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.