Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Small post: Mental health and lolita

A friend of mine recently posted in her FB that she's feeling depressed because she can't afford to buy more dresses right now, and fears that she'll become less popular because of it. I told her that I wouldn't care if she wore a Milanoo plastic lace monstrosity with crocks, she'd still be my friend. Another friend admitted to feeling the same way at times - this really got me thinking.

More dresses = popularity?
Popularity = Self-worth? Justification for being? Filling a void of acceptance?

Why is this style so popular with girls who have severe self-esteem and self-appreciation issues? Depression, obsessive behaviour, eating disorders, suicidal tendencies, panic attacks and a whole array of other mental health problems seem to be more of a norm than an exception with the followers of this fashion. I personally have overcome the worst years, and although I've never been to the really deep end of it, I've had my difficult times. I still sometimes get panic attacks and struggle with my self-image, but it's nothing compared to the trials some of my friends and associates have to deal with.

Unfortunately this fashion also attracts some people with narcissistic personality disorders, and I don't just mean mere vanity and attention-seeking. I mean the kind of deal where someone manipulates others into doing their bidding, making these already beaten-down girls feel even worse, even more inadequate and desperate.

Why does this style in particular seem to harbour so many broken people? Any thoughts?

Friday, March 22, 2013

From the archives (IMAGE HEAVY)

Another one for the weekend!

I have an impressive amount of photos on my photobucket account, and one day I went through all of them. I was surprised to find pictures of things I used to own and things that are still more or less on my wishlist, so I wanted to make a post dedicated to them. A vast majority of these items are from my sweet lolita days, but I can appreciate the old-school feeling a lot of them have, not to mention the nostalgy these clothes and accessories carry.

Some things I had and loved

Including the year I bought them. I'd imagine some of these are still in circulation.

Baby seal bag (2009)
It was one of those baby seal backpacks you tend to find at cruise ships or thriftstores here in Finland, but I made it into something more fanciful. I still think this is rather cute in a scruffy way, but it stopped suiting my style.

Blue BtSSB polka dot JSK (2009)
At least I think it was BtSSB. I only wore this dress during one photo-shoot until I switched styles.

Blue AP polka dot daisy bow (2009)
 A bit of a shaky picture. It went perfectly with the jumper skirt above.

Demonia boots with faux fur (2010)
 Awesome boots for gothic lolita, but they broke about a year after I purchased them, and I just haven't gotten around to buying a new pair.

Pink AP sweater with knitted strawberries (2008)
This sweater was never really my favourites in any way, despite it being cute, but I just HAD to include it, since it's one of those ongoing jokes that this particular knit from the leaving lolita sales of Reetta/Elina has been worn by 90% of the lolita population in Finland. Here's proof that I was probably the second or third owner.

Heart-shaped AP headdress (2007)
A friend visited Japan again, and acted as a shopping service on the side for me.

Pink AP apron (2007)
She also sent me this.

Pink F+F coat& cape (modified), self-modified mittens (2007)
My first lolita coat, and how I loved it! I added the faux fur trim and lace hearts on the coat, and the paw-pads on the mittens.

Pink AP skirt (2006)

The same friend that acted as my shopping service in 2007, did the same in 2006 as well, and I got this skirt, which was my first brand item, along with a pair of pink AP socks. The feeling when I lifted it from the pink plastic bag and smelled it was incredible. I'd really want to know where this skirt is now.



...And some things still kinda want


THAT Black/black or red/white BtSSB heart bag

Metamorphose flocky rose bag in white or red colorway

Red polkadot AP knit bolero

BtSSB chess JSK (the official name of which I can't be bothered to google right now)

Red Baby shoes

These BtSSB bunny earmuffs, but black

Black&red winter crown headdress (I've wanted one since like 2006, but it would mean I have to make one myself. These were already a rare novelty in the available colours.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Loved to death

I just took a peek at my wardrobe, and realized it’s bursting at the seams, although I seem to think I just don’t have enough dresses. Some people have their closets perfectly organized, or hang their clothes on a display rack as a part of their home’s décor – I personally don’t have room for one, unless I want to dodge it every time I have to go outside.

I used to be one of those lolitas that buy dresses and then quickly sell them after wearing the items once or twice, but nowadays I grow quite attached to what I have, especially some things that have been with me for some time. Here’s a few of my personal favourites, I managed to decide on only three to feature!

F+F coat

Everyone knows Fanplusfriend's quality has improved significantly only in the last few years. The first things to have better standards, however, were the coats. I bought this black, elegant winter coat in 2009, and although I've managed to lose the belt somewhere, the coat is still in great condition. I love the detachable soft faux-fur collar and sleeves.
Edit: I actually just found the belt at my boyfriend's mom's place!

Self-made bonnet

I made this bonnet for my first kuro lolita outfit in the summer of 2008, and I still wear the hat now and then, as it really sets off any darker ensemble perfectly. Bonnets weren't popular at all at that time, but even now, when they're a very common headpiece, my 5-year old hat manages to get compliments and queries. I'm a terrible seamstress, but I must've done something right here. I used a big straw-hat as the base, cut off a part of the trim, covered it with black fabric and added two black roses (also put together from loose petals by yours' truly) and some decorative trimming. Simple, yet pretty.

Black meta dress

My first black one-piece, which I bought from Charlotta in 2009, and have worn the heck out of since. It's a perfect fit, has a delightful old-school feel to it (the dress was released in 2007, I think) and features lovely, detachable bows and small cameo-buttons. The lining is satin and also has a layer of tulle inside it, so even when petticoats deflate, the dress maintains a proper silhouette! I can't imagine parting with it, it's my "go-to" piece whenever I'm in a hurry or can't decide what to wear. I don't seem to get tired of it, it's almost a part of me by now.

What about your favourite pieces, readers - care to share?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Casual post 3: summer!

Spring makes us wait for itself here in the northern part of Europe. Some meterologist just made a timid estimate of late April, which means we're quite literally jumping directly from winter to summer. Weather is such a lame topic, but a cooler climate during spring has meant hot temperatures from June to August, which I'm really looking forward to after last year's modest warmth. I'm so over this cold, and totally ready for all the fun that sunshine and green grass bring.

This year, for the first time after graduating from high school, I'm going to have an actual summer holiday, a total of 30 days of paid vacation! I've spent some lazy moments already dreaming of what I want to do, and came up with at least the following:

1. Go do some reading in the shade of a tree on a sunny day

2. Spend a friend-filled cabin-weekend with sauna, BBQ, swimming and boardgames involved

3. Go on picnics and take a carefully prepared lunch basket with you

4. Buy potatoes, greens and fish from the market place and cook something amazing

5. Do more jogging and gym exercise

6. Be more of a social animal

7. Sunshine, ice cream and more swimming at Häkli beach

8. Visit Linnanmäki amusement park (after a 2 year hiatus)

9. Cosplay Vanellope Von Schweetz at RopeCon

10. Arrange a 40's Hawaii themed barbecue summer-party

11. Wear more lolita!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lifestyle Lolita

Borrowed from Hearty & Hearty
 The topic pops up once in a while, both online and in conversations. What is it, and what are its definitions? Is it enough to wear Lolita on a daily basis, or does it go to a length where one should also build one's life solely around the fact that one is a Lolita - choosing a suitable job, house, interior decoration, mode of transportation, hobbies and everything else? Most seem to tilt towards the latter, but I think that, while it's completely alright to "lolify" your life, it also shouldn't automatically mean that you have to make compromises and exclude some things you really enjoy, or are convenient. "I really want to take my car, but princesses have to walk or ride a horse-drawn carriage, or at least have their own driver" would be a perfect example. Another pne could be "I want to listen to heavy metal, but that's not loli-compatible at all." The most extreme act of sacrifice would be to shun friends or even love-relationships because they don't fit the bill.

I have no real personal experience of the subject, save through some friends and the rare blog dealing with lifestyling. However, sometimes I can't help but wonder what parts of my life are "close enough"? I make music, I read, draw and write, enjoy tea and picnics, as I've previously stated in an earlier post, but other than that? Well, I suppose some parts of my interior decoration are sort of fitting of the style - my small, red suede-covered couch, red curtains with black tassels, my plushie-filled bed (if I could just get around to finally hanging that curtain-rod and purple curtains in front of it) and so forth. I've never been too much into "nesting", home is a place to relax, it's not a showroom or questhouse for me. I very rarely invite anyone over.

Here's a blog entry called "My week in world of lifestyle lolita", interesting stuff!

What about my mode of transportation? I take the bus or train. So not loli, since the buses are pretty much modern, and the trains don't run on steam. My significant other? Sure, I think he looks like the hunkier type of Disney-male(We've sometimes joked around that he's like a mixture of the Beast and Gaston, the latter of whom he DESPISES with abandon), he does some archery, collects swords and weapons, and even dresses in a gentlemanly way to special events, but other than that...he's more of a cowboy than a dainty prince with silk slippers. My work, then? Well, I suppose a tranquil office job as the school secretary of an upper secondary school of visual arts (some Lolitas actually attend this school) would accommodate me wearing the style, but really - I just can't be bothered to get all dolled up every morning, when the first thing on my mind after waking up is having a bath, eating my breakfast and getting ready to go asap. I suppose I wouldn't make a very good lifestyle lolita, I just don't have the dedication necessary.

I decided to ask some of my friends about how they see LSL.

One friend told me: "I love getting ready and dressed up at my mom's place - it's huge! I think Lolita has affected my taste in interior decoration, and I feel more inclined to dress up pretty whenever I look at the things I have. Then again when I'm at home, I can't be bothered to be all dolled up since only my boyfriend will see me, and when in lolita it's more difficult to just hang around the computer."

Mimi commented:
"It's always been very natural to me, just like for some goths, when the lifestyle just sort of follows along. In a way I don't think I've had to really sacrifice anything, but rather I've added things to what was already there. It's very rewarding. If I'd want to be super-fancy here, I'd say lolita is a continuum of how I live my life."

Katja, on the other hand, said the following:
"I see myself as being somewhere between a basic lolita enthusiast and a lifestyler. Full LSL seems to require some sacrifices, and I wouldn't call myself a lifestyler before quitting smoking, for example (which would be a wise sacrifice for the benefit of health anyway). Lolita is really the only motivator I have to quit smoking I wear lolita a lot more than average, I'd estimate around 4-5 days a week, and I'd like to up the ratio to 7 days a week. I would be interested in moving towards a more LSL direction."

Kati was abundant in her commentary, so I had to put it in a nutshell:
"Lolita has been a life-saver for me, the one constant that's kept me going over the years, when things have seemed impossibly dark. It's a huge part of my persona.  I've got such great friends through this style, and most of my friends are - and have been - Lolitas. I think I don't really do Lolita, but rather perform it in the strictest sense. I try and wear it as often as humanly possible, because I don't feel at home in regular clothing. Lolita makes me confident and it makes me feel beautiful and accomplished. Then again it has demanded some sacrifices, such as time, it's an all-consuming thing."

Marie was also generous with words, so here's her contribution (after I butchered it):
"I don't know if I've got much to say on the topic. I don't really think of myself as lolita any more, but more of a neo-Victorian, which includes lolita to an extent. My style is self-expression, and a natural continuum of my way of life rather than the lifestyle itself. I don't care to follow any holy rules or pick my interests based on lolita, I just happen to also like things that are lolita-credible. The only thing that's LSL about me is the fact that I wear the style every day. At the end of the day, what DOES make a LSL? Do people have to chase some unattainable ideal by changing oneself to fit into it, especially if that ideal differs from person to person?"

Indeed. LSL really isn't expected of anyone, unless the person expects it of themselves. My friends confirmed my own thoughts quite thoroughly. LSL can be a naturally following result from a certain kind of set of mind or something to strive for in order to feel better about one's life, but it isn't worth destroying one's happiness over. What LSL includes may differ from person to person, there really isn't a comprehensive set of guidelines or a global consensus on the matter. Non-lifestylers are not inferior lolitas in any way.