Sunday, May 9, 2010

An apology

I'm sorry to everyone who follows me. The end of the semester kind of took over my life. Add that to the fact that I recently learned my dog Buddy isn't doing too well and will probably have to be put down in the next month or so. I apologize for my silence, but other things are more important than a blog.

Thank you for your understanding and hopefully I'll be back soon enough.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tokyo Rebel Online Shopping Review

After losing my Metamorphose parasol a year ago in China Town (long story) I needed a new one for this upcoming summer. On April 17th I placed an order with Tokyo Rebel for an Innocent World parasol. Not two days later they let me know that they had shipped out my package and reimbursed me for $8 on my shipping because, living only one state over, shipping was not as much as quoted.

On April 22nd it arrived at my doorstep.

It was shipped in a long rectangle box, wrapped in tissue paper and a heavier shipping paper. The parasol was in perfect condition.

They even included the cutest handwritten note.

Overall I would rate my online shopping experience with Tokyo Rebel a 5 out of 5. Shipping was fast, contact was fast, it was packaged great, and they even refunded some of my shipping. I would definitely order from them again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sakura Matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden!

May 1st and 2nd is the BBG's Sakura Matsuri 2010. An event that celebrates the beauty of cherry blossoms and Japanese culture. They have special events such as taiko drumming, the flower hat parade, pop singers, Go practice, bonsai exhibits, and countless others. They even have events for the anime crowd such as para para practice, a manga library, cosplay contest, and a lot more.

The New York City lolitas will even be hosting a meetup on Saturday at the Cherry Esplanade. Details can be found on EGL here. There's an insane amount of people attending and it's always fun to hang out with fellow lolitas. I'll be popping my head in there for a little while too.

If you live anywhere nearby I greatly suggest going. It's a lot of fun! (Even if it rains, which it usually does. Bring an umbrella!) Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students with a valid ID.

This will be my 9th year in a row attending the event, but the very first year that I will be attending both days so I'm very excited. If you're going I hope to see you there!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Commissioning Tips

I'm currently in the process of commissioning a few tops and a jsk from a couple seamstresses. Now, commissioning custom pieces, especially from someone you don't know, can be a daunting task. Here's some tips that should help you through the process.

~ Know what you want. - Whether it be a replica or something original, have a clear idea in your head. Be able to explain it clearly or draw a little picture showing what you're looking forward to.

~ Know your budget. - Are you going to be able to splurge $200 on a dress? Or are you scraping the barrel at $70? It's always best to state your budget beforehand. Stay aware of shipping costs too.

~ Be reasonable with your budget. - You're not going to find a seamstress anywhere who wants to sew ten million details and spend oodles of money on lace if your budget is low. If you can't afford anything more than the basic, consider going simpler, getting something smaller (a skirt instead of a JSK/OP), or just saving up more money.

~ Be aware of your size. - Are you plus size? Petite? Some seamstresses have more experience than others in different size ranges. I always find it helpful to mention basic measurements (Bust, Waist, Hips) when I'm in the first stages with a seamstress. This will enable her to make the decision whether or not she is skilled enough in your size range to make your garments.

~ Know your time limit. - You can't get an OP in time for your dance in two weeks, it just isn't going to happen. Know your time constraints and plan accordingly. Don't forget to mention this to any seamstresses you're communicating with and ask if your deadline is reasonable or not. Don't forget to account for shipping time.

~ Check reviews. - The seamstress you're considering should have feedback somewhere. Customer testimonials are one of the best ways to judge whether the person you're commissioning from is good, trustworthy, on time with deadlines, etc.

~ Ask for pictures of previous work. - Another good way to check your seamstress out is to ask for pictures of previous work. Not just pictures of the outfit or item, but ask for closeups of seams and the insides of the piece. Does it look sloppy? Rushed? Are there loose threads hanging everywhere? Or does it look professional and clean?

~ Get a quote. - You always want at least an estimation up front to know what you're working with.

~ If applicable, compare prices. - If you're considering commissioning from one seamstress or another compare prices with quality of work and reviews. You want to get the most bang for your buck, but remember that cheaper isn't always the best way to go.

~ Be prepared to get needed measurements. - If you don't know your measurements already you're going to need a flexible measuring tape and a friend or family member to help you get them. Need tips on getting proper measurements? Check out Uniquely Loli's Measurements Guide.

~ Set a schedule for updates. - Some people are more patient between updates than others, setting a schedule ahead of time prevents headaches later. Me? I like to ask for progress pictures every week to two weeks, depending on what I'm commissioning. I think once a week is reasonable for a skirt or larger. For a headbow or accessory, three or four days. Allow a day or two of wiggle room in case a seamstress has something come up and is a little late for an update.

~ Don't be afraid to speak your mind. - Don't like how something is looking when you've gotten an update? A detail doesn't match what you asked for? Speak up. A seamstress can't fix what you don't like if you don't tell her you don't like it. Does it seem like she's coming up close on the deadline? Mention your worries, don't keep quiet.

~ Most important of all: BE POLITE. - Constantly bugging your seamstress for updates, demanding changes that weren't in the original agreement, or threatening a bad review for a small mistake is completely unreasonable. Yes, you are employing your seamstress but she is an actual human being with a life outside of your commission. Don't forget the previous tip of speaking your mind, but remember that "please" gets you farther than "because I said so".

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Breaking all the Rules

Alright, so I'm still a little behind on my schedule. Unfortunately, life comes first.

Lolita has a ton of rules, either fashion-wise or behavior-wise. Skirts have to be so long, socks have to be so high, you can't wear this with that, you have to act ladylike. Like anyone, though, I like to break quite a few of these rules. Please share what rules you like to break, too!

~ 99% of the time, I don't wear makeup
~ I wear glasses (there was a big to-do over this a couple years ago)
~ I like my skirts a couple inches above the knee
~ I wear black shoes with almost everything
~ I tend to avoid wearing jewelry
~ I don't wear bloomers
~ I love old-style flat headdresses (mostly out of style nowadays)
~ I don't paint my nails
~ I like running around and going crazy in lolita rather than sitting still and looking pretty
~ I don't like tea
~ I don't enjoy most fancy desserts

Friday, April 9, 2010

Etsy Hunt: Butterflies

After a long hiatus I am back! Apologies to anyone who missed me.

One of my favorite motifs is butterflies. And with Meta releasing their Jewel Butterfly series this spring, I decided to go searching for accessories that shared the same motif.

I am in absolute LOVE with this dress and wish I could fit into it.

On Etsy, there are a hundreds of treasures in every style imaginable hiding among the masses. Here are just a handful that jumped out at me. (Click images to go to the items)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Coming Down to Earth

There's a very loud chorus from those who aren't lifestyle lolitas that "lolita is just clothes". But you have to admit that the lifestyle lolitas are shouting collectively louder.

I recently went to a meetup where the crew for the Loligirls documentary was filming for their full length production. They asked us what we lolitas usually talked about at meetups and proceeded to throw out examples. "Makeup tips? Favorite brands?" they asked. Us girls looked around at each other, unsure how to express that we had just got done with a rousing bout of crude toilet humor. I get asked by friends, "So, do you sit around at home and drink tea and pretend you're living in Victorian times?" And I always have to explain that while there could be some girls out there like that, once I'm home I'm usually lazing around in PJ pants playing on the internet or doing homework. Whenever you see lolitas being filmed, say on the news, and they're in there rooms, everything is always pink and fluffy. We've been painted with a very broad brush full of rainbows and unicorns and soft fuzzies. And it's because us "normal" girls don't stand out as well as the much more extreme lifestylers.

I just don't understand the rationalization that someone who dresses different = someone who acts different. Dressed like cupcakes, we're still normal girls underneath, and I think even a lot of lolitas need to come to this realization. We're not doing any good in canceling out the thoughts of bypassers that we're strange when most of us come home to a pile of pastel that should be in a nursery. (Barring that you actually have a child and a nursery. xD) Most of us are in our late teens and early twenties. It's time for us to start making a place in life for ourselves through college, jobs, and careers. Yes, lolita is a great escape from the day to day pressures of normal life and an escape is good from time to time. But eventually the clothes have to come off. Most of us aren't tittering school girls blushing behind our parasols. We are young women, ready to take on the world. And it's time that we start dispersing these beliefs that we are just big girls trying to be little girls still. I'm not saying stop doing what you love and try to fit in to a niche the rest of the world has set up. I'm just saying that there are times when you really should take off that tiara.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Plus Size Lolita Buying Guide

Today I'm cheating. I'm just copy and pasting the buying guide that I updated over the weekend for egl_plus. I spent so much time working on it I felt that I deserved to use it twice. You can continue to read it here or go on over to its spot on the LJ community.

- Most of these measurements are rough estimates and DO NOT apply for all garments from mentioned brands. Be sure to check that what you are buying is a piece that falls under the right sizing. Also note that the "up to" measurement is usually the MAX measurement and will either be incredibly tight and/or won't look good.

- This is not a brand list. Not every lolita brand, Japanese or otherwise, is going to be on here. I'll only include brands that have a trend of selling larger clothing than Japanese standard sizes.

- I worked hard on this list. Updating it alone took over four hours. If reposting it elsewhere, please give credit where credit is due.


Baby the Stars Shine Bright
Has forgiving shirring.
Full-shirring JSKs will go up to about 130cm/52"
Full-shirring blouses will go up to about 140cm/55"
Some skirts up to 96cm/38"
Some cutsews up to 111cm/44"
Back-shirred JSKs can go up to 102cm/40" bust and 84cm/33" waist
Back-shirred JSKs can go up to 110cm/43" bust and 96cm/37" waist

Innocent World
Has forgiving shirring.
Fullshirring OPs and JSKs up to about 110cm/43"
Some cuts of JSKs up to 130cm/52" (This cut)
Elastic waistband skirts up to 100cm/39"
OFFERS "L SIZE" (but not as forgiving as Baby or Meta's larger sizes)
Some blouses up to 100cm/39" bust
RUMORS OF OFFERING "LL" and "3L" sizing in the future

Metamorphose Temps de Fille
Some skirts up to 100cm/39"
Some JSKs up to 105cm/41"

Angelic Pretty
Full shirring JSKs up to 100cm/39"
Full-back shirring up to 107cm/42"
Full-shirred blouses up to 136cm/53" bust

Some skirts up to 110cm/43"
Some tops up to 106cm/41"

Full shirring up to 105cm/41"
Full elastic waistband skirts up to 100cm/39"
JSKs up to 120cm/47"
Blouses up to 120cm/47"
Skirts up to 110cm/43"

Milky Ange
Some dresses up to 120cm/47" in the bust
Some tops up to 110cm/43"
*also sells maid dresses

Some knits up to 110cm/43"
Skirts up to 101cm/40" HIPS
Some JSKs up to 100cm/39"

Bodyline (included because it's Japan-based, though it's not necessarily considered "brand")
Up to 110cm/43"
Offers "L" and "2L" sizing
*Not all items are lolita


Fan Plus Friend
Sizing up to 112cm/44" bust 91cm/36" waist
Custom Sizing $5 USD
*also sells cosplay

Anna House
Offers S, M, L, XL Sizes
XL up to 102cm/40" bust and 86cm/34" waist.
Offers custom sizing for a small charge. (about $10 USD on average)

*when ordering custom size it may be best to add an inch or two to measurements.
(Prices and info are based off of Qcute/Qutieland shopping service, as I can't read Chinese.)

Dear Celine
"Standard Size" 92cm/36" bust 77cm/30" waist
"Oversize" custom sizing for up to 65 HKD (about $6 USD)

Rose Melody
"Standard Size" 88cm/34" bust 70cm/27" waist
"Oversize" custom sizing for up to 75 HKD (about $10 USD)

Momo & Jia Baby Shop
"Standard Size" 88cm/34" bust 70cm/27" waist
"Oversize" custom sizing for up to 70 HKD (about $9 USD)

Offers "L" and "XL" sizing
Up to 96cm/37" bust 76cm/30" waist
Does not offer custom sizing

Offers "L" sizing
Up to 92cm/36" bust 72cm/28" waist
"Oversize" custom sizing for up to 65 HKD (about $6 USD)

Kids YoYo
JSK "Standard Size" 88cm/34" bust 68cm/26" waist
Blouse "Standard Size" 92cm/36" bust 76cm/30" waist
"Oversize" custom sizing for up to 90 HKD (about $11 USD)

White Moon
"Standard Size" 90cm/35" bust 74cm/29" waist
"Oversize" custom sizing for up to 40 HKD (about $5 USD)

"Standard size" 90cm/35" bust 72cm/28" waist
"Oversize" custom sizing for up to 55 HDK (about $7 USD)

"Standard size" 88cm/34" bust 68cm/26" waist
"Oversize" custom sizing for up to 75 HKD (about $10 USD)

Surface Spell
"Standard size" 90cm/35" bust 72cm/28" waist
"Oversize" custom sizing for up to 65 HKD (about $6 USD)

Taobao shopping services
Taobao Now
Miwitch" (seems to be Infanta only)
Mashimaro Girl (Potential Scam?)


In the Starlight -

Excalibur Girls -
Up to 111cm/44" bust and 91cm/36" waist.

Sweet Rococo -
General sizing up to 111cm/44" bust and 91cm/36" waist.

Candy Violet -
"L", "XL", and "2XL" sizing
Up to 116cm/46" bust 96cm/38" waist

Blasphemina's Closet
Custom Sizing at no extra charge

Megan Maude
"L" and "XL" sizing
101cm/40" bust 78cm/31" waist
Up to 111cm/44" waist on some skirts
*Custom sizing available as of 3/12/10


Up to 100cm/39" bust 75cm/29" waist
No custom sizing

English Charm
"L" "XL" "SXL" "MXL" "LXL" and "XLXL" sizing
Up to 122cm/48" bust 107cm/42" waist
Offers custom sizing


Up to 90cm/35" bust 85cm/33" waist
No custom sizing
Available for commissions

Up to 5XL
Semi-custom sizing
*Currently on hiatus

Bloom Empire
Up to 101cm/40" waist

Bondage Tea
Up to 127cm/50" waist
*A lot of stuff sold isn't lolita

Up to 99cm/39" bust 89cm/35" waist
sometimes offers semi-custom sizing

Dreams and Outfits
"L" and "XL" sizing
Up to 91cm/36" waist
Custom sizing
*Bloomers only

I Do Declare
Up to 96cm/38" waist

Up to 99cm/39" bust 96cm/38" waist
*Not all items are lolita

Petite Royale
Up to 127cm/50" waist

Pink Sugar
Up to 94cm/37" waist

"L" and "XL" sizing
up to 127cm/50" bust 106cm/42" waist
*Not all items are lolita/a little ita-ish

Skeletons in the Closet
Custom sizing
*more aristocrat than lolita

Friday, March 12, 2010

Victoria's Jewelry Box

I am very picky about jewelry, it is incredibly rare for me to find several things that I love in one place. But one place has managed to make a miracle. Victoria's Jewelry Box. Victoria's incredibly lovely victorian inspired jewelry, cameos in every color you can imagine, and delicate details have definitely charmed me. Hopefully it will charm you too.

I love cameos. They're classic, timeless, and gorgeous. But a cameo alone doesn't make a beautiful piece. The settings for these cameos are incredibly detailed and I'm absolutely in love with the chains.

The attention to detail on this pendant is amazing, while not being overly cluttered. I love the shape and openness of it as well.

This locket is gorgeous. The intricate flowers and little butterfly up top are adorable. Raphael's angel makes the piece and the red stones on the chain compliment it well.

I've never been big on earrings, but I do like these a lot. They're intricate and delicate. If you can't tell by now, I'm greatly attracted to the little flowers. The curves and lines of the designs are incredibly lovely.

Victoria's also has other items of interest, all of which can fit in perfectly with a lolita's bedroom and vanity.

I am absolutely gaga over this dragonfly perfume bottle. And the angel compact is sweet and simple.

I have an unhealthy obsession with trinket boxes. If I could, I would buy all three of these and many more that Victoria's has.

Victoria's Jewelry box has beautiful pieces, including gorgeous cameos and intricate details. On top of that, they have knickknacks that any lolita would love to place on their vanity. Add decent prices on every item and you have a winning combination.

Monday, March 8, 2010

From Fail to Frills

Warning: This post is super long and has a gratuitous amount of photos of me. Continue at your own risk.

A lot of photos have been deleted, the evidence burned, but the shame still remains. I know there's a few girls who weren't itas to start out, but the amount of us who were is astounding. Here's my tale of a girl finding her place in the frills throughout the years.

2004 - 17 years old
Luckily I don't have pictures from this year. If I'm even luckier, my mother doesn't either. This was my first ever year attempting lolita. For my Senior Seminar at high school I did a paper on gender roles in Japanese pop culture. For the presentation though, we only had to do projects loosely based on our subject and having to do with our art major. I was in creative writing, so I did poems inspired by Visual Kei bands (Yeah, I was an awesome weaboo teenager xD). The day I gave the presentation I dressed in this bastard child of really bad gothic lolita and decora. I was wearing a gothic dress with a square neck, moons on the bodice, and a kerchief skirt. Fishnets. I had plastic fish tied into my hair... it wasn't a pretty sight.

For my graduation I begged my mother for some real lolita. Of course, we were poor and there was no way she was going to buy me those expensive clothes from In the Starlight. I ended up with a black circle skirt with see-through lace panels, a squaredance petticoat, a plain white blouse, and pigtails. When I wore this getup to Otakon the summer after I added a ribbon as a "headdress".

I'm so glad no pictures exist of these.

2006 - 19 years old
After my first failed attempt, I gave up on lolita for a year. But then I had dropped out of college, started working a lot more, started saving up, bought my first BJD, and wanted another huge money sink. (What was I thinking?) So I bought a hugely overpriced Hot Topic dress from the UK. (In the end I think it cost me $300 altogether. I was so naive.)

Yes, this one. (Not my photo)

I barely squeezed my fat ass into it, got a mini tophat, and proceeded to take a million pictures. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I've deleted all of them. If I come across one I'll be sure to share it.

After I got sick of not being able to fit into the Hot Topic dress, I finally decided to order from the best place ever (in my newbie eyes), In the Starlight. And yes, I have pictures from this outfit. (Lucky you).

I thought I was hot shit.

For Halloween I got another dress from ITS. I was slowly getting better. Very slowly.

2007 - 20 years old
2007 was the biggest year for me as a lolita. I was getting the hang of what dresses looked good, but I still hadn't come to learning what dresses looked good on me. I started venturing away from In the Starlight and poking my head into Fan plus Friend and commissioning private seamstresses. I also got the ever popular hime-cut this year.

Fan plus Friend dress. The collar was HUGE.

This was my favorite dress for forever. It was an AP replica, incredibly full, hand dyed lace, made just for me.
Unfortunately, I had an unhealthy obsession with front corset lacing. As you can see, we didn't exactly get along well.

My hime-cut. Brand new. While wearing a band shirt xD

2007 was also the year I met Caro-chan and our friend Xanet, and our special little trio was born.

I still had the occasional bad-fitting dress, but I was pretty much in my lolita niche.
Xanet also started stealing my clothes since we had similar measurements. xD

And then I got my first brand dress. From Innocent World.

Happiest girl in the fucking world, I tell you.

2008 - 21 years old
Nothing much happened for me in the world of lolita. Just purchases. I got my one and only lolita coat to date. Some more Innocent World jumperskirts. My beloved IW bonnet. And my most favorite jumperskirt in the world. I was also slowly starting my switch from sweet to classic and gothic.

2009 - 22 years old
This year everything started changing. I went back to college, got glasses so I could actually see what I was learning, and quit my job. The need for money also awakened the need for me to realize what really fit well and what didn't. Slowly, the Innocent World jumpers were sold, along with a lot of other clothes that made me look frumpy or oddly shaped. I also grew out my hime-cut and chopped it all off.

2009 was also the year that Xanet, Caro-chan, and I all went out in the woods behind my house and killed eachother. Or something like that.

The best part: My parents didn't even bat an eye when we all got back to my house.

2010 - 23 years old
I don't know what the future holds for my lolita life. I'm broker than ever and have even less opportunities to dress up than I did in 09. I'm hoping that I soon get a job, so I can start buying pretty clothes again. We'll see what happens.

What I do know, though, is that I wouldn't have made it this far if it hadn't been for the best two girls in the entire world. We don't get to see eachother much, but when we do it's always a wild ride. Caro-chan and Xanet are the best girls ever and if they weren't around I wouldn't be here. (Literally, Caro-chan was the one who goaded me into starting this blog xD) So, like most girls, I started off a scratchy-lace covered ita and grew into the lolita I am today. Like I wish for most girls, I did it with the help with two great friends. Because of them, I can look back on my beginner days with a smile.

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