Thursday, February 5, 2015

Keep it Simple, Sweetheart: A Love Letter to Basic, Casual Pieces

I’m a huge fan of casual Lolita and otome-kei, not just because they are very wearable (which they are) but because they are easier to throw together with mainstream pieces. It’s surprisingly simple to find cutsew-like pieces in more mainstream stores, especially if you look at stores like Modcloth that specialize in vintage-style clothing and therefore have a lot of tops with more detail to them than a plain white tee.

Because I do so much stuff that’s historically-inspired or edging on OTT here on my blog, I wanted to take a moment to pull together a series of outfits that use basic, offbrand tops with Lolita skirts to create something casual and, more importantly, office- or school-appropriate.

Most of these swing hard toward the retro look – unsurprising given the combination of full skirts and other shirts – but they’d be easy to lolify further with head eating bows, wrist cuffs, or actually Lolita shoes. My own personal style tends to skirt the line between Lolita, retro, and otome-kei, so this shouldn't surprise you.

And the best thing about these shirts is that most of them would be so simple to find in a store or DIY. And I do, of course, encourage you to DIY if you can. Then you get the opportunity to be proud of your own work and you can create something cute along the way.

Keeping it Simple: By the Bow

This one swings so hard toward the vintage that it’s hard to call it truly Lolita, but it’s still darling. The uniting factors are polka-dots and bows, which are so cutesy and retro that they make the black-and-gray outfit much sweeter than it could have otherwise been.

The top itself is an older number from Modcloth, but it would be easy to DIY it with some grosgrain ribbon (or any other bow material) and a fitted tee.

Keep it Simple: Casual Sailor

This is probably the most basic piece in this series – it’s literally just a short-sleeved turtleneck – but with the addition of a sailor color it swings into the sailor Lolita realm with ease.I used a fairly complicated skirt, with a print, bow details, lace, and a built in underskirt. However, it would be just as darling with a basic solid skirt or one with a simpler print. A regimental stripe would be one option that would be simply adorable.

This trick with the detached collar would really work with any turtleneck with a little texture - ruching, lace, or a textured fabric - and any sailor collar. It would also work with a round-neck tee, but I love the look of the turtleneck with this particular piece.

Keep it Simple: Cherry Cherry

Cherries are omnipresent in sweet Lolita and rockabilly fashion, so they’re going to be one of the easiest sweet motifs to add to a coord. This is definitely the loudest skirt of the bunch, but you could just as easily take a red polka dot basic piece and swing things even more toward the retro side of things.

This shirt is interesting to me because it has a yoke - that detail at the neckline - and then added adorable buttons to it. This could be a brand release, honestly, but it would work just as nicely with a pair of jeans if you're in need of a slightly-nicer-than-normal outfit.

Keep it SImple: Classic and Lace

This is one of those shirts that I saw and it just demanded to be made into a Lolita coord. I pulled together a lot of black accessories and a well-matched plaid skirt with a black vest to pull it together. Voila! A very quick coord in green and black.

What makes this shirt special is twofold: it has long sleeves and it has a lace detail. The specialness of the long sleeves is because I rarely see long-sleeved shirts with a lot of detail. The detail itself is strikingly Lolita-appropriate, too, with a lace jabot and bow look that I absolutely love.

Keep it Simple: Lemon Lime Twist

And, last but certainly not least, a piece with a much brighter palette that takes me far out of my comfort zone. I'm not a bright colors person and certainly not the sort of person who pulls together two brights at the same time. However, when the shirt fell into my lap I knew exactly the sort of outfit it needed to be a part of.

The bows on the shoes are not actually shoe clips, but you could easily make or buy a pair of shoe clips to coordinate.

The shirt is another one that would be very, very easy to DIY in any color palette you like. This one happens to go nicely with the citrus theme I pulled together here, but  you could do it in any combination of colors that you liked.

What about you? What are some casual, basic pieces you love using in outfits?

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