting flats in the color you want if at all possible). Ceci Kierk has a tutorial for turning plain Mary Janes into T-straps with bows.

Shoe clips: Oh, shoe clips. I love shoe clips. I've written before about shoe clips. They are the greatest vintage thing that I have ever discovered, and certainly the most useful for lolita. You actually have plenty of options here. You can buy vintage shoe clips online, you can use flatter clip on earrings to add glitz, or you can make your own shoe clips for a totally custom look.

Do you have any shoe shopping tips for Lolitas or other frilly folk?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fashion Videos: Lolita Documentaries

One thing I love about the growing Lolita community in the English-speaking world is that it's getting easier by the day to find videos of Lolitas. Of course, there will always be unfortunate moments when people outside the fashion don't understand or are intentionally misleading (My Strange Addiction and an episode of What Not To Wear have certainly done their part on that front). However, there are also a variety of short videos that actually get to the heart of what the fashion is all about.

These are certainly not all the information about lolita that is out there, but they are certainly a good primer for explaining the fashion to friends and family who are having a hard time understanding the fashion. That's my favorite thing about these videos: they are bite-sized information that is easy to introduce to those who aren't well versed in the world of Lolita.

In light of that, here are a couple of my favorite Lolita videos.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Crazy Item Wishlist: Antler or Ram's Horn Hair Clips

I really, really like ram's horn and deer antler-shaped hair clips.

I... have no excuse.

This irrational consumer lust is the combination of several different influences. First, costuming; I've always loved costuming and these little accessories are a small costumey item that is easy to add to a non-costume outfit. Two, fairies; I've been a fangirl for folklore and mythology since I was tiny, and any reference to fauns, satyrs, the Wild Hunt, or the Horned One is fine by me. Finally, that whole deer trend that happened a while back in lolita; After seeing so many adorable girls with antlers on their heads, I wanted one, too.

There is no reason for me to love these, but I do. From the awesome antler headbands that stick up from hair clips or elastic headbands and look like real antlers sprouted from my head to simpler hair clips that will lay flat against my head and confuse onlookers, I want them.

Little Fawn

Here's a cutesy tribute to the fawn trend in Lolita. I tried to keep the actual deer elements sparse, with a fawn fur cape, the antlers, and a few deer on the skirt. Everything else is much simpler, because this isn't cosplay; it's lolita.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Me looking through a window.
This is one of those personal posts that is less about a topic and more about my life. I grew up in a town that was largely sceneless, meaning that those of us with subcultural leanings came together to form a sort of stew of social abnormality. This had a lot of effects, but one of the biggest ones is that I do not and probably cannot align with a single subculture.

That isn’t to say I don’t dabble. Back at the beginning of this exercise, I told you all that I dabble in a wide variety of different subcultural fashions and that I do try to understand the subcultures involved as best I can, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever fit neatly into one of them.

There are, of course, scenes that are flat out. I will never be gyaru or hime gyaru; ladies, you're fabulous, but that's not something I'm interesting in doing myself. As cute as it is, sweet Lolita will never be a major force in my life. I never mastered punk, either in attitude or in style, and probably never will.

But for every subculture that I don’t really fit into is another that has touched me but hasn’t colored me completely. I’ve talked before about how this is good, how it blessed me with the ability to assimilate a wide variety of different styles and create something of my own without fear of having to fit it into a box.

However, it also means that I don’t really feel like I belong in any of the boxes I’ve borrowed from. I can wear all black, add high contrast makeup and do up my hair, but I still won’t feel like I’m a goth though such clothing does feel perfectly suited to me. I can pile on the frills and flowers, but I won’t feel like I can claim Lolita fashion as my own. I can pile on all the steampunk-inspired sepia tones that I please with bustles and bloomers and goggles on hats, but that doesn’t make me feel like I am a steampunk myself. I flit between groups and fit in just fine both in terms of style and in terms of personality or interest, but none of them are my group. None of them fit exactly.

I’m sure there are a lot of people out there like me. I’m sure that there are plenty of folks who find themselves caught between subcultures, unable to properly choose between them. But in a place with limited access to subculture, it does get rather lonely.