Lolita Blog Carnival: What Makes A Good Wardrobe Post

This year I didn’t make a wardrobe post. I’ve only bought a few things this year, and I’d much rather do a video and show off my new dressing room once it’s set up. That said, it might be a couple months before we finally finish decorating and furnishing it; still need some more shelves and lighting in there!

But, I have made wardrobe posts in the past, and I have looked at a lot of posts as well. One thing that immediately comes to mind when I hear people mention that they want to do a wardrobe post is the sheer weight of a lolita wardrobe. I mean, look at your closet. Is the closet poll starting to bend? How much weight do you think it takes for that to happen? So, that said, if you want to do a wardrobe post, be prepared to get a work out! It also takes a lot of time. I personally recommend starting in November or December instead of trying to do the whole thing in January.

Consistency between photos is a really big thing, IMHO. You want all your photos to match. So, before you start taking pictures, decide on your set up. You want a relatively clear background, like a blank wall, closet door, corner of your room that is cutely decorated, etc. You also want it to be someplace well lit (or that you can make well lit), and you want it to be a place where you can ideally leave everything set up for a few days, minimum, so you can stop and come back to it.

If you are using a camera (and I recommend a real camera over your phone if possible) make sure to white balance it, and, if possible, put it on a tripod. If there is any chance of the tripod moving, put a couple masking tape marks on the floor for your positions. Then you don’t have to worry about half of your photos having the dresses in a different location.

If you can’t put it on a tripod, or are stuck using your phone, you can make what I call a stupid tripod. What is a stupid tripod you ask? A stupid tripod is a pile of boxes, or books or really anything relatively stable on top of a chair, table, book case, whatever you have around you house. The only rules are that it should be relatively stable and you want it in a good place that you can use it without knocking it over. Place a sheet of white paper on top, and tape it or rubberband it to the top most thing (use your imagination, rig some thing up, I believe in you) and then set your camera on it. Move your camera around until you have what you want in the frame. Then trace around your camera with a pencil. Now, theoretically, as long as you put the camera back in that same spot, you won’t mess up drawing your ridiculous still life of books and camera your photos will all look alike with the same background so people can focus on the clothes. If you are using your phone, put it in a short cup or bowl on top of this tower. Be careful. Use common sense. (I am not responsible for any damage resulting from a stupid tripod falling over. Please, please, heavy large things on bottom, lighter smaller things on top, stable stack of stuff, ok? Imagine you are building a nest for a rare bird egg, not playing jenga).

If you have a decent camera, zoom out a little. Now, if your camera moves at any time during the shoot, you have more room to crop your images all the same later.

If you have a dress form, things are a lot easier, because you can just dress it. If you don’t, you can try laying things out on a sheet. Pick a plain sheet and try to get it as wrinkle free as possible (You can try taping it to the floor with masking or painters tape). Stand on a chair, and lean down over the sheet. Make sure you aren’t blocking your own light or casting a weird shadow. Look through the camera, and then where ever the corners of what you can see through the camera are on the sheet, put a piece of tape or a small item. This way, every time you look through the camera, you just have to line up each corner of your view with the tape marks / items. Crop these out later, but as long as you line up with them each time, they will make it so that all your photos are at the same angle / zoom level.

Don’t be afraid to bring in a few extra lamps from another room and use them to give your setup more light if you are using indoor lighting. I’ve totally had lamps on chairs, or tables, or even kitchen counters. Note: Mixing sunlight and lamps will give you a weird light color on one side if it’s not even, so I recommend sticking with one or the other. 

When setting up, always start with your longest dress (or longest skirt + blouse combo, or coat). It’s really easy to set everything up for a normal length dress, then you get to that one piece that is long and it doesn’t fit in the frame and then it throws everything off.

see how the angle changes above? I wasn't prepared for longer pieces and I didn't use marks to keep things consistent

see how the angle changes above? I wasn’t prepared for longer pieces and I didn’t use marks to keep things consistent.

If you are making coordinates, or at least pairing blouses or cardigans with skirts or JSKs, take inventory first and figure out if you have an even number. If you are using a dress form, I personally prefer the look of a blouse + skirt pair over a bare top / bottom and separate blouse / skirt photos.

This just looks weird. It looks even weirder when it's a skirt and the top is bare!

This just looks weird to me. It looks even weirder when it’s a skirt and the top is bare!

If your dress form is smaller than you are and it’s causing things to look frumpy, grab some clothespins, or any kind of pin or clip that won’t damage your fabric, and pin back the fabric to give items more of a shape. You can see a somewhat extreme version of this above at the waist of the blouses. I probably pulled these in too much, but you get the idea. Tightening corset lacing and tying waist ties can help as well. However, if you aren’t taking photos of the backs of things, you don’t have to tie them pretty, just tie them any which way so you can’t see the waist ties / corset lacing. Your closet isn’t going to judge you, conserve your energy.

Speaking of looking frumpy, there is nothing worse than doing your whole wardrobe in a beautiful set up and then realizing everything is looks like it’s been balled up on the floor for 6 months. Iron or steam things as you go; wrinkles make things look cheap and like you don’t take care of your clothes. It doesn’t matter if it’s wrinkled because it’s just been washed; people are going to assume it lives in a pile under your bed. I own a cheap travel steamer, and it’s wonderful to work with (plus you can travel with them, what’s not to love?).

715wnCxsbrL._SL1500_

Lint rolling things is also a good idea, especially if you have a lot of dark colored clothing and/or if you own a pet. Spending time editing out hair in photoshop after you take photos is pretty much the last thing I want to do by the time I’m done taking photos.

This is just a cheap photo storage box from the craft store turned on it's side!

This is just a cheap photo storage box from the craft store turned on it’s side!

For small accessories, and shoes, I recommend taking photos of multiple things at once to save time and sanity. Decide how you want to group them (by color? by style? by type?) and sort them into groups. When displaying them, if you have cute storage containers, you can use those containers to display the items. If you don’t, placing boxes or books under a solid colored sheet can give you a multi-level display area. If you put a cardboard shipping box under a sheet, you can even poke sewing pins into it to hold things up.

If you have an item you can’t display without propping it up with something un-cute, consider taking a picture of the setup without any items in it, and then, without moving the camera, take a photo with the item. You can then layer these photos in photoshop and cut out what you used to prop up the stubborn item.

Don’t be afraid to use cute props like stuffed animals, tea cups, jewelry boxes, etc to help you display your items. As long as the prop doesn’t steal center stage, it can be a great way to help show off things that don’t look their best flat on the ground.

When posting things, edit all your photos to be roughly the same size, and consider editing multiple photos into a single thumbnail image if your wardrobe is too big to post on your platform of choice (LJ has a text limit, sadly). For mine, I do each row of items in the post as a single image.

One final tip: this is the best time to cull your closet. You are dragging out every single thing you own and photographing it. If there are things you are iffy on, or don’t want, this is a great time to inspect them, take a couple extra photos, and then list them on lacemarket. It’s also a great time to take inventory of what you have; if you have 20 pairs or purple shoes, and 1 purple dress, for example, it might be time for some of those shoes to make their way to new owners (or for you to buy 19 more purple dresses, hey, I won’t judge). Or, on the flip side, you might notice you own a lot of things that would go great with a pink blouse, but you don’t own one. Make a list of things you want to add / remove from your closet and address it later. It’s also a great time to check for items that may need to be cleaned (for example accessories that may have tarnished) or need repairs. Make a list and tackle those things after the wardrobe post too.

Above all, have fun with it, and if you don’t finish by the “deadline”, don’t stress it. Post a partial post, or post late; it’s all good. And don’t get too hung up on comparing your closet to other people’s either!


545430_945698161629_573562109_nOther blogs participating in this theme:
Roli’s RamblingsCupcake Kamisama’s Lolita WorldThe Bloody Tea Party ♥
Spirit of the Teacup ♥ Poppy Noir ♥

52 Week Lolita Topic Challenge : My Wardrobe Turnover

Today’s post from the increasingly poorly named (considering I started in 2013) 52 Week Lolita Topic Challenge is 5. My wardrobe turnover.

First of all for anyone who is not familiar with the term turnover, it typically refers to the rate at which people or products leave a job or store and are replaced. It can also refer to a delicious pastry, and I really wish that is what this was referring to, because I adore cherry turnovers. But, alas, no, the topic of the day is the rate at which things leave my wardrobe and are replaced by other things.

Right now, there are roughly 80 dresses and skirts in my lolita closet, not including things like underskirts, or things I’m planning on selling (I can’t count socks, blouses, bags, etc or I’d go insane). And just by glancing over a few folders of images of things I’ve sold/planned on selling, I can safely estimate that I’ve sold another 70 dresses and skirts. So over the course of being a lolita, I’ve owned about 150 items, and I’ve sold off just shy of half of them. Some people cycle through things, wear them, sell them. I’m not one of those people. Once something is in my wardrobe it only exits for a couple reasons.

  1. It doesn’t fit and I don’t care to alter it.
  2. It isn’t something I strongly liked in the first place (either something from a lucky pack, or something I bought on an impulse, typically)
  3. I’m replacing it with a cut/color of the same thing I liked better.

I’m really bad with time, but I sat down and did some checks and I think I bought my first dress in 2009 (but it might have been 2008; I’m not 100% sure anymore). So, that makes five years of wearing the style. The first year, I’m 90% sure I only owned bodyline main pieces.
My wardrobe looked a little like this:
BLcandyjsk03 l009-2 l018-2 74760-3758-2014-05-26679018 l236-2_0pup 002

Of those things, I sold the strawberry bag this past year (because I had an Innocent World one, plus both an AP and a Baby bag in red, and I didn’t wear it much any more; it’s actually a pretty nice bag, honestly), and I sold the high waist skirt which I had in yellow and haven’t worn since the year I bought it. I’ve sold off the blouse that went with the gingham bunny set, but I kept the JSK for nostalgia. The sax shoes have been repainted a brighter blue, the red shoes are so scuffed I had to paint over the worst of the marks before rufflecon this year, and the white bunny eared blouse got stained sort of pink in the wash a bit ago. The sax star bag I still have, and like, but I think it’s an AP replica and I’m not sure how I feel about it these days. I still have the bodyline candy print skirt, and I still love it, though I haven’t worn it in quite some time.

I don’t have a record of what my wardrobe looked like again until the end of 2011. By then my wardrobe had swelled to about 45 dresses and skirts. 18 of them were red/pink, 9 were sax/navy, 8 were brown, 6 were black and the rest were one-offs in other colors. I sold my first few things in 2011; an AP lucky pack JSK that didn’t fit, and quite a few things from the first few innocent world lucky packs I’d bought.

From 2009-2011 the only reason I sold anything was because it didn’t fit, and I was buying cheap stuff or lucky pack stuff, so I accumulated a lot of beige and rose pink that didn’t suit me at all.

In 2012 I sold nothing, and I bought a lot. My wardrobe swelled up to about 75 dresses/skirts, not counting things I’d put aside to sell (at least 25 items). I was trying to take sales photos, but I was slow about it and I bought things faster than I got the info together for sales listings.

By mid 2013, I realized I needed to just stop, list a chunk of stuff, and get it sold, and not keep trying to list everything I wanted to sell at once. I sold a grand total of 5 things.

At the beginning of 2014, my wardrobe had grown to over 100 dresses/skirts, not counting another 40-some I’d put aside to sell. Late in the spring of 2014, I realize I needed help getting it all out the door, and sat down with my girlfriend Cinnabunnylol, and she offered to help me by shipping out my sales items if I listed them. So, I started a huge closet purge, which is actually still going on. I took almost everything beige, mint, yellow or dusty pink from my closet and we put it up for sale. Along with 90% of the main pieces I’d gotten on taobao, almost all my Meta, almost all my Baby the Stars Shine bright, all the blouses I had that were too small, 2/3 of my skirts (they don’t really flatter me), and some things I had in multiple cuts/colorways.

We establish a LM account as a consignment shop and made close to 100 listings. So far, we’ve sold 78 items there, and then another 10-15 were sold at Rufflecon, and a good handful were sold at Anime Boston.

We just moved, and in the spare room there is a rack, which is still full of items to sell, but it’s a much smaller number of things than it was when I started. (Now that that’s all over, hopefully I’ll have more time to write).

I started out with a wardrobe that was bright sax and red sweet lolita, which, in the middle got a bit more pastel sweet and a bit of pastel classic and darker classic.

Now, it’s mostly bright colored sweet lolita with a lot of red still, and there is more richly colored classic. It’s getting big again, and I’ll probably sell off a few of the things in there, but I think I’ve reach a point where I’ve solidified my personal style.

closet

If we average it out, that’s 150 dresses/skirts over 5 years, at a buy rate of 30 dresses/skirts per year and a sell rate of ~7 for dresses/skirts. With another 7 per year still waiting to be sold. Ouch. I better start relisting things on lacemarket again soon.