As the days are getting warmer (or really, I'm just anticipating warmer days, there have still been some chilly ones sneaking in) I have been dreaming a bit of OPs, or, for those of you who don't know the abbreviations too well, one-pieces, or the Lolita name for dresses with sleeves. It might seem counter productive to think of looking forward to wearing sleeves in the heat of summer, but these don't have to be long, fussy, hot-and-sweaty sleeves, I'm in love with the little puffy elastic almost-cap sleeves that many Lolita dresses have. I am beginning to think they are the perfect summer wear! No need for extra layers like a blouse or a cardigan or a bolero to cover up bare shoulders, just slip it on over your head and add a petticoat and, tada! instant Lolitafication.
But, not all Lolita OPs are the perfect slip-it-over-your-head-and-be-on-with-your-day wear, many OPs out there are probably going to be just as hot, if not hotter, than wearing a JSK with a blouse, or a skirt and a cutsew. Consider these tips before buying the perfect warm weather OP.
- Keep the sleeves short and easy to move in. Fully elastic sleeves are a godsend if they fit you right. They're comfortable to wear and don't feel as stuffy and hot as sleeves with cuffs can. Angelic Pretty is the brand that probably has the biggest selection of dresses with this style of sleeve.
- Look for a lower neckline. When keeping the sleeves short and easy, you might as well keep the neckline that way too! Avoid a high and often stuffy collar and stick for a lower neckline. A lot of dresses that have the fully elastic sleeves also feature an elastic neckline, making a dress really easy to slip into and move around in.
- Try lightweight, natural fabrics. A light and breathable cotton is the perfect fabric for summer! If you are looking for something super casual and comfy to wear in the heat, Baby the Stars Shine Bright often makes dresses out of their cutsew material, which is just a fancy word for a nicer weight t-shirt jersey knit.
- Avoid a ton of heavy weight ruffles, scallops, tiers, shirring, or other heavy decoration. These kind of things will just weigh the dress down and add unnecessary layers, which is what we are trying to avoid in the first place! You can still have a lot of details in a dress without adding on yards and yards of extra fabric; lace, prints, and even just textured fabric can be a good way to keep a dress interesting without the extra weight and layers.
This Classic coordinate is so simple and sort of borders a bit on the Country Lolita side of things. A Metamorphose dress with an ornate print and a very simple cut combined with a big straw hat and some lacy gloves and tights and brown accessories give this a little bit of a Victorian appeal.
While this Moi-même-Moitié dress might not be as light and breathable as other dresses, as it's made out of polyester, a low neckline and short elastic sleeves make it bearable, accessories are kept to a minimal few pieces of jewelry. A parasol might be advised if the weather gets too hot!
Some tips on coordinating with an OPFor years I was sort of uninterested in the OP, I thought there wasn't much coordinating possibility to it, but what I didn't know that it's charm was in it's ease and simplicity. I've learned to experiment and coordinate with accessories and styling, rather than adding more clothes to a coordinate. Try to make the dress the focus of the coordinate, not a color combo or a style fusion. Add some interesting jewelery in matching or complimentary colors. Style your hair and makeup to either match your OP or to try to sway it a little bit in another style's direction. Or, just enjoy being able to slip on a pretty dress and let the dress do it's thing.
What are your favorite ways to wear OPs? Do you love to dress them up with accessories, or do you only really wear already extravagant OPs? Or perhaps you're one of those who finds them too limiting and would rather stick to the JSK or a skirt combo?