Sugar and spice, but not necessarily nice.


August album feature and theme, go!!

So, those who actually watched through the videos in the last post, you know what this is about. I'm basically making a format for me to be more active in this blog by featuring an album of choice for the month and a theme to make coordinate ideas over, as well as a monthly big post, illustrated as usual, and a vlog post. Any events will be reported on, as well, mainly meet-ups and/or cons I go to, as well as personal outings that could inspire a meet. I'm also going to do a seasonal wishlist of what's going on with brands and possibly a monthly off brand look out, though this month won't have it as I think I really ought to do that at the start of the month and it's already the 11th.

Anyhow, with the albums, I'm going to now change up the playlist on the side to feature songs from that album, as well as some other songs to go with the theme, so have a listen! I'm making it a mixed playlist still, because 1) I find it more interesting that way and 2) you can go buy/download it yourself.

So, the album this month is No Doubt's Return of Saturn. This album is big for me, 'cause it's the first new album I bought in 2000, and the end of the '90s was a big deal for me; I had just become a teenager and the real figuring out of what I was and wanted to do started. Return of Saturn was fitting 'cause it kinda themed around the feel of figuring out everything as life changes, more than the big break up focus of Tragic Kingdom. Also, it was the last album of No Doubt's that I like over all (Rock Steady didn't quite do it for me). Overall, it just has this awesome appeal of being melancholy but also bright, poppy and girlish.

The playlist for the month in full is:
  • Ellie Goulding - Under the Sheets (Baby Monster Remix)
  • No Doubt - Suspension Without Suspense
  • No Doubt - Six Feet Under
  • Xaphoon Jones - the Jackson Pit (it's a mashup of Jackson 5's Want you back and Passion Pit's Sleepyhead)
  • No Doubt - Magic's in the Makeup (Acoustic)
  • M-flo and Chemistry - Now or Never (Astrosexy Mix)
  • No Doubt - Bathwater
  • No Doubt - Artifical Sweetener
  • Kouda Kumi - Twinkle (English Version)
  • Goldfrapp - Ooh La La

So, here's a coordinate based on the album art:

Yeah, those were the days of bright pink-haired Gwen. Like the playlist, this is the sweetest/poppiest thing I've coordinated for lolita. I desperately covet Dream Sky in navy and it's the first thing I thought of when I decided to make Saturn the featured album. I pulled out the deeper pink and lavender from the print and threw in a bit of sporty/skater punk influences with the rest of the coordination.

Outfit rundown-
  • Hoodie, skirt, sneakers and the blue bow clip are all Angelic Pretty
  • Purple long sleeve shirt is Dreamv
  • Shirts on the side are Uniqlo x Disney and one from the Uniqlo x Milk collection
  • Socks are from Sock Dreams (alternately, I like these more)
  • Other hair clip and star bracelet are from MintyMix
  • Nails from Sephora by O-P-I
  • Lip color is Stilla's lip color in Intriguing (they don't sell the liquid kind anymore, though)
  • Bag is from Journey (You can find many like it from Fydelity, and the speakers are real)
  • Wig is from that Taobao shop I got my birthday wigs from

As for the over all theme for the month, I've settled on space-based sci-fi and fandom with lolita. Largely because I'm watching Doctor Who and not getting down from my Otakon high still. So, nerdy lolitas: this is for you.



Now that that's done, here are the lengthy reviews and more of my rambling.

First, Forever21 stuff, my relevant opinions regarding replicas and such, and then unpacking. All this was this, mind, just upon observing and a first time trying on in the pics added later. I haven't worn the Taobao wigs out yet, nor tested them for heat, which they are supposed to be resistant to.

And here are the wigs worn:

The first wig is from Wigs & Plus in Manhattan. Some of the wigs they sell there are available on 123Wigs, but I can't find the one I have there. Their Miko wig is pretty similar, though, even though it's not synthetic. Over all, I give it a 5 out of 5. It got a lot of compliments during the con and several people thought I actually cut my hair again.

The second and third I still have yet to really wear out, partially due to the weather, but the first one is growing more on me each time I try it on. I still have to play around with the second one and my eyebrow issue, but from just their look and quality, they both get a 4.8 from me.

On to the clothes!

Unsurprisingly, I can't find either of my Forever21 purchases, as they were from mid July. This means I can't give any links and I'm also extra stuck with the dress, since I seem to have lost the receipt. I'm going to quickly cover them anyhow.

This thing doesn't fit me so well. Largely, it's my fault as I have a bad habit of not trying on things when I shop frequently on the store and I'm certain I want the item. I only try on things at Forever21 when I'm nervous that they won't flatter me in general. Let this be a lesson to me.

It's not horrible though, and considering the cost, this with the belt isn't the worst purchase to make with what will be my last F21 buy for an unforeseeable time. Plus, the belt makes it a world better. It can only improve with a cardigan or similar garment to cover the fact that the arm hole is a bit big on me. Worse comes to worse, I'll trade it with a friend or something.

On to the Infanta!

Now, I'm not going to show the petticoat without a skirt, 'cause that really tells you nothing about what it's supposed to do. It's this petticoat in black and more or less looks as it does on the website.

Pardon the messy mirror, too.

In hindsight, I probably should have also gotten a pic of the skirt without the petti, but you'll see a good poof/no-poof comparison when I go over the dress. Here, it's with the shorter, old Bodyline skirt I mentioned in the video that I still like, and while I did pull it up higher just a bit, it doesn't show. I also tried it a little longer, and while I didn't take a picture, the lace isn't so bad with a bit of peak. It's higher quality than the Bodyline lace, too. It gives just the right amount of poof, too, since I like a little cupcake shape, but not too much. Depending on where I put it on my waist and other pettis, it does quite a lot and doesn't die easily in the day, even after I've squashed it in a duffel bag, as Otakon has proven. I give it a 5 out of 5.

And here is the dress. It's very, very comfortable and fits well on my body. I was nervous about the fit, since I have a bigger bust and I actually went slightly smaller in that department to deal with my waist measurement properly, but the material has a bit of stretch, so everything fit fine. My only issues with it –and you can't clearly see it here– is firstly that the brooch needs an extra pin or two to position it well. There's not enough structural support in the bow to really get the ends to really just sit on the dress, and I have no clue how they got it to do so on the model and dressform for the site unless they did pin it elsewhere.

The second issue, if you can see it here, is that the lining is a little transparent. I'm wearing a hot pink tank underneath and you can see the color peek through. Not a huge issue if you wear a black camisole or want a tiny hint of a different color top coming through, but still something to be aware of. It's an extra minor thing that I'm kind of neutral on, but they have two single chain, chains of thread as belt loops on the side. They're a little flimsy feeling, but easily dealt with if you just don't like them and not that noticeable if you just leave them be.

It wears great with out a petticoat for a work situation, though. Here it is again, poof-less and with a cardigan and my F21 belt.

Overall I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

For a shipping service, I used TaobaoSpree. Most issues had were more on my end with the fact that I was working with their spread sheet order form when I don't have Excel (I work on a Mac and Numbers wanted to be a pain with formatting). Communication was pretty clear and prompt and I got everything within two weeks of having it confirmed that my order went through with the Taobao shops, which was way faster than I was expecting. Their service fees are also is pretty reasonable, so I really was pleased over all and recommend them for anyone wanting to try Taobao for the first time.

That's all for now. I'm looking over stuff from Otakon and will be posting on that and the theme/album gig next week.

Also, changing that play list on the side now. Bye-bye, old playlist. I'll miss you!


Taking the Ita Out of Wa-Lolita and more on that raffle*

*AKA, That time where I cockblock Amber on that post about lolita and sex.

Holy shit, I don't know how much I can ask forgiveness for my epic absence. Remember that big gap of no posts in December? Kinda looked like this?

Yeah, due to a mystery virus that was going around my campus, two relapses, Anime Boston and very poor scheduling choices, my whole spring semester looked like that. Even as I'm typing this, I know there's a chance I won't be posting this until after the weekend (speaking of, I will get to the giant cock blocking of raffle ticket purchases from Paypal).

So, for the umpteenth, sorry for the silence in anything that doesn't involve me apologizing extra and trying to make money.

Ok, 'nuff o' that.

So, for most of us that aren't stuck in weather limbo or cooler climates, we're at that nice point of spring that sometimes feels like summer. Hell, a lot of us have just graduated or are running right into summer break. (Special shout to the lovely and awesome Yanise of the NYC lolis! You are now a certified animator! You can see the fruits of her literal basement dwelling hard studio work here at Amani's blog.)

Summery spring and actual summer for me mean three things, in regards to outings: street fairs, festivals and conventions. Earlier in the month, I enjoyed the Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanical (OMG, it wasn't as crowded with tourists on Saturday AND was lovely weather!) with our local lolitas, as well as some awesome visitors ('sup, Christina of Ramble Rori!). Surprisingly, there wasn't much in the way of wa-lolita, either by our group or by the cosplayers or visiting Long Island lolitas.

But they were there. A little.

Now, the wa style tends to be a bit cringe-worthy, and not just in lolita. Many cosplayers wear "kimonos" with poorly tied obis (I'm guilty of this when the main obi is made of soft fabric, tbh), and when it isn't worn well, nothing screams "weeboo" louder. Mixing it in lolita gets trickier in most cases, since you'll have beginning lolitas jump right into what is probably one of the hardest looks to work next to ero. At best, they'll be wearing a piece from Bodyline or a sacrificial yukata they cut up as according to this old tutorial (both acceptable, but the most commonly seen style of wa and this blog is about bluntness and mixing it up). Worst case, they did the later with a poorly hacked Chinatown "silk" kimono they got for $10 without realizing how much satin can fray when you don't zigzag or surge the fuck out of it, not to mention the oozing of $1 bin chemical lace from the craft store.

Or they're throwing random traditional Japanese accessories into the mix. Like clunky geta. With tube socks. Yes, I've seen this.

The sad thing about this it that it results in making it difficult to wear wa-lolita items outside of Japan. We always tell ourselves that we can only do it for cons and festivals, and even then, a lot of us shy from it. It's difficulty to wear and it's high rate of complete weeboo fail make a lot of lolitas want to not wear it. We deem it too costumey.

We forget that the same things can be said about lolita as a whole, and that certain styles should really not be judging on the costumey thing in the least. I'm looking at you, Over-the-Top Anything.

The truth of the matter is that wa-lolita can be very fun and elegant if, like the rest of lolita, we consider the taste levels. It's a style that I want to seriously wear more often and be no less ashamed of than lolita in general.

So, let's start off with some general tips:

Knock that synthetic satin shit out.

I don't care if you even actually got it in Narita International Airport and the print is soundly more elegant. If it is made of flimsy synthetic satin instead of silk and it cost under $60, it will not look that good altered for lolita. If you still insist on doing it, you better have a serger, a thick skin and be a fashion and design god, 'cause I have extreme difficulty believing that it'll look good.

Keep balance in mind

If you have a print, especially a busy kimono print, you want to go extra light on the lace. It will look super busy if you put too much lace on where there is a lot going on in the print, as a lot of kimono prints have, and this is the absolute last style you want that issue with.

You can get kimono print fabric, if you are making your own piece, in some quilting sections and through kimono retailers.

You don't have to go and buy a ready-made yukata or kimono and tear it up to make a wa-outfit. It's a great shortcut if you aren't that skilled a seamstress or are pressed on time to do that. However, if you are good at sewing or you are commissioning someone else to make it, you can also get a nice kimono or kimono-inspired fabric in several quilting sections that aren't all dragons and geisha and kanji you don't know. Check out the novelty print section, too. Just keep in mind that you may need to line it, since quilting cotton isn't as heavy as some apparel cottons.

You can also easily get a bolt of actual yukata or kimono fabric. The bolts can be pretty cheap if you look right (though a lot of them to ship straight out of Japan, so keep that shipping cost in mind). I got a brand new bolt of yukata fabric for about $13 through eBay. There are also cut but incomplete kimonos you can buy through online auctions. The fabric is put together with long dart stitches that you can easily cut just to obtain the fabric panels. Just keep in mind, if you go this route, that kimono fabric bolts are woven narrow, unlike the longer bolts we produce in the west. They're about as wide as a kimono sleeve is (from shoulder seam to the hem of the wrist).

As with all lolita, accessorize accordingly.

This does not mean wear those awful, un-lacquered samurai geta they wear in Bleach. If you do want traditional Japanese footwear, invest in a nice pair of zori or a more feminine pair of geta and if you need a split-toed sock, wear them with taller tabi or toe socks. You can get plain OTK tabis through Sock Dreams. Regular lolita shoes work just as well, though. Granny boots with hakama are also a common look, so boots are also good.

Incorporating traditional hair pieces with lolita ones, though? Always a good plan. Keep the neckline in mind for necklaces, though.

Don't wear friggin' geisha makeup. You're probably doing it wrong anyhow.

We don't white face in EGL and we won't be doing it in wa, either. If you want to make an homage to geisha with your wa-lolita outfit, just stick to matte red lips and black eyeliner, please, and keep your lines neat.

Ok, now that we have that defined, there are two main incarnations of wa-lolita: the mini-kimono style and the motif look. When I say "motif look", I'm of course talking about lolita clothes using kimono prints and traditional Japanese motifs, but not the actual shaping of a kimono as it's based. This is wa-lolita's safe haven, more often than not.

The mini-kimono is the style that pops into mind first when talking about wa-lolita. This look, however, tends to be why wa-lolita suffers a serious case of cookie cutter, costumey fashion. It often ends up being literally just a kimono with a flared skirt and peticoat, with a biased hem being the best hope for variety in the look in most cases.
We forget that there are a lot of different looks to a kimono itself that isn't taken advantage of in wa-lolita, and sticking to style only makes it appealing with a sweet, gothic or gyaru-inspired motif when we step away from traditional Japanese-inspired prints. But, if we take into consideration hakama, different styles of obi-tying, jinbei, the changes of clothing in the Meiji period, and combinding it with we can obtain many more looks, including some boy-styles. Some of these looks can come off as more subtle, too, which makes it easier to wear as a style outside of festivals and events.

There are also, of course, full kimonos you can wear, but this is more so kimono with lolita influence than wa-lolita. Now, with using Japanese motifs in more conventional lolita shapes, there is still a lot of exploration that isn't taken advantage of, even by the craftiest of lolitas. For those who want to take a stab at it, though, here are some ideas:

  • Cutsews with appliques of traditional motifs (i.e. kokeshi dolls, origami, plum and cherry blossoms.)
  • Dresses that feature a panel of more decorative kimono fabric, similar to this Twinkle Journey jsk by Meta.
  • accessories made with chirimen crepe fabric or origami
  • for more sweet looks, you can make accessories with miniatures or erasers of traditional treats like dango.
  • Combine the look of common lolita hair accessories with kanzashi (the traditional flower pins, sometimes with metal tassels).
So, to finally conclude my point, wa-lolita, just like the old school black and white look, isn't inherently an awful ita mess. It only can look bad based on who's wearing it and how, just like any other style of lolita.

But please, still try to stay away from this.


Now, on that raffle... I hate to do this again, but I only had two purchases before Paypal informed me that I was promoting illegal gambling. So I'm again extending the raffle to June 11th (one week after Lolita Day) so that more people can enter. However, due to the fact that raffles count as gambling, I can't use Paypal for direct ticket purchases.

There is, however, a loop hole that is win-win for all**:

I have a lot of bookmarks left over from the convention. They're cute, printed on archival cardstock and have a ribbon looped on the top, coordinating with the design. The three I sold at the con look like this:

So that's Meowth, Sailor Moon and Chibitalia with Holy Roman Empire. I am also going to print up some bookmarks using the two lolita prints that are included in the raffle lucky pack.

If you buy one bookmark (which I marked down from the con price to $2), you will automatically be entered for one ticket in the raffle. If you buy more than one, I will put you in for three. Everyone gets some!

Design Options

**For the two who already purchased tickets: just let me know if you want in on this too, and I'll throw it in at no extra charge.



Ok, so I made this bag of goods to raffle at Anime Boston, but because it wasn't a giant plus mustache and I was sharing a six foot table with two others, I wasn't able to garner enough attention to it, although I pushed ticket sales. There are as of now only seven tickets sitting in the raffle bin belonging to three people which doesn't make for terribly fair odds, so I've informed those in the raffle that I will be extending the contest to by followers here. The raffle will end the 21st of May, when I'll announce the winner here and promptly ship it out. To be absolutely fair, I'm keeping the prices exactly the same as they were at Anime Boston: $2 for a single tickets and $5 for three. The bag's contents are roughly worth ~$60-70 and all my own design, save the awesome (but still a plastic shopping) bag you'll be getting it all in.

So, content!

Here's the aforementioned shopping bag the pack is wrapped in, from Search & Destroy in St. Marks, NYC. I thought it fitting, given the nature of my blog.

This is the tank I made. It has two actual bows sewn on and has a rough, unfinished edge. I modeled the pattern from a Charlotte Ruse tank I adore, and you get the bonus of it being made of better, opaque fabric with a very cute print. I wear about a US size 4-6 and I made it bigger, so it should be around a US size 6-8.

This is a set of bows I made to compliment the tank. It has both the headband and a set of the hair ties. I seriously wish I could have found more of this fabric to make my own, too, but I only have enough left to make maybe one medium sized clip.

Here's that necklace I previewed down below, hung over the tank to give a decent idea of how long it is, as well as a close up of the Y-section of the rosary.

I'm going to actually upgrade this bracelet to having a suede band instead of the ribbon if the winner wants before shipping it out.

These were really fun to design. The large button in the lolita badge set says "Lolita Not Dead", while the dear image is a parody of Angelic Pretty's Milky-chan and the Sex Pistols' "Who Killed Bambi?" graphic. The other set is Panty's Backless gun and Stockings Stipe 1 & 2 katanas.

Last pair of items: Because it was an actual art table I started this at, I'm also including these mini prints of lolita themed watercolors. They're about 5x7 on cardstock and more saturated in color (I desaturated them for the preview image).

So, yeah. Raffle again goes until May 21st. $2 a ticket, 3 for $5. Button downstairs.

Edit: It would appear that purchasing raffle tickets are against Paypal policy... crap. Any help is good?