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 You can check my already hella outdated wardrobe post out here to see what I mean.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~!

1 comment:

  1. There's a lot of truth to what you've written, especially the things you wish you had known, done or not done. If I analysed my journey, then it's gone from retro-inspired Sweet, to OTT Sweet to OTT Sweet and Classic, but fortunately even with my impulse buys I at least stuck to some sort of basic colour scheme. Definitely wish I had started buying builder pieces a lot sooner, but I think I made enough progress fairly early on so that now I'm not only comfortable with what I have, but have a pretty versatile wardrobe. I haven't thought of keeping a spreadsheet or something of price bought/price sold/market price of each item I bought though, that's a great idea. Might be time-consuming to backlog on, but I think I should definitely do that. The only concern is currency conversion - with pieces I bought in/from Japan, the yen exchange rate varies, so the same price is different in British pounds now than when I bought that item. So converting everything to one currency is very difficult, but at the same time keeping that record with multiple currencies, even for one item (e.g. bought in yen, sold in GBP, but by using Lacemarket - keep market value in USD), is messy. If I figure this one out, I'll probably do myself a spreadsheet like that, it's exactly the sort of organisationally anal thing that I love to do. ^^