Monday, December 29, 2014

Triumphant Return of Burgher - News & Musings~


It's been nearly two months since I wrote my last post and my dear so much has changed! When I last wrote, the busy season for my job was just ramping up and my schedule was getting more and more out of control. As I am now, the holidays are finally over and I've settled back down with more than a few moments to breathe - let alone think about writing for all of you lovely readers. Since my hiatus, I've gotten so many unexpected hits and many readers from around the world who continued to show interest in my humble little blog space. With the new year upon us, I think it'll be quite a good time to jump back into the habit of blogging. I'm especially excited to embark on a new fashion journey with all of you through my capsule wardrobe project which I'm excited to continue into 2015!

Brief Life Updates~
In my hiatus, a lot has changed in my life and I'd like to share at least a piece of it with all of you. To begin, though November was undeniably hectic, I did finally get a chance to go see some lovely frilly friends.

The Stamford crew looking pensive and pretentious
First up was a meetup with my local comm at the Cheesecake Factory. Naturally we were a large group, but were a bit disappointed that since the restaurant didn't take reservations, we had to wait an exceptionally long time to be seated. What originally started out as a brunch meet quickly turned to dinner. On the upside, the company was wonderful and the guests excellently dressed. With the romantic lighting and beautiful rose windows outside we took the opportunity to take a few shots.
Outfit Rundown
Top: MMM Jacquard Sleeve Blouse
Skirt: MMM Rosenkreuz Skirt
Tights & Shoes: Offbrand
Next on the list was the Winter International Lolita Day. I was fortunate enough to be invited to an amazing event with some lovely New York lolitas by my friend Stephanie who I met modeling for Chantilly earlier this year~
The beautiful place settings!
Train Station selfie to start off my journey
The tea was held at the King's Carriage House and was absolutely stunning. There were so many amazing coords and wonderful people! I went with an ouji coord and added in a few quirky accessories like mismatching red & green argyle socks to add some holiday flavor.
Photo of Stephanie and I together downstairs. Didn't she look amazing?! Best in Show for sure~
Outfit Rundown
Blouse: Brooks Brothers
OP: Innocent World
Necklace: Moss Marchen
Tights & Socks: Offbrand
Shoes: Bodyline
Our table~ The coords were to die for this ILD! (Photo (c) Xin Lolita Photography)
For Christmas my good friend Alison hosted an adorable lolita gift exchange within our local comm. Because the holiday season is always so busy, everyone sent their gifts off through the mail & posted photos of what they had been given online. I was particularly touched that Sarah made me an amazing lolita print which I intend to frame and hang as soon as possible~
Gorgeous lolita on a rainy day - print courtesy of Sarah Rawlinson
Heading down the holiday home stretch, there were many different family gatherings to attend, and I made a point to wear as many of my coords as possible since they had gotten so little love throughout the regular work week!
Fashion Point: Cat's Garden Party - Floral Coord for Christmas Eve
Outfit Rundown
Blouse: Brooks Brothers
Skirt: Innocent World - Theresia Rose
Necklace: Moss Marchen
Bow: Enchantlic Enchantilly
Tights: Triple Fortune
Shoes: Offbrand

Fashion Point: Stained Glass Reverie - Christmas Day
Outfit Rundown
JSK: Innocent World - Three Archangels
Tights: Triple Fortune
Bolero, Scarf, Shoes: Offbrand
Thank you all for sharing part of 2014 with me! I'm excited to see what new opportunities 2015 will bring and can't wait to take you all along for the ride~ 
Until next time, 
Much love from your favorite Burgher. <3


Thursday, October 30, 2014

3 Last Minute Halloween Costume Ideas For The Procrastinating Lolita

Coming back from a brief work-induced hiatus, I realized that I simply do not have time to run out and grab myself a wonderful and witty costume for tomorrow evening's festivities. The retired cosplayer in me reared up a bit at the affront of celebrating Halloween without a costume which has led me to brainstorm a bit about simple costumes a lolita can pull together from her existing wardrobe. With a bit of makeup, fun accessories, and imagination, it's easy to turn your lolita dress into a lolita version of your favorite costume. While this has always been a bit of a contentious point within the community as we'd rather not have people viewing lolita itself as a costume, so long as you turn up the drama and turn down the fashion, you can be sure that you'll be left with a costume infused with a touch of your personal style. Without further ado, let's get onto the list~


Not-So-Raggedy Ann
Pair a cute red wig with a red, white, & blue coord and throw in some Twiggy lower lashes and a triangle nose. You'll be far from raggedy, but even Ann needed a little chic in her life!


Portrait of Madame de Pompadour
Grab yourself some cardboard and paints to create your opulent frame which you can carry around for photos or hang around your neck. Throw on your most opulent & Rococo-esque coord, powder your face and hair, and practice some portrait-like poses in the mirror.

Toy Soldier
For all you oujis and boystylers, try throwing together a red & white coordinate with dark boots and white gloves. Be sure to draw on that exaggerated circular blush characterized by the Nutcracker's fearless forces and give salutes out freely.

I'll be going with the not-so-raggedy ann myself, but there are plenty of last minute costumes that can easily be thrown together when you have a wardrobe as avant-garde as a lolita's! A little creativity and you'll good to dance the night away with the other ghosts and ghouls, or collect all the candy you can carry from your neighbors~


Monday, October 20, 2014

BABY the Stars Shine Bright Time Travel Station Fashion Show


Though I missed it the first time around due to my work schedule, I managed to find a video of Baby's recent tea party and fashion show dubbed 'Time Travel Station'. Like so many other brand-sponsored fashion shows, I was struck by the intimacy of the runway. Models would walk right off into the crowd to give loyal customers a close-up view of Baby's newest creations. I loved the mix of recently released pieces along with upcoming designs and was delighted to spot a few foreign models on the runway! Overall I loved this show and found myself trying to budget out money for a few more purchases before the end of the year. So be warned dear reader, this show is as dangerous to your wallet as it is welcoming to your closet! 

Though I wasn't in love with everything, I definitely had a few favorites! The garden OP worn by Midori was absolutely stunning and you can bet I'll be saving up for that one. It was lovely to see the audience light up when Misako walked in her show-stopping bridal coordinate. Though I'm not sure I could ever pull it off, it was amazing. Midori modeling the new ribbon design was to die for and her hat was a work of art in and of itself - it was a shame that it was balanced so precariously on her head. The new circus print asymmetrical tights were absolutely lovely and of course all the boystyle coordinates were absolutely dapper. I encourage every BtSSB and AatP fan to watch the show and of course, enjoy the eyecandy! 

Midori in the new garden OP from her Twitter~
Super cute foreign model Natalia with Midori also from her Twitter
Loved this coordinate on Midori and the hat is absolutely stunning
So many beautiful pieces alongside Misako's bridal look~




Sunday, October 19, 2014

3 Iconic Styles I Love But Cannot Mix With Lolita

It's the bane of every lolita fashionista's existence - her love for a style which simply cannot be rocked in lolita (more often than not due to the paradoxical silhouettes). On the one hand these styles are what I love and find wonderfully appealing, but inevitably irreconcilable with my one true fashion love. Heartbreak and loyalty war against one another until dear lolita rises from the ashes of the battlefield unscathed - lace sword and petticoat shield held aloft. These styles will always inspire me, and perhaps I'll find a way to pull from the iconic eras from whence they came and create a deliciously lolita coord, but until then I'll have to relinquish my closet to my frilly dreams.

1. Mod 60s Shift Dresses

Image From Vintage Pattern Book
They're bright, boxy, and adorable, but go against everything the lolita silhouette stands for. Coming out of the petticoat-filled skirts of the 50s, these dresses must have been incredibly liberating. Perhaps a colorblocked coord could bring out that 60s vibe without the shift dress cut.

2. Roaring 20s Flapper
The quintessential image of a good time, flappers were as fun-loving as they were opulent. Their love of feathers, furs, pearls, beads, and jewels inspires me to this very day. Like the shift dress, flappers were known for their silhouette as well as their glittering beads as they danced the nights away.

3. Regency Era
Image From Victoriana Magazine
Think Elizabeth Bennet & Darcy. Columnar dresses, gauzy muslims, and the iconic empire waist. Though we've seen some empire waist cuts in lolita, it's safe to say that the modest Regency period following the tumultuous French Revolution on the Continent do not fit well with our Rococo-inspired silhouettes. The style was really the antithesis of Rococo extravagant skirts and focused more on the tailoring of the bodice area while leaving the skirts to hand free.

Alas, I'll probably never have a true mod 60s, flapper, or regency coordinate, but a girl can dream can't she? The main point of contention with all these styles comes with silhouette and how slim silhouettes do not mix well with bulky petticoats and bloomers. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Paging Lolita 333 - A Lolita Capsule Wardrobe


While building up my wardrobe after returning to the fashion I've made a serious attempt to collect pieces which are both appealing to me and versatile. Though at first the task of building a complete wardrobe without breaking the bank seemed near impossible, I'm finding that by limiting my intake and building from a fairly limited number of dream dresses, a complete yet cohesive wardrobe is well within my grasp. To take this a step further, I plan on challenging myself towards the end of my wardrobe-building to work towards a true capsule wardrobe (for my lolita attire at least). Like Project 333, my goal is to pull versatility and cohesion from a relatively small number of individual pieces; by mixing and matching, and I plan on focusing on hair, makeup, and accessories to do the legwork for distinguishing coordinates from one another. Striving for a capsule wardrobe is an excellent way for beginning lolitas to build a wardrobe that will go the extra mile for them while still remaining manageable and affordable.

To begin, a number of you are probably wondering what exactly a capsule wardrobe entails. Succinctly put, a capsule wardrobe is defined as a relatively small number of clothing items (oftentimes between 20 and 35) which are considered essential to dressing for all occasions while cutting out the textile chaff of a normal sized collection. Project 333 encourages readers to cut their wardrobes down to 33 items for 3 month periods and donating all the unwanted pieces to charity. Naturally these 33 items do not include jewellry/small accessories, shoes, or undergarments.

For my lolita wardrobe, my aim over the next few months is to build up a wardrobe of 33 items not including shoes, accessories, tights/socks, or undergarments (including bloomers & petticoats). I'll provide updates every once in a while to show how my wardrobe is progressing along with challenges and successes. Hopefully once I've completely my capsule wardrobe, I'll be able to give a full review of the project after a three month period and consider whether to expand, contract, or cycle out my collection.

Below I'll outline what I currently own in terms of my own wardrobe and then expand upon that list with my ideal ratio of items.

Current Wardrobe:
4 Blouses
4 JSKs
4 Skirts
2 OPs (1 boystyle)
2 Purses (of the lolita variety)
1 Coat
1 Jacket
2 Boleros
1 Shawl
1 Pants

Total: 22

Ideal Wardrobe:
7 Blouses
5 JSKs
5 Skirts
3 OPs
3 Purses
2 Coats
1 Jacket
3 Boleros
2 Shawls
1 Pants
1 Hat

Total: 33

Some items that I currently have will be cycled out in favor of decidedly better items or ones that fit the theme of my current wardrobe. Ultimately the hope is that I can have my cake and eat it too - a wardrobe that is both large enough to create a number of different and interesting coordinates, while still maintaining its relatively small size. I hope for the best in this capsule wardrobe experiment, and look forward to bringing all of you along for the ride!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lolita 52 Challenge Week 3 - My Own Lolita Lifestyle


Still winding down from Rufflecon and feeling the pleasant buzzing which comes from being surrounded by gorgeously dressed people for an entire weekend, the topic of my own lolita lifestyle comes at a good time. As I mentioned briefly in my Treatise A La Skye, when I first learned about lolita fashion, there was already a romanticized idea of the lifestyle lolita and how much her life seemed to be paradoxically a tangible goal and an otherworldly fairy tale in its effortless elegance. My own lolita lifestyle is far from the idealized version, but I like to think that there are often aesthetics which draw all of us to the fashion and therefore tie our lives together via delicate spider-silk-strong strands of commonality.

My hiatus from lolita meant that I never wore it when I had the most freedom to dress outrageously. Due to my current job, lolita (or at least my current wardrobe) doesn't much fit with the dress code. If I had been a kuro lolita, I'd have transitioned splendidly. But alas, my classic wardrobe full of wines, chocolates, and violets doesn't lend itself to becoming work attire anytime soon. As such, I do not get the chance to wear lolita nearly as often as I would like, but on days off I love to incorporate even the simplest pieces into my outfits - whether true lolita or not. I'm lucky to live very close to two girls from my local comm, and I'm getting into the habit of trying to see more and more of them on my days off to give myself more chances to dress up and step out in company. I like to wear lolita at least once a week and save my best coordinates and most prized pieces for meetups as I believe that a lolita wardrobe is like wearable art; where art is beautiful as a sole piece on one's wall, it truly flourishes as part of a well-curated exhibit. So too with lolita. While my own coordinates are lovely on their own, the beauty and value of them is enhanced when surrounded by similar outfits and like-minded individuals. Art history never really leaves you and neither does lolita.

Though I don't have nearly enough time to pursue the lolita-esque hobbies I once did, I've been getting plenty of hours logged behind the sewing machine at my job. My favorite activity by far is hand-stitching due to the sheer time it takes and the repetition of simple movements. It's the best sort of meditative past time - especially if you take away the deadline and add some tea and a comfy couch. My hope is that once the holiday season really pushes itself upon my consciousness, I'll be spending more time working on projects to give as small gifts to friends and family alike. Though I'm sure it will be a challenge, I'd very much like to take up embroidery to bring some personal flair to some of my coordinates.

When I'm not working or spending hours getting dolled up in frills, I spend much of my time window-shopping. Though it's not nearly as romantic as true in-person window shopping, my perusal of internet shops with wishlists growing longer and longer helps me avoid buyer's remorse and really focus on building my wardrobe. Because I value this fashion as wearable art, I see a wardrobe as an opportunity to curate a cohesive collection. My ultimate goal would be to have a wardrobe which is large enough to satisfy every occasion, while still being so interconnected that it would be easily comprehensible to anyone interested in fashion. If my wardrobe could walk the runway and make sense to an editor, I would be satisfied. I especially love finding pieces from offbrand websites that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. While brand blouses are amazing and perfect for the most extravagant meetups, they can oftentimes be a bit jarring when dressed down. This is the challenge of the classic wardrobe - a touch of OTT for the girls, but sticking to the simplicity which makes the substyle so appealing.

Though my lolita lifestyle might not seem like much, it occupies much of my thoughts and many of my days in the best possible way. It is a siren's song of the sweetest music, but in favor of sailing another day I will keep myself from the addictive plunge. For now at least.

Monday, October 13, 2014

RuffleCon Reverie


I'd like to think that after RuffleCon I miraculously recovered from my whirlwind weekend and popped up like a daisy ready to face the realities of life outside of my frilly sanctuary, but alas loss of sleep does eventually catch up to you. RuffleCon was many things for me, not the least of which being a new con full of amazing people and equally incredible opportunities. The weekend passed in a haze of smiles, nervous butterflies, and beautifully dressed individuals which I would relive every day if I could - rainy train commutes and all. 


Friday
Friday afternoon saw me waking up mid afternoon after pulling an overnight shift at work the day before. Luckily for me, the fitting rehearsal for Saturday's Fashion Show was pushed back from the early afternoon to 6pm which gave me plenty of time to catch up on some much needed rest. Getting home at 8am that morning would have made a noon rehearsal a true nightmare. Opting for something comfortable for the train, I went with my tried and true Innocent World Theresia Rose SK with a cream blouse from Modcloth and a comfortable pair of heels. Despite having to stand nearly half the ride to New Haven, I made it to the Omni in one piece and hurried off to find Registration. Because I was modeling, I got to snag my badge early to head into the fitting rehearsal long before any of the other guests had Friday preregistration opened to them. It was a bit harried at first - hence my messily scrawled name - but I ended up making it into the rehearsal with time to spare. 

When everyone was situated, all the models were asked to stand up and allow Fumiko of Enchantlic Enchantilly and KAIE and BABI of Triple Fortune to see us in person. It was a bit intimidating getting looked up and down by such prestigious guests, but everyone was mostly giddy with excitement. KAIE and BABI left the room for a few minutes while one of the translators came around asking girls for names per the direction of Fumiko. Upon the return of Triple Fortune's designers, it was announced that the group of models would be split in two. Those whose names were called moved to the right side of the room and would model for Enchantlic Enchantilly (to be called Chantilly for short) while the rest of the bunch would be working with Triple Fortune. I was lucky enough to join the Chantilly side of the room along with a truly lovely bunch of girls. We were then each assigned outfits which we tried on and practiced our walks before breaking for some cookies. Makeup looks were discussed with the designers and there were plenty of gasps of delight as everyone got to see sneak peaks of the collections. Thoroughly exhausted I retired early to the train station ready to get up early the next morning.


Saturday
After a rainy 6:42am train ride out of Stamford with a local lolita friend, the name of the game Saturday morning was makeup & selfies. All the models essentially had to be backstage from 8am until the end of the show at 3pm which meant lots of bonding, and lots of photos. All of us had our go with the resident makeup artists and couldn't help but snap a few photos of our dolly lashes and picture perfect rosy cheeks. After a while we all got dressed and did a quick walkthrough with music on stage before cloistering ourselves away until the start of the show. I could not have asked for better companions than the Chantilly girls. They were honestly some of the sweetest people at Rufflecon and made Saturday spectacular. Though jittery backstage, everyone rocked it on stage and looked absolutely fabulous! Xin Lolita Photography took some amazing photos of our group that I can't help but share! 



All of the models for all of the designers did an amazing job at the show and the designs were all so very incredible and awe inspiring! It was truly a treat to be a part of. After the show, we got one group photo with the Chantilly girls before we were released for the day!
Photo (c) Sarah Rawlinson
To say that we were excited to let our hair down a bit is an understatement and nearly everyone took advantage of the opportunity to wear less-poofy clothes for a bit.
Post Show Selfie~
After meeting up with my boyfriend and perusing the marketplace for a while, we opted to go have a long lunch across the street before meandering back. Taking a quick loop around the consignment room and running into a few girls from my local comm who were staffing the amazing weekend, my boyfriend and I opted to hit the hay a bit early so that I could once again make the journey into New Haven the following morning for High Tea.


Sunday
After the excitement of Saturday, Sunday was a welcome change of pace. Arriving at the Omni early (but not Saturday early), I got the chance to peak into the marketplace and make some quick purchases before stopping by the consignment room once again. Before I knew it there was already a line forming for tea which I quickly hopped into. After the VIPs were all seated and situated, they let the rest of the guests in and although it was a bit of a scramble to figure out which table to sit at, I managed to get a seat with some lovely ladies from NY, Toronto, and Texas to name a few! It was nice to see girls who I had met at New York Fashion Week and admire everyone's coords. Needless to say, with Triple Fortune and Enchantlic Enchantilly in attendance, people went all out! There was lots of mingling, eating of good food, and photo opps. 


Towards the end of the tea there was a raffle of $25 gift certificates provided by Angelic Pretty & Harajuku Hearts. Of the 10 prizes, our table managed to snag four of them! Clearly we had picked well in our table placement. After a number of group photos taken, I met up with one of the girls from my local comm and we headed off to snag some last minute deals in the marketplace before it closed for the weekend. Stopping by the I Do Declare booth the two of us fell in love with some of the breathtaking designs and couldn't resist the chance to take them home with us. We each managed to get a gorgeous OP which I'm sure you'll be seeing more of in the future! With the con coming to a close, I bid the weekend one last adieu before hopping on the sunny train ride home. Though it was a whirlwind in the truest sense of the word, I cannot wait for the return of Rufflecon next year!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

8 Things I Learned From RuffleCon

My Friday fitting rehearsal outfit
I'm still in the process of compiling and processing everything that was my RuffleCon weekend. So instead of giving you the full spiel, I've decided to write a companion piece to my pre-Rufflecon departure post wherein I outlined the 8 tips I had for lolita congoers. This weekend was absolutely phenomenal and I think it's extra valuable (and quite funny) to remember not only the good times I had, but what I learned from this fashion-oriented convention.

1. Pre-Con Badge Pickup - Always The Best Option
If you preregistered (which you absolutely should if you get the chance to), the day-before pickup is always worth your while. The lines are short, people are relaxed because the stress of the con has yet to really hit the staff yet, and you save yourself the hassle of rushing the morning of!

2. Bring A Handheld (if you have one)
Backstage at the Fashion Show there was a small street pass community growing as more and more people showed up armed with their 3DS. Not only is it a great conversation starter, but it's bound to be a great time killer in the lines you will inevitably have to wait in.

3. VIP Is Worth It
If only for the early access perks, the VIPs at RuffleCon got the cream of the crop from both the marketplace and the consignment room. This year that meant that they managed to snatch up all of the gorgeous Triple Fortune bonnets before anyone got a chance to see them. Lucky ducks!

4. Shell Out For The Hotel Room
Even if your commute is short, the camaraderie and convenience afforded by having a hotel reservation is well worth the money! Additionally this provides you ample opportunity to change outfits multiple times a day and have a place to stash all the purchases you will make.

5. Consignment Room Requires A Bit of Luck And A Bit Of Daring
The consignment room is the best place to find deals, but it can also be a bit of a gamble. Wait too long on that dress you're on the fence about and you might come back to find it snatched up! At the same time, many of the items go on markdown and you can manage to catch a steal~

6. Meet Designers In The Marketplace
If nothing else, make sure that you make a slow and detailed loop around the marketplace. This is your best opportunity to meet designers - indie and otherwise - and get a chance to talk with some amazing artistic talents. Knowing the schedule for vendors, they'll be happy to talk with you and spend time answering questions!

7. Fashion Show & High Tea Are Must-Sees
The Fashion Show is the absolute best place to see all the new collections on the runway with plenty of time to take photos and consider whether you'd like to make a mad-dash to the marketplace afterwards to snatch up the looks you saw. High Tea was a fantastic experience not only because of the guest attendance, but also due to the inherently friendly nature of the average RuffleCon attendee. 10/10 would recommend!

8. Be A Part Of The Convention
Model for a brand, run a fun and interesting panel, bring your art to vendor in the marketplace, enter the variety show, or volunteer and support the staff behind-the-scenes. The more you entrench yourself in the RuffleCon culture, the more enamored you become. Oftentimes its the moments behind closed doors which you cherish the most, and the dedicated people you meet in your endeavors who become the fastest of friends!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lolita 52 Challenge Week 2 - 5 Movies for Lolitas

This week's topic has been discussed quite a bit on various blogs, though most of the general consensus is that period films are excellent for lolitas due to the costuming. The most inspirational movies are those which do not deviate much from true period fashion and therefore provide glimpses into a world which can only truly be viewed via paintings and fashion plates. To mix it up I'll be hoping to stray a bit away from the usual cinematic suggestions like Marie Antoinette or The Duchess despite the amazing quality of such works. Though period films are not absent from my list, I hope that they will be a twist on the usual period romance films which are so popular in the lolita community.

In no particular order:


 Anna Karenina (2012)
The classic story of tragic love written by Leo Tolstoy was made into a stunning film in 2012. The film removes the audience from the cinema and into the theater with its illusionistic scene changes. Not only are the costumes visually stunning, but the world itself seems to construct and deconstruct itself before the audience's eyes. A true visual feast!



L'Illusionniste (2010)
A film about a down-on-his-luck magician and the young girl he meets in a small town who is convinced that his illusions are really magic. The father-daughter relationship which evolves in this dialogue-less film made me laugh and cry. The animation style is absolutely stunning, and the music sets up each scene beautifully. It's guaranteed to warm your heart and at times break off little pieces, but in the end is utterly charming. 


The Woman in Black (2012)
With Halloween just around the corner, what better way to celebrate than with a spooky Edwardian haunting? This film has all the elements of a scary classic - the isolated and rundown mansion which was sure to have been stunningly beautiful once, mysterious villagers, conspiracy theories, and a spirit bent on revenge. There are plenty of creepy hallway scenes, dogs barking at nothing, and jump scares to satisfy even the most gothic of lolitas. 


Coco Avant Chanel (2009)
This beautiful French film documents the life of Coco Chanel prior to her rise to fame as one of the most prolific designers of all time. The young Coco struggles with her background and poor circumstances as she fights for recognition in a male-dominated arena. Within this film she bids farewell to the smoky bar singer and steps into high society to become the genius we know today. A must-watch for fashionistas - especially those interested in evolution of fashion. 


The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Quotable, witty, and sure to steal your fashion-loving heart, The Devil Wears Prada is an instant classic. Not only are the clothes amazing and the scenes gorgeous (we all know we'd love to work in Miranda's office), but the larger validation of the fashion industry really hits it home. An older coming-of-age style story wherein a young woman grows into herself reminds us that we are all capable of becoming the most confident and therefore beautiful versions of ourselves. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In Honor of RuffleCon - 8 Tips for Lolita Congoers

With RuffleCon looming this coming weekend and my already hectic schedule intensifying, I decided this would be a great opportunity to share with some fellow lolitas the congoing tips I've accumulated over the years. Around the same time that I was getting into lolita fashion, I also learned about cosplay and started on a whirlwind journey which would bring me to a multitude of different conventions all over the East Coast and even into Toronto. For several years I became an incredibly dedicated competitive cosplayer whose life was run by the convention circuit. My team and I would begin preparing for skit contests well over six months ahead of time and this led to many overlapping schedules, costumes, and performances being created one right after one another. Through all the madness I quickly learned the best ways to not only navigate the convention scene, but to get the most bang for your buck by maximizing not only your opportunities, but also your comfort throughout the weekend.
My Nana cosplay circa 2011
1. Print Out Everything - Preferably Two Copies
While this might seem obvious, this particular lesson was hard-learned after many botched instances of important documents missing whether it was contest paperwork, registration confirmations, hotel reservations, or even bus tickets. Be sure to have hard copies in addition to your digital ones because you never know when your 4G will die, your battery will drop to 0%, or the wifi will be shoddy. Printing two hard copies of all travel or convention-related documents (including important e-mails and schedules) allows you to have a copy for your purse or immediate person, and one to keep in your travel bag. At least if you lose or forget one, you'll have a backup set to rely on.

2. Do a Suitcase Test Run
Whether you're trying to fit three entire petticoats, or a set of interestingly shaped shoes, there is nothing more aggravating than feeling stressed the night before departure because the bag you expected to bring can't seem to hold all the things you think you need. Take into consideration what kind of storage you'll have available to you at your accommodations and make additions as you see fit. Will you need to bring garment bags to carry different outfits to a backstage location? How many hangers are there actually going to be in your hotel room? It's always better to be prepared for everything than be left scrambling to find space for everything while at the convention. 

3. Learn the Art of the Bento
Regardless of how large the host city is, convention goers will always overcrowd restaurants and food joints within the immediate vicinity of the convention itself. To avoid the hassle of needing to make reservations far in advance, or be forced to wait in ridiculously long lines for a subpar sandwich, consider buying or making food in advance which you can easily store while you're at the con. If you have a hotel room with a fridge, you have all the opportunities in the culinary world (short of actually cooking in your hotel room). A friend of mine always used to buy a large rotisserie chicken the night we checked into our room for dinner. She would bring bread with her so that we could use any leftovers to make easy sandwiches for lunch on the first day of the con. Packed lunches and dinners not only save you money, but also let you eat on the move. You can find a quiet spot in the convention center or hotel to people watch, or you could take advantage of the downtime of waiting in a long line for a particularly popular presentation or panel. Beating the mealtime rush and relaxing while you eat is always worth the extra preparation!

4. Pack Snacks for a Midday Boost
Along the same vein as #3, sometimes it's not possible to pull out a full meal and eat it i.e. when you're in the middle of a panel or backstage before a show. Be sure to pack some packaged snacks that are lightweight and easy to carry in your bag around the convention. Granola bars and fruit gummies are some of my favorite snacks and have come in handy when I've been in the doldrums of the late afternoon - too late for lunch but too early for dinner. Something small you can eat on the go can make the difference between a great day and a spoiled evening. 

5. Never Underestimate Your Footwear
We're fashionable so it's expected that we'll go to some lengths to look amazing even if that means a little pain. While this might be a great idea for the afternoon tea meetup or the outfit shot for Instagram, it is entirely the wrong way to go about a convention. 99% of the long convention days are spent on one's feet and while it might be tempting to wear those amazing oxford heels that cut into the back of your heel, after a few hours you're bound to regret it. At the very least be sure to pack a cute pair of flats that you can swap in after you start to lose feeling in your toes!

6. Follow the Convention on Any Social Media Possible
Many conventions have a dedicated or affiliated Twitter account or similar form of social media which updates during the convention itself with any scheduling changes or line time updates. Sometimes you can manage to fit more into your schedule than you thought simply because a last minute change happens in your favor. The faster you know about these changes, the more likely that you'll be able to get to your top priority events.

7. Don't Overschedule
This is perhaps one of the hardest lessons to learn on the convention circuit, but it is by far one of the most valuable. While it might be tempting to attend every industry panel, workshop, and stage performance, putting too much on your hypothetical plate will wear you down mentally faster than any aggravatingly long line. Feeling obligated to attend things you thought you wanted to see and therefore pushing yourself to the edge is the easiest way to spoil a weekend. Ahead of time be sure to pick out 3-5 top events that you'd like to attend and plan your initial schedule around them. Be sure to schedule breaks for food, hydration, and relaxation to keep yourself happy and healthy throughout the weekend!

8. Keep Calm and Frill On
There will be unforeseen complications in your convention experience. Things will get lost, wardrobe malfunctions will happen, eagerly awaited guests will cancel, illness will strike, and exhaustion and stress will haunt your steps. Be flexible. This is a lesson I'm still learning and it comes with practice. You're more than welcome to be disappointed, but don't let it ruin your entire weekend. Take a second to breathe and collect yourself before throwing yourself into the next endeavor with vigor. Remember that conventions are meant to be fun and even the most incident-wrought weekend can end up being one of your best. 

For all of you going to RuffleCon, I look forward to seeing everyone's amazing outfits! I'll be walking in the fashion show on Saturday for Enchantlic Enchantilly and Triple Fortune so if you see me backstage be sure to say hello!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lolita 52 Challenge - Week 1: 5 Pieces That Every Lolita Wardrobe Should Have, Regardless of Style

In an effort to bring new and interesting content to Courtly Dreams aside from Print Watches, Historical Frills, and summaries of Be Lolita, Be Happy, I'll be posting a segment dedicated to the Lolita 52 Challenge each week. This lovely list of topics was originally created by F Yeah Lolita last year and includes a list of 52 lolita related topics to post about. I highly suggest it for anyone looking to pump some inspiration into his/her lolita fashion blog! As the title suggests, this week's topic is about the quintessential lolita wardrobe and which items I find to be indispensable regardless of which lolita style one gravitates towards. Let's get started~
 -In no particular order-

1. A Quality Brooch

My "Frenchie" brooch from Peppermint Fox's Bon Bon Parade Collection
Though it may seem a bit unorthodox, a nice quality brooch is one of the best accessories to own. You can dress up any shawl, blouse, sweater, cardigan, or even hats with sweet and quirky designs. Not to mention that they're a great way to hold draped pieces in place or add a bit of pop to a blouse neckline!

2. A Shawl, Stole, or Long Scarf

Photo courtesy of Lolibrary
Shawls, scarves, and stoles are by far some of my favorite wardrobe additions. Whether it's a light shoulder covering for summer, or a nice warm piece for winter, long flowy layers are an instant way to class up a plain JSK. The most elegant lolita will find the best way to manipulate the fabric to make her movements appear graceful and her bearing as elegant as the women portrayed in period films.

3. A Cute Pair of Booties

Powerful Protagonist Bootie from ModCloth
As fall gets into full swing and winter approaches, I've found booties to be the most indispensable shoes. They're short and cute with just enough heel to keep out of inclement weather puddles and cover up so much more than flats to keep your feet warm. 


4. A Solid Statement Bag

My favorite bag for lolita outfits by AP
We've all been there - we have a meetup and a long journey ahead of us, but are at odds with our purse situation. We can either take the cute bag which holds next to nothing or the less-than-ideal-carry-all which will see us through our trip with snacks and backup eyelash glue. My advice? Invest in a gorgeous, but adequately sized bag that you can pair with a variety of coordinates. Aim to fit just as much as you need inside without sacrificing any of the lolita necessities. 

5. Solid Colored Tights

These are a personal favorite of mine - brightly colored tights I can use to add some pop to my otherwise ordinary outfits. Use them for accent colors, or go bold with colorblocking! With colder weather fast approaching tights are sure to be your best friends at outdoor meetups or shopping trips. Not only will they keep you toasty warm, but they'll create tonal depth for your coordinate.

And there you have it - my absolute must-have pieces for every lolita style. Though they might seem small and cursory, it's amazing how much these pieces can do for your coordinate! They're all versatile for life in and out of the petticoats and allow you to add a touch of personal style to your favorite designer pieces~