How To Wear Lolita Fashion for the Holidays

If you’ve got a holiday lolita party coming up, are just in love with holiday cheer and winter lolita fashion style, or just want to figure out how to take the cutest holiday photos for your Insta this December – Parfait Doll has you covered. Check out this moodboard for the cutest holiday-themed lolita outfit inspo! 

how to wear lolita for the holidays

how to wear lolita for the holiday

Some tips for a holiday lolita themed outfit!

  • Try wearing a seasonal color such as red (naturally), red and green tartan, navy (like the dark night sky), pastel blue like ice, mint like peppermints, or even just snow white.
  • Fluffy winter furs, cashmere hats and scarves, or earmuffs can be a toasty addition. Especially if you live in a cold area, don’t be afraid to throw on some warm gear. Berets are really popular right now, but I also like hats with furry pompoms!
  • Heavy fabrics like velveteen, brushed wool, or flannel can also do the trick. I even made my own flannel bloomers one particularly cold year.
  • Christmas ornaments like glass balls, tinsel, or stars can be cute added to hair accessories or as earrings.
  • There’s no wrong time of year for glitter freckles.

To get adorable winter themed photos, try these ideas:

  • Anything with fairy lights is a go-to spot. Use a bokeh filter or soft focused background to make pretty glowing lights in your photograph, for a dreamy December feeling.
  • Anywhere there is a decorated Christmas tree has potential! You can always use your own tree, or head out into your city to find trees in all shapes, sizes, and colors. My favorite coffee shop has a beautiful tall white tree, and I have a pink tinsel one at home. Even fake trees at a department or craft store can make a pretty backdrop.
  • If you’re more into a soft and cozy feeling, try blankets or furs in neutral colors as backdrops.

Is everyone ready for their holiday teas and parties this year? I know all my German friends are waking up to sweets in their shoes this morning! Tell us your favorite holiday traditions in the comments of the ParfaitDoll.com Facebook page!

30 Ways to Celebrate International Lolita Day

international lolita day

“Babe, I’ll be busy this weekend – it’s International Lolita Day.”

“Again?” asks Boyfriend. “Didn’t that just happen?”

“…yes…”

Okay, the Boyfriend isn’t crazy – there’s a reason why it seems like Lolita Day happens so often!

Why yes, International Lolita Day has come again – part two of 2017’s lolita fashion celebrations, as ILD is a bi-annual holiday that occurs on the first Saturday in June as well as the first Saturday of December. (Hint: it’s this week!)  While I’ve been celebrating Lolita Day fairly regularly for the past ten years, I often get notes from readers saying they don’t have Lolita Day plans or don’t have any nearby lolitas to share the day with. So whether you’re in need of planning a last minute meetup or a way to spend Lolita Day on your own, here’s thirty ways to celebrate your lolita self this year!

For us in the northern hemisphere, this will be our winter Lolita Day, somewhat colliding with the holiday season, and therefore sometimes considered the lolitas’ Christmas. But if you’re in the southern hemisphere, December will herald in a sunny summer of warm days, parasols and strawberries. Because of this, I’ve split the list in fifteen ideas for each season, especially since it tends to be a seasonal holiday. However feel free to adapt or borrow any of these ideas that you like for either season!

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  1. Have a holiday-themed lolita party with beribboned trees and a lolita secret santa!
  2.  Have a lolita card exchange with your friends or penpals!
  3. Dress up in your best lolita winter coordinate with fluffy earmuffs, boots and mittens
  4. Treat yourself to new winter skincare essentials like lip balms or moisturizers.
  5. Buy up lolita-worthy scented seasonal candles like cinnamon bun, sugar cookie or winter forest.
  6. Invite your lolita bestie to a winter crafternoon for crochet, knitting or lace-making.
  7. Try a new gourmet cocoa mix or blend of tea for a cozy afternoon or refreshing morning pick-me-up.
  8. Take a walk in the winter woods in a forest-inspired coordinate with fawns, mushrooms, rabbits or snowflakes.
  9. Make a lolita holiday ornament to either keep or give to your friends
  10. Add lace or bows to a cardigan or sweater to make a cute and warm DIY project.
  11. Go to a nearby skating rink and host your friends at a lolita fashion skate-off!
  12. Make lolita valentines (paper or digital!) for lolitas in your life or online that you admire
  13. Collage favorite clippings and inspirations from your lolita magazines into a scrapbook or to pin up on your wall.
  14. Closet-clean your wardrobe to get ready for the new season!
  15. Get cozy in your kigurumi or lolita pajamas and turn on your favorite lolita-themed movies like Kamikaze Girls, A Little Princess, or Marie Antoinette

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  1. Have a summer picnic with plenty of fresh fruits and a bright spring salad!
  2. Find an antique or cute fan to carry around for steamy days
  3. Decorate a straw hat with roses or ribbon for a pretty lolita sun hat
  4. Wear a fruit-inspired coordinate and go berry-picking
  5. Break out your sailor lolita and visit a lakeshore or seaside for a day, especially if there’s a boardwalk!
  6. Make cute  ice cream sundaes or yogurt parfaits
  7. Visit a cherry blossom festival or other local flower festival
  8. Treat yourself to new summer sunblock or refreshing spray mist – or maybe even a setting spray to keep your makeup in place!
  9. Head to the nail salon for a bright spring pedicure with bows or polka dots
  10. Use seashells to make a hair clip or brooch for a mermaid-themed coordinate
  11. Head to a carnival or fairgrounds to eat cotton candy and ride the carousel
  12. Blow giant bubbles and take some whimsical photos of your lolita friends!
  13. Pick up a new parasol at your local lolita fashion shop
  14. Decorate your bedroom with real or faux roses – they’re on sale in the springtime!
  15. Grow window-box flowers or herbs in a sunny spot – strawberries are especially easy to start inside

As for me, I’m headed out to a dessert tea in New York City, and I’m very excited to wear my new rose-themed dress – make sure to check my Insta @victoriasuzanne for more! Whether you’re flying solo this Lolita Day, planning on pampering yourself, or going out with your friends dressed to the nines, I hope you have a wonderful International Lolita Day this year!

Comment your Lolita Day plans below in the comments or on the ParfaitDoll.com Facebook page!

Clap If You Believe: Finding Your Voice After a Decade of Blogging

A Decade of Blogging

I have spent an embarrassing amount of months now trying and failing to make even one weekly Youtube videos. Or, any Youtube videos, at all. To anyone reading this right now, who makes videos regularly and thinks nothing of it, I’m sure that sounds silly. I’ve always thought that about people who say ‘oh, I wish I could dress like you do. But I just couldn’t pull that off.’ It sounded so hollow and silly to me. Of course you can. Buy the pink hair dye. Lift your arms, flap a little, think happy thoughts and pixie dust. Lace up the combat boots. Go out there and be anything you want to be. But now I feel it. That creeping dread, a paralyzing fear.

It tenses my muscles. It sparks the nerves in my fingers and they twitch over the delete key. I can’t believe how easy it looks from the outside – just turn on the camera and talk, right? It’s the imperfection that gets me. I hate the idea of making anything flimsy, anything less than my vision. I want it all to be exactly the glossy, ethereal daydream I keep in my head. And of course it won’t be, because art is never about making something glossy and perfect. It’s about trying to make something, and failing, and trying again, and maybe letting the failures molder a little, but there is a glimpse there sometimes. A glimpse of the magic you tried to make. I used to see it all the time. I’d finish a post, slam the submit key, and know in my heart I had written some *good shit*. The conclusion glowed. The words rang out sharp. Comments and emails would roll in. It touched people. Connected people. I had made something alive, something that stirred.

And yet today what I can only feel is a deep sense of paralysis, a certain kind of waking sleep, when you can’t yet move your limbs.

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[Click here to watch the original vlog! They didn’t have video thumbnails when this video was made… so I made an imaginary one!]

I just watched my own low-budget, crappy vlog from, God, maybe five years ago, and it was so incredibly better than what I think I could muster today. I’m watching this scrawny pink haired girl with awe and wondering where it all went. Can I snap my fingers and be her again, weird sweater/rockabilly skirt combo and all? I’d give up these pomade eyebrows for an ounce of her innate guts and charisma. I talked right to the camera as if there was a real human there, without any of that crushing emptiness that currently happens when I switch on the camera. There’s no tiny voice in your head that says ‘this is stupid, what do you think you’re doing, who do you think you are?’ I wasn’t shy, I didn’t stutter, trail off, or use any lengthy cuts. It’s my own hair, no giant wigs to hide my naturally fine strands, and fairly little makeup (it’s true – youth and its invisible pores are surely wasted on the young).

I just look like myself. My twenty two year old self, I think, encased in digital amber. WHY is she so less fearless than me? What creepy shadow of edging fear has grown in me since then? Past me can talk about anything. Current me stumbles over what to say. Current me wonders why it’s so dark on the set. Current me is judging the throw pillows in the background. Current me wants her to smile bigger, joke louder, sound fuller, start every video with HI GUYS WELCOME BACK TO MY CHANNEL and past me just smiles and says ‘hi i’m victoria suzanne sit back, take a chill’ and I scream internally again, WHY is this so easy for her? Why are the articles so easy for her, how does she update three times a week with these deeply optimistic fairy tale thoughts, with princess ideals, with badly photoshopped pictures of her hair and her dog covered and heart stickers, and where is that girl now?

Is she judging me for not posting regularly, as I am judging her for those roots, for that lipgloss, for those ridiculous heart stickers. Is she still chasing her Neverland shadow, and I’ve locked mine up? Should I take all these sticky feelings and try to turn them into art like I used to, without hesitation, and spread it all out for you like sloppy peanut butter sandwiches? That’s what she would do. She was fearless. I feel like I’ve disappointed you, with the more moderated and minimalist thing I’ve become now. But more so I feel like I’ve disappointed her. She used to be a fairy princess. If she’s still in there? I wonder if I’ll ever know. I guess she won’t be if I don’t try to wake her up. True love’s kiss. Clap if you believe.

Inside the Rose  Quartz Cave

As of 2018 I will have been writing my blog for a decade. It’s been entirely full of ups and downs, hospital stays, hard nights, things I’ve shown the Internet and you, my dear readers, ever loyal, and things I’ve never told anyone. Ten years is a long time to keep at anything, let alone keep writing at the same pastel-pink blog. It’s crazy to expect Lolita Charm, or Parfait Doll, to stay the same after these years. I’m not the same. I’m not eighteen, or twenty two, or even twenty six anymore. I’m sure I’ve rebooted and restarted and hiatus-ed a million times between then and now. That’s to be expected, too. But I keep coming back to this space, to one of the longest and greatest things I’ve ever created, and sometimes back to that past girl. She reaches out from the pages like Dorian Grey. I don’t always agree with her. She can be naive, high-horsed, or sometimes just plain wrong. She still gets her fan mail though; letters written to 2008 blog posts in the form of snarky comments, or adoring tweens who are hoping she’s still going to post better pictures of her DIY canopy bed.

You can watch her in the video above, if you like. I’m not sure if she’s still here or not. I guess I’m off to find her, but then again, I think she’s always been looking for me too. Here’s to another decade of pink, fashion, and fairytales, no matter what they may look like, in Neverland or New York. Thank you for reading along with me – and always, as I do, hoping for just one more installment.

(Psst… for more OOTDs and photos from this rose quartz cave, make sure to follow @victoriasuzanne on Instagram!)

Kawaii Instagram School: How To Slay Your Flatlay

 

credits to @stylepolyakova & @ a_socialnative & @alvatrejo & @mamachaannn

credits to @stylepolyakova & @ a_socialnative & @alvatrejo & @mamachaannn

I have gotten even more into snapping shots for my Insta lately! Taking photos on the go of my favorite places and foods has become one of my top hobbies, including hunting down cute spots and snacks to Instagram! Since I also review a lot of cute restaurants (check out my guide to New York City’s pinkest cafes and shops!) I’ve been working on one of the most iconic Instagram photo layouts: the flatlay.

Flatlay is the term for still-life photos shot from above, usually food, makeup, or fashion products. A flatlay can be a great way to showcase products, show a glimpse into your day when a selfie isn’t gonna cut it (we’ve all be there, right? #undereyebags?). If you’re a fashion blogger, consider using flatlays to arrange entire outfits you’re thinking of wearing or to show example styles. The rules are different depending on if you’re at home or on the go, but there’s definitely a trick to nailing either kind. Here’s my favorite tried-and-true tips for a great flatlay.

great use of filling up the square by @thepinkdiary

great use of filling up the square by @thepinkdiary

Work square.

For Instagram, we all know square is best. Turning your phone’s camera to square-mode is a given when arranging your flatlay. Feel free to move or change things with the camera on, too, so you can see ahead of time what your photo will look like. Filling the square is also important – you want to make sure there’s no gaping holes in your design.

an on-the-go flatlay using jewelry, sunglasses, phone case, and outfit details from theeverygirl.com

an on-the-go flatlay using jewelry, sunglasses, phone case, and outfit details from theeverygirl.com

Bring accessories. 

Using props can be a great way to bring your aesthetic into a photo away from home. A fashion magazine, sunglasses, lipstick, jewelry, a phone case, or even your own manicure or bejeweled fingers can work. If you’re shooting onto a table or counter, getting your feet or the pattern of your dress in the shot also adds personality. You can use whatever you have on hand, or if you’re going out specifically to snap food photos, think ahead and bring some likely items.

Floral friends.

Another easy, girly touch: fresh flowers. Pick them up from a street vendor or grab your own if you’ve got a bountiful yard. Roses always look classy, but daisies are becoming popular too. For an airy feel that’s popular in Korean insta pixs right now, pull over some greenery like a potted plants or strands of ivy.

lovely outfit flatlay on a neutral background by my friend @chiffon.fleur

lovely outfit flatlay on a neutral background by my friend @chiffon.fleur

Mind your background.

If you’re shooting at home, it’s easy to experiment with different backgrounds like textured fabric (fluffy faux fur is especially fun), faux backdrops like a single marble tile or piece of painted wood, scrapbook paper, or even your bedspread or rug. On the go, you’ll probably be using your cafe table. Keep in mind the aesthetic of your overall feed – dark tables will look good with dark feeds, and white tables or light wood will look better on light themed profiles. If you have a delicious snack that isn’t grooving with you table, consider adding in your props to take away from the backdrop. Or if I’m unprepared, I’ll ditch the flatlay altogether and look for a likely colored wall, like in my unicorn ice cream cone above.

Think color palette. 

Flatlays are a visual treat for the eyes, a little like designing a still life moodboard. When considering your accessories, always be thinking of a color palette. Usually one or two colors worked around a neutral is a good balance. In my case it’s usually pink (surprise) but if you have a dedicated color on your Insta, now is the time to use it. Shout out to my pal Lessie, who manages an amazing monochrome Insta!

a sweet muted flatlay in natural light by @g4ladies

a sweet muted flatlay in natural light by @g4ladies

Natural light is king.

If you’re at home, finding your biggest window and setting up your background there is a given. In restaurants or cafes, try to grab a seat next to the window or even outside if there’s outdoor seating. At the same time, try to avoid harsh shadows from too strong light – indirect, white light is best. A lot of bloggers suggest morning light is the purest choice, particularly on slightly overcast days.

Here’s a few other blog articles I liked on flatlay advice:

Suzie Speaks: How To Create A Flatlay With Basic Props

Amanda Adams: Background Options For Your Instagram Flatlays

I Am Mumpreneur: 7 Steps To A Perfect Flatlay

Dizzybrunette: How to Master the Flatlay

Or, if you want a huge dose of inspo, check out the IG tag #flatlayforever – to see tons of cute flatlays of every style and color palette.

I’m still learning how to master my flatlay skills too, so feel free to comment if you have any secret tips and tricks to a great flatlay photo! If you’ve tried any of these tips, let me know and link your Insta!

Read the other articles on ParfaitDoll.com on how to have a super kawaii instagram!

How To Have a Super Kawaii Instagram

How To Have An (EVEN MORE) Super Kawaii Instagram 

OOTD: Diamond Honey at The Kawaii Society

Last Sunday was my first time checking out The Kawaii Society, and I was excited to wear my Diamond Honey dress for the first time! I snapped this up from lolitawardrobe.com and it’s the comfiest lolita piece I have for summer. Light chiffon, cute ribbon accents on the bib, detachable bows – this onepiece has it all. I didn’t even wear a petticoat with this, and it still looked perfectly polished.

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Selfie and nail art detail: nails done by my favorite, @pika.pi_nails (check out her insta!)

Bonus: After eating sweets at The Kawaii Society (two words: unicorn cupcakes), we still felt the need to try an ice cream spot I had read about in the Gothamist. And, y’know, this cone happened to match my coordinate. Sweet lolita priorities.

Soft Swerve has unique, brightly-colored cones in Asian fusion flavors like ube (Filipino purple yam, for the uninitiated), matcha, black sesame, and their popularly Gothic cones in black chocolate, topped with a number of sprinkles like red velvet cake crumbs or Lucky Charms styled marshmallows. Here’s mine!

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Just like we featured Top 10 Best Pink Instagram-Worthy Spots and Cafes of New York City, we are also going to do a top ten cutest Insta-worthy ice cream parlors of New York City! So, do you think SoftSwerve makes the cut?!

I loved chatting up the kawaii people I met at The Kawaii Society! Expect a spotlight on the up-and-coming club for New York kawaii aficionados this week!

 

Top 10 Best Pink Instagram-Worthy Spots and Cafes of New York City

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When I was heading out on a recent trip to visit my family in Seattle (206 love, baby!) I admit to something pretty dorky – looking for the Instagrammest-coffee shops and spots around the city. If you have cute latte art, bread shaped like fish or cats, or cool street art, I want to know about it! I love taking cool photos and finding cute and pastel things to fill up my Instagram (ahem, @victoriasuzanne, shameless follow-plug), and I’d go out of my way especially on a vacation to seek out these spots. So while I was wandering around the Lower East Side of my hometown, New York City, I thought: that’s what visitors to New York need, too!

Whether you’re a local or a vacationer and you’ve been bitten by the millennial pink bug, here are the top ten spots to check out in New York City. Some of these are shops, restaurants, or just pretty pink buildings to take your daily OOTDs or add to your rosy collection.

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Pietro Nolita – 174 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

This restaurant is not a sweets place like the others on this list – break up the sugar at this cute casual Italian joint. Not only is the entire inside a bright shade of bubblegum, so are the menus and napkins, which happen to read ‘Pink As Fuck’. Bonus tip: do not forget to check out the heart-mirrored bathroom.

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Trash and Vaudeville – 96 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

Trash & Vaudeville is the cradle of St. Marks’ punk style in New York (and yes, they’re no longer at St. Marks’ – blame the rent). They whipped up Manic Panic – the mainstay for alt hair color – back in the 80s, so all you rainbow haired babes owe homage to Tish and Snooky Bellomo. Even in their new spot on the Lower East Side, they now have a brilliantly pink punk shop.

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Cafe Henrie – 116 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10003

This place has the perfect pink tabletops for snapping shots of your brunch, and this place is best known for their pretty fruity smoothie bowls and quintessential millennial avocado toast. Pink neon art graces the walls and creates that soft, rosy glow.

New Territories – 190 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Besides being the only place that will serve you bubble waffles topped with whip cream roses and Fruity Pebbles cereal, the interior of this cute ice cream spot is adorably pastel pink and features a pink and gold giraffe sculpture. Personally I recommend the U-Be Tripping, with ube filling, and the Dark and Snowy, both pictured above from a recent gals’ late-night ice cream run.

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Vivi Bubble Tea – 325 Broadway, New York, NY 10007

While all of the Vivi Bubble Tea spots are super cute and pastel, the frilliest one is at 325 Broadway – though fair warning, only the Lower East Side will serve you bubble tea floats topped with cotton candy, which are pretty ‘grammable all by themselves. (My friend Petrina of Lolita and the City and I tried them out – check it here!) They aren’t just sweets though – do yourself a favor and get the fried chicken bites, too.

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While We Were Young – 183 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

On the more subdued side for those who like their millennial pink starkly contrasted with milk white, black and gold, this restaurant boasts amazing lighting (those huge windows, of course) and cocktails like ‘Texts From Last Night’ and ‘Too Good For You’. Your swanky girls’ brunch is here.

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Rose & Basil – 104 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

Whether you choose to sit outside on their white wrought-iron patio or inside where flowers creep up the walls, this place is perfect for a date or a quiet hang-out with you and your laptop (because yes, there is WiFi). Pink cherry blossom cakes, rose lattes and even a rainbow latte are on the menu. I spent my last Sunday here, so I’ll be adding a review of this cute spot soon!

chachamatcha

Cha Cha Matcha – 373 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

There’s no better pairing than pink and kelly green, and Cha Cha Matcha capitalizes on this by using a pretty pink backdrop for all their green tea treats – lattes, donuts, and macarons. Be on the look out for their bottles of stawberry almond milk, and definitely ask for a pretty Pantone green latte heart on top of your foam.

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Sweets by Chloe – 185 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012

If you’re vegan and love locally-sourced and organic, fear not: Sweets by Chloe to the rescue. At this all-vegan bakery, you can try their mocha almond fudge cake, PB+J cupcakes, and raspberry-goji crumble bars (God, that was so hipster to say I think my car just morphed into a vintage bike.) If you’re sugared out after, head next door to Eat by Chloe to try her savory dinner options.

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Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Cherry Blossoms – 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Only available during cherry blossom season of course, but still a beautiful backdrop of anime-like pastel pink blooms set around a Japanese pond. There’s a cherry blossom festival set for a weekend in April every year, but a weekend or weekday before is better if you’re after the quiet and fairytale-like photos. Check the sakura tenkyou – cherry blossom forecast – before you go to see what’s blooming.

Also check out Curbed NY for their definitive list of pink real estate! All of the textured pink walls your outfit shot needs when on location in the city that never sleeps.

If you have a favorite pink place in New York City, drop me a line on my Twitter or Facebook page!

Repin for later & check out ParfaitDoll.com on Pinterest!

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OOTD: Team Mermicorn

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After last year’s mermaid frenzy, I can just sense that the world was headed for Unicorn Universe, at least trend-wise. What has all the same shimmer, glitter, and pop of the mermaid world but has a fresh, bright color palette for spring? Unicorn style, of course. I wish I could buy stock in these sparkly beasties.

When Starbucks says they’re releasing a very limited drink run of the unicorn frappuccino, I knew no matter what it tasted like, I had to try out anything that promised to give me that pastel-swirl look. (The life cycle of the unicorn frappe has already turned – sorry, Starbucks, but except for us Insta-happy pastelitas, apparently colors aren’t enough to make a gimmick hit. Caramel may be beige, but it’s still a fan favorite.)

To get my obnoxiously rainbow swirl drink, I had to put together a matching outfit (cause I am extra like that). Starbucks mermaid goes head to head with unicorn realness in the bright pop art graffiti of Starbucks’ home zip code, Seattle’s very own 206. I spent my summers kicking around Seattle visiting my grandmother up on Aloha Street and cutting my teeth on Capital Hill, so this outfit is also a homage to the colors of the Emerald City.

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dress, Dollskill; unicorn silk jacket, 6%DokiDoki; mermaid snapback, Norwalk Aquarium; opal marble iphone case, Velvet Caviar; bag, Liz Lisa; unicorn puffer jacket, Yesstyle.com

So okay – did I like the flavor? I was pretty skeptical about mango in this color scheme – mango to me says creamsicle orange or golden yellow, like in my favorite Korean Paris Baguette puddings. But yes, I did taste mango in the main body of the frappe, and I wouldn’t be surprised if mango makes a permanent resurgence onto the Starbucks menu. The sour powder that gives it the signature color was fun at first, but between it and the super-sugar content, it only survived about 1/2 way through the drink before all I had left was ice and colors. Verdict? It wasn’t terrible, but it definitely was a once-in-a-blue-moon hype stunt. Love it or hate it, you have to admit Starbucks did get us all excited to see a real soon-to-be legend.

OOTD: Korean Study Date and Marron Cream Cake!

harbsprincess

I had a fun afternoon date with my friend Alice this past weekend to practice our Korean and she introduced me to a cute new Japanese teashop and bakery on New York City’s Upper East Side. I wear this comfy pastel pink Liz Lisa look a lot, but I think this is the first time I ever photographed it in an outfit shot!

This is actually two pieces, an underbust top and a matching dusty pink mini-skirt. They are both super comfortable, and pair well together to create the look of a layered onepiece. I even sneak this top under jumperskirts sometime to mix up my lolita style; it’s been really versatile for me.

harbsfood

Harbs is a Japanese bakery with desserts blending Asian sweets flavors with French traditional patisserie style, such as mille-feuilles and crepe cakes. Mine is cream cake with with layers of sweet potato (in Korean, we call this ggomuma) and sweet chestnut, both typical flavors in Asian desserts. It was incredibly creamy and smooth! If you’re in the area, definitely be sure to check out Harbs for a sweet afternoon treat. I’m considering going back in a few weeks for the spring, since they’re known for their cherry blossom-strewn sakura cake.

I’m working on a guide to the best teatime and cake spots in New York City in conjunction with Lolita and the City, so look for it! It’s great for both locals looking for a new spot or vacationers looking to see the cutest and most Insta-worthy places in the city to enjoy cute foods, cakes, desserts and bubble teas. It’s… becoming big… expect multiple installments, if it gets any bigger! What can I say? NYC is bursting with lovely tea shops and patisseries! If you have a favorite NYC teashop, be sure to leave it in the comments below or on the Parfait Doll Facebook page!

 

 

Death of the Daily Lolita

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Thank you, Facebook memory reminder, for some random status update I posted from my younger self every time I log in. I love seeing year-old lunches I forgot I ate. But I’ll give you credit – occasionally this little wayback-bot digs up a gem. Like the other day, when it reminded us of a little Connecticut lolita meetup from back in 2010. 

We pored over the pictures of our younger selves, with more than a little cringe and some wistfulness. Why did I think those Harajuku Lovers shoes went with everything? Where is that bonnet I always used to wear? Friends had come and gone from the scene, moved or changed styles or lost interest.

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(I’m twenty here! I thought this outfit was the pinnacle of style, and now I am wondering what the heck I was thinking.)

“Remember this girl? I haven’t seen her in years,” comments one friend on a photo, “But I remember at that meetup I thought she was so fancy! She had that blonde ringlet wig and pink purse.”

“Nowadays, we’d think she was so plain!” I bemused. “Our past lolita selves would wet our pants looking at today’s lolita fashion. So over-the-top!”

Nineteen year old me peers back from the photo, and I imagine her reading this over my shoulder. If I could sit down with her and a stack of magazines, I wonder what she’d say. The lolita style has changed a lot since I started in 2006, over ten years ago! And even moreso since the style began in the nebulous 90s and early 00s.

For starters, we didn’t wear wigs then! (You can now imagine me on my rocking chair, looking like Clint Eastwood in the Gran Torino, if you like.) Or very rarely. We wore skirts or jumperskirts of course, with knee-high socks or tights, and maybe a cardigan with an embroidered brand logo if you were fancy. Hairclips or Alice bands from Claire’s were enough for the head. A bonnet was considered very daring, and I remember specifically wearing mine to stand out of the crowd. I wore lolita fashion on a daily basis, to school, the grocery store, the doctor’s, or to hang around the house. I have striped pastel pink socks from Sock Dreams, a gingham Baby the Stars Shine Bright skirt entwined with roses, and a Victorian-styled coat with white fur trim and shoe-lace corseting. And I wore that stuff everywhere.

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(images from FRUiTS magazine)

We were inspired by the girls we saw in magazines, like FRUiTS (which has recently gone under! Thus further ringing the ‘end is near’ bells of doom) and the Gothic and Lolita Bible, mostly in the street snaps. These were young people of Harajuku, getting dressed just to hang around downtown for an afternoon, or go shopping with friends, and defined the idea of ‘street style’. When asked what the heck we were wearing, the classic tagline response might have been, “This is a street style from Japan.”

The lolita style of today is no longer streetwear. Though we called it for many years ‘street style’, the street aspect no longer applies. I do not see lolitas on sidewalks or in parks, on subways or sitting alone in cafes. Lolita is now reserved for special occasions, for most, or at the least, toned down into ‘casual style’. When I first started, casual lolita could mean no petticoat, no hairbow, and a t-shirt on top rather than a blouse. Today’s casual lolita simply means that you’re only wearing one head-eating bow, one accessory like a single bag charm, and typically a simply-styled, naturally colored wig. Even our casual looks are what we used to consider complete lolita fashion, meetup-worthy and all.

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(image from fyeahlolita.com via Style Arena, sourced below)

I saw this most of all at the last two Rufflecons I attended. Rufflecon, being a locale of like-minded fashion-influenced folk, was the place to go all-out with your inspired coordinates. Everyone aimed to out-fancy the others in crowns, tiaras, wings, gardens’ worth of flowers, increasing circumferences of petticoats and underpinnings, scepters and wands of all kinds. I even saw a girl who had her own portable chandelier to match her coordinate. I can’t really talk – I used the opportunity to drag out my dufflebag-sized stuffed unicorn purse. But this isn’t really fashion exactly the way we used to know it.

As I mentioned in my recent Halloween and lolita fashion discussion, lolita fashion did become mainstream in a way we didn’t expect. The streets and malls are still not awash with teenybopper lolitas, as we once feared, the source diluted from the original so much as to be unrecognizable. Despite its differences, lolita is still clearly descended from its forebears. The kawaii aesthetic did take off, in a more wearable, casual way that was more accessible. So what happened to give us the modern lolita look of today, something that is so more complex and show-stopping?

This is my pet theory: rather than going the route of diluting, lolita fashion sped in the other direction and has become runway-wear, special event wear, and reserved for the realm of photoshoots and increasingly expensive teas and formal parties.

Western fashion couldn’t accept the elaborate lolita as daily fashion, but it could accept lolita as a special event. Lolita fashion has always said it’s not cosplay, but we found ourselves most at home in the bubble of cosplay and its biospheres of anime conventions or photoshoots. As cosplay rose from homemade stitching to a higher and higher artform, the two looked less like cousins and more like sisters. 

And it’s not wrong. I’m not here to condemn fancy, over-the-top, dramatic lolita looks! I love them myself. It’s amazing the kind of looks and styles one can create, not just as a designer or DIY-er but just by mixing and matching different styles and items to create a specific idea or aesthetic. I’ve always maintained that coordinating lolita is an artform of its own. But it’s no longer the one we live our lives in, as it used to be.

You can check out this article, where they proclaim the death of Harajuku in favor of the new reign of normcore supergiant, Uniqlo. This article proclaims that in Japan, the decline of street fashion is due to the commercialization of it – that the unique aquifer of creativity and invention we associate with Harajuku was the gift of art students, and that the buying and selling and overmarketing of of it is what lead to its destruction there. But here, where we see kawaii and whatever imports of Harajuku beginning to normalize, and as Japan now looks to the overseas wallet to support the market and brand houses it created, I think the diagnosis is different. Kawaii style is still alive and well; but the idea of lolita is no longer the lolita of the streets.

This is a natural progression. Lolita fashion is not dead, not by a long shot; it’s not relegated to the corners of museums and old photo albums just yet. Even in 2014, we see this being called “artistic lolita”, shepherded in by the more extravagant Baby the Stars Shine Bright speciality dresses (now priced closer to $500 – $1,000 USD, where years ago the average lolita brand dress could still be got for around $180 new), and borrowing from other elaborate styles of the time like shironuri or the costuming of concerts like Brilliant Kingdom. The It Fashion Item in the past two years has been the large and stunning Triple Fortune bonnet, or the religious-trend inspired nun veil, illustrating the swing of the fashion pendulum.

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For me personally, I no longer wear lolita fashion every day or even most days. While I still enjoy ruffles, pastels, frills and roses, I have a separate cute casual wardrobe rather than my daily lolita wardrobe that I used to turn to every morning. I might only wear lolita for the occasional photo, date with a friend or meetup, perhaps a handful of times a month. In a way, it’s sad. I miss it. Even more strange, I now find lolita fashion to feel less comfortable and familiar than it used to. Whether it’s because lolita is now too bold to wear in the real world or because I am living in it less, I’ve actually started to feel more self-conscious in it. This thing I have lived a decade of my life in, that shaped so much of me and my current world, suddenly felt foreign.

Is my answer to wear more lolita? To revive the simpler styles? To find the same sweetness and princess emotion in the casual styles that are popularizing? To force myself to wear lolita all the more and stake my claim on the every day world, until it feels like home again? The original magic in lolita – and indeed, as the above article states, in the spirit of Harajuku – was the daydreams brought to life by its young artists, models and visionaries, who created a world of their own by the denizens it resembled. It is the buzz and creation, the hum of living artwork that really nourishes the blossoms of Harajuku there and across the world, of which lolita is only one species among many. However you may choose to capture that feeling, in whatever form or flower, is up to you. But I hope you continue, like I will, to chase after that elusive otherworld through the transformative power of fashion.

 

Do you see changing styles and habits of wearing lolita in your community? Are you seeing more lolita being worn daily, or more fanciful styles taking hold? Feel free to comment below or on the Parfait Doll Facebook fanpage!

Why We Love Lolita Moodboards – And How to Make Your Own

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Lolita moodboards are the latest viral meme to pop up for lolita fashion, in emulation of the cosplay moodboards that quickly became popular on Instagram and Tumblr. These simple collages are a lot of fun to make, and great ways to showcase your coordinate, show off your personality or plan a future style. Consider them mini look books that are easily repostable and enjoyable from all your forms of micro-social media. I especially enjoyed posting them on Twitter (check me at @victoriasuzanne, btw!), which needs more visual loves to brighten up your texts and tweetstorms.

In the northeast, we just experienced two crazy extremes – a sunny spring like day of 60 degrees followed by a whopping fifteen inches of snow that night. The city shut down and I was left with a sudden snow day, an unforeseen excuse to mess around on my phone and tweet way too much. And I’ll warn you that making these lolita moodboards is addictive. Exercise this arcane knowledge at your own discretion.

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You can use any kind of photograph you want to showcase – whether you’re drooling over a potential coordinate with your dream dress, wanting to showcase a past photoshoot or outfit shot, a cosplay you completed, a fictional character you love or even just your own selfies. Here’s the fail-self formula to easy, adorable moodboards!

Step One: Get Yourself a Grid

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I’m an iPhone user, so I open up my favorite collage app PicFrame (it is also available on Android!). It costs $0.99 to download, but I’ve used it for years for many different projects, so it’s been a good investment for me. Plus, it’s ad-free and doesn’t add any extra watermarks to your photos. If you want to make them on your PC, you could try Canva, a free moodboard service with different grid layouts that also offers stock photos to play with for $1. PicFrame has the added benefit of making your final image square as well, so it’s easy to post them to Instagram if that’s your speed.

The most popular style is the three-by-two grid, or two columns of three images. So you’ll need six images. If you prefer you can do more or less, but too many may look confusing and too few may lack cohesion. I pattern mine every other – one stock photo, below it one personal photo, another stock photo, with the opposite pattern on the other column.

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Pick three of your favorite photos on your chosen topic. I like to pick different angles or showcase different details of the outfit. A shoe shot, an accessory shot, a face or makeup shot, and a full body are a couple such examples. If you only have full body shots, you can zoom in and crop some of your favorite parts.

Next, pick three stock photos or sourced photos. I like to use Pinterest or Tumblr to search for images that will give the feeling I’m looking for. This is where your theme comes in to create the necessary aesthetic. In this theme, I chose galaxy to play up the galaxy pattern in the dress. It’s also a good idea to keep to a few key colors or a basic color palette. I think for the general cohesion of it, stick to one or two colors. And, if you’re working with a lolita dress with a print, you can also use the digital flat of the print from the brand’s stock photos.

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Once you have your photos arranged the way you like them, you can adjust the border width or change the border color. I still prefer white, but you could always use black for darker themes, or pastels for a more delicate approach. Then, save your moodboard. For the finishing touch, I open up my favorite filter app (I like SelfieCity, available iPhone and Android) and apply one filter over the whole moodboard to make the photos look like a set with similar coloring. If you’re using a PC, you could consider tweaking the colors in Photoshop or using an after effects program, or a light filter.

And you’re done! If you decide to make some based on this tutorial, feel free to post them on the Parfait Doll Facebook page! I’d love to see what everyone is daydreaming about!

 

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