Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Learning & Sharing Things To Lift Spirits

For many who do not know, I have a very strong musical background. I studied music, its theory, practice, and history, from the time I understood that playing by ear was a thing and would drive my parents insane by being in the “forbidden” front room where the old old piano, from the World’s Fair was, and tinkering away. Putting both hands together to force my audio-processing-deficient brain to wrap around over-played pieces by Beethoven and Mozart (which repetition does aid in learning, so I’m not too upset by those going round). Then on into college where I did study under two different virtuoso/prodigy musicians (not that I am ANY good, goodness, I’m AWFUL), but I’m saying I have and still am dedicated and love it. I have been very privileged because of all that.

I feel like a bad music student stock photo

Because of my love, my newest print, that I have had thankfully more time to work on, putting sweat, tears, and blood into, will be about music. Yes, it will still be dark. No, it has nothing to do with that crass sod Mozart. Regardless, I hope that people will be pleased and intrigued when it debuts, next year. 

That's just a tiny teaser, if you will permit me my fun.

This is not a related piece, just me being sharing that I'm terrible at piano.

During the last few months, with our push for the safety and lives of black people and striving to do what can be done to just be one to help raise another’s voice, I have put aside my practices as needed. I’ve been unable to listen to music I love, as listening to the world is required when out, and is important in basic conversation. But because I have been listening to others, and seeing a few posts about music composers of the classical era and back, it has been brought to my attention that people DONT know of the few wonderful Black composers who were able to break through social and racial barriers, withstanding white-washing (I can go into the white-washing, if you'd like, but that's a VERY long post and I'm happy to share later) and minstrelism (a whole other can of worms that people need to stop being like "Oh but they made their way through that." I'm sorry, but say that out loud and listen to the words you just said), that could bring very much needed light and comfort to one’s heart.

Music, theatre, the arts, and even frivolous fashions that spark creativity are needed to make a human thrive. They ease our hearts and make us healthier, and help us endure times of great unrest. 

So I would like to share one composer, whom I hold dear to my heart, for his catchy compositional style, one of his preferred musical instruments that I, too, play (the violin...but again, I’m dreadful), and for his composition and playing technique, that could very well bring levity to your frilly heart. 

So lift your spirits, put that face mask back on when heading out into the fray, do NOT forget this is still happening, and learn. 

His name was Francis Johnson. A man who played the bugle, the Kent bugle to be exact, and violin and had his music rooms strewn with many instruments that he could play. He composed many a cotillion piece and was the first African-American to have his sheet music published. 

To be precise he had over 200 pieces published, some have been archived in the archives in the Library of Congress. Back when he lived, his pieces were considered very fashionable to be played and moreso to be performed by his traveling orchestra. He played for General Lafeyette on his return to the states and for the Queen of England. 

Johnson was a highly sought after musician to hear, even creating the extended technique of singing WHILE playing. It is an extremely difficult technique and to hear it is a treat, it's often done in jazz orchestras and small bands of similar musical styles. So needless to say, the man was mighty and impressive. If you were anyone of anyone, you NEEDED to have an audience with Francis Johnson. 

Unfortunately, time isn't kind, whiteness isn't good and buries others and erases people from history; out of the general eye, until other peoples' history is all but eviscerated. It's difficult to learn much about Francis Johnson unless you know where to look, or are a music major with access to documents. I do highly encourage learning more, listening more, and breathing new life into stories that should not be lost. 

Be safe. Be kind. Educate yourself.

#blacklivesmatter #blacklivesstillmatter #francisjohnson #blackhistory

Saturday, May 23, 2020

LBC: 5 Surprise Finds You Didn't Realize You Would Like So Much

There are things in lolita fashion that we see and go "I need and want that, I love it..." and we sometimes get them and it all works out, with hopefully only a handful of regretful purchases. Then there are the things we pick up in this fashion that we're just only so~so with and find out they really suit us, compliment our wardrobes, and are so much better than anticipated. This week on the Lolita Blog Carnival, we discuss what pieces really made more of an impact in our like/love column than we'd thought.

I have a very classic and goth style heavy wardrobe, I wear a lot of hats and bonnets and incorporate a lot of antique and vintage pieces in my coords, a lot of things should feel like a no~brainer, but then there are things I'm hesitant of. There are things that I've bought on a whim, thinking that they'll do fine but not expecting such results.Then there are gifts that have made me equally unsure, almost like I'm not sure I can get them to work for me, even though they are all lovely. (I am still unsure of my coordination skills.) But time and time again, I have found myself going back to these pieces and think that I can hardly imagine going without.

I am not going to lie, I loved this jsk when I first saw it, thought it was wonderful, but was SO nervous about whether or not it would work out for me. I didn't think it would fit my style at the time, which was rather chaotic then, and was leary of everything about it because I didn't look at it and think "I need to have this!" It's turned into one of the pieces I through on often, paired with a certain overdress in this list that I had the same feelings over too, and I am so glad I got this. I wear it often and I have a great deal of fun pairing it with all sorts of accessories and head pieces. 

<3 Vintage Headdress <3

This headdress that I got in a box from my nana's neighbor ages ago. She used to wear it, as it was the style when she was younger, and I kept it for longer than I was in the fashion because it was neat. I didn't think I'd ever really wear it but I found it tucked away and tried it out and kept liking the results. I add flowers to the sides, bows, and all sorts of things, or even just wear it plan, but I've really loved the results it yields. This is definitely one of those pieces I wear very often and never thought I would.

<3 Recipe For The Endless Dream Shirly Jsk <3

This jsk exceeded expectations. I did not like the cut very much, as high~waisted dresses never seemed like they would flatter me, and even still I feel the need to alter them and make them natural waisted, but I've feel I dress them well. I also LOVE when I can make them look a little more regency era styled, as dresses then tend to be cut this way, wearing less poof does fit well. I've found I've worn these, and ones in the same cut, more than I had ever anticipated.

<3 Vintage Hat <3

This hat, one of my purchases from my favorite antiques dealer, has been used far more than I had ever thought I'd wear it. When I'm in any coord that has a lot of black or some grey in it I tend to throw this on and it feels like it fits nicely. I added a floral pin to it and it worked out really well, and sometimes I add other little pins or fabric to make it match more, which is always fun and nice. Didn't expect I would use this one nearly as much as I do, at all.

<3 Fan+Friend Overdress <3

Can I make an ode to an overdress? Because I have feelings for this piece. It's glorious, comfortable, and - if you've checked out my instagram, you've seen it in countless coords - one piece I wish I had in all the colors. I may need to hunt down black and white, or just ones that are similar, but this is very much a staple for me. I know I've mentioned it's comfortable but it really is and looks so pretty with so many pieces, I can't get over it. It was a gift from Sweet Okashi and I can't get over how amazing it is, though I was doubtful how often I'd wear it at first (SHAME ON ME!).

So these are my top 5 surprise pieces that I loved more than simply liked more than I thought I would. If you are curious about what others have put up on their lists and would like to read what they've thought of their pieces, initially, you can check out their posts in the links below!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Purgatorio Day One & Two!

Hello all! I'm late! I'm late! With a very important update!

This is a strange update, so very last minute about sharing this here, but I'll be hosting a panel about afternoon tea in relation to lolita fashion for Paradiso's virtual meetup - Purgatorio!

Yesterday was already a wonderful endeavor, there was a virtual fashion walk with so many lovely coords and people, there were some great panels, and today is the last day, which I will cap off before the closing notes. I hope to see you there.

I did dress up for it, and in theme to some of the images of Purgatory, and today I will also be doing so.

I had a tough time deciding what would be a good coord, I already had an idea of what I wanted to doll myself up for my own panel, and fell into this slightly Hellish piece. I felt it was a good option as, even though it was dolls, souls were left to be 'dissected' and weighed before their judgement, while in Purgatory. The overskirt is a Triple Fortune overskirt that I thought gave it a nice 'veiled from the other side' look to it. Alright, we all know I'm a dork.

I absolutely threw on The Witch's Bonnet for that witchy vibe. And I tried for a slightly more hollowed makeup look that I think really work well for my unfortunate permanently bruised under-eyes (thanks genetics). 

My panel is Afternoon Tea in Relation to High Fashion at 7pm est, and will cover everything from past experiences, reception, what should be expected, and a lot more. I've also made the mistake of making tea time food...Hopefully, you'll find my panel informative and fun.

Anyway, you can watch the panels that have already happened on demand, but there are still so many that are about to begin in 15 minutes! Check us all out! 

Friday, May 15, 2020

LBC: Have A Friend Or Spouse Make A Coord For You

Our wardrobes are something many of us believe are very personal. We curate and alter them to our whims and needs and fancy them when we've brought in something new. It's for ourselves that we dress, our own entertainment. But this week for the Lolita Blog Carnival we've brought a little entertainment and interests to others and have someone else put together a coord for us.

I admit that this is the second or third time in my many years I've been in this fashion to do this. I don't really know why, as it's fun and interesting to see what other people would do. Anywho, I decided to take an interesting turn and go with MY MOM! She knows the fashion, I know she wants to wear the fashion and I'm just trying to get those last little pushes to get her to commit, and I can talk to her for hours while being frustrated with her trying to pick out a pair of socks. (We went through so many and I know I told her there was only 3 pairs of star socks that were applicable and showed her. But would she listen? NO!) XD

This ended up a pile on the floor of some of the viable options.
Tidied for my sanity and this photo.
It took a bit but eventually we settled on a dress, she went between classic and goth. The only despute really being mom doesn't like lighter colors and at first boxed herself in with an entire coord I wear fairly frequently. I only encouraged her to style the look differently and it ended up going completely South from the original idea.

The INSTANCE she said the one I took in the Michael's
flowers I knew she meant this one. She really liked this
So. My mom took a totally different route, went with a more goth piece from my own little brand. This dress was something she was really impressed with considering she and I both know I'm awful at art. She loved the idea of it, how the cut came out, and the colors. The neck part was she was set on a vest and high collar blouse, that was actually decided by her BEFORE the dress and then she remembered this dress. Finding the right blouse was what caused another mess.

The funniest and frustrating part of this was how I only further proved to myself that I need cute storage units to put my blouses in. They were all neatly folded on the shelf and, after rummaging through them to find the right blouse, they all ended up on the floor. Even with a step stool I'm too short to reach. And then my mom told me to clean my room...I'm not even going to tell you how hard I laughed at her or how many years it's been since I last was told. It was so clean before this video chat...

The next thing was jewelry and headwear. She really wanted to keep to more classic styles and have less jewelry worn, siting the rules of 'less is more,' and chose far less than I would usually wear but thought something could be added to the hat that I didn't think she would pick. She actually loved this hat over the other vintage pieces and we decided that I should add something to draw color in to the coord for balance.

Just a quick addition.
Back to the sock. Not only did it have us going back and forth and her hyper-focused on stars socks I only wished I had, we actually found this nice pair of pinstripes that she thought would work perfectly. 

The only other things left was doing hair and makeup, which I did myself. She said something akin to what I usually do, or that semi-Gibson Girl look. For the makeup, I feel like I knocked it out of the part and had maybe too much fun making my eyes do this. Getting that even undereye is so worth it but took so long! My mom 

The other hilarious thing about this, aside from the sock fiasco, was having my clothes chosen by my mother. She hasn't really done that since about the middle of elementary. I mean, she would be picky about what clothes I COULD wear, easily enough buying what she liked, so it wasn't complete free reign. And because I chose my mother for this endeavor I realized just how picky she actually is. Mom does love lolita fashion and would absolutely dive into aristocrat and goth if she had the chance (DO IT YOU COWARD!). She knows the brands and has always been supportive of my clothing choices, but always gravitates towards darker hues. She is hilariously opinionated about it and isn't a huge fan of sweet lolita (Though I am JUDGING you for liking my chocolate quartet coord, ma! SO MUCH JUDGEMENT!...doesn't like sweeter styles, my frilly a22! So sweet it involves chocolate in name and print.)

So the end results turned out pretty close to what I wear usually, but I had to stop halfway and question her as to whether or not this is what she would wear. She did straight up say that if she fit these clothes she would. I told her there was plenty of size options, so maybe ONE day. (And maybe one day I'll get this series back into a printing company to print properly, with all it's missing details, and can just make her one.

<3 Coord Rundown <3
<3 Jsk: The Bloody Tea Party
<3 Blouse: Innocent World
<3 Necktie: Putumayo
<3 Vest/Tights: Off brand
<3 Jewelry/Hat: Antique, vintage, The Bloody Tea Party (star bracelet)

If you're curious to see what other people came up with for this post you can check out their links below.

Friday, May 8, 2020

LBC: How Do You Enjoy The Fashion In Your Own Time

Honestly, lolita fashion has given me such joy in life. This may sound silly considering what conceptions of lolita and lifestyle lolita are, in particular, but when it came to clothes it was that certain something I had always been looking for. The idea that there was something elegant and lovely between Victorian era and historical fashions with a modern twist existed gave me a spark for life. It's small and simply and, at the very same time, not at all. This week, with the Lolita Blog Carnival, we explore how we individually enjoy the fashion in our own time.

In life we all have certain responsibilities, things that either prevent us from dressing as we wish, most of the time. I've lucked out in the past with my job in antiques stores that the owner has allowed me to wear whatever I've wanted, siting that the frills I tend to wear have really been something to behold. One other staff couldn't stop laughing and saying that it was just too fitting a style and kept psyching herself out while debating finding something that would actually suit her. (She's still toeing that line and, these days, says she wished she had took the leap. She is so close to picking out a classic lolita style skirt from a brand off taobao.) So I do get to wear frills at work and at home. I am lucky and privileged in this.

When it comes to how I enjoy it, in my own time, it's honestly a very relaxed thing. I find the only stressful thing about it is actually committing to an outfit for the day, weather and mood being the only real factors. When I don't have to go anywhere, or do much of anything, I immediately will crack out my tea cup and pot and maybe plate a bit of fruit or a dessert I've saved up for something special. Lately, even as I type this out, I'm on my porch looking out into the green that has sprung from my backyard. Being home daily I have looked and waited for the verdant leaves to come back into it's full glory, so that I may picnic and get some fresh air.

My picnic includes a small cake (that's truthfully too large for me), macarons, a poorly made scone, the sweetest strawberries I have ever tasted, and nutella and banana covered french bread, all paired with a berry tea that I'm enjoying while I alternate between reading The Beauty Spot, by de Musset, and doing some beadwork for a new necklace. I'm head to toe in pink frills, donning my first Triple Fortune bonnet, my pink tea dress I made ages ago, and even have out my pink handkerchief. If I were to ever feel anything like a pointless and out of touch aristocrat or royalty, it would be now, whiling away my hours on my little porch, listening to the sounds of the birds and orchestral music. I don't think people are allowed this much peace, when normal or sneaking away for a few hours.

It's not necessary normal for me, either, not with out an extreme concerted effort. Usually, it's tea at my table, no makeup or wigs, and writing away my hours for a job no one will ever be able to track down connections to me through. (It's nothing nefarious, but I'm not a very good writer, though I do try to be articulate.) But having moved, having this absolutely glorious weather, and trying my hardest to self-isolate during this pandemic, it has afforded me more of these moments.

Minor bouts of gardening may happen, from time to time.
(Mostly, just watering or checking for spots.) 

When it comes to the community, in the past, I have had the wonderful opportunity to engage with some of the most amazing and thrilling people, but I have easily been able to endure on my own. Thankfully, this community of ours seems to be thriving and engaging online with virtual meets and events and I've been able to see people more, though I miss in-person interactions with my more dear friends I have made through the comm. But, again, I have endured. The fashion is something I enjoy daily, and have been able to do so on my own, enjoying the little things. I hope that one day things will be able to return to meets where we get to go to historic mansions, tea parlors, and having people over to enjoy good food and the sounds of friends laughing and chatting.

If you'd like to read more, and learn how other's enjoy the fashion on their own time, you can check out their posts in the links below. If you are interested in joining us in the Carnival you can apply by answering the questionnaire on FB. You're blog has to be 3 months old, with 9 posts on lolita fashion. Your blog also has to be focused mainly on the fashion, but you simply have to add English, along with your native language, to your posts for the LBC, as it is an English based group.

Friday, April 24, 2020

LBC: Top Tips For Managing Your Wardrobe

One of the most frustrating things for me, over my very long years in this fashion(dear frilly trinity of Mana, Misako, and Midori, has it been 13 years?!), has been tending properly to my wardrobe. Making it cohesive and let it be everything that I dream for it to be. I try my best and over the last 5 years I believe I have a system that works for me. This weeks prompt for the Lolita Blog Carnival has taken the time to go over the tips and tricks that we use that work for us, hoping they may work for you too.

I actually started this off standing in my closet cleaning it up as I wear my frills daily, trying to tidy, I have to do it about once every week or so. Because of this, I've been able to get to understand myself a little better. How to tidy my space, what sort of pieces I want and what I need, what I need to make my space more manageable...what things I shouldn't be tempted to buy.

<3 Cute Storage Bins 4 Blouses <3

Okay, these are actually housing bonnets and wigs that aren't on wig stands.

This is a new plan. I am short, at 5'1" and that's fine but the fact that I don't want drawers to fold my blouses in, I've decided to sort of Mary Kondo my space that way. Hanging them up may be good but I would lose space. The drawers I've used in the past have been great but they aren't very tall and are best for things that fold and lay flat, which blouses and boleros and the like don't do with all the ruffled foofery. My fabric stash has taken over and so I've a new plan.

More hats...but the squares would be so cute for blouses.

And though hanging would be best, reducing wrinkles, I don't have that kind of space.

<3 Versatile Accessories <3 

Wearing frills as often as I do, I've found I don't like sticking to one style of lolita fashion. I wear mostly classic and goth lolita, delving into sweet on some occasion, so I need pieces that work for both. I have mourning and cameo jewelry that works well with both classic and goth, beaded pieces too, and because I don't have hardcore sweet I can often get away with some pearls and things with them.

Rosette chains and floral corsages and ribbonettes are something I find work with all. I have several of each and a wide variety of colors and styles. The only thing that makes it difficult is storage. I keep the medium to smaller sizes in my vanity dresser drawer, while my larger ones that double as hair pieces go in my headdress and bow drawer.

I tend to wear a lot of creams, reds, and black and so those are really the colors I use for head pieces. I store those all away in one large drawer along with detachable bows. I don't like them sitting on the dress being pulled or smooshed by the pressure from other dresses because they can get deformed. Laying them flat gives my mind ease. It may be a little extra step but I don't mind it.

<3 Make A Wardrobe Post <3

This is easy and rather fun to do, Lolibrary has an excellent function to go through and save your pieces in the wardrobe link. You can also do as I do and post your own to your FB or whatever platform you prefer, some do Amino too. But it helps keep more than a mental list of what you have, whether it's a large wardrobe or not, you won't have to do mental cartwheels when you're thinking about what you may want to wear because you can draw it up.

I have quite a few pieces so I'm never really able to rattle them off the top of my head, checking out my wardrobe post on my FB makes it easier. If you have the gumption to do an actual wardrobe post more power to you. (I'll get to that one of these days.) but the other thing it helps me with is planning out what I needed, without getting sidetracked from want. Being reminded that yes I need a white high collared shirt sleeved blouse is easy when I can see it’s not in my post.

Sometimes you may not find the original listings on Lolibrary but you can always just post your own pic this way. But that is also the wonderful thing about that sight is that you can help contribute information. Circling back to the reason why a physical post is great is that you can get the bigger picture that way, instead of standing in front of your own wardrobe thinking 'where am I going with this?!' It just really helps you be mindful of what you wear, and like.

The other good thing about doing an actual wardrobe post is that you can record where you've changed your tastes, keeping record in a way. I've never done one, though I've tried, there's just...a lot to work through. But I've been collecting for so long, wearing things as they strike me that day, and have only just really started to see how I would change things to be more me.

<3 Cleaning/Run Maintenance On Your Wardrobe <3

I really have so many hats...
I don't just mean tidying it away, hanging things up, and putting jewelry and headpieces back where they came from, I mean CLEAN YOUR CLOTHES! There are only 3 dresses that can't be washed in my closet, those needing dry cleaning do to being those evil but wonderful bleeding prints of yester-year. You don’t have to be so delicate and hand wash for hours if you have a washer from the last 5 years. You just need fabric softener, detergent, and an actual washing machine. Gentle cycle is Queen, mates. 

Put them on a spin cycle after it’s washed, you don’t need netted bags, and DO NOT do the pillow case trick! They’ll be fine! And clean! And if you used scented softener they can smell like flowers. Hand wash the ones you wish to take extra care of but the rest are fairly safe. Hang to dry but be aware that if you don’t dry elastics well enough, in a well ventilated space, this makes it rot. Steam or iron to prevent wrinkles. 

This dress, as with many other pieces, I have received second hand and in a little need of tlc. The straps had the bottons sew too low and the full back shirring experienced that technical difficulty I told you about, above. I had to go in, insert new elastics into the channels, and redo the buttons. It was great! But it doesn’t stop there. Checking over your garments every now and then is mighty important. It makes their wear last longer and really this fashion needs a little attention if we want them to look their best and feel great in them.

There is so much more, I could go on and on really, but I’ll stop for now. If you’d like to read more though, you can check out any of the other’s who partook in the Carnival and see what they do to organize their wardrobes. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

LBC: Create A Coord That Sparks Joy

Recently, the world has been in turmoil. Frightening us all with one thing after another, currently keeping many of us in enforced quarantine to help prevent making things worse, keeping us all safe. So for matters of trying to find that one little spark of light, the Lolita Blog Carnival is trying to bring a little frilly frivolity to our days, making a coord that sparks joy. This prompt was both ridiculously easy and difficult for me.

Really easy because wearing frills sparks joy for me. Getting up in the morning and thinking of pieces I have that I would really to wear for the day, when I used to work and errands and all, being frilly was just a nice icing on the cake sort of deal. But recently it's more to beat the blues.

With this coord I actually put it together for the #eglstaypril coordinate challenge, created by @thefabledfawn on Instagram. This was for day 8, Incorporate another J~fashion into your coord and I went with Mori style. I don't often go this hardcore with Mori but I LOVE it dearly. My life goal is to be a secluded little witch in the woods, harvesting plant leaves and flowers for tea, covering myself in flowers. 

I think I did an okay job of it. I also wanted to get a little bit of that Alphonse Mucha vibes for it, though I know I didn't do that well enough, can't get my hair to be that intense and fabulous, I just try my best.

In the end, I think I did good enough. Flowers and layers in everything down to my jewelry, detachable collar, and flower printed jsk. This may be one of my more favorite coordinates I've put together and it definitely sparks joy. It was also very comfortable too.

<3 Coord Rundown <3
<3 Jsk: Baby the Stars Shine Bright
<3  Overdress: Fan+Friend
<3 Blouse: Innocent World
<3 Floral Corsage/Headchain: The Bloody Tea Party
<3 Floral Headdress: Sweet Mildred
<3 Flower Ring: Puvithel
<3 Other Jewelry: Antique and Vintage pieces

If you're curious what other people have coordinated that sparks joy for them, you can check out their posts in the links below. If you're interested in JOINING us for fun times and blog with the carnival, you can check out the group page. The rules are simple, answer the prompt with your blog, it must be 3 months old and be primarily lolita fashion, have 9 posts, and that's it. You need to write your prompt in your native tongue accompanied by an English translation. Hope you blog with us!