Category Archives: how to

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 

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

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.

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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.

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!

 

How to Rock Lolita at Your Prom

Every year that prom season rolls around, I am glad not to be going. The stress! The drama! The sixty-seven bobby pins in my waist length hair, spending long hours at the table wishing I was that couple playing Go Fish (’cause this girl asked two guys and still had to go stag.) Okay, bad flashback. But this year, I have seen some really cute prom looks and I’ve been wistful to go again. Not because of the prom dresses I’ve been seeing at the local mall. But because now that I am way past prom age, I finally feel I could do it justice. Vintage dresses! Crazy hi-tops! Pastel dreadlock extensions! Or something like that. The only senior prom I’ll be looking forward to these days is when they send me to the home.

Oh, well, I shall live vicariously through you young’uns who are lucky enough to be going to prom! Every spring I see girls talking about wearing lolita to their high school proms, particularly new lolitas. I was just sixteen when I got into the fashion myself! One of the fun parts about prom is that it’s really all about you: there’s no bride to upstage and no eggnog to spill on your pretty dress. Prom is when you get to express yourself in a formal, fashionable way – kind of like a debutante ball, since we don’t really have those up North anymore. (Do they still have them south of the Mason-Dixon? I don’t know!)

But here’s the deal with lolita at your prom: this is not the night for any-old-lolita-coordinate. As daywear, lolita looks fancy next to jeans and t-shirt. But when the rest of your classmates are dripping rhinestones and weird cut-outs, an ordinary lolita coordinate is actually not fancy enough! Crazy, I know, but: the key to a great lolita prom style is to go fancier. 

I’m going to be doing sweet lolita style morphed into prom queen for this article; I won’t be doing other subsets of lolita because I’m not as familiar with them, but the same ideas can work for classic and gothic. Use your imagination and make it your own!

And first, a word of warning: do not buy any dress sold as ‘lolita prom dress’. Those words in the same item description, particularly on Ebay – well, trust me, it’s going to be a hot mess.

Prom Queen: Sweet Lolita Style

1. The dress. It doesn’t matter if you choose a brand dress or prefer to go the less expensive route and buy an off-brand dress, perhaps from Taobao. Choose either a small print or solid in a pretty pastel with lots of ruffles and lace. I picked this particular dress for its drop-waist and short tiered chiffon skirt, which makes it feel more like a sassy cocktail dress to me. This dress will also dress down after the prom for a cute lolita look you can wear to a meetup or for daily wear.

2. The shoes. Instead of heavy lolita footwear, go for a delicate and super feminine mule or heel. I chose DreamV’s infamous heart-heel, which comes in an array of colors and has the cute twist of a heart-shaped kitten heel. Whatever you choose, go for something delicate and refined. While these mules are fairly inexpensive, another inexpensive option would be Bodyline’s rendition of the “cage” shoe in a pretty pale pink.

3. The tights. Although tights aren’t usually a prom staple, in this case leaving the legs bare would make it look unfinished. Lace tights in white or pink with a floral design will make a sweet lolita dress look more grown-up and ladylike.

For accessories, a statement necklace such as this Tarina Tarantino Barbie necklace would be a great choice, or you could go more subdued with a golden heart locket or smaller pink crystal. Pink pearl would give a little retro sophistication to this prom look instead if you’d prefer. A goes-with-everything handbag from Baby or MILK would be a nice choice, or simply a beaded or floral clutch.

For hair, ask your stylist for tons of big curls or perhaps a bouffant updo a little like a himegyaru’s – bring in some pictures from magazines or the Internet if you aren’t sure you’ll be able to articulate what you want. Makeup can be done in typical sweet lolita style, with lashes and liner. Use candy-pink blush (though perhaps more subtle a stroke than for an ordinary lolita coordinate) and a warm rosy lipstick or tinted balm.

Things to avoid wearing with your lolita prom look…

  • “baby”ish border prints like toys, candy or baby animals; if you’re set on a print, try roses, jewels, or stars instead
  • knee-high socks, but over-the-knee will do in a pinch if you’re short on tights
  • bubble-toed standard lolita shoes
  • stuffed animal purses (yes, even unicorns)
If you’re feeling adventurous, try…

If you’ve got prom pictures, drop me a line! I’d love to see some great prom lolita darlings in the comments – have you ever worn lolita to your prom?

How to Travel in Style: The Jet-Set Princess

The more travelling I do, the more I realize I don’t want to do it in discomfort! You know what I mean… looking scuzzy, just hoping to get there as soon as possible – a waste of a day. Even though traveling can be a pain, and it’s a big temptation to be one of those girls schlepping around the airport in pajamas…. don’t do it! When I get to my destination, I want to look my best, especially when meeting friends and family. I don’t want to make a beeline for the shower, feeling sick and dehydrated and jet-lagged. I want to arrive ready to take on this new place!

But What Will I Wear?!

It’s important to wear something comfortable, yes, but that doesn’t mean you have license to wear pajamas to the airport. If you are wondering, ‘why not? I’m only going to sleep on the plane…’ Here is my answer: One, you never know who you are going to meet. I try to remember this even when I am going to the post office or the corner bodega – what if my old crush is in from out of town, and the first thing he sees in five years is me in sweats?! Two, you always want to be a credit to yourself. You know that you are an amazing, gorgeous person. Why would you present anything less to the world?

For lolitas, I’d recommend something along the lines of a soft cutsew or tee-shirt, with a cardigan or hoodie that you’d usually wear for casual lolita. If you prefer to wear your petticoat than pack it, make sure you wear it under a loose-fitting JSK – nothing too restrictive, and of course nothing it would kill you to crumple. I’ve heard that some lolitas wear their best dresses rather than risk losing it, but I’d hate to be uptight about what travel damage may happen to my favorite onepiece.

If you want to look cute but don’t feel like dishing up all of the frills, go for a more casual look. Opaque leggings are comfy under a simple skirt, especially with a big schoolgirl cardigan. Any loose onepiece with tights or leggings and perhaps itty-bitty fabric shorts underneath (so you’re not worried about flashing everyone in coach) is another easy option.

If you’re traveling to meet another lolita, especially if it’s for the first time, it is really helpful if you wear lolita. Even if you choose to wear something simple. It helps your friend to spot you! Big fluffy skirts and cute luggage are a beacon in a crowd. It’s even better than looking for a sign if you’re trying to meet another lolita too!

Make sure you wear shoes that easily slip on and off, for getting through security and once you’re on the plane. Another tip that is a well-known New York City lolita trick is insoles. Seriously, get down to your local drugstore and get yourself a pair of Dr. Scholl’s (no gel – they’re not TSA approved). It was the best decision I ever made! Now my lolita shoes are some of the most comfortable shoes I own.

And make sure your hair do is something you feel comfortable in and can sleep in if necessary. Low pigtails, loose waves, a pair of braids, or a puffy bun on the top of your head are good options for casual style. Check a kawaii street style magazine if you’re at a loss for cute-and-easy hairstyles.

If you’re planning on doing your makeup on the plane, go with a tinted moisturizer or a BB cream with a high moisturizer content. A cream blush warmed up on the back of your hand will also show dryness less than a typical powder blush – and be a lot less messy to apply. Tinted lip balm is a good choice for the lips. If you need to bring toiletries on the plane with you, be sure to abide by security rules. A Wisp brush is also a good choice if you’re going on a long flight and know that you’ll be the halitosis queen by the time you get there. Here are the guidelines from TSA about makeup and other personal cosmetics. Easy tip to remember – your products must be no bigger than 3.4 oz/100 ml! Check your makeup bottles beforehand. And, keep your liquids (foundation, for example) separate from your non-liquid (like brushes).

All That Baggage

Let’s talk luggage. First of all, if you want to check your luggage especially, you want unique-looking luggage, or at the very least a unique luggage tag. This way you can find your luggage easily on the carousel. That being said, don’t buy very expensive designer luggage – it’ll just up your chances of getting it stolen! Some ideas for luggage is vintage looking luggage, pink luggage if you’re of the girly persuasion, or your favorite Sanrio character. Even something simple yet classy, such as quilted luggage or houndstooth, is nice choice.

I prefer to carry-on my luggage. You’re allotted two carry-ons, such as a small suitcase and bag – one to go overhead and one to fit below the seat in front of you – as well as your personal purse or briefcase. When I came home from Paris, I was so scared they were going to lose my luggage, so I packed my two most precious items – my medicine and my new BABY dress – in my carry-on and did not let go until we hit  Seattle. I call this method ‘pills and frills’. Make sure anything you really, really can’t do without is in your carry-on. For me, this means any medicine I need, and back-up glasses or contact lenses. If you’re checking a bag and you’re worried they’ll lose your luggage, definitely pack an extra simple outfit as well.

 

Organizing your carry-on bag will make going through security a lot easier as well. Even on a daily basis, I keep a few small pouches to bounce around inside my larger bag – one for pencils, one for electronics, etc. It has been the best choice I’ve ever made for my purse. First of all, no more graphite from broken pencils smeared inside your purse. Second of all, I have never forgotten those tiny electronics ever since – I have a pouch with my camera charger, class remote (for quizzes), my back-up USB, and my cellphone charger. It will save you a major headache if they are all in one spot!

Bringing an empty, reusable water bottle is a must. Being dehydrated is a lot like being hungover and feeling awful, as well as looking awful. I made the mistake once of bringing a full, plastic water bottle. Of course as soon as I hit security they said, ‘Either drink it or chuck it.’ Rather than chug the whole thing at once… I threw it out. It felt really wasteful and stupid, since I just had to buy another one past security.

I’m also a picky eater, with often dips in my blood sugar, so it’s also good to bring your own snacks. Many flights don’t even serve food anymore, or they charge hefty prices for a few potato chips. Make sure it’s something you’ll eat, and is fresh, but also consider the people sitting half an inch from your elbow. I once watched a couple next to me eat giant tuna fish sandwiches… that wasn’t a fun trip. Some good choices are fresh fruits and chopped up vegetables, like grapes or celery, or crackers… Even something small like fruit snacks can keep your sugar up. A simple sandwich, if you make sure not to mash it as bounce through the terminal, can be ideal as well. If you’ve got the skill, a bento box is a great idea.

 

What’s your secret to traveling in style? Do you have a carry-on must-have? I can’t wait to hit the skies – I’ll be in Seattle AND Chicago over winter break, feel free to look me up if you’re in the area!

So You Want To Be a Lolita Model

{images via Baby Paris Nord, Tokyo Fashion Festa NYC}

As part of the open Q & A attached to the grand opening of the site, I received one question from a girl who wanted to know more about lolita modeling and how you get started with it. So here is my response: a down-and-dirty look at how I got into lolita modeling, how you can too, and the speculation behind going pro.

How I Got Into Modeling

I began modeling lolita fashion as lucky chance. At the time, in 2008, I had been posting my outfit coordinates avidly to daily_lolita, a Livejournal community to share your lolita style. To my surprise, I received an email from a girl in New York City asking me if I could submit a few more pictures that might get me approved to model for Baby the Stars Shine Bright when they put on a fashion show at New York Anime Festival. Needless to say, I was thrilled! Looking back on it now, it’s a miracle I made the show – I was very, very sick at the time, but nothing would stop me from showing my apostolic-like loyalty to the brand I loved. Although I was certainly not the most beautiful girl on stage, and nervous as a rabbit to boot, it was an experience I will never forget.

My second time modeling for Baby I auditioned again and was told I was to be an ‘alternate’ model, which is like being an understudy – you take the place of whoever can’t make it for some reason or another. While I did not end up modeling at the time, I was employed as a dresser for backstage. While this seems like a big let-down when you’re expecting to model, it was a great learning experience. I got an up-close look at how fashion shows are run; I got to make connections with other girls and the designers; and I got some appreciation for hard the staff works on a show. The fashion models are the most visible part of the show, but those backstage work very hard to make sure it all runs smoothly!

Besides my two brand shows, I’ve also modeled for independent designers, as well as taking part in my friends’ various projects such as commercials, photo shoots, and promotional appearances. So while I would hardly consider myself a professional lolita model, I do consider myself an amateur lolita model. This article is a collection of my brief experience.

A Brief, Realistic Talk About Size

Lolita modeling is rather a unique field compared to mainstream modeling. Most girls who make good lolita models would never make it in the mainstream modeling arena – they tend to be ‘brand sized’, meaning petite in height and figure. I personally am five foot two inches. It’s a big difference to the typical six-foot model standard! My cousins are also models and they tower over me.

Brand shows, even for volunteers, may have stringent requirements. One Baby show I worked on made it very clear that waists capped off at 25 inches. It was very stressful for me at the time to be worried about my weight down to the quarter inch. As we all know, the Japanese brands design clothes for the young Japanese girl, and many non-Japanese girls simply may not fit the bill. When telling the organizers your measurements, be honest as to your current size. It saves everyone a lot of stress when it comes to fittings, or worse, unexpected day-of size surprises!

If you’re more interested in working for independent designers, they may have more variability when it comes to size. If their dresses are one-offs, they may have designed something you may fit. A lot of designers make small sizes to save on fabric, especially for showpieces, so keep that in mind as well.

{images via Japan Expo 2009, Baby Paris Nord}

Finding Opportunities Near You

Brands wanting to put on fashion shows in foreign countries such as the United States don’t usually want to pay the money to tote their own models along, so they often look for local volunteers. The New York Fashion Festa employed volunteer models from FIT, who had the good fortune to be made up by brand designers and make-up artists. There may be a call for models online, or you may be contacted by one of the local organizers.

Volunteer-based fashion shows at conventions or other pop culture events are a great way to gain experience. You may get some experience walking down a runway, posing for photos on the runway, or simply being on stage if you’re not used to it. While I didn’t end up modeling for Baby the Stars Shine Bright at the Washington state convention Innosera, I came back the next day and signed up for the volunteer lolita fashion show. I got to walk and show my modeling ability to the Baby designers, who had stayed to watch. Not only did I get more experience, I got exposure to the designers and most importantly, I didn’t give up and go home. Even if you got cut from a bigger show or feel like there aren’t any ‘prestigious’ shows in your area, sign up.

Go with an open mind; any experience is good.

{image via SHRINKLE; image via xinhuanet.com}

Building A Portfolio

Another great step if you want to get into modeling is to start building up a print portfolio. If you live in an area with an art school, or have friends interested in photography (taking classes, working with good equipment, etc) then it should be easy to get started. Explain that you’re looking to get into modeling for lolita fashion and would love to do a few photo shoots. Often the student will do the photos for free, as an exchange, since you both need experience. If you want to reach out to people you don’t know personally, make sure you take someone with you to the shoot and meet somewhere neutral – be safe!

Not only will doing print modeling get you to be more comfortable with how to pose your body and how to act in front of the camera, you’ll also have photos to show the organizers of prospective shows. Lolitas love to host photo shoots, both meetup and personal, so you’ll probably get to know at least a handful of photographers in your area. If you’re really lost, as some fellow lolitas for their tips at the next photo shoot meet!

Work out your best expressions and angles as well. This means spending inordinate amounts of time with your mirror, or a camera and self-timer. Experiment and see what works for you! This will also help with the mundane tasks like posing for photos at conventions or just taking outfit snapshots. When it comes to practicing for the runway, your best bet is to look at different Youtube videos of lolita brand models walking and posing.

{Misako Aoki for Baby, image via flickr)

Networking

One of the ways I’ve gotten various opportunities is knowing the right people and living in a fashion-based area, such as New York City. ‘Networking’ is the fancy word for making friends. Get involved in your local lolita community and events. Make sure to pass out business or calling cards if you run into someone you’d like to work with, like an independent jewelry designer in need of a model, or perhaps the photographer from a recent meetup. Keeping an online portfolio to document your work is also helpful.

{Angelic Pretty model, RinRin}

Going Pro… My Speculations

We’ve already established that I’m not a pro lolita model, but these are my speculations on the topic if you really think you’re destined to appear on the cover of Kera. To begin with though, be aware that this is a very, very long-shot career, even if you are native Japanese. The only American model I know of who was discovered and swept off to be a professional brand lolita model is RinRin, who was previously part of the California lolita scene. Another girl, who is French, got picked up by the 6%DokiDoki girls. The few Caucasian or non-Japanese models you may see in advertisements are not usually recent transplants either. In the past you could have considered the ‘Bodyline modeling competition’ your ticket to a Japanese modeling career as well, but it doesn’t seem as if these gigs go from Bodyline to Baby – they tend to be one-shot deals.

But if you’re still determined to try, here is what I’d suggest:

1. Learn as much Japanese as you can.

Take a class, get Rosetta Stone, whatever. Knowing Japanese is essential if you want to work as a lolita model professionally. For one, it’s assumed you’ll end up living in Japan. For another, you’ll need to know how to take direction and work with the photographers and designers.

2. Go to as many brand events as you can.

This is true whether you’re living in Japan or an overseas country. Try to become a regular face at brand events, dressed in your best. If you know Japanese, as in Step 1, all the better – make some small talk with the designers or representatives. Try to be memorable (in a good way) and your picture may appear, however tiny, in a magazine.

3. Get a snapshot in a Japanese magazine.

This, I’ve heard, is how a lot of girls in Japan are trying to break into modeling for their favorite street style. This will require you to take an extended vacation or stay in Japan. Every Sunday, get dressed as adorably and uniquely as you can, and hope someone will take a street snap of you. A lot of designers shopping for models may simply flip through the street snaps of magazines. You’ll often see that yesterday’s street snap is today’s print advertisement.

{image via Baby Paris Nord)

Off the Runway

I’ve enjoyed my modeling experiences within lolita, and it truly amazes me to think that if I hadn’t discovered lolita, I would never have gotten the chance to experience those things. As a petite girl who usually comes up to the knees of real models, it was something I’d never have gotten to do without lolita fashion. Although I have a lot of fun modeling, I know I’ll never be a professional model. What’s more, I wouldn’t want to be one. I’m much happier blogging and just enjoying my lolita life! For that reason I didn’t audition for the Baby Otakon fashion show this year – I didn’t want the stress and demands on my time, I wanted to catch up with friends. I hope to see lovely aspiring models on the stage that morning, maybe even some of my readers! I’ll be happily perched in the audience in my Baby best. See you on the other side of those bright lights!

Miniature Marie Antoinettes: The Complete Hime-Lolita Guide

After writing the much-loved guides Sweet, Sweet, Sweet!: Guide to Over the Top Sweet Lolita and Pastel Pop Darlings: The Complete Guide to Fairykei, a loyal reader requested I add a hime-lolita addition to the growing guide collection. Hime lolita is one of my favorite styles, so naturally I couldn’t resist!

This guide will cover hime-lolita (princess lolita style, or lolita fashion that looks like clothing a fairytale princess might wear). Hime lolita is considered to be one of the more extravagant styles. There are no hard-and-fast rules for this subset of lolita, so feel free to experiment and be creative with any notion that says ‘princess’ to you. A sweeter lolita may be inspired for a fantasy, pink-haired version of hime lolita; a classic lolita might want a more opulent western historical royalty theme.

Some consider hime-lolita to be a blend of himegyaru (princess gal) style and sweet lolita style; others consider hime-lolita to take its inspirations from fairytale princesses or royal historical fashion trends, usually the Rococo period and Marie Antoinette. Fashion is entirely about how you interpret an idea, so there is no wrong or right variation. Anything that represents a princess ideal for you can be considered hime-lolita, so long as enough lolita influence is present.

Misako Aoki modeling a Rococo/fairytale inspired hime-lolita style, both by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. Note the heavy Marie Antoinette influence in the updos, the gold tiaras, and multi-strand pearl necklaces. 

So when considering your coordinate, decide which inspiration you prefer. A Rococo styled dress is for a more historical or fairytale look; a dress with more himegyaru leanings obviously will feel more at home with himegyaru accessories.

Baby’s Ribbon Cream OP and Baby’s Pure Princess OP

Baby the Stars Shine Bright is, in my opinion, the queen of Rococo-worthy dresses and jewelry, especially with their new spring line boasting Versailles Rose series. They like the look of bell sleeves, square necklines, and stomacher-style detailing down the bodice; stack pearl bracelets and chokers, or items with hanging crystals are also on the list. Baby has also long made tiara combs, woven with images of roses, ribbons, and their royal B crest.

Shown above: two dresses inspired by the himegyaru style, made by Angelic Pretty, provide a perfect base for a hime-lolita outfit. As you can see, the prime focus on these dresses is feminine constructural details such as layers and layers of net lace and an overdose of bows, rather than a cute printed fabric. 

Two street snaps of hime lolitas wearing Angelic Pretty. A delicate floral, layers of lace, and roses in her curls create a very innocent hime lolita style. The lolita on the left has chosen an ornate rose bonnet rather than a bow or tiara, making a gorgeous statement.

Angelic Pretty, on the other hand, creates clothing made for the more modern princess, often releasing dresses on par with the look of Jesus Diamante and other himegyaru styles. Large roses, dresses completely covered in net lace or delicate florals, with bows worked into the structure (say, ribbed down the otherwise open back of a jumperskirt) fit their idea of princesses.

Components of a Hime Lolita Coordinate

Baby’s rendition of a sweeter hime lolita style. The lace-draped sleeves, pearls, satin elbow-length gloves, and full-sized crown give this coordinate a very hime feel.


For any lolita outfit, start with your basics: you need to have the bell-shaped silhouette; a dress without the capacity for one is simply himegyaru, a dress lacking a petticoat when it should have one is just sloppy if you’re going for a full hime-lolita style (for casual days, see hime-kei below). The dress is your choice; mostly hime-lolita revolves around the very opulent onepiece or at least jumperskirt – the skirt and blouse combo says more innocent and childlike than princess. If you really do prefer a blouse however, choose something with a square of heart neckline, with bell sleeves. Chiffon is a very elegant material for a hime-lolita blouse.

For a more elegant, royal look, you could also consider adding a corset or a more mature style of blouse as shown above in the style on the right. On the left is an Angelic Pretty coordinate with a very princess-like dress styled with lace gloves and a beribboned rectangular headdress (both modeled by Kyoko Fukada).

You don’t need a specific color for hime lolita: Misako Aoki, above, is wearing royal blue. While many hime lolita outfits end up being rose pink or Cinderella blue, I’ve also seen hime lolita in lilac, ruby red, wine, black, or white. So long as the dress is opulent enough, the color isn’t as important.

After choosing your dress, add your hime accessories. Hime lolita is all about the following motifs: lace (usually net lace), roses, pearls, crystals/rhinestones, and florals. Satsify these motifs in any way you like – whether it’s roses in the hair, or as earrings, or on shoes, or on purses; lace stockings, lace-patterned nails, or lace-covered bows.

There are a few accessories that are typically make the hime lolita roster. Usually considered a no-no to typical lolita, the elbow-length glove or longer can make an appearance (velvets for winter, lace for summer). Lacy arm-warmers are rarer, but go well with the himegyaru version of hime lolita, especially since they allow plenty of room for rings, bracelets and fanciful manicures on uncovered fingers.

Particularly frilly parasols (Battenburg lace is still out, sorry ladies), pearl jewelry, and mini tiaras or floral combs are also a must-have for hime lolita style. Any accessories that look very princess-like and sweet with a touch of class or bling usually work. Hime lolita also has a love of fans for the summer – paper or lace fans possibly decorated with pearls, roses or rhinestones (I’m hoping to deco a new fan for this summer!)

Purses from himegyaru/hime casual brand Liz Lisa would be very appropriate for a spring hime lolita style.

Scepters were once popular for hime lolita as well, but they have dropped off in popularity for little more than the occasional photoshoot. Glittery, children’s toy type scepters could be used with a very sweet styled hime lolita outfit; fanciful, ornate an expensive gold scepters were sometimes sold by brands, but their cost usually deterred them from popularity among many lolitas.

Baby’s Princess Drop Millefeuille wedges; Yumetenbo’s rose open-toed pumps

Hime lolita often skips the knee-high socks in favor of opaque or lace tights, for a more elegant air. Shoes may either be high-heeled lolita shoes or rose-draped himegyaru heels or boots.

Hair, Makeup, and Nails

Himegyaru inspired hair and makeup in Angelic Pretty’s Strawberry Ribbon print and matching canotier. 


Hime lolita almost always involves curls, whether you choose to go with a more Rococo styled coordinate or a more himegyaru look. You can curl your own hair, or you can choose some kind of added piece. Prisila and Cyperous (ships overseas) both have a wide range of curled and bouffanted styles the make a great base for a hime lolita hairstyle. If you want a more fantasy-styled princess look with a sweeter twist, consider perhaps a very full curled pastel pink wig. Long blonde ringlets are often popular as well.

Large hair is just the thing for filling with roses, pearled bobby pins, or tiny tiaras. An ornate bow or simply very large and lacy matching lolita bow would also look nice. Or you could check out some himegyaru hairbands – they often make very large, elaborate bows or rose-themed hairpieces. This one is a heart filled with pink, white, or black roses as you like (ships overseas through Rakuten). In more historically inspired cases, wide-brimmed bonnets with much lace and rose adornment are also a very sweet option; adding a bow hairband or a tiny tiara to the base of a bonnet is popular.

Makeup can be your usual lolita makeup regimen, or you can add a more himegyaru aspect with extra eyelashes and liner. Pink cheeks or the newly popular ‘lavender’ blushes might be just the thing for adding some color to your face.

Hime lolita usually takes its cue from himegyaru in the manicure department and includes lavishly decorated false nails with roses, pearls or crystals. You can find beautiful hime nails from FullMoon Nails. If you prefer not to wear false nails, a simple pink or glitter polish would also be appropriate.

Other Inspirations

Ryohei of Megamasso in Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Hime lolita is not so much embracing a substyle (like you would classic or sweet or gothic lolita) so much as it is designing a themed coordinates, usually for an event or photoshoot. With this in mind, there are plenty of inspirations you can use for your hime lolita style. Fairytale princesses such as Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, or Cinderella could make interesting themes to follow in your coordinate; even something simpler as your idea of a fairytale princess or a rose garden theme would unify a coordinate well.  As I said, there are no strict guidelines you need to follow for hime-lolita, so feel free to style it as uniquely as you wish.

I hope you enjoyed this guide! Have a wonderful time dressing up, princesses! 


love & roses,

How to Wear a Wig (And Look Like a Model Doing It)

As lolitas, especially the girls who are sweet lolitas, we’ve amassed a pretty large collective group of wigs in the past few years as they rose to popularity (What is the collective known for wigs? Perhaps a tangle of wigs?) Whether you’re in love with candy colors, unique blends, fades, and splits, or simply soft natural tones, there’s nothing like a wig to instantly transform your appearance. Girls sick of long hair can have bobs to avoid the big chop; girls with cute pixie cuts can play Rapunzel for the day. I myself own plenty of wigs – long, brunette, lilac, curly, wavy, short, you name it. In lolita, wearing wigs is common, among some groups considered almost necessary, if you’re looking for a place to pin all of your hairclips, bows, and kitschy 80s toys. But how do you take the wig – often associated with costumes – from the meetup and runway to the classroom or office?

Some days when I get ready in the morning, my hair is throwing a protest. Won’t be straight, or curly, or sit flat. Rather than fight it, I simply tame it under a wig for the day, ready to negotiate with terrorist hair (and conditioner) later that evening. But how do you wear a wig for school or work? Won’t it be… like, weird?

Not so! There are plenty of ways to make your simple wig look like the best head of hair on the block.

Step I: Prepping the Wig

The first thing about your wig is to make sure you’ve styled it before putting it on. Nothing looks weirder than an unstyled wig plopped on and run with! (Things I wish someone had told me…) Start by gathering your hair under a wig cap, in a dark or light color depending on your wig (light for blondes and pastels, dark for brunettes, blacks, deep reds, etc.).
I find it best to not only pin up my real hair, and put on the wig cap, but also to pin the wig cap in place with snappy clips or whatever your pleasure is. If you have bangs, make sure to sweep them deeply to the side, not just under the front – they’ll stay under better and look less crazy when the wig comes off.

After you have the wig cap on, put on the wig, front to back. Pull the wig down so that the edge of the wig’s ribbing, for lack of  a better word, is where you real hairline is. If you’re concerned the wig may slip, there are usually a pair of elastics that hook together, kind of like on a bra. I usually clip these together for extra security, though they can be uncomfortably tight, so use at your own discretion.

If you are wearing a wig with bangs, get yourself some scissors (I use nail scissors to trim a wig and my real bangs) and start trimming the bangs until they fit your face. I leave mine about eyebrow level, useful if your eyebrows are nowhere near the wig’s color. The front of the wig’s base should be at the same level as your hairline, and the bangs trimmed to fit that position. Even if you’re planning to sweep the bangs to the side, you gotta trim ’em. Trust me. I went to a meetup once without the bangs trimmed and looked like a doof; wish I knew then what I know now…

If you want to wear this wig often for daily use and don’t trust yourself not to be Edward Scissorhands, get yourself to a salon and ask the stylist to trim it best to suit you. Wigs, layers, the whole nine yards. This will make a huge difference in the way your wig looks.

Step II: Styling Your Wig


The next step is to style your wig. You’ve got it on, now it’s time to work with it. First, if you have a ‘lolita’ wig (meaning it came with ponytail clips), take those off – they look great for lolita, but aren’t very natural looking. Now you’re left with the base wig, either curly or straight. One of the best ways to make a wig look natural is to put it in a simple style – a pair of braids, low pigtails, or a casual ponytail. You can also do unique things with the wig’s bangs – either swept to the side, straight across, pinned back, etc. Add a little hairspray if you’r worried the wig will go haywire.
Most people aren’t used to the idea of wigs doing anything but ‘sit there’ so doing something different with your wig like you would your real hair is a great way to make it look less fake. Check out a lot of the wigs on Gabalnara – they’ve been pre-styled for the photoshoots (there are even a few easy tutorials among the product pages). Here’s one with a small side braid and bow.

 

After you have a simple style, dress it up! I always wear a hair band or hat with a wig. A broad hair band, headband, a soft knit cap, a sun hat as the weather warms up… Anything really! Breaking up the visual appearance of the wig makes it seem more natural and more intentional.If your wig seems too shiny, try adding a little talcum powder with a powderpuff. If it seems too frizzy, a little wig spray can tame stray ends.

 Step III: Complimenting Your Wig

Consider your overall appearance after you’ve finished styling and accessorizing your wig. When I’ve chosen to wear a huge, full curly wig, I keep my makeup very simple and natural – too over the top and you’ll look like you got the wrong address for a rave. If you’ll be showing your eyebrows, you can consider darkening them a little for a darker wig. 

Keep in mind that you can wear an unnaturally colored wig ‘naturally’ by complimenting it well with the rest of your look. A bright pink wig (styled and accessorized) can look very darling with a more simple coordinate (lolita or not). A simple blonde bob however might appreciate a more outrageous hair accessory or some dramatic eyeliner. Like any coordinate, try to keep your look in balance – perhaps only one or two focal points. Your wig can definitely by a ‘focal point’!

 Step IV: Aftercare for Your Wig

After you’ve removed your wig for the day, give it a gentle shake out and a little finger combing. Make sure you keep your wig on a wig head or stand so it retains it shape. If you aren’t using a wig head, at least wrap it back up in the netting it came with to avoid tangling. Depending on weather conditions and styling product, wash or condition your wig every 8 – 12 wears.

 Don’t Want To Wig Out? 


If you want some of the ease and great look you get through a wig but don’t want to wear the whole deal, there are plenty of options for you! I’m fascinated with half wigs, extensions and pieces right now.  Japanese and Korean companies make plenty of hairpieces as wig alternatives, but they are best if your hair is natural and a fairly common color. If you’re a very light blonde, you might do better looking at American hairpieces. Some of the pieces that are popular include half-wigs (worn just behind your bangs), clip-in bangs, clip-in ponytails/pigtails (also called phony ponies) and faux updos and buns.

Here’s a basic collection of illustrations from wig company Prisila that explain:

 

half cap wig; clip-in bangs, clip-in extensions, and stretch wig ponytail
If you find a half-cap wig you really like (gyaru and himegyaru styles look amazing with those huge bouffanted half-wigs), but it doesn’t match your hair color, you can wear a regular wig and add the half-wig to it for bigger style. I often wear my Prisila half-cap honey blonde over another wig to make it look like one, huge full wig.

 Does it Pass the Natural Test?

Here’s the test. Grab a friend or family member, without telling them you’ve decided to don a wig, and ask if they like your new ‘do. Do they think you really went to the salon? People at school often remark ‘oh, you changed your hair!’ and I simply smile and say, ‘For today.’ You don’t have to tell everyone it’s a wig, but don’t be ashamed or secretive about it either. You’re just fashion-forward after all!

Where to Buy

Here are some of my favorite wig shops! I’ve worn many of these companies’ wigs both with a editorial lolita style and for a casual school or work appropriate lolita style.

Cyperousfull and half wigs *ships overseas*
Prisilabangs, half wigs, rope wigs (basically a long boa of curly hair), scrunchies, volumizers…
Gabalnarafull, half wigs; extensions, scrunchies, bun covers, bangs
Pretty and Cute a limited selection of wigs and extensions, but cheap and heat-friendly; I just ordered a scrunchie bun from them for $5! *ships overseas*
Yumetenbosometimes a few limited styles of gyaru stretchy wigs or bun covers *ships overseas*
MintyMixA personal favorite for unnaturally colored wigs; my pink and lavender fade wig is wonderful quality, and so ‘natural’ in style if not color that it passed the natural test at school! *ships overseas*
Cosplay Wigs USA – Typically lolita wigs; very full bases. I wore my light brown wig to school last week with wonderful results. *ships overseas*

Don’t be afraid to try something out, to stand apart, and show off your style! Keep on being fashionable!

xoxo,

Pastel Pop Darlings: The Fairy-Kei Guide

My past article about fairy-kei and lolita fusion, thereafter dubbed ‘fairy lolita’ or fairy-loli, has been generating a lot of interest and traffic after being posted to an online fashion community. Some commenters remarked that it was the only in-depth guide available to the style. Since that article was more of an overview, specifically meant for those with a lolita background, I thought I would write an additional article as a complete guide to fairy-kei, in the tradition of my complete guide to over-the-top sweet lolita style. Without further ado…

 By the way, these photo collages are BIG so you can examine the smaller details of their outfits. Click for larger! Shown above: first two, Maga, SPANK! staff; Japanese street snap; Tabuchi (founder of SPANK!)

 Fairy-kei (meaning fairy-style), also called SPANK! style or pop-kei, is one of the currently popular Japanese street fashion. The style is based around muted pastels, bright flourescents, and 80s revivalist cartoons and motifs such as My Little Pony, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite, vintage 80s Barbie, etc. The look is very much a ‘fantasy style’, emulating the worlds of 80s girls’ cartoons and early shoujo manga. It began with Tabuchi, founder of the vintage and repurposed vintage boutique SPANK!, as her personal style, and then the look took off from there.

The Clothes & The ‘Silhouette’; Texture & Color Palettes

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the fashion. For anyone joining me from the lolita world, you can probably relate to this experience when studying other fashion styles or street styles. It feels like a notebook-in-hand moment, with plenty of questions: what kind of fabric is prevalent? What fashion silhouette? How many layers? What’s the color palette? Essentially, what are the ‘rules’? Lolita fashion is very structured and despite its fantasy nature, can sometimes seem more like a math equation or getting your adjusted balance sheet to balance. If I put a headbow here and socks here, then do I get an equal of frills to style? (I gotta get out more and put down the accounting textbook…) But here’s the kicker: aside from lolita fashion, most Japanese street styles are unstructured. It’s a few people with a common idea or concept (in this case, fairy-kei is pretty much the brain baby of Tabuchi, founder of SPANK!) that ends up evolving into a look, and then a following. So this ‘structuring’, especially for airy-fairy fairy-kei, is pretty rough. This is just my observations and interpretations of it.

The silhouette is very similar to mori-girl and natural-kei in shape – an extended A-line with little defined waist, bust, etc. It’s sort of a sack-like appearance, really, when it comes to fairy-kei dresses and one-pieces. Some flare can be added in the form of short colored petticoats (think Bodyline’s small, cheapy ones – they won’t double under your lolita skirts, they’re really just for color) and its counterpart, pumpkin pants, which are like short, super puffy bloomers, usually in decorative fabrics. So for a dress, there are most likely layers on top (cardigans, sweaters, etc) or underneath (tees, cutsews a la lolita, etc); then there may be a few peeking hems of colored petticoats with pumpkin pants to keep your from flashing your panties. On the opposite end of the spectrum are very defined waists with ‘tutu’ dresses or petticoats that more resemble tutus in shape than anything else. That being said, even these defined waists are in no way revealing. Like other street styles, fairy-kei has a bit of a frump, a layering look that comes off as cute when paired with big eyes and whimsical hair and accessories. That slightly nerdy, overly energetic girl of the 80s? That would be fairy-kei, I think. If you aren’t used to the style, rent a bunch of 80s movies and watch them. Karate Kid has his typical love interest, who’s got a great blonde Cali-girl teeny bopper vibe going on (except at the end where she clearly discovers the 90s and becomes a soccer-mom-in-the-making, but ignore that).

Fabric is usually lightweight for dresses and skirts, such as the loose A-line dresses and the fluttery colored petticoats. Thick, fluffy sweaters, oversized 80s sweatshirts; this is also the land from whence comes the mokomoko accessories craze, and stuffed animals are sewn onto sweaters and scarves, or as the usual purse. Dress length can be ankle length, knee-length or mini-skirt length; anything fluttery and flowy works.

The most important aspects of fairy-kei are the vintage/fantasy world factor, and the color palette. Color is one of the most important features here, less so the structure or item. Pastels and neon-tinted pastels, or high-saturated pastels. Popular colors are mint/seafoam, lavender, super pale pink, electric blue, lime green, creamsicle orange, neon orange, and in smaller doses, ‘white-with-black-dots’. Several motifs and themes are often found in fairy-kei as well: most notably the unicorn, followed by kittens, any vintage 80s toy or franchise, moons and stars, rainbows, and naturally sweets such as cotton candy and conversation hearts (the chalky American candy that say things like UR CUTE).

The DIY and Vintage Factor

Whereas many Japanese fashion styles are now ‘couture’ based (having established a variety of brand houses to cater to the style, i.e. Angelic Pretty, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, etc for lolita fashion), fairy-kei is very much based on DIY and vintage. While some clothes can be ‘bought’, most of these clothes are vintage or re-purposed vintage. SPANK! and its sister store, Ticket to Darling, sell 80% vintage clothing they think fits with the SPANK! and fairy-kei aesthetic; 20% of their items are re-purposed vintage or handmade. Many girls make their own clothes with finding vintage fabrics or clothing and sewing them into items that fit the style. This dress below is made from vintage lilac unicorn bedsheets:

I happen to have the same set & can’t wait to turn it into a floaty onepiece! The thin fabric is also great for layering. Besides vintage bedsheets, vintage toys and other 80s paraphanalia is very popular. Vintage My Little Ponies (G1 for you collectors) make great necklaces and hairbands, or Care Bears pinned to jackets. Vintage 80s-style buttons, 80s cartoons stickers made into necklaces… Plastic pastel chain, a uique feature of the 80s, is often used for jewelry, along with plastic charms. I’ve seen felt brooches, clay conversation heart rings… Most accessories are DIY and based on the idea of pastel pop cute, with only a little historical basis. Don’t forget simple I-made-it-cute items; I’ve seen denim shorts with fabric painted shooting stars, denim jackets with unicorns painted on the back and edged in lace… I’m sure bedazzling, popular in the 80s and 90s, could also be a hit here.

Shoes, Bags, and Other Accessories


As said, the primary concern in fairy-kei is the color palette, so finding necessary accessories is mostly about hunting up pastels. There are a few shoe types that are popular in fairy-kei style however. Hi-top sneakers in bright pastels are on many a fairy-kei girl’s must have list, and give you feet a nice break from high heels. Reebok x MILKFED (shown above, right) collaborations sneakers are popular, but I think any pastel hi-top would work. Punk boots, such as my pastel pink Doc Marten knockoffs, and engineer boots in similar colors work well too. Some gyaru brands make pastel UGG-type shoes; usually Yumetenbou have several in the winter, and you can snap them up in powder blue, lilac, mint, and pink. Adding cute shoe clips, bows, or ribbons can amp them up as well.

{via kyandi.tumblr.com; these are photos from her personal wardrobe}

While it seems that fairy-kei girls favor more comfortable shoes than other fashions, they still have a soft spot for heels. Pastel heels, preferably super-shiny ones that look like life-size versions of Barbie shoes, make the cut. Again, there are plenty to be found on Yumetenbou, but their shoe sizes stop at 7.5 (I’m an 8… kill me now.) Look around at spring time in your local stores, or perhaps check out Irregular Choice. Fairy-kei also willingly borrows styles from sweet lolita, mostly Angelic Pretty, so tea parties, ruffly platforms, and heart-buckle shoes or boots also on the table. You can buy the real thing or the knockoff, depending you your tastes.

Purses and bags come from all over in fairy-kei. Shaped purses from Angelic Pretty (shooting stars, teddy bears, chocolate bars), animal purses (unicorns are common), or totes made with vintage material can all be seen. Vintage lunch boxes with character designs can also fit the bill, and fairy-kei girls are also more likely to have cutesy backpacks.

For other accessories, there are also tights and legwarmers. Tights in glittery styles, rainbow, transparent, cute patterns like kittens… And fluffy, droppy legwarmers. If you can’t find any you like from fashion sites, you can find them on discount dance supply websites. The above legwarmers are from Yumetenbou (now sold out, but one can always hope they restock), which despite being a discount gal website, has plenty of items suitable for fairy-kei. Check the roomwear departments of the Girly and Princess sections; there’s often mokomoko items or colorful hoodies, etc.
Hair

Fairy-kei is the Japanese subculture that is about the unnaturally colored hair. While some girls do like wigs, plenty of girls in this style actually dye their own hair. Due to social constraints in Japan, like getting a job, this is pretty hardcore. For fairy-kei you will see some really cool and colorful dye jobs. Pastels like pink, blue and lilac are obvious choices, but so are neon orange and teal. Tabuchi is well-known for her bright teal and sometimes lime hair. Highlights, tipped bangs, etc, are all very popular. Some girls get braided-in extensions to get that Rainbow Kid look. Kawaii Ambassador of Pop-kei/street style usually rocks super-tight curls with braided-in extensions. If you’re looking for extensions, I’d recommend clip-ins over more permanent methods, so you can change them with your outfits or non-fairy-kei style. Still, natural colors like soft brown, chocolate, and blonde also look cute. Pigtails, poofy giant buns, bobs curved under, etc, are some of the most popular. Curls are done, but if your hair isn’t curly no one will shoot you.

Makeup (And Nails)

To the best of my knowledge, I haven’t seen any significant makeup trends for fairy-kei. Looking through example photos it seems to be just bright colors, some eyeliner and perhaps false eyelashes. Simply choose your favorite girly makeup up look and add some bright colors like super bright pink blush, or perhaps ‘Marshmallow’, lilac-pink blush from Candy Doll.

If you want a more casual style for your nails, any pastel tone will do. I’m currently wearing Essie’s Nice is Nice lilac, with white polka dots I added with a small brush. Fairy-kei girls do like acrylic 3D nails however, usually commissioning unique styles from Japanese nail salons like Care Bears, air-brushed unicorns, or Little Twin Stars. If you can’t find or comission 3D nail art, you can always keep them in a simple glittery style with the requisite color palette.

 

Where To Buy


There are some brands that sell fairy-kei and pop-kei style. Here’s how to get your fairy-kei fashion fix:

 

 Brands and Online Shopping 

 ManiaQ – lots of rainbow petticoats, vintage style tees and jackets/parkas. SHIPS OVERSEAS!

Spank! online store – does not ship overseas; you’ll need a shopping service. New items posted every Sunday at 12 noon Japan time, hurry, things sell out quickly!

Electric Alice – Australia based webshop that sells items from 6% Doki Doki, Delilah, MILK, and other brands. Click here to view their fairy-kei section.

Refuse to Be Usual – Their ‘Cute Me Up’ section has plenty of fodder for fairy-kei lovers. Swimmer – cute clothing, accessories and homewares. Needs shopping service.

KERA shop – sells many of the brands showcased in KERA magazine. Needs a shopping service, but sells Nile Perch, as well as Angelic Pretty, Baby, Dangerous Nude, and others.

Chocomint – plenty of fairy-kei worthy accessories!

Listen Flavor – punk and pop-kei clothes.

We Love Colors – a huge supply of pastel tights.

6% Doki Doki – super-saturated pop-kei and decora-kei style, and most likely the most expensive (nearing lolita brand prices). Needs shopping service.

 Buy and sell fairy-kei clothing at the community 80s_cuties! I don’t always see something I want, but if you lurk you might find just the thing. I got my ManiaQ hoodie from there!

 You can also look into buying secondhand on mbok or Yahoo!Japan. I don’t know very much about this area, but it is out there if you’re already familiar with the process.

If you’re looking for vintage items to collect or DIY with, you can’t do much better than etsy. I’ve found a plethora of vintage My Little Ponies, Polly Pocket, Rose Petal Place dolls, Lady Lovely Locks Dolls, Lisa Frank stuff… all moderately priced. EBay can also be the place to find vintage sheets or other items, but etsy would be my first choice.

Inspiration Station

The best way to do fairy-kei is to observe all sorts of coordinates and media and then select what you like and make it your own. With this is mind I have included a lot of my favorite coordinates in photos in this article. Most of them were found on several pop-kei themed tumblrs. If there are any you recognize, please let me know and I will add credit; I don’t claim these photos as my own in any way, they’re simply a teaching guide. Below I’ve included a list of fairy-kei tumblrs. If you want to learn fairy-kei, one of the best things you can do is get a tumblr and start following these cuties.

Fairy-kei Tumblrs & Other Sources

kyandi – an adorable tumblr run by Kyandi, a great example of fairy-kei and fairy-lolita, plus tons of vintage inspiration like Sailor Moon, 80s Barbie and Creamy Mami.

fuckyeahtabuchi – love for the Spank! founder Tabuchi

spankgirls – for girls that dress in spank! style

fuckyeahpopkeifashion – pop-kei fashion

Tabuchi’s lookbook.nu – see what the founder of SPANK! wears every day!

Fairy-kei Flickr Group

popkei community @ Livejournal

Other Articles About Fairy-kei

Miseducated.net – Fairy-kei and More 80s Revivalist Fashion

Marshmallow Stars – Fairy-kei Links

TokyoFashion.com – Fairy-kei & Japanese Decora Nails in Harajuku

 

 

10 More Tips to a Better Blog

1. Join a blogging community. If you’re interested in becoming a better blogger, this is the place to be. A blogging community will have articles on topics like promoting your blog, handling writer’s block and writing up killer articles. You can also chat with lots of other bloggers and see what they do differently than you! My favorite blogging community right now is just for fashion blogs – IFB, or Independent Fashion Bloggers.

2. Leave comments on other blogs. As a blogger, I’m sure you love receiving comments on your work – feedback on your writing or topic choice is really helpful! So commenting on other blog posts that interests you is obvious. Not only that, your comment may attract other readers to check out your blog! You most likely do not need to link to it in the comments, which may actually cause your comment to run through a spam filter. Instead, adding it to the comment’s ‘website’ info will usually make your name a clickable link back to your own blog. But don’t just comment without anything to say – really thinking and adding to a blog’s conversation will help in the exchange of ideas online, for your blog and others’.

3. Get a blog reader! Following and reading lots of other blogs is one of the best ways to improve your own blogging. But how to handle all those blogs? If you don’t have one, start using a blog reader! A blog reader collects all of your subscriptions in one place, so that you can read all of your blog in one easy feed. I use Google Reader, but Bloglovin will actually email you a ‘this week on Bloglovin’ with entries posted by your favorite blogs this week. This makes all those blogs easier to skim for ideas, trends, and networking opportunities.

4. Be aesthetically pleasing. When designing your blog or working on your webpage’s layout, try to shoot for two goals: 1) easy to read and navigate; 2) a style that expresses your blog’s content and tastes. An easy-to-read blog has legible, large-enough fonts, a clean look, and links handy to navigate the site. The usual sins are easy to spot, as we’ve all see them – swirly text you can’t read, busy backgrounds, etc. If I can’t read a site, I’m not going to hang around!  Also try to choose a look that expresses your blog’s content and theme. My theme is a clean, pinky-princess feel, which is why I chose the understated pink-and-white vertical stripes. Your blog might be more at home with lots of white space, or with black and pink accents. Choose something that easily communicates your blog’s style, and people will feel right at home, and glad to come back.

6. Stop putting music on webpages. This gets its own bullet for good reason. While cute music players you can embed in your website are popular these days, I find them more annoying than ambiance-setting. I might be listening to my own music, watching TV, or just having a quiet night when jpop suddenly screeches through my speakers, and I scramble to find the pause button on the website. Even worse is when it’s tucked away. If you MUST have music on your site, include it in a prominent spot where the reader can turn it off, or have it on ‘pause’ until the reader wants to hear it, not on autoplay.

7. Flesh out your topics. Part One of writing a blog post is research (finding a good topic to jump off of) or simple inspiration (thinking up a good topic to jump off of). The second part is about taking that idea and drawing your own conclusions and opinions about it, or teaching something about it based on your conclusions. The problem is that lots of great blogging ideas stop at part one – being great ideas – and never get any further. Posting a link, photo or video is a great start, but ending there won’t cut it. Even offering your own views or interpretations can beef up a thin post. If you’re of two minds or can’t pick a side, say so – and then invite your readers to express their opinions after you’ve weighed pros and cons.

8. Set quantitative goals. Setting quantitative goals just means goals you can count, measure, and tick off when completed. They could be anything from commenting on a number of blogs, reading a number of blogs, or how many posts you want to finish for that month. My new monthly blog posting goal is 15 articles, or roughly an ‘every other day’ schedule. This month I am also aiming to post 5 outfit shots! Having a goal to meet makes it more likely that you’ll expand in the areas you want, instead of having the vague goal to ‘post more’.

9. Play ‘dress up’. This is specifically a fashion blogger’s tip! Fashion blogs thrive off of the daily outfit shot. The only problem with this kind of content is that it requires a lot of time – not to get dressed up, but to shoot the right photos and lighting. I often get dressed and run out the door, instead of fiddling with my self-timer and tripod. Solution: when you have a lazy day, re-create some of your favorite outfits you’ve worn and wished you had photographed. Then you can spend as much time as you need posing, getting the right lighting, or fixing your botched eyeliner job. This way you can share your fashion examples without being late to class or work.

10. Learn at least a little about typography. Whether you design your own blog images and graphics or just want to make sure your site is legible, it doesn’t hurt to do a little study of typography. Typography is essentially the study of fonts – originally letter faces for the printing press, now the fonts we use on our computers and websites. This can be good to know if you want your site to be as easy-on-the-eyes as possible, or best viewed on the screen rather than on a printed sheet. You can also use fonts creatively (such as part of the image I composed above, by adding my own text, font choice, and layer styles) to create interesting styles and motifs for your site. Many people get really into it and even consider it to be an art form.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading 10 MORE Tips to a Better Blog! Naturally as I rounded off number 10 I found myself thinking of number 11… so don’t be surprised if you end up seeing 10 (Even) More Tips To Better Blogging in the future! If you haven’t, you can read the first article (tips 1 – 10) here.

Style Inspiration: Deka Wanko

So it seems like with the appearance of Deka Wanko online, the lolitas are all huddled around their laptops with popcorn as they watch and brand-spot, like playing eye-spy. Deka Wanko, for those unaware, is a Japanese drama (live-action serial) based on a manga of the same name. The basic plot is a cute female detective just transferred to the homocide investigations sector, and she has the unique ability to sniff out clues just like a police dog. The catch that’s got everyone so enthralled? She wears lolita clothing 24/7, even on the job. If you haven’t seen it, you’re probably wondering, ‘How do you wear lolita as a police officer?!’ Good question – not acceptable in the real, non-fantasy world I’m sure, but she does wear lolita daily, for work and other occasions. Her style is Angelic Pretty punk, also a rather rare creature of its own. Love her or hate her, I’m impressed at her simple yet wearable sweet-punk style!

Tip #1: Angelic Pretty is not just for sweet lolita. Wanko wears primarily Angelic Pretty, but also Putumayo and Metamorphose. Angelic Pretty does make their usually pastel items in black, red, and navy blue – and these are usually the ones Wanko chooses. Above: her ‘I-smell-crime’ face paired with the black colorway of Angelic Pretty’s French Cafe and what I think is a Chantilly bonnet; below, in Angelic Pretty’s Fantastic Dolly cardigan.

Tip #2: Go offbeat. Instead of multitudes of head-eating bows, Wanko usually opts for a small bow (possibly worn to the side) or, her favorite, the mini-hat. The mini-hat has a very dorky-cute impression to me, but it is refreshing to see something offbeat and out of the ordinary. Like in Tip #1, just because you’re shopping at a major brand doesn’t mean you have to pick their most popular items. She also enjoys her leather Metamorphose jacket with leopard trim and half-capes or almost poncho-like sweaters.

Tip #3: Don’t stress about your hair. Instead of mountains of curls or wigs, Wanko usually has work-friendly soft curls in low pigtails or ponytails. If your hair is naturally wavy or curly, you can just pep it up with a few heated curls from a curling or straightening iron – my usual method of choice for ‘relaxed’ curls. If you want those softer curls, spritz your hair with water and then sleep in a few damp buns, rag curls, or braids for morning ‘natural’ curls.

Tip #4: Black and white is not just for itas and maids. Wanko frequently wears black with white lace! Previously a big no-no in the lolita world, it seems like black and white is making a comeback – not just with Deka Wanko but also among the western community, who seems nostalgic lately for the original black and white coordinate. Make sure you have high quality materials – buying a black-and-white from BABY should keep you covered – and pair it with something elegant, like a simple hairbow, beret, or bonnet. Using all white accessories has a lighter feel – all black accessories looks smooth and uniform.

Tip #4: Tartan is still cute. It seems like tartan has fallen off a lot lately in the lolita world, but seeing Wanko in a bunch of cute punky red tartans makes me remember just how adorable they can be! Pairing them with a neutral cardigan and accessories would be perfect for work or other more ‘respectable’ functions. I am falling in love with soft pink tartan all over again lately, it seems to be everywhere!

Tip #5: Go for the cutsew. One of my favorite comfortable outfits of hers is a jumperskirt with a soft turtleneck underneath instead of a starched blouse. It looks very practical for office work or more casual days. Collared cutsews can also give the look of a blouse while being more relaxed for longer days.

Tip #6: Cellphone charms really can go on anything. The infamous first scene shows Wanko putting a glittery cake Angelic Pretty charm on the end of her tiny gun. You can use this same idea to dress up purse handles, brooches, wallets, zipper pulls… anything really! Especially good for people who love to collect them and then don’t know what do with them (like me, cough!)

And now… some of my favorite Wanko outfits! Clockwise:

1. A cute cardigan plays down this print skirt to wear at the police office. The bow carries on the polka dots with the large pearls. Outfit: Angelic Pretty.

2. Polka-dotted dress combined with a soft turtleneck;

3. The same outfit with the added leather jacket and teal opaque tights, which match the hairbow she’s wearing. A really unique addition of color to a monotome oufit!

4. In Angelic Pretty’s Marionette Girl version 2, with a bordeaux red turtleneck. I was a never a fan of this dress, but now I think it’s so cute and wearable! No extra fiddly bits or details to get in the way – just velvet and appliques.

5. In an Angelic Pretty badge beret and wide-collared fluffy white parka; a white and black-spotted turtleneck peeking out. Her short curls are just right with the beret! And she’s wearing this outfit with a frills-only, navy blue skirt. I love the monotone meets jewel color theme!

6. In roomwear with usamimi headband! I know these have fallen out of the limelight in the gyaru world, but I still think they are so cute and casual, and perfect for roomwear.

By the way… keep in mind that Deka Wanko is a comedy and therefore you shouldn’t try to copy all of her moves! I am totally absolved of any crimes if any of my reader start sporting lolita dog collars! (Hint: don’t do it!)

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