Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Swap Meet 2014

Hello again lovely ladies and gents! This past weekend I attended my very first ever Lolita Swap Meet and I'm very excited to report back! I noticed when the meet was scheduled last year and was very sad I wasn't able to attend, both for scheduling reasons as well as the fact that I was still feeling quite out of the Lolita loop. This year was a different matter entirely, and not only was I able to attend, I sold quite a few things as well!

The meet was to take place between 1-7 pm, and was hosted at one of our local loli's beautiful homes. My boyfriend and I arrived around 12:45 to give ourselves plenty of time to set up, and thank goodness we did because there were already plenty of girls setting up! I've been preparing for this meet-up for a couple weeks now, so I was 110% ready to get going with my display, price tags and deals. Here's what my display ended up looking like:

So much black! As I've mentioned a few months ago, I'm still in the process of purging my close of a lot of plainer, black dresses I've accumulated over the years and never seem to get around to actually wearing. Truthfully I've been pretty bad about it since I'm admittedly a bit lazy and hate going to the post office, especially as I don't own a scale and never know the correct amount of postage to charge.  So this swap meet was truly a golden opportunity for me to bring everything all together and try to sell in person! I also brought a long a few ponies and BJD accessories I've been needing to clear out as well.

I was unprepared for just how huge this event was going to be!! It was estimated approximately 60-70 guests ended up arriving for the day, and there were SO many frills! It was absolutely amazing to have the opportunity to see so many breathe-taking garments up close, not only on the hangers but on my fellow Lolita's as well! Everyone looked so beautiful and as I don't tend to partake in many meet-ups, it was very inspiring to see all the gorgeous coords and meet so many lovely people! Here are a few photos as the event was going on.

And here's a quick snapshot of what I wore that day!

No shoes cause it was all indoors
Yes, more black, but this is one of my favorite dresses as it's extremely comfortable, and since I knew I'd be dressed up all day I wanted something I could move around easily in. I did try to add a few more details however with the gold in both my wristcuffs and necklace and some pearls. I'm annoyed as I have this really adorable gold carousel pin that I also wanted to wear, but I forgot it at home since I was in such a rush and didn't realize until a few hours later. Oh well, better luck next time!

Overall I'm really pleased with how much I sold. In the end, my total broke down to this: 

2 BtssB dresses

2 Bodyline dresses

1 Bodyline blouse

1 Bodyline cardigan

1 offbrand blouse

1 handmade dress

1 headbow

1 pair of Bodyline shoes

Definitely not bad! I reached my own personal goal (I can now spring for this adorable tulle skirt I've been eying on Modcloth) and it feels amazing to have gotten rid of so many things! Not only that, but it feels so wonderful to be able to see my items go onto make other Lolita so happy and feel beautiful! I think that experience of realizing just how much we've made another Loli's day isn't really something we think about when selling online, and it's definitely a lovely feeling. Once I get off my lazy bum I'm going to be putting up the remainder of my items on Lacemarket and finally cleaning out the last of what needs to go.

I'm actually quite proud of myself for not going crazy and spending everything I made! As mentioned, I am in the midst of savings, but I did allow myself one little splurge.

Image from Miss-harajuki.com

Ta da! Isn't she gorgeous!! I spotted this little beauty early on in the day and was absolutely smitten. It was in another room from where I was set up, but every ten minutes or so I would wander over, just to see if anyone else has bought it. I kept trying to get it out of my head, especially since I was so intent on not purchasing anything. But after a few hours my boyfriend convinced me to at least try it on, what could it hurt, right?

It was pure love! I was almost hoping it wouldn't be the right size or fit awkwardly or be too short...but alas, I pulled that zipper up and it was like this dress was made for me. It fits absolutely beautifully and I felt like a regal snow princess. I was trying not to allow myself to get too carried away...but I think how much I adored this dress was clear on my face. After another half an hour my boyfriend wandered away for a few minutes and lo and behold returned with none other than my new lovely white dress! All in all, this little splurge was most definitely worth it!

I had such a lovely time at the meet, and I'm so glad I was able to attend this year. It was so fun meeting so many ladies all at once and I'm really hoping I get to see them again soon!

Friday, September 19, 2014

LBC: 3 Things to tell my beginner Lolita Self

I adore Lolita Blog Carnival's that really challenge me to look at myself and evaluate my own position in the fashion. Although I began wearing my first real Lolita pieces back in 2007, I still feel very much the beginner. Even so, here are some lessons it's taken me almost 7 years to learn, and I only wish I had figured them out just a smidge sooner.

Color is okay

This is a biggie. For a long time, even outside of Lolita, color was a scary thing for me. I was uncomfortable with my body (and still am to an extent), and felt that covering it up with black was the way to go. I was fine with this. I genuinely like the color black and I thought it made things easier to coordinate. However, it's finally dawning on me that when I open my closet and see nothing but solid black frills, my excitement level is no longer as high as it used to be. But I never thought any other color would look good on me, nor did I think I could figure out how to coordinate them, so I avoided them like the plague. Nowadays, while black will always have a special place in my wardrobe, I'm beginning to realize that colors don't have to be terrifying or ugly, and I only wish I had opened myself up to this possibility sooner.

Basics can be fun

Alright, so maybe I'm still struggling with this one a bit. Back then, I knew the basics. Petticoat. Tights. Mary-Janes. Check. I thought I was set. But I never branched out. My shoes were always simple and offbrand (and always black). My tights were always solid (and more black). I thought blouses were boring, and since I figured they would be hidden under a dress anyway I always opted for offbrand. Of course, offbrand is a perfectly valid choice and I'm not saying I should have ignored them completely, but I wish I had given myself the chance a little bit earlier to explore the world of these "boring" basics, and to realize just how beautiful they could be and how much more variety they could give my coords.


For some reason I used to think that accessories were only for sweet Lolitas. Or maybe I was just being cheap because I wanted to save up for more pretty black dresses. Either way, my accessories were always the same: a small, black hair bow and maybe a silver necklace. Always silver. Again, I think my limited accessory collection was also largely influenced by my lack of confidence in being able to coordinate them properly. It's finally dawned on me that accessories are the perfect gateway for including a pop of color and personality to an outfit, not to mention they tend to be so much cheaper than dresses. Double win!

Looking back I realize I played it safe for a very long time. I suppose I could have made much worse mistakes, but over the years it's turned Lolita into a bland, boring fashion because I never gave myself a chance to try something new. Nowadays, though the process is slow, I do feel like I'm coming out of my black, safe little cave. Golds, browns and creams are slowly making their way into my closet, and outside of Lolita I've begun wearing more blues, silvers and even pink! Fashion is always a learning process, and though I may be slow at making changes, I'm proud of the progress I have made in discovering and shaping a style that truly represents who I am.

Edit: I realize this is also a topic for the 52 Lolita Challenge! So let's cross number 15 off the list!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

How to Leave an Online Review

I do a lot of online shopping, both inside and out of Lolita. And it is the bane of my existence to be searching for information...any information on a garment strictly available online, only to find one or two sad little one line "reviewers" that leave me even more confused than before. I have wasted a lot of time and money purchasing and altering clothes and shoes that can not be returned.  Many times however, these types of mistakes could have been avoided if those who chose to review had the foresight to do so properly. So, partly as an instruction manual and partly out of my need to rant, here it is:

How to Leave an Online Review

image from weheartit.com

1. List your measurements: And yes. I do mean ALL your measurements. Nothing is more infuriating than reading:

"This fit great! I ordered a size Large and though it was a little oversized it wasn't too baggy and hit me write at my knees."

That's fantastic...except I have absolutely no idea how tall you are. And I'm not being facetious here, you would be surprised just how many people expect others to be psychic in knowing their size. For all I know the reviewer could be 5' of 5'9", and that really does make a HUGE difference if I'm trying to decide if a size large will work for me or not. What could hit someone at the knees in a Large size might hit someone else mid-calf and someone else high on her thigh. With a review like this however, she'll have a difficult time figuring that out.  Here's another example:

"I'm 5'4" and 130 lbs, I ordered a Medium and it was too big. Definitely order a size down!"

In this case the reviewer left her height, which is fantastic....but her weight tells us very little. She could be a muscular, athletic 130 lbs, or she could be a svelte, super slender 130 lbs, or a softer, untoned 130 lbs. Maybe she's an apple shape and carries a lot of weight in her tummy, or pear shaped and bottom heavy or maybe she's very large chested with slender hips. We don't know because all she told us was her basic height and weight. We can line up ten individuals of the same height and weight and every single one can be built drastically different, and while some might need to order a size Small like the reviewer, others might need that Medium or even a large based purely on how her body is built.

So, if nothing else, PLEASE list your measurements. At the very least, please include your height, bust (both cup size as well as an actual measurement in inches are extremely useful) and waist measurements. Keep in mind, because every store (and country) is different, telling us you're about a "medium" or a "size ten" mean absolutely nothing. If you're feeling generous it's never a bad idea to include other sizes such as shoulder width if you're reviewing a blouse, or calf circumference if you're discussing the fit of tall boots. Remember, the word average means absolutely nothing. Numbers are what count.

2. List the garments' size : I know this seems like common sense, but you don't know how many times I've run into a review like this:

"I'm 5' and have a 28 inch waist. This hit me just about an inch above my knee and was about an inch too big on me, but it's easily fixed with a belt. Super cute!"

......Okay. But what SIZE did you order? When the options available range from XS-XXL, am I just supposed to make an educated guess? Depending on where the garment is from, a 28 inch waist literally could be sold as a size XS all the way up to an XXL. Yes, hopefully the website selling the item would have a size chart to go by, but I'm sure I'm not the only way to experience the intense disappointment of ordering something that should have fit according to a size chart, only to realize it's about four inches too short and one size too slim to ever fit.

Additionally, it's also quite helpful to list a few basic measurements of the garment itself, such as its length and width. It's not necessary to delve into every excruciating detail, but if something seems particularly strange (the crotch of a pair of pants feel oddly low), it's best to make a note and explain it as accurately as possible.

3. Fact v. Opinion: So it's pretty much a given that any review is going to have some opinion of the reviewer included and that's fine, but don't forget facts as well! It's fine to say you think the shoes delivered are ugly and cheap looking, but don't forget to explain WHY. It's useful, especially with negative reviews, to give clear reasoning (were they scuffed up and dingy? Not the color as advertised? Falling apart at the heel?) as to why you feel the way you do, or else one can simply chalk it up to personal taste when there could genuinely be something defective or misleading about the product that other people should probably know.

4. Photos: Lastly, photos are always nice. These can be of the garment itself, and detail shots are especially useful. Photos of the item actually being worn is also quite handy for those who might appreciate a visual. Of course at times taking a photo of the garment may not be possible, but of the four this particular point I find the least important as long as it is thoroughly described, including specific detail in any flaws or unexpected details (such as hidden pockets, no lining on a skirt, etc.).

I know no one is perfect. We're all human and make mistakes, and I too have made my own share of mistakes when leaving reviews. But I think we can all agree that a few snapshots of a dress or skirt and the exclamation of "It's so cute! I recommend everyone buy one!" hardly counts as a review and shouldn't be labeled as such. Especially in the world of Lolita, where so much is bought  sight unseen, there's no denying that the more information there is out there, the better it is for all of us to make informed choices. 
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