I always feel nostalgic about International Lolita Day, but I don’t often remember to celebrate it. I love that there’s a rallying day for the fashion community, and I wish I gave it more attention when it comes around—especially since it occurs twice a year, on the first Saturday in June and the first Saturday in December. That should mean that I at least remember one of them, but sometimes it doesn’t quite work out that way!
This year a dear friend of mine reminded me about the upcoming event and invited me to afternoon tea in time… and not just any friend, the very person who initially came up with the concept for this frilly “holiday” back in 2005 and organized the first celebration with the EGL community on ye olde Livejournal! 💖
The event on this first Saturday in June was hosted at Serenitea in Oak Park. Although it isn’t located in Chicago, it was easily accessible from both the Metra commuter train and the CTA green line. (I rode the L to and from; I prefer to take public transit when it’s available.) The tea room is a very short walk and fairly easy to identify. The location is rather small, but it still has a separate room for parties, which in general I prefer for meetups.
I regrettably forgot to take any pictures… I wore a pair of new shoes that savaged the backs of my ankles and distracted me from collecting a good record, so please forgive my lack of thoroughness in this “report”.
The afternoon tea menu is available with options for vegan and gluten-free needs, which our party appreciated. The gluten-free items were served on the same plates as the items containing gluten, so guests with very strict needs may benefit from making additional requests and confirming that there is no cross-contamination. The selection of finger sandwiches, scones, and desserts seemed like pretty standard fare for a tea menu. It had a more rustic and homemade appearance and feel than hotel tea service. Each guest selected their own tea from a fairly large list of loose leaf options that were served in petite teapots. The teapots are cute, but they are extremely difficult to pour from without sloshing half of the tea all over the table; better teapots, possibly equipped with drip-catchers, would immensely improve the experience!
The seatings for our group involved small tables that sat four at each. This can make the group seem divided, but it did make conversation at the individual tables a bit easier to follow and participate in. We did an introduction round-table and milled around a bit, particular between courses and after most of the food items had been consumed. There was an attached shop room with vintage-themed tea goods that several people used as a spot for photos; it was possible to do this without bothering any other customers or guests. One attendee brought a small printer and graciously provided instant photos for everyone else! 📸 I love those cameras at meetups.
When our reservation ended we took a few pictures outside. There was brief discussion about extending our time together, but the ominous clouds overhead caused most people to vote for heading home. I managed to just barely beat the rain other than a few sprinkled droplets during the walk back to the train station! ☔
Overall, I had a lot of fun celebrating International Lolita Day this way (despite my injured ankles that are still slowly healing…), and I enjoyed getting to see several friends that I hadn’t spoken to in a few months as well as meeting some others for the first time! Perhaps I’ll remember to see what’s planned for December… ❄️