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.
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