Friday, December 3, 2021

Mocha's Fabulous List of Lolita-Friendly Gift Ideas

We all know that looking for holiday and birthday gifts is stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! I’ve had my fair share of secret Santa and white elephant gift exchanges, so I’ve taken it upon myself to share my expertise with a list of gift ideas that should please any lolita.


1) Planters 

Succulents and other small, apartment friendly plants are very popular among experienced green thumbs and neglectful plant parents alike. Skip a trip to TJ Maxx and look for a unique planter with a kawaii or gothic aesthetic instead.

2) Beauty and Bath Products

Maybe your friend is a classic lolita who is obsessed with European history (aka: me) or you have a friend who is too busy to be a daily lolita who wants to add a little romantic elegance in their day-to-day. Luckily for you, there’s a gift for these kinds of people.

LBCC Historical has an array of authentically reproduced cosmetics and apothecary products (minus the poisonous chemicals) with beautiful vintage inspired packaging. 

LauraBotanicals sells bath bombs, scrubs, and other aroma therapy bath products with rustic sensibilities.

If rose water salves and lavender pomades sound too granny for your giftee: 

Posh Goth has a line of delightfully ooky-spooky bath bombs, perfumes, and other beauty products for your favorite gothic lolita.

AiSuri Beauty is an indie makeup brand born out of the frustration at the lack of anime themed makeup products and born for those who are a sucker for kawaii packaging.

Nectar U.S.A has a uniquely kawaii take on Lush’s bath products, including waffle themed bath bombs and cupcake soaps.

3) Sugar

That’s right. Sugar. But for hardcore lolitas who are obsessed with tea parties. If your giftee loves to host tea meets, they’ll surely appreciate some fancy sugar doilies and molded sugar for the next meetup!


4) Books

Maybe I’m biased, but I feel like a good book makes a great gift – especially if they’re made for the lolita reader. Look for copies of Kamikaze Girls, Gothic and Lolita Bibles, the Gothic and Lolita photobook by Phaidon, Otome no Sewing books, or illustration books by Imai Kira or Macoto Takahashi. Don’t be afraid to look into Japanese books - there’s a treasure-trove of lolita and Harajuku-fashion based publications that don’t get translated!

Additionally, you can search for books with adjacent interests. If your friend likes Rococo history, they might like The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty. If they’re more into the macabre side of things, they might appreciate Quackery (A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything) or Wicked Plants: The A-Z of Plants That Kill, Maim, Intoxicate, and Otherwise Offend, especially if they’re into gardening. If your giftee likes to cook or bake, consider Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Book-to-Table Classic. For the sweet lolita in your life, they might appreciate any book on Pusheen or this how-to-guide on kawaii bento making!

5) Crafting Kits

Pre-packaged crafting kits are a fun gift for that creative lolita in your life. For your lifestyle lolita friend, consider an embroidery or cross-stitch kit, or a calligraphy set. For friends with less patience, they might prefer kawaii wool-felting projects instead. For friends with a LOT of time on their hands, they might enjoy spending hours completing a crocheted stuffed animal or a miniature house kit !

6) Brand Novelties

Brand novelties are a pretty easy and affordable gifting option, in my opinion. You can easily find them while browsing Japanese secondhand sites such as Mercari, Fril, and Closet Child. Some items like lolita brand mugs, makeup bags, and tote bags can be further personalized by filling them with candy and other stocking stuffer items.


7) Coasters

Lots of lolitas like to spend their time browsing the internet for great deals with a cup of tea for company. What’s a more useful gift than a coaster that suits their personal taste? Classic lolitas and mori-kei fans might enjoy wares by AbbysResinCrafts1099 who has a wide variety of customizable flower themed coasters and there’s an even larger number of shops catering to kawaii tastes. If that’s too sweet for their liking, there are all kinds of goth themed coasters for the gothic lolita in your circle.


8) Artwork

If you’re not particularly comfortable with your own drawing skills, there are many lolitas who are! You can purchase ready-to-print lolita themed art work or ask to do commissions of your lolita friend with their favorite things and style. Here’s a list of my favorite lolita artists to date: 

Seamii - Canada 
SkizzeArt - U.S. 
YumiYumYum - Australia 

9) Office gear

A lot of people are choosing to work from home these days, so what’s a better gift for the office lolita than office and tech gear that’ll make Zoom meetings more enjoyable? 

Moon Cat & Pentagram themed air pod case and a bats themed mousepad by IvyPixie 
Peach Milk themed airpod case by PrettyLilStuffCA 
Vintage mushroom and art themed mousepads by MeowzillaDesign 
Mushroom themed laptop sleeve (And other kawaii themes!) by SenseForest 
Witchy occult laptop sleeves (and more!) from ShoresofMoon 
Decoden keyboard caps by PuggyCrafts 
Animal themed desk air humidifiers, diffusers, and other cute desk goodies by Click-Cute 

Whatever their taste is, I’m sure any tea obsessed lolita would appreciate a mug warmer!

10) Home Decorations

I wasn’t originally going to make a section on house décor, but during my research, I’ve discovered a plethora of lolita-friendly knick-knacks for around the house! 

Shores of Moon not only does witchy mouse pads, but they’ve got a huge selection of spooky blankets and bedding, pillows, posters, and tapestries! If you’re in the U.K., your gothic friend may enjoy these hand-reproduction prints by The Emporium Obscura (CW: some nudity and depictions of criminals). 

If “Everyday is Halloween” isn’t your friend’s vibe, perhaps they might enjoy these Beatrix Potter illustrations in their home, or a vintage florals or mushroom themed blankets by BeyondVintageShopCA

If you don’t live near a Daiso shop, KawaiiShoppu has got you covered for all your kawaii and surprisingly useful home needs and décor.

Keep in mind that this list is by no means complete and the purpose of this post is to encourage supporting small businesses and indie artists, but it should be enough to get ideas going in your own head. Whatever you decide to do, don’t feel too pressured to “getting it right” because from my experience, most lolitas will appreciate a well thought out gift! 

Let us know in the comments what you think of this list. Do you have any suggestions that didn’t make it up here? What are your community’s ILD traditions or plans this year?

Wishing you a Happy Holiday and a healthy New Year!

And as always, thanks for reading.

Mocha




Saturday, November 6, 2021

Aurora and Ariel Petticoat Comparison 2

Back in February, we posted a review on some of the beloved Aurora and Ariel petticoats.  Today, Chamomile returns with some insight into some of A+A’s longer petticoats.  The previous review focused on the regular 45cm length mini, 8M, 12M and 16M petticoats but also included the 60cm mini petticoat as well.  This review will discuss the 60cm daily and 78cm petticoat, and compare them to the 60cm mini.

The 60cm Mini Petticoat has a single layer of voile and is very flat when compared to other petticoats offered by A+A.  

The 60cm Daily petticoat has two layers of voile and is approximately the same level of poof as the 8M 45cm petticoat.  This is appropriate for more classic pieces and is definitely a step up compared to the 60cm Mini. Aurora and Ariel list this petticoat in their ‘Daily Petticoat’ section.


The 78cm Daily Petticoat has two layers, similar to the 60cm Daily, and is also equal to the 8M.  This petticoat is very long and will probably be too long for most dresses unless you have a particularly long dress!  Oddly, this petticoat does not come up under either of the petticoat categories on their taobao shop, and I have found the listing when sorting by new items.  

I tried on the 60cm Mini, 60cm Daily and 72cm Daily petticoats with Metamorphose Temps de Fille’s Long Tiered Pinafore JSK, which has a skirt length of 85cm.  The dress itself is 102cm(40.1in) from the back center to the hem, and 121cm (47.6in) from the back neck point to the hem.  Also for reference, I am 170cm tall.  This dress is made of a very light and thin cotton fabric, so there was not much concern about the fabric weighing the petticoats down too much.


On the left, there is no petticoat.  Next, when wearing the 60cm Mini Petticoat, there is some volume added, but there is also some lampshading near the bottom of the skirt since the petticoat is so short.  The 60cm Daily gives yet more volume, but there is still some lampshading.  Finally, the 78cm Daily is a good length and the lampshade effect is gone.  The difference between petticoat volume is very subtle in pictures, however in real life, it was much more noticeable.  This is important to keep in mind if you are building coords with photography in mind!

Out of these three long petticoats, the 60cm Daily is probably the most versatile and I would recommend one over the Mini (which is very flat!) or the 78cm (which is very long!)

Aurora and Ariel does not make a 60cm petticoat that is equivalent in poof to the 12M, and rumor has it that no one has simply asked for this to exist yet.  They do make a 60cm “Ultimate Violence” Petticoat, which is advertised as having 25M worth of fabric!!  Considering the 16M is already too much for my personal needs, there is not going to be a review of that one on this blog, but I have linked it for you anyway.  Aurora and Ariel have also more recently began to sell a 35cm petticoat.


The listing image is somewhat misleading, because this link includes the super poofy catwalk petti (as shown, corresponding to their 45cm Catwalk petticoat) as well as a Mini, a Daily/Everyday (they say corresponds to the 8M), a Violence (12M) and a Super Violence (16M) version.  This size would likely be good for salopettes and other shorter skirts.

I hope this review will help you decide which of Aurora and Ariel’s longer petticoats are best for you.

❀Chamomile❀



Note: I am still not sponsored by Aurora and Ariel, I just really love them.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Lara's Doll Dress Review

Earlier this year, there was an old school style dress by a Chinese brand that got a lot of attention. It is the Lara’s Doll series by Little Bear Lolita. This brand is well known for making a lot of cotton old school style dresses.

After several months of production and a couple more for shipping, I finally got the dress! So I am here to do a little review for you with a lot of pictures.

When I first took this dress out of the box, I was super impressed with just how beautiful it looked. It is very heavy and made out of 100% cotton. It is a much thicker cotton compared to some of my cotton AP or Baby items.

The ribbon and lace are extremely nice and don’t feel cheap at all. A lot of Chinese brands have trouble selecting the right type of lace for old school style dresses, but this one is perfect. The ribbon is a nice quality and feels just right for this style of dress.

The sleeves are detachable and are attached using three buttons. This is one fewer button than I am used to with detachable sleeves, but it still holds it in place well.

I didn’t notice this until much later on, but flipping the collar up reveals that the ladder lace… doesn’t go all the way up. This is extremely weird but at the same time, the collar will always be laid flat so it shouldn’t be visible. It goes up past the lace on the collar, so it doesn’t show through the lace either.

To get into this dress, there is an invisible zipper on the left side. It’s extremely hard to tell where it is at first glance since it lines up with the lace around the waist so neatly.

I don’t mind invisible zippers personally, but they are harder to zip up for a lot of people out there. It will be especially tricky near the waist.

Onto the back now~


The back has a bustle which I guess I forgot was a thing with this dress.


This is the button and loop at the top of the back of the dress. You are supposed to unbutton it to put it on so your head fits through the hole, then button it back up when worn. 


It may be hard to tell, but there are pintucks along the bottom of the skirt that go all the way around, except for the bustle.


The fabric for the bustle appears to be a single layer of cotton with a serged edge. Weirdly though, it is attached to a white layer instead of a black one. It may not be noticeable in normal wear, but if the bustle gets messed up, it will show.


The actual lining is also white. The fabric that the bustle is attached to is a separate panel of white fabric. A lot of dresses these days have polyester lining, but this one is actually cotton!


The waist ties are attached by buttons that have a faint ribbon print on them? I guess all the buttons on this dress have the ribbon print on it. The actual waist ties themselves are made of the same cotton as the dress, but since they are double sided, it makes them feel extremely thick and harder to tie a neat bow with.


As for the sizing and fit, it is extremely comfortable and will likely become one of my regular daily dresses. I ordered the XL size (100cm bust) to fit my bust and it does really well. In fact, the waist hits where it is supposed to. Since it was supposed to be made bigger overall, the shoulders are a little too wide for me, but I should have expected this. The dress is a bit short since it was designed with the idea to wear matching peeking bloomers underneath, but it looks fine as a regular dress. It hits me just above the knee with a petticoat on.


I also bought the matching bonnet! So I guess I will tell you now that the black on the bonnet is a slightly different shade than the dress. I’m not sure why. It is not noticeable at all when worn.


There are two clips on the inside of the bonnet to help it stay in place. It feels sturdier than just having combs sewn in, but it does hurt my hair and take longer to put on this way if I want to use them. The ribbon to tie off the bonnet is sturdy enough that I might not need the clips.


A really nice detail is that there is wire inside along the edge of the bonnet to help with the shape. It’s tempting to expand it out all the way but I find it looks best when it’s scrunched up a bit to the proper size for my own head. There is some kind of interfacing so it also sticks up like it should instead of flopping over. A lot of half bonnets are generally soft and have no structure to them so this is very nice to have.


The pink bows lining the inside of the bonnet appear to be sewn on last. I can see that the knots for them are shown on the outer side of the bonnet. Since it’s black thread on a black bonnet, you can’t see them that well, but that kind of bothered me since it’s a weird thing to cheap out on.



Overall, the dress and bonnet are gorgeous and well worth it. I am a little disappointed that there was so much care and attention to certain details, but they cheaped out on other parts. However, this doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the dress at all and I am super happy that I ordered it.

I would definitely be willing to buy from Little Bear Lolita again!
 
You can check them out here:



Bonus! It also came with a few freebies - a postcard, clear file, and keychain. I am putting this at the end since it isn’t as important. I am also unsure if you will still get these when buying leftover stock. I did the preorder.


The clear file has different illustrations on the front and back, showing all the different colorways for this dress.


The keychain is small, but I absolutely adore it! It only comes in this colorway (the most popular one). The brand really didn’t have to do this, but it made me even more excited for the dress. I will keep it and cherish it forever.


That’s all for now. Please let us know if you’d like to see more dress reviews like this!

Chrysanthemum

Friday, October 1, 2021

Welcome to Wigs in Lolita Fashion - Q&F Version

Welcome to Wigs in Lolita Fashion! Today I’ll be talking about why to wear (or not wear!) wigs, some differences between different types and price points of wigs, and offer some suggestions about where you can buy them.

So let’s start with why wigs? Wigs have been worn in lolita fashion for a long time - the old-school style sausage curl ringlets were much easier to achieve with a wig compared to bleaching and styling one’s own hair, and brands have even produced their own wigs (or done wig collaborations). Perhaps you have very short hair, but would like to try out a longer style? Wigs! Maybe you have the opposite problem - long hair, but you are going for a more masculine or ouji style? Wigs! You have a giant OTT dress and need more volume up top to balance it? Wigs! Your hair is dyed green, but you really want an all pastel-pink coordinate? Wigs! Bad hair day and can’t be bothered? Wigs! You get the picture. :D

(source: https://j-fashion.fandom.com/wiki/Gothic_Lolita)

What wigs are not: REQUIRED! You never have to wear a wig to wear lolita fashion, no matter what your hair (or lack thereof) looks like. To balance your coordinate, you may need a larger headpiece if you don’t have large hair, but you never have to wear a wig. Short hair, thin hair, natural hair, curly hair - everything can and does look great in lolita. 

(source: https://tokyofashion.com/japanese-sweet-lolita-girls-pink-blue-fashion-harajuku/)

What wigs are: FUN! I love being able to have waist-length twin-tails, or white-blond hair without frying my own, or electric purple without making a mess in my bathroom. I enjoy the challenge of picking the right hair to match my coordinate, and seeing how my look can change just by switching from curls to straight or from a “natural” color like brown to a fantasy color like lavender.

(source: https://j-fashion.fandom.com/wiki/Sweet_Lolita)

When you’re looking for a wig, there are a few things to take into consideration. One is your substyle(s). Typically, classic lolitas will be best-served with softer and more “natural” hair colors like golden blonde, warm browns and chestnuts, or dark brown-blacks. A very dramatic look might be achieved with a deep red or very pale white-blonde. Curls/ringlets are common, as are updos and gentle waves.

(source: https://j-fashion.fandom.com/wiki/Classic_Lolita)

Gothic lolitas typically wear blacks, reds, and white-blondes, but you can also go for more saturated jewel tones like deep purples, greens, and blues as well as unusual fantasy colors like silver. Straight hair is common in gothic, but Mana’s iconic blue wig means you can always go that direction as well.



Sweet lolitas can definitely pick from light browns and blondes like the classic lolitas, but a whole range of pastel options exist as well! Pink, lavender, and sax are all common, and wavy hair, curls, and twin-tails tend to dominate sweet wig options.



Another consideration is the quality of your wig. Here you can see wigs at three different price points. 



On the left is a cosplay wig from Amazon that cost $15. (I purchased it for you, dear readers, so you don’t have to! I refuse to link it because it’s hot garbage, sorry.) In the middle is Catherine’s Tea Time from Dreamholic/dcoucou, that cost $57. And finally, Dakota from wigs.com, which cost $136 (although you should note that wigs.com runs 30% off sales every major US holiday, so I’ve never paid full price for one of their wigs). Here is the interior view of the three:



The Amazon wig is a mess. 


It’s thin - you can see right through it, meaning that your own hair will be visible beneath it. It’s shiny, so it will always look cheap and will look like a costume rather than part of your coordinate. And the wig cap is small - it won’t hold any of your hair well, and has no combs so it will slip off easily. Please do not buy this wig, or any other cheap cosplay wigs. You get what you pay for.



The Dreamholic wig is much better! 



It’s a little shiny, and the rooted hair “swirl” at the top is not entirely natural. However, the cap is roomy and comfortable, the hair fibers are thick and well-shaped, and there are combs at the top to help the wig stay in place on your head. I love Dreamholic, and have six of their wigs!



Wigs.com primarily markets to people who want wigs that look like “real” hair, rather than for costumes. This is clear when you look at the Dakota. 



The rooting looks natural, the fibers are matte, and the lace front makes the hair at the perimeter of the face appear natural as well. It’s thick, but the light wig cap construction means you won’t overheat as much as in other wigs!



Whenever possible, you should avoid ultra-cheap cosplay/party store wigs unless you’re going to be destroying them as part of a photoshoot. J They will be uncomfortable and will make you look like you’re wearing a costume instead of a luxurious and cute fashion. They may also have strange styling that won’t fit the lolita aesthetic.

So where can you go for good wigs for lolita?

On Taobao, Monkeep and Dalao Home are popular choices. I also have bought from Sinwavy. I personally don’t care for Alice Garden, as I have found them to look more like cosplay wigs, and to not match the colors shown in the images. However some people do like them!


Looking at Japanese sites Prisila and Wig Shop Maple are commonly shopped by lolitas. Even brands like Angelic Pretty sometimes do wig collaborations!


Dreamholic has an international and US storefront so you don’t even have to use Taobao. MintyMix  makes ultra-popular rainbow wigs that have a larger than normal wig cap to accommodate larger heads or more voluminous hair underneath. Wigs.com is a particularly good choice for classic lolitas, but has hundreds of options for many different looks! People often sell wigs on Lace Market – typically because they didn’t like the color when they received it – so you can sometimes find deals there!

If you want to wear a wig with your lolita coord, I hope this has given you some ideas about where to shop and what to look for when you’re doing so! Let us know if you want to see more wig guides - there’s always more to learn! 

Stay spicy,
Chai




You can read more of Chai's writing at 昔のSewing