Friday, February 26, 2010

Ask Miss Caro-chan: Being a Confident Lolita and Loving Yourself

Today's Ask Miss Caro-chan is a personal one from Lack of Confidence Lolita, she asks:
So you start a blog, on or of Lolita Fashion. But let's say that you're not exactly a part of it yet, probably because of lack of: inspiration, motivation, and/or confidence in yourself. (Not sure if this is Lolita-Related, but since my 'blog' is supposed to be Lolita-related...)don

How do I start? I'm pretty much a new Lolita, only knowing about it doesn't count, I haven't dressed the part yet - since I'm a big girl, and I find it difficult to get the money to do so. But I keep trying, yet here I am still. I had it once, but then I lost interest because I thought I wasn't good enough for Lolita.

Because I am big, and I think I am ugly, etc...

Maybe what I really mean to ask is this: How can you find the confidence in yourself, despite smothering yourself in hate? How can you love yourself outside of Lolita enough to love yourself while in Lolita? Being confident.

Sorry for the TL;DR, it seems I always end up doing that... and not sure if this has been asked before.
Loving yourself more isn't always something that you can just decide to do one day and that's that, it's a lot of little things that happen over time and one day you will all of the sudden realize that you are 100% OK with yourself and you can't imagine why you ever thought otherwise. It's something a lot of people, both in and out of Lolita, struggle with. Sometimes it's the very nature of Lolita that causes people to struggle with these issues. I mean, you can't exactly blend in with the crowd when you're wearing the frills, it takes a lot of self confidence to be able to wear the look and feel comfortable in it. And the more you feel comfortable and confident the better it looks on you.

Learning to love yourself
This first section is just the baby steps towards loving yourself and, thus, gaining confidence in yourself. It's difficult to go through everyday life without at least a little love for yourself and a lot of confidence, it's even harder to go through life in a pink frilly dress and a cake hat on your head if you lack both love for yourself and self confidence.
  • Don't criticize yourself. The first step is the most important, and that is to stop criticizing yourself. Don't allow yourself to use any harsh words that you may feel about yourself. And I don't just mean using the words vocally, or in a half-hearted joking excuse, but internally too. Whenever you catch yourself thinking these things, stop yourself before you can even finish the thought.
  • Don't compare yourself to others. Don't feel as if you have to make yourself into a clone of the "perfect" person. You don't have to have someone else's figure, someone else's friends, someone else's clothes, or someone else's money to be happy. Instead of focusing on living someone else's life, focus on ways you can improve upon yourself.
  • Discover what you love about yourself. Make a list! Write it down and keep it somewhere special, where you will see it often, like posted to your mirror, or folded up in your wallet. Throughout the day take notice of the things you do particularly well and add them to the list, you'll soon discover that you have many good qualities and reason enough to love yourself.
  • Praise yourself. When you complete tasks or notice that you do something particularly well, congratulate yourself on it. Even if it's something simple like keeping a room tidy or finish some rather difficult homework. Learn to notice where and just how much you succeed.
  • Write yourself a love note. It might sound silly but write a note to yourself and include what you like most about you. It can be in a diary, a letter sealed up in an envelope that you keep somewhere secret, an email set to send it to yourself in a few months (try FutureMe.org), or even a collage of pictures from days you are proud of and of people who love you.



Gaining confidence, especially when wearing Lolita
Confidence is a big part of learning to love yourself, and vice versa. Especially when you are wearing such an attention grabbing fashion like Lolita. Lolita often forces you to be the center of attention, and if you don't have the confidence to go with the attention, it could make wearing Lolita a very uncomfortable experience.
  • Wear Lolita around the house. If you have the dress that you've always wanted, but don't yet feel comfortable wearing it in public, then don't let it just sit in the back of your closet! Wear it in the privacy of your own house, even if you only ever wear it in your own bedroom for an hour or two. Don't let the dresses intimidate you! They're just a pile of frills and lace until you put them on and make them shine.
  • Treat others as you would like to be treated. I don't just mean being polite, but being friendly as well. Smile at people, make conversation, complement others, let yourself laugh at jokes. Be as friendly to others as you would like them to be to you and you will soon find that your friendliness has rubbed off on others!
  • Accept compliment. Don't respond to a complement with an excuse or an argument! Say thank you, smile back, and be aware that you did something that someone liked so much that they took a moment of their time to tell you so.
  • Ignore unwarranted criticism or dirty looks. Nobody asked for their opinion, so it doesn't count. So just ignore mean comments and dirty looks, simple as that. The opinions of rude strangers on the street shouldn't matter to you anyways since you're not here to please them.

Being OK with who you are
Be it body image or the way you look, you have really got to be OK with exactly who you are in order to be really happy with yourself. You don't have to be perfect (who is?!), you just have to be comfortable with yourself.
  • Find a role model. Don't get this confused with comparing yourself to others! Teach yourself to notice all different kinds of beauty, not just the slender, highly airbrushed kind. Keep an eye out for people who you feel are a bit like you, in either looks or body type or whatever, and who really work it. Don't try to emulate them, but instead simply think about what makes them so fabulous. Do your own thing while you keep it in the back of your mind that there's other people out there, people who are in some ways just like you, who are fabulous, so there's absolutely nothing keeping you from being just as fabulous!
  • Learn to dress for your body type. Wear clothes that fit and learn what flatters you. If you are wearing clothes that fit well and make you look good you will feel much better about yourself. If you are plus sized, check out these tips and tricks for dressing flatteringly. Once you learn what looks best on you, you can't help but feel great in it. It's true that sometimes you have to give up on certain styles or cuts of dresses, but it's worth it to look your best.
  • Take good care of yourself. This includes simple things like keeping your hair clean, your skin as clear as you can, and other things that can usually be solved with good old fashioned soap and water. It also includes trying to eat right and giving in to a little bit of exercise. Of course, you don't have to drop half your weight to be healthy, but eating foods that are good for you, going for the occasional walk, or not being afraid to run around a bit and get your heart pumping are bound to make you feel better. The more you take care of yourself the less lethargic and generally "blah" you will feel.
  • Make yourself feel pretty. Of course, you don't need to wear makeup to make yourself look pretty, but if you feel like makeup would help, to brighten your eyes, even out your skin tone, or cover up some blemishes, than why not give it a shot? Try something very simple like mascara, a neutral eyeshadow, and a bit of concealer where you need it and it could really change the way you see yourself. In addition to that, make it a practice to dress up a little bit more than you normally would. Even if that just means switching from tee shirts to button ups and wearing a cute necklace every now and then. Of course, "pretty" is subjective, don't feel like you need to wear a pink button up and pink lip gloss to feel pretty. If you're idea of pretty is something else entirely, then go for it. If you say to hell with pretty and want to instead look glamorous, mysterious, handsome, androgynous, or whatever, then go for that instead!
  • Enjoy what you have. You might think you will only be happy with currently unobtainable things, such as brand Lolita clothes, but instead focus on enjoying what you have while you save up for whatever it is that you want. Look for elegant pieces that you have already that you can wear to give yourself a frill fix. Check out this post on dressing elegantly outside of Lolita.
Pampering yourself
Ah, the rewards! The reason why any of us do anything, right XD? Don't be afraid to treat yourself every now and then, after all you deserve it.
  • Have a "spa day". I really don't like the term "Spa day", it reminds me of stock photos of middle aged women having generic fun while wearing facial masks. But I couldn't think of a better word XD Dedicate a day to pampering and beautifying yourself. It could be a day every weekend, a day every month, or they can even be spontaneous pick-me-ups. If you want to go all out, and you have the cash, visit a nail salon and get a manicure, pedicure, eyebrow waxing, the whole shebang. Or go out and get your hair professionally styled. Let someone else worry about making you look your best for the day, all you have to do is sit back and relax. Or, if going out and doing it is not your thing, spend a whole day in your PJs, pop in your favorite CD, and do it yourself! Learn to give yourself a manicure and look up some recipes for facial masks to try out. Consider buying a special perfume or lotion to use on your spa days, since scent is the strongest scent tied to memory you'll soon start to associate the scent with feeling good.
  • Reward yourself. You don't have to promise yourself a new Angelic Pretty dress every week, but small rewards for when you know you did well on something will really motivate you and lift your spirits. They don't even have to be something you have to buy for yourself, but little things like taking a couple hours off work at the end of the week to relax or leaving the chores for a day to go out with some friends.
  • Do something you love. Whatever you're passionate about or have always wanted to give it a go, then do it! And do it often. This can be anything from making time in the evening to read your favorite books all over again, to signing up for classes to learn something new.
  • Set aside a personal gift fund. Get a box or a bank and start putting a small amount of money in it on occasion, either fill it with the spare change in your pocket at the end of the day, or set aside a few dollars a week to go into it. At the end of the month, check to see how much you have saved up and spend it on yourself! Even $30 can get you a Lolita hairbow, a pair of lace cuffs, or a brand logo necklace on the EGL sales community with some clever hunting.
Of course, loving yourself and being confident is entirely up to you, you can go through this whole list but if you are not willing to let yourself be confident and loved all the lists in the world can't help you. You have to want to, that is the very first step.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dolly Style: Can It Compete With My Love Of Lolita?

I usually don't go for other Jfashions outside of Lolita. None of them seem as thrilling to me as the frills of Lolita, but recently I have been seeing more and more of a fashion referred to as Dolly Style (or sometimes Antique Doll Style). What first caught my eye about this style is, well, it looks a bit like Lolita. Specifically some very old school Gothic Lolita coordinates. It's less about wearing brand, or having a specific look, and more about a decadent and antique aesthetic. It actually looks a bit like the style of goth that I wore before I got into Lolita, and it has a lot of elements that I loved that never seemed to mesh too well with Lolita, such as the eastern European aesthetic. They also use a lot of accessories that I love, such as large crucifixes, and tassels (a love I picked up from the band Rasputina, as Melora has on occasion worn huge curtain tassels as accessories).

As the style is much less defined as Lolita is, as well as being very new, it's difficult to pinpoint what exactly makes something Dolly Style. It's a little bit Lolita, a little bit Mori, and a little bit Gothic. The skirt length ranges from full length to very hip mini skirts. The inspiration seems to be drawn from medieval dresses, eastern European, and Victorian styles. The colors range from the pale, dusty pastels of Mori Girl, to the deep jewel tones of Gothic. The style can also be as layered or as simple as you chose, some girls wearing, what looks like, every dress they own, others wearing simple dresses with a few accessories. Patterns, textures, and accessories seem to be a big part of the look. With ruffles, bold jewelery lace, fur, tears, and tatters being the focal points of outfits. In short, the style, as it's name implies, encourages you to look like a forgotten antique doll.


In contrast to the sometimes brand centric Lolita attitude, Dolly Style encourages you to wear vintage, if not outright antique clothes. In Japan two used clothing shops, Cult Party and Grimoire are a Dolly Girl's wonderland. In the US, we obviously don't have those 2 particular shops, but a very wide variety of vintage clothing stores, thrift shops, consignment stores, Goodwills, and antique stores are found in abundance. Especially here in New England! I swear there are 3 vintage clothing stores, a Goodwill, and about 10 antique stores within 10 minutes of me. And while your local Goodwill might not be as glamorous a place as Grimoire, with some clever hunting you are likely to find the same kinds of clothes.


Like many fashions, I think it would be easy to incorporate this romantic antique doll look into a Lolita coordinate. Worry less about matching colors and shades perfectly and more about wearing as many interesting pieces as you can! I think that if you start with a base of a boldly printed Classical JSK you can really put something together that definitely looks like it is inspired by the Dolly Style. Because I can't get enough of virtual coordinates, here's my try at merging Dolly Style with Lolita.
I have so many clothes in my wardrobe, many of them are vintage romantic pieces like the ones that are often seen in this style. I think I'm going to have to try this out in real life. It's going to be fun digging out some old clothes I haven't worn in ages and finally getting some new use out of them!

Images from Fruits, Alice Deco, Tokyofashion.com, Drop, and Style Arena.
Check out the links for more photos, and a bit more info on this emerging fashion. And yes, LaCarmina recently did a post about the same fashion, using some of the same photos I am, but I did not just repost what she wrote (obviously), there is simply only a handful of places about this fashion online at the moment. So we don't exactly have a goldmine of images to sort from.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Valentine's Day Lolita Meetup

Our local Lolitas finally had a meetup that didn't get snowed out! We traveled from all over the state (and the nearby states in a few cases!) to go out to lunch at a gourmet chocolate restaurant. There were 24 of us, 17 in Lolita, the remainder were well dressed husbands and boyfriends, packed into the rather small cafe. We took up all the tables, except for one tiny one, and made one huge L shaped table out of it. The film crew of LoliGirls was even there, getting some shots and doing some interviews, so that was pretty cool to see them in action and get to talk to them. I also realized that we have quite a few Lolita bloggers in the area! Sitting down to lunch with me were Miss Lumpy (who hosted the meetup), Victoria of Lolita Charm, and Rayray of Part Time Lolita.


My outfit for the day. I need to work on my super kawaii poses...
Headbow & Skirt: BtSSB
Blouse: old Infanta, back when they were NekoWorks


Inside the cafe, with the LoliGirls crew setting up in the background.


A group of girls doing a quick interview about what a meetup is to a Lolita.


My group answering questions about meetups.


All of us on the front porch of some giant tourist mansion that was closed for the winter.


Gathering together for warmth! Not really, it was actually very nice out, we were just getting a group shot of skirt prints.

I had a great time and I really hope we can keep up the somewhat frequent, and large meetups!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Accessory Obsession: 1928

An accessory brand that I'm kind of obsessed over at the moment is 1928, which you can find at Khols or through their webshop. Their prices range from affordable, to something you're going to have to save up for. If you live near a Khols you probably stand a good chance of catching their stuff on sale too. I love their vintage, antique style, which is pretty refreshing since so many accessories sold at the moment are a bit cheap, or too modern, looking for my tastes. If you check out my Polyvore account (or check out the "coordinates" tag on my blog), most of my Lolita coordinate accessories are from 1928. In this post I just want to show some of my favorite pieces from 1928.





This is just a sampling of the things I love from them, as you can see they have a rather wide range of decadent styles, ranging from sweet and pretty, to elegant and Victorian, to decadent and gothic.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Metamorphose: Regimental Stripe


While checking my blogs last night I noticed that Meta's English blog had been updated, I clicked, not expecting much, but was blown away wen I saw their newest print line. Regimental Stripe! The print itself is beautiful, it's elegant and simple, which is a surprise. While I was on their blog, scrolling down the print close-up, I was expecting there to be a big, clustery, jumble of a hemline print, but I was very wrong! The prints are just straight up stripes, which is a rarity in Lolita. And, the cuts of all the dresses look incredible. They are, in my opinion, a little on the short side, but check out that skirt and vest combo in the 3rd image, it's just awesome. And don't get me started on how cool it is to see some boystyle clothes outside of Alice and the Pirates! Thank you Meta, you are often the brand of questionable taste, but you really know how to make up for it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Valentines Day Lolita Coordinate


Love it or hate it, today is Valentines day, and I hope yours went nicely! Today I discovered that I actually like Egg Foo Young, I spent all of my younger years totally grossed out by it, but it's actually really delicious XD

Just for fun, here's a V-day themed outfit. I went for something a bit more Gothic than the obvious choice of pastel pinks. I am just in love with that bolero from Forever21 and I think a JSK or dress with a sweetheart neckline would look perfect underneath it.

Sorry for the lack of updates this month, but it's been kind of hectic for me. As usual, I do have several things planned for both the blog and my upcoming Etsy shop, I just have to get around to finishing them! Next weekend there is even a Lolita meetup planned, a late Valentines day meetup. I'm very excited for it and have pulled out one of my favorite, but rarely worn, skirts for it. I also get to have super fun dress-up times with my boyfriend, who will be going in Black Peace Now. Expect some pictures of the event when it's over, and cross your fingers that it doesn't snow and we have to cancel like last months meetup! I can't wait for the weather to get warm again and to stop foiling my plans.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ask Miss Caro-chan: Wearing Lolita At Formal Functions

Today's Ask Miss Caro-chan comes from Lady Weaver. She asks:
It seems as if, upon high school graduation, many of my friends and family members have been getting engaged. I don't want to detract from the bride's day, but I still want to wear my poof. What does the discerning Lolita wear?
What to wear when we go somewhere where we are expected to dress up is a dilemma many Lolitas have to eventually face. Obviously, we spend most of our time, or at least whenever we are wearing Lolita, more dressed up than any one we know. But when it comes to a formal function in which full-blown Lolita is simply not appropriate, we have to master that tricky art of dressing down to get dressed up. If you want to wear the Lolita finery you already have, or you simply can't comprehend buying something that's not Lolita, there are a few simple things you can keep in mind for when you have to go to something where you are required to blend in a bit more than you normally do.
  • Consider a more toned down style, like Classic Lolita. Classic Lolita is a, well... classic way to blend in a bit more with the normal folk. Many of their dresses are less over-the-top than other styles of Lolita, and can often pass as "Sunday best". You might even consider going for a basic black Gothic Lolita style. Try a simple black Lolita dress with a square collar and short sleeves.
  • Keep it "grown-up". Leave the Bunny Bear bags, unicorn prints, and giant head eating bows at home. They will usually draw too much attention from the average person, and not good attention either, but usually "Why did she bring a teddy bear and is wearing a little girl's dress to a wedding?" attention.
  • Try a cardigan. Try a cardigan over a blouseless JSK, or even over whatever it is you plan on wearing. A plain, but nicely fitted cardigan is just a really nice way to look dressed up for normal people, but to look a bit more casual for a Lolita.
  • Loose some of the poof. Try not to be poofier than the bride XD Wear one, slightly deflated, tulle petticoat to just add a little bit of lift to your skirt. Try aim for a more A-lined silhouette, not a cupcakey one.
  • Avoid knee socks. Choose a plain pair of tights instead. If it's in the summer, even consider going bare-legged.
  • Go headdressless. Instead of a bow or a ruffly headdress, try a headband with a simple bow on it, or even just a hair clip.
  • Keep accessories "classy". This is mainly for Sweet Lolitas who border on Deco. Leave your plastic cupcake rings and glittery bangles at home. You know it, I know it, and every Lolita out there knows that plastic Angelic Pretty jewelery can cost an arm and a leg, but to the average person they are going to just to assume you showed up at someones wedding covered in play jewelry from the toy store.

Here are three coordinates (click for the polyvore page), made with the above tips in mind, that I think would be very suited for wearing to something like a wedding. All three are based around a Lolita brand piece, and do indeed look very Lolita, they are just a bit more toned down than usual.

In the end, it really all depends on what reason you have to tone down your Lolita. If it is something like a traditional wedding, it's incredibly inappropriate to show up in a dress more decorated and poofier than the bride's. Or maybe you will just be around many people, extended family and co-workers for example, that you are just not comfortable dressing Lolita around. If the wedding is unconventional, and the bride and groom are all very familiar with your personal fashion style, don't feel shy about asking them if you can wear your frilly finery to their wedding. They might not mind at all. But if they do, try not to take it so personally, after all, it is their big day, not yours.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lolita Vending At An Anime Convention & Baby's New Rose Ornament print.

Long time no post! Well, long time for me at least. It's been a whole week! I have had a hectic weekend at the convention, which ended up surpassing everyone's expectations and getting 600+ people. Not too bad for a convention's first year. I made some new friends, met interesting new people, saw some familiar faces, and had a real blast selling stuff! And yes, I will be be opening an Etsy shop soon in the future. I really want to do some more convention vending but I think I may have missed out on any open tables for the conventions coming up this year. Oh well, maybe next year?

I ended up forgetting all my business cards on my bookshelf (oops!) but I gave out my blog URL on quite a few pieces of scrap paper when people asked, so if I met you at the con, say hi!


Now, onto the burando! Baby, The Stars Shine Bright have a few new prints on reserve, but I want to talk about the new Rose Ornament print.

I think I am in love! The design, I think, is just lovely. It has a very old school Classic Lolita look to it. Especially with the bonnet! Check out that print! It's absolutely gorgeous and completely decadent. The name sounds very familiar, has Baby released a Rose Ornament print before?

Can you believe how pretty this is? I'm usually a fan of black colorways, but I think the blue and white is even more beautiful.

Besides the Rose Ornament print, baby has a few new prints up there sleeve.

Strawberry and Cherry, misspelled as "Chetty", is another new print that comes in two JSK versions, including a shirred version. The print is adorable, and both JSK designs are really cute. I love the retro look of the first one, and the shirred one is just perfect as well. I am not a fan of the black colorway though, it just looks very busy. I am a bit tempted to pick this up in a pastel color though!

Mary's Sweet Sheep is another cute print from Baby, this time, I think it looks much cuter on the dress than I think the Strawberry and Cherry print does. And up close the print is just so cute. I love the little lambs most of all! They have a very retro look to them, which I just love. This reminds me of a sweet 1950's print. This print is used on a few different pieces, a skirt, and two different styles of JSK. One of those styles is sold in 3 different sizes! Finally Baby is releasing another print in multiple sizes! Although, the JSK sold in one size is, while not fully shirred, has quite a bit of shirring in it, so it's probably going to fit a few sizes. I am, sadly, not too much of a fan of the various JSK styles. The one size one is empire waisted, and while I do love empire waist dresses, I really just like them in the Gothic prints, I feel a bit too much like a toddler in pastel empire waists. The multi-size JSK has a cute design, but probably too plain. I personally think it could use a ruffle or two.

Sleeping Beauty is lovely print that everyone is talking about from Baby's Alice and the Pirates line. I, personally, am not that big of a fan of it. Maybe it's just the two colorway choices, but the black and red doesn't really do it for me, I think, from far away, it looks like too many other AatP prints, and I am just not that big of an ivory fan for the other colorway. The design is lovely, I love the crisscrossing straps on the front, a feature that I think is perfectly Lolita.

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