On Being Lolita: Take a Picture

On Being Lolita: Take a Picture

I am neither handy with a camera nor good at posing for one, which causes certain difficulties when it comes to lolita fashion. There’s really nothing wrong with not taking pictures, as wearing the clothing provides the experience, but personally I like having something to look back on and share. Years from now, when I’m an old lady, I want to be able to reflect back on this time of my life with pictures to illustrate it better than my memory might. Maybe my nieces or nephews will enjoy seeing those “weird pictures of Aunt Alice,” too.

My camera is a point-and-shoot Sony that I bought when I started wearing lolita~ At 6 megapixels, it doesn’t have the highest quality. It also has very little in the way of options and settings; I moan my lack of white balance on a regular basis. (It’s the one feature I could really use to avoid the yellow cast of electric lighting.) Despite this, I still manage to get some very nice pictures with it and have only vaguely entertained the thoughts of replacing it.

Although some lolita are also photographers, not all of us are–but we’d still like to take nice pictures. It’s fun to get good shots to remember an awesome meetup; take clothing pictures to get more ribbons for your Poupée Girl account; share your outfits on Daily_Lolita or Daily_Ala_Mode; add more to your Flickr photostream; or just take pictures because you want to!

  • Use the highest megapixel setting. Smaller resolution photos will take up less space on your memory card, but they won’t look as crisp and clear. When you buy a camera it’s best to use it to its fullest extent. You never know when you might take a picture you REALLY adore, and it’s very hard to duplicate an image. Might as well take the highest-quality image you can, so you don’t regret it later.
  • Don’t use digital zoom. This might look nice when you’re staring at the picture’s preview on your camera’s screen, but it won’t look so nice when you’ve downloaded the picture to your computer and can see it with more detail! Using digital zoom reduces the number of pixels in your picture and thus the quality is poor. Move closer to your subject instead of thumbing the zoom dial.
  • Take multiple pictures of the same shot. A friend of mine is a professional photographer. When he takes a picture, it sounds like machine gunfire. He rapidly takes several pictures instead of just taking one. This is because even a second can make a difference–something especially true for pictures of people. Sometimes we make weird facial expressions, or cause a blur by moving, or the focus isn’t quite right, etc. Sorting through a few versions of the same picture provides a chance to pick the best one, instead of having to discard a pose and setting you really liked because your eyes are half-closed and your mouth is open.
  • Pay attention to lighting. Sunlight is typically the best option, and flash is usually the worst. Stepping outside to take your pictures, or standing near a large and sunny window, will avoid most weird colour casts or darkness. Too much light can cause glare or wash out pale outfits, so try taking pictures at different times of day in different weather conditions and get to know your sunlight. That way you’ll have a time in mind for pictures when you’re in dark clothing on a cloudy day, while also being prepared for getting the optimal shot of an all-white coordination when the sun is full-force. Always turn off the flash if you can, as it tends to distort colours.
  • Practice posing. This is something I am really bad at, but trying to improve! It’s hard to know what you look like when someone takes your picture, so give yourself an advantage by practicing beforehand. Prance around in front of a mirror to see what angles you like best. Does looking down give you a double-chin? Does placing your hands a certain way make them look HUGE? Now you know what to avoid! It looks silly if you always stand the same way in every picture, so make sure to try new things and give yourself some options.
  • Check your outfit. When someone asks to take your picture, pause for a moment to straighten your hairbow, pull up your socks, and make sure your petticoat isn’t slipping. (Of course, you’ll want to do this in a lady-like manner to avoid flashing friends and strangers.) A small hand mirror can come in handy for last-minute adjustments, although I usually use the closest reflective window or well-washed car!
  • Notice the background. A good picture–even if the goal of the picture is to share an outfit–shouldn’t have a sloppy mess in the background. Before you take a picture, stare through the viewfinder or at the display and notice what else is there. Your dirty laundry scattered across dingy carpet? A smear of dog poo on the sidewalk? Probably not the best place to take a picture, then. Find a better spot, or (if, for example, the lighting is only good RIGHT THERE) clean up or disguise the mess. Angle to avoid the dog poo; pick up the dirty laundry. It’s very easy! If you plan on taking pictures fairly frequently, it helps to designate a certain area as “the picture place”–and keep that spot neat even if the other areas are messy.

Unless you have a lot of skill, it can be very difficult to take a picture of yourself. Mirror shots–although a staple for most–are never as nice as those taken directly. The mirror bends the light, slightly distorting the image, and having the camera in the picture rarely looks as good as without. In this case, having a tripod is best–but if you can’t manage that or don’t want one, try finding a piece of furniture or stacks of books and boxes to bring the camera to the necessary height, and use the timer feature.

If you can convince someone else to take a picture for you, it’s always best to be courteous. At a meetup, it’s generally appreciated to “trade” picture-taking duties. If a friend takes a picture of me, I should at least offer to take a few for her. Give your friends (or acquaintances) the same kind of attention you’d prefer–pay attention to the setting, point out and adjust flipped-over bows or untied lacing, and take a few pictures of each shot so she has a few to choose from. It’s not fun to take lots of pictures for someone else to have them just brush you aside–don’t make your photographer feel unappreciated.

The same is true for loving boyfriends/girlfriends, family members, or others who take a picture for you and do you a favor but might not want pictures in return. Don’t give them a reason to feel resentful and unwilling to cooperate–show your thanks in another way. If they’re attending a meetup with you or just helping out while you’re at home, do what you can so they don’t feel like you only wanted them around to carry things and hold the camera. If you have suggestions or requests, asking is always better than demanding. And everyone appreciates being thanked, with words and actions. Personally, I try to repay favor for favor.

When we started living together, my husband was not keen on being my in-house photographer. He would groan if I reached for the camera, or conveniently “forget” it when we were going out for the day. It was a tiresome, boring thing for him. Now he has a much different attitude. Before, he felt criticized and unappreciated. I would ask him to take a picture, then ask for another because it “wasn’t good enough.” When we talked about it, I changed my method to let him know exactly what I didn’t like and why I didn’t like it. Instead of a vague assessment, I’d point out something specific like “this bow is turned over–I need to fix it” or “this angle is unflattering–can you try holding the camera like this?”

I also encouraged him to experiment or give direction. It’s not very fun to do something if you’re being forced, but it can be fun to do something if you have control. This led to our recent photos posted in the previous entry. I told him that he could pick everything; he selected my outfit, the location, and poses. I’d add my input sometimes, but given free reign he was much more creative than I would have been had I been telling him what to do. He had so much fun that he said he would certainly do it again. I’m looking forward to taking more pictures with him, so we can share our happy memories in the future~ ♥

Photo Set: Courtyard & Cloister

Photo Set: Courtyard & Cloister

I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to take some pictures at the gorgeous Fourth Presbyterian Church. This beautiful, gothic structure is amidst the hustle and bustle of the city–right across the street from a famous skyscraper and surrounded by high-end stores. Taxi cabs whiz by while buses honk angrily, but when you step under the stone archway and enter the courtyard it’s an entirely separate place. I feel so happy to be able to take pictures there. The weather was chilly, but not too cold, and the sun was just starting to filter in while we were there.

My husband was my photographer. ♥ He’s very kind to take these pictures for me.

There are more pictures on my Flickr~ (I ought to organize my photostream…)

Blue Floral VIII
Blue Floral V

Blue Floral II
Blue Floral VII
Blue Floral IX
Blue Floral XI

Please do not use or repost these pictures. Thank you!
Outfit Snap: Festively Red

Outfit Snap: Festively Red

Bleeding Hearts

My husband was very excited about St. George’s Day this Friday, so he requested that I wear red. (There was also a request to slay a dragon, but that was ultimately not to be.) I didn’t mind a chance to wear my sailor cutsew~ I’m a huuuuuuuuuge fan of Sailor Moon, so I have a very intense weakness for sailor collars. And huge bows. As this cutsew combines both of those things, I absolutely love it! I hope that some day I can own it in pink~ ♥ I’d have more opportunities to wear it.

I wore it with my red jumperskirt, so overall it was a very, very red outfit. Cherry socks, too, because I love them! Metamorphose always makes such wonderful socks. I just wish their shade of pink matched Angelic Pretty‘s pink–it’s always a little bit darker or “duskier.”

A Red Sailor

In my continuing quest to not always wear my hair the same, I came up with a new style. I like trying to copy Sailor Moon’s hairstyle (because, as mentioned previously, I really like Sailor Moon), but there are many different opinions on what is the “correct” way to do the style. Some think it’s a knot at the top of the ponytail, others a wrap-around of a different section, and still others a bun. I’m sure there are probably more theories I am neglecting to mention~ The knot method requires the most hair, so it is somewhat difficult to do correctly without having itty-bitty pigtails. I tried the knot method with “half” pigtails, because my hair is very thick. I was very pleased with the result~

It doesn’t look anything like the hairstyle from the series, but it is quite cute. Even better, I can hold the knots in place with only one hairpin! Whenever I try more elaborate styles that involve many hairpins, it’s such a hassle to take them all out at the end of the day. Inevitably I miss one, and it stabs me when I lay down to sleep. ;_; It’s much harder to lose a single hairpin. I’ll definitely wear my hair this way again.

I dressed up on Saturday, as well, but… it didn’t really last. I couldn’t get my hair to cooperate with what I had intended, and the constant touching and brushing as I tried again and again just made it frizzier and frizzier. I finally gave up and settled on something else, but the damage was already done, and there wasn’t time to wash and condition my hair again to get it under control. When I tried to add hair accessories, they just wouldn’t stay in place! @_@ I’d move, and the bows would flop right off.

Creepy Alice Ghost

I was already a little bit on the less-than-cheery side of things because my husband was leaving for the weekend. Unfortunately, I let the little things get to me. When we stepped outside to take some pictures, I got frightened by a passerby (although they did absolutely nothing), and bolted back indoors. We tried to take a few quick pictures anyway, but I was completely spooked and it didn’t end well. It’s too bad, but sometimes things happen.

Overall it wasn’t a bad day, although it definitely felt like it for a while. My mother and stepfather surprised me by coming into the city and taking me to dinner. And, honestly, it’s hard to be in a terribly bad mood when you’ve received an usakumya to cuddle. ♥

Meet Mallow


Usakumya Postcard
This is possibly the cutest postcard ever. I didn’t know BtSSB had illustrated their iconic bunny-bear.

I have a very firm belief that my family is utterly amazing. Anyone who has talked to me would confirm that I insist consistently that my family is the best. Even my complaints are prefaced with an aside or accompanied by a disclaimer. Even better–this is regularly proven to be true. Whether it’s pulling through in an emergency, going above and beyond the call of duty, or acting spontaneously with kindness, my family members display through their actions what wonderful people they are. ♥ (And if my mother ever starts reading my blog, I know she’ll be reaching for the tissues! n_~)

Last night my mother and stepfather surprised me with an invitation to dinner near MY house. They picked a restaurant and drove into the city to see me. It was very unexpected and really brightened my evening. My husband had left for the weekend, and I didn’t have any other plans. I didn’t arrive at the restaurant quite as fast as they did, not really realizing how far of a walk it was, but when I sat down at the table I noticed a massive pink bag filling the chair beside my mother.

With some grins and hinting comments, the bag was hefted over the table to me. When I peered inside, I saw the pink-eyed face of a white usakumya.

Is It a Bunny... or a Bear?
It’s a bunny bear all of my own!

I squealed!! ♥

I’m sure that with my previous post about usakumya (and, if you’re unfortunate enough to be subject to it, my constant pining for an usakumya and/or temporary kidnapping of the bunny-bears of others) it is at least somewhat established that I very-very-very-very-very much wanted one. However, since they’re out of stock on the website I thought I would have to wait until a new release–which was a bit disappointing because I really wanted my usakumya to match my little sister’s.

My luck in finding this fuzzy backpack on Yahoo!Japan auctions was…less than lucky. I’ve been keeping an eye out, but it’s not very easy with a specific release as the target. (Also, I didn’t want to pay an exorbitant amount, and with the current status of the exchange rate slight price increases would be magnified.) The bunny bear is very popular (for obvious reasons, I think), so there aren’t the easiest thing to find.

Ears Exposed
I love the adorable bear ears hiding under the bunny-eared hood~ They’re not very small–it’s a good thing that hood has enough room!

I learned that my mother decided she wanted to get one for me for my birthday, so she sent my stepfather to the BABY, the Stars Shine Bright store in Paris with specific instructions. He told me that was sure that he saw it in the window but brought a printed image to have the shopgirl to verify that it was the right one. There’s something so amusing about the fact that both my mother and stepfather have the Paris location memorized~ ♥

The best part of the story, in my opinion, was when he said the employee was ringing him up and he pulled out his punch card. She was very surprised! I’m sure it must have been such a hilarious moment–my stepfather looking somewhat out of place in the very small, very pink BtSSB shop…and holding the pink point card from his wallet!

I believe this is the largest size of usakumya–it’s definitely enormous! My stepfather said that it took up half of his suitcase~ ♥ I can’t even begin to express how much I appreciate the sacrifices made so that I could receive such a wonderful present!! I’m still almost in disbelief. It’s going to be so hard to resist the urge to take him to work with me~

Double Bunny Cuteness
I could not resist the urge to take pictures of Mallow being cuddled by the new plush. He’s so small compared to the big usakumya!

I absolutely adore everything about my wonderful usakumya! My birthday isn’t for months, so I’m very surprised that I received it so early, but my mother was afraid I would buy one myself. (She also has a very bad habit of hiding things so well that she doesn’t know where they are. I think that was a real threat, even to such a massive thing as this.)

I’m having a difficult time coming up with a good name for my usakumya. I want to pick something perfect! Mallow (who obviously had to meet the newcomer) was very easy to name, and his name is just perfect. I still haven’t made up my mind if this bunny bear is a boy or a girl, even! Most of my stuffed animals–and, honestly, most anything I assign a gender to–is a boy, so it’s likely that this will be a boy, but I’m just not sure. There’s also the issue of the name. This is one of the best kinds of indecision to be afflicted with! n_n

I’ve come up with some ideas, but I’m leaning towards Lait~ After all, usakumya is from Paris, so perhaps a French name is suitable. I want to pick something white, since it is white, and something food-ish, since Mallow is food-related. I’ve also thought of Cream, Milk, Chiffon, Cake, etc. Hmm… I know what will be on my mind for a while.

I absolutely had to get a picture of the bag holding the postcard with the picture of the bag. So much cuteness!

When I got home and sorted through the bag, I saw that a postcard of usakumya was included. (I’m considering collecting these Paris shop postcards!) It’s such a lovely touch! It was a bit bent at the bottom of the bag–I’m glad I noticed it. It would have been such a shame if it were just tossed out.

My mother also called to let me know that there were ribbons in the bag. Usually the staff at the shop tie the handles of the bag closed as part of the elaborate wrapping of your purchase, but my stepfather asked that they place the ribbons in the bag instead. The thought was that I might like them for my hair–and I certainly do~ I plan to put them on hair clips! I’m very thankful that I didn’t miss those. I should be more thorough about things like this~

I’m so happy and thrilled and amazed and complete overwhelmed! SQUEE!

On Being Lolita: Following the Rules

On Being Lolita: Following the Rules

Recently, Caro of F Yeah Lolita made a post about breaking lolita “rules.” The post closed with a call to action for other lolita to come clean about the rules they disregard on a regular basis. Generally, I’m a law-abiding wearer of lolita fashion; rarely do my coordinations do something extreme or non-traditional. This isn’t the result of a conscious decision–I’m just not that creative! I don’t think that there should be strictly-followed rules for the style, and I really admire the unique and beautiful coordinations that some lolita wear.

“Rules” seem to be a concept that a lot of girls new to lolita fashion get hung up on. Some embrace the idea of rules and follow them strictly, from exactly knee-length skirts to a certain type of behavior. Others rebel from the start, constantly trying to add new twists or reinterpreting the style, regardless of the criticisms of those who insist on conformity. There are even more people in the middle, unsure of how to put into words their opinion on lolita fashion rules. For a long time, that was where I sat.

I think that lolita often state or insist on rules because it is difficult to develop an eye for lolita. More important than following or not following rules, in my opinion, is cultivating the lolita aesthetic. When I look at a coordination, almost instantaneously I decide if it is or isn’t “lolita.” The decision isn’t the result of carefully weighing one element or another, but rather an overall subjective impression. Even then, I’m not a lolita diety who drifts down with a frilly parasol and ordains an outfit “good” or “bad;” it’s entirely my opinion. Rules are invented and insisted on as shortcuts or broad concepts to rely on before the development of the skill to recognize and replicate the style.

Common rules include “lolita MUST wear a petticoat.” Most lolita outfits involve a petticoat. Most skirts have a bell-shape, which requires a petticoat. However, it is very possible to create an outfit without a petticoat–either because the wearer prefers less “poof” or because the skirt is not bell-shaped. Several companies have released skirts that are longer, shorter, a-line, fishtail, close-fitting, and so forth–all items that can be part of a legitimate lolita fashion coordination, but not with a petticoat! For the beginner, however, the quick reference of “MUST were a petticoat” typically prevents an incomplete-looking outfit.

A more puzzling “rule” is the one that insists on a specific type of behavior for lolita. I tend to think that these are mostly derived from some of the writings of Takemoto Novala. He has written profusely on lolita fashion, and all of his writings espouse his particular definitive view of what a lolita ought to be. A snapshot of this is encompassed in Kamikaze Girls (original title Shimotsuma Monogatari), but Momoko isn’t a “perfect” lolita–she has numerous character flaws, which make it a really enjoyable story. However, Novala’s works, specifically those featured in articles for the Gothic & Lolita Bible, tend to feature sentiments such as “lolita should never wear glasses” or “lolita must speak a certain way.” It’s too bad that it is difficult to find translations of these works–if they were easier to access, it would be simpler to show these are the ideas of one creative man, not a doctrine that must be accepted by all lolita.

Part of the reason that I rarely “break lolita rules” is because I really love lolita fashion for its silly, frilly, layered, elaborate style. I wear knee socks because I think they’re awesome, not because it’s a rule. I wear blouses beneath my jumperskirts in almost all weather because otherwise they look baggy on me! (Not like cute sundresses, the way they can seem on others.) I don’t blend lolita fashion with another fashion because I’m not interested in another fashion. My outfits’ boring-ness is entirely related to my personal boring-ness. :3

I believe that lolita fashion is, ultimately, about enjoying oneself. If it’s a chore to dress up, with rules on every side, then why bother? I wear frills because it brightens my day and puts a spring in my step! If you’ve dressed yourself in a coordination that is 100% you and maybe 13% lolita, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re enjoying yourself. Should you call your style lolita fashion? Probably not, but even if you do it’s not the end of the world! I admire all those rule-breakers who show off their originality and creativity. ♥

Outfit Snap: White Blossoms

Outfit Snap: White Blossoms

There is a definite level of redundancy with my outfits. My wardrobe is limited, without frequent turnover. When I buy something I get very attached to it, so I want to keep wearing it instead of selling it to buy something new. My white Angelic Pretty one-piece is probably one of the items I will never part with. It is basically my favourite dress and makes me want to own more white OPs.

White Magnolia Blossoms

I wore it this Friday because I knew I couldn’t wear lolita fashion to the bridal shower on Saturday. I spent the day with my best friend, who is not a lolita, so I tried to be a little bit more casual. (Although, honestly, she doesn’t care in the slightest. We’ve been friends too long to be embarrassed by the others’ appearance, no matter how frilly.) So I wore a zip-up sweater over my dress. One of these days I will get an Angelic Pretty parka for this purpose; I’m sure I would wear the thing to death in and out of lolita outfits.

I intended to have small bows in my hair, but the ones I tried to wear kept flipping and moving around. I caught my reflection in a shop window and thought, “Good heavens!” I absolutely had to take them out. I’m thinking about making some small white clips akin to the kind that match my red polka-dot jumperskirt. Those are always easy to wear. Instead, I stuck these bows on the pockets of my hoodie. I wish I could remember what these bows originally belonged to!

Charming Activities: Rosette Doll Spotlight

Charming Activities: Rosette Doll Spotlight

I don’t really have too many hobbies, but one area I’m very interested in are ball-jointed dolls. I waste idle hours on Den of Angels, my go-to for boredom. Clicking from forum to forum I can enjoy beautiful photographs, ponder discussions as I read others’ responses, or follow a well-chronicled transaction gone wrong. Dolls tend to fit very well into a sweet lolita lifestyle stereotype, but I’m not quite at the level of intensity where they line my walls as depicted on the blogs of some Japanese lolita. (And I’m not quite sure that’s what I aspire towards, really.)

My first Pullip, Raphia. Her counterpart was a kurololi named Cornice.

My interest in dolls is directly related to my love of lolita fashion. My first doll was a Pullip, specifically Raphia. She was fluffy and white, swathed in lace, and her arrival was the push I needed to move from dreamy sighs at the BABY, the Stars Shine Bright website to owning and wearing lolita clothing. She’s no longer in my possession, but I fondly think back on her whenever I look at my current ball-jointed doll, although they bear no resemblance to each other.

These past few days I’ve been very focused on ball-jointed dolls, specifically everything Volks, as I am in a tizzy about attending the 2010’s Dolls’ Party in NYC 4. I know I’ll be bringing my Claire, a Volks MSD Nagisa in Preschool, but I’m still up in the air about what I might get there. I also want to wear lolita fashion, and dream about my doll dressed in something that “fits” with that image, but not necessarily a lolita outfit for her. (Although that would be cute!)

I love this picture of all of the Rosette girls in their school uniforms! It’s one of the wallpapers on the website, and was my background for many months.

Before I owned my current doll, my first doll was made by the SOOM subsidiary Rosette Doll. I was drawn to these dolls because they fit beautifully with some of the dreamy idealization of the Victorian era that I’ve had since childhood and was intensified by my love of lolita fashion. Most ball-jointed dolls are sold as an unfinished product–something that arrives without eyes, hair, painting, or clothes. They’re dressed for pictures, but intended to be altered to fit any desires of the customer. Rosette Doll is a little bit different–their dolls are all more or less “finished,” arriving with the eyes, wig, outfit, and face painting specified in the shop’s pictures. They are complete, but they still have potential for customization.

 This was the image of Violet that made me fall in love with the doll. I always wanted to get a violin for my Claudia, but that remained a dream.

Rosette Doll has a theme carried throughout the website, the theme of a Victorian-era boarding school. The website is organized like a school, with information on the website detailing the imaginary class structure, school president, and schedule of holidays. The company posts beautiful “diary” stories of the students and encourages customers to register their dolls for class. Each doll arrives with an acceptance letter and a care guide disguised as a student handbook. The attention to detail is staggering.

 They wear such beautiful outfits! These were the “Spring Term” limited editions.

Most of the dolls are not wearing clothing that would fit the definition of lolita, although some could be considered inspired or “almost.” Regardless, I think they very much fit with the lolita aesthetic. Beautiful fabrics, laces, and ruffles adorn the clothing in ways that aren’t completely historically accurate, but more of an interpretation of a fond reminiscence of that time in an idealized European boarding school.

The newest limited release, “Extracurricular Activities,” features more elaborate outfits and white-skinned dolls.

Honestly, I’ve never seen a company with a more “lolita” appeal. Even some of the fashion brand crossovers (which perhaps I’ll write about again) aren’t as strong if only because they’re single releases, while Rosette Doll has a steady stream and is continually developing along the same aesthetic. (They did release some modern-styled clothing, but even that had a frilly, ruffly inspiration.) I can’t help thinking that some of the outfits worn by the Rosette girls could be considered “sweet aristocrat!” Maybe that’s how I can dress when I’m too old for lolita fashion.

I can’t end this without sharing at least a few more pictures from the company’s website. They’ve taken so many beautiful photos!

On Being Lolita: “I Do”–Do You?

On Being Lolita: “I Do”–Do You?

In the Court Room
As all of our pictures are very informal, I’m always caught in some kind of awkward pose.

With my bridal shower just around the corner (Which, for the record, I am really nervous about attending! So many relatives that I haven’t seen in years…), I’ve been thinking about my wedding. I eloped at the end of January, the intention and date kept a secret from everyone except my husband and best friend, and although there was no formal ceremony, I wore lolita fashion. Wearing lolita to my wedding was very important to me. The fashion has played a significant role in my life–most importantly, it has had a very positive effect on my well-being. When I’m in my lolita finery, I feel very happy to be myself–that was the mindset I wanted for a day as significant as my wedding day.

I am not really of the opinion that a wedding day is the “happiest” day of a girl’s life. I’d like to think that every tomorrow has the potential to be a “happiest” day–I aspire to live with increasing values on the happiness meter! However, marriage is a very meaningful step in one’s life. I am thankful every day for the man I can now call my husband, who loves and supports me in any situation. He has never opposed my hobbies or said hurtful things about my interests. With such a wonderful person by my side, I know that every day has unlimited potential!

Wedding Waiting Room
Completely excited and intensely happy! ♥

If I had had a formal wedding, with guests and a schedule, wearing lolita fashion would not have been an option. My family would have protested every step of the way, regardless of who should be making the choice. Additionally, there was no way I could afford even a small wedding. Instead, we opted to secretly elope. Our families were horrified to hear that my husband wore jeans and a Slayer t-shirt–but that is exactly who he is, and if I can pick my frilly attire he should have equally free choice.

Wearing lolita fashion to one’s wedding is a personal choice that rests heavily on how much you identify with the fashion. Some girls are madly in love with the style, only to move on in a few years to something else. In a case like that, one might not want to look back on wedding photos in your frilly finest–a traditional wedding dress that is suited to your tastes might be a better choice. I knew I wouldn’t have any formal photographs and my interest in lolita fashion is very stable, so I wanted to wear something I would enjoy immensely.

With the Judge
When I look back on this, I almost wish my husband had thrown the horns or removed his jacket, but he didn’t want to chance offending anyone.

When my family saw some of the snapshots that were taken during our ceremony, even those who wished very much that I had a “real” wedding and worn a “real” dress sighed and said, “You know… it really looks like you. It’s absolutely you.” And that, of course, was the point! I didn’t want something poised and formal–I wanted us to be us, comfortable about being ourselves.

Although lolita dresses usually look very formal and frilly regardless of the season, once in a while a dress is released that has an even more elaborate design. These dresses are rarely printed, and usually involve lots of lace. When I made up my mind about what I intended to wear, I kept a close eye on the blogs, waiting for the next wave of wedding-esque dresses to be released. Angelic Pretty was the company to step up. BABY the Stars Shine Bright and Metamorphose had not-too-distantly released dresses they actually intended as wedding dresses, neither of which suited my fancy and both of which were very much out of my price range. When I saw the series my dress was a part of, I knew it was perfect for me!

If I hadn’t planned on getting married, I doubt I’d have had a good reason to own such a fancy dress. I probably would have just pined for it and resolved myself to less elaborate pieces in my wardrobe. I’d love to coordinate this again.

I still hope that someday I’ll have the opportunity to take more formal pictures of the two of us in the outfits we wore on our wedding day. It was very, very cold that day (being at the end of January in such a windy and snowy city) so we weren’t brave enough to try and get any pictures out of the courthouse. The mere thought of taking off my coat was unthinkable, especially in something without sleeves! Now that the weather is nicer and everything is starting to bloom, I dream of getting some nice pictures of us together in our wedding finery. ♥

Does anyone else plan to wear lolita fashion on their wedding day, or have you done it already? Or are you dreaming of a traditional dress–or something completely non-traditional but entirely perfect for you? I’d love to see an entire lolita-themed formal wedding, especially if it was tasteful and elegant, but that’s a dream faaaar too rich for my pocketbook, so I didn’t do more than briefly entertain the thought.

On Being Lolita: Come Back, Headdress!

On Being Lolita: Come Back, Headdress!

A pink and white headdress from Angelic Pretty–I’ve always thought the styrofoam head they used to model hair accessories was a bit creepy, but I suppose it could be worse!

When I first started wearing lolita fashion, the headdress was on its way out. Issues of the Gothic & Lolita Bible steadily featured more and more hairbows. That trend continued until now, when I look at Angelic Pretty‘s “headdress, katyusha, bonnet” page…there are no headdresses! (No bonnets, either, but those have always been released less-frequently.) There are two headdresses on the BABY, the Stars Shine Bright website…but they’re both sold out in all colors (except for the Rosaline Ribbon Headdress in red–too bad it wouldn’t match most of my wardrobe). At least Innocent World still has one–the Olivia Headdress.

Another headdress from Angelic Pretty, circa 2006.

This makes me feel nostalgic for the headdress. One of the reasons they became less popular in the English-speaking internet-based lolita community was due to the association with beginners and “bad lace.” In the early 2000s it was much harder to order anything from Japan because most brands didn’t ship overseas and shopping services weren’t common. The headdress was a first sewing project for many lolita-hopefuls~ This was usually made with whatever could be found from Mom or Grandma’s sewing basket and a spool of $1 lace from the craft store. Some girls created masterpieces, while other headdresses looked a far cry from the elegance of those atop models’ heads in the Gothic & Lolita Bible.

Regardless of the results, these headdresses were cherished and often-worn possessions. In fact, some of the earliest coordinations I had seen online relied solely on the headdress to classify the outfit as “gothic lolita.” I tried to make one, myself, but my inability to sew resulted in many disasters and ultimately nothing wearable. At the time it didn’t bother me too much because I preferred the hairbow. As the subsets of lolita style began to change, Angelic Pretty advertisements becoming more and more bright and eclectic while black and white “gothic lolita” faded in popularity, the headdress gave way to the hairbow.

Now I find myself missing the headdress. Although they were often worn with less-than-stellar outfits, nicely-made headdresses are very beautiful. A headdress was one of my first shopping service purchases–with pearls dangling from side bows and delicate lace edging the rounded rectangular shape. I don’t wear it often (it only matches one dress), but when I choose a hair accessory I’m reminded how pretty it is~ ♥

Personally, I still love hairbows, but I am fond of headdresses as well. The headdress is a very substantial accessory, and I find that it reminds me somewhat of a very tiny bonnet or a very wide hairband. When I first started wearing lolita fashion I avoided headdresses because my hairstyle didn’t have bangs, and headdresses tend to look odd if they are right up against your hairline. Now that I’ve changed my hairstyle, I want to wear more headdresses–but they’re not all that easy to find! I like that wearing one almost feels as though I have some kind of hat on, and it also tends to help keep my hairstyle in place.

I wish the headdress could have a revival. There is a design for every subset of lolita–narrow, sparsely decorated headdresses for classic; dark, luxurious fabrics with crucifix charms for gothic; brightly-coloured bejeweled and accessorized for deco-inspired sweet; and so forth! I’d be so happy to see a new ad in the Gothic & Lolita Bible with the models elaborate hairstyles dressed with a headdress~ ♥ I wonder if my daydream will come true; I’m never sure what will come next for the fashion.

Meetup Report: Tea at Chalkboard

Meetup Report: Tea at Chalkboard

I will admit right away that this doesn’t actually count as a meetup report. I didn’t actually go to a meetup over the weekend–but I did spend a lot of time running around with my little sister, both of us in frills; enough time that I wanted to write about it. Particularly because we went to tea on Saturday and she prodded me to actually take some pictures there.

Beautiful Sconces

There are a lot of nice places to go for tea in the city. Most of the major hotels downtown have afternoon tea services in gorgeous settings–with a price tag that can be $40 or higher. As much as I enjoy indulgence (I do wear lolita fashion, after all.) sometimes it just isn’t realistic to spend so much for one person. I particularly love drinking tea, regardless of its association with the lolita stereotype, and am always hoping to find a nice place to relax and enjoy a few hours with tasty tea-time snacks and good conversation. The release of the new Alice in Wonderland movie has prompted a lot of focus on tea, and I’ve read reviews of teas and tea services in places I’d never spotted them previously.

After seeing the restaurant’s name several times, I decided to try Chalkboard. The price is very affordable in terms of afternoon tea–$19 per person for the service. We discovered upon arriving that it is best not to come too hungry, however, as the service includes two finger sandwiches, one flat scone, and four bite-sized desserts–a slightly smaller assortment than I’m accustomed to, although completely understandable for the price.

Afternoon Tea Menu

The sandwiches, one egg salad and one salmon, cucumber, and cream cheese, were certainly good but not astounding. The cranberry scone, which I can’t help thinking of as a “scookie” due to its flat nature, was very tasty–particularly with the strawberry preserves. The sweets consisted of a brownie, lavender cookie, yogurt-filled tart, and cookie dough eggroll. The cookie dough eggroll was my favourite, but so messy! Thank goodness for forks; it wouldn’t have been polite to scoop up fallen dough with my fingers, but I would have done it. The yogurt-filled tart was least impressive, as the blackberry topping it wasn’t sweet enough to stand up to the sourness of the yogurt.

My little sister ordered Upton Tea Co.‘s “Sweet Almond Green,” which was exceptional. It was smooth, without bitter notes, with almond bouquet and a slightly spicy cinnamon finish. I chose the “Honeybush Superior,” also Upton Tea. It had a light, slightly-woodsy taste and went very well with sugar.

Ah, Afternoon Tea

The real star of our tea was the house-made pâté. My little sister spotted it on the dinner menu, and since I hadn’t eaten anything else that day the suggestion was irresistible. The pâté was chicken and duck liver…with bacon. It sounded good. It tasted fantastic. It isn’t typically a part of afternoon tea, but I have a weakness for well-made pâté, and the tea was a good accompaniment for it. It was served with toast squares and white beans, an onion relish, avocado, wholegrain mustard, and olives. We enjoyed it so much that I’m toying with the idea for returning someday for pâté and two pots of tea–as long as pâté is still on the menu, which changes frequently.

I think that Chalkboard would be a nice place for a meetup, especially now that I know what to expect. (And now that I know where it is and won’t get lost, as my directions there were not the best and we were saved only by my little sister’s magic phone of fanciness.) I enjoyed the atmosphere and the service–I can only wish it was closer to my house! …Okay, and I can also wish that afternoon tea included pâté. (Although I don’t think most of the other lolita in my area would share my wish!)