Sunday, February 27, 2011

Of Coordinate the Second and Third (and rain)

It's certainly been raining quite a lot over here! I love the rain, which makes it easier not to mind the chill in the air (even in California, winter can be cold). A couple days ago, I took advantage of the colder weather to wear a longsleeved piece in my second of the 10/7 challenge coordinates. I didn't go anywhere, but it was still fun being dressed up.

I like how it came out! I think of this as an "almost shiro" coordinate. It has a lot of black in it, but has the aesthetic I would look for in a shiro outfit. And I love the ethereal look of this picture.

The hairstyle is somewhat monumental for me, as it's the first time I've succeeded in putting up my long, heavy hair in some fancy way. But with bobby pins, it becomes possible!

On a whim, I put together a third coordinate yesterday. This one is a bit punk-inspired. Excuse the lighting in my kitchen. Also, I've been using my regular socks because I have very few (read: one and a half) pairs of loli socks.

And a detail/headshot (just to show off my choker, haha)~

Hopefully I can complete the rest of the challenge soon, but we'll see how it goes. I haven't been feeling up to blogging or wearing lolita very much lately, due to issues unrelated to my love for either of those things. Classes finally started this week (we start and end a month later), and the beginning of a semester always tends to aggravate my tendencies toward anxiety and general "down"-ness. Don't worry, that's as personal as I'll get, but I thought I'd like to let you know.

On a more positive note, I'm considering--well, planning on--starting a second blog in addition to this one. I've been told writers should have a blog, so this one would focus on my stories and characters. It would be positively brimming with faerie folk, vampires, midnight tea parties (and ballrooms, of course), and gothic dreamers. Interested yet? I'll post the link when I start said blogging adventure.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Of Coordinate the First (and passing mention of a library haul)

Today I did something I haven't done in far too long: I went to the library and checked out slightly less than my usual sky-high pile of fantasy novels. I found several books that are on my Amazon wishlist, mostly about faerie folk and vampires. Interestingly, I happened across a book set in Venice, which I was excited to find because I have a character from Venice, and I don't know nearly as much about the city as I'd like to.

My library haul, while fascinating (to me), is not the main reason for this post. Last weekend I wore the first of my seven coordinates, when I attended the Rilakkuma Valentine's event at JapanLA. I knew hardly anyone, so it was a bit awkward at first (I'm very shy). But Oli of Lemontree was working at the door as a greeter, so I stood with her for a while and felt much less out of place.

Actually, for most of the afternoon I joined the greeter squad and conversed with a delightful deco lolita (I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name, but it was nice meeting you!). We both agreed that when it came to our personal styles, the more accessories the better! There is a reason I call myself an OTT  gothic...

(For those who don't know, OTT stands for Over The Top--as in accessories, hair, etc--which is usually applied to certain kinds of sweet and deco lolitas.)

I didn't take my camera, but before I left, I asked my mom to take a snapshot of my coordinate.
Coord #1

You can't really see my vest (ah, the hazards of wearing all black), so here's a close up.

I doubt I'll wear all seven outfits before February is over, but we'll see what happens. To me, the important thing is the small-wardrobe-coordinating skills that I'll be learning through this challenge.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Of a monochrome challenge accepted

(Picture heavy!) Doubtless you've heard this by now, but EGL's theme for February is the 10 items 7 outfits challenge, wherein one creates 7 coordinates with 10 main pieces (shoes and cardigans etc count, but accessories don't). I've enjoyed seeing different challenge accepters post about this on their blogs, and now its my turn! Edit: Here is the post on EGL containing the challenge rules.

Seeing as it's a very good challenge for learning to work with a limited wardrobe, this is one of my favorite themes so far. It's fun brainstorming about what kinds of outfits I could create. But before I start "7" part of the challenge, let me tally up my ten items. I was very surprised: I had enough items that it was hard to pick just ten!

(By the way, I've just about sworn off using flash photography, because it will probably never give me a decent picture shine-wise of the glossy shimmery fabrics of which I'm so fond. So instead I'll be making use of the best natural light that I can, and lightening the photos as need be.) 

A. Black two layer skirt (handmade)

B. Black and white skirt (handmade)

C. Black longsleeved blouse (I've had it for years; it's probably from Walmart or somewhere similar)

D. Black corset top (Charlotte Russe)

E. Black vest (thrifted)

 F. White longsleeved top (altered thrift; this was part of my lolita Sleeping Beauty costume for Halloween)

G. Black blouse (handmade)

H. Black bolero (thrifted)

I. Purple mary janes (Rack Room Shoes)

J. Black boots (Payless ShoeSource)

Well, let's see what kinds of looks I can create from these! It'll probably be easier to wear lolita more often now, as I've just about finished that new pair of bloomers I mentioned before. I still need more than two pairs (I'd like to have twelve, ideally--yes, really, for wearing loli everyday!), but it's something. And the prospect of wearing lolita seven times in rapid succession is very exciting!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Of the thrifty aristocrat and Fifty+ Followers(!)

Over fifty followers? Wow! Thank you all so much! I want to do something a bit more special in honor of this... Unfortunately I can't do a giveaway just yet, but maybe a video log? (I've gotten inspired watching Makelovely's vlogs.) I'm working on sort of a thank you art piece, but it's not quite done yet. Anyway thank you all for reading!

The other day I mentioned that I was going to a thrift store, and the time has come to reveal what my main purpose in going was. From the beginning, I've wanted to build a boystyle aristocrat wardrobe as well as a lolita one. I was able to find almost a full coordinate while thrifting, including shoes (not pictured unfortunately). The latter is especially amazing because I'm usually a US size 9 1/2 or 10. I say usually because I found a pair of 8 1/2 shoes that fit pretty well, although I'll have to soften up the tops of the toes somehow.

The full ensemble (almost)~

This one is clearer...

 ...but I like my expression better in this one.
I feel so dashing. 

I was afraid the shirt would need altering, but it fits pretty well, and with shoulderpads I think it will be almost perfect. (I have small shoulders and long arms, making ready made clothes a challenge sometimes.) I will be changing the buttons, though.

You can't really see it, but the pants (or trousers as some of you may call them) have red pinstripes that pretty much exactly match the shirt. I was stoked to realize this.

Thanks to those who left encouraging comments about my fabric issues. I'm glad to know I'm not alone! Things are looking up, though. I visited a big JoAnn's yesterday and while browsing, I realized that there's a lot more black fabric there than I'd thought. It just helps to know what you're looking for (which can be hard to figure out, sometimes). You're mainly in luck if you like fancy fabrics, which I do--I found some pretty good quality taffeta, brocade, satin, organza, and so forth. So, it's time to experiment!

I didn't get any more materials for my JSK/OP (I'm trying not to buy too many things at once), but I was able to bring home some lightweight flannel for another pair of bloomers. Elasticized, this time...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Of crafting successes and fabric woes

First, the good news.

These past few days I've felt more crafty than in a while, so I finally made a couple things from materials in my stash. Knowing my love for headdresses, you shouldn't be surprised at this one. (I'm sorry to say the flash washed everything out--that pillow it's lying on is a dark green. I love silky ribbons, but flash doesn't tend to do them justice.)

It isn't done yet, but it's coming along better than my previous one. I plan to make quite a few, partly to get the hang of it (making headdresses is harder than we've been led to believe, as Victoria Suzanne of Lolita Charm pointed out in this post), and partly because I intend to have a vast, darkly beribboned collection of them. Vast, I say. Along with my collection of lace-up boots and frilly parasols.

I'll add a crocheted lace edging on top of the ruffle (to hide the ribbon edges), and to that end I've been learning to crochet. I was attempting this edging pattern, but I've realized I need a lot more knowledge of the craft before I can do something that complicated (sigh). So I think a simpler pattern will be just as nice, especially for a practice headdress.

For the longest time I've wanted to make a shiro corsage out of some things I had laying around, and I finally have.

I love the way it turned out, if I do say so! I mostly part ways with JoAnn's when it comes to lace, but I love this lace. It's the roses that do me in. <3 I made wristcuffs out of the rest of the lace and some of that white-embroidered ribbon you see on the bow, but I don't have fastenings sewn onto them yet so I'll wait to dazzle you with worn pics.

Now, the disheartening news.

My samples from Dharma Trading Co came, and they're nice, but not as heavy and/or drapey as I'd hoped for. Partly my problem is just figuring out what type of fabric I'm looking for (a surprisingly difficult task). So far I'm intrigued by this fabric at Favorite Fabrics. The vines are so pretty! I like working with plain fabrics better than prints, but I don't at all mind (in fact, I love) having a swirly intricate print as long as it's black on black.

Thankfully, we have some lightweight black suiting fabric that my mother has decided not to use, and it looks like I can use that for the bodice. Of the samples, I like the rayon challis best (it's quite soft and supple) so I'll probably pair that with a lining for the skirt.

I'll also be keeping an eye out for promising material and so forth when I go to the thrift store in a little bit...but I'll save that for another post.

Anyway,  if anyone has any suggestions as to where I can find good quality black fabric, do let me know!
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