Category Archives: discussion

Why Body Acceptance Needs to Be Bigger (And What That Means)

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After Parfaitdoll.com’s spotlight on Bustle.com for plus-size lolita fashion (most notably for this article interviewing two plus-size lolita cuties! Take a read if you missed it!) I got to thinking about body acceptance in lolita fashion, and other kawaii styles. Body acceptance is something we need to talk about more as fashionistas – of every stripe and style.

Fashion is a double-edged sword of self-expression. On the one hand, there is a magic to becoming your own art canvas and realizing your daydreams on your own skin and body. You can become anyone you can imagine – a princess, a pirate, a CEO, a dystopian punk fairy, and everywhere in between. On the other hand, using your own body for art can leave you feeling frustrated when the image you created can’t match your reality. No matter how creative we are, some things will not change no matter how many times we go shopping or alter thrift store finds.

And lolita fashion, which is even more expressive and dramatic than its mainstream counterparts, makes this doubly true. We are formed on the basis of a specific shared dream, the haunting fairy-tale apparition of femininity. This idea is based on a mishmash of Victorian beauty ideals, Asian beauty ideals, and the evolving new dreams and trends of modern fashion, like kawaii and uljjang styles. And with all that pressure, we really need to take a look at not just who we want to be, but who we really are. 

We are not talking about just fat acceptance or thin privilege or the myriad of other words we’ve developed and bandied around for the past several years’ of body talk revolution. We are talking about being comfortable in your skin, now, whether it is changing or stable, no matter its color, shape, weight, capabilities or anomalies. This includes not just being comfortable with what it looks like, but also being comfortable with what it can and cannot do, and what your responsibility is to care for it. Each body is unique, both in its appearance and its hurdles and needs. That’s been a hard lesson for me: that my body will always need more care and consideration than others’. Consider it the introvert of bodies – it will need extra recharging and more sensitive care. It is never going to be okay with all-nighters, crippling hangovers, or the occasional wicked sunburn of careless youth.

For me, body positivity and acceptance has been something I struggled with my whole life. Having a chronic illness and at times restricted medical diet has wrestled a lot out of my control. On dialysis, I had to cope with foreign objects and tubes and other medical body mods. The medications I took to keep me alive bloated my body and filled my abdomen with jelly-like fluid. Steroids could make me physically thin but make me feel puffy and flabby. I remember trying on clothes with the sole attempt of hiding my medical equipment, worried I would make other people feel grossed out or uncomfortable if they glimpsed my bandages or stitches. Here’s the bottom line: no one should feel ashamed of or uncomfortable in their own skin. 

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5 Best Books for Chronic Cuties

chronicreadingheader

After my last few discussions on chronic illness, I decided to compile a list of my top five reads for those dealing with chronic illness or other invisible conditions. Whether you’re going through a tough time and need an emotional foothold or struggling with physical challenges or even just need some inspiration, these books have lifted me up time and again.

The Art of Healing by Bernie S. Siegal, M.D.

Bernie Siegal is a medical doctor unique in the respect that he believes in a lot more mind-body connection than most typical doctors can stomach. In this book, he discusses how positive thinking, art therapy and visualization can help heal and diagnose patients. At first I was pretty skeptical about some of his positivity ideas, but I’d rather give them a shot than not and found them to be quite helpful in coping with medical procedures.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

Not only do I love the bright pictures – a common theme for me – but I enjoyed reading more about her ideas of positivity and how they contrast with Dr. Siegal’s. This book may not be for everyone – definitely a little New Age – but worth a try if you’re handling chronic illness.

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Succulent Wild Woman by Sark

This book is probably my favorite of all of these listed. It’s hand-drawn and doodled through out with tiny faces and illustrations and encourages you to do the same. Distinctly feminist and self-loving, this book is great for both the physically ill and just those who need a self-esteem boost. I would not be who I am today without these crazy life lessons. She also encourages lots of journaling, which I am a big advocate of.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

More down-to-earth and based in my stomping grounds of New York, the author takes on a year’s project to discover how to simply be happier. While it’s an entertaining read, it’s also got plenty of tips and tricks to try to be happier and less stressed in your own life, and how to appreciate the small beauties of daily living.

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The Dance of Connection by Harriet Lerner

While the other books in this list are about being happier with your body and yourself, this book is about communicating better with your friends, family and partner. Chronic illness and invisible illness both can take a toll on your personal relationships and how you relate in the midst of sickness, pain, and all the trials that come with it. This book has been great for reevaluating how to speak with people and work on the situations you care about. In illness especially, you need your support system working, and this book can be the oil on its joints.

For other chronic cuties out there, do you have a favorite book that has helped you with learning to cope with your chronic or invisible illness, or just the ups and downs of life in general?

 

 

5 Things Chronic Cuties Wish You’d Say

5thingstochronicI spent the past week in the hospital having surgery for my kidney condition, and it’s no secret that the past year has been particularly hard on my body. I’ll spare you the gory details, but anyone close to me has probably observed some of my pains as I’ve struggled to keep up my daily lolita life. I’m so grateful for my friends who have stuck by me, and this post is dedicated to them. ❤  There’s lots of posts on the Internet about what not to say to the chronically ill or disabled, but not enough posts about the good things people do say! This listicle is also for supporting your friends with mental illness, like depression, or chronic pain conditions. If you have chronically ill friends and aren’t sure what to say, here’s my list of favorite things to pop out of my friends’ mouths.

1. Can I come over?

My top favorite thing to hear! If I don’t have a meetup or doctor’s appointment, I spend a great deal of my time shut up in my home with my dog or my parents. I would love to get out more, but sometime’s my body is just too weak or too tired. A lot of chronic cuties would love to get more socialization time but just aren’t up to a cafe visit or movie showing. Volunteering to visit is the best – you mean we can have fun and I don’t have to get out of my pajamas?! Feel free to bring snacks or hobbies or a cult classic film. Then there’s no pressure on your friend to entertain. I love making tea or treats for my friends, but sometimes it’s easier to just veg. Even something solo, like knitting separate projects together, can be great. Just come sit next to Grandma, dear.

2. How can I help?

I know that when your friend is chronically sick, you’ll have a wave of sudden emotions. Oh no, you’re sick? For how long? What am I going to do, this person I care about is in trouble! A common problem is just not knowing how to help. You might want to do something for your sick friend – “Let me know if you need anything!” but end up dancing around the subject. The problem can feel so big, even when you want to be a good friend, that you both end up floundering awkwardly. The best way to know how to help is to ask! “How can I help?” opens a great conversation door for the disabled person to think about concrete, specific ways you can help that make both friends feel better. Some classic hits are: “Please come help motivate me to clean my bedroom, because I’m depressed to do it alone”; or “Would you bring me some takeout? I’m too tired to cook or get it myself” or even something simpler like “Your funny texts keep me company when I’m at the doctor’s office.” Just calling up to vent can be a lifesaver. This week, my family friend came by to walk my dog while I was at the hospital, and even went above and beyond by doing the dishes and sorting the mail when she came. Little things to you can be big things to the chronically ill.

3. You’ve got mail!

Many of my friends sadly don’t live within drop-in range. It’s pretty unlikely that I’ll find them organizing my mail when they live two or three hours away. Even if you’re not in close contact, keeping in touch is important. An old-fashioned card, a text message, or a phone call goes a long way. Try to remember your friend’s big medical appointments, or feel free to check in to see how they’re doing that day. I love receiving mail and care packages as well. Surprises in the post, from stickers to flowers or post cards, can really brighten an otherwise sickly day.

4. Keeping it silly!

Not everything needs to be about your friend’s condition. While it’s important to make sure your friend’s condition doesn’t feel ignored or pushed under the rug, it doesn’t have to be the only topic of conversation. Lightening the mood, joking, or just sending memes are great ways to support your friend. Send gifs or pictures of pizza. Be a little ray of sunshine for your friend, whether that’s in person or over the Internet. Thinking of you doesn’t always have to be an emotion-laden tearful event. Snapchat pictures of your cat’s butt or creeper pix of that weird dude you always see on the subway. They go a lot farther than you think!

5. It’s okay to flake out!

One of the worst parts of being chronically ill is being at the whims of your body’s latest self-destructive tendencies. I can be very excited for plans or a date – even so much as ready to walk out the door in heels – when suddenly my body falls apart on me. I’m overwhelmed with guilt at all the times I am have flaked out on friends, sometimes a day or an hour before. It’s not that I don’t want to go, and I know that my friends are counting on me! – but sometimes I hit that invisible disease wall. Letting your sick friend know you understand and that they need to pace themselves is the greatest gift. “I’d love for you to come, but it’s okay if you’re not feeling up to it”, or “I understand that you already did a lot this week! We can make plans for another time” make all the difference in the world.

Whether you have yourself or have a friend with invisible illness, chronic pain, or mental illness, know that there’s lots of people also filling your shoes too.  Having a friend with chronic illness isn’t without its own set of hurdles, but can be just as fulfilling as able-bodied friendships. Chronic illness and pain isn’t something that needs to isolate you! I personally like the Tumblr Chronic Illness Support right now for self-care ideas and just having other chronic cuties to relate to. I’m going to try to write more about my ways of coping with chronic illness and keeping a positive outlook (though fashion is always on the menu, of course!)

Why New York City Lolitas Swear

 

New York City lolitas swear. A lot. At least, all the ones I run with do. In fact, your average New York City lolita has enough mothaf***ing sass to power the Empire State Building for at least a year, with the exception of special occasion Christmas lights. From my travels around the country, it seems like New York City girls do the most backtalk to street harassment. Maybe that’s because we’re subjected to plenty of it on a daily basis, or maybe because we’re from a culture where people speak their mind often.

So this article is to bust the myth that lolitas are “ladylike” and don’t swear. If you want to see gorgeous lolitas draped in chiffon and pearls shatter lolita stereotypes, holla at my New York City girls.

My friend Andrea, the moderator of the Atlanta lolita community, came to visit over International Lolita Day. She’s got that southern charm and class, which is something we New York girls aren’t really known for. When people are rude to us (everyone from native New Yorkers, tourists, or drunk guys on a train), New York City girls do not hesitate to put them in their place. Andrea said to us, “People often tell me I’m too nice. I need to hang out with you girls more to learn some of your attitude.”

On International Lolita Day, it’s also prime Christmas season in New York and plenty of out-of-towners and tourists are visiting to see the Rockettes and Rockefeller Plaze and generally live out their Home Alone II daydreams. Riding the train in, we rode in a car with a few families – mom, dad, 2.5 kids and the like. As the train pulled into Grand Central, everyone starts gathering their things to exit the train. Both families sitting further to the front stopped dead in the aisle, effectively keeping everyone on the train from leaving. The mom flashes an L.L. Bean smile at me and says, “So. I gotta ask.” And waves her hand vaguely at my body. (Check out my previous post to see what I wore!)

“What do you have to ask?” I asked her, looking her dead in the eye.

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Being a Plus-Size Lolita

artwork taken from the English Gothic & Lolita Bible

On my blog and my Tumblr, I get a lot of questions about wearing lolita and being plus-size. It’s true that lolita fashion is mostly made for tiny Japanese girls. It’s NOT true that you have to be a tiny Japanese girl to wear it. I’m not plus-size myself, and I don’t want to make assertions for others without first-hand knowledge. So I went right to the source – interviewing plus-size lolitas on their thoughts on wear to shop, the fashion industry, and lolita culture.

Meet Tomoyo – and, below the jump, Vanessa!

Average dress size: 24 – 28

My style is… Sweet lolita!

How do you define plus-size? 

In general fashion, I think it’s when you cannot find your size in regular stores or if you have to shop at stores that sells only plus sized clothing. In lolita fashion, I think it’s when shirred brand doesn’t fit you.

The majority of my closet is…

Mainly I wear offbrand pieces from Taobao stores that accept custom sizing requests, or replicas from Oo Jia.

If I could tell a starter plus-size lolita anything, I’d say…
Don’t let the sizes from the Japanese lolita brands refrain you from wearing lolita! A lot of Taobao stores and indie brands or seamtresses can make you clothing according to your size even if you are very plus size like me. :3 Lolita is accessible to everyone no matter their sizes as long as you are willing to take the time to research stores that sells custom sized clothes.

As a plus-size lolita, have you had positive or negative experiences in the lolita community, or both?

I had both positive and negative experiences in the lolita community online. I received a few messages from random lolitas, both plus-sized and normal sized, saying that I was an inspiration for them! It’s one of the positive things that light up my heart and make me proud to be a lolita! I also receive a lot of positive comments on my outfits when posting on my local lolita community forums.

However, if you are a very plus sized lolita like me, you may get a lot of negative comments on the wank communities where plus sized lolita is always something there will be hate about. I have personally experienced some hate on wank communities but I don’t really care because I know that I can be an inspiration for some people too so that’s why I’m not ashamed of wearing lolita and posting my pictures online.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

 I would like to add that I’m wearing lolita everyday since about 3 years now! In fact, my closet is only filled with lolita clothes. So it’s possible to be a very plus sized lolita and to wear the fashion regulary. Also, I live very far away (about a 5 hour car ride) from any other lolitas so I wear lolita alone in my area where nobody knows much about alternative fashion.

Thanks so much for participating, Tomoyo! Don’t forget to read past the jump to meet Vanessa, too!

Let’s Get Personal: Personal Blogging

(image via weheartit.com)

I’ve always been a ‘get-down-to-business’ blogger. My posts are ‘articles’ or ‘reviews’ and I ‘cover events.’ I (presumptuously, perhaps) have always considered my site to be more of a one-woman magazine than a simple journal or diary. I even read magazine’s just to get different ideas and angles for blog posts. As long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve often felt that the ‘personal post’ was a cop-out. By ‘personal blogs’ I mean those that make up a big chunk of the blogosphere: you know, your typical slice-of-life blogs with pictures of your dog, dates, food photography, and the occasional outfit shot. Who could possibly be interested in my dull life, I thought. This is what I wore to the dentist. Afterwards I broke protocol and ate this contraband chain-restaurant donut. Enjoy the subsequent twelve photos.

Some bloggers have got this down to an artform: beautiful snaps that make your chain-store donuts look delectable and outfit shots of ordinary coordinates look romantic and inspired. Or perhaps as a personal blogger your skill is sharing your daily stories in an engaging way, that both speak to the reader emotionally and garner a few laughs. While I’ve read and enjoyed many a personal blog, I never figured that genre would work for me.

After a long tradition on my blogging ‘editorial’ style, I was moved to consider personal blogging after reading this touching ‘love letter’ post from Anika (ByAnika.com) To be honest, I didn’t even know ‘personal blogging’ was a term until I read this! But this post really opened my eyes to the soulfulness and contribution of the ordinary personal blog. A personal blog, Anika writes lovingly, is like a conversation with a good friend. A personal blog is unafraid to share the real life and personality of the blogger, not just their writing style or opinions on niche topics. You really get a homey, comfortable feeling reading a good personal blog, like sitting down to tea on a cold day.

I’ve always been worried about ‘staying on topic’ with Lolita Charm and one aim of Parfait Doll was to allow myself to wander off-topic. Now that I have ‘license’ to do that, however, I find myself clinging to my stalwart topics more than ever. It’s a big, scary, topic-filled world out there! What if I write about something nobody cares about? Cue the horror music and screeching violins, of course. Personal blogging, as Anika notes, takes bravery. It takes bravery to say yes, my life and personality, simple as it is, has something to offer to the world. Someone, somewhere, can take happiness, or hope, or just a smile from your blog when you offer up yourself. It’s especially brave in the ever-present shadow of the HatersTM, those people who, in the words of comedian Katt Williams, ‘hate good shit’. There’s always going to be someone who tells you that you’re not that ‘special, sorry, that no one really wants to see pictures of your doily collection, or that your personal(ity) has no worth in general.

But I find, in the quiet spaces between articles and comments and page breaks, the personal blog does something the editorial doesn’t. For a handful of people, the personal blog touches hearts. The highlight of my day is when I get a note from a reader saying that my blog made them smile, or helped them along the path to becoming a lolita. I have to say that the true allure of personal blogging is its promise to connect with your readers on a whole other level.

You keep posting, spending hours writing your posts, taking your pictures, feeling vulnerable and not successful at times, and yet you keep going. For you. And for me.  You keep at it, staying true to your self, not getting caught up in the whirlwind of popularity. No, you hold on to your blogging balls and you don`t give up. And eventually I find you and am happy you did not give up on blogging.

-Anika (A love letter to personal bloggers)

Good blogging, like good fashion, takes proverbial balls. Parfait Doll is about fashion and unicorns, yes, but it’s also about my renewed journey about what it means – to me – to be a good blogger. This article is personal to me. I hope to write more, and keep hanging onto my blogger balls for dear life. Now, don’t worry, there won’t be any TMI play-by-play of my feminine issues on the horizon. But in between talking about favorite lipgloss colors or this season’s new lucky packs, occasionally, I may share something realer.

Small Compromises


 

It started out as a small suggestion. “What harm can that do?” I thought, and I made the change. It was, as I say, something small. Don’t be quite so outlandish. Do you really need three petticoats to go out? Isn’t two enough? Or none, for a casual day? Why such a big bow? What about all that blush? Maybe a little less? Can you give it up for one day? Well, maybe again tomorrow too? Don’t you need some ‘regular’ clothes? Just for once in a while… Like jeans? And some t-shirts?

 

Fast-forward. Let me preface with this fact: my mom is a brag-book kind of mom. She has what she calls her ‘tarot cards’ stuffed in her daily planner, ready to show everyone from the surgeon to the postman: a miniature portfolio of my many fashion and hair exploits. Pink hair and poofy dresses. Towering Rococo coiffures I’ve modeled, or pictures of me with rainbow highlights and my pom’s bad orthodontia, grinning at the camera. In short, a time capsule of how I’ve expressed myself in the past three or four years. The other day, like clockwork, she whipped them out for my nurse.

 

Six months later, after days and days of small suggestions, I barely recognized myself. The color had gone out of my hair, I gave up the daily use of candy-colored makeup, and my ‘off-day’ clothes were making more appearances than my real wardrobe. What happened? Where did I go?

 

On this blog, I often preach the ‘be yourself’ mantra, along with its pals, ‘do what you love and f*** the rest’, ‘put yourself first’. But I just want to acknowledge: it’s hard. It’s damn hard. No one is totally immune to the temptation of fitting in, of going with the flow and what is easier. And yes, that includes me. It’s funny: I never had this problem in high school or college. I didn’t feel a big pressure to normalize. Now that real life is looming ever closer, I can see some implications I do care about, and they’re not what the in-crowd thinks. Finding a business internship, for example, or making the right impressions on my boyfriend’s family or previous prep school professors (best ran into, by the way, when you are sweaty, have a big head of messy pink hair, and are wearing oversize borrowed snowpants to learn snowboarding). The Connecticut curse of upper-middle-class was creeping in on me. An example: in some of the better, wealthier areas of my county, there are rules about what color you are allowed to paint your house and shutters (white, black shutters, thankyouverymuch.) I won’t regale you with anymore New England yuppie horror stories.

 

So now that I’ve snapped out of this stage (which was thankfully short), I want to reflect a little. Not on how hard it is to fight the tide and ‘b you-nique’, because we’ve all heard that already. I want to reflect on how easy it is to make those small compromises, that chisel away at who you are. Some people may argue, ‘You need some compromises!’ I agree. Let’s be practical: don’t wear your best dress to get your teeth cleaned. You really can’t wear popkei to attend a funeral. If you want to get the job, dress corporate. But you have to know where to draw the line. If you’re not sure, do a little soul-searching and find out.

 

You know what is really amazing? Every day, with every decision you make, you get to decide who you want to be. It’s all up to you. If you’re envious of this person or that, for this hair or that outfit or even that talent, add it to your want list. The next day, go get it. Design yourself. Who do you want to see in the mirror? If you could write your ideal character, what would your signifyou be? From a fashion perspective, you can decide what you want to wear or how to do your makeup. Or consider your personality: what kind of person do you wish you were?

 

Once you know your ‘dream self’, so to speak, it’s easier to know where the compromises have to stop. Dressing down for Grandma? Having a business wardrobe? Is one okay for you, but another going too far? Would you dye your hair for your parents, or stop (or start) wearing makeup for your significant other? Make yourself a personal ‘do-not-cross’ line. Some things are up for the occasional compromise. And some things are non-negotiable.

A Lolita’s Temptation

I’ve never been quite sure where I stand on lolita replicas. I own a few Bodyline knockoffs, such as Innocent World’s puppy jumperskirt. All of my lolita-specific shoes are some kind of copy – I’ve never bought brand shoes before. Even my wonderful new boots (which I haven’t taken off since! agh, so comfortable!) are really Chinese replicas of the infamous Doc Martens. But I always drew the line at bigger things, like replicas dresses and skirts, especially prints. Lately however, my resolve is wavering.

For one, replicas used to be lower in quality. Thin fabric, cheap lace and odd print placement were rampant. Some of the first Angelic Pretty skirt replicas were cute enough, but tacked with long strands of scratchy, 99-cent lace. Newer replicas have netlace that, while not being quite as delicately embroidered and logo-covered as the real thing, is soft and has a similar effect. Replica producers are even using leftoer fabrics and ribbons directly from the brand – it’s not uncommon to see replicas that still bear the name of their ancestor, Angelic Pretty. These replicas wristcuffs even say Angelic Pretty, just like the real thing.
For another, it seems like brand competition is getting stiffer. Angelic Pretty’s Twinkle Star bag sold out so fast I don’t know a single person who got their hands on it. But to everyone’s relief, replicas will be out soon from Chinese producers. Not only are they more affordable, but there’s just more of them. Angelic Pretty and other brands have long focused on being ‘exclusive’ by, so it seems, undersupplying demand, causing sky-rocketing aftermarkets. There’s even talk now of replicating the infamous Sugary Carnival, a print dress that still sells for aroud $400 – $500 dollars.
A few samples of the replica Twinkle Star pochettes. This replica does look a little off to me.

You can now get plenty of ‘replica lolita’ including:

  • skirts
  • dresses (jumperskirt and onepiece)
  • shoes
  • hairbows
  • wristcuffs
  • coats
  • purses

If you’re on a fixed budget, or a new girl in love with brand but out of love with brand prices, this could be your best option. I consider replicas useful to my wardrobe especially if the original is sold out or no longer available. I also like to wear lolita fashion as much as possible, and lower-priced clothing or replicas are a great way for me to pad my wardrobe with pretty things, while saving money. The average brand lolita skirt, new, will probably cost about $180 or more depending on the current status of the yen. To have enough skirts to keep up a day-to-day wardrobe can be a wallet-breaking expense for many girls.

Several of my friends noted that replica brands will often make their items in ‘bespoke’ which means to your measurements. Brand again pulls the exclusivity card by selling one-size-fits-all… unless, of course, it doesn’t fit you. Another friend mentioned that she’d rather by the real thing in the face of ‘replica stigma’, where you’re looked down on for purchasing the knock-off and supposedly disrespecting the original brand name and designers.

While I was writing this article I ran across this video on the nature of fashion and copyright. I’m a business major eyeing the notion of eventually working in the fashion industry (marketing and sales, not design) and I gotta say this kind of thing fascinates me. It answers a lot of the questions lolitas have puzzled over as we look at first the original, then the replica, and back again.


I was amazed to see that replicas, what the speaker calls ‘fast fashion’ or part of the trickle-down fashion effect, are actually what starts trends. For something to be a trend, someone has to take a hefty amount of inspiration from someone else – something we often calls copying. And replicas lead to what we’re seeing very commonly in lolita fashion – the ‘democritzation’ of fashion. If anything, the replica has helped spread the Angelic Pretty version of lolita over a further economic demographic, over further reaches, making them ever more the face of sweet lolita. The idea of Angelic Pretty’s lolita – is that something we should consider a closed circuit, or should it be allowed to grow and expand? The idea of lolita originally came from the streets; much Japanese fashion still does, as we can see the forerunners of fairy-kei having their ideas produced into boutiques like Nile Perch and Spank!.

It all comes down to individual choice. But it is fascinating to see exactly how fashion circulates. Do replicas deserve their ‘stigmas’ if copying and inspiration are the powerhouses behind the fashion world to begin with? Is exclusivity something we should cultivate, or is it better to open up the world of lolita fashion to anyone who wants to enjoy the designs and beauty? Is copyright even going to be a lasting notion in a world increasingly based on free exchange of knowledge and ideas?

By the way – I’ve changed the commenting system to Disqus and it’s being a glitchy right now. Even when it says 0 comments, they’re just not registering on my Blogger template. So don’t be afraid to leave comments! Hopefully they’ll be working soon.

Blogging: The New ‘Lifestyle’ Requirement?

I read recently on a forum that lolita blogging or having a lolita blog is the new must-do for lifestyle lolitas. At the top of the ubiquitous list of ‘what lifestylers do, those crazy pink princesses hopped up on Lucky Charms’ was: write a lolita blog.
Is lolita blogging the new hot must-do for lifestylers? The blogosphere (the very tiny, frilly portion we lolitas have carved a niche into) has grown from its first tumultuous days, and new blogs pop up overnight. Girls are avidly taking outfit shots, talking about new prints, and puzzling apart the greater questions of our subculture. Some lolita blogs venture into realm of expressive photostories, or detailing their catalogs of Sanrio items. Whether blogs are personal or meant for a wider lolita audience at large, there’s no doubt that they are currently changing the face of how lolitas communicate and network through the internet.
That doesn’t sound so strange, does it? Lolita blogs are like any blogs – cute photos, some text, a couple of links. They’re even what used to be considered community or forum content, before such things were dropping out of the forefront. All hobbyists like to talk about their hobbies. So why is it suddenly the newest gem in the crazy lifestyler crown? It’s true that many lolita blogs seem to be in favor of lifestyle lolita – is it because the blogosphere finally gives lifestyler a place of their own, to express lolita in any way they like? Blogs are like tiny countries devoted to a personal opinion or overview, each with a particular feel and theme, where the ‘crazy lifestyler’ can set up a postage stamp-sized realm for her supposedly backwards little kingdom.
Or perhaps it’s considered lifestyle because only lifestylers would put so much mental energy and focus on a catalog of posts? Is it considered ‘lifestyle’ to meditate on the fashion and question it, or fantasize about it, or evolve it? So many girls answer the question of why they like lolita with simply, “It’s cute,” or “The clothes make me feel happy.” Too much philosophy or introspection on the topic will you get pegged as another crazy lifestyler. I was appalled to see one girl even say that ‘lolita lifestyler’ was shorthand for a vapid lolita princess-y blog about the love in your heart and no actual knowledge of lolita clothing. A passion for lolita and a desire to express it is considered unacceptable, a but simplistic or blind acceptance is preferable?
I’ve never really considered my blog – or any lifestyle blog – to be one of the great testaments of the lolita lifestyle. My blog is a summation of my thoughts, ideas, and experiences of and inside the wonderland of lolita fashion. It’s my personal starship’s log, but also a time capsule letter to anyone out there in space, reading. But it’s more than that. It’s not just a timeline of my experiences in lolita fashion. It’s a tribute to my love and vision of lolita. It could easily have been in anything else – in diaries or artwork or photos. But this is the media and skills given to me in this age. I don’t write my blog to keep up the grand stage-scenery illusion of my supposed perfect princess life. I think that is the crux of where lifestylers and those who stereotype them disagree. We both drape ourselves in the same fantastical fashions, and take our inspiration from the same sources. But somewhere there is a divide. Despite all the proof otherwise, the girls around them who honestly believe in this worldview… They still cannot believe there are people really like that fantasy. Girls who are really like that? No, that can’t be. They must all be pretending, lying… and the lolita blog, a window into their lives and thoughts, must be just another elaborately-constructed marionette stage to convince us, thin as paper. I suppose that’s what really gets me about the lolita lifestyle stereotype. Everyone is perfectly welcome to believe as they wish, and to disagree at that. It’s not even that people who perpetuate the stereotype consider it all a joke, a ridiculous joke girls play on themselves. It’s that the idea of a lolita lifestyle – and by extension the lolita blog in general – is all about convincing the skeptical audience.
I’ve come across this idea many times. The head of my dance department has openly questioned me in class as to why I would bother taking ballet, as my pink hair clearly begs for attention and I would do best to take theatre instead, where that desperate need could be quenched. I’ve been told that dressing differently or looking differently must be because I want the attention of the strangers around me. It’s all about them, they constantly say to me. What you do is all putting on a show, so that you can have just another inch more limelight for your sorry ego. I object. My lifestyle – the choices I make in my life – are for me. The color of my hair, the hobbies I choose, what I decide to wear, and even what I daydream about – is all produced for the one second when a stranger will see me and make his judgement. Whatever box I have been placed in – freak, teenybopper, attention-seeker, delusional, or lying ‘kawaii sparkle princess’ – it was all meant for that moment. How presumptuous! One person’s life created solely for the split-second entertainment of the other, a cameo appearance. It’s really the ultimate display of ignorance.
Dalin of La Vida Frills offers her opinion on the sterotype of lolita blogging:
My opinion as someone who blogs about Lolita on a weekly basis and considers it a lifestyle, I’m not one that feels its something to be defined as a sterotype. Granted, maybe sometimes people can seem to find similarities and find that the inspirations from others create trends within the blogs themselves, but not one of us is exactly the same. Do I do things because of this fashion and only because the fashion drives me to? No. But, Lolita lifestyle has given me the push and drive to bring about the things that people once told me otherwise I couldn’t be. Being the way I am now because of blogging and Lolita has given myself a new-found confidence in being alive and feeling it to. I don’t blog really for the people who read the blog, I do it for myself. I prove the confidence I have now, and [it] gives me a chance to speak my mind when doctors told my mother that I would never be able to [speak], and to tell the people in my life that doubted my opinions.
For every lolita that blogs, with their unique thoughts and opinions, their lives and hobbies, that they bravely dare to express to the world at large: keep blogging, ladies! The world needs your tiny kingdom of daydreams.

Write your own lolita blog? Link in the comments! I’d love to see what you’re all writing & daydreaming about…. what is your lolita love letter?
Want more about lifestyle lolita? Click the lifestyle tag! For this post especially, I also recommend the article Breaking Lifestyle Lolita Stereotypes.

Separation of Sweet & Aspartame

Lolita fashion’s best feature is its nature to evolve, grow, and redefine itself. As time speeds up, technology and trends flash through our society in a matter of months or years rather than decades, lolita fashion follows suit. As we’ve seen, lolita fashion has changed faces many times since its inception in the early 90s. Many girls may find that the lolita they first learned has changed drastically from lolita today. When I began in 2006, lolita fashion was nearly a whole other animal than it is today. Like Darwin set to fastforward, we can already see the changes happening right under our noses.

One such example of fashion mitosis? Sweet lolita.
Sweet lolita, for those who follow it and love it, has seemed steady and unwavering for years. The pastels, the lace, and the comforting prints that are reborn seasonally. Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Angelic Pretty stand as its two main pillars, both supporting and opposing each other. But now I see hints that sweet lolita may be beginning to branch.
Angelic Pretty, forefront of sweet style, has been honing a new direction for some time now. Bright pastels bordering on neon, more and more elaborate prints, and jelly-shaped hats and ice cream cones sprouting from lolita locks – supported by multi-colored wigs, of course. Is it decololi? Fairyloli? Just different? It’s impossible to tell. It takes sweet lolita to new heights (both literally and figuratively, in the case of towering wigs bedecked with jewels, clips and teddy bears) and seems to hold the current reigning crown of lolita fascination, if not actual practice.
Baby the Stars Shine Bright has taken another tack – a retreat back to the delicacy and class that once that characterized lolita. I’m so glad to see them embracing their unique sense of lolita and femininity rather than chase after Angelic Pretty’s it prints and customer market. They have resurrected and polished the cherished old-school lolita, turning out pieces that are deliciously sweet but tasteful and elegant. Pastels with black flock, soft florals, and Victorian collars and construction populate their shelves. They are still not classic, not to be lumped with Innocent World’s chocolates and bordeaux and sage greens, nor Mary Magdalene’s wines and creams. Themes remain the same: cakes, gingerbread, kittens and ballerinas – but they are worlds away from the shooting stars, shimmery donuts, and heavenly colored jellies and parfaits of the rest of the sweet world. A taste of some recent Baby pieces:
(top down: Merveille Doll jumperskirt; Odette de la Lac du Cygnes onepiece; Princess Honey Tea Salon jumperskirt)
Baby’s take on sweet lolita is becoming the perfect style for sweet lolitas in transition. Baby, popular in earlier days, has a strongly loyal customer base. Their customers have grown with them through bunny-eared jackets and the early days of heart-shaped aprons; now that same customer base, perhaps one of the first generations of real ‘lolitas’ is growing up. They’re getting married, or having children, or simply moving away from their teens and early twenties. Is this their answer to the previous generation? You don’t need to move away from sweet lolita to enjoy its sugar and pretty diamond blues or spun-sugar pinks. Is this their steadfast revival of what lolita should mean to them and their customers – dollish, elegant, charming? – rather than continual half-hearted attempts to follow trends? Are they trying to cater to the dolly-kei and mori-girl crowd, who want fresh innocence and a new meaning to the word cute?
I have always considered it a shame that I have so few opportunity to purchase my lolita clothes in person. Baby the Stars Shine Bright especially suffers from this with the non-Japanese crowds. Photographed, Baby’s pieces look unassuming and simplistic. In person, they are exquisite pieces of art and textile, lovingly rendered in sheens and colors that become suddenly present to the eye and touch. It seems that now they finally want to present this side of their brand – not just the obvious like circus printed-this or pony-printed that, but the perfect heart shape of a signature handbag, edged in exact lace, or the crocheted collars of soft and supple turtlenecks. It is a far cry from the popping and eye-catching stock photos of Angelic Pretty, who often reveal thin fabric behind their glittery faces.
Is the sweet world going to crack down the middle? Shall we start calling for more names (God forbid we have the bitter sweet debate again), more subcategories, and further cliques? I doubt it. Sweet has somehow remained united thus far, banding together by color and theme more than actual appearance or similarity. Just as sweet lolitas are completely unlike gothic lolita, they are despite deep differences and styles completely like each other. They are sisters, not cousins – perhaps, if we do mean lolita mitosis after all, more like fraternal twins.
What do you think? Do you lean towards Baby’s maidenly sweet or Angelic Pretty’s pop sweet? What would it look like to mix them together?

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