Friday, March 27, 2015

The Dress Pt. 3

So, I realize it's been awhile since I actually updated this little series of my wedding dress shopping excursions. So although I know this isn't exactly the focus of this blog I still think it's important enough to warrant some attention. So with that out of the way, hopefully I will be able to complete these final few chapters fairly quickly. Without further ado, the second half of my David's Bridal experience.

This store ultimately wound up being the one I tried the most dresses on. Up next was another lovely Very Wang gown with a gorgeous crinkle chiffon and tulle skirt.


 I had never really seen a fabric like this and it admittedly was very fetching. I absolutely adore the bodice of this dress. It was so unbelievably flattering and comfortable and made me feel just beautiful. The sweeping details on the skirt were also gorgeous as they were quite unique and reminded a lot of Disney's classic Cinderella's dress. Again we tried it with another belt just to give it a little pop of sparkle, but I know with something so wintery that the flowers weren't quite to my taste.

Sadly, this gown was just a tad above my comfortable price range. I know that had I fallen head over heels in love with it my sisters and mom would have helped me pay the difference. But since I was still on the fence, I was hesitant to take them up on such a generous offer. In the end, I think it was the crinkle chiffon that was both a bless and a curse. It was so unique and beautiful to touch, yet it was just different enough that it strayed too far from what I had always envisioned.

Don't know the style number :(
Next up with this little beauty. This was actually a gown chosen by my mother, which is why it might look a little different from the previous dresses. My mother and I have very different tastes, but I knew that I absolutely wanted to try on something that she specifically chose for me.

I was surprised at just how much I actually liked this dress. I was wary as it was covered in lace , had a lot of detail on the bodice and didn't have as full a skirt as I tended to prefer, but once I slipped it on I was pleasantly surprised. It was certainly a lot lighter than the other dresses I had tried on, and the sparkle and lace was way more elegant and classy than I had initially thought. What can I say, my Mom has good taste! And while this dress might not have been The One, I was pretty pleased to have tried it on.

VW351213 in gold/blush

I tried on a few more dresses, but my appointment was winding down and with nothing jumping out at me I decided to try on the original Vera Wang dress on just one last time. This time I opted for the second version of the dress in blush and gold. Slipping it on felt like magic as I was once again enveloped in folds of beautiful, soft tulle. The pink was an element I hadn't ever considered before and the whimsical bow sent my heart aflutter.
Still, as far as my entourage was considered, it was less than a winner. I wasn't ready to give up on it just yet. This had been the dress of my dreams the second I saw it online and I wasn't about to throw in the towel. I knew my dress shopping journey had just begun, so while I wasn't going to make a decision just yet, I wasn't ready to let go of it either.

So ended my very first wedding dress shopping trip. As I left the store, I was a finding myself wrestling way more emotions and confusion than I had anticipated. I knew exactly what I wanted and it wasn't particularly complicated, so why was I having such difficulty finding it? Was it supposed to be a super clear Aha! moment? Did it really matter if my family and friends disliked the dress if I loved it? Could I really opt for anything other than traditional white? Would I regret it later?

It was a lot to take in and I wasn't nearly as prepared as I thought I was. One might argue that for a dress I would only wear for one day, it needn't be such a huge obstacle. And yet I view it from the other side of the coin. Because I get to wear this dress for only one day, should it not be absolutely perfect? Even a cheap gown will more than likely run a pretty penny, so should I not invest in something I truly love on a day I intend to remember for the rest of my life? 

I left the shop with more questions than I did answers.

Part One: Introduction
Part Four: Mafalda's Bridal
Part Five: Bay Area Bridal

Thursday, March 26, 2015

On sewing...

Sewing and I have a very long and complicated past. I still remember the first time I became enchanted by its wonders. I couldn't have been more than 7 or 8, and I was standing in the local Grange hall, watching as the 4-H troupe prepared for their open house. There was a very tiny sewing group, made up of exactly one girl in fact, and the group leader was none other than my very own grandmother. Throughout the year she had created a beautiful line of dresses, and as I learned that those lovely garments came from none other than her own hands, I rapidly grew obsessed with the idea of someday making my own gorgeous wardrobe.

That moment was just the start of my tumultuous sewing journey. I joined 4-H as soon as I can, specifically with the goal of learning how to sew (and admittedly, it was an awesome excuse to convince my parents to let me adopt a bunny).

I learned immediately that I was terrible at it.

Tangled threads. Pokey needles. Unpressed seams. A frazzled mess of bunched up fabric and crooked hems. It was terrible. I stuck it out for a couple years before I threw in the towel. Everything I created had been a disaster.

But I didn't give up entirely. A few years later I discovered sewing was offered as an elective at my school, and once more I was rapidly taken in by the swoon-worthy idea of finally mastering this tantalizing art. I decided to give it another go. Fortunately for me the teacher was amazingly patient (despite dealing with 30 dramatic teenage girls at a time) and highly skilled, and despite my horrible lack of talent, I was able to, at the very least, come home with a very nice potholder at the end of the year.

After I graduated I was determined to continue my sewing pursuits. I bought my own sewing machine and lugged a 100lb box brimming with fabric and notions 6 hours away with me as I moved for college. I had projects, ideas, and a renewed zest. I was definitely going to make it work this time.

Nowadays that box is sitting maybe 10 lbs lighter in the back of my sister's closet. Once again, my best efforts had left me with nothing but lopsided aprons and a hopeless wondering of where I went so wrong.

Not it's been awhile. But as usual, the desire to sew has never fully abandoned me. Every time I struggle to find something beautiful in my size, only to find it's limited to those with a 26 inch waist, I feel that sting. Searching store after store, both physical and online to be left with the sheer frustration at the lack of simple peter pan collars, midi skirts and blouses thicker than tissue paper has left me in a haze of envy of those who never gave up.

So here I am. Once again staring into the abyss of fabric and thread and needles and trying not to back down. I feel determined. I know patience is my downfall. Coupled with my burning desire to finally own beautiful clothes that truly fit correctly, I hope the passion won't diminish quite so easily. The fact that I continue to come back to it, despite the sheer irritation it causes me gives me a glimmer of hope that maybe this is something I really am meant to do.

Crossing my fingers, and going forward with caution.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I'm Lost

Do you guys remember that scene in Disney's Lilo and Stitch,where Stitch runs away? He takes Lilo's book, The Ugly Duckling, with him, after she read it to him and told him about the little duckling who was searching and cry out for his family. Alone and confused, Stitch wanders into the first, calling out for a home he doesn't realize he already has.

Artwork by Colby Bluth

Sadly, I am neither as cute, fluffy or as as poignant as Stitch. But, I do think he and I do share something between us that is still very important. That is, a lack of understanding and acceptance of who we are.

When I started writing this blog, I never intended for it to revolve around such issues as body positivity and the self acceptance movement. And honestly, I still don't really intend to delve too deeply into those very complicated issues. But, given how intrinsically tied together fashion and my own body image are,  I think it would be naive of me to dismiss them altogether.

Personally speaking, I have never fully accepted, understood or loved my body for what it is, and I'm honestly not sure if I ever will. However, I do find that with the right clothes, I can find a new appreciation for it, which is why I think fashion as a whole is so important to me. I don't like to use clothes to hide myself or to feel like the garments are wearing me instead of the other way around.

Still, I'm struggling. Despite my bold attempts in the past few months to break out of my strict "all black only" box to pursue bigger and better things, I find myself seriously floundering. I look into my closet crammed with clothes, and this is what I find: half a dozen tulle skirts in various colors, too many solid black Lolita dresses I never wear, solid knit plain long sleeve t-shirts and tank tops, maybe three regular blouses and another half dozen frilly shift dresses. 

Nothing is cohesive. Nothing works. I hate wearing knit tops, yet I seem to be extraordinarily picky when it comes to purchasing blouses. Yet the lack the blouses makes it very difficult to wear my JSKs or my skirts. I feel like there is a HUGE absence of accessories-jewelry, belts, hats, cardigans, etc. that really pull together an outfit and make it look complete, yet I've so little understanding in how to coordinate these things without looking busy that I never seem to purchase any. Instead, I constantly feel plain, boring and ultimately frumpy.

I do feel lost. Not only in my navigating my wardrobe, but in simply trying to understand who I am and what exactly it is I am trying to represent. I feel childish, insecure and self conscious in poofy skirts, cutesy tea parties and adorable head pieces. Yet I feel extraordinarily dull, uninspired and sad in the simple, boxy designs often offered by most American retail stores. I long for whimsical skirts, romantic lace and flowing chiffon. I adore bows and pretty roses and feminine polka dots. Yet I can't seem to find the right balance. Sweet, yet mature. Playful yet elegant.

I'm still searching. Still looking and hoping and trying. But I've come to accept it.

I'm lost.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Shift Dress

So I've been thinking a lot about why my latest purchase from My Lolita Dress failed me so badly. I have a few staple pink piece in my non-Lolita wardrobe that I wear without a problem, so I don't think it was exactly the color. The fabric wasn't terrible, and while it was thin, it didn't feel cheap or wrinkly. It was loose, but it was structured to be that way. So what went wrong?

Then this morning I was browsing one of my favorite online shops,, and I was hit like a battering ram with this new beauty:

Oh gosh, I literally felt my jaw drop. It's gorgeous! I instantly stuck it in my shopping cart as I eagerly await my next pay day.

But it got me thinking-this dress has a lot of style similarities to my much failed MLD dress. They're both pink. They both have a shorter hemline. They both have no defined waist. They both are cutesy. Was I going to have the same miserable result with this dress as I did the last?

But then it occurred to me-I already own two dresses in the style of the Modcloth dress, and I love them! They're both so incredibly comfortable while at the same time always make me feel polished and pretty. And I think that's where I hit my snag with MLD. As similar as the cuts are, there was still one huge difference. That is, the MLD dress was still a Lolita dress, and as such needed to be made large enough to contain a petticoat. It wasn't an actual shift dress, but designed after the style of a Lolita dress.

Now, I know I'm not a designer, but after slipping on one of my favorite shift dresses I could blatantly see that as flowy and loose as they were, no petticoat would ever live comfortably beneath their hems. They just aren't structured that way. So while I expected to have the same lovely, princess moment with my MLD dress, it was ultimately doomed to failure. I was looking for a shift dress effect, not a Lolita dress effect.

Personally, as I am slowly trying to wade into the world of proper clothing terms and design, this revelation is pretty huge to me. It means I can't assume every Lolita dress without a defined waist is going to fit like a shift dress, but it also doesn't mean I have to give up my beloved loose and comfortable frocks either.

So with that, I leave some further inspiration as to just how beautiful shift dresses truly can be.

Thank you Modcloth!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Underskirt Ahoy!...and some bad news

Bad news first.  I was really hoping to start off this month with a review of my very first lucky pack that I ordered from the brand Pink Up on the My Lolita Dress website. You all remember that, right?

Well, it seems that shall not be so, as I woke up this morning to an email from Linda over at MLD that the lucky packs had all been sold out before my order has processed. lucky pack for me. She asked if I would like to use the purchase toward something else in the shop and as an apology she would include a free gift.

Okay, I'm pretty bummed you guys. Like, really really REALLY bummed. But, I'm trying to look at the silver lining. I've been wanting an underskirt for a very long time and continually put it off in favor of more interesting things. So I figure this is a pretty good opportunity to get myself into gear and jump on that.

JeJ Chiffon Underskirt
This is the beauty I'll be ordering. Ideally I would someday like to end up with both a black and a white/off-white one, but for now I'll be going with the black one as it will suit a majority of my current wardrobe.

I'll still have a little left over for one other thing to go in my order, and I'm debating between either a mini shawl like one of these:

In wine red

In white

or this beautiful headpiece:

While either of the shawls would be quite practical in my wardrobe as I'm severely lacking in blouses and shawls are great for summer whether, but I also could use a pretty piece of headgear as I'm mostly limited to small, unimpressive head bows at the moment. What do you guys think?

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