Friday, June 18, 2021

Getting into the Lolita Spirit

I had originally compiled this list of lolita lifestyle ideas during the height of the pandemic, as a way to help keep a sense of positivity in a scary world, but as areas around the globe are working towards vaccinating populations, I wondered if this article would still be useful. I’ve come to think that a list of lolita lifestyle ideas can be useful for any given situation - whether you’re a lonelita, find yourself in quarantine, too busy to wear lolita with friends, or just because you need a little pick-me-up. 

1.) Watch historical films/shows featuring lolitas or other romantic aesthetics
Of course, much of the lolita fashion community are well aware of Kamikaze Girls (originally, Shimotsuma Monogatari) and Mister Rococo, but there are several other films and tv shows featuring someone wearing the fashion: 
  Musashino-sen no Shimai - a movie based on the manga about two NEET sisters who wear lolita (Sorry! No English subs to this link).
 ❀ Fatal Frame, an atmospheric horror film about a curse that affects girls who kisses the photo of the person they admire at midnight (CW: suicide)
 ❀ Deka Wanko - a comedy series based on the manga about a lolita detective who solves crimes with the extraordinary power of smell. 

This list is by no means complete, but these are the ones where I could find full length videos for. A couple others that come to mind include: Gothic Lolita Battle Bear, Gothic and Lolita Psycho, and X-Cross.

People sure like to feature lolita in horror movies. If that’s not your cup of tea (pun not intended), I find that a good Western historical fiction film, TV series, and documentaries puts me in a positive mood. Peruse the Period Drama selection on Netflix or other streaming service of choice. For something from the Rococo era, I recommend Belle and The Great. If you want something more grounded in reality, I suggest starting with Lucy Worsley's and Karolina Zebrowska's videos or visit the Absolute History Channel and the English Heritage channel. For a list of over 100 lolita fashion YouTubers, check out LikeaTeacup’s blog

Additionally, I highly recommend exploring non-English sources of lolita content, such as Weibo and Bilibili (which often uses the term “Lo” for lolita fashion) and in your social media of choice, searching for: ロリータファッション   
Even if you can’t understand the language, it can be quite heart warming seeing how far the fashion has touched people around the world!

2.) (Re)read old egl posts

For a long time, the Elegant Gothic and Lolita (EGL) Community on livejournal was THE place to be. You could learn about the latest releases, ask for advice (so long as it wasn’t already in the “memories”), peruse through people’s meetup photos, and find inspiration for making one’s life “more lolita”. 

It’s been long abandoned for more modern social media outlets, and many of the old photos are missing, as well as much of the information is considered to be outdated by today’s standards, but I think there can still be much joy to be had by paying the egl community a visit. I also suggest paying a visit to the old daily_lolita community page where people used to submit photos of their outfits of the day. While you’re at it, cruise around the Wayback machine and and imgur for lolita fashion content. 

3.) Play doll dress up games

Doll dress up games are a fun time waster, and although Flash is long gone, there are still places floating in the internet where one can customize their own lolita character. Picrew and Love Nikki are particularly popular.  A more recent one that has popped up online is Alice Closet.

Love Nikki

Alice Closet

4.) Spice up your virtual meets

I’ll admit, virtual tea parties and video streaming meets have gotten pretty stale and they’re just not the same as in-person meetups. However, until lolitas worldwide can meet in person again, here are some ideas to have fun with your community safely: 

❀ Powerpoint parties - Have everyone put together their own powerpoint of whatever they like or know a lot about and do a live screen-shared presentation. It can be informative or just for jokes. It’s a great way to get to know people better. 

❀ Bake/Craft-a-long: To do this, set a date and project with ingredients or craft supplies people will need to participate, and live stream yourself making the thing(s) step-by-step. A bake-along in particular would be a great pre-tea party activity. 

❀ Game Night: Skip video games and instead play classic social party games like Pictionary, Scattergories, Who Am I?, Never Have I Ever, and trivia (I recommend setting it up with the Kahoot app). Make the subjects lolita related, like using print names, brands, clothing pieces, and lolita models. 

5.) Pursue “lolita lifestyle” hobbies and crafts

A lolita lifestyle may be something individually defined, but passing the time doing old-timey activities can be a good breather, especially for those working/studying from home where everything is virtual. Here’s a fun list of ideas by Vanilla Bear.

If you’re not particularly artsy nor crafty, order some lolita fashion coloring books for a relaxing coloring session (here are a few cute ones I found on Aliexpress and Amazon). 

6.) Make coordinates for future meets

Just because you’re not going to physical meets right now, doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for them. This is a great time to play around with your wardrobe and try something you’ve never done before. You can even get your community involved in this (if you have one), by making a post for sharing coordinates and asking for concrit or suggestions to add what is missing in your wardrobe. You can try wearing these coords, or if you feel too tired (and more comfortable in PJs), make flat lays or collages. This is also a good time to practice posing for future outfit shots. 

7.) Research and plan for future in-person meets

While this situation can feel dire, it's important to keep your spirits up and try to look forward to a brighter future. Make plans for meets you've always wanted to be a part of, so that when it is safe to have in-person meets again, you and your comm are ready to party. 

8.) Listen to music

I'm usually hipster trash when it comes to music, but occasionally I'll tune to my local classical music station or listen to a stream of Baroque music on YouTube, and I find that it can be a breath of fresh air to top 40 radio tracks and sometimes gets me in a romantic mood, especially while I am embroidering. 

If you're not into Bach, Vivaldi, or Chopin, listen to string covers/arrangements of pop songs. Try different eras of classical music and listen to non-white/non-male composers like Joe Hisaishi, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Saint-Georges. Or pay homage to lolita's roots and listen to visual-kei music and music by artists who wear lolita (Merry Merli, Ali Project, Nana Kitade, Kokusyoku Sumire). 

9.) Read lolita magazines and other publications

Sometimes it’s good to step away from your screens and flip through a good old-fashioned Gothic and Lolita Bible or Kera magazine. Similarly, you can explore other magazines dedicated to lolita and other J-Fashion, including Spoon, Melt, Girlism, Le Panier, Wunderwelt Libre, and Tulle

Try digging up lolita comics and art on image hosting sites like Pinterest, Imgur, Instagram, and Deviant Art (not on DA, but I highly suggest this comic that still is on its own site called I R Lolita). Search for news articles and academic writings on the fashion (my favorite articles are by Masafumi Monden and An Nguyen). 

Any seasoned lolita will suggest Kamikaze Girls and So Pretty/Very Rotten, but do also explore Google Shopping or Amazon for all kinds of other books dedicated to lolita fashion (whether they’re accurate or not). Lolita may be a niche subculture fashion, but there’s quite a world of writings out there. 

10.) Read books set in a historical or fantasy setting

Escaping the humdrum of modernity through reading books about a distant past is a great way to refocus your mind and eyes away from glaring bluelight screens. Pick up a story or two on historical fictional romance and adventure, like a Jane Austen novel or classic gothic stories like Carmilla - or Rose of Versailles for a bit of both! If you prefer non-fiction, read up on biographies on royalty or life from centuries ago. I’m a fan of Antonia Fraser’s biography on Marie Antoinette, Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, and books on the real world of Downtown Abbey.  

11.) Curate a lolita lifestyle Pinterest board

Putting together an aesthetic mood board is a great mood booster. Here’s a link to my board for inspiration.  Pinterest boards are also a great place to put together your wardrobe post, so you will be ready for the next Wardrobe Post season.

12.) Embrace "quarantine-kei"

So you’ve spent $200 on your dream dress, but it's been collecting dust in your closet since last year because there aren’t any fancy tea parties to go to (whether your comm isn't meeting in person yet, or because you’re a lonelita). Wear it anyway. You can leave the petticoat in your closet, throw on a pair of house slippers instead of heels, wear a tee shirt instead of a blouse, and put on your favorite bathrobe. No one needs to know or have any business telling you that you have to dress in a full coordinate in the comfort of your own home. Let me tell you, wearing a princess dress while doing light chores is an experience in itself. Just be sure to wear an apron. 

Source: Weibo

13.) Dress up to the Nines (to get essentials)

On the opposite end of the spectrum, make going out to run even the most mundane of errands an opportunity to live life to the fullest and treat the grocery store aisle as your own runway.  

I hope that you’ll find this list helpful! Tell us what suggestions you’ve used or if you have any other ideas on how to add a little lolita in your day-to-day life. 

Thanks for reading.

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