How This Hoarder Cleared Her Wardrobe (& Her Life!)

6.27.2015

With an overstuffed closet and more on the way I was finding myself in an all-too common dilemma: what could I do to make room? My usual response to this- getting creative with storage- was starting to flounder, and the sheer amount of clothing and accessories I'd amassed had begun to overwhelm.

lolita wardrobe kawaii closet room


When it comes to the things I really enjoy, I tend to collect. You can truly see this manifest in our kitchen cupboard filled to the brim with teas, bookcases stuffed full of plush animals from overseas, and (of course) a lolita wardrobe overflowing in abundance. Unless I ended up with strong second-thoughts, everything I bought was there to stay. I was enthralled by the numbers my collections had grown to until the visual clutter began to suffocate. Instead of criticizing the space housing my wardrobe, it was clearly time to look at my wardrobe instead.

As I'm sure you know, it's no easy task trying to get rid of a collection. When you take into account the rarity of lolita, the often sentimental value, and all the pretty details that go into every piece the task rapidly begins to multiply in difficulty. What if I regret selling this and can't find it again, or it spikes up in price on the secondhand market? This color/cut doesn't suit me quite right, but oh how I love this print so much! I will never get back the full amount I paid for it after service and shipping fees, so won't this be better to keep? But this was my first ever lolita dress, there will be no other first dress! I have told myself every one of these things, and I'm sure they sound familiar to you too. But what is the point of keeping these things if we can't enjoy them?

lolita wardrobe kawaii closet room


I was recently enlightened by reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo, which I highly recommend. Unlike many approaches to tidying which focus on creative storage methods or arbitrary timeline guides on when to discard, there is just one principle: only keep the items that truly bring you joy, and let go of the rest. This method, dubbed the "KonMari" method, ensures that by the time you are done you will be surrounded by only the things you truly love and everything will find its place within your home. Who could not want such a thing?

It's really quite simple:
  1. Gather everything from one category into a pile
  2. Pick up each individual item and assess if it sparks joy
You will be surprised at how much you own that does not positively affect you.

The KonMari method asks that you follow a specific order in discarding. This is so that you hone your decision making skills before reaching the sentimental items, which are much harder to part with. The first category in this order is clothing, which may not be the best choice for someone who loves clothes. Still, it should surprise you to hear that within one night I had over 100 items from my lolita wardrobe for sale when beforehand it felt incredibly lucky to find myself willing to part with five. I could only sit in disbelief wondering at the large box of items I had been surrounded by that did not bring me complete joy.

lolita wardrobe kawaii closet room


When you gather every article of clothing and accessories in a pile you really comprehend the sheer amount you own. Handling each item one at a time and facing your emotional response can tell you a lot more than just whether or not an item has outlived its appeal. In the end I discovered nearly all of my sweeter pieces- which I had been holding on to for "that day" I would want to wear a sweet ensemble again- in the for sale box. Even my very first dress. And I didn't feel any regret, rather, I felt a little lighter. I was left with a wardrobe uniquely me at this very moment, free from the clutter of what did not suit me completely.

It is important to be of the mindset that you are choosing what to keep, rather than what to get rid of, and to appreciate what you part with by the lessons it taught you. I was able to let go of about a third of my wardrobe by thanking it for teaching me it wasn't truly my style or color, and had therefore fulfilled its purpose. I thanked the cheaper pieces I'd bought to "pad" my wardrobe for showing me that I should not buy something just because of it's price, as that reason alone will not leave me with pieces I am truly happy for. The hardest to part with- those pieces I really did like but did not spark complete joy- I thanked for showing me what I did and did not like. And pieces I once loved but did not wear anymore I thanked for bringing me happiness when they had.

lolita wardrobe kawaii closet room


Now that I have a wardrobe filled only with the things I truly enjoy I don't have to guess as much about what suits me, and I have more confidence in future purchases because I can make out my aesthetic much more clearly. Of course, there will always be more items that don't end up working out, but when that time comes I know what I need to do. And this isn't limited to just your wardrobe; try applying this technique to the rest of your belongings and you can see what it is you truly want out of life. Without the clutter of unnecessary items it becomes easy to see what is important to you.

Do you think you are up to the challenge, dear reader? I'd love to hear what things you could never part with! Have a sugar-sweet day and thanks for reading!

What More Could I Wish For

6.19.2015


On April 20ᵗʰ of this year I had the great privilege and honor of marrying my closest friend in the entire world. This blog post will be a little different from the usual as I feel photos will convey the event much better than words ever will; so please, I invite you to take a peek at our big day.


baby the stars shine bright rosa mystica lolita wedding dress

25 Lolita Meetup Ideas for Spring

5.22.2015

As a lolita I feel there is a lot to love about Spring. The mild weather is perfect for layers without needing much extra, and the blooming flowers add that extra soft pinch of delicacy to photos. This is one of the perfect times of the year to explore with your community. Here are some of my favorite ideas for enjoying the season.

lolita meetup ideas spring rabbit bunny

  1. Build birdhouses. Put them outside to welcome new feathered friends into their own small cottage.
  2. Catch fireflies. See how many you can capture in a jar before setting them free.
  3. View the cherry blossoms. Take part in a local Hanami or host your own.
  4. Pick wild flowers. String daisy chains, blow wishes through dandelions, or hunt for four leaf clovers.
  5. Watercolor a scenic area. Purchase portable watercolor sets and paint a favorite local spot.
  6. Host a lazy picnic. Lay down and look at the clouds, or perhaps the stars.
  7. Go strawberry picking. Then find delectable recipes to turn them into jams, cakes, or pastries!
  8. Run a wildlife scavenger hunt. Create a list of flora and fauna to take pictures of for a prize.
  9. Visit an amusement park. Enjoy the milder temperatures while beating the Summer crowd.
  10. Race boats down a creek. Create paper boats and watch them drift downstream to the finish line.
  11. Host an outdoor tea party. Invite friends over and show off your new tea set or budding garden.
  12. Decorate flower pots. Then use them to plant bee-friendly flowers, herbs, or aromatic delights.
  13. Volunteer at a senior center. Seeing so many frills will brighten their day!
  14. Visit public gardens. Find out beforehand if it's alright to have a photoshoot there.
  15. Try birdwatching. Get out your binoculars and discover your local species.
  16. Rent row boats. Find a quiet lake and take turns meandering your boat through the water.
  17. Throw a nature themed masquerade. Decorate masks with large feathers and fake flowers.
  18. Read aloud in a park. Prepare your favorite poetry, passage, or fairytale to share- or just listen in!
  19. Play mini golf. Engage in some friendly competition or up the stakes with a 1st place prize.
  20. Have an outdoor movie night. Rent a projector and watch movies over the sounds of crickets.
  21. Stop by the zoo. You might even see a few baby animals as they are typically born in Spring!
  22. Visit a historical site. Take a tour of a castle or Victorian mansion. Some will even have tea service.
  23. Float in a hot air balloon. View your city from a very different perspective.
  24. Watch a play in the park. Local theaters will sometimes have productions outdoors.
  25. Fly kites. Pick a windy location and soar kites in the sky.

Big thank you to our rabbit Mochi for striking such a handsome pose for me. My Spring has been spent in Seattle where I've had the chance to enjoy the April showers I'd otherwise be missing out on in California. On my favorite occasion, I was walking back to our rental under an umbrella through the frames of foliage that dot the neighborhood and had the pleasant thrill of hearing thunder for the first time in ages. I can't tell which I liked more: the walk or the hot shower afterward with the window open breathing in its melody.

What is your favorite part about Spring? Do you have a great idea for a meetup that you'd love to share? I'd love to hear it in the comments. Have a sugar-sweet day and thanks for reading!

Shannie Bee's 2015 Lolita Wardrobe

1.31.2015


Happy 2015! Two years ago I made my very first wardrobe post and since then I've made it a personal goal to continue chronicling my clothing every year. I love being able to look back and see how my style has evolved and tastes have changed.

Last year I tried to focus more on accessories and embellishments because I found that I was prone to buying dresses and ignoring all else. I also became smitten with florals, and many of the plainer pieces I had on my wishlist came up for sale. This year I believe I will continue to add embellishments and will make it my resolution to create personal handmade pieces. But enough of that, on to the pictures!

Tips To Perfect Your January Lolita Wardrobe Post

1.04.2015

It's that time of year again! Start ironing your dresses and get ready to show the community what your closet is made of. January's wardrobe post is the egl topic that has more participation than any other, with many awaiting the chance to peek at some closet inspiration and others posting their own. But how to make your post stand out from the crowd? Keep reading to find out!

Setting Up Your Shots- Lights, Camera, Action!

There are two parts to a wardrobe post: the photos and, well, everything else! Seeing the clothes and accessories harmonize in a real way with the personal flair only an owner could give and stock photos could not is the main attraction. So please say it with me now and vow to uphold this rule: no blurry or dark photos!

Make sure you have a good camera on hand. You don't need anything high-end, and your best bet may even just be your cell phone! All that matters is that it takes clear photos. Try tinkering with the camera settings instead of running on auto for more consistency and control.

Decide upon your set. Consider all that will be visible in the photographs and only let what you want seen into the frame. I suggest slight to minimal activity as you don't want to make it too distracting, but some details add personality. Here are some examples to try out:

  • Place a temporary wall hook on a garden fence for a lush foreground.
  • Photograph accessories where they are stored if you have them organized in an elegant way.
  • Toss flower petals onto your scene for some added feminine flair.
  • Thrift a large picture frame and lay your dresses inside it.
  • monkeyhoney used bedsheets with a cute unobtrusive pattern.
  • ehcappella staged a dressform in a beautiful corner of their room.
  • terrayla's ruffled pink room was the perfect backdrop for her princess-like wardrobe.
  • cadney included some gorgeous close-up shots of her favorite details.
  • scarletsedusa's moody atmosphere (an exception to the dark photo rule) gave a mysterious quality.
  • rozarn displayed her dresses in front of her beautiful wardrobe.
  • riotkitty_ let their cute stuffed animals into the frame.
  • yueri-san placed their entirely Moite wardrobe on a bedsheet in their signature color.
  • mintiemii photographed over plain white sheets and added her own cute hand-drawn flair.
Establish good lighting. Even great cameras can have a hard time picking up details in the dark. Figure out when the area you plan to shoot in recieves the best sunlight or place a few bright lamps around to shoot on your own schedule.

A little editing goes a long way. Sometimes the colors look better on camera, or maybe the dirty clothes on the floor made their way into the frame. Scrutinizing each image with a photo editing program is that finishing touch that will ensure a flawless representation of your wardrobe to capture the community's hearts!

Forming Your Post

With your photos beautifully taken, edited, and uploaded into your livejournal album the next step will be to make your post. You can add as much or as little "flair" to this as you like, but the basic things you should try and include are an entry image and the names of the dresses/skirts.

The entry image is that photo almost everyone seems to place before the cut (the link to the full post). It's there to give you a preview of what you will find and entice you into looking. A few fun ideas to try are:
  • You in your favorite coordinate
  • A picture of your closet space or room
  • Detailed closeups of your favorite print
  • Your brand novelties
  • A drawing you made
  • mayartemis created a cute gif of their clothing stacking up
  • tehrin used their graphic design skills to come up with this amazing pastel intro
A small introduction is sometimes placed after this. I'll call this part optional, but I feel it's nice to get an idea of the person who has curated the wardrobe you are scrolling through. A small sampling of personal facts that can give someone an idea of your fashion bubble makes the photos even more inviting. For example, you could include:
  • Your age
  • What city you live in
  • Your occupation
  • Your favorite motifs/ colors/ brands
  • A link to past wardrobe posts
  • How your wardrobe has changed over the past year
  • When/why you started wearing lolita
  • Where/when you typically wear lolita
  • Other fashions you wear
  • buttcape included a pie chart showing which brands they owned
Now for the images. Since the dresses are the main attraction it's best to place them first so appetites are satiated as they scroll on to see how you embellish them. Some thought should be put into how the images are arranged for that cherry on top, especially if you have quite a large wardrobe.

  • List them in a rainbow starting from your favorite color
  • Create arbitrary categories you feel your dresses encapsulate (tea flavors, animals, zodiac, etc.)
  • If you have a meticulous mind for dates, list by when you acquired them
  • ruban_rose categorized her dresses by brand
  • antik_poesi structured their pictures three to a row
  • xandra292 included multiple themes into her categories
  • lollipurr divided their wardrobe into just two- cat related and not cat related
  • loresandpenates gridded their images to include lovely detail shots
  • alyssiumbaby made an efficient layout for such a picture-heavy post
  • sanakanami made navigation easier by sorting categories under spoiler tags
Add captions so we all know the names of those lovely dresses and you're about done! If you have a story to share about a particular dress this would be where to do it. Make it personable by letting others discover how long it took you to find a particular item or how much your first dress meant to you.

Don't forget to check your etiquette! After all that hard work be sure your post isn't breaking any rules and users with slower connections will be able to view it. Heres's a quick checklist to mark off:
  • Place all images after the entry image under a cut.
  • If your post is picture heavy please note it in the cut so others know to open it in another tab.
  • Do not hotlink images unless they are from your server or a photo-hosting website.
  • Keep your entry images no bigger than 500px wide or the egl layout will squish them.
  • Use your judgement on how large to post your wardrobe pictures- nobody wants to scroll horizontally!


I am so excited to see everyone's wardrobe posts again this year! I've quite dedicated myself to making one every year to track my progress and phases and trends. It reminds me of flipping through old diary pages. Do you plan to make a wardrobe post this year? Please link yours in the comments so I can check them out!

I know a lot of people feel deterred from posting because they see their wardrobe as small but it's just as nice to see a well-loved wardrobe of a few pieces as it is to scroll through an impossibly large collection. Have a sugar-sweet day and happy posting!

25 Lolita Meetup Ideas for Winter

12.01.2014

I hope this season has been good to you so far, dear readers. I've noticed that meetups tend to slow down this time of year due to the weather and the holidays, but I find that such a shame when there are such cool things to do around now! With 25 days until Christmas I thought I'd share a list of 25 cute activities to plan with your lolita community this Winter.

  1. Go  ice skating. The #1 cold weather activity,  extra cute in frills.
  2. Visit a chocolatier. Drink freshly made hot chocolate for a Wintery substitution to tea rooms.
  3. Browse museums. Shake off the cold while viewing the wonders of art, history, and science.
  4. Have a crafting day. Get together with your crafting projects for a relaxing hour or two.
  5. Throw a holiday themed party. Any excuse to break out the Christmas prints and velvets!
  6. Go Christmas caroling. Pick a song that everyone knows and sing door to door.
  7. Build snowmen. Bonus points for sculpting frilly dresses!
  8. Watch movies. Supply snacks and turn on a heart-warming flick in your living room.
  9. Try new desserts. Get everyone to bring their favorite traditional holiday dessert to share.
  10. Have a game night. Keep warm indoors with some board, card, and video games.
  11. Host a Secret Santa/ White Elephant. Exchange gifts with your community.
  12. Hold a card/ ornament making party. Load up on craft supplies and personalize gifts.
  13. View Christmas lights. Put on your warmest coats and take a walk to view the displays.
  14. Take in some culture. Nutcracker, anyone? See what seasonal shows are scheduled at the theater.
  15. Attend holiday festivals. Check for a local parade or festival to welcome the season.
  16. Go ballroom dancing. Brush up on your waltz and keep active by dancing the night away.
  17. Have a Winter picnic. Very bold! Be sure to pack a warm drink.
  18. Throw a drinking night in. Try out some hot buttered rum, eggnog, and spiced mead!
  19. Go window shopping. Check out this year's store displays and buy a gift or two.
  20. Start a swap meet. A great way to find gifts and get some quick cash for the holidays.
  21. Play Victorian parlour games. They really knew how to keep occupied indoors!
  22. Plan a Winter photo shoot. Get your comm together for some photos in the snow.
  23. Eat by the fire. Make reservations at a restaurant with a working fireplace.
  24. Go on a nature walk. Plot an easy route in the park with lots of scenic views.
  25. Take a sleigh ride. Enjoy the scenery from a sleigh pulling through sheets of white.

Here in San Francisco it doesn't ever get cold enough to see snow, and I miss it dearly! Winter is fast becoming my favorite time of year for how cozy and festive it compels me to behave once the temperature drops. We've already had our tree up for a month and I've been reaching for the hot cocoa occasionally.

What plans do you have for Winter? Perhaps some travelling, or an anticipated quiet afternoon during the break with a warm blanket and a good book? Have a sugar-sweet day and thanks for reading!

Historically Inspired: The Victorian Lolita

11.21.2014

If there is one thing I love about history, it's how lavishly the wealthy loved to dress. The well-to-do ladies of the Victorian Era were no stranger to this indulgence with their bell-shaped hoop skirts and bustles, parasols, bonnets, and other many accessories- sound familiar? The fashions of this period are a large contributor to the aesthetic of lolita, and with OTT Classic on the rise it's a great inspiration for putting a little antiquity into your coordinates!

The 19th Century Silhouette

What dress makes the cut? The Victorian Era saw many changes in silhouette over the decades, but the two most iconic styles of dress were the hoop skirt and the bustle. The hoop skirt is the predecessor to the bell-shaped lolita skirts we wear today which make them easy to channel in coordinates, while the bustle has inspired a few modern interpretations on the lolita silhouette.


The bustle is my personal favorite from this period; I just love how it adds interest to every side on a lolita dress, and the design is very exclusive to the Victorians. There are several ways that lolita brands have alluded to the bustle in their designs, either by pinning the overskirt fabric so that it forms a swag, draping material on the rear, or just by placing ruffles on the back. Atelier Pierrot and Victorian Maiden in particular have made a large array of bustled skirts that can be adjusted up or down.


The necklines of the 1800s were high collared during the day and plunging in the evening. Classic lolita brands often put out cuts with standing collars that perfectly match the daytime look, and scoop necks draped with lace for the more elegant eveningwear will also sometimes appear. There were so many styles for sleeves in this era that you can get away with most anything, so just focus on where the neckline falls.



When it comes to brands heavily inspired by Victorian silhouettes, you can't really go wrong with Victorian Maiden, Mary Magdelene, Atelier Pierrot, or Excentrique. Even Angelic Pretty will release their pastel version of a Victorian gown every now and then, which is a measurement of its broad appeal. No matter what your style, there is a Victorian-inspired dress for it!


While you can certainly get away with a Victorian-inspired dress featuring a fully illustrated print for a modern twist, the most common patterns at the time were florals and stripes. Jewel tones were very popular because artificial dyes had recently been invented, making it possible to get brighter colors than ever before, but they did wear more subdued colors as well. Wearing all black was considered mourning attire.

Outerwear & Shoes

When the weather turned cold, ladies would wear fitted jackets with high collars, or capes/cloaks long and short. These came in all different styles from minimal decor to lavish cuts and fabrics. Victorian Maiden and Innocent World are on the forefront of Victorian-inspired outerwear.



Lace-up ankle boots are the popular image of Victorian footwear, but they certainly didn't wear that to the ballroom! Small satin slippers were also popular at the time, often decked out with little details. The heels for shoes were spool shaped (wider on the top and bottom) and the toe was pointed. Pleaser makes a few good Victorian-inspired boots, but American Duchess is about as accurate as it gets. Classic brands also release modern takes on the Victorian shoe.

Accessories

The Victorians had all sorts of accessories and embellishments they loved to add to their outfits.

  • Bonnets - Made from straw in the Summer, and decadent fabrics in the Winter. Ladies loved dressing them up much as we do with ribbons, flowers, plumes, and even real whole stuffed birds! Full bonnets that covered the back of the head were worn with a cute updo and ringlet curls.
  • Hats - Large wide brims topped with silk flowers and plumes and fake fruits were popular for ladies of wealth. Triple Fortune makes some that are mouth-watering, but you can find suitable ones fairly easy by searching for fancy hats. "Tea hats" like those you see old women wearing to tea rooms would work very well.
  • Stoles/Shawls - Delicate lace and fabric shawls would wrap around the elbows or shoulders of ladies day and night. Baby, the Stars Shine Bright has even started producing their own topped with fake flowers. You may be able to find these at thrift or antique stores.
  • Tights - Legwear was very basic, as the legs were not to be seen! I recommend solid or lacy tights, but nothing too flashy.
  • Parasols -  Already a lolita favorite! Ones dripping in lace are positively Victorian.
  • Bags - Pair your look with a small beaded bag held from a chain or thin strap with clasps, just like they used to. These can easily be found in everyday clothing and department stores.
  • Gloves - These were an absolute must for ladies. Long sleeved gloves reaching past the elbows were paired with short sleeved dresses for an exquisitely elegant look, while short gloves were worn with long sleeves. Try ruffled vintage gloves, or use a lacy pair for a soft look.
  • Fans - A hand fan was more than just a way to fight the heat, they were used to communicate across the room in a secret language! Lace or illustriously painted fans would pair fine with lolita.
  • Jewelry - Brooches, cameos, lockets, and intricately detailed yet bold pieces are a staple of this era. Jewelry brand 1928 exclusively makes antique-inspired accessories and many, many cameos and lockets can be found on etsy.

So there you have a basic (well, as basic as I could hold myself back to write) look on adding some Victorian era charm to your coordinate. Another approach you can take would be to wear a corset, or a dress with corset lacing, as that is an icon of the era even though it was never worn outside their clothing. Our beloved Alice was also brought to life in this period, making Wonderland coordinates a cute theme.

I put together a Victorian-inspired look so you can see these items together. This is the kind of look one would wear to a park on a sunny and breezy day I imagine. I picture a small picnic on the grass surrounded by dots of small flowers and little dogs playing.

Soft Victorian



As a last bit of advice, here are a few things to try and avoid:
  •  Square necklines - These are just too boxy for the period. If you don't have any blouses with a high collar or scoop neck, I suggest sticking to a rounded neckline.
  • A row of bows down the bodice - This is more reminiscent of the Rococo era. A bow or two will be fine, but more than that will channel Marie Antoinette more than Queen Victoria.
  • Jabots/Cravats - By this time the cravat had evolved into a bow tie and lacy jabots were nowhere to be seen. This is such an extremely nit-picky detail though, so feel free to ignore it!
I hope you enjoyed this little look into the past! I would love to branch out to a few more eras of fashion this way, as I had so much fun with this one and there are quite a few to cover. Is the Victorian era your cup of tea, or do you have another that influences your look? I'd love to know in the comments, and it may influence which era I study next! Have a sugar-sweet day and thanks for reading!