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Can I Wear Lolita Fashion on Halloween? A Redux

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Since Halloween is very fast upon us, my article ‘Can I Wear Lolita on Halloween?’ is getting plenty of hits and comments. Upon re-reading it, I realized there was more to the lolita-costume debate than there was a few years ago. In the past, I said that one cannot dress ‘as a lolita’ for Halloween, anymore than one can dress ‘as a schoolgirl’, for example, because it is a fashion, not a costume. But things have changed since 2012 (when I wrote on this topic last!) and this Halloween, in 2016, I have a new edict for you.

Wear whatever you like this Halloween.

Why the change of heart? Well, in a microculture like ours, a lot can change in four or five years. The world of lolita culture and fashion, our state-of-the-frilly-union, so to speak, is no longer what it was. We used to want mainstream acceptance in the way American goth has had acceptance – some eye-rolling, a little weirdness, but accepted like a quirky second cousin you really can’t do anything about. I’m sure the classic American goths raised on Trash and Vaudeville will have their own input, but in general, no one is confused by goth anymore. There’s Abby on NCIS, everyone has tried out black lipstick, and Doc Martens are made in kiddie sizes. As the goth generation grew up, it settled in.

This was what, I think, we wanted as a community for lolita fashion. No more weird cat calls on the train, no more strangers saying they ‘just HAVE to ask’, or if there was a play or circus in town. Lolita fashion could not be diluted! We would cry out. The public cannot get the wrong idea if we are to finally show our culture to the mainstream. There could be no weird costume portrayals at Halloween, labeled ‘Harajookoo girl’ or ‘Living Dead Dolly’. Some even latched onto the ‘culture, not costume’ message, which is beyond the pale – the fashion is not at all oppressed in the same way as racial stereotyping, as I stated in the original article.

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Something happened since then for lolita fashion that we did not expect, exactly, but now in hindsight seems inevitable. Lolita fashion did not mainstream as we all sometimes would dread back on the old EGL Livejournal days – could you imagine, we would lament, seeing every teenybopper wearing cheap, Hot Topic styled lolita dresses? But that’s not what happened. Lolita fashion did not mainstream. But what did mainstream was kawaii culture. Lolita fashion, with its attention to detail, deeply layered culture and guidelines, did not dabble easily. But the general aesthetic of kawaii, brought on the wings of all the subgenres we had never imagined – pastel grunge, vaporwave, living doll style (Is that a thing? How do you do, fellow kids?), and the endless, endless flower crowns for basically everyone. I went into my local Claire’s yesterday, and it looked like Tumblr had regurgitated a tween paradise of cute trends, everything from Pusheen iPhone cases to pastel-and-pentacle chokers for any budding pastel goth. At Hot Topic, gone were the scenester clothes of my day, replaced with punk-ish Disney and Totoro t-shirts. What we had pioneered and considered fringe, when Anime Club showed Miyazaki films, it was all finally a household name. Much like geeks, who consider themselves outside pop culture, but are actually at the heart of it – who hasn’t seen Suicide Squad or Star Wars or Star Trek now? – kawaii has become digestible.

 

Besides the normalization of kawaii culture, another trend once considered weird has become mainstream – cosplay. When I was a teenager, cosplay was still barely a thing. I remember having delusions of making a Yu-Gi-Oh cosplay for the movie premier at twelve year old out of white duct-tape (don’t judge, we’re all young once). Now there’s Heroes of Cosplay. Now you can buy quality cosplays on the Internet, and read dozens of tutorials. Costumes are no longer just for Halloween. Costumes are not necessarily the over-priced, scratchy, flammable things they used to be when your only choice was going in your dad’s old clothes or shopping at your big box pop-up Halloween store. Costume once meant cheap, poorly constructed plaything, a connotation we wanted to stay far away from. Today, the line between costume and fashion had blurred. And isn’t that a good thing? The world of fashion is expanding to ever more fantastical heights without the trappings of the word ‘costumey’, looking down its nose on the unusual.

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So what does this mean for lolita fashion on Halloween? It means the pond is too big to worry anymore. There is no lolita fashion homeland to protect. The styles of Japan, once so rigid, have burst into a myriad rainbow of colors and styles in the East and West both. It has blossomed here overseas in ways we would never have dreamed of when all we had were Gothic & Lolita street snaps. Lolita fashion is not dead. But lolita fashion has reincarnated to the world at large.

In short – dress up on Halloween. Wear pastels, or darks, or jewel tones, with your Baby the Stars Shine Bright bunny ears if you like, (like Kate Beckinsale, who sources tell me hit up BABY NYC a few weeks ago!), or with your handmade unicorn horn, or with the mermaid scale tights you got from Hot Topic. Wear your best lolita dress, maybe with a horror mask, or fake blood dripping from your chin, or a galaxy freckling your face. It’s a night for magic, and mischief, and being whoever you want to be. Save the serious and sacred for November 1st.

Celebrate Halloween by wearing… Anything. You. Like.

Oh, and PS – Halloween themed lolita and kawaii fashion? Not only perfectly acceptable, hello, it is CUTER THAN EVER. Long live witch lolita! I mean, check out the cuties above. Slay, ladies – on the runway, and an errant vampires you might run into!

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Mokbang Diaries: Vol. 1 – Goldfish Ice Cream & Cotton Candy Milkshakes!

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With my new bent on food-loving lately (remember my intro post about one of my favorite homemade recipes for Korean root beer chili?) I thought I would start chronicling my favorite cute and delicious eats! I’m lucky enough to have plenty to choose from on the streets of New York City, home of the rainbow bagel and alligator pizza – and I love hunting down unique foods from every borough. ‘Mokbang’ is the Korean buzzword that means ‘eating broadcast’ – a very popular trend right now in Korea! Whether you like hearing about foods to try them yourself, or just like seeing a good snack in progress – I hope you enjoy my future cute mokbang adventures! Here’s some of the cute things I loved in the city lately.

Cotton Candy Bubble Tea Milkshakes

Petrina of famed Lolita and the City and I had a few hours to kill before my most recent fashion show, so we stopped at Vivi Bubble Tea in the Lower East Side. You may have seen their signature bubble teas on Insider Food – a very sweet, pastel drink topped with cookies & cream ice cream and a huge swirl of cotton candy, complete with the chewy pearls of tapioca we love. The waitress thought it was such a hot day, she added a little ice cold nitrogen to our drinks, creating this cool ethereal fog effect!

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(Psst: if you hashtag them on social media, the next time you come in for your second cotton candy boba, it’s 50% off. Winner.)

Goldfish Ice Cream – Korean Taiyaki

While this is more a convenience snack than an all-out gourmand creation, it’s sometimes the simplest convenience foods we love most. Taiyaki – a classic Asian treat based on a fish-shaped waffle mold filled with red bean – is enjoying its moment in the foodie limelight with the opening of Taiyaki NYC, who brought the fish shaped ice cream cone to life for New Yorkers. In Korean, we call this beungeubbang (a tongue-twister, I know), which translates to ‘goldfish bread’. I picked up this on-the-go version at my favorite Korean grocery, Hmart.

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Instead of red bean, this version has a strawberry jam filling paired with silky vanilla ice cream, a lot like an ice cream sandwich. The fish itself tastes just like a chewy ice cream cone.

I even did a mini-reaction video of trying it for the first time – check it out on my Instagram!

What other cute foods do you want to see, maybe more snacks from Japan and Korea? I really want to try a lot of tasty Korean sweets soon!

The Self-Care Guide for Kawaii Style Cuties

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Do you know what to do when you are having the worst day (week, month, year) ever? Do you swear by a morning routine, like coffee + Instagram + personal playlist? How do you psyche up, wind down or chill out? Do you ever wish there was, miraculously, a manual under your pillow with instructions on how to turn the machine that is your brain, body, and heart, on-again off-again? If so, you need to get on board with the latest in DIY mental health: self-care.

What Is Self-Care And Why Should I Do It?

Self-care means taking a mental or physical time out to collect and re-center yourself. When you’re having a stressful day at work and feel yourself spinning out, do you push yourself harder or wall off? If you were watching your friend have the same meltdown, wouldn’t your initial reaction be to wrap them in a blanket, get their favorite snacks and general soothing? The idea behind self-care is that you should do all these things for yourself, and that self-care is an important part of functioning. Putting yourself first once in a while, especially when life feels hard or stressful, will optimize your ability to function, make you healthier, and just dang feels good. Essentially, consider this your tool kit or instant-care goodie box to bandage yourself back up in case of trouble.

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How To Use Self-Care Techniques

How do you know when you need self-care? Listening to your feelings and pinpointing them is important, but we’re not all good at knowing what we’re feeling all the time. The average person can tell when they feel “off”, but what do you need to pick yourself up?

Ask yourself these questions:

Am I feeling drained, fed up, anxious, burnt out, or unmotivated?

Am I having trouble concentrating or getting things done?

Did I just accomplish a big task?

Did I just experience a big change, either positive or negative?

Taking care of yourself is a necessary life skill. As an adult, there’s no parent to talk you out of tantrums or to soothe away hurt feelings and no-good, very bad days. Any kind of change, positive or negative, can require some self-care; and finishing a big project requires you to refill your “empty cup” so to speak. You might be able to rely on a partner or a friend to help out if you’re feeling stuck, but at the end of the day, it’s emotionally responsible to be able to care for yourself.

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Self-Care for Sweet Lolitas and Other Pastel Cuties

Bake something adorable ✿ Write a gratitude list on pink stationery ✿ Make a cup of floral tea Let the light in by tying your curtains back with pink bows ✿ Give your stuffed animals personal attention (cute plushie pic) ✿ Hide under your softest Sanrio blankets and set a five-minute timer 

Self-Care for Gothic Lolitas and Other Spookies

Mediate in a dark room (and here’s how to start✿ Listen to your spookiest music ✿ Try a gothic bath bomb (I like this one, but here’s a few others you might like for some Black Lagoon vibes) ✿ Start planning your Halloween costume(s)  Stroll through a graveyard alone (bonus: take grave rubbings or photos) ✿ Light a few licorice candles (they’re on sale for Halloween! I love them any time of year, though.)

Self-Care for Classic Lolitas and Other Victorian Beauties

Visit a secondhand bookshop or library; hide in the stacks ✿ Collect flowers for pressing or cataloging (this book by Vanessa Diffenbaugh super inspired my love of floral language!✿ Learn ten words in a new language ✿ Watch a period film (maybe these?✿ Embroider anything ✿ Write a love letter to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, using your best penmanship

If you need some other fresh ideas or pick-me-ups, try my Pinterest self-care board! I’m pretty happy with my curated self-care collection, maybe you’ll find something you like there. I also really enjoyed the Tumblr Self-Care Zine!

I must admit I loved this idea of customized self-care from the ‘Self-Care for the Signs‘, so if you want to see how your star sign handles self-care, go check out this list!

 

Why #SquadGoals Is the Feminist Hashtag We Need

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Today I want to hold up the social media triumph that is #squadgoals. Scrolling through my Instagram feed for fashion inspo, the weight of #squadgoals really hit me as I watched gang of cute girls after cute girls show off their stuff together. Who hasn’t see a killer picture of fashionable girls on theme – their perfection exponential with each member – and thought, ‘damn, I gotta get myself some cool friends like this!’ It’s all the fun of being your own imaginary girl band, street gang and babysitter’s club rolled into one. 

The best part about #squadgoals is that it acknowledges that truly fly girls are two things: one, stronger together and two, bent on bringing their sisters up instead of down. Squads celebrate friendship and the amazing skills of your fellow girls rather than competition. There is no room for the ‘token female’ trope here, and no need to be the only girl in the room to protect your insecurities. The other girls don’t make you less fabulous; they reflect their fabulousness onto you. It is inclusive and celebratory.

Lolita twinning and the popular “Angelic Pretty clones” of the 2008 – 2012 years took this idea and ran with it. The social taboo of many sitcoms – the idea of another girl wearing the same dress, or a “who wore it better” face off that we see in fashion magazines still today – was flipped on its head. Why get upset that there’s now another cute girl wearing something you love? Screw competing, let’s be doubly cute and take adorable pictures together! Twinning gives you and your bestie, or a whole girl gang of them, a special bond. Twinning is even picking up in more mainstream pop culture, either coordinating to wear similar clothes with your girlfriends for more #squadgoals love or occasionally, twinning with your significant other.

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The reason girls compete, according to feminist theory, is due to “tokenism” or sometimes called the Smurfette phenomenon. Media and male-oriented cultures and arenas have taught us there can be room for women – one, maybe. Check a few of these pop culture examples if you don’t believe me – or just see Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency video “The Smurfette Principle”. So while women make up 50% of the population, they’re not being represented that way. And when you think your spot as the only girl – ‘this town/club/video game isn’t big enough for the both us, cowgirl’ – is being threatened, suddenly it’s on you to prove why you’re a better candidate. It’s something that’s been taught to us until subconsciously ingrained. We witness it everywhere, from Hollywood films to comparison from our own friends, family and lovers. Pitting girls against each other can happen abstractly, such as a simple ‘you’re not like other girls‘ comment, or more blatantly, like guys rating women on a 1 – 10 scale. 

Teaching yourself to view your fellow girls as inspiration and allies instead of enemies can take conscious effort. Whether you can feel your jealousy rearing up when you see a cute selfie on your Instagram feed or your insecure voices whispering to you – ‘you’ll never be that cute/successful/eyebrows on point’ – it can strike when you least expect it.

I love this mantra to discourage the innate urge to compete:

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The solution to cool-girl-insecurity? Make friends with your local cool girl wildlife. Ask her how she does her eyebrows. Tell her you love those shoes. Also, she will probably tell you how she does her eyebrows and where she got those shoes. Cool girl tutorials, makeup guru videos and book-of-shadows shopping-tip swapping-realness? Uh, yes please. When you foster girl connection instead of girl competition, everyone wins. You get new friends, amazing squad super powers, and killer eyebrows. 

#Squadgoals is the magic we need, if we let it. Let the squad love in, ladies. I promise you’ll be glad you did. 

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Damn Salty

I am damn salty today. I am so damn salty I am crusted with the stuff. I could be the Dead Sea, I am so salty. I am your grandfather’s overseasoned Thanksgiving dinner, I am a package of ramen noodles on a college night.

I am salty with swollen joints and edema that tightens my legs until I can’t walk. I am salty with numbers off the blood pressure charts and toxin counts that terrify medical interns. I am flush with an extra twenty pounds of fluid, tears I can’t remove without nightly dialysis. The fluid is stretching my vessels, my veins, my heart valves.

It’s one of the many symptoms of kidney failure. Kidney failure, or the technical term ESRD, end-stage renal disease, will kill you. It will most likely be slow. It is incredibly painful and gruesome as your body struggles to live without filtering out daily poisons and minerals that build in your blood stream. Your kidneys do a lot of important things you didn’t really realize until you try to do without them.

As everyone knows, probably from binge-watching House, the only really good fix for kidney failure is a kidney transplant. Most humans have two, and it’s nature’s clever design that they only need one. Therefore, they’ve become rather valuable if you need one and can get one from a living donor, particularly.

This has been illustrated twice now in Deerstalker’s recent short humor films, Lolita Problems. In the first video, a short clip remarks that the person has already sold her first kidney to pay for an expensive brand lolita dress, but there’s another one out now that they want, and she’s happy to make do without. In the second video, the joke gets another round as a lolita limps down the sidewalk, holding a ziploc Baggie of “kidney” (chicken parts, it looks like…?) and clutching one side in agony, shouting to get them while they are fresh.

My impending death is not a punchline.

Kidney failure is no joke. Dialysis, the complex system to keep someone with kidney failure alive, is a stop-gap measure. It is borrowed time, of on average, five years. Maybe a little more if you’re both young and lucky. Young, I might be, but luck has never been my strong suit.

So okay, you might be asking now, who is this joke even hurting? Who cares about a little joke in an Internet video? Well, I do, because it’s directly affecting people who need organs.

Misconceptions about organ donation are one of the leading causes of organ shortages in the world. People believe all kinds of crazy myths. Here’s a few. “I can’t donate my kidney, how could I play my favorite sport? How could I drink beer or eat hot dogs? What if they decide to STEAL my kidneys in a bathtub full of ice in some shady motel 6?!”

So, what happens?

Then, they don’t check their organ donation card. Then they turn down saving someone’s life. Then, at the end of their lives, their organs are thrown away into the trash. (No, you are not buried with your organs. That would be gooey.)

Here’s some real truth: kidney donors are healthy people with no limitations. Kidney donors have an easy surgery, done with minimal scarring, and are back on their feet in three days. My father donated a kidney. He plays tennis four times a week at age sixty-five. My aunt donated a kidney; she’s an avid mountaineer. The woman has literally climbed Mount Everest with one kidney.

So when you tell me that  this is just a joke, that I need to lighten up, that nobody is getting hurt by it, you can see why it gets me – just a little – salty.

The Significance of Dining Alone

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Truth: I am twenty-six years old and I am still a little nervous about eating alone. I have to psych myself up. I try to bring a book, or a sketchbook, or some blog notes. I really try not to just get absorbed in my Facebook feed or self-soothe with texts, who are basically my imaginary friends when it comes to dining alone. I self-talk: “Lots of people eat alone. It doesn’t mean I’m lonely. Maybe my friends are just busy today. Maybe I’m going somewhere important. It’s okay to say table for just one.”

Why does it feel so taboo to eat alone as a woman? Why do I need girlfriends or a date to try that new restaurant or pick up a bite mid afternoon? Is it cultural or a glass of social anxiety served neat? I’ve talked about how to be alone before (and also, how to take yourself out on dates), but things get particularly sticky when you introduce the menu of insecurities women can develop around food.

It took me a long time to identify the problem. I always knew I felt strange out alone in public, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. When I read SARK in my early twenties, it clicked into place. SARK says there are women who are convinced that going out alone makes them look sad, or needy, or that they feel sad or needy if they’re not fulfilling the idea of going out in a social capacity. She imagines a rich world of women able to spend time alone. Here’s an excerpt from her book, Succulent Wild Women.

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So I knew there were other options to just waiting for the phone to ring or sitting at home waiting for an invitation on a Friday night. I just had to be bold enough to stop being what SARK calls ‘captive women’ and hurdle over the awkwardness of being alone in public, particularly the beast that is dining alone.

Dare: How did I get through this? I practiced. I started stopping in to places for takeout, or gas stations for candy bars, or drugstores for packs of gum. Then I graduated to lunches at diners and delis, then drinks at my favorite bar and grille. I still haven’t mastered the ultimate alone-date – a three-course, white-table cloth dinner with dessert – but I’m getting there. And once I started eating alone, I felt the world open up. I could go anywhere. I could take the train alone, the subway, walk in the park with no one but my shadow and a box of paints.

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My personal pleasure is shopping alone. Recently I had time to kill between a meetup and meeting my boyfriend for dinner, and wandered into the beading and rhinestone district near Koreatown – a block of trim and crystal warehouses, more rhinestones than I had ever seen in my life. I walked around with my jaw to my knees, running my fingers through buckets of beads and pom pom fringe. No one told me to hurry up, no one was bored, no one said it was stupid to spend twenty dollars on flatback crystals.

Anna Kendrick and Gloria Steinem team up to illustrate this phenomenom via Kate Spade’s MissAdventure series. The awkwardness practically radiates off the screen, but at the same time, I think we all envy the two ladies a little. They might be breaking all the rules of social niceties, that ‘nice girls don’t’, but golly it looks like fun.

Tamagotchi P

tamagotchipSince I’ve been bedridden and lacking on impulse control from sleepless nights and a little painkiller, a perfect storm combined to get me into a new handheld fandom – Tamagotchi. As a child, I had some kind of knock-off tamagotchi – a plastic egg keychain that had a very tiny, black and white pixel critter inside. This new style, revamped from the new kawaii masterminds in Japan, is a far cry from the childhood fad I grew up with. While still small and vaguely egg-shaped – ‘tamago’ means egg in Japanese ever after – the chunky relic has been upgraded to a sleek faceplate in an array of pastel colors set with iridescent gems. Thinking they’d make a cute accessory more than anything, I did a little research and fell in love.

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My Tamagotchi P is a tiny digital video game, completely in colorful pixel art. While it’s still operated by just three buttons, the game is pretty expansive. You still raise your baby tama into an adult, but with a much wide world. Your tama can enjoy the park, the arcade, an adorable cafe and Asian restaurant, a department store and school. As an adult, your tama can get a part time job to keep the money flowing into buying accessories, never-ending snacks (their stomachs are bottomless, I swear) and toys to play with. If you have a friend with a Tamagotchi P, you can also interface your P’s together through the infrared reader.

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tamagotchi guide from the 13thgeek

Note also that the Tamagotchi P is entirely in Japanese. It’s written in simple hiragana and katakana for children, so it’s about right at my reading level for a fun way to practice! If you don’t read any Japanese, worry not – there are guides that translate the game’s scripts, and reading is minimal in this case anyway. There is a current project going on to alter the P’s to use English!

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When you’ve exhausted your current collection of items and decorations, you can buy a Deco Pierce for your game. This little crowning gem acts as an expansion pack, unlocking various games, new characters to raise, items and wallpapers. Besides a number of themes like royalty, fairies and desserts, several big names have also done Deco Pierce collaborations like Disney and Sanrio. I just received my first Deco Pierce, which is called Dream to Change or Yumemiru. The big bow is super girly, and the matching lanyard makes it easy to wear my tamagotchi like a fashion accessory or a bag charm.

I’m definitely not a serious videogame player, and this device is just the right fit for me – cute, mobile (since a lot of my downtime is during travel or doctor’s visits) and low commitment. While it may chirp for attention or food occasionally, it’s fairly easy on the commitment scale. If you’re busy, there’s a hack to put it to sleep or to simply pop out the batteries.

There are several forums where Tamagotchi fans around the world discuss tips, gameplay and fan art. There’s also an anime and a world of branded products to collect for the fandom to cut their teeth on.

Tamagotchi Zone ☆ Tama Talk ☆ Tamagotchi Home Forums

You can buy Tamagotchi P’s on eBay or Amazon, and the same for the Deco Pierce expansion sets.

Help! I’m Not Being Invited to Meetups

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Welcome back to Parfait Doll after a lengthy hiatus! Changes will continue around the site as I get settled back in and redefine exactly what this website should do for its readership. Thank you to all my readers who have kept up with me offsite and looked forward to its return!

Let’s dive right in to today’s topic – the sticky subject of lolita community and meetups. I’ve heard this complaint lately both from friends of mine and from outside the community.

“Everyone seems really cliqueish and I’m not getting invited to meetups! What am I doing wrong? Are they big bad elitists who hate my outfits? Am I infected with a strange social disease?!”

Heads out of the gutter, people. The glitter might be contagious, but otherwise, you’re probably safe. New York City, my home community, is notorious for being particularly clique-ish and ‘group-y’. The reason? It’s hard to fit more than ten people or so in a Manhattan restaurant at once! With a community of hundreds of members, there’s bound to be pairing off. The larger a meetup, the more unwieldy it can potentially become. So how do you make sure your social calendar is booked with plenty of teas, ballet invitations, or other fun frilly activities?

Check out this article from Captain Awkward, a social skills and advice blog (I’m a big fan – check out her archives for tons of great reading, and join the legions of Awkwardeers!). In a slightly different context, the letter writer worries that her group of friends is boxing her out of parties and invites.  While the situation isn’t exactly the same, Captain Awkward addresses lots of concerns in her article about friend groups, invitations and social settings.

Let’s say you’ve introduced yourself to some local lolitas, maybe online at their preferred hub or group, or in person at a big open meetup. Yet when you log online, all you see is cute photos from teatime that no one told you about! Here’s some classic meetup pitfalls and how to fix them.

Problem: You’ve met some girls you click with, but when the invite list goes up, you’ve been forgotten or left off. How do you get people to remember you’re sitting at home dressed in your best ruffles and glittery eyelashes, just wishing there was an event to go to?

The solution: Get in with the movers and shakers. In any group, there’s going to be people who organize. Usually the same people tend to run the events, such as planning the outings or booking the private rooms or even having everyone to their place. Pinpoint who these lolitas are and try to chat them up. One-on-one time is even better – invite one of the hostesses out for a coffee. Then when the next event is being planned, they’ll add you to the list!

Problem: You work unusual hours or have a rigorous study life, and your local community seems to love brunch just when you’re headed to your job or partying while you’re at home cramming Japanese vocabulary for a big exam. After declining a few times, now you’re worried you’re getting skipped over for invites.

The solution: Life happens to everyone and occasionally we all need to take breaks from our hobbies to handle the nitty-gritty stuff. Drawing away from your hobbies to be a Responsible Adult doesn’t mean you need to pull away from your friends, though. Make sure you’re still chatting up your friends regularly even if you can’t make every event, and try not to flake on the events you do find the time to attend. There’s lots of ways to keep involved with your Lolita community even when you’re not able to meet face to face. Answering questions or leaving comments on message boards, posting interesting content, and just being a good online friend are some examples.

Problem: Your local community is humdrum and doesn’t seem to have a lot going on. The cobwebs are evident on the message board – last updated in 2008.

The solution: If there’s no lolitas to be found in your area, consider checking further afield for Lolita events. It may be quiet in your neck of the woods, particularly if you live somewhere rural (I speak from experience. Consider me reporting live from cow country.), but a nearby city might have tons more going on. There’s also no harm in being part of multiple communities if you have the means to travel. I’m a New York City Lolita first, since that’s where I’ve had the most meetups in recent years, but my state community of Connecticut is having a small Lolita renaissance now too. Can’t wait for our September tea coming up!

The fix-all-solution: There’s also one more solution to any meetup difficulty – run your own! It’s not nearly as daunting as you might think, and anyone can run successful meetups with practice. If you need help, considering appointing a co-hostess with more experience until you feel comfortable. Small meetups for pick-up coffee and chatting in the park can be just as fun as elaborate, catered hotel teas, too – don’t worry about being too fancy! The point is to get dolled up and have some good times with your fellow fashion enthusiasts.

If you’d like to meet lolitas and aren’t sure how to go about getting yourself a lolita friend, check out this article  I wrote on making lolita friendships. If you’ve got further questions about lolita meetups (you social butterfly, you! :) feel free to drop me a line at my Ask Box!

Momoko Rebooted: Takemoto’s New Novel, Emily

It’s ten years ago this year that the movie Kamikaze Girls debuted (the same year as Mean Girls… coincidence or girl power conspiracy?) Kamikaze Girls is one of the great catalysts that created lolitas around the globe with its international release – and I was one of them. Though the author, Novala Takemoto, has mostly retired from the lolita socialiate circles since then, I’ll always treasure his contribution to lolitas everywhere in the form of both his beautiful film and his many books, short stories and articles.

I’m excited to see that he’s written a new lovestruck novel in the vein of his most famous, Kamikaze Girls (Japanese title: Shimotsuma Monogatari, A Shimostuma Story). The cover art is done by the famous lolita author Kira Imai, whose work has been made into a variety of printed dresses with Angelic Pretty and lolita fashion magazine covers. Here’s an excerpt of the novel, translated into English:

That’s where I was the first time you talked to me, at La Foret, the fashionable mall located at the intersection of Omotesando and Meiji Dori. There were a few chairs there that anyone could use to pass some time. Rising up between the chairs was a great tree, looking like it belonged there. I don’t know if it was a gingko or a poplar or a gum tree. There were green leaf-shaped objects in the space between La Foret and the street. Instead of show windows, the stores inside La Foret used these hollow translucent objects for shop displays. I sat behind the leaf-shaped objects, on the side of the building, facing the entrance to La Foret, hiding behind the leaf that had the list of shops on it. I sat directly on the ground, hugging my knees to my chest. I didn’t look at anything in particular, and I didn’t think about anything in particular, and I stayed there in the same position until the store closed. That was the only place they’d let me hang out.

Why didn’t I run when you spoke to me? Why was I able to answer you, even with a stammer? I would normally be frightened by any male—whether it was the police, a high school boy trying to hit on me, a poor old country bumpkin confused and looking for directions, or a little Boy Scout holding a donation box. If any male tried to communicate with me I would flee in a flash. Somehow you were special. You’re still special to me. Special things are always special right from the start and remain special until the end.

Unfortunately it doesn’t say when the English edition will be released. I am looking forward to more of Takemoto’s fanciful writing bleeding through with its relatable awkwardness. (If anyone has any information about the release or where to read it, please drop me a line, and I’ll update the post so others can read it as well).

You can read more about Novala Takemoto in a short interview at the book’s promotional website here.

Out of Lolita? My Secret Style Crushes

I’m a little late for this week’s Lolita Blog Carnival – I’ll conveniently blame the jet-lag from my recent family trip to Seattle – but I was really feeling the topic, so I decided it would hold over until Monday!

This week’s theme is to talk about your favorite non-lolita fashion styles. And yes, I harbor a few style crushes that I like for daily wear. Anything pastels or fluffy is a given, but this summer for me is all about the Japanese style “himekaji”.

himekaji

Himekaji is the Japanese portmanteau of the two words hime, meaning princess, and kaji, which is short for casual. Some gyaru have told me they don’t consider himekaji a real subset of gal, and others definitely lump it together with its fancier sister himegyaru. Himekaji loves lace, pastels, some touches of neutrals, and plenty of rose prints. In the past it has occasionally played with a very girly cowgirl/prairie look, and still isn’t above pastel pink cowboy boots.

himekaji2

 

Soft stone-washed denim in blue, white, and pastels even makes an appearance if you want to throw on jeans once in a while. Makeup is very girly and pink-flushed, but can be lighter than other heavy gyaru eyes. I usually swap out big himegyaru lenses and lashes for a simpler more Korean-fashion inspired eye for daily wear. Straight hair is okay, but fluffy French braids and airy curls are most common for this style.

While Liz Lisa is the big provider of himekaji clothes and accessories, you can definitely find cute things on sites like Dreamv, Taobao, or even the occasional find on Forever21 or Wet Seal. I actually get my few authentic Liz Lisa items from eBay or inside promotional magazines. I just got my new Liz Lisa x My Melody chain pochette and I haven’t taken it off since! Here’s the Instagram of it, along with a lot of Daiso goodies I picked up on my trip:

himekaji3

 

If you’re looking for cute places to get your hands on some himekaji items besides Japan, check out my Wanelo – I’ve been stockpiling pink sundresses, rose-pattern anything and floral hairbands!

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