Monday, April 14, 2014

Wearing Sugary Sweet Pastels With Classic Lolita

It's pretty obvious that Classic Lolita is this year's big thing. Take a look at almost any large-scale Lolita gathering where everyone dons their most impressive outfit and it's a sea of Classic Lolita as far as the eye can see!

But what is the Lolita to do who isn't ready to give up her pastels, but wants to get in on this opulent decadence that everyone is excited about and aren't exactly ready to go full Marie Antoinette or in a Sweet-Classic hybrid? Luckily nowadays Lolitas are much more open about what sort of colors different styles can wear! No longer are Classic Lolitas confined to jewel tones and mute colors, but they can dabble in sugary sweet pastels just as much as the Sweet Lolita can.

Finding Classic Lolita styled dresses in Sweet Lolita true pastels is probably the hardest part! But there are a few pieces out there, especially now with Classic Lolita on the rise and brand's spring releases already in stores. Look for traditional Classic designs, cuts, and materials, only in soft and sugary pastels.

The easiest way to make this style work is to make sure that your accessories are all unquestionably Classic Lolita inspired. Nix the tea parties for a pair of Victorian styled boots or a more grownup style of heels in white or pink. Ditch the headbow for a Victorianesque hat or a corsage of pastel roses. Loose the twin tail wig and choose either a romantic flowing hair style or an elaborate updo!
 Two fantastic Classically inspired Lolita outfits using soft and sugary pastels! Taken by Crazy Kitch at Enchanted.

Adding in a second (or even a third and fourth!) pastel color to the mix, à la the Sweet Lolita trends, is a fantastic way to make the outfit even more decadent. A pastel blue jumperskirt paired with a pink bolero, a mint green OP with a pink ribbon tied around the waist and a pink underskirt peeking out, lavender jumper skirt with a yellow blouse: these are all common Sweet Lolita pairings that can easily be translated into Classic Lolita!

Sugary sweet pastels don't have to be just for Sweet Lolitas! For those that want to get into this new trend of over-the-top Classic Lolita looks, but aren't ready to give up their pastels, this is the way to do it!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Old School Musings: How Being A Lolita Has Changed Since 2001

I've been thinking a lot about old school Lolita lately (not that that is anything out of the usual for me!) and in particular how much Lolita, and being a Lolita has changed in years since I first discovered the fashion. Lolita has changed so much since I first learned of the fashion sometime in the early 2000's! It's been so long that I honestly don't even know exactly when it was I heard about it. I am almost positive it was sometime in 2001 or 2002, because I remember asking a friend who had a non-dialup internet connection to download some music from the very shortly broken up Malice Mizer for me, and I know that I learned about Malice Mizer and Lolita at the same time (how could you not back then!). Back then Lolita, outside of Japan, was so heavily wrapped up in Goth and Jrock and Japan that it was pretty impossible to like just one of them it seemed. To be a good Goth I should be interested in Lolita and to be a good Lolita I had to like Jrock and to like Jrock I had better be interested in Japan! Or at least, these were the things I told my teenaged self.

This was all shortly before Hot Topic released their first wave of “Loli Goth” products that were so iconic of  doing it wrong. I remember how completely appalled everyone was to find out that Hot Topic was dipping in on our totally secret trend and I feel like a lot of people from back then lost interest in Lolita for fear that it was going to “go mainstream”, but that was pretty indicative of a lot of the people (but certainly not all of them!) who seemed to be into Lolita at the time in the English-speaking online communities, for many people it was just another way of expressing how different and alternative they were. You can actually read a post from this era about the horrors of Hot Topic that is so charmingly angry here in an ancient Livejournal post.

I also remember the complete rarity it was to own brand, and how if you had a brand dress, that's pretty much all it took for you to be the best Lolita you could be! But on the other hand, due to brand rarity, there was a huge interest in thrifting loliable clothes and learning to sew for yourself. I can't tell you how many people had Lolita wardrobes made up of simple handmade gathered skirts, modified grandma blouses, and the least extreme square dancing dress they could dig up on eBay! I think this is all very embarrassing to us now, to think that we used to share sissy sites as sources for cutesy shoes in non-child sizes and tips on which sorts of square dance related keywords you can search for on Ebay to get some almost Lolita clothes, but it was sort of endearing. As difficult as it was to wear Lolita back then, we were determined and willing to work with what little we had to be Lolitas.

Lolitas now have it so much easier, it's still sort of surprising to me to see people's first Lolita outfits be perfectly put together and so accurately Lolita! I'm actually very envious of these girls who are just now learning about the fashion and who can with so little ease assemble a very cute outfit for themselves if they so choose, when I had to wait literally years before I could get my first real Lolita outfit! As nostalgic as I am for old school Lolita, I definitely do not miss the hassle and near-imposibility of being a Lolita back then!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Lolita Week NYC: Videos & An Interview With Misako

A few weeks ago I had the chance to head to New York and speak with Misako Aoki at the Japan Society, and the week quickly became known as Misako week as Lolitas were invited along on various adventures with Misako while she was in the city. If you missed any of them, luckily youtube has you covered!

The above video is the lecture and Baby the Stars Shine Bright fashion show at the Japan Society, it's about an hour long and was incredibly fun to be a part of! If you don't know, I'm the one on the end in the Innocent World piano dress!

FCI NY also has a quick Japanese language run down of a bunch of the different events that happened that week, such as the tour bus ride and the tea party. If you want to see 100+ Lolitas crowded together, this is the video to watch!
While she was in New York, Misako was interviewed by Harajuju. Misako doesn't really give a ton of interviews, and when she does, the topic is often kept light and fluffy. I feel like an interview like this, where a Lolita icon talks about a variety of topics is really an important piece of Lolita media that helps bridge the gap between Lolita in the West and Lolita within Japan.

This was really an amazing week, and I'm so glad I had the chance to be a part of it! It was incredible seeing rooms packed full of Lolitas, and it was a rare chance to get to meet someone like Misako, who's enthusiasm for Lolita is really infectious. She just genuinely loves the fashion and wants to share that love with the world. I think we're lucky to have someone like Misako to be the current face of Lolita fashion!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Lolita Trends: Opulent Is The New Kawaii

Kawaii is dead, long live the opulent! Okay, so that might be a little extreme, but I have definitely noticed a change in Lolita trends lately. A few years ago, to be the best Lolita you could possibly be, it was encouraged to just pile on the kawaii, quite literally sometimes, as Lolitas carefully would pin actual stuffed animals to their piles of pink curls. Nowadays, stuffed animals and pastels have been, for the most part, cast aside for more elegant trends. But that doesn't mean it's not as over the top as ever! We Lolitas are not exactly known for our restrained fashion tastes, so now that Classic is more in the lime light, of course Lolitas are going to go all out with it.

Ages ago I wrote a bit about this emerging trend here, but now that the trend is in full swing I would like to revisit this topic. When I first wrote that post back in 2011, I actually got a fair amount of flak from that article (although I lost most of the comments in a comment system move!) from people who thought that Classic Lolita shouldn't be elaborate, that it was supposed to be a more toned down style. Two and a half years later it would be appalling to make such a suggestion! Now there's no doubt that Classic Lolita can be just as elaborate and over the top as Sweet Lolita was known for being, it's everywhere! Without a doubt I feel that the previous trends of kawaii are being replaced more and more with opulent trends.

What exactly does this mean? I feel like there has been a definite aesthetic trend emerging. For the past few years keywords like princess, childlike, cute, and baby doll could easily be used to describe popular Lolita trends, and popular Lolita outfits typically featured soft baby colored pastels, shorter hemlines, and quirky prints and accessories that tugged on our sense of childish nostalgia (the 80's inspired Fairy-Kei was a very big overlapping trend with Lolita for a very long time!). Currently I am noticing these type of aesthetic keywords being replaced with similar, but strikingly different, keywords such as regal, refined, elegant, and porcelain doll. Let's take a look at some of the individual trends happening within this current trend of opulence!

Headwear and Hair

Bonnets have always been around in Lolita, and go in and out of style, but they've come back in a big way with the new trends, often worn with waves or curls. In addition to bonnets, headwear has gone less from just slapping a headbow on to wearing elaborately styled hairdos and decorating them with various corsages and clips. This new opulent trend has no room for the twin tail wigs of the past, or at the very least, there is simply no room for them under our bonnets!

Classic Prints

In terms of popularity, Classic inspired prints have replaced the more saccharine prints. Even Angelic Pretty, who spearheaded the ultra-kawaii trend, has been releasing more and more classically inspired prints, and often in bolder colors than the soft muted pastels of the past few years. The opulent trend has even upped the print ante a bit and has grown quite fond of mixing multiple prints in the same outfit, à la Dolly Kei.

 Hemlines in Lolita appeared to be rising fast in Lolita, and petticoats were just never poofy enough for the kawaii trends. But in contrast, the more opulent trends favor longer skirts, often with underskirts to lengthen hemlines even more, as well as a much less extreme poof. We're also seeing a lot more empire and trapezoid dresses getting more positive attention than they did during the reign of the kawaii. There are still a lot of poofy dresses out there, but I think what we're definitely seeing with the opulent trend is a much greater variety of silhouettes getting attention.


Back when kawaii was king, most every popular dress was inevitably going to be a cotton dress and the focal point was intended to be the print on it, the rest of the pieces in the outfit (blouse, socks, bolero, etc) were generally chosen based on how well it's color complimented the print color, and were for the most part still opaque cotton. Now we're finding brands releasing more popular pieces that experiment with a variety of different fabrics, from sheer chiffons to shimmery satins. Even legwear is no longer limited to a cotton knit sock, but a variety of different textured sheer stockings and silky printed tights have been released by brands lately!

Personally, I find this change in trends very exciting! Super Sweet Lolita was never really my cup of tea, and I found the style of the individual pieces to go stagnant after only a short time, with the only real changes in the fashion during the reign of kawaii to be superficial, limited mostly to the realm of accessorization than to the actual dresses: hair, jewelry, and print trends changed while the individual Lolita pieces being released were more or less unchanged. I felt that the kawaii trends came with a "coloring book" style of experimentation, as Lolitas we were given a very basic dress cut and a rainbow of pastel crayons, and while we could do what we pleased with them, there was little we could do to change the basic dress with them. With the rising popularity of more opulent trends I am seeing much more experimentation among brands in terms of materials and silhouette. Of course, this trend is still relatively fresh, and it could easily revert to the "coloring book" style of releases that we saw for much of the kawaii trend, just with calf-length brocade dresses rather than above-the-knee cotton dresses!

Brands are still releasing cute and bubbly kawaii inspired pieces, and Lolitas are continuing to wear them, just as they were releasing more elegant pieces during the kawaii years, it's simply that the focus has shifted from one to another! What do you think about this shift from kawaii to opulent? Are you excited for the change in trends? Or does your heart still beat doki doki for the kawaii? 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Misako Aoki in New York City

This first week of February 2014 is a pretty exciting week for Lolitas in the New York area! We're lucky enough to get a visit from Misako and a few very exciting Misako events.

Over the years, Misako has done a lot of cool things to bring Lolita to the limelight, from being one of Japan's first official Kawaii Ambassadors, to her new project the Japan Lolita Association, so it's really exciting for her to come to New York City!

Misako's first event in New York, on Wednesday the 5th, is to be part of a panel at the Japan Society, "Lolita Fashion: Costume or Culture?". Myself and Christina of Ramble Rori will actually also be speaking at that event! The panel will end with a Baby the Stars Shine Bright fashion collection showing and a meet and greet wine reception with Misako! You can buy tickets for the event here.

While in NYC, Misako will be filming with Jiji Press and is hoping to put together a group of Lolitas to ride The Ride around Midtown with her on Friday the 7th. This event is still tentative and dependent upon a few things, but if you happen to be free early Friday afternoon in NYC, you can check out how that's developing here (The latest news I've heard is that the tickets will be discounted to $20, but they need at least 15 Lolitas! The bottom of the post should have the newest info).

That Friday, on February 8th, we over at RuffleCon are lucky enough to have gotten the chance to sponsor an event with Misako! From 2-7PM Misako will be the guest of honor at a tea party in New York at The Dove parlor! There are a few activities planned for the evening, including a few raffles. There are only a very small number of spots left, so if this is something you're interested in, you can see details and prices here.

These are all really amazing events, and I'll personally be at the Japan Society event, as well as the tea party on Saturday. I think it's a really cool chance to get to see a big-name Lolita guest outside of an anime con environment, which is usually the only chance some of us get to meet Lolitas like Misako, especially out here on the east coast, where we have an unfortunate lack of physical Lolita shops.

Is anyone else planning on going to any of these events? If you're on the east coast, particularly the north east, what sort of Lolita events do you hope we one day get around here?

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Most Accurate And Shocking Lolita Documentary Yet: The Secret Life of the Lolita Part 1

As Lolitas, we were all unlucky enough to have been the subject (sort of) of the recent My Strange Addiction episode about "living dolls". Luckily for us all, Deerstalker Pictures has released the first part of a startlingly accurate portrayal of the Lolita in her natural habitat. It's short, hilarious, and only a slight exaggeration about how real Lolitas live.
You can see more of Deerstalker's amazing Lolita-centric films on youtube! If you haven't seen any of them yet, I would definitely recommend them! They produce some of the most technically impressive, funny, and genuinely touching videos about Lolitas I've seen yet.

Friday, December 13, 2013

RuffleCon: An Upcoming US Alternative Fashion Conference

Have you ever ventured into something that's incredibly exciting, but also incredibly scary? That's exactly what happened over the summer with me and Christina of Ramble Rori. It happened as all big scary exciting things happen, while chatting on Facebook.

We were talking to a mutual friend about Lolita and anime conventions, and how a lot of anime convention are cutting out Lolita and other J-Fashion panels and events from their schedules. Our mutual friend from Germany, Tralala, is lucky enough to have a lot of large scale Lolita events and even Lolita conventions in Europe that she has the opportunity to attend, and after a bit of complaining from us about lack of any fun events (of course, this is outside of Frill! Which was unfortunately much to far for most of us in the Northeast to travel to) Tralala simply asked "Why doesn't someone start a Lolita convention over there?". At that moment lightbulbs probably flickered on over both mine and Christina's heads and we rushed to PM to discuss exactly why no one did and who should do something like that. After some serious consideration, and some really amazing dedication on Christina's part, lawyers were called, LLCs were filed, and RuffleCon was officially born.


So, what exactly is RuffleCon all about? After thinking about it for a bit, it was decided that a strictly Lolita convention isn't the way to go. After all, a lot of the people we wanted to get involved with building the event had a lot of different and amazing personal styles that were not necessarily strictly Lolita, so with that, we decided to expand RuffleCon to encompass other alternative fashions as well and decided we were really more of a conference, than what one typically thinks of when they think "convention". We wanted to provide out dream fashion weekend of shopping, fashion shows, stage events, and even panels. Our "big three" fashions are Gothic, Lolita, and Steampunk, but the list doesn't really stop there!

RuffleCon 2014 Staff
Just part of the staff for RuffleCon 2014!
I was lucky enough to go with Christina to visit one of the potential hotels to host the event at, the Omni in New Haven Connecticut, and we walked into the lobby and were blown away by the elegance of the place. The aesthetics of the hotel perfectly fit the shared aesthetics of the fashions we wanted our conference to represent. It was decorated in a very lush and inviting Victoriana style, even the panel rooms had wall sconces and chandeliers. It was about a million miles away from the white walls and abstract neon carpets of your average convention center. Connecticut might seem like an out-of-the-way spot at first, but the hotel that RuffleCon will be at is less than a mile away from from a train station that connects directly to Grand Central, as well as pretty much anywhere Amtrak (and a number of bus lines) runs!

We have an Indiegogo up and running to help fund this project and make it even better. While we currently have a fair share of guests, some extra funding can help add even more guests, as well as lowering ticket prices for attendees! If you want to help out even further, and are already making plans for RuffleCon, we're always looking for volunteers as well as people interested in presenting panels or other events. Even just helping to spread the word by sharing the Indiegogo link would be a fantastic way to help. The Indigogo page even has code for a widget for your blog's sidebar!
One of the biggest ways you can help make this event even better than it's already going to be is to donate to our Indiegogo fund! Check it out here!
So far, this whole project has been the making of a dream come true. It's seriously something that I know a lot of people have dreamed of for years. As scary as all of this is, it's really amazing to be a part of something like this! You'll definitely be hearing more about this from me, but in the mean time you can check out RuffleCon's website or facebook for more info!
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