52 Week Lolita Topic Challenge : How I First Found Out About Lolita

Today’s post from the 52 Week Lolita Topic Challenge is 10. How I first found out about Lolita. 

I used to do pixel art for a dress up doll website when I was younger. We took requests, and one of the requests we got was for lolita clothing, and so I started looking online for examples to use for artwork. I’m not 100% sure how exactly I ended up going from just admiring the fashion and drawing it really badly to actually being interested in it. I remember after I had gotten my first actual job after college I ran into two sites which had lolita clothing that wasn’t hundreds of dollars. One was the infamous Milanoo and the other was Bodyline. At the time, Milanoo was still stealing stock images, and I knew very little about lolita so I didn’t know that the images were actually stolen.

On milanoo I fell in love with this:

AP Stock Photo Stolen by Milanoo

“Cotton Red Sleeveless Front Lace Tie Sweet Lolita Top and Lace Skirt” Also known as Angelic Pretty’s “Pretty Bustier & Skirt Set” from 2008

And on Bodyline, I fell in love with the Candy Skirt. I actually liked it better in pink, but I had decided that getting it in blue was more likely to match with the bunny set which seemed like a very good deal.

                Bodyline Candy Skirt

After waffling back and forth, I ended up buying some things from Bodyline (mostly because it seemed like a better deal; I could get a dress and a blouse and a skirt and a petticoat for the same price as the milanoo set):
Bodyline Bunny Set   Bodyline Candy Skirtpan013-2

If I remember correctly, the skirt cost me $13, the petticoat (I can’t remember which one I got. I have Yellow, Sax and Dark Pink because I later bought more because it wasn’t fluffy enough alone) was $11, and I want to say the bunny dress set was either $25 or $31? So for under $60, I got two basic coords that needed only bags/shoes and leg wear. Unfortunately, the blouse looked absolutely awful on me, the detachable sleeves were like tents on my arms, and the bow was like helicopter propellers. I tried. It didn’t come out that well, but, at the end of the day, I hadn’t spent a ton so I wasn’t as horribly upset about things as I think I would have been if I’d spent over $100 for something that didn’t suit me.

I later went back to bodyline and bought a yellow high waist skirt, and a blouse with bunny ears in white. Then, from Quitieland I bought a sax star shaped purse and sax an*tai*na shoes.

90c4fbb4-58cd-5d26-9528-42e8d29a2321 8ef0545f-877c-5113-9894-6c3120474622

The shoes from an*tai*na actually were terrible, and I paid waaay too much for them when all was said and done, but I had a few pieces I could mix and match. I made myself some accessories, added some tights and knee socks from target and I wore these pieces occasionally around the house for a while.

Later I went to Otakon, though I was too shy to really meet any of the other lolita there. And sometime in the year following that I started buying second hand pieces from EGL Comm Sales. My first pieces of “brand” were bought the same week; two Angelic Pretty Skirts. The first was “Strawberry Picking” and the second was a gingham one.

dadf0460-d105-5dc4-8843-329b3719a329 f662b8c6-2f47-59ca-9759-a7026214f3f8_thumb

I made the terribly extravagant purchase of a pair of red x white bodyline shoes (red shoes! How much wear would I really ever get out of red shoes! Oh if only I had known….) and a strawberry shaped purse. Shortly after that I started bidding on items on mbok and Y!J auctions. I’m pretty sure I just bid on everything and anything that I thought might remotely fit me and was under $100. I ended up with a ton of main pieces really fast, but I didn’t really love most of them. In the end, I ended up selling most of them off a few years later. I also picked up some items from Taobao, though, most of those ended up getting sold as well.

It wasn’t until a good year or two after I started buying brand second hand that I actually went to my first meet up and joined my local community.

And I didn’t buy any main pieces new that weren’t on sale at all until Christmastime in 2012 when I caved and bought Toy March in Wine. I got the blouse, headbow and socks too, and I remember thinking it was super extravagant at the time. I still love that dress. After that, my buying habits changed a lot. I started buying more AP prints new (though I still bought a lot second hand too)

58d75c8d-c1ff-573c-bdc1-3771fdf46208

All-in-all, I think it’s interesting how my perceptions of what is and isn’t extravagant in lolita changed over the years. There were a few years where I’d buy 2 dresses per month (some new, some used) and I kept a lot of them for years. I’ve cut back my spending a lot over the last year; I’ve only bought one dress this year: Juliette et Justine’s Le Premier Cri, which hasn’t even come in yet, despite it being bought in February.

Some things have changed a lot over the years; when I started out, my coordinates were fairly simple, then they moved into decololi, and now, as I get older and more tired, they are sliding back to being more simple. One thing, however, has remained constant; I absolutely adore wearing red, even if it is a bit impractical.

 

Advice I Dissagree With: Why Buying a Petticoat First is a Bad Idea

Petticoat

One thing I keep hearing people suggest to new lolita that I absolutely and totally disagree with is the advice to buy a petticoat first. Does lolita need a petticoat? Absolutely. Should you buy it before you buy your first dress or skirt? Absolutely not. Not unless you run into a really, really good deal on a reputable petticoat (like a malco modes or a classical puppets one) and already have a good idea about what you will buy to go over it.

The reasoning is simple. Petticoats come in different shapes, lengths and fullnesses. Planning on wearing OTT Sweet AP? You will need a very full, but moderately short petticoat. Same style with BTSSB? your petticoat should be more bell shaped and less full. Innocent World? You will need longer petticoats that are more A-Line of variable fullnesses based on the dress. Putumayo? Super-short, low volume. Bodyline? Somewhere halfway between AP and BTSSB.

I swear by Malco Modes petticoats, but I own a number of things from BTSSB and Putumayo that couldn’t fit that petticoat. Not even close… and that’s a $50.00USD petticoat. That’s not a cheap mistake for someone just getting into the fashion.

But the biggest problem I have with this advice is the motivation. What reason is there to tell someone to buy a petticoat (which no one will see, so it’s not important to pick one you like the looks of) before they buy what it’s going to puff up? The only reason I’ve been able to come up with is that those people are trying to prevent someone from going out for the first time as soon as they get their first dress without having obtained a petticoat yet.

So what!

First coordinates are rarely great. Things don’t quite match, or aren’t quite right in other ways. New lolita rarely have the hair and make-up totally down, and usually don’t have the collection of accessories that more experienced lolita have amassed.

The only way you can buy a petticoat first, and have it work out perfectly, IMHO, save for by random chance, is if you already know exactly what dress you are going to buy. And, quite frankly, at that point, it’s just a matter of ordering one before the other, if you are already set in stone on the dress, not a matter of picking the petticoat first.

So many new lolita impulse buy their first dress/skirt based on what they find for sale second hand, or what’s on sale, or what they stumble across on Bodyline. You can’t always rely on the stock photos, or second hand sales listing photos to show the shape of a skirt right either. So why buy a petticoat first, and limit your choices in dresses, which is what you actually see, and thus what people usually care more about, instead of buying the dress you love the most, and then a petticoat that suits it.

I’ll even go so far as to say this; if you want to go out in your new dress the first day you get it, and don’t have a petticoat yet, open up your closet, grab a few skirts that are shorter than it, and layer them under it. Got a puffy Halloween miniskirt? Throw it on under the dress. I’d rather see that any day, than someone spending a bunch of money on the wrong petticoat because they bought it before they picked a dress.

I say; dress or skirt first. Always.