Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Ita to Lolita

When I popped over to the EGL community on livejournal this month, I found myself falling in love with the idea for this month's theme - ita to lolita. In the mod's own words: "It's the journey every lolita makes: changing from the dreaded ita into the beautiful lolita. This month, feel free to share any aspect of your transformation with us, from a timeline detailing your coordinates' improvement, to a post showing how you managed to salvage your worst lace monster." Fall is a transformative season in many ways beyond just the shifting colors of leaves. For fashion, it's the pinnacle of the new year and the beginning of a whole new world of trends. For education (at least in the United States) it marks the beginning of a new year full of entirely new classes and experiences which can be both incredibly fulfilling and incredibly challenging. Lolita fashion is also representative of a transformation - from the awkward beginner which all of us were, to the beautiful and refined lolita who creates stunning coordinates with ease and first begins to find her own sense of style within such a niche aesthetic.

I loved this theme so much that I felt I had to share my transformation from the early cringe-worthy shots to the latest coordinates I've put together. Upon searching back through my photo archives I came to the realization that I didn't take that many photos of myself wearing lolita when I first started, but the few that I do have are golden.

My very first lolita dress was the Red Heart Pocket Embroidery Pinafore Dress from Metamorphose temps de fille which I bought in the spring of 2008. The dress was on sale which made it extremely affordable. If I can remember correctly it was around $120 at the time sans shipping. I had originally fallen in love with classic lolita brands like Mary Magdalene, but found that the lack of international shipping coupled with the prices made the beautiful dresses I adored unattainable. At the time, Metamorphose had introduced international shipping which drew me to the brand. This particular photo was taken in the fall of 2009 when I was attending an in-person registration event for a local convention. I had a petticoat that was very deflated and opted to wear arm warmers to fight the autumn chill instead of a long sleeve blouse which would have been more practical and elegant.

This next photo comes in around the summer of 2011 and was a cosplay photoshoot centering around the idea of a doll abandoned in her untidy dollhouse. The dress however, was another lolita purchase made in the winter of 2009 from F+F. Though I didn't consider this photoshoot to be anywhere close to lolita, I had worn the dress before to a convention. It was utterly OTT and completely the opposite of my taste, but it was the style which was popular at the time. The dress was actually beautifully made and quite heavy to wear with all of the tiered ruffles, but it was the deciding factor in my jumping from the sweet bandwagon. I felt that the aesthetic of sweet didn't suit me at all, and yet I didn't get around to buying much in the way of classic pieces either.

After graduating high school in 2010, I took an extended break from lolita for the entirety of my college career until about the last 3 months prior to graduation. Even my 6 months of living in Japan (Kyoto and then Tokyo) weren't enough to reawaken my love for lolita, though I certainly still admired it from afar. I still loved the aesthetic of full skirts, and ruffles, but never felt like I could take the leap and reach into the depths of my wardrobe to wear out some of my most treasured pieces. After leaving lolita for a time, I didn't have much of a wardrobe to boast about and the only real pieces of note were my Rose Jail Bustle skirt in brown from Alice and the Pirates and L'Oiseau Bleu in red from Baby the Stars Shine Bright. Neither of them got much use or saw much sunlight.

After graduating college and moving to a new city for a job, I finally plucked up the courage to give lolita another shot. I started small by dusting off some older pieces and mixing them into very casual outfits while I browsed through second hand sales in search of a new wardrobe. Slowly I began to build from the ground up once more, but this time with a plan of action and the foresight which only comes with age and the experience of dressing in many different and varied styles.

My first debut into the community was the grand opening of Baby's NYC store where I dressed in full lolita for the first time in many years. I met a few local girls on the train in, and ended up getting a lot of positive feedback from so many of the lolitas there.

Finally my latest coordinate from a local CT lolita meetup in New Haven. I'm slowly amassing a wardrobe I'm proud of and recently obtained a dress I've been dreaming about for years and thought to be totally out of my reach. Things are looking up for this lolita, and I can't wait to see what other frilly adventures the future holds~

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