Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Where to Buy Lolita and Other New Pages

Hey there, everyone!

You might have noticed that there's been a couple additions to keep the 'home' button company in the top ribbon of the blog. That's right-- new pages have been added!
While they're a work in progress for the most part, I wanna call your attention to the 'Where to Buy Lolita' page. You can check that out here. It is basically an extensive list of places where you can get lolita clothing or accessories new, used, consigned, resold, etc. If you have any suggestions about places to add, please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email!

Keiko out~!

Lolita Trading Suggestions

Hey there, everybody!
Keiko here~

Today, I thought I'd talk about trading lolita items. Selling is mentioned a lot, but trading seems to be skipped often. I think it's because many people get nervous with even the mention of trading--and it's hard to blame them, as many things could go wrong when sending expensive items halfway across the country/continent/world. But that's exactly why I thought to write on this topic.

I have only traded twice myself. Though both of those times were within my own country, one trade was nerve-wracking and the other straightforward. As a result of these experiences, I feel like I've picked up some tips that might be useful for those considering a bit of change in their wardrobe.

Without further ado, here are some tips on lolita trading:

When Making a WTT Post

- Keep market value of your item in mind: You can't really ask for rare pieces if you're putting a lucky pack item up for trade, but you also don't want to get something cheaper/more damaged in exchange for an item in good condition.
- Make what you are looking for clear on your WTT post: If you are looking to trade and have made a post about it, you should try to make sure you clarify what kind of items or what specific pieces you are looking to trade for. This will minimize the risk of people bothering you with irrelevant or unequal offers. Bonus points if you create a picture or collage of the items you are looking for vs. what you have!

When you've found someone interested in trading

- Look at feedback: Is this person trustworthy within the community? Have they sold items as well as buying? Trading with another experienced lolita tends to have less bumps in the road than with a newbie.
- Take and ask for lots of proof pictures: It goes without saying that proof pictures are essential. Ask for proof picture of the item's front and back, close-up of details or the print, etc. Bonus points for taking pictures of the item(s) next to a handwritten note with a message of your choice.

After accepting a trade offer

- Consider swapping money over paypal: While you are trading items and preferably don't want to spend money, some people exchange a set amount over paypal in case the deal goes south. You can open a paypal dispute that way if the item doesn't arrive or has undisclosed damages.
- Consider insuring the packages: If you don't want to spend the amount of money of a dress through paypal (or if you want to take an extra step), you can also insure the parcels up to a set amount of money. That way, if something happens in the mail, you will at least get some money back.
- Agree on a shipping method beforehand: This will save you a lot of hassle in the long run. It is easier to just pick a shipping method you both agree on so that you know about when to expect your parcel, if it has a tracking number or insurance, etc.
- Decide on a specific shipping date: Setting a date for both of you to ship on helps reduce the anxiety of trading a lot.
- Give each other proof of sending the parcel: Whether it's a picture of the receipt, a notification through paypal, and/or a tracking number, always make sure to update each other on when the parcel has left your hands and is en-route to the new owner.

Once the trade has been completed

- Notify of parcel arrival: It's the polite thing to do to notify the other party that the parcel has arrived safely. It lifts a weight off their shoulders just at it does for you when you know your things aren't lost in the mail!
- Leave feedback if appropriate: This includes ratings in lacemarket, facebook, a personal page or blog, etc.
- Enjoy your new acquisition!

Have you ever traded before? How did it go? Feel free to share your experiences, horror stories, and tips below~!

Keiko out~

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lolita Art - Featuring Coarsefur

Hey everyone!
Keiko here~

I was browsing tumblr a while ago and I ran across some stunning doodles from a blogger named coarsefur. I really loved their style, as I draw a lot in pencil/mechanical pencil myself rather than digitally and felt a bit closer to their work because of that.
Though coarsefur doesn't seem to publish their art much, they have great attention to detail. I specially enjoy how they draw eyes and mouths, as well as what they choose for the simple backgrounds of their portraits. The drawings all have a lot of personality to them!
One of coarsefur's lovely portraits
I look forward to seeing more of their work in the future, so I followed the blog. If you wanna see more of their artwork, you can do so here.
Do you have a tumblr? What are some of your favorite lolita tumblr blogs? Let me know in the comments below~

Friday, August 12, 2016

Looking Back: 2 Year Loliversary (Picture Heavy)

Hello everyone!
Keiko here~

My loliversary AND birthday are tomorrow so I figured it was time to look back a little.
It's been two years now since I first joined the lolita community, but it feels like it was only yesterday when I welcomed my first lolita dress into my life. I had been intermittently following lolita fashion for a while, feeling like frilly life was only a dream reserved for people from another beautiful world, when my then boyfriend offered to split the price of an OP as a birthday present. This was how Milky Planet's first release OP in black came to be in my possession.
At the time, $250usd for an article of clothing seemed preposterous--I only came to learn much later that it hadn't been a bad deal for an OP and socks set of its popularity. It was my first piece of brand and my first piece of lolita and, though its pastel-colored, glittery aesthetic no longer suits my tastes, I remember it fondly. It serves as a reminder of how much I have changed since I started wearing lolita, and makes me wonder what the future holds for me.

Style Switch

My fashion sense evolution has been stark over the last two years. I have definitely come far from first dabbling in the colorful world of fairy kei and admiring the contrasting bittersweetness pastel prints on black colorways.. Though I love them dearly in their own right still and definitely still have pieces of them in my wardrobe, I tend to follow more muted tones in lolita.

I would say that my wishlist best reflects this change over time. For instance, the first time I actively wrote down pieces I was interested in --back when print names were a puzzle and all brands melded into one,- I had an obvious inclination for a 'bittersweet' lolita closet. Prints like French Cafe, Miracle Candy, Milky-chan the Fawn, and Sugary Carnival were constantly at the top.

I have outgrown this penchant somewhat, though A la Carte Tea Time and Little Bear's Cafe are leftover from this 'sweet and edgy' phase. Today, I look at other colors. My primary focus is to stick to a color palette including brown, ivory, pink, and black. Nearly all my main pieces have one or more of these colors, which simplifies accessorizing and helps keep the wardrobe (somewhat) cohesive overall. You can check my already hella outdated wardrobe post out here to see what I mean.

Coordinate Changes

Though there is always place for improvement, I am glad to say that my coordination skills have improved since I first donned Milky Planet. It is much easier to create outfits to wear now that I have more materials to work with. Still, I aspire to up my game much, much more to do justice to my favorite pieces. Here's a quick before and after:

Helpful Hindsight

I've thought about it some, and I figured that there are some things I wish I had known, done, or NOT done back then. I figured I'd list them in case there are some readers who might just be starting out or maybe just considering getting into lolita.

What do I wish I knew then that I know now?

  • Prints come and go a lot. It might suck to miss or lose an auction for a piece you really, really want, but it will (most likely) come up again eventually.
  • Building a good wardrobe takes time and patience. You don't need to try to get everything at once. In fact, it's probably better if you don't, since your tastes will change as you try things out and grow.
  • Similar garments/accessories don't necessarily go well together. Evaluate the quality, themes, size, style, etc. of materials to make coordinates more interesting and cohesive.
  • Shopping services are not nearly as scary as they look
  • Yahoo Japan, Mercari, and Mbok are your very best friends for good deals. Also see above if you feel intimidated.

What I wish I hadn't done (and possible solutions)

  • Buying/trading prints without price-checking first. I've lost some money on things because I thought they were pretty or popular and wanted them no matter what. 
Solution: Creating a specific wishlist with set parameters of cut/color/size/motif and sticking to it. Also checking the market for prices regularly and shopping around.
  • Succumbed to popular tastes and bought an expensive dress because of it. I got holy lantern in black before the re-release and lost out on a LOT of money because I traded it away in a hurry for something half its value. 
Solution: Evaluate why you want to buy a dress (popularity, rarity, personal taste, etc). Sort out your priorities and stick to them when making decisions.
  • Impulse buy. I did a fair amount of this in the beginning because I was eager to watch my closet grow. It led to me reselling many pieces later because I discovered 2010 OTT sweet wasn't really what I wanted to do. 
Solution: Plan out what you think you'd like your wardrobe to look like, considering both what you already wear, and how comfortable you are with the idea of changing the way you accessorize. Bonus points for thinking of cuts and colors that would suit you and some basic accessories to help you maximize the versatility of your first coordinates.

What I wish I had done

  • Purchase solid basics first. I got a dress before I got a petticoat, and it consequently sat alone and unused until the first petticoat arrived.
  • Get into Taobao sooner so I could bulk-order basic blouses, shoes, wigs, etc. instead of picking them up one-by-one
  • Paced myself when buying and cataloguing new pieces. I wish I'd gotten into the habit of regulating and tracking my pieces more closely. I did a loooot of buying at the beginning and my resources drained fairly quickly because of it. Though I took some pictures of most things I bought, I wish I had kept a closer account via spreadsheet of all my purchases. Having a reference for the price bought/price sold/market price of each item I own would be useful when listing things for sale or trade, and it would give me a better sense of where I am at in terms of investing in lolita (doing it too much? Have I slowed down? Is it time for a break, or a haul?)

Concluding Considerations

The past two years have been trying personally. I have learned a lot about myself, my style, and the ever-changing nature of my goals. I have grown and improved through practice and a love for this fashion that is both structured and liberating at once. I look forward to many more years of having fun with lolita, and to discovering new things about myself through it.

Thank you so much for sticking with me in the most recent leg of this journey and through this incredibly long blog post. I hope you could gain something from my ramblings and wish you a great weekend!

Birthday-Girl out~!