On Being Lolita: Rainy Day Gear

On Being Lolita: Rainy Day Gear

April, for me, indicates the rainy season. Actually, it rains a lot where I live, but I always think on the adage of “April showers bring May flowers~” and expect a little bit extra rain for this month. Rain can be a bit dangerous in terms of wearing lolita fashion, particularly because not all garments are easily laundered, some fabrics can get water stained, and (most terrible) not all prints are color fast. I can’t even imagine the horror of being caught in a sudden downpour and seeing the print on your beloved outfit start to bleed! ;;

Even with that in mind, I don’t let rain keep me from dressing up in April; I plan my outfits and accessories with potential showers in mind. (This is a bit of an expansion on post from last year: Downpour Dollies. It should be obvious that I love rainy weather!)

Cute Rain Boots
Cute rain boots are my favourite wet-weather item! Mine are a sugary-pink with raspberry-pink bunnies printed across them. I bought them on a very, very wet day from the sales display of a department store sleepwear section. (Yes, sleepwear section. I don’t usually wear rain boots as pyjamas, but apparently others do?) In my opinion, there is nothing more rewarding than dry and warm feet on a wet day.

Spring is usually a good time to find rain boots, although sometimes before the rainy season there is more variety. Keep an eye out in local stores–I know that Target has carried a variety of patterns and styles, depending on the store, but sometimes they’ll pop up where you didn’t quite expect them–like the sleepwear section of a department store. n~ Dav Rain makes some really amazing-looking boots, which can be found online or in stores. I like their Victorian style with the lace-up detailing on the back~ (And in pink leopard print, too!)

Unfortunately, my boots are a little bit too big for my tiny feet. My feet slide around inside the boots, giving me blisters. Usually this could be fixed with an insole, but the boot is a little bit too big even for that. However, lately it has been easy to find boot liners! Boot liners look like very large polar-fleece knee socks. They slide into rain boots to provide extra warmth and comfort. They’re very good for extra cushioning! They come in many different colours, but I’m sure that they wouldn’t be terribly hard to make, either. It would certainly be nice to have a lot of them in different patterns~ ♥

It’s important to make sure that rain boots are tall enough to provide adequate protection. Even though I would get a better fit by finding children’s rain boots, my legs are much longer than those of little kids. (But if they weren’t I’d LOVE these mary jane rain boots! So adorable!) If your boots aren’t tall enough, you have to beware deceptively deep puddles–and splashes of murky water might stain your socks. If you have a pair of pristine, much-adored socks, it’s perhaps best not to wear them in really rainy weather. The water that splashes from cars passing in the street is filthy and sometimes can leave stains from tar residue and oils. Those spots can be very, very difficult to remove! Taller rain boots provide better sock protection.

Combination Umbrella & Parasol
Parasols are perfect for shade, but they’re also an adorable and iconic lolita accessory. Many brands sell double-duty parasols that are waterproof, allowing them to be used in the rain. It’s also not terribly hard to find cute umbrellas that can provide parasol shade on sunnier days. Having the combined features in one item makes spring days outdoors a lot easier to bear–I know that sometimes it’s bright and sunny, then the clouds roll in with hardly a moment’s notice. A waterproof parasol or cute umbrella will transition from shading to shielding instantly!

I have a few waterproof parasols and a few cute umbrellas. I like to try and match them to what I’m wearing, but I also like to match them to the weather! If I think it will be rainier than sunny, I bring the cute umbrella. If I think it will be sunnier than rainy, I bring the waterproof parasol.

The most important things to keep in mind about waterproof parasols are:

  • Any print or decoration may not be colorfast–do not close a wet parasol! Let it dry fully-opened, dabbing raindrops off the print first. Metamorphose metallic-printed parasols are particularly susceptible to print smears!
  • Rusting can also be prevented by letting a parasol dry fully-opened. Oftentimes the metal used may have a tendency to rust; giving it an opportunity to dry is a good preventative measure.
  • Beware the wind! The frames of parasols are not very strong, because they aren’t designed with windy conditions in mind. A strong gust of wind can snap a thin umbrella frame, so if you know it will be windy or experience that it is very windy, you may wish to save your parasol and opt for a sturdier umbrella.

Waterproof Purse
Totebags can be very handy, but not on a wet day! The fabric soaks up raindrops, dampening anything you were carrying inside. The open top also provides easy access for water to get inside and all over your items. If the things in your bag are waterproof, that’s generally not a problem, but if you have papers or electronics they need more protection.

A handbag made of vinyl or leather, with a top that zips or a flap that covers, is best for keeping the contents dry. It’s also generally a good idea to keep a plastic shopping bag with you when you know the weather will be inclement, so you have some extra water protection for anything you might not have expected to carry. Sometimes I put my most delicate items in a plastic bag inside of another bag that is water-resistant–just in case some rain sneaks in.

Choose Your Outfit Wisely
If the skies are gray, you might want to take it into consideration before dolling up in your photoshoot finest. Certain fabrics, such as silk and velvet, are stained by water. Some prints are not colourfast. You could try to test in an unnoticed area or ask around to see if your favourite printed skirt will survive a sprinkling of rain, or air on the side of caution and save it for a not-threatened-by-rain or staying-inside or sparkly-ideal-lolita-wearing-weather day. ★

Rainy and windy days are also generally bad days for elaborate hair styles or non-waterproof makeup. Certain metals used for costume jewelry might leave residue or staining if they come in contact with damp fabric, so use caution. It’s really not much different to wear lolita clothing on a rainy day, but a brief moment of consideration with a healthy dose of common sense goes a long way!

Emergency Rain Poncho
They have yet to make a raincoat that will accommodate a petticoat. I wish they would. I was very excited to see Angelic Pretty’s trenchcoat, but I don’t think it’s actually waterproof. I dream of a raincoat made of clear vinyl and suited to the contours of a lolita silhouette, where one’s outfit could still be seen but protected from the elements. I keep thinking that maybe Metamorphose will make that dream come true, but so far I’ve had no luck.

However, if you’re wearing Sugary Carnival and stuck in a torrential downpour, an inexpensive poncho could come in handy. If a meetup is planned on a day with a decent chance of rain, it might be worthwhile to spend a few dollars at the drugstore and stash a vinyl poncho in the bottom of your purse. It isn’t very fashionable, but it will provide coverage for water-sensitive designs.

I still hope that one day Metamorphose will make me proud and release a raincoat that will fit nicely over bell-shaped petticoat-fluffed skirts. As unlikely as it may be, it’s far more probable than me ever learning to sew and making it myself.

Although it would take an entire downpour to let some rain keep me from dressing up! ☂

On Being Lolita: Downpour Dollies

On Being Lolita: Downpour Dollies

As I battled my way to work in a steady rainshower and then almost swam home in a downpour that literally had me wringing out my socks at home, it got me thinking about the value of having appropriate and cute lolita-esque “rainwear!” Personally, I am an advocate of rainboots/galoshes/Wellingtons/rubberboots/topboots/gumboots~ Having wet feet can really ruin a nice walk in the rain. (Besides, puddles are made for splashin’~) Rainwater can damage certain shoes, as well, whether it’s from dirt in the water or just from the moisture.

Lolita shoes, in particular, are really not intended for water. Man-made materials and glue compromises the majority of lolita footwear. Pleather does not hold up well to water, and walking through the run-off from a downpour could easily weaken glue or the soles of certain shoes. There might be some shoes that can hold up to getting wet, but certainly not every pair! Personally, I try to take very good care of my lolita shoes.

Cute rainboots are a fantastic alternative! They also are quite handy to have even if you’re not wearing lolita. Typically rainboots last quite a long time before they wear out, since they aren’t worn every day; so one pair can last for years! Printed and patterned rainboots have been very popular for the last few years or so–they’re quite easy to find if you just take a look around. Most shoe stores, department stores, and big-box retailers carry rainboots at various times of the year. I think they’re seen more often in the spring, but they’re not too hard to find during autumn. Target.com always has a wide selection of rainboots–most pairs for $25! Chooka boots come in some amazing patterns and designs, although they often retail for $60. Swimmer makes rainboots in all kinds of cute patterns, although you’d need a shopping service to buy a pair–after fees and shipping, they might be very costly! My rainboots were only $5 from a clearance display at Macy’s 2 years ago. You’ve just got to keep your eyes open~

Sweet lolita can easily find a cute pair of rainboots–maybe even something from the children’s section if your feet are small enough. (However, children’s rainboots are shorter than adult rainboots, which limits the depths of puddles you can safely stomp in.) There are lots of bright or pastel-coloured rainboots, often with patterns like ribbons, animals, or candies.

Gothic lolita need not fear–although Moi-même-Moitié hasn’t made a pair of rainboots yet, there are still suitable pairs out there! Black rainboots are very popular–especially from high-end designers who add their own touches that might appeal to a blacker heart. Skulls (with or without crossbones) are a very popular motif for rainboots.

Classic lolita might fancy floral-patterned rainboots, such as these Autumn Wellingtons from the Victorian Trading Company. Richer colours of solid-hued rainboots can also seem fitting for a classic lolita–especially if the rainboots come in ivory. A contrasting sole adds a nice touch without seeming too inelegant. Although rainboots do not have a sophisticated shape, wearing them is much better than ruining a pair of beautiful shoes.

Umbrellas are also important! Some parasols are also waterproof, thus doubling as rain protection. Otherwise, having a few cute umbrellas certainly cannot hurt! Museums, gardens, or art shops sometimes sell umbrellas with beautiful patterns that would delight a classic lolita. (Or perhaps scout around for a lovely antique–as long as it’s waterproof.) “Cute” umbrellas aren’t hard to find at all–especially with stores like as Sanrio or Swimmer catering to such a sect of umbrella-buyers. Gothic-themed umbrellas might take a little bit more searching, but they are certainly available. Crosses and skulls are fairly popular motifs–checking stores catering to punk or goth tastes often yields some results.

Raincoats would be wonderful–I regularly dream of a lolita raincoat that will fit a petticoat-fluffed skirt–but they are incredibly difficult to find. Trenchcoats can sometimes be worn with lolita, but typically the skirt of the coat is just not full enough to fully protect a bell-shaped skirt from the rain. Certain other cuts of coats might fit a petticoat, but typically these coats are very shapeless and look very unflattering when ballooned out at the bottom. (However, that’s certainly better than ruining a garment you really adore!) A poncho almost always fits over lolita…but it’s definitely not adhering to the aesthetics of the fashion~ ♥

I also make it a rule to never wear my favourite socks in a rainstorm. Even with a great pair of boots, some rain inevitably gets in there, and the friction and dampness of continued walking has killed many a pair of my socks. I get attached to cute socks, so I hate seeing a pair fall apart!