Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DreamV Dress Review + OOTD

I've talked about the DreamV Plumprimo released, but I only recently took the plunge and actually placed an order with DreamV in a group order with friends to save on shipping costs. I wanted to do a quick review and recap of the dress I received. <3

Shipping: Since I was ordering with a group of friends, I had to wait a bit longer for the item to ship out since they had items which were on pre-order. As a note, DreamV will sometimes delay the release of pre-order items past the announced date, so don't be shocked if the ship time pushes forward. Once the items actually shipped, they arrived within a few days via EMS shipping. 

Accuracy of description: I ordered the Alice in Wonderland themed jumper skirt with the words 'Dear My Love Princess in Wonderland...' written in lovely script across the bodice. The item is from DreamV's Dear My Love collection which features items that lean closer to a sweeter, princess feeling than some of their more gyaru centered lines.

The dress I received was nearly exactly as seen from the photos on the model. The lettering was just as crisp as shown on the modeled dress and slightly raised. My main qualm was with the way the bow at the center of the dress has a tendency to hang when worn. I wouldn't have as much of a problem with that as I'm very used to detaching the middle bow from lolita dresses when I can't get them to sit correctly, but the bow on the Alice dress is not detachable. The waist ties are also not detachable which is a feature I would have preferred but having them be attached isn't a deal breaker for me.

Quality: I don't have any real issues with the quality of the dress. While having little special touches like lace detailing around the shoulder straps would have been nice, I find the quality to be great for the price of around 40 USD. 

Fit of the item: While ordering, I was concerned that I would not appropriately fit the dress as the listed measurements are below mine for even the 3L which is the size I ordered. Knowing how Japanese vendors tend to list the minimums, I decided to take the plunge and order anyway, encouraged by pictures of full back shirring. 
The fear was real.
My worried were quickly allied when I actually tried the dress on. I was really pleased with the overall fit on me and had no struggle getting in or out of the dress. The fabric is somewhat thin, however, so having raised buttons on my blouse caused a bit of odd wrinkling on the front bodice, so I would recommend wearing the dress with something smoother like a cutsew. The length was also very appropriate, leaving me without the worry of my skirt barely covering my hind side. 
My actual ootd for the piece.
Dress: DreamV
Wig: l-email
Tights: The Snow Field
Blouse: offbrand unknown
Shoes: Shoe Carnival
Would I recommend the item? Definitely. The piece is great for days when I want to feel a little fancier but without the full effort that goes into a lolita coordinate.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mail Post: What I'm Waiting For Right Now, May 2014

With Anime Weekend Atlanta coming up in a few months, so many cool brand releases like AP's Crystal Dream Carnival and IW's Lotta re-release coming up, AND my increased determination to actually save up for my wedding, I actually bought a good deal less than usual in the past month. However, I do have a few things that I'm currently waiting on in the mail of interest so I'd like to share with you below.

HEARTSREVOLUTION is an indie band which I found out about after Esther Kim mentioned their latest album on her instagram related to the #memyselfieandi gallery. I've liked what I've heard of the music so far, but I won't lie that the main attraction of the album to me is the interesting cover art complete with a hot pink crayon and coloring book. I'm a sucker for interesting packaging, so I actually ordered a physical copy of the CD instead of just purchasing Ride or Die on iTunes.

Even though I don't own Krad Lankrete's dress which would match perfectly with these tights, I had to have a pair of R-Series' Luna in the Sea tights. Above is my photo which Taobao Spree provided me with as proof before shipping. I love the jellyfish motif which continues on both sides of the tights along with the mysterious waning moon down the other side. I actually placed a pre-order a long while ago for them, but they're just now shipping in late May.
My interest in dolls is continuing to flair up after my recent Toy Parade Byul purchase. The above is a Jun Planning Ai doll, Nerine. Jun Planning before going bankrupt released an adorable set of floral named ball jointed dolls cast in plastic rather than resin which makes them much more affordable, coming in at $30 plus shipping for many of the dolls on Amazon right now. The only small annoyance is that since her line wasn't a major one, I doubt I'll be able to fit her into many pre-made clothes so I'll likely be stuck sewing on my own for her if I ever want to change her out of her set or finding a rare Hujoo baby outfit since that line seems to be the closest to her sculpt from what I've seen perusing Flickr. 
Finally, I am waiting on a cat faced zip pouch from ebay to arrive... still. I actually ordered the item in late April but the item has been stuck on "Origin Post is Preparing Shipment" for about two weeks. *sigh* I'm glad that it's at least not an imminent need for any coordinate I was planning, or I'd be more rustled at the postal system. 

Do you have anything interesting you're waiting on in the mail? I'd love links to other blog posts or recent Youtube videos. Also let me know if you're interested in a review of any particular item I have coming in the mail at the moment. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Thoughts On Achieving the Lolita Lifestyle In Modern Society

The Cloistered Maiden Beside American Puritanical Ideals 
The phrase 'lifestyle lolita' evokes imagery of a young maiden clad in a dress of lace and ribbon. She sits beside her slightly open window, sipping British tea while a slight breeze wafts into her bedroom. The world revolves around her window with her eyes lightly observing each passerby whether it be the mailman with his gentle whistle and satchel of packages or a simple squirrel scurrying up a tree, cheeks laden with nuts. Perhaps her soft hand lies upon a book whose pages are well worn from the touch of her hands throughout the years, yellowed by the passage of time.

The above idea has appeal yet is contrary to the typical American lifestyle which I have as my basis of comparison. Based on ideals of individual perseverance and hard work, the American dream instead emphasizes the ability of a person to rise while working hard at their chosen career, pushing constantly at the boundaries of their physical endurance while raising children in the background and attempting to save for retirement which at best usually consists of sunny years spent in Florida.

With the above American vision being the surrounding culture especially in my area of the conservative South, I often struggle with feelings of being an outlier and wonder how to reconcile in a lolita lifestyle while not only working in corporate America but also functioning as a web development programmer, a field typically bereft of feminine touch. For some, lolita acts only as a fashion and a way of dress in their lives, but I have often desired to live more akin to the maiden above albeit with a laptop and iPod also at my side. How then, do I become a lifestyle lolita? Can I even become a lifestyle lolita surrounded by the pressures and high paced lifestyle of the modern world?
What Does Being a Lifestyle Lolita Mean?

As the first step, I need to put forth what being a lifestyle lolita even means to begin with. I would put a Merriam-Webster style definition here if I had one. Often, a lifestyle is more easily defined when examining what the self described participants in the lifestyle engage in consistently. A 2005 entry from egl lists out 101 ideas for lifestyle lolita to participate in. In essence, the suggestions of the list mostly embody Victorian ladylike habits. Pressed flower journals, trips to centers of culture like museums and libraries, sewing and embroidery, baking and tea: all of which contain an essence of properness and lofty etiquette. Notably, the list strays a bit from purely Victorian ideas and mentions watching anime such as Rozen Maiden and taking a pilgrimage to Japan, the birth place of lolita fashion as we commonly know the movement today.
F Yeah Lolita's Miss Caro-chan wrote an article detailing the idea of the 'pure maiden' in lolita culture. She describes earlier days of lolita with the taking up of some lolita hobbies being just not encouraged but a must for the budding community member in an era where actual Japanese brand clothing was extremely hard to acquire. Miss Caro-chan also details how even though the pure maiden was never confirmed to really exist, she nonetheless holds a place in her heart as the ultimate lolita one would hope to be in the early days of the fashion. Though the standard may not be achievable by the vast majority of lolitas, she is a distant jewel, a perfect girl to always strive towards in the pursuit of a suitably frilly lifestyle.
So, You Think You Want To Be A Lifestyle Lolita by Parfait Doll emphasizes the importance of the individual defining what the lifestyle is to themselves and mentions the dangers of limiting the expression of oneself simple because an act would contradict with their outside image as a lolita. Rather than going by strict rules, the approach emphasized is to figure out what the lifestyle lolita herself desires, for what reasons, and then pursue those goals in earnest, intuitively reaching out for what makes the individual feel. I found the idea of customization to the needs of the particular lolita to be important to being able to achieve a lolita lifestyle in general society. As individuals who are immersed deeply in a world of technologies, the emphasis on being able to pursue the lolita lifestyle and not being any less lolita for other activities is freeing. In my personal life, then, my love of technology and interest in programming and video games would not detract from my lolita lifestyle, only the activities I indulge in such as drinking tea and sketching in my spare time would contribute to a positive sum total.
Ultimately, then, what do the above three articles and my own personal thoughts lead to be defining the lifestyle lolita as? The concept is ultimately too varied to have a perfect hard definition, but I would lean towards defining a lifestyle lolita as:
A person involved with lolita fashion who takes elements from Victorian era culture and modern Japanese fashion culture and attempts, to varying degrees, to merge the aforementioned elements into her daily life.
I think the above encompasses many of the various standards of lifestyle lolita including the amount of variability which can occur in the amount that an individual adopts the movement. Being a lifestyle lolita is therefore not a binary switch but instead a matter with many tiers of gradation and individual taste.
Reconciling The Lolita Dream To The American Reality
Taking the above, a lifestyle lolita can then stray as far as she needs from the much more strict idea of maidenhood that the introduction described. Achievement of the lolita lifestyle does not become a task which can be readily judged by the outside world but instead is dependent upon the inner world of the lolita. While the dressing in uncommon clothes and partaking in self centered hobbies may then come into conflict with some parts of the culture of America, the individual lolita is free to push against the boundaries as much as she comfortably feels and still be able to hold precious her identity as a lifestyle lolita. The lolita who works in corporate America and fears that she won't be able to advance in her job because of a perceived 'frivolous' nature in her manners can then still be a lifestyle lolita with subtle hints such as Japanese phone charms, Victorian styled jewelry accents and a cup of tea instead of the usual coffee as her desk every morning. She could also maintain a floral themed room or perhaps have a large collection of dolls which she cherishes in the privacy of her home. The ability to achieve such an individually tailored life, to me, is what embodies the true core of the American dream: the freedom of an individual to choose their path. After much pondering, then, the lolita lifestyle suddenly seems much closer in reach. One simply has to find it.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Dollish Dreams: My Angelic Pretty Byul Doll

Soon after getting into lolita, I began to see beautiful dolls also clad in dresses from lolita brands and also read F Yeah Lolita's article on ball jointed dolls (bjd). At the time, I deliberately turned my attention away from the topic since I knew I wouldn't be able to afford to buy basic lolita pieces along with dolls at the same time. Every so often, I thought about them, imagining them to be another great component of the lifestyle lolita. Entering my post college life with a more filled out lolita wardrobe and a more filled out wallet, I can finally begin to turn my attention to other interests more. When I saw a Byul doll clad in Toy Parade up for auction last week, I jumped on top of the opportunity with clicking abandon.
As you can see, I clearly need to look up some guides on how to tame the frizz in her hair. But I'm enamored with her details. The purse that she carries can be opened and has tiny little star charms attached to the zipper. Her striped socks are soft while her shoes are made of a hard plastic with a soft ribbon to lace up her legs. 
The dress isn't made of the thick cotton fabric or lace that I typically notice in AP's dresses which is a bit disappointing especially in the case of the lace, but as I'm unversed in the ways of doll clothes construction perhaps a lighter fabric is needed in order for the dress to be properly constructed at a much smaller scale.
That's really my only complaint, though. Beneath the dress, she even has a small petticoat along with a pair of bloomers. The head bow she wears is adjustable so that when it feels loose on the doll I simply have to pinch the sides back in for the band to fit against her head again. 

A switch on the back of her head enables her to move her eyes from side to side. Her eyes also have sweet lolita star detailing, a great motif to pair with sweetness of the dress. The look is completed by lovely makeup (or faceup in this case) which provides a lovely blushing look with a soft pinkish sheen to her lips. 

I'm glad to own Byul, a sweet little member of the Pullip family. I hope to acquire Dal Maretti, a sweet girl wearing Wonder Party sometime in the near future. I've already been trying to bid on and acquire Toy Parade so that I can match the doll that I already have. Unfortunately, the long sleeve OP from 2009 which is what my Byul is wearing has no back shirring so I won't be able to wear the exact same dress as my doll. I'll be on the lookout for the full back shirring jsk in pink, however, and I'll make due with twinning as best I can. 

Thank you for reading along with me today. I've already ordered a kitty bjd, a Hujoo Freya, to really get the ball rolling on doll collecting soon, and I'm hoping to soon better display my Ever After High and Sailor Moon dolls. Would you be interested in me talking about other doll acquisitions in the future? Let me know in the comments. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Plus Size Fashion In Japan: Naomi Watanabe + PUNYUS

In addition to the DreamV Plumprimo line, another plus size fashion option has recently cropped up on the scene in Japanese fashion: PUNYUS. Jump under the cut to explore the brand further with me along with the creator of the line, Naomi Watanabe.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Best Places To Wear Lolita

I've had the opportunity to attend a number of meetups with my local lolita community as well travel without a group to a number of places while wearing lolita. Below are some of my favorite pics for places to wear your frills.~
Anime Conventions
Self at Kamicon 2014
If you can't stand to be stared at while out in lolita, anime conventions are a safe place to venture. Amongst a sea of cosplayers and other vibrant fashions, you have a great opportunity to go all out with your coordinate and dress in more over the top styles. Many anime conventions host lolita tea parties or have a Japanese fashion track, so opportunities to socialize with other lolitas (if that's your cup of tea so to speak) also abound.

Botanical Gardens
Me getting my derp on during a botanical garden meetup. 
Botanical gardens provide a lovely opportunity to not only get some fresh air away from your mbok auctions but to also break out the seldom used parasols while strolling between rows of flowers, trees and other various shrubbery. My local botanical gardens also hosts a cherry blossom festival every year which is always an amazing event hosted by my state's Japan society. 

Self at local museum in AP Dreamy Girl. <3
Though I've gotten a few askance glances from the staff during museum visits, my overall experience has been great. Especially while wearing classic lolita, you can feel like you've been transported back in time to the elegant era of the painting you behold. 

That's my top 3 list of places to wear lolita. Let me know of any other place you love to wear your coordinates.

The above post idea was originally from F Yeah Lolita's original list, Lolita 52 Challenge

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How I First Found Out About Lolita

I came to lolita through a fairly common gateway drug: anime and manga. My pull wasn't Chii from Chobits or Misa from Death Note, but instead the character of Lucia Nahashi from the series Venus Versus Virus.
While reading the manga, the author mentioned that one of her primary influences for Lucia's dress was gothic lolita and aristocrat style. I looked a little further into lolita because I thought Lucia was an interesting character with amazing sophistication. From the fact I'm writing a lolita blog now, you can guess that I took a liking to what I discovered in that Google search and went from there.

The above post idea was originally from F Yeah Lolita's original list, Lolita 52 Challenge