Hi! This is my second wardrobe post; my first one was 2017
I was better prepared this time, and I have learned how to take better photos!
I have been interested in lolita since 2001 and finally got the means and motivation to start building a wardrobe in 2013. I primarily wear more mature sweet styles with dark color bases (black, brown, and red especially) but I like to try lots of different things, so there are a wide variety of colors and motifs sprinkled throughout. I am a frequent contributor to Lolibrary (primarily historical detective work on Metamorphose items) so I did the nerdy thing and linked all the entries for the main pieces that had them.
Enchantlic Enchantilly Trois Ribbon Tiered JSK
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Shirring JSK
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Amaretto Ribbon JSK
Alice and the Pirates Tartan Plaid JSK
Alice and the Pirates Briar Rabbit's Paysage JSK I
Angelic Pretty Drained Cherry Tiered JSK
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Strawberry Tart JSK
Angelic Pretty Miracle Candy Going Out JSK
Angelic Pretty Märchen Ribbon Back Frill JSK
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Sugar Bouquet JSK
Sweet Addiction Legend of Zelda Stained Glass JSK (2015)
Sweet Mildred Rabbit OP (2017)
Metamorphose Princess Crown Bouquet Shirring JSK
Metamorphose Lurex Raschel Lace Shirring JSK
Metamorphose Dark Night Guardian JSK (Mini Length)
Metamorphose Romantic Kimono Hakama Tuck JSK
Metamorphose Dozing Cat Hakama Tuck JSK
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Tartan Shirring Princess JSK
Angelic Pretty Classic Fairy Tales JSK
Angelic Pretty Country of Sweets Shirring JSK
Angelic Pretty Berry Garden JSK
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Princess Honey's Tea Salon Gathered Bodice JSK
HMHM Classical Velveteen Chandelier Embroidery JSK
Metamorphose Apple Holic Ribbon JSK (2016)
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Trump Alice Yukata
Angelic Pretty Miracle Candy Triple Frill JSK
Angelic Pretty Gingham Shirring JSK
Angelic Pretty Sweet Ribbon Strawberry Shirring JSK
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Sugar Bouquet JSK
Angelic Pretty Dreaming Girl JSK
Metamorphose Candy Shower A Line OP
Metamorphose Wing Cross Embroidery Short Sleeve OP
Angelic Pretty Melty Cream Doughnut JSK
Metamorphose Little Squirrel Button Down JSK
Metamorphose Candy Bottle Shirring JSK
Metamorphose Nostalgic Matryoshka Doll Lace Up JSK
Bodyline Floral Cameo Wallpaper Shirring JSK
Metamorphose Gingham Cherry Shirring JSK
Atelier Pierrot Rose Lace Bustle Corset OP
Alice and the Pirates Kitten's Wonder Night Tea Party JSK II
Metamorphose Wonder Carousel Angel Collar A Line OP
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Stardust Fantasia ~Horoscope of Twin Star Kittens~ JSK II
Metamorphose Cotton Candy Shirring JSK
Angelic Pretty Romantic Little Garden JSK
Triple Fortune Midnight Butterfly Skirt
Metamorphose Sweets Parade Mini Skirt
Bonnets! I have really grown to like wearing these. I finally got my hands on a Triple Fortune bonnet (the all-black one) a couple of months ago and I absolutely love it even if it's hard to store. The Vierge Vampur crown bonnet matches the above HMHM velvet dress beautifully. Also pictured: Bodyline, Alice and the Pirates.
Headdresses. I made the far left black one and the white one with red gingham ribbon. I love rectangle headdresses and wearing them to throw more of an old school look into an outfit. Also pictured: Bodyline, Baby, Metamorphose, Alice and the Pirates.
Headbands. I has them. My favorite one is probably the white Metamorphose swan plate headdress :)
Barrettes, clips, and combs. I wear the cherry ones the most. I made them! I am a sucker for anything with Baby's princess drop charms on them and I got both barrettes for a great deal :)MORE ACCESSORIES
Wrist cuffs. I wear the two pairs in the bottom right the most.
Fur capes. They went on sale at Closet Child recently and I think I went a little overboard buying three at once. I was surprised to find that they fit my shoulders even as a larger person.
Alice and the Pirates Fur Cape
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Leopard Cape
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Logo Fur Cape
My two favorite shapes! Hearts and stars. The Baby heart bags are legit some of the best purses I have ever had. They look small but fit more inside than you'd expect, and are very sturdy. I thought I would hate the metal handles but they're surprisingly comfortable. I missed the preorder for the gold Milky Way star bag (on Taobao) but they must have had extras because they were available for regular sale a few days after. So lucky!
Round, rectangle, totesSOCKS
Left half is socks with a black base, right half is everything else. Nothing like trotting out 40 pairs of socks for a picture XDSHOES
This year I started venturing outside of Bodyline to find shoes (because I needed things they don't make, they had website/service problems, and I would rather not give them my money anyway) and found that some Angelic Pretty and Meta shoes fit. I am happy girl. Still looking for good white and pink rocking horse shoes!
ON THE WAY
Lolita related thoughts and reflections on my year are below if you are curious.
2017 goals: how did I do?1) Get more blouses/cutsews that I like that work. The overwhelming majority of brand blouses don't fit me so I need to have them custom made, and I need to work out exactly what kind of features I want and what tends to look good on me, and balance things from there.
I feel like I did just fine with this one. I bought five custom sized blouses from Surfacespell and Strawberry Witch in September but they took 3 1/2 months to make and get to me and I am just getting to try them now. I am really liking the long sleeved ones with a high collar so far. I have found that I like how ones with fancy bib details look on me. I also scored a couple of good deals on full shirring Atelier Pierrot blouses throughout the year but they are less versatile than I initially imagined because of the off shoulder style and large ruffle on the neckline, so they don't fit that great under many JSKs with straps. I also learned that while giant flared princess sleeves look really pretty, they also get in the way when you are doing things with your hands (when eating, for example). I also tried some cropped blouses from Infanta but I think I prefer a layer between my dress and my skin, mostly so I don't have to clean the dresses as much.
2) Improve makeup and simple hair styling skills. I never learned to do it as a teenager, so I'm currently at awkward teenager level. My plan: practice.
I practiced a lot of basic eye makeup (eyeliner and mascara, and some shadow). My friend gave me a pretty great eyeliner pen that has helped me a lot. I found that I like liquid eyeliner despite initially hearing that it's hard to work with. Yes, it is easy to smudge but guess what, it's also really easy to take off if you mess it up. The extent of my hair styling practice was learning how to make my hair as small as possible to fit under a wig. But I am getting better at figuring out how to make bobby pins stick in my super straight, fine hair. I didn't give this goal much attention and I think it was because it was so broad and nebulous. I am going to make a few more specific subgoals within this and continue to work at it.
3) Downsize the collection at least a little. I don't attend or plan enough events to wear 40 dresses, and my closet is starting to run out of room. I also need to pare down to the things I really like and use, and not just keep things I like that don't match anything.
LOL I did not do this. I did not get that many more main pieces (current count is 46) but I am pretty sure I bought even more things than I did in 2016 and my closet is very, very full. I tend to go back and forth between "get rid of all the things" (especially if I am low on funds) and having it be really hard to let go of anything because assuming it fits, part of me really wants to try to make it work even if I have to spend considerable time and money to get stuff to go with them. I am still good at selling things off quickly if they do not fit.
4) Attend at least one event in the communities of the large cities I live close to.
I did manage to do this and then some! I got to two meets in Milwaukee and three in Chicago, plus two conventions. I attribute this to being more mobile vehicle-wise (I am less afraid of driving now, lol) and having friends to travel with. Especially for Chicago meets, my friend's help in navigating parking and trains and transportation within the city was a wonderful thing. I also managed to make a lolita friend that lives in my city so I am excited for more things that I don't have to set aside entire days/weekends to attend.
5) Learn how to shop from Taobao. Finding good not-incredibly-expensive custom made blouses almost certainly means I will have to learn.
I learned how to search Taobao even though I don't know Chinese (knowing Japanese helps a little, though) and bought a bunch of things with a shopping service over the summer. A friend from my community suggested a shopping service I had not heard about previously. While I did not buy blouses (mostly because I was worried about whether things could actually be custom sized), I got a bunch of other cute things, including the Milky Way star bag that I had been eyeing, and a really nice but inexpensive light gray wig. Shipping was more expensive than I had anticipated but the service was great.
- Some "senpai has noticed" type moments sprinkled throughout the year. These people may not know I think of them that way but it still makes me smile when people I think are cool take the time to interact with me.
- The tea parties I hosted at my house. I call them tea parties because we always work tea into the menu in some form but they are primarily about good food and friendship rather than fashion. For the three of us that love to cook and bake, it is an event to challenge ourselves, to sharpen our skills, and to share the fruits of our labor with our friends. Fashion is a secondary concern. Not all of us are lolitas and almost all the lolita friends I have do not live close by so I do not require that attendees wear it but I encourage everyone to wear anything that makes them feel pretty.
- Chicago meets with Alaina. I feel like a lot of my ability and motivation to attend Chicago events was because she took it upon herself to manage transportation logistics for the both of us, and she was excited to go with me and also willing to let me stay overnight with her to break up the driving. Thank you for being a great friend.
- Going to Russian Tea Time in Chicago. I convinced my husband to go with me for our wedding anniversary and I think he even surprised himself with how much he liked it despite not being a huge fan of leaf water. As it turns out, he enjoys tea if it's smoked. Also, so. much. food. They should really call it Russian Enough Food to Kill a Man and There's Also Tea Time.
- My neighbor being the one to invite me to wear lolita together for a non-lolita event at my house. She can be a bit hesitant and self conscious about wearing her stuff but it was near Halloween, she was walking over at night so it was less likely other neighbors would happen to see her outside, and the babysitter was someone who wouldn't think it was weird. :)
- Connecting with a local acquaintance and finally getting to open up about why I left the community in my city, finding out I am not alone in how I feel and that the problems have gotten worse, and bonding with her over that.
- Despite focusing on an elaborate group cosplay for a convention and not a single word of discussing wearing lolita together on the final day, my two very good friends and I brought everything we needed to do so. They both wore the dresses I helped them buy. :') *sniff* *tear*
Other important things I have learned
- I can wear some brand shoes! Holy crap! I bought pairs of moderately used Angelic Pretty and Metamorphose shoes because they were cheap and the gamble worked out. I am a size M in Angelic Pretty and could possibly wear S since the M size is a little bit long, assuming that the width is the same. Metamorphose shoes might be a smidge too narrow, but the size M fit all right. Still not sure what size I am for Baby. Nice to know I can expand my shoe collection beyond Bodyline especially given their recent difficulties and general creepiness.
- One needs a lot of light to photograph things to show details properly, and the light in my house sucks for photography and for crafting and life in general, especially at night. I'm working on photography skills, mostly for sales posts but also working up to photographing myself. Or making a friend who does people photography reasonably well and wouldn't mind me being a subject once in a while. :P
- I love bonnets now. I was initially worried about looking like a giant baby but as long as the brim stands up straight and is not super ruffly/floppy (especially if it is a light color) I think they look elegant. It's also another way to add height, which is a plus when you are as short as I am. ;)
1) Set up a spot in my house for taking photos. I am pretty sure I have a place picked out but I need to get proper lighting. (I need to work on lighting this room adequately in general so this is good motivation.) To make this wardrobe post I had to work on this already. Additionally, learn to take different kinds of photos besides the selfie in the mirror, and figure out how to pose reliably. I am aware this is going to take lots of practice and probably a billion awkward stupid photos before I feel comfortable and it still feels a little weird and embarrassing to try. But without practice I am definitely not going to get any better.
2) Get better at wearing and caring for wigs. I did learn a bit in 2017 but I still hate brushing out curly wigs, probably because I don't know how to do it properly and don't have much patience or probably even the right equipment to make it easier. My bangs also like to fall out of the wig cap, which can be problematic when I am wearing a light colored wig.
3) Continue to try to be more objective when buying and keep my collection at a reasonable size. I have other financial obligations that I should probably balance better with my hobby (though I am pretty good about getting stuff up for sale when I know I don't want it) and it's also getting harder to make back money on the secondhand market, so I feel like I need to be a little more discerning. It is hard, though, because sometimes you just don't know whether you will like something until you can touch it and see it with your own eyes and put it on, and since I buy so much of my wardrobe secondhand, waiting too long can mean the opportunity disappears. One thing I think I can do to help is make a wish list somewhere public to better track what I am trying to find and to post it probably in my Lace Market profile. Also, buy fewer main pieces and more supporting pieces (specific items I would like: brown blouse, navy blouse, coat, long boots, offwhite bonnet, white and pink rocking horse shoes, navy shoes, lavender shoes). I feel like I have so many ideas for coordinates bouncing around in my head that it is hard to focus on any one thing at once, and downsizing the main pieces to eliminate some projects might help. Identifying pieces that I don't have anything to match with and don't like enough to buy a bunch of stuff for is probably a good place to start.
4) Now that I mostly have the hang of really basic eye makeup, experiment more with color and slightly bolder looks. Also figure out what to do with the rest of my face. I think my skin generally looks nice but makeup will likely provide that extra bit of polish for good photos.
5) Get some kind of semi-professional photo shoot done now that I am reasonably happy with how I can get myself to look.
6) If schedule and funds allow, attend a brand tea party (Metamorphose, Baby, or Atelier Pierrot). Going to be kind of picky about the brands because I don't like conventions that much and will probably need to spend a decent amount of money to travel but I will go to one if it means I can show support for a brand I like and hang out with people I like.
7) Make three head pieces. I have had the ideas and materials for all three of these (and more) for quite a while now. I just need to actually make them so I can wear the coordinates I have had planned in my head for a long time.
A. Black round headdress with black chiffon veil and red/blue removable flower clips (for Briar Rabbit's Paysage, Princess Crown Bouquet and possibly more)
B. Red gingham hair bows or half bonnet with white heart cotton lace to match red gingham dress
C. Brown fur and green chiffon headdress to wear with Little Squirrel
Thanks for reading!