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.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bookish Beauty Resource Lists

As you've probably figured out by now, I'm big into historical fashion. And, because I do love it so much, I want to share with you the cool things I've found.

So I've added pages to the top of this blog.

I've divided historical costuming into two big categories - books and online resources - so you can focus in on just the formats that work for you. I'm going to update them every time I find something cool, whether that's a book or a website.

I may add a page for DIY resources in the future, but for now it's just historical costuming.

I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mr. Sandman, Bring Me A Dream: Using Vintage and Retro-style Clothing to Bolster Your Lolita Wardrobe

I'm rather an offbrand girl when it comes to Lolita, and one of my favorite ways to bring offbrand into an outfit is with vintage or vintage-inspired pieces. Because a lot of people I've met don't know what to look for when adding vintage and vintage-style clothing to their wardrobe (and even more so incorporating vintage into their Lolita looks), I wanted to write a quick and dirty guide to using beautiful vintage pieces in Lolita.


1950s blouses (and blouses from the 1950s revival in the 1980s) are a great way to bolster a Lolita wardrobe with some offbrand. Blouses from the 1950s tend to be cut shorter, making them ideal for pairing with high waisted skirts. 1950s blouses also feature details that can sometimes be hard to find now: ruffles, detailed fabric, and peter pan collars.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Flowers Blooming in the Black: Spring Touches for Dark Wardrobes

A few days ago one of the ladies from my state Lolita community posed a question: how can she add a touch of spring to her “dark but perky” wardrobe?

Meanwhile, my lovely blog-friend Shannon is in the process of shifting her wardrobe from goth looks to something a little more girly and romantic.

Being someone who favors black in her wardrobe, I sympathize with this struggle. I want to get into the spring spirit, but my wardrobe gravitates so heavily toward jewel tones and black that it’s difficult to get the brightness I want without buying a whole new outfit to do it.

So, what’s a black-clad girl to do?