Sunday, February 24, 2013

Help! My Friend Might Be Ita!

It is exciting to meet other people with the same interests as you, but what if one of your friends or somebody you just met is headed down the Road of Ita, shops on eBay or Milan** (here's actually a tumbler of tragedy about that "brand"), and doesn't know what BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT is?

While you may mean well and are excited to help a fellow Lolita along down the path to Frilly Rufflebutt-dom, you must first make sure that they will be able to accept constructive criticism or suggestions without getting offended. If they don't have a vested interest in Lolita fashion and only dabble in it for fun, it is probably best to let them do what they want and only give them critique/advice if they actually ask for it to avoid coming off as a Lolitist (Lolita elitist).

So if you are sure your friend really wants to become the best lolita she can be, how can you help to steer her in the right direction without making it into a bootcamp?

Browse your favorite Brand websites together for inspiration and just to window-shop!
Go shopping for Lolita-friendly basics together at your local mall.
Do some simple crafts together! Check out my Sparkle Stitches tab for some tutorials that may be helpful :)
Exchange clothing if you are a similar size to try on new styles
Exchange accessories if you are not a similar size - it is still fun!
Practice altering store-bought clothing together.
Le coeur de la Princesse

It's fun to have somebody to share with!
Talk about your dream dresses, favorite styles, what works for you, etc.
Offer each other concrit. If you give your friend the chance to correct you, she will be more willing to let you correct her!
Find coordinates or your Lolita idols online to compare and take inspiration from.
Gently point out any ita faux pas from online pictures that your friend may be committing. It is more gentle than directly saying she is doing something wrong.
Be careful of your wording if you friend asks for concrit. Say, "I think this looks better than that" rather than "This looks bad." Or criticize the clothes rather than the person, e.g., "The skirt would probably look better if it were pulled up to your natural waist," or "The proportions of the outfit look more balanced with a belt to cinch in the waist," rather than "Your legs look short and stubby and you have a muffin top when you wear your skirt too low."

Take photos of your outfits so you can both keep track of your progress. It's more fun when you have somebody to do it with!
Post online. You can obscure your faces if you like. It is less scary to post pictures together if you are nervous!
Make timelines together to see your changes.
Create a collaborative scrapbook.
A Sunny Stroll

Go through helpful resources together. You can both learn from them! It also feels more like a shared experience than a lecture :)
How to avoid being ita by F Yeah Lolita
How to create an awesome coordinate by Ramble Rori
Lolita Tips on tumblr
Tips for plus size Lolitas by Part Time Lolita

Even though livejournal is a very old system, I really do think it's a great resource and you don't have to update your journal with your personal life if you want to (or you can and just filter the posts!)
*You can follow Brand blog RSS feeds
*You can join communities for your favorite brands
*Daily_Lolita is a great place for inspiration from real people
*EGL is chock full of information and tutorials! Use the search function or check the memories!

Facebook now has many Lolita communities. You can find a community for your local Lolitas. It's easier to go to a meetup for the first time if you have somebody you already know there with you!
You can also friend other Lolitas that you meet online if you wish, but be careful of how much you share! I generally only add Lolitas I have known online for quite some time because facebook makes it difficult to filter what is shared. Livejournal is an easier medium to use for online Lolita friendships, in my opinion!

Google+ is also gaining popularity and it's easier to control what is shared with whom.

Polyvore is a great site to make sample coords and check out coordinate ideas from others! (add me if you join! I love to see others' ideas!)
Queen Lolita Card

I hope these tips are helpful! I'd love to hear any suggestions that you have to share or perhaps your own personal experiences.
Good luck, have fun, and don't be afraid to experiment! Fashion is fun, and nobody is perfect all the time~

Friday, February 22, 2013

My Dream Closet (i.e., small space organization!)

Welcome to this week's Lolita Blog Carousel! The topic is: Design your dream closet.

My dream closet, in one word, would be "organized."

Space is very lacking in Taiwan. Staying organized is a real challenge, especially when you wear a fashion that takes up a lot of room *cough*Lolita*cough*

I have been trying to find ways to stay organized with such limited space, but all the "small closet" organization sites and solutions I found still showed closets that were 3-4 times the size of mine. Plus, I actually use half of my closet for storing my sewing things! Most of my clothes actually need to go under the bed.
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The storage space under the bed is only divided in two, so the clothes tend to all clump together and the back is difficult to reach! I used shoe boxes to divvy up the space into "drawers" and use a filing technique to keep everything as organized as possible, but recently I have been lazy, as you can see...
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Currently I am very sick and cannot stand for a long period of time without falling over, so I am unable to reorganize. I will split this post into two pieces so that I can show the before and after when I am better.

The filing method I use is shown here. It's very simple and actually allows you to see the print on your t-shirts and cutsews.

I save my limited closet space for hanging blouses and skirts which don't fold well. The skirts take up more room than the hangers, so I offset the bulk by hanging hangers on hangers so the fullness at the waist is staggered.

If you have the room in your house/room/apartment, you can buy a clothing rack to hang your pretty Lolita dresses on display, but I don't have the room in my apartment!

So how to deal with so much folding to stay organized? Somethings that I have discovered after using this method for a while:
Blouses are prone to wrinkling, so I think it is better to hang them!
Put the clothing you will wear the most often (underwear, socks, bras) in the easiest access point so you can grab them quickly in the morning
Divide a large space by using dividers or boxes. The space between boxes will also serve as a "box" that you can adjust the size of!
Hang up your tights so you can see the print of them and so you don't need to spend a long time on folding and unfolding them.
Keep accessories in an easy-to-see display. I will be making a ribbon accessory organizer when I get better, so I will post a tutorial as well!
Fold and iron your clothes as soon as possible. The longer they sit around, the less likely you will do them! Schedule time for this task!

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Sorry my post this week is severely lacking! I hope the second portion will make it better :) For now, check out other Lolitas' take on the topic!
Toothless Tigers
Lace a La Mode
Loli Dreamland
Lolita Corderosa
Hello Cinderella
Suns in Our Hands
Hello Batty
Red Tonic
The Bloody Tea Party

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tips for Choosing Your First Coord

This is going to be a long, picture-heavy post, so be prepared! I compiled a list of things I think are good to know for your first outfit. I am assuming you have already done your research on quality, petticoats, styles, etc. and have a basic understanding of Lolita fashion, but have not actually made your first purchases yet!

When I first started in Lolita fashion, I didn't know any other Lolitas and most Lolita clothing was not available overseas. I had to try with trial and error to find a good coordination, so my first few attempts were quite... special. EGL_Comm_Sales did not exist, so it was more difficult to find second-hand clothing as well!

Luckily, Daily Lolita also did not exist at the time and I did not have a camera so there is little documentation of this embarrassing past ^u^ This post is like a list of things I wish I had known (or had available to me) when I first started in Lolita!

My first outfits were all handmade by me with no patterns. I altered store-bought blouses and sewed the skirts on my own. Now, it is much easier to get clothing from sites such as Bodyline, Fan + Friend, Anna House, taobao, and EGL_Comm_Sales

When choosing your first coordinate, it is best to stick to one of the basic styles (Sweet, Gothic, Classic) rather than trying to do a sub-style (Pirate, Punk, Sailor, Hime, Guro, Ero, etc.), theme Lolita (military, renaissance, nerd/geek, schoolgirl, etc.), or a Lolita + other fashion (Deco, Fairy-kei, Steampunk, Cybergoth, etc.) because you will be able to incorporate more elements into your daily wardrobe and the look will be simpler.

You do not need to buy your clothes from a specifically Lolita shop. In fact, it may be best to start by building your wardrobe with basics that you can wear with clothing other than Lolita to avoid having items that take up room but aren't worn often. Blouses, socks, shoes, accessories, etc. can all be incorporated into your daily wardrobe if you choose more basic styles.

To start with, you are probably most excited about your first Lolita dress! I made a pro and con list for the different types of dress:

One Pieces

It is the easiest to make an outfit from
You don't need a blouse

It is the least versatile


You can change the look with different blouses, boleros, and cardigans.
The top will cover most of your blouse if you are unable to find one with enough frills and fanciness for your liking!

If you have an awesome blouse, most of it will be covered up


It is the most versatile because you can change the top completely
This is the easiest to DIY! (tutorial 1, tutorial 2)

You need to be able to create a good coord on the top separately from the bottom while tying it all together
The segmented cut between top and bottom might not be flattering for all shapes without the right coordination.

General Checklist:
Blouse: one in black or white to match your wardrobe. You can alter them or make your own detachable sleeves!
Socks/Tights: in black or white to match your wardrobe (knee-high are most popular, but you can opt for over-knee or ankle socks if you prefer)
Shoes: Mary Jane, ballet flats, or other "cute" style shoes in black (matches the most things) or white (if you can keep them clean!)
Hair: Alice band, ribbon hair ponies, lace scrunchie (tutorial), hair corsage (tutorial 1, tutorial 2), cute hair clips (choose ones you can incorporate into your daily wardrobe)
Accessories: popular motifs include hearts, bows, roses, animals, sweets, etc. and can be found in regular stores

Sweet Lolita
With a print:
First Sweet Print

No-print dresses that could be commissioned or handmade
First Set Non-Print

*Hair ribbons and bows are easy to find in regular stores
*Ruffle blouses in basic black and white are easy to find
*You can alter blouses by adding lace or ruffles to store-bought items
*Simple Mary Jane shoes (with or without heel) can be worn with common clothes as well
*A cute bag to hold your things will stay clean longer in dark colors
*Knee-high socks and/or tights are easy to find in regular stores. Lace sock toppers are easy to make, similar to wrist stoppers (just use more material)!
*Sweet accessories are fairly common. You can find ribbons, roses, sweets, animals, etc.
*I would not suggest to start out with Deco Lolita because it is easy to end up looking like a mess with all the accessories and wigs or hairpieces if you are inexperienced!

Gothic Lolita
First Goth Set

*If you have a solid dress, you can wear a blouse with dots or other print!
*If you have an all-over print dress, it is better to wear a solid blouse
*If you are already Goth, you probably have awesome shoes to wear with your coord!
*You can choose how to balance your look with Goth-cute, Creepy-cute, or Elegant Goth depending on your accessories
*Like Western Goth, common motifs include crosses, roses, bats, bones, and eyes (for creepy-cute look)

Classic Lolita
First Classic

*It may be difficult to match the ivory, beige, off-white shades between brands or even seasons!
*Dusty/muted jewel tones are common
*Floral print fabric is easy to find and frequently used
*Classic Lolita is more elegant and may be easier to wear in public
*This style is very fitting for the Victorian and "granny" style booties, which are so cute!
*Floral corsages are very lovely and elegant
*High-neck blouses are more common than Peter Pan collar blouses - good for wearing cameos and brooches!
*Most Classic Lolita dresses are A-line, so you will need an A-line petticoat rather than a bell-shaped one!

I hope this list was somewhat helpful. If you have any suggestions, tips, or questions to add, feel free to drop a comment or email and I will respond quickly!