Category Archives: meetup

5 Lessons I Learned at Rufflecon

ruffleconheaderThis was my second year attending the American alternative fashion conference Rufflecon in Stamford, Connecticut! (The second year since the convention’s conception, as well, so consider me officially OG as an attendee now.) Every year is different than the last, and I can’t wait for next year to do things a little different. Class is in session – the five lessons I learned in a hectic ruffle-filled weekend.

LESSON 1: YOU DID NOT BRING ENOUGH BOWS

I was so focused on not forgetting something serious, like my wig, that I really only packed a few bows and rings for accessories. I came down for breakfast in only one hair bow and a single ring, saw everyone and turned right around, went back upstairs and pinned on a few more bows. Then I hit the Marketplace, which is stuffed with accessories and dress dealers, to flesh out my outfit a little more. By the time I left, I had even gotten a pair of cat ears that looked and smelled like vanilla sponge cake from Triple Fortune. But hey, they matched! If you still want your brand fix, the consignment room is also full of things to blow your wallet on. I barely trusted myself to look through the racks, there was so much to see. Consider it a pop-up Closet Child. On the other hand, if you’re not sure what to bring, just bring a variety of your favorites. Sometimes inspiration strikes at the last minute, and anything you didn’t bring you can probably purchase. 

LESSON 2: LEAVE TIME TO EAT

And pee. And drink water. And other things you need to do to survive. You will get too busy and excited and want to schedule yourself for the bonnet workshop and the Victorian cocktails panel and the fashion show all at once. You will suddenly realize it is six hours later and you’ve been subsisting on a soy latte. Do not do this. If you’re hungry or running on caffeine, two things will happen: you will be cranky irl and not cute in pictures if you’d rather cannibalize the photographer. (Ohhhhh sounds like experience talking, hmmmm…)

LESSON 3: THE HANDMADE CONTEST IS A BEAUTIFUL BLOODBATH

The handmade contest is a beautiful bloodbath. We have some amazing talent in the Lolita world. The concepts alone were crazy beautiful and execution was spot on. For everyone who says brand is the only way – so not true. Even within brand, there is a huge upswing of DIY super powers lately for accessories, customization and creativity. I saw one girl in misty sky carrying a HANDMADE CLOUD that rained CRYSTAL CHANDELIER drops; I saw another with a light up rose scepter and so many others in intricately made handmade coordinates that could stand up to any brand look. Let it be known that the days of disparaged handmade are OVER, people.

LESSON 4: GO TO BED EARLY AT LEAST ONCE; YOU NEED SLEEP MORE THAN FOMO

I know it is only 11pm and everyone is in full-on party mode. I know that #rufflerekt become a very real thing for guests and staffers alike as alternative fashion rolled Fashion Week, every crazy karaoke meetup and sorority rush into only three days. But the best decision I made sometimes was to back away slowly from the partying and go to bed, dang it. I know that it seems like a great idea at late night, but come Sunday morning all but the superhuman (…and, there were a lot of you… HOW) can get up hung over at seven AM, pile on another four petticoats and manage to still look killer for the high tea. Wicked respect to those who did this; sanity check for the rest of us.

LESSON 5: YOUR FACE WILL HURT FROM SMILING

Your face will hurt from smiling at how cute everyone is. This convention felt more like a huge family reunion to me than any old typical media con. Everywhere I turned was someone I knew or wanted to get to know, and the hardest part was not being able to really invest my time into everything and everyone. Everyone was friendly and complimenting the amazing coordinates of all styles – the passion and effort for the fashion radiated from every attendee. It’s just a great feeling of camaraderie – when you put on your ruffles, the immediate world smiles rather than frowns. Even the hotel staff at brunch one day said to me, “We love having your event here. Everyone looks really beautiful and creative, and it’s incredible to see.” It was essentially the largest meetup I had ever attended.

After I left the convention, I grabbed dinner with my boyfriend in a simple KoKoKim dress – feeling under dressed for me, after a long weekend of princess clothes. Something felt different. Suddenly I turned to him and said, “We’re not at the convention anymore. Everyone is dressed normal and they’re back to staring at me.” The world Rufflecon created had dissolved back into dream. Welcome back from wonderland, Alice.

I can’t wait to fall back through the rabbit hole again next year.

PS: AFTER SCHOOL BONUS LESSON

You will not take enough pictures. Always take more pictures than you think you can possibly need; it will not be enough.

The Drawing Room

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After the late-night high glamor of New York Fashion Week and a very lazy day in my slippers, I rallied to attend a low-key Connecticut lolita meetup the following weekend. One of our local lolitas had made reservations at the cute art gallery/teahouse The Drawing Room in Greenwich – a sweet shabby chic sanctuary on an otherwise rainy afternoon.

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The Drawing Room seated us at a long table to ourselves among the artwork, with mismatched armchairs and ottomans that felt like a chintzy Alice in Wonderland set. Specials included grilled cheese paninis with truffle sauce, coconut milk Mulligatawny soup and full-size cucumber sandwiches. I also enjoyed a very good hot chocolate with bitter shavings, though their tea menu is comfortably large.

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Though it was just us five, it was nice to have a quiet meetup after the onslaught of lolitas earlier in the week. Allison and I both chose a sweet chocolate theme for our coordinates – I’m in Sweet Cream House by Angelic Pretty, and she’s in Melty Chocolate. Mori girl, sweet gingham, and embroidered aprons added a country vibe.

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drawingroom3We tried some group shots using my swag-gifted smartphone camera remote from New York Fashion Week ! I propped up my Iphone on the table and used the button in my hand to get us all in the shot. Not a bad first try! The remote is definitely in my go-to mobile blogging arsenal for outfit shots and bigger group shots. You can buy a similar one here!

 

New York Fashion Week

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“Why are there, like, people in costumes here?” asks the blogger/yuppie/hipster in front of me, in her ironic black fedora and gauchos. Her spirit animal is probably a pumpkin spice latte. Dwarfing her and her two lookalike companions are a slew of ladies in layers and layers of chiffon, drooping princess sleeves and towering Victorian-era bonnets stuffed with pastel roses. “It’s fashion,” I reply. “Isn’t that the point of New York Fashion Week?”

This year, Gothic Lolita Wigs generously gifted thirty New York Fashion Week Art Hearts Fashion Show tickets to the New York City lolita community. On a sweltering day outside Lincoln Center lolitas came en mass along with the rest of the fashionable world.

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Classical over-the-top style seemed to be most popular, in tones of cream and ballet pink. Bonnets continued to be a staple of 2014, whether small and soft or large and structured with buckram. With the arrival of Tokyo Rebel back in the city, Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Innocent World are experiencing a burst in popularity as well, though Angelic Pretty’s less sugary designs are still common.

collage2Inside the Mercedes-Benz fashion show lobby, the guests could enjoy complimentary pear and strawberry cordials. At the TREsemme exhibit there was a booth for taking your own .gifs, and free selfie remotes for snagging perfect portraits without wonky selfie-arms. The show was a smash hit – you can check out the amazing footage from designers Mister Triple X, Control Sector, Gregorio Sanchez, Altaf Maaneshia, Hallie Sara, Shrekahnth, MTCostello, and Furne Amato.

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My outfit for the fashion show – Crystal Dream Carnival, a heart bag, and my Alice and the Pirates bonnet with a Moss Marchen silk roses bow. I revived this older cinnamon Gothic Lolita Wigs hairpiece for the occasion – I wanted a richer color than my usual blonde.

After the show, a few of my friends and I hailed a cab to Soho to hit up the Anna Sui afterparty. Besides a 70% off sale on her gorgeous designer clothing, there was also champagne with rose petals for guests and makeup demonstrations with their setting powders, blushes and lipsticks. It was a great way to wind down the day – followed by Japanese comfort food at Hiroko’s and tall Japanese style parfaits!

Everyone looked beautiful, and I met so many new people. I had a lot of fun attending New York Fashion Week – hopefully I can attend next year’s, too!

Labor Day Tea

A few friends and I had an informal teatime meetup to celebrate Labor Day! The city experienced an upswing in weather and after a chill August burst out a steamy September day. The subway that day may honestly have been a direct route to purgatory.

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Tess and Angela are twins here in matching Innocent World dresses and short bobs. Petrina kept the heat off with a summery boater hat and pixie cut, while I went the hardcore route with a fluffy pink wig. A stack of jasmine and rose petal macarons were last on the plate.

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Stephanie’s antique floral print was beautifully  lush in shades of rose and heavy cluny lace, a throwback to Angelic Pretty’s designs circa 2006. Xiaoyu looked sweet and cool with her sideswept braid and layers of creamy chiffon from Surface Spell.

tripleoutfitMy friend Dalin themed her Angelic Pretty dress with a smooth milk chocolate color palette, while I chose a glittery periwinkle for my Fancy Paper Dolls jumperskirt. The glitter jelly sandales I got on my birthday at Aldo’s have been super comfortable for lolita coordinates this year! (Shameless as ever, I’ll probably choose comfort over extravagance and wear them to New York Fashion Week too.) The Innocent World anklet socks I got at Tokyo Rebel add some much-needed frill and color.

Bosie, one of our many tried-and-true tea salon haunts in the West Village, did not disappoint, and the food was excellent. For a reasonable prix-fixe at Bosie, they will bring out a tower of tea sandwiches – I’m very partial to cucumber and smoked salmon, but they also offer crab, cheese, and pickles – tea cakes, scones with clotted cream and jam, and macarons. Teas could be ordered hot or iced.

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After shopping at Baby the Stars Shine Bright New York/Tokyo Rebel, we hustled out of the sudden storm for dessert. (Hey, at least we walked quite a few blocks between foodie excursions, right?) At Caffe Benne we hid in their upstairs lounge, which has great atmosphere. It looks exactly like a swanky college library, right down to the studying students. This cafe specializes in Korean desserts, most notably patbingsu! We split a giant bowl of shaved ice topped with green tea milk, gelato, slivered almonds, honey, and whipped cream. It was huge – even with six girls, we didn’t find the bottom of the bowl.

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Everyone who came to tea that afternoon, looking adorable! Classics, gothics and sweets all well-presented here! We even had two sets of twins in the back. Thanks goes to Yanise for organizing such a lovely teatime out!

 

International Lolita Day: Winter 2012

On December 1st, the New York City lolitas celebrated International Lolita Day by enjoying a Christmas-themed tea at a upscale Victorian teahouse in Manhattan, Lady Mendl’s. It was a gorgeous turn of the century townhouse, probably not unlike the one my grandmother grew up in during Victorian-era Brooklyn. It was decorated with glittering Christmas trees, cozy fires in every grate, and some very cute butler-style staff who poured tea and made mimosas. It was really a lolita’s perfect idea of a winter holiday party.

Pictured above are my two lovely friends, Crystal and Rune, as well as a candid shot Caitlin took of me at the tea table!

Dinner was in courses, featuring first an amuse-bouche of butternut squash mini quiche topped with baked Parmasean, followed by an array of tea sandwiches and then scones with clotted cream or jam. The dessert was a cream-soaked cake of mille feuille layers.

This is what I wore for International Lolita Day! Normally I would have worn my Liz Lisa heels, but the forecast was for snow, and New York City sidewalks in slush with four inch heels seemed impractical, to put it lightly. I’m wearing:

Blouse, hairbow, pearl necklace: Baby the Stars Shine Bright; Salopette, ring: Angelic Pretty; boots: Yesstyle.com; everything else, offbrand

These boots are so comfortable. I wanted a simple boot that would go with both my lolita and daily wear wardrobe, so I chose these soft grey low-heeled boots adorned with ribbons on the side. I can wear them with just about anything, and I do. Soft grey, I’ve decided, is my chosen neutral over black, brown or beige. It usually matches any pastel without being as sharp as black, and it goes with any hair color I end up with.

Unfortunately, not many of my photos came out in the dim cozy lighting of either Lady Mendl’s or the Aspen Social Club, a midtown bar and restaurant we hit up afterwards. Here’s one of my few favorites – Crystal and I posing with a game of chess.

 This International Lolita Day I’m so thankful for my friends. My girls in the city are really more like my family than any other friends I’ve had before. I know they’ve got my back, and they’re the only girls who like both my sass and my adorkable. So thanks to them all, especially Crystal and Dalin for running the tea party meetup, and wicked props to Amber for running such a huge event the same day! You girls are the best.

What did you all do for International Lolita Day? Did you meet up with friends, or enjoy Lolita Day quietly at home?

Stephanie Visits New York City!

This Saturday, Stephanie was visiting from Canada, so I arranged a meetup so she could hang out with all (and it seems like I really mean all, it was definitely the ‘lolita army’ on the move!) the New York City lolitas. We were threatened with rain, but the showers held off and the lighting was beautifully overcast. I also got to spend time with two other friends, Joanna and Nina, for the first time, plus all my favorites, so it was really a lovely day!

After we nabbed some quick lunch at a French cafe (the croque monsieur, my dream boyfriend, goodness was that good!) we stopped off for milkshakes at LT Burger on the way to the meetup. I had been dying to try their macaron milkshake! It’s made with almond gelato and chunks of marzipan, and it’s topped with a macaron. (Which I didn’t get to eat, since it was under the dome lid…)

We met everyone at the mall in fear of rain, but the rain seemed to hold off, so we headed to Central Park, where Stephanie took photos of everyone! Waiting in front of the mall, I also got an impromptu interview for some kind of television project… all in the life of a New York City girl ;)

All the girls in Angelic Pretty at the meet! Tia in Lyrical Bunny, Lexie in Sugary Carnival, myself in Sweet Cream House, Nina in Ribbon Marchen, and Joanna and Stephanie twinning in Decoration Dream! Decoration Dream is the most adorable buttercream shade of yellow in person, so much different than the stock photos online… Officially added to my dream dress list!

Double outfit shot! Here’s Stephanie and I posed together. I’m wearing:

Sweet Cream Salopette, pink cutsew, bracelets, rings, hair ribbon, parka (not shown) by Angelic Pretty

Sheer ribbon socks, teddy bear clip by Baby the Stars Shine Bright | Pink wedges by Bodyline | Pink bag by unknown brand

Resting my feet in Central Park, this adorable couple wanted a picture with us and their tiny French bulldog puppy, a little sack of warm black velvet named Morticia. How perfect is that? She needs a Gomez! Honestly, having a stranger walk up to me and put a puppy in my lap was the highlight of the day.

photos courtesy of Lolita And the City

 I’m so glad we all got to spend time together on Saturday! There were so many people I couldn’t get photos of everyone, I’m sorry! Hope to see you all again soon – and hope that Stephanie can come back to visit soon… or maybe I’ll head up to Toronto some day for a visit!

Marie Outfit Post!

I went to the NYC Disney Tangled meetup this Saturday! The theme was to come in a Disney-inspired lolita coordinate, so I decided to go as Marie, the white kitten from the Aristocats :)  Mostly because I had the pochette and some cute white ears from Halloween…

Marie time!

I snagged a mirror shot at the new Times Square Disney store! This is in their Disney Princess section, which looks like Cinderella’s Castle. I’m so pleased this picture came out, I was sure it wouldn’t! I’m never good with mirror shots -_-;;
What I wore…
  • Jumperskirt: Angelic Pretty’s blue Princess in Love JSK – I couldn’t wait to wear my new dress! I had to have the zipper replaced. I am so tired of brands using invisible zippers that get stuck between the skirt and bodice, where there’s a lot of fullness. 
  • Strawberry Milk Doc Martens – sooo comfortable! I knew we’d be doing a lot of walking, and I think they add a unique pop to this otherwise princess-y outfit.
  • Marie Disney Pochette: Chinatown
  • Split Pink and Blonde Wig: MintyMix! See the review here.
  • Blouse: Angelic Pretty
  • Capelet: Innocent World
  • Bow: Angelic Pretty
  • Pink balloon purse: Fireworks 
  • Fluffy heart clip: Chocomint
A few people asked about the Innocent World cape & coat set I purchased! They are lovely warm and soft. I saw that a few coats had cashmere this winter and I chose the Innocent World set purposely for its 40% cashmere. The cape I especially love, but the coat is a little classic for my wardrobe… I might end up selling it, though I don’t think I’d be able to get a different one in time. If you have a very otome, classic, or Milk-type wardrobe, this would be a great coat for you. It’s beautifully elegant with cute heart buttons, but still suitable if you want something to wear over your work clothes or daily clothing. 

I hope all of you in America had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I had the drama of rescuing my pink glittery tweed Baby skirt (and blouse, and petticoat…) from an attack of a completely full glass of red wine! BUT I’m actually salvaging the skirt as we speak (the blouse, thankfully, is ok now)! More as this develops!

Lolita Meetup Debriefing: For Your +1

So you’ve decided to attend a lolita meetup. Doesn’t seem unusual, does it? You may have been to plenty and even hosted a few. But you’ve decided to throw in a monkey-wrench – bringing your boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, or newly interested pal. How do you prep them for meeting a big gang of lolitas for the first time? Just make sure to cover these topics:

+1, Please. Make sure to talk to your meetup coordinator/host before you bring your +1. Showing up with an unmentioned extra is rude, especially if there are reservations involved. And for the love of God, don’t bring a crowd – especially an unannounced crowd. The meetup coordinator needs to know the final head count for things like reservations, group prices, pre-bought tickets, and just to make sure how many people are there. Usually one friend is enough to accompany you. If you really must, I would say two is the maximum – and again, be clear on that to the hostess.

What to wear? Is your friend going to need to be dressed up, down, or just smart casual? If you’re introducing a new friend to the lolita scene, you might want to provide her with something to wear while she gets a feel for the fashion and as of yet has no wardrobe. If you’re bringing your boyfriend/girlfriend and they’re not looking to dress up, make sure they are smartly turned out – button-down shirts, slacks, and nice shoes for men; baby-shower worthy attire for females (simple dresses and skirts, nice slacks, etc). If you think you’ll be dressing your signifigant other in future, ask other guests where they got their things or what they’d recommend. That way, you have a jumping off point for next time.

Hopefully I don’t have to mention this but: hygiene. This is a nice event and many of these little ladies spent several hours getting ready. For guys, this means washed hair and shaved neckbeard. For girls, this means something more than an unstyled ponytail. And of course both genders should be using deodorant, etc.

What to say? Give your signifigant other a basic rundown of things that should/shouldn’t be said to the other lolitas. Nice costume, however well-meant by your friend, won’t go over well. If you haven’t talked about lolita culture and etiquette with your friend, do it before you go! Don’t find out the hard way that your boyfriend thinks Chii is a great example of a lolita. If you don’t have a gang of local lolitas that your friend is already used to, try a smaller meetup or just having a lolita friend or two round to ‘socialize’ your friend with. They’ll be quick to correct him on the typical mistakes of interacting with lolitas, like the costume comment, and he can ask questions and learn in a low-pressure environment. If your friend is already comfortable around other lolitas, just make sure to give him the rundown of people you know and what to expect.

Two is company… It’s easy to pair off with your friend and go into your own relationship. Remember that you are at the meet to socialize, mingle, and meet other people – so don’t limit yourself to each other. But also make sure not to drop your friend like a hot potato as soon as some frills prance into sight. It has to be an equal partnership between the two of you. Encourage your friend to stay close, but also mingle and chat with the other lolitas. If your +1 is polite, social, and interested, they will be happily invited back.

For the Lovebirds: If you’re bringing your boyfriend/girlfriend with whom you are romantically involved, limit PDA to anything you wouldn’t do in front of your grandma. Nobody wants to see you sloppily make out while everyone else is having tea. Acceptable are: kisses on the cheek, holding hands, hugs. Anything past that shouldn’t be done at a public event, especially one where you may not know many or any people, and some may be signifigantly younger. Keep it PG please – if it wouldn’t be suitable in a Disney movie, it’s not suitable for a meetup.

Don’t forget other meetup etiquette. Make sure to be on time as possible (I say as possible because time is a funny thing and I myself tend to be perpetually 10 minutes late;), and call your meetup host if you’re going to be much later or are not showing all together. Don’t skip out on the bill, behave well, and mingle – etc.
If you follow this checklist, you’re sure to have another great meetup – this time, with your signifigant other by your side. Who knows? You may have even made a new initiate!

Ballet Fairytales in Central Park!

Last Sunday, the lovely lavender Crystal of Pretty Wonderland hosted the fourth annual storybook photoshoot meetup in New York City’s own Central Park. This year’s theme was ballet stories like Sleeping Beauty, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Nutcracker, and my favorite – Coppelia.

I read Coppelia growing up – it’s one of my favorite Russian fairytales, even if it’s a little bittersweet. So that’s the character I chose to portray at the shoot. To sum, Coppelia is a lifelike doll who comes to life and dances – or so it seems! (Read the full story of Coppelia here!) Because of her marionette flavor, I chose to wear my Starry Night Theatre.

Skirt: Angelic Pretty
Blouse: Angelic Pretty
Bodice: Baby the Stars Shine Bright
Socks: Angelic Pretty
Bonnet: Alice & The Pirates
Shoes: Montreal
This photo also shows my hair after having pincurled it! I’ll be doing a tutorial soon on how to wake up with no-heat curls every morning – a real life-saver for time crunches or daily-curled hair.


For fun I made a ‘music box’ themed photomanipulation ♥ The background is an older creation by Angelic Pretty (I think?) that I had floating around on my hard drive, so it seemd to be just the right thing to use. My favorite part is the music notes in their signature style :)

It was so great meeting everyone who came and dressing all up to theme! I can’t wait to meet up with the great lolitas of New York City again! And of course, thank you Crystal for organizing a beautiful lolita meetup :)

photography credits to Bob Nittoli Photography

Fuji TV Meets NYC


Today was a big day for me – meeting some of the wonderful New York City lolitas, some for the first time! The nature of our meet? Fuji TV, a Japanese television network, had discovered our presence and wanted to see some American frill in action! We spent a lovely day at Bryant Park, eating crepes and (in my case) attempting to ice skate.

If you’re looking for something to do in the city, that is the place to go. Now that Christmas season has started, they’ve erected a miniature town of greenhouses full of cute things. My favorite shops are Stone Flower, very sweet and bordering on himegyaru; and Miss Hoe’s, which has more classic and punky items like unicorn rocking horse necklaces and lacy mori-girl dresses. You can also ice-skate at the Pond. Bring your own skates and a combination lock (to use a locker) and your visit can be free! You can also rent skates and duffel bags for keeping your things, if you like.

It was amazing for me, being from Small-Town, CT, to see so many people interested in the fashion – my favorite being flamboyant older ladies and adorable little girls who say they want to play dress-up too :) We were also attacked by a gang of photography students from FIT – the professor’s running commentary was hilarious: ‘See, see, this like Bambi outfit, very 1990s, Hello Kitty, pink hair, note the feet, very important part of her character, accessories, look at the bow in her hair!’ Plus a plethora of small dogs, typically in jackets! And I got to meet all of these lovely ladies, who were some of the sweetest girls I have had the pleasure of poofin’ out with.

My outfit theme ended up being bunnies to match the Cherry Berry bunnies in the dress – with my SWIMMER bunny scarf, BABY bunny hoodie, My Melody Pochette, and giant bunny-ear buns. Here’s a shot of my hair & makeup:

Here’s the full outfit, taken inside Miss Hoe’s shop :)

When the television segment airs, I’ll make sure it gets it own spotlight on Lolita Charm!

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