Author Archives: Victoria Suzanne

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.

590full

dipticfull

details1

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!

icecreamdiptic

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

pinkbannertop2

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.

nolita

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.

trash

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.

cafehenri

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.

viviboba

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.

whenwewereyoung

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.

roseandbasil

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.

sweetsbychloe

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.

brooklyn

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!

590pinnable

OOTD: Team Mermicorn

headerootd

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.

uni3

uni4

unidrink

uni1

uni2

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

dailylolitaheader

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.

resized2010

(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.

dailyfruits

(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.

dailyott

(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.

dailyexamp

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

moodboardheader

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.

590rose

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

picframescreencap

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.

590tea

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.

5902galaxy

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!

 

The 2017 Kawaii Fashion Lookbook

bannertrend

Welcome to a brand new year, dolls! Like every year, it’s the turning of a page, and the opportunity to reinvent yourself afresh. Okay, ‘new year, new me’ is the always awful New Year’s cliche, but when it comes to fashion, there’s no better time to start updating your style than today. To celebrate, here’s my favorite fashion trends, colors, and ideas to try out in 2017!

trendnormcore

The Trend: Pastel Korean Normcore

This is a trend I’ve spotted in a lot of kdramas and kpop videos – the style of simple garment construction with cute motifs like fruit, hearts, or sweets, with pastel colors or pastel color blocking. The pastel Korean normcore (a pormanteau of the words normal and hardcore) aesthetic likes ball caps, pleated tennis skirts, sweatshirts, beanies and oversized sweaters. My main source for this look is Yesstyle, but you can try other smaller online retailers like Inu Inu for more pop art pieces. It’s a great look for casual style or every day wear. My wardrobe functions in two ways: cute, comfy basics that can be worn easily without much thought for daily style, and showy unique princessy pieces like my lolita wardrobe. Pastel normcore is a great way to bulk out your wardrobe so you can always feel cute, even on your off days.

trendbreakfast

The Trend: Breakfast Foods

While we still love the classic food themes of strawberries, sweets, cake and ice cream, the latest styles are all about breakfast. Toast, pancakes, eggs, milk and bacon can all be spotted on kawaii clothing and accessories lately. Gudetama, a lazy Sanrio egg, probably kicked off the fascination with all things oeuf, but breakfast cute has expanded far beyond his shell of influence. I’m still waiting for more lolita breakfast prints that just Angelic Pretty’s Honey Cake series!

trendlarme

The Trend: Larme-kei

Larme-kei is a sweet and classy offshoot from other bigger styles such as cult party and the ever-eternal gyaru. It’s a fluffy, feminine style in muted pastels or muted jewel tones (such as wine, black, or cream), with delicate dolly makeup. A lot of the style relies on texture to make a statement, such as fluffy knits, feathers, marabou, velvet or satin. It began with the magazine Larme, launched in 2012, but the style seems to be picking up steam in the last year or two. Another great daily or date style for “lolitas off duty”, with a lot of room to DIY and experiment within the aesthetic. Here’s a few key links if you’d like to read more about Larme style:

10 Wardrobe Essentials for Larme-Kei

Intro to Larme Fashion

FYeahLarmeKei

ribbontrend2

The Trend: Hair Ribbons Revamped

While the hairbow has been a popular motif in lolita fashion (duh), jfashion in general, and even good ol’ American hipster retro fashion, the more airy hair ribbon is making a resurgence. Using real ribbon of different fabrics, you can add unique bows or ribbon weavings into braids, pigtails, ponytails and more. Ribbon is popping up on the edges of sweater sleeves, chokers, or earrings and other accessories as well. The puffy, round shape of the hairbow has friendly competition from the trailing, freestyle ribbon form this year! This fits with a lot of the return to destructured, more simple and pure styles coming into play.

 

These are just some of the trends I’m excited to try out this year! It’s fascinating to watch fashion continue to evolve every year based on what’s in style and the current mood and needs of the youth and driving fashion generation and industry. Are there any trends you see riding into the new year, or any trends you’d like to try out for yourself? What does your 2017 fashion lookbook look like?

Why Your Memes Matter: #KawaiiResistance

defykawaii

It has been a week since we have suffered the blow of the American election, and despite the overwhelming push to stay calm and trust in the American system, Things Are Not Going Well. In the first week, we have seen the corners of the Internet previously relegated for Internet trolls summon those trolls to life on the incoming White House staff. We have seen completely unprecedented calls for racism, white nationalism, hate crimes, and the evil foreboding of deportation and concentration camps.

So why am I discussing this with you adorable readers, in your pinks and pastels and frills and laces? Well, because I believe there is something we can do about it. There is something we can all do about it, whether you have access to a fancy computer or simply apps on your smartphone. Okay, here is my advice to you: goshdarnit, make some damn memes.

Okay, stay with me here. This is not just armchair activism at work. I’m going to explain why memes matter.

pinkrevolution

When I wrote my original article on kawaii subversive, I talked about how pastel and kawaii subversive text wrapped feminism, trans and LGBT rights in the lovable aesthetic trend of kawaii, femme and soft grunge. Did these memes change the world? No. What they did do was foster an environment of tolerance, acceptance, defense and normalization of these topics. They made these topics cool, and trending, and at the very least, got you to share support for your fellow women, sisters and LGBT folk on your blog or Tumblr and Twitter feed. For every person who stands up, the culture shifts a little closer to where we would like it to be.

This election has been changed by Internet culture and millennial involvement more than we ever could have imagined, even since Barack Obama’s run in 2008 and 2012. What we saw in this election cycle is that social media has risen above that of standard journalism. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Tumblr are all at the cutting edge of how we communicate; the President-Elect’s Twitter has been the subject of more news scrutinizing than we ever could have imagined. (Read this article on how Facebook’s algorithms helped promote radicalized spaces during this election.) Fake news sites, hoaxes and false quotes spread with the strong power of the meme, an easily shared and digestible bite of information. I remember seeing false Hillary information about late-term abortions being shared through nothing more than a photograph with text. I remember the deluge of Bernie memes that fired up his base and encouraged a strong millennial presence. Even after the election, Biden/Obama bromance memes soothed the collective American psyche as we all made in-jokes at the expense of our new President-Elect.

Memes can spread information for calling your senators and state representatives. Memes can shame public figures, such as they were used to make sure no one forgets the name and face of rapist Brock Turner. Memes of celebrities and public figures can either lampoon them or celebrate them, cause relatability or distance. If memes gain enough popularity and interest, they can garner national attention, such as Pepe the Frog, or the Ice Bucket Challenge. Millennial communication through memes and social media channels does not make our voices any less valid by our chosen venue.

What we need, and what the kawaii and youthful Internet culture can give, is pro-resistance memes. Where the mainstream media urges normalization and acceptance, we the Internet culture has no such filter. We need memes that call out white supremacy for the Voldemort-come-to-life it is. We need memes to remind everyone that Japanese concentration camps are not the model for America moving forward. We need memes that speak out against hate crimes. We need memes not to accept the normalization of a corrupt president and Nazi and KKK platform in our country. We need memes that rally the base, that do not settle for complacency, that foster the idea that we can do something, even as the doors of democracy slam shut in our faces.

wendydavis

In looking back on this, what Hillary needed was more memes to change her public perception. Remember Wendy Davis memes after her stunning Texas filibuster to protect women’s healthcare? I wanted floral crowns and Photoshopped Khaleesi dragons for you, Hillary. But let’s focus on the future of what memes can do for the resistance now.

To Donald, the victor, go the memes, in this election. His supporters made countless memes and shareable images to bolster and incite his base to victory. They will continue to make more memes. While the “liberal elite” continues to swap articles and fact-checks, the fascist right will continue to make memes, political cartoons, and images. And I hey, I love articles. They’re a great resource. But they do not have the instant impact given over to memes.

This is not to say we do not have enough anti-Donald memes. He is great meme fodder; the man is the darkest joke we have ever seen. In part, I think gallows humor has much to play here, but we also need to look critically at how the humor surrounding his portrayal has underestimated him. If anything, I think we need fewer anti-Donald memes and more pro-resistance memes. Normalizing Donald as our wacky oh-shucks leader is the most dangerous game we can play. He is not just the idiotic orange cheeto-in-chief; he is a deeply racist, misogynistic leader who is threatening our most basic freedoms and way of life. 

And again, why do I appeal to you, the kawaii culture reader? Because the kawaii culture has skin in the game. Kawaii culture has always been a place of diversity, religious, ethnic, racial and LGBT and gender fluidity alike. We have always said, from the words of Novala Takemoto, that lolita fashion is a princess with the soul of a punk. Punk is a prime example of how aesthetic was used to make a political statement in previous decades. Fashion has power because we live our lives in it; it and aesthetic encapsulates us as fish to water. Lolita fashion has always stood against the patriarchy, to make a statement of who we are, despite what society tells us to be. It is time to put our fashion and aesthetic where our mouths are.

berniebae590

This doesn’t just apply to sweet and kawaii fashion lovers. I appeal to all Internet youth cultures to flood the social media outlets with memes encouraging protesting and resistance. If you are a Harry Potter fan, make memes. If you are an anime fan, make memes. If you are pastel, grunge, Dr. Who, Supernatural, neogoth, vaporwave, make memes in whatever aesthetic you prefer. If you cannot protest, you can choose to network by sharing information and spirit and support across social media. Even if you are not American, if you are against fascism and racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and hatred in all its forms, you can make memes. We do not need to manufacture fake news to garner support; the real news is dark enough. Quote your favorite activists and journalists. Quote real statistics. The truth is on our side. Love still trumps hate.

pinktogether

I am going to be working on creating #KawaiiResistance memes and concentrating them on a Tumblr and Facebook page, and I am accepting submissions, but I also encourage you to create resistance memes of any aesthetic and share them across all social media platforms. This blog has always stood for positivity, personal empowerment of women and girls through kawaii aesthetic, and it will continue to face the onslaught against these freedoms and its intersectional marginalized groups without ever. backing. down. If you would like to collaborate on this issue further, feel free to contact me on my Twitter @victoriasuzanne or by private message on the Parfait Doll Facebook fanpage.

 

Do Not Slog, America

pinkslog

In the aftermath of the American presidential election and the dark days that lie ahead, I am here to do what I do best: write. As always, I will focus on survival. My entire life has been about survival, whether minute to minute or week to week. I have spent years under the knowledge that every good day I am given is a gift. And now, I hope I can impart some of this wisdom I have hard-won and wrested from my hardships – chiefly, my chronic disease – onto you.

A friend of mine, even before the election die was cast, was going through a pretty tough time. She is, without a doubt, one of the sweetest people I know. Incarnate angel has never been a truer description, and I am proud to symbolically refer to her as my ‘other mother’. She has stood by me when I could do little more than watch the pattern of the sunlight fall across the drapes in my living room day by day. I hope, too, that I can give her a little of what she has given me.

Anyway, she is having it a tough right now – medical, family, the works. Over tea the other day, I hear her talking to her best friend, my mom. The weight of her struggles gray her voice over the speaker. After an outpouring of emotion, there is a brief pause in which both she and my mom exhale. Mom is mustering up some kind of pep talk. “Well,” she says finally after a deep breath, “You just gotta keep sloggin’ through.”

My ears prick up over my coffee cup. I disagree.

“No. You do not slog through.”

She laughs bleakly.

“What should I do, prance? I’ll get my tutu.”

“No,” I said. “You won’t prance. You will have bad days, yes. It will be awful, and hard, and you’ll wonder if you can do it for even one more day. You’ll wonder if you can even continue being in this body, in this time and space, for another minute. But that’s not all that will happen.”

The white noise of a heart listening over the fuzz of a speakerphone.

“There will be bad jokes. There will be good cups of tea, and there will be sunny spots on kitchen faucets. You will pet dogs on the street. You will be with the people you love. The will be songs you like on the radio. You’ll do your best, and they will be hard days, but in each hard day there will be a few brief moments to savor. It’s up to you to hold onto them tight, and never let go. Those are the moments you are fighting for.”

When I was in the hospital, growing up as a kid, I collected my share of horror stories. I met a little four year old girl who had been operated on so many times she no longer had a belly button. I have gotten such bad news from a quavering attendant doctor that I have screamed and cried for him to get the hell out while I mourned my broken body. I have felt a complete physical paralysis from a bad drug cocktail, late at night, while my bedmates groaned and shrieked around me. American Horror Story has nothing on my childhood.

But in the deepest pit of places, places I try to scrub from my mind, even there I had my tiny golden moments. Stupid jokes with my dad over piped-in hospital reality TV. Wheelchair rides from my big sister up and down the corridors, even more treasured now that she’s no longer with us. Praying with my little sister in the thick silence of a hospital atrium studded with stargazer lilies. Microwaved tea straight from the warm hands of my mother.

This is not to downplay or trivialize the very real fears and pain we, the marginalized of the United States, feel right now as we look straight into the faces of our friends, neighbors and family and realize they do not see us as quite as human as they are. The hate crimes against the people I love and cherish are already here. But if we are to survive this, it will not just be on blood and fire in the belly. 

We will need music more than ever. We will need art more than ever. We will need prayer, in whatever way you choose, more than ever. We will need, in the face of so much hate, kindness. We will still need those tiny moments to feed the softness inside us, the very thing we protect. Love. Equality. Faith.

Tomorrow the sun will rise on this world again and you will have a choice. Be angry. Be grieving. Be fighting. And through that grief, find those tiny moments throughout your day. They are there, buried in even the darkest places. Make those moments for others. Speak with more love to the people we care about. Speak with more kindness to the strangers next door. If you can genuinely ask someone how they are, and really listen to the answer; and if you have a spare dollar, give it.

There is no election inside your heart.

Do not slog, America. The tutu is optional, but if you like, I’m happy to lend you one of mine.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...